Almost every time I read a piece of news Pam Spaulding has dug up, my mouth, as the song goes, drops open like a country pond. Posting at Pandagon, Pam tells about a 12-year-old Kansas boy who visited the Oz Museum and bought a souvenir, a rainbow-colored flag. “Over the Rainbow” is, of course, from the film, The Wizard of Oz. Judy Garland is said to have once remarked to a woman in a nightclub ladies’ room, “Lady, I’ve got rainbows up my ass,” a sentiment that is being felt in Meade, Kansas right now, for all the wrong reasons.
The boy’s father, J.R. Knight, who owns the Lakeway Hotel, a bed and breakfast, in Meade, hung the flag on the outside his b&b, next to the American flag. Everything went fine until the local newspaper reported that a gay flag was hanging outside the Lakeway.
The first problem with this tale is that the local people did not know that there was such a thing as a rainbow flag until they read about it in the newspaper. So much for diversity education. But once they found out about it, they got busy running their mouths off, and how.
It turns out that the newspaper reporter didn’t bother to call Knight and ask him about the flag. So much for journalism. The local radio station called him, though, to tell him it was removing the hotel restaurant’s commercial spots if the flag didn’t come down. A local pastor told him that what he had done was equivalent to hanging a pair of women’s panties on a flag pole, which just goes to show you, these people are thinking about sex a lot. Another man said: “To me it’s just like running up a Nazi flag in a Jewish neighborhood. I can’t walk into that establishment with that flag flying because to me that’s saying that I support what the flag stands for and I don’t.” Right–because we all know there are no gay or bisexual people or people who support them in Kansas. And certainly not in Meade.
Knight says that he is glad for the flag to be seen as a gay pride symbol or anything else.