Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Joan of Arc, and/or Joe the Plumber of the Anti-Gay Marriage Movement

Ruthlessly stolen from Donald Douglas' friend Andrew Sullivan. I too, love that cat.


Anonymous said...

That guy is great, although the cat nearly steals the show. Looks like Sarah Palin got brushed aside for this year's model.

BTW, is ruthlessly stolen anything like a hat tip or is it more like a raised middle finger?

Shaw Kenawe said...

I think "opposite marriage" means being single. Was Ms. California talking about singles?

It's all so confusing.

Lista said...

He talks too fast and I had trouble following all of what he said.

You and I debated this subject extensively once, Repsac, on Griper's Blog and I don't remember anymore the Title, Date or Web Address of that Post, but a more recent discussion that I had with a guy named Soapboxgod occurred on Kris' Blog, which is entitled "Elephants are People too." The discussion is about how the issue is more about the Definition of the Word Marriage, than about Laws or Rights. Here is a link to the Post in question...

Who Defines Marriage?

repsac3 said...

Welcome Lista, m'dear...

First off, our very interesting discussion took place just shy of a year ago here, (& to show how fascinating I really thought it was, I reprised it as a blog post of my own last November, here).

The "soapboxgod" debate to which you link is pretty interesting, as well, and there's a fair chance I'll post on that video here (with a hat tip to both the original blogger and to you, of course)... Video-wise, it isn't so much the marriage angle that caught me, but the fundamental misunderstanding about how dictionaries work.

(A preview: Dictionaries don't create definitions, they reflect them. People create definitions, through common usage. The fact that some people snicker or give a double-take when they hear carolers sing "Don we now our gay apparel" ("Fa la la la la la la la...") isn't because the secret society that writes dictionaries decided to change the definition of the word "gay," from "festive and happy" to "homosexual." It's because over time, the people stopped using "gay" to mean "happy," and started using it to mean "homosexual," and lexicographers took note of the change the people had already made, and added it to the dictionary.)

I understand what you folks mean by protecting/defending the definition of marriage--and as you may recall, I also believe it is (or should be) a religious term meaning pretty much the same thing you folks do. Where I differ from many folks opposed to "gay marriage" is whether a religious term should be codified into US law. I believe that by doing so, we've endangered both the sacred definition of the word "marriage," and the secular concept of civil rights, at least where civil unions (or civil marriages) are concerned.--but when it comes to how groups of people will use the word (& thus how the definition will read in dictionaries, as time goes on), there's only so much you can do to control it.

The concept behind "fake it till you make it" is strong, and the more gay and straight folks use the word "marriage" to refer to long term commitments between people--regardless of gender, religion, or even legality, in some cases--the harder a row you're going to have to hoe in trying to keep the definition that appears in dictionaries from changing to reflect this increasingly common usage.

I mean, I do understand where you folks are coming from--really, I do--but I had to chuckle when I saw the comment that said something about "never using a Webster's dictionary (or wikipedia, which I can only assume is the result of another skirmish between this fellow and the way we, the people, have chosen to define something, as reflected by the people-powered online encyclopedia) again."

Lista said...

Has it really been that long? Wow!

It's interesting what you have said about Dictionaries, Repsac, yet when the Definition of a Word becomes a matter of Political Protest, perhaps the Dictionaries writers should not be so quick to choose sides in the changing of words.

repsac3 said...

when the Definition of a Word becomes a matter of Political Protest, perhaps the Dictionaries writers should not be so quick to choose sides in the changing of words.---

Well, you can choose to see it that way (that the folks who put together the Webster's dictionary are being political, or allowing themselves to be swayed by those who are), but sometimes, what is, is.

As I said the first time, I don't believe dictionaries and dictionary authors choose words and definitions. Rather, they reflect them, like a mirror. Except perhaps for the one in Snow White, the mirror doesn't care whether or not you have a cold sore on your lip or a great hair day; it reflects back whatever face you put in front of it, without editing or comment...

Whether anyone likes it or not, or thinks it's politically motivated or not, the fact that so many are talking about "gay marriage" is giving the term marriage a new meaning... And dictionaries (a lot of dictionaries, from the looks of things) are reflecting that trend: marriage - OneLook Dictionary Search

Lista said...

