I don’t know how many of y’all watch Last Comic Standing, but this is one of my favorite moments from the season so far, and I was very happy to find a YouTube clip of it. The comic is Sabrina Matthews, and although she didn’t make the finals, I loved her joke about suicidal cats… and her quip about her own sexuality:
Pink-pistol-toting, heterosexual-hating lesbian gangs terrorizing America? Bill O’Reilly is on the case — and by “case,” of course I mean “nonexistent bunch of baloney made up by a Fox News ‘expert’ who doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about.” (Hat tip: Becky, via Fark.)
P.S. As long as I’m blogging about ridiculous nonsense on Fox News… remember my firmly tongue-in-cheek post about how “if we adopt nationalized health care, the terrorists will win” because the U.K.’s National Health Service “breeds terrorists”? Well, Fox’s Neil Cavuto had a guest on his show yesterday who actually argued that! With a straight face!
A senior Polish official has ordered psychologists to investigate whether the popular BBC TV show Teletubbies promotes a homosexual lifestyle.
The spokesperson for children’s rights in Poland, Ewa Sowinska, singled out Tinky Winky, the purple character with a triangular aerial on his head.
“I noticed he was carrying a woman’s handbag,” she told a magazine. “At first, I didn’t realise he was a boy.”
…Poland’s authorities have recently initiated a series of moves to outlaw the promotion of homosexuality among the nation’s children.
Tinky Winky’s psychological evaluation is being treated fairly light-heartedly by many people here.
One radio station asked its listeners to vote for the most suspicious children’s show. Some e-mailed in, saying that Winnie the Pooh had only male friends.
…Last month the European Union singled out Poland for criticism in its resolution condemning homophobia in the 27-member bloc.
Meanwhile, in a more Ominous report from the Motherland of Poland’s most-Recent former imperial Masters,
A gay rights demonstration in Moscow degenerated into violence for the second year running as right-wing and orthodox extremists attacked gay rights activists and supporters of the unauthorised demonstration.
GayRussia leader Nikolai Alexeyev was bundled into a police van and driven away moments after arriving outside the offices of Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov, who has called homosexuals “satanic”.
…”What we have is authoritarianism and we are moving towards totalitarianism,” said Lydia Hmelevskaya, a 24-year-old lesbian.
“I have been beaten up on a train because of the way I look. I have the right to look the way I want to.”
…On numerous occasions, nationalists circled gay rights activists as they spoke with journalists, then reached in to punch or kick the person being interviewed.
One journalist was attacked because he wore an earring, which led nationalists to say he was gay.
Police intervened to arrest dozens of gay rights activists and only rarely detained their attackers.
Here’s the whole Unfunny thing.
According to reports from a British conservation group, a pair of gay flamingos who have been together for six years have finally gotten what they have been trying for for years, a little egg to call their own. The two, Carlos and Fernando, have become surrogate parents for an egg that was abandoned.
Next thing you know, they’ll be wanting to get married! I wonder who the British version of Rick Santorum is…
Come to think of it, how do you tell that flamingos are gay anyway? I mean they are all pink to begin with!
As Chris, who sent me the article, put it, “Talk about a suspect class.”
P.S. For those who are interested in this topic of polyamory, here are the articles I sent to Professor Mason after the class discussion on Tuesday: from The Observer, from The New Scientist and (only tangentially relevant) from New York Magazine.
Myself, I agree with the Stewart Theory: the debate over gay marriage (and related issues) comes down to the fact that homosexuality is a fundamental part of the human condition, whereas polyamory and other such sexual traits are “random fetishes,” IMHO. That doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with them, necessarily (personally, I don’t care what people do, as long as they aren’t hurting anyone else… er, without that person’s informed consent, I suppose, so we can allow for S&M), but it’s relevant to whether society needs to recognize them in some way, protect them from discrimination, etc. That’s my opinion. But can I justify it on a legal, or constitutional, basis? That’s a somewhat more complicated question.
Anyway, it’s 1:39. Thirty-six minutes left…
P.P.S. The phrase “God bless Con Law II” is not intended to discriminate against anyone on the basis of their religion. :)
UPDATE, 2:05 PM: Ten minutes left!
