Wednesday, November 17, 2010


John Cole is right about Willow Palin and the anti-gay slurs she casually tossed off on Facebook:

Yes, Willow Palin said something stupid on her facebook page. Big deal. She’s sixteen, and most of the time when a sixteen year old opens his or her mouth, something stupid will fall out. Often times, they say things and don't even really think about what they are saying. So spare me if I refuse to get all worked up about what she wrote. There is a reason we call sixteen year olds "minors" and don't let them vote, drink, etc.

But, um, haven't some of us been taking such tossed-off slurs somewhat seriously in recent years? You know, on the assumption that kids who think the worst thing you can call another kid is a euphemism-for-a-homosexual are potential haters of actual homosexuals?

There are serious attempts to reach kids with just that message. You'd have to be naive to expect the idea to sweep the nation, with such slurs banished overnight, but some reasonable people think it actually matters.

In any event Willow may be a minor, but her mother and father are grown-ups, and her mother clearly wants to be president of the United States. Is it unreasonable to think she has a responsibility to weigh in on this? Does she approve of such talk? Does her husband? You can laugh, but as recently as two years ago, when we had a vice president who'd endorsed gay marriage (if only for his own daughter's benefit), Palin herself went out of her way to say her best friend is gay. For a brief moment there, it was looking as if homophobia, at least of the overt kind, was going to be rejected or downplayed by right-wingers with national ambitions in the future.

That moment is over, obviously, as seen in John McCain's Don't Ask, Don't Tell flip-flop and his wife's seemingly forced recantation. (By the way, what's the matter, John? The election's over. You won. You afraid somebody will put a hold on your nomination as Secretary of Defense in 2013 if you're not anti-gay?)

I'm wasting too many words on this, but I still think it's appropriate to ask? Sarah and Todd, do you think it's appropriate to use those words? I'd be happy with mild reproval. I just think reproval is appropriate. I don't think it's wrong to ask that of the parents.

Thought exercise: If Malia Obama called a white Southern classmate a "dumb redneck," how many people on the right do you think would say "it's just kid stuff"?

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