Like Satan, Anita Bryant keeps coming back.
Some of y'all are, sadly, too young to remember the woman who might be the country's original celebrity right-winger -- a milder, sunnier and way-hotter precursor to Fred Phelps. Younguns who've seen the movie might recognize her as one of the villains in the Harvey Milk story. But those of us who are a certain age -- old enough to remember her impossible-to-forget commercials for Florida Orange Juice -- know the former Miss Oklahoma (and second runner-up for Miss America) as the insidiously beautiful spokeswoman for the ugly anti-gay media campaigns of the 1970s.
And because Missouri can lay claim to a brief period of her infamous life -- like many withered performers of the ostensibly wholesome variety, she had her own theater in Branson for awhile, before reportedly fleeing the state with $116,000 in unpaid liens on her bankrupt property -- it's with great pleasure that we send you to the latest update on her nefarious whereabouts.
A journalist in Oklahoma City discovered her discreet offices in the city's trendy Bricktown (think Westport) district, where, he reports, she's making plans to wage "a new battle against homosexuals." He went under cover to try to get to the bottom of what Bryant and her husband, a brutish former NASA test crewman, were up to. It turns out to be unintentionally hilarious, weird and semi-frightening stuff, some of it involving possible connections to defense contractors and former Congressman and possible Oklahoma gubernatorial candidate J.C. Watts.
If nothing else, writer James Miko's investigation is a hell of a read (so far two parts have been published, with the third promised for this Saturday) for anyone who remembers Anita, anyone who wants to know who stirred up the sort of toxins that spawned the Phelps family, or any kids who just need to catch up on recent U.S. history. If nothing else, it's an occasion to remember the infamous Des Moines pie-in-the-face incident. If you enjoy this clip at all, go read the rest of Miko's piece:
Thanks to Resistance is Fruitful for bringing all of this to our attention.