Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Michael J. Fox Ads

Michael J. Fox, the actor, has Parkinson's disease. He has made political videos in support of candidates who support stem-cell research. These ads have caused a shitstorm among the wingnuts, because Fox looks so obviously not well in them. Rush Limbaugh, the High Imam of Wingnuttery, was one of the first to express concern:

"I stated when I saw the ad, I was commenting to you about it, that he was either off the medication or he was acting. He is an actor, after all."

Others soon followed suit. Jane Hamsher at Firelake collected some wingnut expressions of outrage into one post. Here is a snippet:

Michael J. Fox has a new ad out in support of Ben Cardin in Maryland. WaPo:

Opponents of embryonic stem cell research who heard about the ad said they found it sad.

"To me, this is a shame that they're exploiting someone like Michael J. Fox for something that the scientists say is not going to do anything," said Douglas Stiegler, executive director of Maryland's Family Protection Lobby.

Steele campaign spokesman Doug Heye agreed, saying he considered the ad "in extremely poor taste."

That would be the same Michael Steele who compared embryonic stem cell research to the holocaust when speaking before a Baltimore Jewish group. Yes he really should be lecturing us all on "poor taste."

The Michael J. Fox ad is designed to appeal to our emotions. It shows what a disease can do to a person. The anti-abortion arguments of the right are also designed to appeal to our emotions. They portray the embryo as a person and they argue that abortion is murder. As Jane points out in the above quote, if showing the symptoms caused by certain medications for Parkinson's disease is in "poor taste", so is the whole program of talking about embryos as babies and about abortion as cold-blooded murder.

Have you noticed how one-sided this use of emotions has been on the reproductive rights debate in the last decade? The anti-choice side has used a wide brush to paint pictures of micro-Americans being butchered by evil and callous sluts for nothing more than their own convenience. But we haven't heard very much from the pro-choice side that would appeal to our emotions and our values of justice and fairness.
You can see the Fox video here.