Friday night is traditionally cocktails-with-friends night, and last week’s debrief took place at St. Cece’s, which used to be a bad Irish bar/restaurant and is now a much better one, not Irish anymore but with all the decor left mainly untouched.
Everyone was sitting outside, summer being short and this summer particularly so. We sat inside.
Of course, topic one was SCOTUS, followed immediately by the president’s eulogy in Charleston. I said there what I said in the comments Friday, that this is truly an extraordinary presidency, one I don’t expect to see again in my lifetime. If you missed the speech, I urge you to look it up online and watch it. First, you might find it helpful to read James Fallows’ analysis. That’s because the speech is so good you’re going to want to just let it wash over you, and knowing why it’s so good will help you appreciate it so much more:
Here are the three rhetorical aspects of the speech that I think made it more artful as a beginning-to-end composition than any of his other presentations:
— The choice of grace as the unifying theme, which by the standards of political speeches qualifies as a stroke of genius.
— The shifting registers in which Obama spoke—by which I mean “black” versus “white” modes of speech—and the accompanying deliberate shifts in shadings of the word we.
— The start-to-end framing of his remarks as religious, and explicitly Christian, and often African-American Christian, which allowed him to present political points in an unexpected way.
I’ve noticed something over the weekend; I’m not hearing much discussion of this from the usual suspects who bemoan the lack of religion in daily life. Rod Dreher, as previously noted, it having a nelly-ass meltdown over same-sex marriage, and the coming purge of Christians he is dead-set convinced is going to happen ANY MINUTE NOW. I won’t link to a specific post. You can just hit the home page and scroll.
Pretty much everyone, from right to left, is melting down in one way or another over SSM. It is a big, big moment in our history, a real arc-of-justice thing, so I totally understand. This was the other big topic at Friday cocktails, and for once, I don’t think I have to give you a linkage roundup, although I thought this column, by the Freep’s consistently excellent Brian Dickerson, was, yes, excellent. It’s about an estranged gay partner who had the misfortune to have her custody battle in recent years, when she was a legal non-entity in the lives of three children she helped raise for a decade. It’s moving and sad, and when you contrast her story with Dreher’s chicken-littling, it’s even more so.
(Oh, and I don’t know if you’ll get the same autoplaying ad on the autoplaying video that I did, but man, it’s fucking weird — a “Michigan Celebrates Marriage” campaign from the Catholic church, of all entities. Horrifying bad taste, considering the circumstances, if you ask me.)
The above got us through two rounds of drinks, and then someone checked Twitter, and it was all about the hog story, a real OID about a guy who died — not in his own house, but nearby, very OID — and a couple days later the cops get a call that there’s a live pig in the guy’s basement, who’s allegedly been surviving on human remains. That last part turned out to be b.s., but the pig was very real, a female living up to her hocks in her own shit. Poor piggy! And when the cops got there, it turned out the steps to the basement were missing, because of course they were. So there was a several hours-long situation, with neighbors gathering at the yellow tape line and everybody joking about barbecue.
We talked about dropping by, maybe with a six-pack or something, but then they somehow fashioned a ramp that the pig found agreeable, and she was free. She’s going to a shelter or sanctuary or something, and as long as she doesn’t have any serious medical conditions, she’ll be living out her days there. Thank god, because that pig earned her some retirement.
More happened over the weekend, but let’s save something for the rest of the week. Lord knows what it’ll be like. (The prison breakout story is already wrapping up.) Let’s hope for the best.
Deborah said on June 29, 2015 at 1:19 am
We went to Abiquiu this evening, it was supposed to be a picnic on our land but of course it rained and we ended up at the home of one of our guests. Some good friends, a lesbian couple were the other guests and the topic of conversation was mostly about the ACA and marriage equality. Our friends got officially married a couple of months ago when NM opened the door for that to happen. A good time was had by all, I’m tired now and ready to hit the hay, as they say.
Sherri said on June 29, 2015 at 1:53 am
I was in TN and AL the last several days to go to my nephew’s wedding, and managed to avoid any unpleasant discussions with family about politics or religion, so success! My shoulder muscles are starting to unclench now, and we leave for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival on Wednesday.
