The Batty Old Grey Lady

A piece run in the New York Times yesterday

The New York Times, often referred to as “the newspaper of record” is facing a backlash: first for having foolishly published that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, then for being the media arm of a so-called liberal elite from New England. But what has the New York Times become, except reduced to its ridiculous Style section, modelling fashion out of its Food section and never really crack any story? Our contributor Neal Pierantoni takes a nostalgic look at an old friend.

The New York Times and I have had a tumultuous relationship. The initial liberation from the American 24-hour television news machine was exhilarating. Well-written unbiased journalism was the breath of fresh air I needed. It was a lifeline to the civilized world when I found myself back in Appalachia, working a mind numbing 9 to 5 and plotting my escape to a world of bigger and better things.

“Sometimes the Gray Lady reminds me of my status subservient to hers: she is the Lady, and I her lowly serf and subject. Articles like What You Get for … $400,000 were clearly not written for my demographic.”

Then I began to notice those irritating little things that make you go from madly in love to plotting their painful demise. Sometimes the Gray Lady reminds me of my status subservient to hers: she is the Lady, and I her lowly serf and subject. Articles like What You Get for … $400,000 were clearly not written for my demographic. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I’m not occupying Wall Street or anything, but I’m certainly not envisioning occupying half-million dollar homes anytime this century. I could forgive this of m’lady because, well, this is the newspaper of Mahattanites, the upper crust of journalism for the upper crust of society. Who am I to judge?

Then things just started getting weird.  The Gray Lady started forgetting to put her dentures in before leaving the house.  She started accepting writings about things that were either so irrelevant or so obvious that it leaves you wondering what she was thinking.

“It irks me though, that these puff pieces that try to humanize the friendly neighborhood homosexual for the average American citizen just turn out so incredibly vapid.”

Sometimes, New Yorkers go to the wrong airport. The New      York Times is ON IT.

Gay guys are going to see Magic Mike? No shit, Sherlock. Obviously this is “news that’s fit to print.” Maybe the Euro crisis was having a lull that week? No one getting shot in Syria? Colorado? Well let’s just make sure that everyone remembers that 1) the gays live in Chelsea 2) they like well-built, scantily clad men 3) they love turning Magic Mike into the new Rocky Horror and getting well-built, scantily clad men to act out the film in the theater, during the film. If no one is doing that yet, you really should. Call me. I will patronize the shit out of that.

You know those gay couples? With their gay marriages? And their gay agendas? Their gay relatives gay bash them and give them gay guilt trips asking them gay questions like “When are you going to start giving me grandgaybies?!” Just like regular people! Isn’t that grand? I you haven’t noticed, I read about my people on the regular; sorry for the bias. It irks me though, that these puff pieces that try to humanize the friendly neighborhood homosexual for the average American citizen just turn out so incredibly vapid.

People just go to open houses for baked goods and to see what their neighbor’s houses look like, because no one talks to their

You guys, Williamsburg is a trendy neighborhood, and the New York Times is ON IT.

neighbors in New York, or so I’m led to believe. Great journalism.  Whose wife is the real estate agent that needed to begin this social discussion so that she could stop wasting her Sundays holding open houses and making muffins? Girl’s  gotta get her nails did, she has better things to do with her weekends that spend it with schmucks she knows ain’t buyin’. I hope they don’t do away with open houses though. I have not gone on nearly enough of them.  It’s one of my favorite things on my gay agenda.

The New York Times is turning into my theoretical grandma with Alzheimer’s. I don’t have it in me to correct her, because most of the time she’s with it; but when she’s off her rocker? Hoo boy watch out because you are in for 8 pages of WTF did I just read about and who do I contact to get my free time back?

For more of the crazy stuff the New York Times is publishing, follow @NYTOnIt on Twitter

 

 

Neal Pierantoni is a twenty-something freelance translator/interpreter. Born and bred in the rolling Pocono Mountains, Neal went on to study international relations at the American University of Paris and is currently pursuing his master’s at the Monterey Institute of International Studies. He likes bonfires, be they on beaches or in woodland clearings, as well as feigning athleticism so as not to appear as lazy as he inherently is.

