Really, Really Strange Bedfellows

« June 2013 »

Memo to Microsoft and Exodus International: CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE.

A thing that never happens happened twice in as many days. A large organization with many followers realized that the principle it had been deeply committed to for a long time was horribly wrong, harmful, and nobody liked it or them.

And so they stopped. Cut it out. Changed their mind. Forged a new, less wrong path. Again, this never happens. The NSA doesn't renounce warrantless surveillance. The Food Network will stand behind Paula Deen. The Republican Party will pretend to support immigration reform until they can find a way to kill it and blame it on the Democrats.

But Microsoft has decided that physical media is in fact physical media, and Exodus International has decided that gay is OK.

At first glance, one of these seems like a much bigger reversal than the other, but in a relatively short time, Microsoft had invested a great deal into the idea that a video game isn't a thing you buy and keep and bring to a friend's house. It's a digital construct, registered in Microsoft's cloud servers, tied to your digital identity, transferrable only under the watchful eye of the benevolent overlord.

I talked about it after E3, but nobody wanted what Microsoft was selling. And traditionally, when nobody wants what Microsoft is selling, Microsoft would stubbornly insist it was your fault for not appreciating their vision for your future. But less than a week after E3, Microsoft reversed themselves, admitted the customers were right, and shocked, if not the world, then certainly me.

I admit, the Exodus news shocked me a bit more.

I mean, the ex-gay movement is one of the biggest festering sores in American society. And Exodus has been THE name in the ex-gay movement for as long as I've known about it.

And yesterday, they announced that they were done. That they hadn't cured at least 99% of the people they treated. That they did much more harm than good. And so they're dissolving and apologizing.

Is it perfect? No. Splinter groups are already forming to take up Exodus' mission. Exodus' founder, Alan Chambers, still thinks he prayed away his own gay. And no amount of apologies and outreach work can really make up for the lives Exodus has tortured over the decades.

But even with that, what they did? Nobody ever does that. And they get a chunk knocked off of their ultimate debt to society for, at the very least, publicly saying they were wrong and that they were stopping.