It just makes one wonder whether or not we should really use the more Modern Dictionaries as our Authority any more in regards to how we should use words. I think I mentioned once in one of the comments that I left beneath the link I left that I was feeling frustrated for a spell over the fact that so many of our Dictionaries are old, yet once I realize the more resent trend of words, I am really glad that I own a few older Dictionaries and I've decided, personally, to give older Dictionaries the greater Authority in the way I use words.

Lista said...

Since this Post is closer to the top of your Blog, I've decided to repeat a Comment that I put on your Post "My Thoughts on Homosexual Marriage"; the second of the Links you put in your April 27 Comment. It's slightly edited for this Post.

"I guess I'm getting pretty frustrated with the fact that People Redefine words so quickly. Those who have different Values than have been traditionally held in our Country change the meaning of words and those who do not agree with the new Values and Definitions do not realize it soon enough and begin to use the words in the same exact way."Now, I still haven't fully read your Post 'My Thoughts on Homosexual Marriage', yet even so, I want you to know how greatly honored, moved, touched and even flattered I am that our conversation made such a big Impression on you in order to Inspire you to write such a long Post."The other thing that I want to say is that I have underestimated you and your Blog. I should have taken more time when I first visited it. Unfortunately, though you have the ability to Post somethings that are quite Deep, well thought out and Informative, you also often Post things that are quite Shallow in Comparison."This Post is a good example. Though it is quite interesting, it does not include any New and Thought Provoking Information about the issues."

The fact that Ms. California said the word "Opposite", rather than "Heterosexual" is nothing more than a Language Technicality. Maybe she should have used the entire phrase, "Opposite Sex" Marriage, rather than just the word "Opposite", yet this is just a Technicality and really means nothing.

My take on the video is that Ms. California was just expressing that her Personal Belief is that Marriage should be between a man and a woman, but her Political Belief is that it is good that people can choose. This opinion is very Typical and not really that Deep. I wouldn't call her a Joan of Arc or Joe the Plumber by any stretch.

Like I just said, Repsac, you can do much better Posts than than this one.

Lista said...

Perhaps I should just quickly add that if anyone wishes to read Respac's previous Post "My Thoughts on Homosexual Marriage", but doesn't care to read the whole thing, the Comment that he left beneath it on November 10, 2008, at 12:09 AM, (the Second Comment Down), contains a Conclusion that I both like and agree with.

I think I'll even quote what I think are a few of his Key Paragraph (Emphasis Added)...

"Religious institutions perform Marriages.
Secular institutions perform Civil Unions.
Why does our secular society define a Civil Contract by using a term fraught with so many religious implications & connotations?"Let Marriage remain a Religious Rite, and let the state agree to recognize any Religious Marriage as a way to enter into a Civil Union.

"But let the law discuss only Civil Unions, and let all the rights & privileges that flow, flow from that secular, legally defined & binding union.

"Keep the state out of church business, and the church out of state business.

repsac3 said...

As I started to say elsewhere...

"I guess I'm getting pretty frustrated with the fact that People Redefine words so quickly. Those who have different Values than have been traditionally held in our Country change the meaning of words and those who do not agree with the new Values and Definitions do not realize it soon enough and begin to use the words in the same exact way."---
I can appreciate where you're coming from, but I'm just not so certain that pretending the meanings of some words haven't expanded or changed--by, for instance, only using older dictionaries to define words--is the way to go. I'm not saying there isn't value in sticking to your guns and trying to maintain the vocabulary with which you want to surround yourself, but a key element of communication is a shared understanding of the meaning of words. Whether or not you'd say it that way (whatever "it" is), it behooves you to know that many of us ARE saying it that way, and what it means when we do.

"Unfortunately, though you have the ability to Post somethings that are quite Deep, well thought out and Informative, you also often Post things that are quite Shallow in Comparison."This Post is a good example. Though it is quite interesting, it does not include any New and Thought Provoking Information about the issues."---
Hmm... Well, I appreciate your candor, but I (obviously, and I assume predictably, too) don't share your opinion of this post or of my blog. Before I explain why, permit me to make an observation in return.

My issue with Miss CA never was her particular opinion about gay marriage, but the fact that she tossed it on out there, seemingly oblivious to where she was, what she was doing, or who she was talking to.

As I said as soon as I heard about it (here), there is a place for honesty, and there is also a place for diplomacy. And sometimes, it's worth sacrificing a little of one for the other, like, for instance, when a gay man asks you your opinion about the law & gay marriage, and you're you're being judged on your poise in answering the question, in a contest which can land you a job representing all Americans in situations large and small, throughout the world.

To me, it's like a woman asking whether a particular piece of clothing makes her look fat. Maybe she expects a brutally honest answer from her husband, kids or sisters in the privacy of her own home (and even there, maybe she doesn't). But once she's out in public, I don't think it's good form for relative, friend, or stranger to say "You know, that skirt makes you look kinda chunky..." ...not even if she asks. It just doesn't reflect well on the person offering the opinion, regardless of how honest it actually is.

In my opinion, Miss CA should've been more diplomatic about it, perhaps saying that she believed it was a matter for each state legislature to decide, or that she agrees with her President on the subject. She didn't need to give an answer that was bound to cause controversy, or tell the brutal truth.

Now, my observation: Is it a conservative woman thing to go for the brutal honesty rather than be diplomatic?

As far as I know, no one even asked you to critique my blog, and yet, like Miss CA, you seemed to have no hesitancy in calling me out for shallow posts--TWICE, no less--regardless of how that unnecessary and uninvited criticism may make me feel. Maybe it's because I'm male, liberal, a male liberal, or maybe it's just because I'm me, but I would never even consider going to another person's blog & saying that their posts are often shallow. I may think it, but it would take a whole lot to make me say it.

In both her case and yours, I find the behavior odd. I think diplomacy is often a good thing, and if I may, the preferred method of handling disagreements and divergent opinions about other people and those things that are important to them... There does come a time for honesty, even at the expense of diplomacy, but I'd say that neither Miss CA's relationship with Mr. Hilton, or your relationship with me, necessitated that we forego those tenuous initial diplomatic overtures.

As for my blog and your opinion of some of my posts, well, you're welcome to it. One person's trash is another person's treasure, and I am a complicated human being, at home with semi-intellectual discussion in one post, and goofy parodies of political or social figures the next. I'm a feminist, but I sometimes laugh at (& occasionally even tell) sexist jokes. At my job, every pen has it's place. At home, my office looks like it was hit by a cyclone. I'm human. I have divergent interests and goals, that sometimes even contradict one another.

What I'm trying to say is, not every post is going to appeal to every potential reader. The only constant around here is me, and I assure you that I'm pretty happy with everything I put up. Everyone else has to catch as catch can, enjoying whatever it is that brings them here, and ignoring the rest.

I think you'll find that's true of most blogs, BTW... ...even your own.

I liked this video because he caught small quirks of speech that most ignored, and created a possible--and kinda funny--scenario about how they might be true.

Of course it was a "language technicality" (or a flub). She didn't actually MEAN "opposite marriage," or even "opposite sex marriage," (or that thing about it being great that in this country, people can choose what kind of marriage they want--which isn't true). She was nervous, and she tripped over her words. There isn't a doubt in my mind that were I on that stage--assuming I could even get my mouth open and have sound come out--I would do the same.

But nevertheless, what she said was strange, and a little funny. And in this video, the guy pointed it out, and then created a situation where what she said could actually make sense. I liked it. I posted it.

As for her being treated like Joan the Plumber (or Joe of Arc), how many rightwing blogs posted approvingly about her statement, and her subsequent treatment by the evil secular collectivist liberals that make up major media and Hollywood? The answer you're looking for is, too dang many to count. She became a folk hero and the rallying point de jure for many social conservatives...

"My take on the video is that Ms. California was just expressing that her Personal Belief is that Marriage should be between a man and a woman, but her Political Belief is that it is good that people can choose."---
Essentially, that's what the guy in the video said, too... But the fact is, here and now, anyway, people CAN'T choose. Except for a few places here in the US, legal marriage can only take place between a man and a woman. The personal is political. It'll be a better and more just world when people really can choose to legally unite with whomever they love, and we can all have our own opinions about that... ...whether or not we express them.

Lista said...

Wow! Repsac,
I'm so sorry that I've offended you. I really am.

When I first started responding to the above comment, I started with some comment about how I had forgotten how long winded you can be, but I can't complain because I tend to have the same problem.

I them proceeded to type out a response that was one full type written page long, yet as I read further down in your above comment, I realized that I really did offend you quite a bit and this has caused me to pause.

What can I say, Repsac, but that I really am sorry.

Of the full type written page Comment that I just wrote, for now, I'm only going to submit two of the paragraphs.

"Please don't miss the fact that I said, Repsac, that 'You have the ability to Post somethings that are quite Deep, well thought out and Informative.' I was trying to pay you a complement, Repsac, and am quite frustrated by the fact that you are focusing so much on the negative, rather than the positive of what I said."


"I'm really sorry that I have offended you, Repsac. Your blog is not Shallow. My first visit too it a really long time ago just wasn't a good representation of what you are actually capable of and I don't even remember when that was. It was probably just short of a year ago.I hope that you will also please forgive me for something else. I'm not anywhere near the news junky as most of those on the Blog-a-sphere. Just to make sure that I wasn't way more out of touch than I thought, I asked my husband about the Ms USA Pageant Story and he admitted that he has neglected in watching the News for a few days, but did hear about it this morning. I was basing my response to your Post on the Post itself and was not even aware of the full News Story.

Lista said...

You know, Repsac, I was feeling really bad today and thinking about the fact that I've offended you. This makes me feel really sad because I am not the sort that ever wants to hurt anyone. I'm hoping that one day you will know that about me.

I have so much more that I want to say, but wonder if I should slow it down until I'm sure you're Ok.

Since you made a big deal about me insulting you "TWICE", I guess I should also try and apologize several times, which I have done, yet I'm going to do one more thing. I'm going to move the Apology from the other Post over to this Post so that even those who do not bother to click on any of the links will hear it anyway.

"All I meant was that the Post itself (Not the Comments below it) is more shallow than some of your other stuff. The Post above this comment, "My Thoughts on Homosexual Marriage" is not shallow at all, nor is the one I just recently read 'Conservatives Live in a Different Moral Universe than Liberals, Etc.'. That one is quite good in fact.

"Anyway, Repsac, I was trying to pay you a complement, not to insult you. Please don't miss the second half of the phrase 'Shallow in Comparison'. I was comparing your more shallow stuff with your better stuff, that's all.

To expand on this, perhaps I should have said "Less Deep", rather than "Shallow". Any way, I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry.

Lista said...

It's interesting that there is no response yet. I'm feeling Ok in my spirit, though, so I'm going to go on with my thoughts.

Just as I told you Yesterday, I've typed out one full type written response to this Post, which I have been feeding you a little at a time.

So far, I've just given you two paragraphs from it that contained my Apologies, I also responded a little more, though, to the subject of the Definition of Marriage and to the subject of the Beauty Pageant and Diplomacy.

Here are my thoughts on the Definition of Marriage.

"The meaning of Words expand and change only because we allow them to. There are just as many people who do not believe in the use of the word Marriage in relation to Homosexuality who continue to use the phrase 'Homosexual Marriage', as there are people who are fighting for Homosexual Rights that use the same phrase.

"It's really sort of frustrating listening to the two groups fight back and forth, while not even realizing that the Issue is not rights, but Definition. If only those on the Right would realize this and stop using the Offending Phrase so much, but talk more about Civil Unions instead, perhaps the Offending Phrase would not have taken root the way it has.

"When Words change, than Culture Changes as well and if we want to preserve the Previous Culture, rather than the new one, than we have to preserve some of the Original Language as well. Sure we might have to continually explain ourselves to those who understand things differently, yet I feel that it is worth it.

Lista said...

And here is my thoughts on the Beauty Pageant and Diplomacy.

"From just reading the first Paragraph of the second link in your above comment, I am realizing that the most interesting part of the story that the above video is connected to is the Controversy it has created, not the actual words that she said. This is so silly, because in my opinion, she really didn't say that much. I think that she was just as Diplomatic as she could be under the circumstances.

