Letter From the Editor 

I should be grateful to the Tennessee legislature for providing me and other columnists around the country with so much fodder for humor. With their, um, endless, er, bottomless, er, enduring fascination with controlling all things gay, our GOP Nashville cats have become a national punch line.

With high unemployment plaguing the state, they've boldly focused on two critical issues confronting Tennessee: the oppression of bullies who wish to taunt gay classmates and the possibility that an elementary school teacher may be forced to answer a question about homosexuality.

The Family Action Council of Tennessee is pushing to get a bill passed that would require that schools' "anti-bullying" policies "not prohibit [students'] expression of religious, philosophical, or political views as long as such expression does not include a threat of physical harm to a student or of damage to a student's property."

This would be good news for Rev. Fred Phelps' Westboro Baptist Church, whose school-age members would now presumably be free to express their religious credo, "God Hates Fags," as long as they didn't, you know, actually hit anybody. Meanwhile, the companion "Don't Say Gay" legislation would prevent Tennessee elementary school teachers from even explaining why certain kids were being bullied.

Do you know of any major corporations that would want to bring their factories or headquarters to a state where bigotry against their gay employees is institutionalized? I don't.

But wait, as they say, there's more! Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey announced in a Commercial Appeal story this week that he wanted to pass legislation that would drug-test "practically everyone getting any kind of government benefits." No doubt, he had in mind poor people getting food stamps and the unemployed, but when a pesky reporter asked if this meant the state would drug-test corporate executives whose companies get tax-paid incentives to locate in Tennessee, Ramsey doubled down. "Fine with me," he said.

Argh. The stupid. It burns. Imagine a few months ago, as Mayor A C Wharton and his team have just completed delicate negotiations with Electrolux, luring the company from Canada. "Oh, there's one more thing," the mayor says. "Just a tiny detail. Nothing really. But state law requires that we drug-test your CEO. It's a mere formality. Just have him pee in this cup, okay? Oh, and, uh, he's not gay, is he?"

That's job creation we can believe in!

Bruce VanWyngarden
brucev@memphisflyer.com

Comments (8)

Showing 1-8 of 8

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-8 of 8

Add a comment

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Blogs

Fly On The Wall Blog

Tony Allen's Big D Beats Stiff Competition

Intermission Impossible

Naughty & Nice: What's on Stage this Christmas?

News Blog

Etsy Declares Memphis an "Official Maker City"

Politics Beat Blog

Rep. Ellison, Frontrunner in DNC Race, to be Honored Here

Politics Beat Blog

Cohen Introduces Amendment to Scrap Electoral College

Hungry Memphis

Long Road Cider Opening this Weekend

Intermission Impossible

Three Questions with "Santaland Diaries" Star Jonathan Christian

ADVERTISEMENT

More by Bruce VanWyngarden

Readers also liked…

  • Vendor in the Grass

    The lady doth protest too much, methinks. — William Shakespeare

    Is there such a thing as "bad activism"? I'm asking because I'm seeing a lot of criticism of the folks who are protesting the Memphis Zoo's encroachment onto the Greensward at Overton Park.

    • Mar 31, 2016
  • In Spring ...

    (such a sky and such a sun

    i never knew and neither did you

    and everybody never breathed

    quite so many kinds of yes) — e. e. cummings

    • Apr 30, 2015
  • Detention Deficit

    Exactly seven years ago this week, I wrote a column decrying a proposal by city engineers to turn the Overton Park Greensward into an 18-foot-deep "detention basin" designed to stop flooding in Midtown. The engineers claimed we'd hardly notice the football-field-sized bowl. "Except," I wrote then, "when it rains hard, at which time, users of Overton Park would probably notice a large, 18-foot-deep lake in the Greensward. Or afterward, a large, muddy, trash-filled depression."

    • Mar 10, 2016
ADVERTISEMENT
© 1996-2016

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation