Friday, December 23, 2011

I'm not a bigot, but ...

If you have to say it—

Yesterday the Sacramento Bee ran a front-page photo of the traditional welcome-kiss marking the return of the Oak Hill to its home port of Little Creek, Virginia. With the end of the “Don't ask, don't tell” era, the Oak Hill's homecoming became the first to be officially marked by a same-sex kiss, as Petty Officer 2nd Class Marissa Gaeta bussed her partner, Petty Officer 3rd Class Citlalic Snell.

Today, with a rapidity indicating how quickly it was dashed off and submitted, a whining note appeared in the Bee's Letters to the Editor column:
Photo could confuse kids

Re “A welcome-home kiss” (Page A1, Dec. 22): Surely there must have been considerable discussion before intentionally publishing the “first kiss“ photo on the front page. Did anyone consider that young children might be confused by the display on the front page?

The Bee has selfishly and disrespectfully usurped the rights of parents to choose where and when to have a thoughtful discussion, with their children, about homosexuality. Believe it or not, there are still some families whose values are not reflected in the type of photo that The Bee published; and they are neither intolerant nor filled with hate.

If the story was so darned important, then why did the text appear several pages back? Perhaps McClatchy should consider adding “Enquirer” to the title of the newspaper.

—Jane Doe, Rocklin
Oh, won't someone please think of the children!!

Thanks for your concern, “Jane.” (The excessively curious can obtain her real name from the Bee website. I won't use it here.) I can't help wondering how Jane's children managed to grow old enough to be “confused” without Mommie Dearest having had that “thoughtful discussion” she values so highly. It's not as though most toddlers spend any time perusing the pages of the newspaper. And why should even older children be upset by a glimpse of a same-sex couple kissing on the Bee's front page? Have they not seen plenty of same-sex kissing among family members and close friends? Doesn't grandma kiss mommy? Doesn't mommy have BFFs from high school or college who hug her and smooch her whenever they meet?

I mean, it's not as though the newspaper photo will unduly disturb youngsters just because mother has neglected to instruct them—in a “thoughtful discussion”—about cunnilingus, strap-ons, and tribadism. Jane Doe has constructed a straw lesbian.

She wants us to believe that people who object to displays of same-sex affection “are neither intolerant nor filled with hate.” But I don't believe that. Not filled with hate? Maybe, but that's not self-evident. Filled with intolerance? Definitely.


Liz Ditz said...

Jane Doe has constructed a straw lesbian.


And on another note, I sort of lost interest in the 1632 series. Should I go back?

Zeno said...

1632? It's not something one must read, but it's fun. Of course, having written a novel with dozens of characters and hearing pre-publication readers offer suggestions on making them easier to distinguish, I have to say readers of the "Ring of Fire" novels can easily get lost trying to track the thousands of cast members. Fortunately, only a somewhat manageable subset are key. But don't expect Eric Flint et al. to telegraph who they are. Just as you're getting acquainted with some of them, they get killed off.

Anonymous said...

So, in the end, you're really telling us that you don't have any respect for a parents opinion, responsibility, or right to censor what their children are exposed to, right? I suppose you also want to see the rating system at the theater banned as well, right?

The basic premise, that a parent is supposed to exert some kind of control over what a child is exposed to is at the very heart of the argument. It's likely that you would want a parent to be convicted of child abuse if they were to allow the children to view sexually explicit content, or listen to music with explicit lyrics, no?

Zeno said...

In brief, Anonymous, I have no respect for this parent's opinion. None at all.

If she decides that the front page of the Bee is too "adult" for her children, then she should refrain from sharing the newspaper with them. (Although, in this instance, what she thinks will shock the children is pretty ludicrous.)

As for the movie rating system, I don't think I expressed an opinion about that. However, I think parents should use whatever information is available to them in order to make good decisions on behalf of their children. Unfortunately, if you are a silly bigot like "Jane Doe" of Rocklin, you probably won't make many good decisions and you will live in perpetual discomfort because your panties are always in a twist.

ArtK said...

Anonymous: You're right, it is about parents exercising control on behalf of their children. Which is why "Jane Doe" needs to keep the paper out of the hands of her children. She can censor what her kids see -- she doesn't get to censor what my kids see.

As far as I'm concerned, "Jane" has her panties in a twist over something trivial. Her children won't be harmed. Unless, of course, you think becoming more tolerant and understanding that gays are human is harm. Which wouldn't surprise me a bit.

Anonymous said...

Eagerly awaiting an awesome Christmas with family post.

Ms. Daisy Cutter said...

"So, in the end, you're really telling us that you don't have any respect for a parents opinion, responsibility, or right to censor what their children are exposed to, right?"

