Sunday, May 16, 2010


Frank Rich today on the quest to ensure that gay people remain second-class citizens:

The crusade ... is, thankfully, on its last legs. American attitudes about homosexuality continue to change very fast.

... [the] focus on Elena Kagan has been most revealing....

By late last week, double-entendre wisecracks about Kagan's softball prowess were all the rage on Fox News and MSNBC....

Rich goes on to refer to these efforts as "dying gasps of our culture wars."

"Dying," Frank? Frank, have you had the chance to make the acquaintance of, um, a certain Maureen Dowd, who I believe happens to be your colleague?

I'm sure I'll be accused of misreading Dowd's latest column. I'm sure I'll be told that she's merely mocking the vigor with which the Obama administration has asserted that Elena Kagan is heterosexual. It's just, y'know, the nature of satire that Dowd's way of mocking that excessive zeal is to snicker at Kagan's perceived lack of girliness in every conceivable way, piling on the snark.

The Dowd column is in the form of an e-mail purportedly written by Joe Biden to Obama supporters:

...she's a girl's girl. Just try dragging her out of La Perla! And I'm sure, under those robes, she'll be rocking some Juicy Couture jeans and Christian Louboutin suede boudoir slides. Uh-oh. Did I sound gay there for a minute? Well, I'm not. And neither is Elena Kagan.

She went to Harvard, not Smith. It's Elena, not Ellen. She barely drives, much less a Subaru. She’s never been spotted at Home Depot or the Meow Mix bar. And she doesn’t have Ani DiFranco on her iPod.

I recall how upset she was a few years ago when she got muscled into playing softball by some friends. She hates the game, absolutely HATES it. She cried and cried -- like a fragile, adorable little girl. She said the only thing worse was when she was forced to compete in the L.P.G.A. celebrity-lawyer classic....

What is this mocking? Put a gun to Dowd's head and she'd swear with her dying breath that she doesn't have a lesbian-hostile bone in her body -- she's just making light of other people's real or imagined discomfort. Well, I must be having a reading comprehension problem, because all I'm seeing is Dowd's discomfort.

I probably shouldn't use this to criticize Frank Rich -- although he says the anti-gay crusade is "on its last legs," he does say that the homophobes "are not going down without a fight." Nope -- and it looks as if they can call in Dowd for reinforcement.

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