I recently sent Andrew Sullivan at The Daily Dish an email about his post “Culture War Gasoline,” which dealt with The Folsom Street Fair’s specious advertising image (above). He never got back to me about my ideas, personally or on site (he gets zillions a day), but rather than create my own post, I just thought I’d just put the email I sent him here. As a whole, it kind of sums up perfectly everything I felt:
As an avid reader, I was taken aback by your response to the Folsom Street Fair poster, which I thought seemed reactionary and unnecessary. But then I saw the poster was getting a lot of attention in other, similar places - negative attention - and certainly was on people’s minds. While I’m no expert on cultural politics, as a simple observer I find it fascinating how unpredictably some artist’s DIY marketing techniques have changed. Ten or twenty years ago, one could easily create work like this - and then sit back and watch the religious right fall into the trap of drumming up loads of attention for it, by protesting “that’s blasphemous!” Today that can’t always be counted on to work.
However, it seems that today one thing you CAN count on is are middle-aged hipsters and politi-think gays going onto the internet and giving it much, much MORE attention by protesting; “That’s not cool, that’s stupid!” or even “you’re ruining the next election for us!” A tactical shift? Not that I would credit such a tired and played out group as the Folsom Street Fair crowd with being so savvy…oops, did it again.
Ten or twenty years ago, such dissenters on the “left” found themselves alienated and silenced. I don’t know if today they have more of an organized voice, or the group-think as a whole has changed - but it’s created a very different playing field. No?