Thursday, December 4, 2008

"Prop 8: The Musical"

Composer Marc Shaiman—last seen helping to move along a boycott of the California Musical Theater as long as Scott Eckern still worked there—has just unleashed his newest opus on the Internet. It's already an on-line hit.

Ladies and gentlemen, here comes Prop 8: The Musical.


Now, where to even begin?

I've already written that I voted "No" on Proposition 8. And I find myself just shaking my head that someone as smart and successful as Marc Shaiman can possibly think this is how we're going to change anyone's mind and gain their votes. It honestly makes me wonder if Mr. Shaiman wanted Scott Eckern gone not because of his donation to the "Yes on 8" campaign but, rather, because Mr. Eckern might have had the good sense not to mount a production like this one. After all the Mormon baiting, the profanity-laden protests, and the new blacklists, I wasn't sure if I could feel any more embarrassed by my own side on this issue, but now I know the answer. I can.

What I haven't written before is that after 20-plus years of waffling between agnosticism and full-blown atheism, I'm also, today, a believing Christian, and I wasn't really prepared for how unbelievably offensive this was to me on that level. Yes, I've made the same points as Jack Black's groovy, it's-all-good Jesus about Leviticus—and thrown in some verse from 1 Timothy for good measure—while trying to bring other Christians around to our side. And I agree, the Christians on that stage have a selective reading of the Bible, but no more selective than Marc Shaiman's choices in how to depict those Christians on that stage. No one—Christian, atheist, Buddhist, Hindu, or whatever—is going to give our side a fair hearing if we treat them as a mocking caricature right from the start, like this piece of film does. And having the Christians on that stage finally turn away from, whether you agree with it or not, a deeply held religious belief because of all that money to be had from catering gay marriages and lawyering gay divorces? I suppose I should be grateful Mr. Shaiman wasn't targeting Jewish voters in this piece. Who knows how far he might have gone then? Margaret Cho as a dancing neocon rabbi pulling the strings of U.S. foreign policy, perhaps?

After all the Mormon baiting, the profanity-laden protests, and the new blacklists, I wasn't sure whether my task of convincing other Christians that gay marriage is not a "wrong" or a "sin" could get any harder, but now I know the answer. It can.

Does Marc Shaiman honestly not know that even here in California, there are more Christians than there are gays and non-believers? And does he honestly not know that many Christians, including myself, voted against Prop 8? Does keeping our votes the next time this issue appears on the ballot really matter so little to him? Or maybe he just assumes that the "good" Christians who choose "love" will forgive him for making it that much harder to change anyone's mind on this issue—and for catching us as well with his big, smearing, cathartic brush of Internet musical comedy.

If this were a baseball game, it would now be three strikes and they're out. But it's not. And people like me will still vote our conscience on this issue, despite the best efforts of people like Marc Shaiman.

Or at least, Marc Shaiman better hope that we will.