Big Brother by committee

Events, as they say in the news biz, are overtaking me. Well, maybe not exactly overtaking me, but there does seem to be a spate of Talley-Wilburn stuff to deal with recently. Just when I thought I had written my last post for a while on the issue after I posted an email from a highly placed person within Gold City earlier today (in re the Wilburn Blurt at the Fan Awards), a reader sends the latest eletter from Kirk Talley, which included a statement from the team of pastors and friends who have been directing Talley’s “recovery” from homosexuality over the past six months or so. I’ve reprinted the statement here rather than linking to Talley’s site directly because A)I don’t want to run the risk that it gets taken down unexpectedly, the way other letters from or about Talley’s ordeal have in the past (for reprints of two of them, click here and here) and B)Talley’s site is a real pain in the neck to deep link to, given the clunky and unnecessarily awkward Flash-based design of the whole thing. Ok. You’ve read the most recent letter? Then a few comments. First, is anyone else creeped out by the Big Brother tone of the whole thing? The first few lines are bad enough:

As of Sept 23, 2004, the Kirk Talley Restoration Team feels that it is time for Kirk to resume his ministry schedule. For the past seven months, Kirk has been in counseling and has been accountable to the Restoration Team.

So official and sterile and inhumanly authoritarian. This isn’t the tone of a group of friends and advisers discussing a loved one’s well being. This is the collective voice of controllers bloated and gorged on the obviously unmitigated sway they have (or think they have) over Talley’s life right now. Then there’s the spooky way “we” crops up over and over in a manner that makes me think of OPEC or Dick Cheney or some other coolly unhinged entity unto itself absolutely, monolithically convinced of its infallibility. But The Restoration Team seems somewhat cluelessly late to the game, since Talley has been, for all intents and purposes, back on the road in the last few months, as his website schedule has made clear. No matter, I know Talley willingly gave himself over to these guys, so he bears more than a little responsibility for the consequences of his decision to put himself at the mercy of these ex-gay types. Still I also can’t help but think of how scared, alone, and vulnerable he must have felt when he surrendered himself to these people who were speciously promising to reprogram 30 years of feelings, identifications, and emotions. I would be more reassured that Talley made the right choice (which many of you have emailed to say you think he did) if he were speaking for himself, even if only to say much the same thing, rather than being ventriloquized by this Restoration Team. These people no doubt mean nothing but the best for Talley. But they are, as Talley’s earlier descriptions of the team’s work clearly suggest, dabbling in a frighteningly arrogant and exploitative business that, if I understand Talley’s own words correctly, boils down to a cross between the laughable science-fiction hocus pocus of The Exorcist and the barbaric excesses of behavioral re-engineering.

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