Dexter said on June 29, 2015 at 3:17 am
The most vibrant, joyous, happy week since forever, and just one sad part…Bob Schieffer picked this time to retire. I miss him already. I usually hate anchor and talk show host changes anyway; the last one I championed was when the late Tim Russert took over Meet the Press from Garrick Utley in 1991.
Brian Williams is forgotten already, and he seems to have scant allies. I don’t care for Lester Holt but he’s better than the competition and I am used to NBC correspondents , especially Richard Engel the war man and Anne Thompson , NBC News’ Chief Environmental Affairs correspondent.
adrianne said on June 29, 2015 at 5:55 am
Incredibly, my former newspaper, now in the hands of Gatehouse greedheads, did not have any mention of the same-sex marriage ruling on Saturday’s front page. Not. A. One. Instead, here’s breaking news: a big photo of high school graduates (Last Friday/Saturday in June is the big weekend for graduations in the Empire State). And here we are, in the land of the “marrying mayor,” former New Paltz Mayor Jason West went all Gavin Newsome in 2004 and married 18 same-sex couples in front of village hall. Instead, they had a lame-ass AP story and hurried together “reaction” story WTF?
coozledad said on June 29, 2015 at 6:49 am
What I found devastating about Obama’s Pinckney eulogy was its call to witness the forbearance of suffering we’ve come to demand of the victims of white terror. It seems every generation has to have someone come down from the mountaintop and remind us why a society constructed on the foundations of intolerance isn’t acceptable. That patience and grace are transcendent, inhuman properties demanded of people who are denied justice.
Because what we would do when faced with similar injustices is too horrible to contemplate. In fact, what we do when we are sleek and satisfied is horrible.
That speech was given under the Dixie swastika, because they couldn’t pull it down for one fucking day. Nikki Haley and her weepy weep was just so much sorority girl theater.
No one moved to convene a special session of the legislature and remove that flag last week, because the monsters are going to try and wait it out again, until white America returns to history the way white likes it.
beb said on June 29, 2015 at 7:58 am
Another block party in Detroit gets shot-up. What’s going on here?
Over the weekend I read an post about gun control laws that we could, perhaps, possibly enact. One would be to enforce the current bans on the kinds of people who can not possess a gun. That would require an effective background check for felonies, restraint orders and admissions to mental hospitals conducted on everyone who buys a gun. But the idea I thought was most interesting was requiring gun owners to carry liability insurance the way you do when you own a car.
Bitter Scribe said on June 29, 2015 at 10:26 am
That Dreher guy keeps pushing something called “the Benedict option,” which as far as I can tell means gay people should just never have sex. At least he doesn’t think the Holy Spirit can chase away the gay.
Dreher quotes some other doofus who concedes, a propos of gay people choosing to obey God by never having sex, “There won’t be droves of them, surely.” No shit.
nancy said on June 29, 2015 at 10:31 am
No, the Benedict Option is opting out of the culture entirely. At first it was about fucking off to Idaho or something to live apart from the world, but I think Rod would miss the UPS deliveries from Dean & Deluca, so now it’s about doing it while staying in the same place.
Disconnecting cable, basically. Plus a lot of prayer and endless blathering about it.
As for celibate gays, they’re always, always trotting out this woman named Eve Tushnet, who’s a Jew converted to Catholicism, and a celibate lesbian. She’s their droves. She seems to be a nice person and quite thoughtful, but I can’t respect anyone who writes for the American Spectator.
brian stouder said on June 29, 2015 at 10:40 am
I mean, Good Christ! These people call themselves “conservatives”*, and favor small government (if any government at all)?
Talk about your totalitarians…these people conjure up an American gulag?
*Again I say – browse the book To Make Men Free, a history of the Republican party. It is tremendously enlightening, and more than a little fascinating. The Original Recipe “movement conservatives”, lead by William F Buckley and his brother-in-law L Brent Bosell thought that Dwight Eisenhower(!!!) was a communist/liberal guy that needed stopped
Connie said on June 29, 2015 at 10:57 am
A brief local news story this morning: A man is dead after an accident involving fireworks Sunday evening in a Walled Lake neighborhood.
