Father Tony

The New Bicep

Filed By Father Tony | November 15, 2008 8:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics, The Movement
Tags: California Proposition 8, gay marriage, gay protests, gay rights, New York protests, Prop. 8 protests

Congratulations to the compact team of gay (un)organizers for a superbly (un)planned and (un)structured protest at the Mormon Temple in New York City on November 12, 2008 (and to the lone blogger responsible for the nationwide town hall protests scheduled for Saturday, November 15, 2008). This is the way in which stuff will get done in the future. Without elaborate staffing and inflated funding. Without much formal organizational sponsorship.

Father Tony's Bicep.jpg

(My point, after the jump)

The casual and blog-based source and management of these huge events mark a startling power shift in the leadership of the gay community. Not many people are commenting on this secondary aspect of the event because they are rightly preoccupied with the central issue of Prop8/church&state. But I am more fascinated by the viral genesis and growth of this event and by the fact that it will most certainly be replicated elsewhere. I am more fascinated by the fact that while gay bloggers had already moved well beyond merely scrap-booking or reflecting about pets and lovers, they are now moving beyond ancillary reportage and advance-work, into creating and directing real events and experience and opinion.

Gay bloggers are finally understanding their own meta-virtual power. They are legion and can muster the troops instantly.

We are on the verge of no longer needing formal (and sometimes hidebound) advocacy groups to pave a way for us down Main Street.

Blog, seen yesterday as a media appendix, is now the new bicep. In Manhattan, I saw it flex. Thousands moved. More reps!


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Yes, it is very exciting to see this. I am of the opinion that it is a very natural outgrowth of the internet and blogging. First the internet made wider communication possible for cheap rather than the old having to raise tons of funds just to get anything out there. Then blogging loosened the choke hold that mainstream media had on the idea of press and public information. Now we are able to operate as people who are unified individuals instead a few leaders who are supported by faceless unified interest groups.

Reformed Ascetic | November 15, 2008 9:24 AM

You're right on Father Tony. The origin of these protests and whatever they lead to is going to be very interesting. The nationwide protests planned this weekend have the potential to demonstrate an entirely new kind of political power, and one that kind respond in real time.

I'm also hoping that this really is Stonewall 2.0 and that a new wave of activism really does go forward from this. I'm excited by the possibility of widespread local activism energized by the ability to communicate and strategize nationally via the almost constantly connected nature of modern life.

This situation certainly appears to have the potential to be a new thing, and should really be quite interesting to everyone even if only for historical reasons.

However there remains a place for the formal institutions in leading, promoting and defending the community. Let's not abandon them entirely.

This is the exact reason that I always tell my clients, "You have no idea of the power of the internet."

I'm a 24yo computer science major as well as a bi man, and I'm mostly relieved that decentralized political action organized online by liberal groups is finally happening as we've predicted. Remember, the idea of flash mobs is at least 10 years old, but the only people talking about it and its implications were science fiction and comic geeks like William Gibson and Warren Ellis.

However, there is a dark side coming too. Other marginalized groups, such as bigots against gays, immigration, or affirmative action, will be using the same technologies and techniques soon. If you think the outpourings of rage, hate, and racism at carefully, professionally managed McCain rallies were bad, you ain't seen nothing yet.