October 15, 2004

The Anti-Blog

If I resume posting regularly that's what this is going to become, I think: The Anti-Blog. I know you all think I've been doing nothing but playing Sims 2 lately and, well, you're partly right. There have also been some intervening problems of a personal nature, including but not limited to my boyfriend having a seizure on my living room floor last weekend, but I'm not going to get too into that because that's more his business than yours or mine.

All I can say is I now owe every movie "heroine" an apology. You know how in films the female lead will just stand there and scream when the bad guy attacks/the house catches fire/insert-peril-here? And you know how you roll your eyes and go, "Cripes, lady, snap out of it, you've got to get out of there/whack the bad guy over the head with that lamp/insert-saving-action-here, quit being so hysterical?" Well, I've typed accounts of seizures a hundred times if I've typed them once; I know what to do if someone has one; and I still freaked the hell right out. I'm lucky--he's lucky--I remembered to call 911.

But the other thing (and I'm sure this is going to irk some people, and I'm equally sure I don't care) is that lately when I go to read blogs I come away disgusted, disappointed, or both. I don't like saying that because my view is, if you don't like what you read, write something better yourself on your own dumb blog and, well, I haven't been too good about doing that. So I'm living in the glass house chucking the biggest rocks I can find; okay, gotcha. I'm clear on that. All I can say is I agreed heartily with this assessment, but it's more than that; and just personally, if I had written that, I wouldn't turn around a week or two later and participate in a "blogging symposium" that devolves into lusty--excuse me; I meant boring--talk of BlogAd revenue with the guy who accused me of having "fear and contempt" for this bold new paradigm, er, for blogging. But that's just me.

It's not fear and contempt, at least not for me. It's that bloggers are . . . uh, anyone remember what happens in the last chapter of Animal Farm? Yeah, it's like that. It's getting harder to tell the difference.

Is Bush losing ground or something? Is that what made you all get so unbelievably stupid over this Cheney's daughter thing? I'm reading Lileks today and he's about to blow a gasket over it. And I think of him as the sane, professoinal blogger, unlike you yobbos and me too. Lileks! Did it ever occur to you that the reason so many conservapundits are interpreting Kerry's remark as a slam on Mary Cheney is because--stay with me a moment--to many Republicans, observing that someone's daughter is lesbian is considered an embarrassment to the parents?

See, I think you guys are projecting. A-gain. There's nothing weird, creepy, or rude about noting that an adult is gay, if that person is out about it. There IS something weird, creepy, and rude about taking four years to acknowledge that your daughter is gay. You guys are the ones who are weird, creepy, and rude. You guys are the ones who decided, once Bush's post-9/11 approval rating gave you the stones to go for it, that a Federal Marriage Amendment was the single most important domestic issue facing the country. You guys brought this into it. And then you were all shocked to realize that as a result, guys like Andrew Sullivan might actually become offended and withdraw support for the president--but that didn't ttrouble social conservatives for long, did it? No, they just started clucking their tongues and saying, "It sure is a shame Andrew can't see past his own selfish desire to enjoy the same rights we do long enough to care about the War on Terror."

But who started it, amigos y amigas? Who got us to that point? That wasn't the Democrats. The last I checked, the Democrats were not proposing a Constitutional amendment to restrict anyone's freedom. That would be the Republicans--you know, the party of limited government.

If Bush loses this election, he will have deserved it. Here's what I got out of the last debate, here's what I remember George giving me as the chief reason why I should vote for him, why I should love his domestic policy: No Child Left Behind. I have no idea what this act does, but I do know it was apparently important enough that he gave it as the answer to seemingly every single question.

Right now what Bush has going for him is that he perceives global terrorism as something more than a nuisance. If he wins, it will be because on international policy, it's hard to be less coherent than John Kerry. That doesn't mean I've got the warm fuzzies for Bush. And don't bother coming here if you think that's what you're gonna get. And if you want to interpret that as my having become a shill for Kerry? Sweet dreams, muchacho, and pray reality doesn't intrude on any of them. Because I have just one question: Where would the Bush campaign be right now if the Democrats had actually nominated a guy who was any good at this game?

Posted by Ilyka at October 15, 2004 07:34 PM in hell is other people

I love the spin Lileks, Instapundit, et. al., are giving to the Mary Cheney thing: Kerry is trying to drive a wedge between Bush and the homophopes who support him. Actually, Kerry was showing the hypocrisy of Republicans who profess to love their gay children while trying to pass constitutional amendments that would deprive them of even the most meagre benefits of marriage.

It was no secret that Mary Cheney is a lesbian; the Vice-President has mentioned it many times in this campaign. She also isn't just trying her damnedest to stay out of the spotlight; she is an important part of his campaign. Sure, Kerry could have made his point without mentioning her, but it was hardly off-limits.

Posted by: Mark at October 15, 2004 10:03 PM

Sorry, I respectually disagree.

The line Kerry crossed was to introduce anyone else's daughter without permission. Had he ben speaking of his own lesbian daughter, his own Nobel Prize-winning daughter, nobody would have blinked.

But to pull somebody else's kid up to the spotlight--utterly gratuitiously--transgresses. It would be crass were Mary Cheney a Nobel Prize-winner, a non-entity of any sort, or in a wheelchair like Chris Reeves. You can't play with other people's children to make political points.

Besides, he was so busy throwinging Cheney into the picture, he never actually answered the question.

Posted by: John at October 16, 2004 02:49 AM

Oh, look: It's the Chelsea Clinton defense. Don't pick on some poor kid who just happens to be so-and-so's daughter!

Two things:

(1) Mary Cheney is a full-grown adult woman who's up-front about her orientation.

(2) Mary Cheney is a key player in Cheney's campaign.