Police have not identified the victim.
Sources told Local 4 the man was in his late 40s and lit a firework off his head.
Sounds like a Darwin Award to me.
Jeff Borden said on June 29, 2015 at 11:01 am
Buckley’s rag is still dependably racist, though it’s considerably toned down from the days when WFB himself prattled on about the value of segregation and the inherent inability of negroes to live without the structures imposed by Jim Crow.
My favorite reaction about the rebel flag comes from some kind of shitstain named Todd Starnes, the very picture of a fleshy white douchebag, who says the liberal left intends to launch a “cultural cleansing” of the south. Taking down the colors of a traitorous nation and Warner Brothers’ decision to no longer sell model cars of the General Lee because of the rebel flag on the roof apparently qualify to this twit.
brian stouder said on June 29, 2015 at 11:17 am
I remember (30+ years ago!) when a firend told me her family would never buy Welch’s grape juice or jelly or what-have-you; just wouldn’t do it….and some time later I learned that that Welch guy was the original Bircher (and now I learn that the Koch brothers’ dad was in there, too)…..
I suppose the 2015 advantage is that whatever the lunatics are buzzing about (on any side) is readily accessible to all of us, and can be scrutinized and fact-checked.
Harder to be a McCarthy-ite for very long, when counter-arguments can fly so much more easily
Charlotte said on June 29, 2015 at 11:29 am
Did you all see activist and filmmaker Bree Newsome climb the pole to take down the flag? Badass. Everyone was polite, but still, very brave. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gr-mt1P94cQ
I was in Idaho last week for an academic conference — Assoc. for Literature and the Environment (ASLE) –my old cohort from before I left academia. It was really good — heard some terrific framing on the problems of the anthropocene. And then, after two days, I Could Not Sit In A Room anymore and had to come home. Just ahead of the 110 degree heat wave hitting that side of the Divide. 100 here and we’re bitching …
And now, back to the day job.
brian stouder said on June 29, 2015 at 11:32 am
Bree Newsome is the sort of “rebel” that I think personifies all that is great about America
brian stouder said on June 29, 2015 at 11:59 am
While Antonin Scalia continues to sputter like Mr Potter, in “It’s a Wonderful Life” – even when he’s on the winning side.
“Welcome to Groundhog Day,” Scalia said, noting that the court has repeatedly upheld the use of capital punishment
brian stouder said on June 29, 2015 at 12:15 pm
forgot the Scalia link
alex said on June 29, 2015 at 1:05 pm
Eve Tushnet… Sounds like a splendid name for one of those life-size blow-up dollies they sell at the sex gismo emporium.
beb said on June 29, 2015 at 1:15 pm
The supreme court is filled with a lot of very old people, (except for Roberts who is too young…) and they’re all afraid of retiring lest the wrong kind of person be appointed to replacement. With so many very elderly people on the bench it would not be surprising if one or more of them started displaying dementia. Scalia, I’m looking at you.
Connie, isn’t one of the requirements for the Darwin Award is to remove one’s self from the gene pool before reproducing? At 40, that Walled Lake guy might have already reproduced.
Sue said on June 29, 2015 at 1:48 pm
One assumes the NRA and all its members are A-ok with this.
Connie said on June 29, 2015 at 2:08 pm
Good point Beb, I’ll check the obit when it rolls out to see if he qualifies.
Sherri said on June 29, 2015 at 3:46 pm
Well, I got my wish with the Arizona redistricting case, but the death penalty case was odious. Now that Kennedy has legalized gay marriage with his empathy for the children, can somebody go to work on him on the death penalty? Or can somebody convince the 4 resolute pro-life Catholic Justices that pro-life means anti-death penalty too? (Kennedy is not as resolute a pro-lifer, which is why Roe v. Wade hasn’t been overturned, it’s just being hollowed out.)
Kirk said on June 29, 2015 at 3:50 pm
“Pro-life” obviously is a misleading slogan meant to curry favor. I call them what they are, which is anti-abortion.
