Tagged: gay codes

Love is all you need

Religious bigotry is no longer the law of the land.

Held: The Fourteenth Amendment requires a State to license a marriage between two people of the same sex and to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-State.

Aside from the obvious benefits to all individuals as an affirmation of equality, the ruling directly forces religious bigots to confront the 14th amendment.

Reason > theocracy.

The SCOTUS affirmed that “States rights” is not a license to discriminate.

In other news, frogs are raining from the sky in the Bible Belt.

Between strangers

The Governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal, published an Op-Ed in the New York Times proclaiming that he will oppose “gay marriage” by all means necessary. Mr Jindal gives away the purpose for his Op-Ed in this paragraph (emphasis added).

If we, as conservatives, are to succeed in advancing the cause of freedom and free enterprise, the business community must stand shoulder to shoulder with those fighting for religious liberty. The left-wing ideologues who oppose religious freedom are the same ones who seek to tax and regulate businesses out of existence. The same people who think that profit making is vulgar believe that religiosity is folly. The fight against this misguided, government-dictating ideology is one fight, not two. Conservative leaders cannot sit idly by and allow large corporations to rip our coalition in half.

He is concerned with maintaining a (conservative) coalition. His purported defense of religious freedom and free enterprise is a political strategy, not a moral cause.

The “We” Mr Jindal addresses is not the “We” imagined in the phrase “E Pluribus Unum”; he addresses an apparently shrinking political coalition of conservatives who think exactly as he does. He finds it unfathomable that “left-wing ideologues” (translation: people who think the 14th Amendment means something) would be part of the “We” he addresses. Even other conservatives and members of the “business community” who opposed the Arkansas and Indiana laws as de jure discrimination risk being cast into the left-wing pit of grave evil if they do not conform to the beliefs of Mr Jindal’s coalition. In fact, the point of difference is this: the conservative voices and businesses leaders (recognizing that discrimination is bad for business) who spoke out against anti-LGBT bigotry are speaking to the “We” of E Pluribus Unum.

Mr Jindal unwittingly (or intentionally) excludes his vision of conservatism from this “We.” In so doing, he reveals himself as a political radical wrapped in the accoutrements of a conservative.

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In an interview published in The Guardian, the author Toni Morrison describes her self-conception as a writer:

Most writers claim to abhor labels but Morrison has always welcomed the term “black writer”. “I’m writing for black people,” she says, “in the same way that Tolstoy was not writing for me, a 14-year-old coloured girl from Lorain, Ohio. I don’t have to apologise or consider myself limited because I don’t [write about white people] – which is not absolutely true, there are lots of white people in my books. The point is not having the white critic sit on your shoulder and approve it” – she refers to the writer James Baldwin talking about “a little white man deep inside of all of us”. Did she exorcise hers? “Well I never really had it. I just never did.”

She is claiming a right to self-limitation, no matter how essentialist. How does she know what Tolstoy was thinking?

The characterisation of Tolstoy is a matter of projection on the part of Ms Morrison. What she implies is that Tolstoy was only writing to Russians (the literate ones). One can extend the logic of this claim further: Shakespeare wrote only for the English (Londoners in the main), Flaubert wrote only for the French (but probably only Parisians), Baudelaire wrote only for prostitutes (again, probably only Parisian ones), Joyce wrote only for … god knows who, etc. ad nauseum. There’s no empirical evidence that supports this sort of speculation about literary intentions.

In literary-critical terms, Morrison’s perspective stands opposed to modernism; moreover, it is a 1960s-inspired racialist realism that prioritises the author’s experience and that of her “imagined community” (Benedict Anderson) as opposed to the vérité humaine of nineteenth-century realism (which some of her writing clearly violates) . Rather than treating literary works as open books, available to be appropriated by all, Ms Morrison takes a position on literary works that comports well with the publishing marketplace: slap the label of a genre on it (YA, crime, science fiction, romance), and it will sell.

*

What do these strangers — Mr Jindal and Ms Morrison — share in common? An allergic response to the idea of the universal, of the porousness of socio-historically imposed boundaries, of the fluidity of imagined communities, of the polyphonic character of the self.  The “left-wing ideologue” and the “white critic” function as convenient bogeys to motivate the insistence on essential identity, whether conceived in politico-religious or racialist and/or ethnic terms. They are necessary fictions for the defense of a world that no longer exists. Perhaps it never existed apart from acts of political and imaginative will.

Sweet home Indiana

Re the “religious freedom” craze in the USA: there was no crisis of religious freedom, no immediate threat to religious freedom in Indiana. At least not until Indiana’s state-wide ban on same-sex marriage was overturned in the courts. The political response to the court ruling was the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” a compensatory bone thrown to religious conservatives by conservative legislators and Indiana’s Republican governor.

It seems to me that the defense of religious freedom is trivialized when it is applied to catering weddings or taking wedding photos.

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If the discussion of religion as an “essential identity” is meant in an essentialist way, I’d respond by saying that what is “essential” about us is what we either choose to construe as essential or what is imposed on us as being essential (e.g., by other people, especially parents, and by institutions, such as the school, the church, and the state).

Of course, how we understand what is “essential” about ourselves could be a combination of both choice (freedom) and imposition (necessity). It is frequently the case that individuals make a virtue of necessity, thus resolving the tension between choice and imposition.

Send in the drones

Amazon Air is testing drone delivery system in a secret location in Canada. I can’t believe Canada allowed this to happen.

Drones Without Borders.

The POTUS will visit Kenya. The POTUS likes to tug the strings attached to Republican puppets.

If one follows the (il)logic of Birthers Inc., one can only conclude that Mr Obama was born from the head of his father. In Kenya.

It seems to me that the defense of religious liberty is trivialized when it is applied to catering weddings or taking wedding photos.

Confederacy of dunces

The post-Civil War south fought the results of that war, the demise of slavery, for another one hundred years via the instrument of segregationist “black codes.” The same region, bolstered by westward expansion and hellbent on preserving its nineteenth-century lifestyle, rushes to impose “gay codes” which could last for another century. (NB: it is still legal to discriminated against LGBT in Arizona, the veto of SB1062 notwithstanding). The irony is that today’s religious authoritarians are wearing the white hoods of religious liberty in their struggle against other peoples’ pleasure.

America’s constitutional design creates the possibility for state governments to act more tyrannically (and demagogically) than any real or imagined federal “monarchy.”

Banditry used to be an honourable profession.

Re Spike Lee’s profane rant against gentrification in the Fort Greene neighborhood he helped to gentrify: before there was gentrification, there was serfdom. Mobility means change and displacement. Everything that is solid melts into air and all that jazz (apologies to Mr Marx).

Far away eyes

There are fewer cats on the internet today than at any time in history.

Arizona is a great advertisement. For the nineteenth century.

Mississippi is known as the Jurassic State.

The Paris Review wants a minimum of $600 USD for the pleasure of spending an evening in the company of Martin Amis, Charlotte Rampling, and Zadie Smith.

It’s time for armed women to step up and seize something in Crimea.

Diamond dust

Republicans are falling all over themselves in the rush to pass “gay codes,” under the guise of “religious liberty.” However, they are not doing religion — which is diminished whenever it is used as a justification for bigotry — any favors.

Mr Bernard-Henri Lévy is a buffoon, not to be trusted.

Klitschko is Dubček.

I thought Tony Blair was the Bill Clinton of the Labour Party. It would be foolish to dismiss such a presence.

Spike Lee is hopelessly bourgie.

Intersectionality is just another philosophical attempt to avoid the Real.