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How Archie's Gay Friend Proved the Internet Can Do Good

The Internet is often described as a festering pit of electronic hate, but in the same way your gut is a festering pit of bacteria -- the vast majority are harmless, and you're actually better off for having them around. Ninety percent of people might be assholes, but we're all assholes about different things. So when one group declares themselves the voice of the majority, they get stomped like a goomba in Mario's biker bar.

Nintendo
He may have implied that the princess sleeps in other men's castles.

The American Family Association aren't just a recognized hate group, they're cartoon villains that escaped into the real world. They're driven by hate, choose actual comics characters as their enemies and still fail humiliatingly and publicly. They think of themselves as righteous crusaders, because they're exactly the sort of assholes who still use the word "crusade," but they're really Gargamel from the Smurfs: fighting ridiculously soft fictional targets just because they're the same gender and happy together, and still managing to lose.

Peyo, Hanna Barbera
And wearing far less fabulous colors.

Their latest target is Archie comics character Kevin Keller. Kevin loved his friends, respected his parents, served his country, did his duty, returned home and married his true love. If you object to any part of that story, you are measurably insane. Especially when your objection is leaping at that happy ending, claws outstretched and screaming "WERE HIS TRUE LOVE'S GONADS ABOVE OR BELOW THE PELVIS?"

Archie Comics
The depravity!

And like many unpopular insane people, the AFA have invented imaginary friends to agree with them.

One Million Moms is a website based on intolerance and the inability to count. It's named the same way a kid might call himself Commander Badass Boobtoucher: desperate wish-fulfillment and blatant lies. Despite being an entirely online group, they only had about 40,000 Facebook fans, an accurate count both of their real support and of how many moms don't know their kids have already blocked them. By their math, I could call my dick the Pleaser of Luxembourg and it would be more accurate, because I'm only short about half a million people.


Jo! Jo! En ass deck gutt!

The strategy behind the rebranding of hatred as a MegaMom is blatant: Giving birth apparently gives you perspective and wisdom on everyone else in the world, not just your own baby, which is weird, because that's the exact opposite of what all the birth-related hormones do. One Million Moms called for a boycott of Archie and Toys R Us. Their core argument is that they don't want to explain homosexuality to children. But that's not because they're scared of upsetting the children; they're scared of losing an argument to them when trying to explain how two consenting adults in love could possibly be wrong.

Getty
If only I'd been a better child, maybe Mom wouldn't have turned out this way.

I'm not a biased Archie fan. Until the Forty-Thousand Moms advertised this issue, I couldn't read more than one without my brain trying to chew through my own tongue.

Archie Comics, Marvel
And even then only if the first one was this.

But even I know it's an E-rated kitsch idyll, equal parts utopia, time capsule and world where they've perfected immortality and therefore had to ban even mentioning sex. It's a world so innocent that one guy can string two women along for seven decades without being a douchebag or getting laid. If Riverdale was any more virginally pure, someone would steal their water supply to sell at $10 a bottle. (It's not like the residents drink any -- being entirely without genitals, their only way of excreting fluid is getting extremely worried or upset.)

Archie Comics
Alas, that's all the fluid he can emit.

The last time Archie had a controversial relationship was an interracial marriage, and that was this issue with the same marriage. The only reason Archie isn't exactly identical to his 1941 appearance is because printing technology evolved faster than his art style. Even in the future story lines of Life with Archie, Riverdale is so all-ages inoffensive that the boy in the bubble could have moved there instead of pulling a Catherine the Great and committing sensual suicide-by-horse.

ABC
"I have no immune system, so touching farm animals and having sex with a girl are obviously my first priorities.

Riverdale's relentless purity enhances the ridiculousness of the objections. There is no way to object to two consenting adults who love each other very much without sounding crazy, but that's a price the AFA is prepared to pay. The first option is to bring detailed descriptions of gay sex into Riverdale, in which case:

A) There's nothing wrong with gay sex, no matter how disgusted you are by the details you vigorously and repeatedly imagine;

B) There are already websites based on that, and they're already incredibly unofficial.

Probably not Archie Comics.
Now we know why they're OK with waiting so long.

The second method is bringing in a new invisible character from a different book to object, but that's not preaching morality, that's writing fan fiction. But when your favorite author has only released four books in the last two millenniums, you're going to get a lot of people writing their own fan fiction about how the characters would react to modern things that didn't exist when the canon was laid down.

Agencia Brasil
Moderator of the "God Adventures" fan-fic community.

When Archie is too progressive for you, that's how science identifies you as an earlier species. All those people asking questions about your protest aren't reporters, they're anthropologists trying to work out why you didn't die off before we became Homo sapiens. And if they said so, you'd be more upset about the "homo" part. Instead of evolving from monkeys like the rest of us, your only improvement is flinging shit metaphorically instead of physically. And since several species of monkey enjoy homosexuality and don't say anything, they're two steps ahead of the American Family Association.