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On Todd Akin

We thought Paul Ryan would be our biggest concern as voting women in this election. We were wrong. Todd Akin just recently used the term “legitimate rape” when talking about, you know, rape, which prompted President Obama to reiterate that rape is rape. Sadly, not everyone is of this opinion – and it seems that the more the GOP goes on, the less territory they are willing to concede to women, whatever their capacity. Is it 1903? Rarely have rich white men tried to take over the body of women since the good old days of Salem, MA in 1659 (look it up). Our new contributor Alexandra Creswick looks at the facts of “rape rape”, pregnancy, and what Republican men ought to know by now

Let’s just get the facts out of the way.  A comprehensive 1996 study from the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology sampled over 4,000 women and found that the rape-related pregnancy rate was 5.0% (which included rapes with condoms):

RESULTS: The national rape-related pregnancy rate is 5.0% per rape among victims of reproductive age (aged 12 to 45); among adult women an estimated 32,101 pregnancies result from rape each year. Among 34 cases of rape-related pregnancy, the majority occurred among adolescents and resulted from assault by a known, often related perpetrator. Only 11.7% of these victims received immediate medical attention after the assault, and 47.1% received no medical attention related to the rape. A total 32.4% of these victims did not discover they were pregnant until they had already entered the second trimester; 32.2% opted to keep the infant whereas 50% underwent abortion and 5.9% placed the infant for adoption; an additional 11.8% had spontaneous abortion.

CONCLUSIONS: Rape-related pregnancy occurs with significant frequency. It is a cause of many unwanted pregnancies and is closely linked with family and domestic violence. As we address the epidemic of unintended pregnancies in the United States, greater attention and effort should be aimed at preventing and identifying unwanted pregnancies that result from sexual victimization.

So, conclusively and irrefutably, pregnancies happen from rape.  About 35 pregnancies a day, in fact.  There is no special mechanism by which the body shuts down or stops pregnancy from happening.  Why this is even a debate—or why enough people believe this to the point where multiple public officials feels that they can say it and not get laughed out of office—boggles the mind.  So how, then, did we arrive at this place?

Todd Akin, as with all things, does not exist in a void.  In fact, he exists in a very well-developed, cynical and privileged mode of thought that has a lot of precedence and support:

1988: Rep. Stephen Freind, R-Delaware County, said the traumatic experience of rape causes a woman to “secrete a certain secretion” that tends to kill sperm.

1995: Republican Rep. Henry Aldridge said, “The facts show that people who are raped — who are truly raped — the juices don’t flow, the body functions don’t work and they don’t get pregnant. Medical authorities agree that this is a rarity, if ever.”

1999: “Finally, factor in what is is certainly one of the most important reasons why a rape victim rarely gets pregnant, and that’s physical trauma. Every woman is aware that stress and emotional factors can alter her menstrual cycle. To get and stay pregnant a woman’s body must produce a very sophisticated mix of hormones. Hormone production is controlled by a part of the brain that is easily influenced by emotions. There’s no greater emotional trauma that can be experienced by a woman than an assault rape. This can radically upset her possibility of ovulation, fertilization, implantation and even nurturing of a pregnancy. So what further percentage reduction in pregnancy will this cause? No one knows, but this factor certainly cuts this last figure by at least 50 percent and probably more.” –John C Willke, former president of the National Right to Life Committee

2003: “Concern for rape victims is a red herring, because conceptions from rape occur with approximately the same frequency as snowfall in Miami.” – Federal Judge Leon Holmes

2012: “First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare,” Akin told KTVI-TV in an interview posted Sunday. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

Akin said that even in the worst-case scenario — when the supposed natural protections against unwanted pregnancy fail — abortion should still not be a legal option for the rape victim.

“Let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work, or something,” Akin said. “I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.”

Todd Akin

All of these statements ignore the experiences and claims of the victimized and instead reinforce the supremacy and power of the men who know what rape really is.  Who know best how a person should react to rape, pregnancy, and the unfortunate confluence of the two.

