Ruth Marcus has made a career of saying that people in power may be wrong - she very, very much wants you to know she agrees that they're wrong - but here's a reason why it'd just be better if we all kept our mouths shut and just protected their undeserved privilege, just for fun. It's a hard job in an imperial court, playing good cop by acknowledging what people are thinking before finding creative reasons to dismiss them so that the menagerie of bad cops around her can yell at you for wearing jeans.
So Marcus wrote about Mary Cheney who finally acknowledged that her very powerful family isn't all that gay-friendly. Now, if there is an evil gene then the Cheneys have it, but for some reason this family keeps on getting rewarded even though there's no one who deserves happiness less than they do. Mary's sister Liz is running for Senate, and, by golly, we all have to make sure she gets that seat!
Mary and her wife took to Facebook to call Liz out for opposing same-sex marriage and basically saying that when she condescends to treat Mary like a human being, it's only because she pities Mary so much for being infected with Teh Gay and she counts it as her good deed of the day before washing all that icky compassion off her hands and putting puppies in a sack with a brick to throw in a river.
Ruth Marcus is having none of that. In short, her argument is: "It's OK for gays to want to get involved in politics, but do they have to do it in public? In front of the rest of us? And destroy the institution of the family in the process? There's nothing homophobic about raising this serious discussion." It refutes itself. But her point, in long, is a lot more fun.
In the matter of the Cheney Family Feud: Something in me balks at leaping on the let's-all-bash-Liz bandwagon.
That something is called "the need to fellate those with power." It's what got her a career writing crappy columns about Facebook messages in the Washington Post. It's pretty much a reflex now, a powerful will that Marcus can't even describe, much less fight.
To me, the comparison between the right of gay and lesbian couples to wed and the long-settled issue of racial intermarriage is compelling. I agree with Mary Cheney: History is inexorably marching -- actually, it's sprinting -- to marriage equality.
"Long-settled"? Who knew. Why, it seems like just last week columnists at Ruth Marcus's paper were saying that gagging at black and white people mixing and having kids isn't racist, it's just conventional.
Marcus may be intentionally referencing Richard Cohen and saying: if gagging at interracial couples doesn't make you racist, then pitying gay couples doesn't make you homophobic. Marcus may have missed the part of last week where everyone said Cohen is full of shit.
With that, Ruth Marcus is finished pretending to care about your liberal pet causes. Now she's going to get to her real point:
And yet I chafe at the notion that, at this point in the shortening arc, it is unacceptable to hold or express the contrary view. The issue of same-sex marriage deserves -- for the good of society, it requires -- a serious and respectful debate.
Yes, and writing an entire column telling one of the best-known lesbians in the country to shut the fuck up and let a homophobe win the Senate seat God granted her is the essence of serious and respectful debate. The debate only gets seriousser and seriousser the more people keep their mouths shut about policy and let their betters decide what's good for them.
Where Liz Cheney has drawn her line is, after all, where President Obama was (or professed to be) not so long ago: no discrimination against same-sex couples, leave it to states, don't amend the Constitution to define marriage for all time.
They're never going to let go of that one. I thought when Obama said he favored same-sex marriage that all the people who reflexively disagree with Obama about everything would stop pointing out that Obama agreed with them with a little smirk like, yeah, I just made the coolest dig of all time.
In related news, print media is showing that it can keep up with the times by making an argument that became both annoying and incorrect about a year ago! I have no idea why more people don't turn to the Washington Post for their trenchant commentary needs.
Then there is the unfortunate matter of waging this family war in public.
Liz Cheney is running for Senate, fer cryin' out loud. It's not like she wrote something mean about Mary in her diary or told her aunt that she doesn't like Heather. The public has a right to discuss policy positions of people who want to be elected to high office.
I mean no one could really think it's in poor taste to disagree with one of our overlords about what they intend to do to us.... Oh, wait, it's Ruth Marcus. Liz Cheney could have said she wanted to commit genocide just to watch a population die and Ruth Marcus would be scolding us because it's so impolite to discuss Liz's foreign policy positions.
