Dropping the glitter bomb

These sparkly explosions don’t ignite a productive conversation.

Andrew Johnson

Over the past year, one group has been on the wrong end of open attacks from uncompromising devotees to an ideological agenda. Disciples of this extreme cause insistently celebrate these acts. Worse yet, their supporters keep mum and fail to denounce this plan of action.

I’m, of course, talking about the Twin Cities’ latest, most fabulous form of protest: glitter bombing.

Now if you’re unaware of what glitter bombing is, it’s the act of contesting someone else’s views that you consider intolerant by displaying your own intolerance toward their views by publicly humiliating them. This way is more fun though: Glitter bombing involves showering the target with dazzling confetti. Committed by gay rights activists, glitter bombing hopes to sprinkle more than just shiny flecks onto its prey; it aims to disgrace them as well. The assailant ends up being drenched in shame, even if they don’t fully know it.

In the midst of this shimmering warfare that begs for the restoration of the Enola Gay, what makes glitter bombing a black eye for the queer guy is that it completely surrenders the capacity for debate. Rather than further the discussion on the matter, these twinkly torpedo-tossers make the conscious decision to resort to petty behavior, rather than a civilized discourse. The very merits of the advocates’ argument are demeaned more so than the opponents’, especially when the latter spins the attempt of humiliation to their favor. For example, a couple weeks ago in Eagan, Minn., when Mitt Romney was the mark, he immediately foiled the foray by joking that they were helping him celebrate his Florida primary victory from the night before. When the intended object of ridicule doesn’t feel ridiculed or gives it credence, the debris of the glinty grenades blows up in the heavers’ face instead.

Regardless of the cause, similar childish and ridiculous operations make the bombardier look worse than the bombarded. Last week, on France’s presidential campaign trail, Socialist candidate François Hollande was “flour-bombed” by a woman who disagreed with his party’s platform. On le Twitter, Hollande later described the attack as an “isolated act which does its author no credit” (but at least give her some credit for lugging a sack of flour around). “There are other ways of showing one’s disagreement,” he continued. “I remain ever open to dialogue.” His aggressor might have had valuable insights into policy to counter Hollande. Unfortunately, her ideas were never expressed and by no one’s fault but her own. She’s now more likely to be recognized for her grains than her brains.

Glitter bombing, and the like, is only the most recent version of egging or tarring-and-feathering. The entire stunt is meant to persuade causalities’ to change and reform their points of view not through a convincing line of reasoning but rather by way of intimidation. “If you don’t want this to happen again, then I suggest you change your ways,” the scintillating shrapnel indicates.

But proponents trying to justify these actions will assert that “There’s no hope in reasoning with these people,” yet they deduce that stooping to that same lowly level of absent rationale is the solution. Who’s irrational now? All that glitter bombers are trying to do is to combat the problem with more of the same problem, fighting fire with flaming fire.

Admittedly, I kind of hope to be glitter bombed by those who disagree with my column; in many ways, it would fully validate my point. But, if you’re interested in respectfully, reasonably and open-mindedly discussing the matter without compromising the integrity and worth of either side, my contact information is provided. If not, then bombs away.