Sherri said on June 29, 2015 at 3:51 pm
Dahlia thinks Scalia is still trying to dissent on Obergefell in responding to the dissent in Glossip today: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/the_breakfast_table/features/2015/scotus_roundup/scalia_in_glossip_v_gross_supreme_court_decision_oklahoma_may_kill_using.html
brian stouder said on June 29, 2015 at 4:26 pm
Sherri, great link. Betcha a nickel that Dahlia is on Ms Maddow’s show tonight – which is always good in any case
alex said on June 29, 2015 at 4:44 pm
And justice wins out yet again: <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/immigration/2015/06/29/3675335/nbc-dumps-trump/" Adios, Captain Combover!
alex said on June 29, 2015 at 4:45 pm
Deborah said on June 29, 2015 at 5:33 pm
Something the right will never come out and say, but many think it http://talkingpointsmemo.com/cafe/gay-marriage-scotus-ross-douthat-oppression-vs-love
Basset said on June 29, 2015 at 6:09 pm
“heard some terrific framing on the problems of the anthropocene”
Thread win, Charlotte, if you can make us all understand that issue in twenty words or less.
MichaelG said on June 29, 2015 at 6:39 pm
I was amazed by Alito’s assertion that it would henceforth be incumbent upon the prospective executee to present a suitable and commonly accepted drug to facilitate the carrying out of his own death sentence. SCOTUS is turning into a clown car.
alex said on June 29, 2015 at 8:37 pm
Deborah, people like Douthat have always regarded homosexuality as just part of the overall “moral decline” that he bemoans. The marriage equality debate forced the right-wingers to temper their hostile tone and rhetoric because their gratuitous displays of bigotry weren’t playing well in the court of public opinion and wouldn’t have served them well in the court of law. You may have noticed that they went from dehumanizing and debasing us not so long ago, calling us perverts and reprobates and worse, to pointedly saying how much they love us and don’t wish us ill, they just don’t want us to marry because, you know, babies and tradition and blah blah blah. They have even gone so far as to make the argument that gay people command society’s utmost respect and enjoy so much power and influence that it’s absurd to suggest that they are a minority in need of any sort of protection.
The respectful change in tone is welcome even if it isn’t sincere, and Douthat knows he wouldn’t be published in the NYT if he were to revert to Jerry Fallwell-style fag-bashing. He offers mush-mouthed pabulum not to rally the right but to try to make the right appear reasonable and respectable. A losing game, but I’m sure it pays well.
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 29, 2015 at 8:39 pm
Basset, “humans are an ecological problem.”
Nancy, the Dean & Deluca jibe was on target. I’m still baffled by the Benedict Option myself, and I’m closer to the source material (being anti-abortion and all that). But there’s a decent thread within his readers that says “if you have a problem with same-sex marriage/marriage equality, then the best and really only answer is to make traditional marriage something worth aspiring to, instead of letting it be an excuse for an expensive party at first and a framework for moral restriction later, and not much more.”
If there’s something I really think the Christian churches have to answer for in the last fifty years, it’s how we’ve enabled and celebrated the wedding-industrial complex. LGBT couples, beware: I’m not kidding, it’s a hungry and bottomless pit when you get into “Your Special Day” event planning, and I could start to sound downright Dreherish if I got going on the depradations of YSDism.
Sherri said on June 29, 2015 at 8:57 pm
Welcome back, Jeff(tmmo)!
Having spent hours watching a YSDist wedding this past weekend (and a fairly mild one at that) before giving up and leaving before the bride and groom, I concur with your feelings on the wedding industrial complex. I knew I was in trouble when I saw the bride coming down the aisle at this outdoor wedding and all I could think about was her expensive dress trailing in the dirt path that had just been rained on 45 minutes earlier.