UPDATE, 2:15 PM: Technically, the class period is over, but we’re still here. Not that I mind. This is a fun discussion. :)
UPDATE, 2:17 PM: Someone’s playing tetris. Heh.
UPDATE, 2:18:15 PM: Done!
P.P.P.S. I’m glad my law-school career ended (class-wise) with ConLaw II. It was one of my favorite classes ever. And I’m not just saying that because Professor of the Year Mason might be reading this. (I have no idea whether she’s one of the faculty members who reads my blog.) It was really a great class.
Billy Packer hater that I am, I’m remiss in not blogging about the latest Packergate controversy. During an interview last Friday with PBS’s Charlie Rose, Packer accused Rose of “fagging out.” Here’s the clip:
The condemnations came fast and furious. Mjd wrote, “If you’re broadcasting the Final Four, and you’re the voice that accompanies the most watched college basketball game of the year, and you’ve been doing this for 33 years … I don’t think it’s asking much to keep the word ‘fag’ out of your mouth in public.” Deadspin mused, “If Packer really didn’t understand the term he was using, it’s probably not wise to allow a guy like that on television at all.” Sportable chimed in, “ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s hard to call Packer racist, homophobic, or sexist because itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s obvious that Packer hates everyone on Earth. … In other news, Tim Hardaway has announced that heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d love to assume Jim NantzÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s duties alongside Packer during next yearÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s NCAA Tournament.” Bloggers all over the college basketball blogosphere eagerly called for Packer’s firing.
I detest homophobia, and if a broadcaster went on the air and used the word “fag” as a homophobic slur, I’d find it offensive.
But that’s not what Billy Packer did. The word “fag” has multiple meanings, and when Packer told Charlie Rose, “you always fag out,” he wasn’t using the word as a homophobic slur. He was using it…to mean “exhaust or tire out.”
Ugh…okay. Here’s the thing….Yes, I understand what the term “fagging out” means. I get it….you tire out….like a cigarette burning out….fag is a British slang for cigarette. I get all of that. But why be that insensitive and use the phrase? It’s just so idiotic and ignorant to not pay attention to what you’re saying.
A Brazil nut was once known as a “N****r Toe”. Do we still call it that? Of course not….it’s an inflammatory term, and has no business in our dialect.
The Human Rights Campaign, a prominent gay-rights group, unsurprisingly agrees: “[E]very time someone uses the F Word, gay kids in high school die a little bit on the inside. … Billy Packer and the CBS Network should know better and must apologize for the hurt that this kind of remark causes.”
LeslieAnne Wade, vice president of communications for Sports, told Outsports, “I know he wasn’t meaning to be insensitive at all.” But she added, “While it is a term that is in the dictionary, it was still a poor choice of words. I’m confident that he would agree that it was a bad choice of words.”
Ms. Wade’s confidence, it turns out, was misplaced. On Thursday, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported:
CBS college basketball analyst Billy Packer said he wasn’t being insensitive or homophobic when he made a comment while being interviewed Friday from Atlanta on The Charlie Rose Show, which airs on PBS. …
“I said he fagged out on me and it had nothing to do with sexual connotation,” Packer said yesterday in a phone interview. “I got to know Charlie a number of years ago and have great admiration for his program and intellect. He is a big Dukie, and he has been talking a number of years about coming to the Final Four to be a runner.”
Dictionary.com defines fag out as meaning “to tire or weary by labor; exhaust.”
Which is what Packer said he meant.
“The term has nothing to do with sexuality,” Packer said. “I think he is the most eligible bachelor. It’s about a guy too lazy to get the work.” …
What Packer is probably most guilty of is being out of touch, which isn’t the first time this charge has been leveled. In 1996 he referred to then-Georgetown point guard (now former 76er) Allen Iverson as a “tough monkey.” Packer himself said he is not a politically correct person. …
And despite this latest controversy, he insists that he did nothing wrong. Packer said the expression comes out of the word fatigue.
“I can assure you I will use that phrase again and I won’t think twice about it,” he said. “My meaning is genuine.”
