David Hines (hradzka) wrote,
David Hines

more on getting Zumboed

A few days back, I discussed "getting Zumboed", which is the term gun geeks use for "so outraging the community of one's customers that the backlash jeopardizes one's livelihood." The term, if you missed that post, is for Jim Zumbo, an outdoor columnist who took such umbrage to the AR-15 that he described it as a "terrorist rifle" in a blog post. That rather upset a demographic that advertisers find desirable: an AR-15 is not an inexpensive piece of hardware; it's not unusual for people to have fifteen hundred to two thousand dollars invested in their ARs. People who shoot in competition, with ARs they've built to be highly accurate match rifles, can have considerably more than that. It's a sizable investment, and people who own sizable investments take them seriously. And Jim Zumbo told everybody in the United States who owns an AR-15 that they could go fuck themselves. This did not turn out well for him. More recently, we've seen people get Zumboed in the gun industry and in the gay community; the founder of the cruising site Manhunt came in for some trouble after it came out that he'd donated to McCain/Palin 2008. This strikes me as an interesting and noteworthy political development, and so I made a post about it.

Well, it's not a grass-roots reaction any more. It's officially a political tactic now.

My post turned out to be timelier than I'd thought, because the convulsive anger following California's passage of Proposition 8, which amended the state's constitution to ban gay marriage, has seen getting Zumboed going to new heights. The early reports that black voters went 70% for Prop 8 caused some extraordinarily ugly rhetoric and some nasty incidents, to the point that several prominent people published essays urging against this division, in part because conservatives would take advantage of such a split in the progressive coalition. Now the gay community has turned on the churches, particularly the Mormons -- and anyone who supported the measure financially. Public record donor lists are being used to whip up torches-and-pitchforks mobs on demand.

Check out the case of Scott Eckern, the California Musical Theater's artistic director. He gave a thousand bucks to support Prop. 8.

...a guy who works in musical theater. WHAT WAS HE THINKING? Well, it doesn't matter; he doesn't work in musical theater anymore. Composer Marc Shaiman (HAIRSPRAY) led the charge against him. Eckern had worked for the theater for 25 years. He put an ad in Playbill apologizing, and quit.

And Eckern's not alone. Check out the case of Marjorie Christofferson, a restaurant owner who gave money to support Prop. 8.

In a dramatic, closed door lunch meeting, the owner of a renowned Mexican eatery in Hollywood expressed regret in her decision to donate $100 to the “Yes on Prop 8″ campaign, but her remarks before a group of about 60 members of Los Angeles’ LGBT community fell short of an outright personal apology.

“I’m sick of heart that I’ve offended anyone in the gay community,” said Marjorie Christofferson, co-owner of El Coyote Mexican Cafe for 17 years. “I have had, and do have family, friends, and people I work with of course who are gay…and you are treasured people to me.”

The tall, frail Christofferson stood in the center of the group. She appeared to be shaking during her prepared remarks which lasted about 3 minutes. Her daughters flanked her to prevent her from fainting, according to a restaurant employee. At several points during her speech, Christofferson simply became too emotional to continue.

Here's an account from someone who was there. The most amazing thing to me in that story: the activists were targeting somebody whose donation to support Prop. 8. was *a whopping one hundred dollars.*

I'm getting more and more weirded out by this whole thing. I didn't mind when Zumbo got his, because I own an AR-15 (and an SKS and a Sig 556 and I CAN STOP ANY TIME I WANT), and I didn't care for some blowhard casting aspersions against me and my rifle(s). Plus, he was a public figure, and he'd done something our political enemies would find highly useful. I feel less comfortable with what happened to Dan Cooper, and even less so with what happened to the co-founder of MANHUNT. The Prop. 8 backlash takes this to another level entirely, and it's officially weirding me out. I oppose the reimposition of the "assault weapons ban," for example, but while I'd support coming down hard on, say, a gun manufacturer who backs it because he feels that magazine capacity limitations will remove one of his competitors' chief selling points (yeah, there's precedent), I am *deeply* revolted by the idea of going through political donations and harassing people who give to the Brady Campaign.

It's a little amazing to see how fast this tactic has evolved, though.
Tags: politics

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