Consider the implications of what Akin, et al, have taken upon themselves to decree:

  • That there are “legitimate” rapes, which insinuates that there are “illegitimate rapes.”  (You know, the ones where you’re asking for it because that shirt is short and that top is low; where you drank too much and should know better; where you’re married and that’s part of your spousal duties; where continuing consent is not a thing.  Not to mention all those bitches lying and just out to destroy the menz.)
  • That pregnancy from rape is rare-verging-on-nonexistent.
  • That medical science supports their beliefs.
  • That they know the experiences of and speak for every raped person.
  • That they have the right to determine what happens to pregnant bodies.

Every single one of these quotes is concerned with “legitimizing” rape.  Sorry, rape-rape.  Because if it’s not a ‘legitimate’ (or ‘true,’ or traumatic enough) rape, then the woman was clearly asking for it in some way.  She wanted it, otherwise she wouldn’t be pregnant.

This is rape apologia.  This is rape culture.  This is a way to blame the victim.  This is also a way to take away the victim’s bodily autonomy, again, by denying her access to abortion, because the anti-choice lobbyists have managed to convince most of us that abortion is controversial, but rape/incest is the constant ethical thorn in their side.

The anti-abortion movement is one predicated upon the punishment and shaming of women for being sexual beings.  Had sex and got pregnant?  Bear the consequences of your actions!  Take responsibility.  Because children are ‘consequences’ and somehow, abortion isn’t taking responsibility.  It’s all well and good to throw these words at a woman who had sex and got pregnant.  It’s her fault, after all.  But those arguments don’t hold water when  it’s rape, so you’re stuck in a moral quandary where some abortion slips through the cracks.

Via a follow-up statement released by Akin’s camp:

But I believe deeply in the protection of all life and I do not believe that harming another innocent victim is the right course of action. I also recognize that there are those who, like my opponent, support abortion and I understand I may not have their support in this election.

The people* who are pregnant are never ‘innocent victims,’ since they weren’t legitimately raped.  They are not worth saving.  They are not worth listening to when they say, “I cannot be pregnant with my rapist’s child.”  Because a bunch of politicians believe they know what’s best, the cycle of abuse continues.   And on the other side of that, you’re also devaluing the people who do decide that they will carry a child to term.  Because “yes” means nothing without the ability to say “no.”

In an anti-choice world where the only exception for getting an abortion is life threatening complications or pregnancy by rape, rape becomes the last bastion for the unwanted pregnancy.  Ergo, there needs to be a way to keep the sluts from circumventing the system.  So victims who are “legitimately” raped—excuse me, per Mr. Akin’s clarification, forcibly raped—never get pregnant.  Therefore the question of abortion in relation to rape is never an issue.  Todd Akin co-sponsored a bill with Mitt Romney’s VP candidate, Paul Ryan, which introduced the idea of “forcible rape.”

Under H.R. 3, the only victims of “forcible rape” would qualify for federally funded abortions. Victims of statutory rape—say, a 13-year-old girl impregnated by a 30-year-old man—would be on their own. So would victims of incest if they’re over 18. And while “forcible rape” isn’t defined in the criminal code, the addition of the adjective seems certain to exclude acts of rape that don’t involve overt violence—say, cases where a woman is drugged or has a limited mental capacity. “It’s basically putting more restrictions on what was defined historically as rape,” says Keenan.

Beyond that, says Keenan, the bill would give states the option of refusing Medicaid coverage for all abortions, even in the most brutal of rape cases, or when a medical complication leaves a woman’s life at risk.

Abortion can continue to be vilified and completely outlawed in service to some politician’s sanctimonious morality—ignoring, of course, that abortions won’t stop, only safe abortions, and that many people will die as a result.  We have been there before.  Between 5,000 and 10,000 women a year died from unsafe abortions before 1973.  That number will not change if abortion is outlawed again.  But the “pro-life” movement doesn’t care about that.

Because deep down and it’s most fundamental level is the truth that you cannot protect “all life” by making abortion illegal and inaccessible.  In many instances, that is the exact opposite of what you’re doing.  Outlawing abortion leads to avoidable death.  By making abortion illegal and inaccessible, you are valuing a fetus over a pregnant person.  You are telling the pregnant person that they do not matter as much as the rapidly dividing cells within them.  That the potential for life supersedes one who is already indisputably alive, and able to articulate their wants and needs.

