Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Malkin's Commentators

Alright, I promised, so let us be about delivering - but this is FOUR PAGES of comments on Malkin's blog, so...

If I've already addressed a point once, you're not nearly special enough for me to address it twice, and first one to make a point gets credit/infamy.

DFern - Aside from beauty contests not being precisely a bastion of feminist ideals, not everything is about feminism. Hilton, however crass, was not misogynist - he was anti-Prejean, and anti-Prejean because he (rightly or wrongly) found her viewpoint vile.

Englishqueen01 - Equally, if not superior, conservative arguments in favor of gay/samesex marriage can be found here. While I find the latest article a lays out the conservative case for gay/same sex marriage more logically (and in vastly more depth) than any other article on the topic I've read. And, Perez, it doesn't include a single hissy fit, or instance of name-calling. It's what we grown-ups call mature discussion.

Insomniac - as stated in my last post, using this picture with the crude scrawl, was a regrettable instance of Malkin descending to Perez' rather vile level. Unlike Perez, I expect (and usually observe) far better of her.

PasadenaPhil (and many similar comments) - Please, if you're going to post, try and rise above the level of name-calling or fear-mongering absurdity.

jangar - I worry less about "morals and shame" (as both have been abused by conservatives and liberals in equal measure into absurd bludgeons with which to whip ones political opponents), than that our increasing reliance on "feelings" to the exclusion of logic, critical analysis, and evidence-drive policy decisions. However this is a beauty pageant and a privately sponsored event, so unless we're participating in some fashion - whatever non-criminal weirdness they gin up isn't any of our business. And frankly, I view hate crimes laws as generally counterproductive - teaching folks in groups frequenty targeted for bigotry-based attacks about gun safety, self-defense, and proper firearms selection works much better in my view.

wighttrasch - for whatever reason, many feminist thinkers (the ones that consider marriage a good thing at all) tend to favor equality before the law, which to many means legalizing same-sex marriage. Further, disagreeing with a specific woman (even as crudely as Perez), does not make one a misogynist or "out to get women".

Thackeragency - you are quite simply wrong. At merely the federal level, the GAO has found over 1,000 rights, privileges, and responsibilities available to married couples that are not and cannot be accessed through contractual or domestic partner arrangements. Given the diversity of marriage laws and judicial practice among the States and Territories, the number is large but variable at that level. More than one contractual agreement between persons of the same sex has been thrown out by state courts claiming that the agreement was contrary to the public interest. A joint power of attorney or a will isn't worth much once a judge throws it out, particularly in the face of a hostile and phobic family.

It's not about trying to sue a church that won't perform a given marriage. Between the First Amendment to the federal constitution and the heavy weight of precedent indicating that a church CANNOT be compelled to act against its own doctrines regarding marriage, such a case would be laughed out of court.

How, pray tell, would extending the institution of marriage further burden the courts? Granted, it would likely generate a certain number of divorce cases...but it is doubtful they'd be any more frequent than those emerging from traditional marriages, and they would certainly be simpler and take less court time than the "palimony suits" that today burden the courts when same sex couples part ways (resolving property, children, investments, real estate, etc WITH NO DIVORCE STRUCTURE, AND OUTSIDE A LEGALLY RECOGNIZED RELATIONSHIP) eats court time with a vast and mighty appetite.

thetoysurgeon - I only wish it were true. We are still burdened with counterproductive academic and workplace speech codes, and it will take years of time and effort to point out that "freedom of speech" means "freedom to say things that folks don't like w/o governmental harassment" (i.e., the living room rule - I can kick you outta my living room if you offend me - but the government can't arrest you for calling me nasty names."

xler8bmw - That's a liberal (and far left) definition of bigotry if ever I saw it. From Merriam-Webster, "a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices ; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance". I'd limit it further to "a person who fails to consider members of groups (such as race/ethnic/religious/orientation/gender/etc) as individuals, exhibiting hatred or intolerance towards individuals that they percieve as members of that group, based on the groups alleged and frequently stereotypical characteristics." Perez, in my opinion, is a vile and immature toad - however, at least in this instance I didn't see him exhibit bigotry - merely "if they hold this view (which they just stated, on camera even) I dislike them and consider their view ludicrous" dressed up in a lot of name-calling and crudity.