Not if the parent is a bigot. If you want to keep your kids in a bubble, that's your problem and your responsibility. Society isn''t obliged to cater to your prissy and prejudiced ideas about what's "proper" for kids to see.

Martyr said...

Some advice for Mrs. Jane Doe. You may not want to put such a conversation off for too much longer. Hypothetically speaking it’s better that you initiate the discussion. Your children, mine, and everybody else’s will gather information from many sources. Perhaps they’ve already garnered some questionable information from playground friends. Evidently you feel strongly about what knowledge, carnal or otherwise your child and the children of others obtain. Why then abdicate your position of responsibility?
What would you have them learn, and from whom?

Anonymous said...

If Jane Doe wants to procrastinate, that's no one's problem but her own.

Anonymous said...

Well Zeno, the only redeeming thing about your opinion in this matter is that you, at the least, recognized this parent's autonomy over the situation at hand whether you have any respect for it or not.

However, when you jumped to the irrational conclusions about Jane Doe's bigotry and how people who may be bigoted are not capable of making good decisions, you undermined the good portion of your original retort.

If you read this woman's explanation for her objection you should be able to ascertain she is willing to talk about the topic and doesn't necessarily demonstrate that she is against homosexuality.

Jane Doe states, "The Bee has selfishly and disrespectfully usurped the rights of parents to choose where and when to have a thoughtful discussion, with their children, about homosexuality."

What you like to call bigotry may be a form of protection the mother is trying to provide to her child. To not recognize this as an potential explanation for this situation , and any other possible explanations as well, is to hold it in a very narrow scope. Even if the mother is bigoted, who is to say that her desire to shield her child from this aspect of human behavior isn't a good thing for her child as well as other children? The idea that exposure to homosexuality is harmless to a child's development is not a given fact, it's an assumption you're making for all of us.

Furthermore, you've not demonstrated objectivity in this matter. In fact, you've only demonstrated your own bigotry in the process by alluding to the idea that a person who may not approve of homosexuality does not have the right to do so. By the standard you're setting, a person who is not homosexual should not resist any sexual advances by someone of their same sex. Homosexuality and heterosexuality are by their very nature discriminatory. The only people immune from being called bigots are the bisexuals!

The real discussion here is about sex and while it is true that this woman objected to the lesbian aspect of this particular photo, which may not fully discuss the greater topic, the reason why children ought to be provided a better introduction to homosexuality is because when children enter their teen years they are already in an awkward sexual state. And if a child gets rejected by the opposite sex they may rush to the wrong conclusion this may mean that they are gay. Admittedly, this is an artificial construct, but to have to explain why two women are kissing to a developing child who sees this on the front page means that not only does the parent have to explain homosexuality, they also must explain heterosexuality too. If the child isn't ready to intellectualize heterosexuality, the burden is how amplified and they must also internalize homosexuality at the same time.

As far as the movie rating system reference, no you didn't state any opinion about it. I used it as a rhetorical device and offered a speculation originating from me on how you might see another similar type of situation. I don't believe, in my opinion, that I should have to explain that to you.

In the end, I am sure you will have some terse words to share with me about my opinion. Suffice to say, I do not think they will be of substantive value.

Zeno said...

Congratulations, Anonymous. You are correct about the terseness of my response. You will not, however, be a good judge of the substantive nature of its content because you go on at great length to say very little.

I did not say that Jane Doe had no right to disapprove of homosexuality and to share that disapproval with her children. I did, though, say that makes her a bigot. Narrow-mindedness is a sure indicator of that.

Furthermore, if Jane gets into such high dudgeon over a relatively innocent front-page photo, she is also a highly-strung bigot.

And you, sir or madam, are an apologist for same.

Anonymous said...

It's apparent you didn't understand the very nature of my comment which is demonstrated by not addressing the multiple points which call into question your own premises.

Zeno said...

I am pleased to see that I have served as a good example for you, Anonymous, and you have learned to be succinct. Unfortunately, you have confused the notions of "failing to address" and "dismissing out of hand." (Hint: I'm doing the latter.) You're an apologist for bigotry. The rest hardly matters.

Anonymous said...

Zeno, calling people you disagree with a bigot is very bigoted of you.

Personally I don't give a damn what Lesbians do because they don't procreate.

Zeno said...

A more sophisticated-sounding version of your argument is, "Tsk-tsk. People who say we should be more tolerant are so intolerant of intolerance." Give it a try. It's a big hit with pseudo-intellectuals and fits you like a glove. (Actually, it might be necessary to take it in a bit on the sides.)

By the way, it completely gives the game away if you say ignorant things while trying to give the impression of erudition (faux or otherwise). Saying that lesbians don't procreate (you don't actually know any, do you?) gives the same impression as saying, "Duh, me is super smart!"

