5 January 2005

Gay West Wing

One of the significant plots of last night’s West Wing dealt with
of C.J. possibly being gay.  She spends the whole day portrayed in
the episode dealing with shame, being second-guessed, watching people
speculate about her most interior and essential life in public, and
making excuses where none needed to be made.  And then she gets to
tell the press that her sexuality is none of their business.

A nice thought, but like another set of details last night, untrue. The
people who are most vociferous in their protestations that sexuality
should be a private matter also clamor the loudest for such knowledge
“when it’s relevant.”  The information should stay private when it
does not have any use, but it should become public when it has a use to
someone, seems to be the line of argument that’s really at work
here.  It’s disingenuous to say the least.  And for those of
us who actually don’t think that a person’s sexual orientation (at
least in the situation presented here) has bearing, there’s still
prurient curiosity (and all sorts of covering justifications) to
overcome our principles.

Part of me wants to believe that if more people could have the
experience like C.J. had, to face the potential for being
second-guessed, questioned, ostracism, and spoken about in false
secrecy, perhaps there’d be more potential understanding of gay people
and other sorts of people who suffer at the hands of power.

But I am not optimistic, for I see how other sorts of minorities, who
face similar bigotry, treat sexual minorities — in exactly the way
they wish not to be treated themselves.

C.J. may have learned, but I am not so sure the other members of the West Wing universe have.  And I am pretty sure the people of our non-imaginary world have not.

On another note from the episode, the cowardice that the president
showed in the face of a fundamentalist senator with a literalist
interpretation of the Bible was stunning.  The president got in a
couple of lines about trying to be Christlike on love; and that perhaps
the literalism was not the only way to read the Bible, that the Bible
may be literally true but that we can’t know enough to know that we
have it correct.  And he tries to convince the senator that an
anti-gay rider amendment to the budget bill has nothing to do with his
oath. “When I raised my right hand, I swore an oath to uphold the
Constitution, not to put everything I might believe into it.” 
“But, Mr. President, when you did that, where was your left
hand?”  And then the scene ends, as if to say that no more can be
said, that the senator’s simplistic understanding of the marvelous
complexity of the world proved the true view, after all.

Posted in Politicks on 5 January 2005 at 11:00 pm by Nate

We’re everywhere

Bloggers, that is.  There are a couple here at methods camp.

First, aufheben by Andrew Dilts
Andrew’s geektastic.  It’s great to find other poli sci grad
students with similar obsessions over moleskine notebooks, good
fountain pens, and talking computer stuff.  He, in fact, knows
MUCH more about all the web stuff than I do, which is nice, because the
use of words like CSS and XML among most of my colleagues is one of the
few things they profess no understanding of and which I find

Greg Hoadley
, a former colleague from Berkeley, keeps track of interesting news and his thoughts on it.

Posted in OnTheWeb on 5 January 2005 at 2:06 am by Nate