That last remark had even some of Packer’s defenders, like the above-quoted Michael David Smith, backtracking:
I initially defended Packer, but I have a harder time doing that now. Packer’s defiance runs in stark contrast to what a CBS spokeswoman said (”I’m confident that he would agree that it was a bad choice of words.”) And by saying he has great respect for Charlie Rose, is he implying that he would feel free to call someone a “fag” if he didn’t have great respect for him?
And Packer’s critics are even more up in arms: “No Billy your meaning was/is not genuine. If your meaning was genuine you would have either A) Not used a derogatory word no matter what the connotation was. B) Apologized if there was confusion/harm, and explained the true meaning of the term.”
So, where do I come down on all this? I’m of at least two minds on it… possibly three or four. On the one hand, I’m a strong believer in gay rights and a strong opponent of discrimination and bigotry, and as such, I have no love for people who use the word “fag” offensively. On the other hand, I’m also a strong opponent of political correctness run amok, and as such, I hate it when people get in trouble for such non-offenses as saying the word “niggardly” or using the expression “to call a spade a spade,” where there is absolutely no racist intent on the part of the speaker, nor any actual offensive content to the words spoken, only a misunderstanding whereby the listener believes — incorrectly — that something offensive has been said.
On the other other hand, isn’t there a point where it would be wiser to stop using an antiquated colloquialism that’s uncomfortably similar to a far more commonly used slur? It’s different when we’re talking about an actual word, like “niggardly,” or an expression that’s commonly used, like “call a spade a spade.” But does it make any sense to resurrect an outdated expression that nobody even uses any more, just as a matter of anti-PC principle, when it would be easier and less painful to just let it die?
On top of all that, and ultimately eclipsing all principled arguments, is the fact that I hate Billy Packer. Hate, hate, hate. I think he is a blight on the landscape of college basketball, and even if I thought he was getting in trouble for no good reason, the most I would do is shed a single tear for him while playing the CBS Sports theme song on the world’s smallest violin. There are about a thousand reasons why Billy Packer should have been fired long ago, so really, I would love to see him fired for this, whether that’s technically justifiable or not, just because it would mean he’d be gone — good riddance! — and replaced by a Final Four analyst who, you know, doesn’t suck. As a Deadspin commenter, quoted by Charles Rich, aptly put it: “Firing Billy Packer for a very un-PC statement is like putting Al Capone behind bars for tax evasion. Not the worst thing he’s ever done but we’ll take it!”
In a case of “my bigotry is better than your bigotry,” a young woman is suing because she got sent to the principal’s office. Why? Because classmates teased her about her LDS status, and she responded, “‘That’s so gay.”
I agree with the retired teacher in the article. Educate; don’t punish. But I don’t feel like emphasizing that part of the story. I feel like emphasizing the fact that this girl is an idiot with a limited vocabulary. Probably spoiled, too. Every time I hear that phrase, I can pretty well rest assured that the person who used it is quite shallow, somebody who doesn’t like thinking much and who doesn’t care to learn how to express themselves in clear and articulate fashion. I wonder how she’d feel if the most common way for morons to express contempt for an idea was to say, “Man, that’s so Mormon!” or “What are you, Mormon?”
Ah, well. As H.L. Mencken said, when you defend free speech, you must inevitably defend bastards.
Luckily, Barney Frank is a 66-year-old gay Jew, so he still has a chance. ;)
P.S. I’m disappointed the survey didn’t ask whether people would vote for a Muslim president. Like commenter LawrenceB, I bet Muslims would have beaten out atheists as the group least likely to be elected.
A group of same-sex marriage supporters are pushing an initiative that would require heterosexual couples to have a child within the first three years of marriage or else have their marriage nullified. Although they don’t believe the initiative would ever pass they claim to be promoting it in order to encourage discussion on the issues surrounding marriage and put on the hot seat those opponents of same-sex unions whose primary basis of opposition is on the idea that marriages are for the purpose of having children.
Well, as we’ve already got people on the blog riled today, let’s add another dimension to it. The latest news from the culture wars isn’t a good one for either equality or freedom, really. Yesterday, the Michigan State Court of Appeals ruled 3-0 that public universities and governmental agencies may not provide domestic partnership benefits to their employees, in response to the 2004 MI state constitutional amendment that defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman and outlaws recognition of any “similar union for any purpose”.