We're not talking about some gawky 14-year-old innocent here. We're talking about an adult woman involved in the political process of her own volition.

More importantly, you're missing the point: It's not insulting to note someone's gay unless you think there's something wrong with being gay. It's like saying someone has blue eyes or is tall.

Unless you're a religious rightist who thinks homosexuality is a sin that can be corrected and forgiven; then, it's an insult. Here's what I don't get: If it's a sin, how come I've never been tempted? Believe me when I tell you it's not because I'm so very righteous that I'm protected by God from it. I've fallen prey to my share of sins. That "sin" has no appeal to me at all. Funny, I thought sins were supposed to be, what's the word . . . tempting?

Posted by: ilyka at October 16, 2004 08:31 AM

"Right now what Bush has going for him is that he perceives global terrorism as something more than a nuisance. ... Where would the Bush campaign be right now if the Democrats had actually nominated a guy who was any good at this game?"

Lieberman might well be out in front. And I say that as a life-long Republican. Gephardt? Hard to say.

Posted by: John Anderson at October 17, 2004 06:55 PM

I'm with you Ilyka,

I looked at the comment and go; so, okay. He said that she was gay and would probably say she was that way because of birth. Can we move on here? Nothing big, nothing major; he didn't slam her and say that she was posioning the world with her behaviour or what-not.

As far as the No Child Left Behind; I'm on e-mail list where this has been a topic of discussion. One woman stated that her school, five years prior, had been a blue ribbon school, but was now failing because the school catered to a varied population (in terms of abilities) and those who needed more help weren't making the cut in one area.

So I don't know how good of a policy it can be if numbers are more important than real facts.

Then again, I'm not shouting GO KERRY either.

I hate this election.

Posted by: Rachel Ann at October 17, 2004 11:20 PM

Who are these "you guys" you are talking about? Lileks? Well -- I don't recall Lileks mentioning gay marriage or marriage-protection legislation in any sort of way, so that leaves him out of the second half of this so's-your-old-man scenario. Of course I have read some conservative (well, not leftist) bloggers who disapproved of the Mary Cheney mention, and some of these bloggers are also not in favor of the marriage-protection thing. (Glenn Reynolds comes to mind.) And of course there are some for. But most of these people have taken pains to explain that they don't think that there is anything wrong with Mary Cheney being gay, they just think it was a cheap shot to bring up Cheney's own kid. (Yes, I realize you think it's silly for famous people to get upset when their family members are dragged into arguments.)

For the record, I don't think Kerry did that because he is trying some underhanded get-the-homophobes'-vote tactic. I think he did that because like many modern-day liberals he sincerely doesn't understand how a parent of a gay child who loves that child and is not (openly, anyway) disapproving of their sexual orientation can also be against officially approving the union of two people of the same sex as a "marriage" equivalent to that of two people of the opposite sex. So it seemed quite natural to bring it up. Other people (who are classic liberals not really conservatives -- classic liberals believe in the separation of the private home sphere from the public sphere, while classic conservatives are, or were, actually the ones who believed that one's private life was inextricably tied with public life, and that in fact the two could not be separated) didn't see it that way; they saw a violation of the opposition's private life. And after all, the Bush candidacy has not, to my knowledge, brought up Kerry's divorce/annulment -- though many Bush supporters have, and I think they should shut up about that.

As for Andrew Sullivan, his "shocked, shocked!" act over Bush not turning out to be the Champion of the Gays is unconvincing. I guess he was the last to find out Bush was, after all, a Republican, and they aren't going to be in the forefront of pushing an issue like gay marriage, well, ever.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at October 18, 2004 05:25 AM

By the way, for some reason my url in the link above goes to a defunct site that I had had up for a while as an experiment. (The "blog 2" part.) Dunno how that happened.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at October 18, 2004 06:05 AM

Cheney has mentioned his daughter in precisely one speech, the one in which he delicately made it clear that he didn't really agree with the FMA.

I do not see the word "lesbian" as a perjorative--and I most certainly don't see homosexuality as a choice--but I thought Kerry's mention of Mary Cheney came across as stilted, and forced, which led me to believe it was a part of some crass political calculation.

I also have the feeling that the Cheneys are private people, so the traditional prohibition against bringing the opposition's family into a campaign (in all but the blandest, "my what a nice family you have" uncontroversial way) was particularly egregious in this case.

And there is a difference between being "out" enough to work a statewide outreach program and wanting your sexuality discussed on national TV.

Finally, I felt that it was out of line for Kerry to speculate on what Mary Cheney might feel the origins were of her own homosexuality. It seemed rude and presumptuous. How does he know what's in her mind?

Always a pleasure, Ilyka.

Posted by: Attila Girl at October 18, 2004 06:33 AM

William Safire is on this in his column today, too. About the Edwards debate mention, he says, "Until that moment, only political junkies knew that a member of the Cheney family serving on the campaign staff was homosexual."

What? Next thing you know, they'll be talking about each other's private lives and maybe even family values instead of Presidential issues. Is sex and sexuality suddenly off limits now?

I find their righteous indignation amusing.

Posted by: Rob at October 18, 2004 12:11 PM

Lieberman might well be out in front. And I say that as a life-long Republican. Gephardt? Hard to say.

John, Kerry is NOT my favorite candidate ever, and he's certainly not that wonderful at campaigning, but I do like him. If Lieberman were the nominee, it would be a serious effort on my part to vote for him. I'd definitely be in the ABB crowd instead of the pro-Kerry crowd and I'd probably have to hold my nose in the voting booth.

And Ilyka, I love your analysis of this. I seriously don't see the big deal over the whole thing.

Posted by: kathy at October 18, 2004 08:59 PM

This is why we missed you so much.

Posted by: Simon at October 19, 2004 07:43 AM