It's easy to imagine how infuriating it felt for Mary and her wife, Heather Poe, to be sitting at home watching Liz spout off on Fox News.
Yes, I'm sure Mary Cheney sits around watching Fox News all day instead of yachting or whatever rich people do nowadays. Mary and Heather are just normal people like the rest of us, getting excited that someone they know is on the teevee!
Also, when did pointing out things that are easy to imagine become journalism?
But taking matters further public? Going nuclear on Facebook? Heather's post painted her sister-in-law as a political carpetbagger who shifted positions along with states:
"I can't help but wonder how Liz would feel if, as she moved from state to state, she discovered that her family was protected in one but not the other," Heather wrote in a post Mary shared.
Well, I'm convinced. I don't think I've ever read a Facebook post on a politician that was so mean. Why, Heather even mentioned her personal experiences with a policy! That's low.
And, "when Mary and I got married in 2012 -- she [Liz] didn't hesitate to tell us how happy she was for us. To have her now say she doesn't support our right to marry is offensive to say the least." But maybe Liz was merely being polite at the time.
Ba-ZING! And maybe Liz thinks you're ugly too!
I'm sure piling the insults on will only add to our hallowed Reasonable Discourse.
Look, I would have been tempted to post, too. I would have been tempted to tweet.
The awesomest prank ever would be for all the interns at the Washington Post to make up a social media site and see how long it takes for a columnist to mention it.
"I would not have stopped at posting and tweeting; I would have flargled my anger as well! On FlargList. The site. That everyone uses... Oh fuck."
Social media knit us together but they also fuel our worst instincts. They serve as a powerful accelerant to the fire of anger. When we should be counting to 10, we are banging out 140 impulsive characters.
It just wouldn't be a dead tree without a 50-mile-high useless commentary about how social media has turned the world to crap printed on it, amirite?
In the hands of warring sisters,
It's a cat fight! Except they're related, so it's "warring sisters"! A family feud! Anything besides two adults disagreeing on public policy because everyone knows that women's opinions stop at the edge of the household.
In the hands of warring sisters, Facebook is a weapon of mass family destruction.
And there we have it: the Ruth Marcus money shot. Everything she really wanted to say, in a tiny little sentence.
Ruth Marcus doesn't care about same-sex marriage. Well, not any more than she cares about how her coffee is prepared or the brightness of her lightbulbs or whether she'll still be able to reference twerking in 2023. She doesn't care about respectful debate. She doesn't care about free speech. She doesn't care about access to legal institutions. She certainly doesn't care about how Mary and Liz get along.
What she cares about is that there is someone out there whose loyalties are not in the right place. Someone who isn't being submissive in the right way. Even though Mary Cheney is no Angela Davis, she's supposed to help her sister win that Senate seat. Liz said she wanted it, and she's rich, so by golly she'll get it.
Queer people have enough experience with creating and organizing and merging and destroying families to know that you can't just bow your head and go along because family comes first. Love comes first, and we often, but not always, love our families more than other people. But our birth families? Sorry, genetic links aren't handcuffs and at some point you've gotta just live your life.
But for the Ruth Marcuses of the world, family isn't about love. It's about authority. Liz shouldn't have to actually be a decent person to Mary to earn her loyalty because Mary doesn't have a choice in who her family is. Whether it's homophobic to make that argument about Mary but not question the loyalty (just the manners) Liz was showing by going on Fox News and distancing herself from her lesbian sister, well, that probably wouldn't be reasonable or serious for me to speculate on.
Or maybe it's just "family destruction" when you disagree with your sister on Facebook but not on cable news because the internet could finally take away Ruth Marcus's job. Heck, she's already working for Jeff Bezos; next thing you know people will only be able to read uninsightful commentary on their phones!
And to think that it's only been a couple decades since the TV was going to end reasonable and serious discourse.