South Africa is now moving ahead of the United States in, of all areas, civil rights… With a recent approval of same sex marriages.
Apologies, dear readers, for the relative dearth of posts today. I’ve been busy. … Anyway, following up on this whole gay-marriage business: in linking to my post yesterday about the New Jersey Supreme Court’s decision, InstaPundit disagreed with my statement that “perhaps the possibility of ‘civil unions,’ as opposed to ‘gay marriage,’ will blunt the backlash somewhat.” He wrote:
The opinion allows that something not called “marriage” might be enough, but it pretty clearly leaves open the door to hold otherwise later. And the concurrence/dissent says: “I can find no principled basis, however, on which to distinguish those rights and benefits from the right to the title of marriage, and therefore dissent from the majorityÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s opinion insofar as it declines to recognize that right among all of the other rights and benefits that will be available to samesex couples in the future.”
It thus seems that this isn’t really a “third way” approach to gay marriage. This is a clean win for gay marriage advocates, not a partial victory.
But Mickey Kaus, who’s been sounding the alarm about the possibility of this decision throwing the election to the Republicans since several days before the decision was even made, thinks the Dems dodged a bullet:
It seems to me the New Jersey Supreme Court has–perhaps non-accidentally—denied Republicans the powerful base-mobilizing weapon that a ruling mandating gay marriage would have given them. Sure, New Jersey proponents of gay marriage have been more or less invited to return to court if the legislature doesn’t call the equal package of rights it grants gay couples “marriage.” But by kicking the nomenclature question to the legislature, and giving them 180 days to resolve it, the New Jersey justices avoided having the state instantly become, in AP’s pre-anticipatory words, “the nation’s gay wedding chapel.” Unlike Massachusetts, AP’s Mulvihill notes, New Jersey doesn’t have a “law barring out-of- state couples from wedding there if their marriages would not be recognized in their home states.” In other words, had the New Jersey Court gone all the way and required gay marriage, the next two weeks might have been filled with stories of happy gay couples from across the nation buying plane tickets to Atlantic City for their expected weddings. Only a Liberal Media Conspiracy of unprecedented self-repressive power could have kept the hype from driving cultural conservatives to the polls. But now [the] court’s decision will slide from national consciousness almost immediately, no? Unless Ken Mehlman wants to spring for the plane tickets.
Heh. I tend to think Kaus is right. But the decision will presumably nevertheless have some effect in mobilizing the social conservatvies. The possible Congressional-majority-deciding question, as I said before, is how much of an effect.
In what could be the best news for Republican electoral hopes brought about by an adversary since Osama bin Laden’s videotape in October 2004, the New Jersey Supreme Court is set to rule on gay marriage today. If they legalize it, Mickey Kaus speculates that it could help the Republicans nationwide in the midterm elections — which are a perhaps very unlucky 13 days away:
Influence Peddler speculates that a pro-gay-marriage ruling in New Jersey…might “energize Republicans to come to the polls to register their displeasure by voting against [Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Robert] Menendez.” But why do we think a New Jersey pro-gay-marriage ruling will only have an impact in New Jersey? It might signal to voters nationwide that a judge-made gay marriage trend threatens to sweep large chunks of the nation–it won’t just be bottled up in Massachusetts anymore. If you oppose gay marriage that might bother you, and motivate you to vote, even if you live in Missouri. Or, say, Tennessee. Or even Virginia.
What’s a gay-marriage-supporting, judicial-activism-opposing, Democratic-Congress-endorsing, backlash-fearing independent to do? Root for a “yes” ruling? Root for a “no” ruling? Root for the entire court to fall asleep for, say, two weeks or so, and then tell us their ruling?
When I was in the Buffalo area over the weekend, I glanced at the front page of the Buffalo News while at the SHA girls’ favorite fast-food joint, Mighty Taco, and saw this front page article indicating that Congressman Tom Reynolds of Clarence, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee and a key player in the Mark Foley scandal, is in some trouble at home. (The article also seemed to indicate that, er, the Buffalo News isn’t terribly fond of Congressman Reynolds. At least that was my impression.) Well, it turns out he’s in quite a bit of trouble, according to the latest polls. His race against Democratic challenger Jack Davis has gone from “Solid Republican” to “Leans Democratic” in just two weeks!