“In reviewing my off-the-cuff remarks, it’s clear that I misspoke in this interview and it does not reflect the deep empathy I hold for the thousands of women who are raped and abused every year.”

I call bullshit on your empathy, Mr. Akin.  Anyone who has a shred of empathy for women who are raped could not actively campaign for a world where the violation of their body is codified into law.  Empathy is not “legitimizing” certain forms of rape.  And in the braoder sense, empathy is not creating a world in which in which parents must watch their unviable fetus die.  Where they have to wait for their government to decide if they can have life-saving treatment or not.  Where hospitals are allowed to let women come to grievous bodily harm because of religious affiliations.

Todd Akin didn’t misspeak.  He told us exactly what he thinks.

*It’s important to take a moment to note that ciswomen are not the only people who get pregnant, nor the only people who need easy, affordable access to reproductive healthcare—like abortion and birth control.

 

Alex Creswick is a pop culture junkie who spends her time reading, writing, and making movies in Los Angeles. She has spent most of her life exploring the intersection of representations in media and social justice, and is delighted to guest blog on OISC.

The ins and outs of Paul Ryan

Much ado has been made about the possibility of Paul Ryan becoming Vice President of the United States. It’s only been a day and a half and already the words “overkill”, “oversaturation” are floating around, as if there was too much Paul Ryan to go around. But choosing Paul Ryan was not easy as, say, picking a Joe Biden. Picking Paul Ryan was making a statement, and not exactly the same statement John McCain made in 2008 when choosing Sarah Palin as running mate. Mitt “Mittens” Romney, in his choice, illustrates not just the Republican new party line, but the whole outline of the campaign itself; it is a portrait of the America he wishes to uphold should he be elected. It is not just Paul Ryan himself; it’s what Paul Ryan represents. And risking to be overkill and oversaturating, I will say this: choosing Paul Ryan as a putative VPOTUS is a very bold choice.

Paul Ryan is most famous for the “Paul Ryan budget”, that he presented as Ranking Member of the House Budget Committee. This 42 year old man was indeed in charge of the United States’ finances, and under Ryan’s auspices, things didn’t look so bright for those of us whose income are not in the 1%. Let’s take a little tour of the Ryan budget. Following the dubbed “Roadmap to America’s future” (sic), it targets what Obama has been most working on – healthcare and its two biggest components, Medicare and Medicaid. Most importantly, Ryan’s budget has been controversial on the topic of tax reform. Let’s see:

* Paul Ryan doesn’t want a universal, government-plan. He wants everyone to be able to shop around for their own insurance coverage, which of course would let low-income families down the side of the road (that same “roadmap” he set out to outline his plan, one can only assume).  The only thing in common with Obamacare would be the end of pre-existing conditions, but only for health coverage plans that have pooled together nationally in order not to put a strain on businesses. Because when it comes to health care, that’s the first thing to think about: how will businesses handle it? You and your kid with asthma will tell me later.

* Paul Ryan doesn’t believe in taxes, especially for people who earn a lot. In his roadmap, he went as far as calling the existing tax code “manipulative”, and aimed at a tax reform that would “fit on a postcard”. Yes. A postcard. How big a postcard? It’s not detailed. But what is interesting is how ow the tax rate would be under a Paul Ryan budget – it not only simplifies tax rates by up to 10%, which is lot, but also “eliminat(es) taxes on interest, capital gains, and dividends; also eliminates the death tax.” That’s a lot of taxes there, Paulo. How do you intend on funding government and those pensions all those government members require? Most interestingly, and what the left really fired at Paul Ryan for, is the subject of the income tax: “Replaces the corporate income tax – currently the second highest in the industrialized world – with a border-adjustable business consumption tax of 8.5 percent. This new rate is roughly half that of the rest of the industrialized world.” (italics and emphasis mine). Paul Ryan wants the United States to be known for cutting the corporate tax in half. Paul Ryan wants the United States to be known for the place where corporations fly high without any infrigement from the government.

