Dana Rudolph

Prop 8: The Twinkie Offense

Filed By Dana Rudolph | January 12, 2010 3:30 PM | comments

Filed in: The Movement
Tags: California, perry v. schwarzenegger, Prop. 8, twinkies

During the Prop 8 trial in California yesterday, plaintiff Paul Katami, a fitness manager, was asked why he didn't think domestic partnerships were good enough. He replied with a metaphor of putting a twinkies_200.jpgTwinkie at the end of a treadmill and giving the person on the treadmill just one bite, reports Lisa Keen.

"I want that whole Twinkie," Katami asserted.

There is of course a parallel here with the infamous "Twinkie defense" supposedly used by San Francisco supervisor Dan White during his trial for the murder of Harvey Milk. White's lawyers implied that his high-sugar junk food diet may have exacerbated the depression that led to the murders. Subsequent coverage of the event made it sound more like the lawyers were arguing that his junk food consumption had led to a sugar-fueled rage; while not quite correct, the media played up the idea of a "Twinkie defense" and it stuck in the public mind.

Katami, in essence, is flipping things around and creating a "Twinkie offense." I have to think this isn't coincidental. Katami is a fitness instructor, and the idea of him wanting a Twinkie is a little unbelievable. Even if one grants him a junk food craving, he could have picked from any number of treats. Twinkies, however, have a special resonance in California gay history.

We'll see if this trial gives them a better connotation.

(Image by Larry D. Moore, used under a Creative Commons ShareAlike License.)


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Although, twinkies are really bad for you and if you're running on a treadmill it probably means you're trying to get in good health. Maybe there are other dimensions to this metaphor?

I'm not sure I want to think about the other things Twinkies could be a metaphor for.

I think it's likely for most gays that "twinkie" makes them think of young guys (late teens/early 20s) rather than Dan White's pathetic defense.

In that context, I thought, "I want the whole Twinkie" was hilarious.

Using "twinkies" in a San Francisco court definitely sends a subliminal message about the Milk assassination to the judge. Good catch, Dana.

Regan DuCasse | January 13, 2010 11:18 AM

Not a good evocation.

I would have said something like this:

I'm required and responsible enough for taxation and my productivity to pay for the feast that others gorge themselves on, spit out and throw away so freely. Yet, I am forced and expected to starve for it. I watch this and wonder at how I can be accused of not appreciating this feast of rights.
The scraps from the table called civil unions and domestic partnerships are just that. Scraps.
Inadequate and unfair.