The local backlash against Reynolds in the Buffalo area over his handling of the Foley matter stands in contrast to the sentiments expressed by Southern evangelicals in this morning’s New York Times article, “Evangelicals Blame Foley, Not Republican Party“:
As word of Representative Mark FoleyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s sexually explicit e-mail messages to former pages spread last week, Republican strategists worried Ã¢â‚¬â€ and Democrats hoped Ã¢â‚¬â€ that the sordid nature of the scandal would discourage conservative Christians from going to the polls.
But in dozens of interviews here in southeastern Virginia, a conservative Christian stronghold that is a battleground in races for the House and Senate, many said the episode only reinforced their reasons to vote for their two Republican incumbents in neck-and-neck re-election fights, Representative Thelma Drake and Senator George Allen.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“This is FoleyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s lifestyle,Ã¢â‚¬? said Ron Gwaltney, a home builder, as he waited with his family outside a Christian rock concert last Thursday in Norfolk. Ã¢â‚¬Å“He tried to keep it quiet from his family and his voters. He is responsible for what he did. He is paying a price for what he did. I am not sure how much farther it needs to go.Ã¢â‚¬?
The Democratic Party is Ã¢â‚¬Å“the party that is tolerant of, maybe more so than Republicans, that lifestyle,Ã¢â‚¬? Mr. Gwaltney said, referring to homosexuality.
Now, there are at least two possibilities here. One is that Times reporter David Kirkpatrick is misrepresenting the views of evangelical Christians, quoting only the ones who fit into his preconceived notion that they’re a bunch of bigots whose first impulse is to “blame the gays.” That’s entirely possible, and it wouldn’t be the first time such anti-evangelical bias has appeared in the Times.
However, if Kirkpatrick’s reporting on evangelical attitudes about the Foley scandal is accurate, it raises an intriguing possibility, especially when viewed in the context of the Buffalo-area reaction vis a vis Reynolds: it could be that the Foley scandal will hurt Republican candidates not named Mark Foley more in areas that are less culturally conservative — to be blunt, areas that are less anti-gay — than in places like Virginia that are “God, guns and gays” country. The theory would be that people in places like Buffalo are more likely to blame the party apparatus, whereas cultural conservatives are more likely to simply blame the gays and leave it at that.
To some folks, I’m guessing, what the Foley scandal represents above all else is not incompetence or mismanagement or corruption, but simply the inherent sinfulness of homosexuality. Notwithstanding the scientific evidence that gays are no more likely than straights to be pedophiles/pederasts, the spectre of a gay man going after your 16-year-old son is pretty much every homophobe’s worst nightmare, isn’t it? To strong proponents of gay rights, like me, it’s self-evident that what Foley did is not a standard part of the “gay lifestyle” — that he’s a creepy exception to the rule — but methinks there are plenty of cultural conservatives like Mr. Gwaltney who think, or fear, that Foley’s behavior is far less anomalous than it realy is. Thus the overwhelming reaction to Foleygate in those quarters is likely to homophobic, not political or partisan.
Now, that’s a crude generalization, I know, and it comes with all the standard caveats: not all cultural conservatives are anti-gay, not everyone who opposes full equal rights for gays is a “homophobe,” etc. My point is not to stereotype individuals, but rather, to consider the possible attitudes of a segment of the population which may be large enough to constitute a trend. Also, I admit, there’s no logical reason why one can’t simultaneously believe that a) Foley’s behavior is not unusual but is representative of those deviant gays and their sick “lifestyle”; and b) the House leadership is responsible for not doing more to stop that gay sicko. However, I just have a feeling that people who “blame the gays” are less likely to take it out on the GOP. After all, as Gwaltney said, the Democrats “the party that is tolerant of…that lifestyle.” And besides, how can you stop a gay from going after young boys? It’s what they do! [/sarcasm]
Even as an attend at trend-spotting generalization, this theory may be entirely wrong. I’m not even saying I believe it, necessarily. But I don’t think it’s self-evidently wrong, and I thought it was at least worth offering as grist for the comment mill. :)