*Paul Ryan doesn’t believe in Medicaid. One of the most famous and certainly most beloved government programs will simply end under Paul Ryan. His proposed Medicare/Medicaid plan barely mentions Medicaid at all, and when it does, it simply says that it will give each state ample room to design Medicaid as they see fit according to the needs of their population. Which basically means this is the end of a universal Medicaid: where you live will decide of the quality and access of the care you receive, and this, depending on the whimsical moods of your governor, and the budget s/he allocates Medicaid per year. This is simply astonishing: Paul Ryan’s roadmap to prosperity simply throws low-income and – let’s face it – middle-income families under the bus as they are not creating jobs or help to restore growth. Those two key words thrown around Fox News like they are featured in the New Testament are the benefit of corporations and corporations only. Only corporations have the right and the privilege to restore America the way Paul Ryan sees it fit, regardless of who becomes impoverished in the process. Paul Ryan: get rich or die tryin’.

But the real enemy of Paul Ryan are women. Man, doesn’t he hate those women. Paul Ryan has pledged that he would be “as pro-life as they come”, which is not a good sign when those words emanate from one of the most conservative names out there in the GOP pool. Mitt Romney has made a conscious choice to pick a running mate that would appeal to the most extreme of his fanbase, while he himself ran in the primaries as the “moderate” one – as moderate as one can be when running against Rick Santorum and Michele Bachmann (clue: it’s really easy). In 2010, Paul Ryan even uttered his first threat: “you’re not going to have a truce”, he told the Weekly Standard. Understand: we thought we had it rough under John Boehner’s House? Wait until Paul Ryan becomes Vice-President. This essay is violent in exposing Paul Ryan’s views on women in just under 1,500 words: the word “woman” never appears, and Ryan compares the issue of abortion to that of… being in a car…

“The car which I exercised my freedom of choice to purchase…does not ‘qualify’ for protection of human rights. I can drive it, lend it, kick it, sell it, or junk it, at will. On the other hand, the widow who lives next door does ‘qualify’ as a person, and the government must secure her human rights, which cannot be abandoned to anyone’s arbitrary will.”

This is boding extremely well for the pro-choice movement, as one can obviously see with the very appropriate choice of metaphor. Of course, the seemingly endless debate on whether the pro-life movement will one day accept to let go of abortion restrictions in cases of rape or incest, or if the pregnancy endangers the life of the mother – as it was the case in very catholic Ireland until recently – does not even phase Paul Ryan one bit. “Any exceptions to a ‘partial-birth’ abortion ban would make that ban meaningless”, he said. Got it. This very interesting video from Democracy Now! explains the subject very well: on the infamous Personhood Amendment, that was supposed to define the beginning of life as soon as the fertilization of an egg – which of course would make abortion and even contraception illegal – Paul Ryan threw his whole weight behind the piece of legislation: “Ryan was a co-sponsor of the Sanctity of Human Life Act, which even the conservative state of Mississippi rejected last November, and is in favor of defunding Planned Parenthood.”  I don’t know about you, but I started running away at “sanctity”.

Naturally, this screencapture here begs the question of where Paul Ryan stands when it comes to the gay community. Let’s just say that his standing is just as good as it is with the rest of the female population: Paul Ryan supported equality that one time, just that one time, when the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) was being put to a vote; in a big partisan effort of which only the GOP is capable, Paul Ryan and his other Senate members tried to kill the bill, but ended up voting for it. In the end, equality won, and we should not question the reasons why Paul Ryan suddenly flip-flopped at the idea of not discriminating against sexual orientation, or whether LGBTQ members should be kept away from the job market. We should be grateful and accept ENDA as it has been handed out to us, Paul Ryan vote and the like. But this was only this one magical, fairy-like time, that we should cherish in our hearts for the rest of the presidential campaign, because outbursts of leftism such as this are not likely to repeat themselves. The Huffington Post writes,

Back in 1999, his first year in the House, Ryan voted to ban gays and lesbians in the District of Columbia from adopting children, and opposed establishing a domestic partnership registry in the District as well. All of that has added up to a big fat zero, consistently, from the Human Rights Campaign on its congressional scorecard, except for the session in which Ryan voted for ENDA, when he scored a 10 out of 100.

