Rob Portman and Michelle Shocked

I don’t own any Michelle Shocked music, save for one great song on the Dead Man Walking soundtrack, The Quality of Mercy is Not Strained.

I’m feeling a bit less churlish than I did initially about the pronouncement by US Senator Rob Portman that he NOW supports marriage equality because his son has come out as gay, even though, previously, Portman usually got zero ratings from civil rights groups on the issue in the past. I know that SamuraiFrog was right:

“I’m seeing a lot of people who are having this very liberal reaction of ‘Well, why couldn’t he have empathy for everyone’s child?’ Well, you know, because humans are like that. They’re self-interested… Sure, it would be nice if conservatives thought about everyone else’s kids, too, but they don’t. That’s as obvious as it is frustrating.

“What I’m saying is, [the kvetching] takes away from the small victory of changing one legislator’s mind about gay people when you say that this victory isn’t big enough… a lot of times it’s just small victories that add up.

“Yes, it sucks that gay civil rights are still being discussed as though they’re privileges and not rights and fundamental to everyone’s equality. But I’m seeing too many people who should know better implying that this doesn’t matter, and I think it does. It’s one more mind changed.”

This brings me to the alt-folk-rock singer Michelle Shocked’s anti-gay screed in San Francisco, a surprising tirade against marriage equality and homosexuality generally. Arthur@AmeriNZ, who, BTW has been documenting the marriage equality fight in New Zealand and in the US in recent weeks, wonders where does that leave her former fans, of which he was one?

(UPDATE: Here’s a bit of the actual audio of Michelle Shocked, March 17 at Yoshi’s in San Francisco.)

There have been a number of these folk, who one might have once admired but end up having feet of clay. For me, Mel Gibson was one. Fortunately, he started making movies I didn’t want to see (Passion of the Christ, e.g.) around the same time he went on his rants. I took Florence + the Machine off my Amazon wish list after a couple of racist videos.

I don’t own any Michelle Shocked music, save for one great song on the Dead Man Walking soundtrack, The Quality of Mercy Is Not Strained, which I’m sure I linked to in this blog; I’m surely not going to go back and remove it. But, like Arthur, I’d be as disinclined to spend another cent on her, as many comic books fans felt about the homophobic Orson Scott Card writing the Superman comic book, which, I believe, has been dashed.

BTW, I LOVE the paint job across from the Westboro Baptist Church.

Know what IS ticking me off? The damn reports after the two high schoolers in Steubenville, OH were found guilty on Sunday of raping a 16-year-old girl. Media apologists for the rapists, who were the quarterback and star receiver for the football team, were not limited to this CNN exchange. It is as though raping someone were like your house falling into a sinkhole, some random act of nature the young men were victimized by. You know, boys will be boys. Moreover, two teenage girls were charged for allegedly threatening the rape victim. I watched on the news when the victim’s lawyer said the victim feared going back to school “on Monday, and Tuesday, and Wednesday.”

Someone I read recently (can’t remember who) suggested that we have a culture of rape. My US Senator, Kirsten Gillibrand wrote: “According to the Defense Department’s own estimates, there were approximately 19,000 instances of sexual assaults in the military in 2011 alone. Worse still, only 2,439 of those victimized felt they could come forward to report their assault, and only 240 of those cases went to trial.”

In the no-surprise category: Richard Nixon’s ‘Treason’, elements of which I heard about years ago.

While he’s busy harassing [ex-wife Maureen] McPhilmy for asserting the holiness of her second marriage, [Bill] O’Reilly is trying to deny the existence of his first: He is… seeking an annulment of his 15-year marriage, which produced two children. Null and void. Invalid in the eyes of God. Never happened. This hurts my head.
I’d just better watch Billy Joel singing, accompanied on piano by a student. Some of the snark warriors are making the rounds, but I just like this.

W is for Weddings

It appears that heterosexual marriage is doing a bang-up job of imperiling heterosexual marriage.

In November 2010, Pew Research reported that about half of all adults in the U.S. are married, down from 72 percent in 1960, while four in 10 people consider marriage obsolete. The Census Bureau added that American men and women are waiting longer before the wedding.

But from the Time magazine story concerning that Pew poll: “Americans still venerate marriage enough to want to try it. About 70% of us have been married at least once, according to the 2010 Census. The Pew poll found that although 44% of Americans under 30 believe marriage is heading for extinction, only 5% of those in that age group do not want to try to seek their own wedded bliss.

Sociologists note that Americans have a rate of marriage — and of remarriage — among the highest in the Western world.

The divorce rate, while down from its peak in the l970s, is higher in America than in most other countries. (And what IS the real divorce rate in the US?)

So I am filled with a cross between bemusement and incredulity at the notion, suggested by some, that the prospect of legalized gay marriages, or even civil unions, poses some sort of threat to heterosexual wedlock. It appears that heterosexual marriage is doing a bang-up job of imperiling heterosexual marriage.

(Arthur links here and here regarding his home state of Illinois’ new civil union law.)

Not incidentally, I got a form letter from my annuity company quite recently, adding the following proviso to my certificate:
“Pursuant to Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”), same-sex marriages currently are not recognized for purposes of federal law. Therefore, the favorable income-deferral options afforded by federal tax law to an opposite-sex spouse under Internal Revenue Code sections 72(s) and 401(a)(9) are currently NOT available to a same-sex spouse.”

So even in those states allowing same-sex marriages, those couples won’t be fully equal until DOMA is repealed.

Oh, BTW, you may be wondering whose wedding this is. It’s the nuptials for the Pakistani couple I mentioned a couple of months ago, which took place on Labor Day weekend. My daughter was in the wedding, but I pulled her photos solely for the purpose of posting them on December 26; I always write about Lydia on the 26th of the month.

ABC Wednesday – Round 7

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