right4life - Frankly, if the theocratic branch of Christianity would just leave us the hell alone and tend to their own miseries rather than trying to run our lives, most LGBT folk really couldn't give a damn about silencing, applauding, or mooning the Christian faith. Given our historic rejection and, frequently, persecution by His followers, such a reponse is surprisingly gentle. Gay or same-sex marriage, I'm sorry to tell you, is NOT really about you - beyond rare exceptions, we just plain don't care about you that much. It's about garnering the same protection for our partners, our children, and our posterity that you enjoy in the eyes of the law.

flmom - In passing, I'm merely a libertarian brand of right. However, I agree, the left has largely lost (in particular, those in elected office) the ability to engage in civilized discourse. I am saddened to be able to say that is increasingly true of many on the right, as well.

orlandocajun - he really is one of those I wake up thinking "please, can't he be on the other side!" when I think of him at all. Regrettably, there is no ethical way to abolish him. We rarely (do, let's look at some of the conservative and libertarian "prizes" out there) get to choose our self-proclaimed "famous folk" or "representatives". It's not as if, once a year all us LGBT folks got together in Sioux Falls to elect a bunch of representatives each year.

gridlock - to my regret, for a long list of reasons too numerous and lengthy to go into here, the vast majority of the LGBT community held their noses and voted for Obama on the "not-a-republican" ticket. Prejean wasn't running against a GOP presidential candidate, thus under this mindset any reason to hold back vanishes.

iamsaved - Umm. You know, there's this guy down in Kansas, Fred Phelps, that I think you'd be real good buddies with.

ArizonaNeanderthal - Civil wars suck. Bigtime. What say we not, even by implication, cheerlead for one? We may get one anyway, with this administration, but I suggest it would be a very bad thing indeed, no matter how it ends.

CDat88 - The MissUSA pageant is a private organization entitled to pick whoever it wants as judges, no matter how much you or I may agree with them. If I were told I had to choose a gay judge with a big name for the event (after getting past the "quota/token" headache), it surely wouldn't have been Perez - any of the boys from Queer Eye would have been better choices, as they know fashion/design/civility like the back of their hands. Sadly, Perez was chosen.

And violence is way to serious to expend on mere obnoxious speech. Should be saved for persons busy being physically assaultive or felonious in the general direction of self or loved ones.

Wareagle82 - As long as someone isn't actively "out to get me" or obnoxious, I (and most other LGBT folk I know) either respects you or, never having encountered you, is more or less oblivious to your existence. We've got troubles enough of our own without fretting about you.

While I disagree with many in my community about the Boy Scouts (not without qualms, but they are a private organization, entitled to come up with whatever bizarre membership requirements make them feel all warm'n'fuzzy, no matter how wrong-headed I find them) I'll address your other points.

Your family is your family, and as long as you aren't busy abusing your spouse or kids, most likely none of anyone elses business, and nobody should give you a ration about it. All we ask is that you not harass our kids (or encourage your kids to do so), not try to screw us over 'cause we're not "just like you" and we don't fit your worldview, and acknowledge that our families have the precise same rights and benefits as anyone elses.

Marriage, I've touched on repeatedly above. It's enough to say that it's not so much that we're all hot and bothered (at least most of us, and fess up, you've got your own Bridezilla's) about the big church wedding - we're mostly a whole bunch more interested in obtaining the same lega protections (and responsibilities) for our spouses, ourselves, and our children that you and your family enjoy.

Maisy - have you ever noticed the truly disproportionate number of gay men in the fashion and makeup/haircare industries? Yes, a gay man is qualified to judge a beauty contest - particularly when balanced by several other judges.

#59 - Pt#4 "Gays are stirring up anger AGAINST people who disagree with them. There haven’t been such childish demonstrations of a lost elections as there was in California under Prop 8 for a while. Gays are digging their own graves with their political uprising and I hope they keep it up. Perez is a great spokesman for the gays."

Umm. We lost. You expect we should celebrate? Or give up? Or give big warm fuzzy hugs to those that managed to amend the California Constitution to specifically exclude us, our partners, and our children from the rights, protections, and responsibilities granted everyone else in California, legally or otherwise?

