Facebook -- or at least a portion of Facebook -- got in a tizzy yesterday over remarks by Guido Barilla, president of the Barilla pasta company. (Warning: The comment section at the link is pretty distasteful.) I quote:
“We won’t include gays in our ads, because we like the traditional family,” Barilla told an interviewer. “If gays don’t like it, they can always eat another brand of pasta. Everyone is free to do what they want, provided it doesn’t bother anyone else.”
If you saw #boycottbarilla trending on Facebook yesterday, that was why.
Barilla has since apologized for any possible offensiveness, but part of that apology should make his detractors stop and think for a moment (though it probably won't): "I simply wanted to highlight the central role of the woman in the family." If you've seen Barilla's ads in the past, you know they have a reputation for being a bit goofy at times (You make pasta and random, flirtatious Italian strangers show up out of nowhere? Okay . . .), but they also do focus on the importance of women.
Barilla may be bullied into silence, or even pressured into backtracking and featuring male couples in future ads. But he's put his finger, at least for a moment, on a fact that's often left out of our public discourse -- the fact that a family with two dads (or two moms, for that matter) is missing something.