The current contract I'm on has me editing a few sections of a major corporation's internal employee home page. One of the things we do is take employee submissions of photos of themselves on vacation or pursuing their hobbies, and we post one photo a day to this home page. And what I find intriguing is the selection criteria.
I'd recently selected a photo of a guy holding a big trout he caught while on vacation in Utah, but we ended up not using it. Why? Because if we'd posted a fisherman holding a dead fish on the home page, a number of people would have lost their minds and sent us obscenity-laden e-mails, possibly even threats. To avoid all the controversy and screaming weenies, we decided not to run the photo.
Now this is a company that is not only tolerant of alternative lifestyles, but goes out of its way to be inclusive of them. For example, I've run content promoting events sponsored by gay employee groups.
Now, some fundamentalists of various religions find such groups and such people an affront to God. But if they were to lose their minds over it, the gay employees could complain to management and the religious people would be disciplined for their intolerance. Yet if someone were to lose their mind over a picture of a fisherman, they're considered an "activist."
I just wonder why the fisherman can't go to the office the gay employees would go to, say "they're being intolerant of my lifestyle choice," and get the animal activists disciplined.
But if you think about it, you're not going to see a major protest rally and a furor across the internet, shouting "boycott Megacorp because they discriminate against fishermen." But if they disciplined the animal rights activists, there would be a protest rally, and vandalism, and a boycott because "Megacorp supports the killing of innocent wild animals."
And Megacorp knows this. They know that the animal rights activists are much bigger weenies than fishermen and have a lot less emotional stability. So, because the animal activists are more willing to commit extreme acts and go to the limits of legal protest (and possibly beyond), they win. They don't have to tolerate being confronted with evidence of a co-worker living an alternative lifestyle choice that they find offensive, yet others at Megacorp do.
Me, I don't like bigotry or intolerance of any stripe, whether it's directed at drag queens, Catholics, or sports fishing enthusiasts. So it's interesting to see that bigotry and intolerance are nowhere near dead in our society. It's okay to make jokes about how Priests molest little boys, but if you said that about blacks or gays, you better be prepared for sensitivity training. Bigotry isn't dead or dying out. We're just changing our definitions of which bigotry is acceptable and which isn't. And that's just sad.