Charlotte said on June 29, 2015 at 9:01 pm
Bree Newsome’s first interview: http://bluenationreview.com/exclusive-bree-newsome-speaks-for-the-first-time-after-courageous-act-of-civil-disobedience/
Oh Bassett, if we could do it in 20 words or less (although Jeff @31 does a great job) we wouldn’t have all travelled to Moscow Idaho to sit in rooms with no windows listening to one another try to work through the issues. If anyone is interested, and willing to parse theory, Donna Haraway was wonderful and funny (and I was thrilled to see the woman who saved my PhD project by providing a sanctioned path when my advisors thought I was nuts). A younger academic from the U. of Oregon named Stephanie Lemanager gave the keynote — she’s just published a book called “Living Oil” about petroleum and the ways it permeates our culture and she was astonishingly smart and interesting. Two questions kept coming up: what does it mean to be human (in the anthropocene)? and how can we inspire people to love the world, and one another, enough to save it? I don’t go to many of these anymore (since I left academia) but I was shocked in the best way about how panel after panel kept coming back to love as the thing that might save us.
alex said on June 29, 2015 at 9:15 pm
Deborah said on June 29, 2015 at 10:20 pm
Right Alex, but the part that struck me about the Amanda Marcotte piece I linked to about Douthat is this “To accept same-sex marriage is to accept this modern idea that marriage is about love and partnership, instead of about dutiful procreation and female submission. Traditional gender roles where husbands rule over wives are disintegrating and that process is definitely helped along by these new laws allowing that marriage doesn’t have to be a gendered institution at all…” That’s the part to me that the right doesn’t want to admit is part of their reasoning for objecting to marriage equality. Not that there isn’t more to it than that, but this is one of those unspoken objections that they haven’t admitted to, because it’s going to be quite unpopular, and they know it.
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 29, 2015 at 10:27 pm
It’s the division, among religiously inclined folk, between complementarianism and egalitarianism, which is one of the areas where even such as myself are forced to admit we’re more liberal than we like to think. The “complementarian” viewpoint says that men and women have complementary, but very different roles, so you’ll hear “women are important” with a loud or muted “but…” men have roles that women can’t hold, just as men can’t have babies. That’s why the Catholic and Orthodox and Southern Baptist and Independent Christian/Churches of Christ folk (and I believe most Missouri/Wisconsin Synod Lutherans) say with varying degrees of regret “so women can’t preach/teach men/lead in worship.”
But it grows out of a “gendered institution” view, as Deborah notes, of men’s and women’s roles in marriage and family life. Given that my wife keeps the books (and the passwords, and the accounting) while I do all the cooking in our house, we’re as anathema to some of my Christian brothers and sisters in our life and practice as gay couples — because maintaining “traditional” roles in marriage is considered the only way to follow God’s will, an inscrutability that’s beyond my taste for divine mystery.
MichaelG said on June 29, 2015 at 10:31 pm
Deborah, I had read Amanda Marcotte’s piece before you linked to it. I thought it was fantastic. She really nailed it.
alex said on June 29, 2015 at 11:07 pm
I think Marcotte says it a little differently than it has been said before, but it strikes me as essentially the notion that romantic love and sexual attraction are worldly temptations to be denied. The idealized marriage cannot be tainted by lust, which they abhor. So when it comes to maintaining the fiction that the only purpose of marriage is dutiful procreation, gay people aren’t helping, nor are single mothers or divorcees.
Yeah, it sucks trying to make people follow your archaic rules in a secular world that doesn’t respect them. Maybe they can go colonize an uninhabited place and form their utopian society. It would be nice to get them off our backs and out of our hair.
Jolene said on June 29, 2015 at 11:13 pm
A late “thanks for linking” re the Dickerson case on the custody dispute. A heartbreaking story, sensitively told. Made me aware of a set of issues it hadn’t really occurred to me to think about.
Jolene said on June 29, 2015 at 11:15 pm
I meant to say Dickerson story, not Dickerson case. Anyone checking in late will be enriched by reading it.
Julie said on June 30, 2015 at 3:33 pm
Alex @38 they don’t mind lust, just not in the marriage. Keep it in the hotel or workplace where it belongs!
Joe said on July 11, 2015 at 5:57 pm
Speaking of “Michigan Celebrates Marriage”, I resent that this sounds like they speak for the entire state. Their website, michigancelebratesmarriage.com, presents the same old Catholic agenda of “one man one woman”. This is clearly an attempt to fight back against the legal and moral progress which has been achieved by the Supreme court.
Interestingly, in making their tiresome website they neglected to register michigancelebratesmarriage.org, and someone else has grabbed it is using it to promote a much more friendly and accepting attitude.