Strangely to virtually no one, Paul Ryan defines marriage as being “between a man and a woman”, supported marriage as being “between a man and a woman” in his home state of Wisconsin, recalls Obama thinking that marriage was “between a man and a woman” in 2008, and refuses to address the issue any longer, because he made his point very clear and unless you want to go ask him the question yourself, I think we are not going to see his Human Rights Campaign score rank any higher between now and November. Unshockingly, Ryan voted against the repeal of Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), voted against the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT), voted – wait for it – against the Hate Crimes Prevention Act, also known as the Matthew Shepard law. If Mitt Romney himself acknowledges that gay parents should be able to adopt children, albeit slightly reluctantly, there is no record as to what Paul Ryan thinks of the idea, but we can imagine from then on that if he doesn’t believe children should be protected from hate crimes, they should not be raised by gay parents either, but I may be going on a limb here.

So where does that leave us? What does the rest of the GOP platform thinks of Paul Ryan? Former Mitt Romney opponent, libertarian hero Ron Paul, is unequivocal in his unappreciation of the man: Dr. Paul calls Ryan “warmongering”, “timid” on the topic of budget balance and clearly does not want Medicare to go anywhere.  In an interview on Fox News, reported here by the Huffington Post, Dr Paul is quoted as saying,

“In my program… I address that first [cutting overseas military spending] I want to get home so that you don’t have to attack child health care or Medicare, even though those programs are bankrupt and you have to deal with them. But even in my first year of cutting a trillion dollars, I don’t touch that stuff [child health care or Medicare].”

In what is clearly out of touch with the current GOP platform, Dr. Paul was adamant that a balanced budget would have to go down the road of de-militarism, which is not only stopping to police the rest of the world, but also stopping the weapons race that only benefits the military-industrial complex that Dr. Paul has always, always been fighting, believing the troops should be sent home, including those deployed in Afghanistan, and that the oversized military budget is one of the reasons why the deficit is in such a state of disarray.  One more thing: Paul Ryan’s plan would balance the budget over the next generation, that is thirty years. The libertarian, outsider, lone ranger, however you want to call him, had a three-year plan. Why the ten-year discrepancy? “I’m not going after the benefits the Medicare, I’m not doing that initially… I would cut the money that they are screaming about, this overseas militarism.” And there you have the reason for Ron Paul’s screaming defeat in the polls during the GOP primary race.

I will not dwell on what this means to the Obama/Biden 2012 ticket, because it has been done ad nauseam, but I do wonder about the implications for Mitt Romney and the future of the Grand Old Party, should it carry on that neo-conservatism road and this absolute – and completely false – adoration of the Reagan years, that did nothing but inflate the national debt past the point of no return. What will it take for a Republican ticket that will challenge the Democrats into finally choosing the path of liberalism for once and for all, instead of toting the banner of a long dead and gone bipartisanship? What will it take for the Republicans to follow the Democrats into finally chasing after Wall Street bankers that have never, never been brought to justice despite the horrors that we have seen since October 2008? Who is going to bring reason to the Republicans?

Well. Not Paul Ryan.

“It’s bigger than that. I support equal rights. Period.”

One of the latest controversies to spark the little world of social politics lately is american fast food chain Chick-fil-a – which, as you’ve guessed, specialises in chicken sandwiches – has been found to donate money to anti-gay marriage and anti-homosexuality institutions, such as the extremely opinionated Focus on the Family. As soon as the information leaked out, calls to boycott the chain have been made, in order to let their powers to be know that the world of chicken eaters wouldn’t have it with homophobia. But what happens when one makes such an open statement on the issue of gay marriage? Where does free speech ends and where does it begin? The strange experience of being seemingly wrong when thinking one is right has happened to our friend Sara Goodman, blogger at Sara*ndipity, here sharing her experience.

I am full of hatred and phobia.

Why?

Because, silly me, I actually believe that all people deserve the same rights regardless of sexual orientation.  And according to a comment on the blog I wrote earlier this week about Chick-fil-A, that means that I am the one who is full of hatred and phobia.

