HUCKABY: Don't like Chaz? Don't watch

Darrell Huckaby

Darrell Huckaby

And the beat goes on. And the beat goes on.

I've said it many times before. Sometimes writing a newspaper column can be tough -- especially when you do it year after year and make an effort to keep things topical.

At other times, however, writing a humorous topical column is like hunting over a baited field or shooting fish in a barrel. This week is like that. There are tons of subjects to choose from. We have Dategate -- which is what I'm calling the squabble up in D.C. about when the president gets to make his next campaign speech before a joint session of Congress.

The White House says it was purely coincidental that he chose the exact date and time that a Republican debate was taking place in the Ronald Reagan Library -- and Bill Clinton did not have sex with that woman, either. The speech will take place Thursday, thank you. Advantage Boehner.

There are earthquakes and storms and droughts plaguing the nation -- all at the same time -- and football season is under way. Hank Johnson's district has been expanded into parts of Newton County (hope that doesn't make the county tip over) and I am about to host a Casablanca party at my house for a few dozen of my closest friends.

And yet, today I have chosen to write about none of the above, because the American Broadcasting Company has served me a much easier topic on a silver platter. This is the easiest pitch since Denny McClain grooved a pitch to Mickey Mantle to help him pass Jimmy Foxx on the all-time homerun list.

"Dancing With the Stars," this week, released the list of celebrities that will appear on this fall's lineup and one of the dancers will be none other than Chaz Bono -- the rather rotund transgender man who used to be the cute little blonde girl that Sonny and Cher held in their arms during the closing song of their Sunday night television show.

Listen to the uproar across the nation and you'd swear ABC had dug up the bodies of Hitler, Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden and added them to the competition. Groups from Timbuktu to Kalamazoo and all points in between and beyond have called for a boycott of the show, not to mention ABC in general and all her subsidiaries -- and even the parent company, Walt Disney.

This isn't the first time Disney has been in trouble. The Baptists called for a boycott of all things Disney a few years ago because they let homosexuals attend their theme park. But this DWTS thing is serious.

Noted psychologist Keith Ablow is advising parents not to allow children to watch the episodes in which Bono appears because, according to him, it might confuse them as they are coming to grips with their own identity. Wow. I watched Mary Martin pretend to be Peter Pan every year when I was a kid and never once got the urge to dress up in women's tights. Well, I did that one time, but Debbie Golden took pictures, so that broke me of that.

OneMillionMoms.Com, which is a project of the American Family Association, has come out strongly against Bono's appearance on the program and is urging Christians to refuse to watch the show. These folks are also upset because another contestant in this fall's lineup is Carson Kressley who apparently has something to do with a show called "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy."

I told you it was like shooting fish in a barrel.

I heard some guy on ABC call the American Family Association a hate group Friday morning, but I didn't catch his name.

As expected, Chaz's mama, Cher, came to her offspring's defense and said that we would all just love him to pieces if he tuned in to watch. I will just have to take Cher's word for it. I'm not a fan of the show and the only time I watched it was when Erin Andrews was involved. I wouldn't watch Chaz Bono dance if Herschel Walker were his partner, and I once paid $45 to watch Herschel pummel a guy for about nine minutes on late night television.

Of course ABC is getting exactly what ABC wanted out of this deal. They are getting lots and lots of attention. If Chaz Bono is a celebrity, the woods is full of them. But Chaz Bono is causing a stir. Like P.T. Barnum said, "There's no such thing as bad publicity," and DWTS is getting tons of it -- for free.

It reminds me of the time a preacher I know devoted five weeks of Sunday morning sermons explaining to his congregation why they shouldn't see the Tom Hanks movie "The Da Vinci Code." Everybody I knew went to see it the first weekend, just to find out what all the fuss was about.

There is a very simple solution for those who are offended by the show. Watch something else. That's what I'm doing.

But if Herschel does show up, dancing with that soccer goalie -- give me a call would you? I might take a peek at that.

Darrell Huckaby