Not being a victim anymore is a positive development in the mindset of the LGBT community - of course, it also means we'll fight back when someone kicks us in the slats.

All right, I didn't make it all the way through. It was getting too long to reasonably expect anyone here to read, and I can only take so much BS in one sitting (not to say that all comments were BS, it was just the RATIO that was painfully high).


Hilton, Malkin, and commentators

Michelle Malkin is a respected writer and conservative pundit, whose writing I typically enjoy as long as she doesn't venture near the same-sex/gay marriage issue - where she goes off the tracks in a variation of "I know what I know, and be-damned to any efforts to provide me with real-world input, new data, logic, or alternative perspectives."

All to many folks have, regrettably, at least one such topic in their range of discourse and while sad (Michelle is a very talented writer and advocate, in my estimation), at least she's only stuck with the one.

This morning, the Malkin takes exception to blogger Perez Hiltons "Miss California" antics . Malkin's meme finally went, in conjunction with her reader comments, from tiresomely dysfunctional bigotry to actively offensive.

For those new to the topic, terminally shallow celeb blogger Perez Hilton was (for reasons that escape me and that are largely irrelevant) chosen by the Miss USA organization as a judge for their annual beauty competition. Setting aside (with difficulty), for the moment, the standard issue snark on the ultimate silliness and shallowness of beauty contests, we proceed to the conjunction of the ever-flammable Hilton, the current Miss USA competition, and the Miss California (Carrie Prejean) competing in that event.

Hilton inquired, in his role as judge, of Miss Prejean regarding gay/same-sex marriage. In regrettably clumsy fashion, Miss Prejean expressed her opposition to same-sex marriage and implied it was somehow mutually exclusive to traditional marriage. Perez, not surprisingly, took exception - and equally unsurprising, his response was lengthy, vituperative, and crude.

Malkin opens her commentary on the situation descending from her usual mature and acerbic tone to swim in the shallow, "Perez End", of the literary pool by emulating his petty, childish, and amateurish "re-touching" of the posted photo of her "target" or symbol after choosing a rather ludicrous picture of Hilton to begin with.

Classy moves, there, Malkin - way to walk that walk when you're calling for maturity, civility, and class. I'm sort of puzzled how a visual representation of "I can be just as childish, petty, and immature as you are" accomplishes that - or how it reflects well on any of your subsequent comments, on conservative thought, or on libertarian thought.

Nonetheless, Hilton isn't precisely covered with glory, either.

Prejean answered the question about gay/same-sex marriage honestly and according to her convictions, and for that I honor her. In that exceptionally limited sense, she "done good."

Perez Hilton: “Vermont recently became the 4th state to legalize same-sex marriage. Do you think every state should follow suit. Why or why not?”

Prejean: “Well I think its great that Americans are able to choose one or the other. We live in a land where you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite marriage. And you know what, in my country, in my family, I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman. No offense to anybody out there, but that’s how I was raised and that’s how I think it should be between a man and a woman. Thank you very much.”

However. Aside from the fact that, as a wordsmith, I find the construction and usages of Prejeans answer to be almost painful in their clumsiness, something more important is going on to which Malkin is almost wilfully blind (and more blatantly, her commenters) to a significant disconnect.

And before I touch on that disconnect, I will point out that as a libertarian, gun-owning, somewhat irritable, gay man...that the moment that answer left her lips, she lost any hope of any support she might seek from me, were I sitting as a judge in this instance. As a mental aid, let's insert the word "race" for gay, and see how Prejeans statement plays out:

“Well I think its great that Americans are able to choose one or the other. We live in a land where you can choose same-race marriage or opposite marriage. And you know what, in my country, in my family, I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a white and a white, or a black and black, and so on. No offense to anybody out there, but that’s how I was raised and that’s how I think it should be between a man and a woman two persons of the same race. Thank you very much.”

Read that again, and tell me it isn't a bigoted statement. Then tell me how the blatant pre-civil-rights was "oh no, never!" inspired or justified by religious belief or text in the old Jim Crow South. Hint: Just as poo is still poo, even if sprinkled by Holy Water - bigotry doesn't smell any sweeter with a dose of extra-special rose-scented cheap religious perfume.