Makes perfect sense.

In CRAZY WORLD.

“I know it comes as no surprise to anyone that the ultra-liberal Jewish Democrat over here supports gay marriage, but it’s bigger than that.  I support equal rights.  Period.”

This isn’t the first time I’ve come up against this kind of illogical accusation.  I’m a high school English teacher who sponsors a school newspaper, and I was once called racist for running a picture of a pregnant student alongside an article on teen pregnancy.  The girl was over 18, knew what her picture was being used for, and had given us written consent to use her picture in connection with the story, which neither glorified nor condemned pregnant teenagers.

But because she was black, I was a racist.

Except the problem was that she wasn’t black; she was Asian.  And I’m pretty sure there is no stereotype against pregnant Asian teenagers.

I pointed this out to my accuser, who, without missing a beat, told me that the picture was too dark, so she LOOKED black, which nevertheless made me racist.

I’m still trying to figure that one out.

What I’ve learned, however, is that oftentimes, when you’re accused of something and it seems completely out of left field, you should examine your actions.  And if that doesn’t yield any logical results, check to see if your accuser is a complete nut job who is just calling you names because he or she disagrees with you.

But Sara, when you call someone a “complete nut job,” aren’t you just engaging in the same behavior that you’re arguing against?

In this case, no.  I hate to break it to you if you’re one of the people who wants to make the biggest fuss in the world about the definition of marriage, but you’re just blatantly wrong in this case.

I know it comes as no surprise to anyone that the ultra-liberal Jewish Democrat over here supports gay marriage, but it’s bigger than that.  I support equal rights.  Period.  Whether you’re straight, gay, white, black, Jewish, or hell, even Scientologist (crazy as I think they are), you deserve the same rights as everyone else in this country.

“Enjoy your waffle fries.  But don’t expect to see me there any time soon.”

To an extent, I understand why people would be anti-gay marriage if they’re also racist.  It’s not right, but if they’re against equal rights across the board, it makes sense.  What I don’t understand is how people who would NEVER argue that black people deserve fewer rights than white people can argue that gay people deserve fewer rights than straight people.

No one “chooses”  to be gay any more than anyone chooses his or her race.  (Is it still too soon to make jokes about Michael Jackson?  Because he kind of did go from black to white.  But he’s the exception, not the rule.)  And if you believe that they do, please tell me when you chose to be straight.  I’m about as heterosexual as they come, but I don’t remember deciding, “Hmm, I think I’ll pick boys instead of girls to be attracted to.”

Which brings us to the point that I was making in my blog: You can eat at Chick-fil-A all you want, but you need to know that if you do, a fraction of the money you spend is going to groups that oppose equal rights.  If you’re cool with that, then enjoy your waffle fries.  But don’t expect to see me there any time soon.

I also understand that there’s a certain level of hypocrisy in everyone boycotting Chick-fil-A.  If you spend any time on Facebook, you’ve probably seen the Condescending Wonka meme asking when you’re going to stop using oil because OPEC supports groups that put homosexuals to death in the Middle East.  And no, I didn’t run out to buy an electric car because of that.  But OPEC also isn’t restricting equal rights here.  I live in a liberal state where gay marriage still, inexplicably, isn’t legal.  If the owner of Chick-fil-A wants to keep it from becoming legal, I’d rather spend my money at Popeyes (whose fries I like better anyway… I think they’re coated in crack along with those delicious Cajun spices.).

If that makes me a bigot in some people’s eyes, well, so be it.  I’m happy to argue for equal rights until my dying day, but I’m not going to fight to defend myself against the names that people want to call me for that.  Because as my dad is fond of saying, “You can’t argue with crazy, because crazy does what crazy wants.”

Plus, Kermit the Frog agrees with me, and I’d rather have his approval than the approval of someone who thinks that sexual orientation determines the rights a person deserves.

 

 

Sara Goodman is an author, blogger, and high school teacher from Rockville, Maryland. Her opinions have been featured in local newspapers and on the web. She guest spots at the OISC on social issues. Follow her on Twitter @saraegoodman.