Then, in the soap opera that is Who Can Pee Where in Charlotte versus the infamous House Bill 2, came a report that North Carolinians will be banned from the pornography website, Xhamster.com.
That story was true. “NBA Cancels 2017 All-Star Game in NC over Anti-LGBT Law,” was fake.
Cleveland.com was among outlets falling for the scam, which was near-enough to real that it might have been. The NBA is thinking about moving next year’s game from Charlotte. Such action has been called for by no less an authority on social norms than Charles Barkley, the basketball Hall of Famer convicted of DUI after being stopped for running a stop sign, rushing, as he told police, to receive oral sex from his female passenger.
Elsewhere in the swirl, Bruce Springsteen called off a concert in Greensboro though Jimmy Buffett decided he would play for N.C. Parrot Heads. Network TV talk shows ripped HB2 along with the satirical “The Onion,” and the website “Funny or Die.” Protesters in Raleigh crucified Paul McCartney, singing “Let us pee, Let us pee.” I’d have gone with John Lennon, “All we are saying is Give Pee a Chance.”
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And now Oprah is coming to town, to deliver the commencement address at Johnson C. Smith University. Think she might have something to say?
Caught for comment after several days away from cameras, Mayor Jennifer Roberts told WBTV’s Molly Grantham she wants to, “Have a conversation on how to resolve this. Recognize we have common interests and common ground.”
Really, Mayor? If it was conversation you wanted you could have had it before you and your fellow Democrats pushed through the bathroom vote, just as Governor Pat McCrory and Raleigh Republicans could have had a conversation before pushing through HB2. Neither side talked with the other because conversation isn’t what the sides wanted.
They wanted to pander to their political bases. Roberts and Democrats to liberal activists who were not wrong about wanting anti-discrimination protections extended to LGBT persons. McCrory and Republicans to social conservatives who were not wrong about the common sense of men using men’s rooms and women using women’s rooms.
I’ve read in these pages, and heard elsewhere, this assessment: “Charlotte’s law went a little too far. Raleigh’s response went a little too far. Most people are somewhere in the middle. Can’t they work this out?”
Silly Rabbits. Trix are for Kids, and Who Can Pee Where and HB2 are about politics, not the potty. Each side now has an issue to fire up its faithful in a critical election year.
There is real fallout over HB2, like PayPal calling off its Charlotte expansion. That PayPal came here before anti-discrimination measures were passed and is perfectly willing to do business in such LGBT-oppressive countries as Singapore and Malaysia is apparently to be overlooked.
There is also a perverse near-giddiness among Charlotte GuvCo types as each succeeding shoe drops, and a scramble among Charlotte media to break the news. The first I saw of the PayPal decision was a Tweet from Charlotte Observer Sports guy Scott Fowler: “The hits just keep on coming. PayPal withdraws CLT expansion plan due to #HB2.”
Fowler tweeting was appropriate. The serve and return over Who Can Pee Where and HB2 is sport, all right.
Pure political sport.
Keith Larson can be heard weekdays 9 a.m. - Noon on WBT AM/FM.