Now the disconnect. Prejean ABSOLUTELY has the right to believe as she believes, in little green men, or in armies of flying monkeys coming to punish the sinners. Yay her!

HOWEVER, words/actions/deeds/publicly expressed opinions have CONSEQUENCES! Wretched, wretched, reality. People might *stop liking us*, they *might stop thinking we're a good candidate for one thing or another* (oh, like, say - representing an essentially silly and obsolete contest to select a mostly irrelevant goodwill ambassador intended to be representative of the best of ALL Americans, to wander around giving feel-good speeches for a year.), or perhaps even vote against us for political office, refuse to hire us, or become so offended as to make undoing your actions a major life project with punitive responses a happy sideline (say, perhaps, Proposition 8 - no, it's not over, the forces of decency just lost round 2 - and are tired of playing nice/vulnerable/helpless).

The theocratic right has long employed all of the above againt the LGBT community - I cannot help but respond to their plaintive whining with - "Gee, how do you like the other end of the stick?"

Perez (and yes, there are just too damned many Hiltons in public life, so I'm violating style and not using the the last name - sorry, but "Malkin" is just less confusing), however, is a bit of a toad. Where a civilized individual (as Perez alleges one of his fellow judges did - that Alicia Jacobs post vanished, but thank you Google Cache!) would have simply shot down Prejean as a bigot (religious inspiration not relevant - a bigot is a bigot) and issued a dignified statement along the lines of "By her answer, Miss California USA demonstrated to me that she could not in good conscience represent the diverse range of law-abiding U.S. citizens, nor be expected to interact successfully with that full range, any more than a daughter of the Klan might be expected to interact well with a meeting of the NAACP. I regretfully could not consider as a realistic candidate for Miss USA based on this."

Instead, Perez threw a crude public temper tantrum, undermining any point he might legitimately have and simultaneously inciting the theocratic right to the detriment of the LGBT community, in a moment that left me asking "God, could you please make him be on the other side?". Since then, in typical fashion, he has used his blog as a bully pulpit, taking every opportunity to berate and belittle Miss California USA over every mis-step and detail available, no matter how small. He's covering himself...but with something browner and far more fragrant than anything I'd recognize as glory, and I can't say I'm thrilled with the splatter effect.

Perez, I expect this of. But Malkin?

In a last touch on Malkin - why yes, there is gutter profanity, and I don't consider Perez either particularly insightful, nice, or mature - but misogyny? Beyond a bit of childish name-calling, I don't see despite of the female half of the species...just use of pejorative tools available to poor writers and uncreative thinkers.

Malkin then goes on to other topics, but her readers comments, oh my.

I'll hit that in the next post.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Seattle April 15 Tea Party

Well, after a busy day discovering architectural salvage yards and dropping off surplus stuff at Goodwill, I had a cup of coffee and meandered down to Tea Party in Seattle at Westlake Mall. I arrived in the *ever-so-green* electric car, and parked it a few blocks away lest things go sideways (this is, after all, Seattle...and since we've no shortage of potential obnoxious counter-protesters, being able to fade into the background of leftists and greenies under such circumstances is a fine thing). Event was to start at 5:45, I'd arrived around 5, and the crowd was already gathering.

Now, the pictures here aren't in chronological order, but above was a rather precious sign about some of the Obamatrons more creative vote gathering techniques.
Apparently, agents of the UMPC (Tam Division) made a stealth entry into the tax'n'spend stronghold of Seattle with the sign above.
The Paulians made an appearance, an occurence of questionable benefit. And while I only observed one anti-semitic racist bastard (a Serb offended at the Clinton administration), it was kinda fun watching him be chased about by mid-60's big-haired suburban ladies determined to cover his rather vile signage with less offensive prose.
One of my favorite signs was the "Party Like It's 1773" poster above. Charming, really.
Our friends, the Larouchies (won't they EVER go away?) Really, we won't mind.

And a partial representation of the attending: 6 horse patrolmen, 10 bike cops, whole bunch o' sergeants, and a pointy-hatted Site Commander for free! (Sung to "Days of Christmas").

Good speakers, good MC, and overall a well-organized event, even though it remained apparent that protest rallies are not yet among the well-conquered skills among the non-liberal skillset.

Looking forward to the next one!