"I'd like to see anyone answer that question any better. I think she answered it quite well. That is unless the only thing that is 'Politically Correct' is a statement that only favors the opinion of the Left on this issue, yet if this is the case, than this is both Partial and Unfair.

"To say that 'Diplomacy' equals taking the opposite stand from the one you believe in, I say nothing is worth that. If this Loaded Question costs Ms California her chance at winning the Pageant, that is way more than just Unfair. It is Prejudice and Politically Biased and anyway, the question should not have been asked in the first place.

"Perhaps this is the problem of Beauty Pageants. She is expected to show 'Poise', not to think. If the very idea that someone at a Beauty Pageant might actually have an Opinion on something can result in her losing the Pageant, than what does that say about Beauty Pageants.

"As too 'Diplomacy', though, I am so tired of being expected to be 'Politically Correct' all the time. Liberals use that phrase continually in order to shut Conservatives up and infringe on their Freedom of Speech.

"Granted, my out spoken, honest nature may at times be over done, but it is at least in part a reaction to various versions of the 'Politically Correct' idea, or more specifically ideas such as 'Don't ever Criticize', 'Don't Complain', and 'If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.'

"It IS true that people can choose what ever kind of Civil Union they want. Change the words and you get a totally different picture.

repsac3 said...


My disappearance yesterday was a coincidence, not a reaction to anything you'd written.

While I was sitting here writing yesterday morning, some ass hit a loose dog (collie/shepherd mix?) in front of my house & kept going. I tried to get the dog to the vet, but he died somewhere between getting him into the car (no easy feat in itself) & reaching the office 3-5 minutes later. Even now, I have no clue whose dog it was, or whether they even know what became of him.

Anyway... After that, I just wasn't in the mood to write, much. I spent most of the day cleaning up & playing music. I did write a post for one of the other blogs late in the evening, but figured I'd save my replies to you for another day... (I did notice that you'd commented, & I suppose I should've/could've acknowledged that you had...)

No worries on the offensiveness front, either. My skin really isn't all that that thin, and as I said, shallowness--even comparative shallowness (the idea that some of the stuff I write/write about is so deep, it makes the rest look shallow in comparison)--is in the eye of the beholder. My eyes disagree with your eyes. No big deal.

My point wasn't meant to be "I'm offended," but rather "Is honesty really the best policy in all circumstances?". I figured the "Does this make me look fat?" example would make that clear.

I disagree with your belief that she answered it as diplomatically as she could, or that the only diplomatic (politically correct) answer would be to favor the liberal point of view. As I said earlier, by saying something like "I believe the same thing president Obama does on this issue." or "I believe it should be a matter for the people of each state to decide." she could've sidestepped the controversy without hurting anyone's feelings or betraying her beliefs. And as I've said, it's my contention that sidestepping controversy and avoiding hurt feelings is a "talent" Miss USA is supposed to have. Brutal honesty is not.

One can argue whether or not it was a loaded question, but each of the finalists was asked a question about a contemporary and politically divisive issue. (I know one was asked about the stimulus package--the one that inspired all that teabagging on one side of the aisle--but I can't recall the rest.) As far as I'm concerned, it was an intentional test of grace & diplomacy under pressure. Loaded or not, it was designed to see how these young women would handle themselves when asked questions to which there is more than one correct answer, according to the American public.

"Political correctness" and "diplomacy" are not the same thing, but they do overlap quite a bit. As far as I'm concerned, both have their place. I don't think either requires one to pretend not to believe what s/he believes, but only to realize that one's own beliefs are not of primary importance in all situations. There is a time for speaking out, and there is a time for speaking nicely, or not speaking at all. Different people will draw the line between them in different places, of course...

Since we're talkin' about it, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and accept that you meant what you said as a compliment. I'll even cut Griper some slack on his comment, "a very interesting read, repsac and one of your better posts too.", and assume that he wasn't making a statement about the rest of what I write, either.

To me, I compliment someone's post by simply saying "Great Post!! A very interesting read!!," and don't say anything that might imply I think the rest are so much (or even "any") less good, whether or not that's how I feel. (That is, of course, unless I want to send the message that everything else s/he writes is so much less good. The art of the backhanded compliment is long and storied...) That's me, though... Folks like you & Griper may not see it the way I do...