Getty
No homo (sapiens).

This is where the Internet gets involved and becomes brilliant: Life With Archie #16 sold out. Everywhere. Secondhand issues are already trading for 10 times the starting price. Kevin Keller has his own spinoff comic. One Million Moms did nothing but advertise this step forward in comics history. It was a bigger backfire than deciding you'll teach the lone hero a lesson by fighting him one-on-one, and a wonderful reminder that hateful stupidity is like the smallpox vaccine -- the second word more than cancels out the first, and while it can be slightly painful to deal with, it makes sure the real thing can never hurt anyone again. Because science and technology are slowly ending this plague, just like they ended smallpox and other horrible things people can inflict just by communicating with you.

Getty
Yes, with a course of medication, we're sure we can cure you of saying "you people."

The AFA's entire strategy is whining louder than everyone else. This has worked for many groups for decades, because before now you needed something seriously wrong with your life to write letters to corporations as a hobby. A group of lonely, hateful people who could be relied upon to say what they thought was actually a valuable resource. But modern technology is destroying that advantage. Now everybody can say what they think, and they do. It turns out that all the people who used to be too busy to get involved in letter-writing campaigns were too busy not being assholes.

Getty
No, seriously, guys, I have to go to the post office to tell a soft drink company they're using immoral music.

Companies used to be scared of upsetting the Neolithic community, because they knew smart people could deal with "How I feel about social issues" and "I need to buy some sheets" as separate thoughts, while idiots simply didn't have the same amount of skullroom. It cost the company nothing to pull an ad if it offended even one person -- the idiot feels happy, people with actual lives didn't even notice. But now you don't need to be best friends with daytime TV to notice these things. Non-dumbasses are now aware of these issues, and are far better at writing about it. When forced to choose between hateful fear or progress, companies are choosing NOT to go backward in time.

It has nothing to do with ethics -- it's free advertising, an Internet trend is far more interesting than an old women's group in Wheatfields, Nowhere, and you're targeting a younger demographic who will be alive to shop for longer with more money.

Brilliantly, this isn't even the first time these idiots have lost a ridiculous fight this year. They targeted J.C. Penney for hiring Ellen DeGeneres as a spokesperson, demanding that the department store fire someone for being gay. And if you've ever wondered how hateful someone has to get to put Bill O'Reilly on the right side of an argument, now you know.

O'Reilly Show
Bill O'Reilly discovering that a full million moms is apparently enough to open a portal to Opposite Universe.

J.C. Penney compared the AFA's One Million Moms with Ellen's Two-Point-Seven Real-Million Viewers and ignored the protest, because they're not mathematicians and so didn't have to deal with imaginary numbers. OMM were so relentlessly mocked that they've even shut down their "One Million Moms" Facebook page ... the one outnumbered by dozens of "One Million Moms Are Idiots" pages, and The Ellen DeGeneres Show's two-point-five-million Facebook fans.

When the national agency taking a stand against your aggression is a department store, you're not a powerful agency of justice. You're not even a raccoon infestation, because government agencies still get involved in that. The only offensive thing about Ellen's gaiety is how it's replaced half her punchlines on any subject, and I now think that's fine, because every time she repeats it, there's bonus hilarity for mocking these idiots by existing.

Getty
Busily plotting the downfall of America.

The whole point of the Internet is that you no longer have to be a miserable asshole to write at people. Companies used to respond to a few hundred angry people because that was all the feedback they were getting. Nowadays, you get more responses and more sincere death threats for a Lady Gaga/Nirvana mash-up. And because folding to the haters is publicized, you'll get even more negative publicity if you buckle, so this positive pressure loans the company enough balls to stick with their original idea. The AFA used to bully huge companies like Mazda and 7-Eleven. Now they're losing fights with comics publishers. A long time ago, Rush Limbaugh bet that bigots could shout louder than fully developed personalities, and it's beginning to become untrue. It's slow, but it's a trend, just like cars replacing horses -- it's the inevitable result of technology helping more people do more things, and it means there will be fewer horse's asses hanging around.

Archie Comics' CEO John Goldwater issued this statement:

"We're sorry the American Family Association/OneMillionMoms.com feels so negatively about our product, but they have every right to their opinion, just like we have the right to stand by ours. Kevin Keller will forever be a part of Riverdale, and he will live a happy, long life free of prejudice, hate and narrow-minded people."

When even the guys behind Archie are publicly insulting your intelligence, you're more dedicated to assholes than the gay men you hate so much.

Luke McKinney enjoys good drinks, tumbling and having a website.

For more from Luke, check out 5 Ways People Are Taking Harry Potter Waaay Too Seriously and The 5 Most Retarded Causes People Are Actually Fighting For.

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