The good news is,
the puppy's cute.
The bad news:
$900,000 that could have been used to help educate
Americans about gay lives was instead wasted on an
ill-conceived media campaign about a dog who moos.
that's right. A pup that goes "moo."
supposed to be a metaphor. The little spaniel, dubbed
Norman, was "born different" and
struggles for acceptance.
Featured in five
TV spots, a fake movie trailer, and billboards, banners,
and bus ads--all seen only in Colorado Springs,
Colo.--Norman is supposed to make that
notoriously conservative town's residents rethink
their opposition to gay rights. Activists with let the
puppy moo T-shirts wander the streets to talk to
passersby. If right-wing hearts are warmed by this
canine fairy tale, we're to assume, then they might
suddenly wake up to the wisdom of marriage equality.
unconscionable waste of time and money. We're shocked
that no one at the Gill Foundation, which funded the
campaign, anticipated the Christian right's
terse, logical response: Puppies aren't born mooing.
And people aren't born gay. Because the first
statement is an absolute
truth--hello-o-o!--it gives apparent credence to
the false statement that follows.
Foundation, for putting another arrow into the quiver of the
homophobes--and for associating a crucial human rights
issue with an embarrassingly infantile fantasy.
little-known group called the Arcus Foundation-- along
with the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and
Freedom to Marry--began its own media campaign,
called simply "Marriage Matters." In direct,
engaging ads appearing nationwide (not just in
Colorado Springs), five same-sex couples who've
been together from five to 53 years are pictured above the
phrase "They're committed. So are we."
Then follow the names of dozens of prominent people
and groups who back marriage equality, including mayors,
union leaders, a rabbi, and Tim Gill, founder of the Gill
generosity is legendary, and his foundation has been an
unparalleled force for social change. But comparing the
ill-begotten Born Different mooing puppy campaign to
the powerful Marriage Matters ads leads to one
inescapable conclusion: If you want to educate Americans
about gay and lesbian lives, it's best to show them
real gay and lesbian people.
Not an imaginary
mutt, no matter how cuddly he may be.