Sunday, August 19, 2012

"Gay Cureness Walk?" Cobb Gets 'The Onion' Treatment

Cobb County's been in America's cultural crosshairs before, as Cobb Commission Chairman Tim Lee recalled this week in his re-election battle against Bill Byrne.
On Friday, the satirical newspaper and website The Onion had fun at Cobb's expense in an article and video devoted to the same topic as a nearly 20-year-old episode that Lee referenced -- homosexuality.
In a fictitious story on its website that includes a Marietta dateline, The Onion wrote about efforts by a "Cobb County Evangelical Hospital" that holds an annual "Gay Cureness Walk." The money raised will be used to build a new gayness treatment center at the hospital.
The accompanying video "interviews" include a physician at the hospital, as well as a supposedly "cured" gay man who presents his female spouse. Another male "survivor" said he "feels great to be around so many incredible guys who went through the same thing."
Another interview is with a woman upset over "losing" her daughter to gayness. "She lives in Seattle now," the mother sighs.
This is standard fare for The Onion, which according to Wikipedia claims a print circulation of 400,000 and 7.5 million monthly unique visitors to its website.
The Onion's seeming target in this story is Cobb evangelicals. But the publication routinely skewers formulaic news media coverage, especially overwrought television news presentation of illnesses and diseases.
This week Lee dredged up the 1993 Cobb anti-gay resolution that Byrne voted for as then-chairman, but said he wished he could have back. The vote cost Cobb a 1996 Atlanta Olympics volleyball venue and plenty of unwanted national media attention.
The Atlanta gay website Project Q called The Onion's piece "a brilliant takedown," but admitted that it was "hitting a little too close to reality for the Atlanta suburb."

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