Have you ever had a convention experience where a celeb uses the stage to spread their politics, rather than talk about the show they were on (the actual reason for them being at the con)? I've had a couple, but usually it's nothing more than an endorsement of one candidate or another, and it passes quickly and they move on to what they're really there for.
But last weekend at Away Mission Orlando (nominally a Star Trek convention, but with guests from other shows), I had an experience that went beyond that, which led me to leave the auditorium.
Dirk Benedict and Dwight Schultz took the stage as a pair, given their A-Team ties. At the beginning of the talk, one of them drew an analogy between their work on The A-Team and a marriage. One asked the other if he's married and they started being jokey about it, which was fine.
Then Dwight said, "What do you mean? What is marriage anyway? You're not allowed to use that word anymore. Haven't you heard? They redefined it. Are you 'bonded'? That's what you have to say now." So right from the get-go, I felt that they were using the stage to belittle my committed relationship of 15 years, and my desire to be treated equally in a country where the 14th amendment supposedly guarantees equal protection. And as the audience tittered, I felt disappointment that a crowd who claim to understand and embrace IDIC would so easily go along with that. I felt very uncomfortable and could feel myself turning red.
I should have left then, but the talk turned to the TV show, and I tried to forget the opening remarks.
Later in the talk, Dwight Schultz was talking about how actors view "getting the part" as a zero-sum game. "If they got the part, I dont' have the part," as if there are no other parts out there for you. "If they're successful, I can't be succesful."
Then Dirk Benedict jumped in and said that the reason for that is the elimination of religion. He rambled about how churches in Europe are now tourist attractions instead of places of worship, that people don't realize any longer that there's happiness for everyone, given by God, if they'll just seek it; that the founding fathers said "endowed by their creator", not "endowed by a group of smart guys"; that the education system is messed up, teaching kids that they need to think about a career path...
He went off on a tangent about how providing meals for school children and assuring healthcare to every citizen is the path to fascism. Then he totally godwinned the convention, saying that feeding children and providing health care are policies that Hitler would approve of, because if you can control their food supply and their healthcare, you control everything about them. Just to hit every random political note, he finished with how it's hubris to think humans can affect the climate on this immense planet that God created.
My partner and I wound up leaving the room when someone suggested that Dirk would make a good Fox News contributor, to a smattering of applause.
So yeah, Dirk Benedict and Dwight Shultz are on my D-Bag List. At one point, they mentioned that they both are the only friend the other has in Hollywood. Now I can see why.