As far as the definition thing, I think--as I've said many, many times before--that it's the fault of those who used the word for a religious sacrament as a term of law. All rights & privileges that one gets from the state post-union come with the word "marriage." As long as that is the case, removing the restrictions against "marriage" for homosexuals is the only way to treat them as equal to heterosexuals under the law. The only other solution is to remove the word "marriage" from the law, and replace it with "civil union" or "domestic partnership;" a term, like "marriage," above, that would apply to all legal unions, gay or straight.

Like it or not, I think it more likely that "marriage" is going to remain the term used in law, and as long as that is the case, "gay marriage," both as a term and as a legal entity, are going to get increasingly popular and commonplace in US and world society. Building a "separate but equal" web of laws for homosexuals that eventually grant them the same rights using different words will never do.

And finally, I'm sure you heard about this: Beauty Queen Joins Ad Campaign Against Gay Marriage. She's no longer simply speaking for herself; she's become part of the movement. (Unfortunately, they're going to have to shoot a new ad, as the old one contained other people's words and images that NOM did not receive copyright authorization to use.)

Lista said...

"My disappearance Yesterday was a coincidence, not a reaction to anything you’d written."

I knew that was one of the possibilities, Rep. I was just too impatient to wait. I so wanted to finish my thoughts. It’s Ok that you were away. I survived. lol. And I was away from this page for so long because I was sort of busy talking to you on another of your Posts, but I’m guessing you probably figured that out.

That’s too bad about the dog. How sad!!

You know what, Rep? I think that the main point that I was trying to make when I described one of your Posts as more Deep and another more Shallow was actually intended more on the Positive side in that I was thinking "Wow! I’ve underestimated your Blog!" and this was meant to be a Complement, not an Insult.

I could have worded it differently, though, I suppose. For example, saying that one Post is more Deep than another is better than calling any of the Posts Shallow. So again; I’m sorry.

Is Honesty always the Best Policy? Of course not, yet I lean in the Direction of Honesty quite a lot more than some do. Some people like that and some do not, but it’s just sort of who I am.

I’m sure that Ms. California may have thought of all the things she could have said that would have been better. You even admitted yourself that "Were I on that stage--assuming I could even get my mouth open and have sound come out--I would do the same." It was a difficult Question to answer and I fell bad for her that she had to answer it.

Lista said...

As to "Political Correctness" and "Diplomacy", I basically agree with what you said, yet too often certain Liberals have spoiled the "Politically Correct" phrase by using it to stifle Free Speech. I was just reading a news paper article about the "Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009", in which Preaching against Homosexuality in Religious Services could be considered a "Hate Crime". Wouldn’t you know it?! Now, Expressing one’s Opinion on the Issue of Homosexuality is not only "Politically Incorrect", but also a "Hate Crime". When does it end?! The whole "Politically Correct" Idea has been taken way too far and thus the phrase has become "Emotionally Charged" and Destroyed.

I see nothing wrong with Griper’s Comment, Repsac. It’s almost like someone saying "You look really nice today" and instead of the person taking it as a complement, he or she wonders if the person speaking really means that he or she doesn’t look nice on other days, yet this is usually not what’s intended or even implied.

Most Liberals act as if the Basic Language written in Law, relating to Homosexuality, can not be changed even if there are a Large Number of people Protesting the Terminology that is used. I disagree that "Removing the Restrictions against ‘Marriage’ for Homosexuals is the only way to treat them as equal to Heterosexuals under the Law". They could call these unions "Civil Unions".

"Removing the word ‘Marriage’ from the Law and Replacing it with ‘Civil Union’ or ‘Domestic Partnership’" would be the better way to go and would satisfy the complaints of most Conservatives. I don’t understand the resistance to this idea. To me is seems like the obvious way to go.

I guess they are just refusing to do so because it’s inconvenient to make the change and the Gay Rights Movement is demanding that it be done in a way that gives them not only Equal Rights, but also Social Approval for their Behavior.

I’m not familiar with the "Separate but Equal" idea that you mentioned.

Yes, the Beauty Queen Story is becoming more and more interesting. Perhaps she feels that Expressing her Opinion is more important than Winning a Contest, yet I feel that this is an Ok decision and so if that’s what she wants to do, than good for her.