Anonymous said...

Ignoring my comments without rebuttal just gives them more power in the face of an otherwise intellectually sparse and bigoted comment thread.

You do what you want, but in the end my comments present valid counter-arguments that you can choose to ignore.

Ignoring them does not invalidate them.

Zeno said...

Failing to recognize a rebuttal doesn't invalidate the rebuttal, Anonymous. Your arguments were premised on the notion that Jane Doe is a reasonable person and I pointed out evidence that she wasn't. Your inability to grasp that point suggests you are a bit dim. That you are ignorant has already been established.

P.S.: Most of this "intellectually sparse" thread was populated by you, at quite some length.

Anonymous said...

Calling people you don't know bigots because you disagree with their point of view is like saying "Duh, me is an closed minded bigot!"

Tit for Tat. You have me confused with the other fella, fella. I see right through your attempts to make believe you're smarter than those around you, Zeno. You're a dime a dozen on the internet.

Zeno said...

Emulation is the sincerest form of flattery, Anonymous.

And I really am smarter than those around me, especially when I'm hanging out with Anonymous on this thread. (More literate, too.)

Anonymous said...

I'm sure you tell yourself that all the time Zeno. Now you need to address the fact that you're a bigot and we'll be making progress.

Anonymous said...

Well, since you're confused about who is who, it's apparent you aren't as smart as you would like us to believe. If you cannot tell the difference between me and the other fellow who has chimed in you aren't following the conversation closely.

For one, you showed you had an opinion on her, not that she was bigot.

For seconds, I lived with a lesbian for four years. And for that matter, how do you know I am not a lesbian myself? You make too many grande assumptions to be an educator, let alone a mathematician.

Just leave a message letting me know when you want to actually debate the topic...

Zeno said...

I'm actually charmingly modest about my intellectual attainments, but other people keep noticing how smart I am. It's slightly embarrassing, but I take it in stride.

Calling me a bigot is an interesting riposte, but I'm sure if you try really, really hard you can devise a nice excuse for me. Practice should pay off.

Zeno said...

Ha! Two with one blow.

Anonymous said...

He didn't call you a bigot, I did. You're not as smart as you think you are. My opinion that you're a bigot is solely based on your use of the word when calling others bigots.

My apologies to the other poster (Anonymous) whoever you are. This format stinks, you can have it all to yourself Zeno, besides you're boring and have problems figuring out who is who.

Zeno said...


Anonymous said...

Sorry pal... You'll need to figure it out how to defend your own bigotry for yourself.

Are you going to continue to avoid the topic?

Remember, I asserted that you made an assumption that the exposure isn't harmful to children. How are you going to defend it when society by-and-large has concluded that sex is a taboo topic until at which point the parent, or the government deems to be so?

Either get to the debate or just cackle on calling me a bigot. I personally don't care. As far as I am concerned you lost when you went off topic. You're a small minded person if you can't argue the points without resorting to this childishness.

Anonymous said...

Zeno, you left out the vulgar ending of QED.


Zeno said...

A most excellent point, Anonymous @ 6:55, but a dry chuckle is more my style.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous: "Remember, I asserted that you made an assumption that the exposure isn't harmful to children. How are you going to defend it when society by-and-large has concluded that sex is a taboo topic until at which point the parent, or the government deems to be so?"

Wait! The Bee had a picture of lesbian sex on the front page??!!!

(Goes to check out paper)

Nope. Just a couple of sailors kissing. Not even any tongue. It says quite a lot about "Anonymous"(and he IS Legion) when he equates being open about having a same-sex relationship with actual sex in public.

Good post and "interesting" discussion Zeno.

Acronym Jim

Zeno said...

The Bee had a picture of lesbian sex on the front page??!!!

Indeed not, Jim. The Bee keeps missing one opportunity after another to increase its circulation!

Fukuda said...

It's funny how anonymous rushes(Because anon is legion, but still only one person, right? Especially when they don't even have what it takes to post using a real nym) to prove Zeno's point everytime.

No, opinions don't deserve any respect per se. This happens to me everytime, I've had people in class (last year of college, mind you) seriously suggesting that mentally disabled people and people with psychiatric disorders should be executed, or that we should start killing people because we're overpopulating the world.

These examples are extreme but sadly common in my experience. Cries of "disrespect for other people's opinions" and "censorship" occur when I immediately confront these claims.

But no, there certainly are opinions which deserve no respect whatsoever.

Same with the crass irony of overprivileged people who ask their opinions to be respected as if they were being persecuted, especially when these opinions include silencing(like this current cover case) or persecuting other people...

But hey, no one ever died of irony or cognitive dissonance.