At least it gave me an excuse to use a bikini photo I found online

>> Monday, May 04, 2009

I've had, just so you know, a slightly crappy morning. It could be worse--oh, it could be so much worse. But it hasn't been good, no.

Anyway. So, I'm sitting around waiting for something, and I'm reading Salon on the old smartphone while I'm waiting, and I find myself reading the latest entry in one of Salon's newest features, "Ask A Wingnut", in which a "real live conservative and former Bush official" answers questions for lefty readers of the lefty news-and-opinion site. It's cute, shallow and cute, mainly because there's a kind of watching-pandas-at-the-zoo vibe to the whole exercise of a former Bushie writing anonymous responses to questions that are really more the equivalent of tapping on the glass then anything, but "Glenallen Walken" (that's the wingnut's nom de guerre) seems to know he's playing the role of a singing, dancing monkey in the middle of a minefield in enemy territory, and he does get a few points for cheerfully agreeing to jive and shuffle for our amusement.

Anyway, the piece isn't worth that much consideration, except this comment did draw my attention:

America remains a center-right country. Its economic values are still based on the values of the capitalist system. And our social values are equally center-right, as could be seen as so many people rose to the defense of Miss California, Carrie Prejean, after she stated her opposition to same-sex marriage in the Miss USA pageant. She may have lost the crown, but I think she won the country.

Now, it may well be that America is a center-right country. I'm not too sure about that--an awful lot seems to depend on how a pollster frames a particular question, actually--but regardless of where most Americans are on the political spectrum, what's really funny about the above quote is how reality-challenged it is, and how it highlights a problem that the GOP doesn't seem to be aware of.

You all know about the Prejean vs. Hilton mess, I'm sure. If you somehow don't, I'm sorry to have to let you down. I'm afraid it wasn't:

Please join us for a historic discussion featuring noted death penalty activist Sister Helen Prejean (author of Dead Man Walking, the basis for the award-winning 1995 film) and hotel financier Conrad Hilton (founder of the Hilton chain of hotels and resorts), as they discuss politics, faith and personal responsibility in a moving and challenging intellectual debate.

No, no such luck. It wasn't even the humble nun taking Mr. Hilton's great-granddaughter by the ear for a stern Catholic-school thrashing, which no doubt would have been a pleasure to watch. No, Prejean/Hilton '09 consisted of Miss California, Carrie Prejean, appearing at Donald Trump's Miss America knockoff, "Miss USA" (clever, the way he they twisted the name and made it different, see?) and being asked a question about gay marriage by über-obnoxious celebrity blogger Perez Hilton. To which Ms. Prejean gave a predictably clueless response involving "opposite marriage," which used to be called "divorce" back where I come from and when I was five, but, you know, whatever.

Now, I hated to bring this whole thing up at all. I mean, I was sort of proud that my blog was one of the billions of blogs that wasn't sullied with the epic battle that occurred when the rapier-witted Hilton set his subtle, elegant trap for the quick-thinking Prejean, a trap he surely spent months working on, consulting with the world's leading ethicists and theorists in multiple disciplines ranging from marital history to biology to linguistics (if I'm not much mistaken, I believe Mr. Hilton spent two entire months mastering Koine Greek so he could study early versions of the Pauline epistles).

But "Glenallen's" comment made me laugh because it misses two crucial points about l'affaire des idiots that have nothing to do with gay marriage at all. The first is that there are a good many of us who are quite happy to defend Ms. Sunshine's right to believe and say whatever the hell she wants to, who also think she's frankly an insensitive moron with bad fake boobs. Prejean can say and think whatever she wants to--that's the nice thing about living in a free country, and while I know there were many who jumped down her throat, I'm more than willing to defend her, or, more accurately, her right to say stupid things. The second point is that Perez Hilton is a preening, talentless jackass who has captured the essence of celebrity for himself--he's famous for being famous--by talking about celebrities--who are themselves famous for being famous. It's very meta, if you want to give it more thought than it's worth.

The point being, of course, that there are plenty of people who leapt to Prejean's defense and onto Hilton's back who explicitly disagree with the socially conservative/popular Republican stance on gay marriage. "Supporting" Prejean doesn't necessarily mean what "Glenallen" wants it to, nor does attacking Perez Hilton. This kind of thing isn't that unusual, and is one of the reasons the Republicans are in trouble: they frequently seem to conflate defense of a person with defense of a position (or vice-versa), oblivious to the reality that many nuanced individuals from the left and the right subscribe to the view attributed to Voltaire: "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

And now I've given that whole business far more time than it deserved. How are you, today?

CORRECTION: Dr. Phil correctly points out that Miss USA isn't Donald Trump's knockoff, but predates Trump's involvement. Indeed, it seems Miss USA was started in 1952 by a swimsuit company, after a 1950 Miss America winner refused to pose in a swimsuit. Anyway, the snark has been amended in the original sentence. Thanks, Dr. Phil!


Leanright,  Monday, May 4, 2009 at 2:34:00 PM EDT  

I watched a little interview between some jackass at MSNBC and some jackass named Perez Hilton. Bringing up that he should have called her the "C" word instead of the "B" word. Mr. Hilton (I use "Mr" loosley) Mr. Prejean is allowed to express HER opinion. If you don't like the answer, then you should have prepared yourself for that, emotionally.

What we saw, was two complete idiots with differing opinions, for a moment, draw us all it. Kind of like an event at the Special Olympics (sorry, that was SO not PC). Why do we care what Ms. Prejean says, and why do we care what Ms. Hilton says? I mean, Really! She gets to have an opinion, and he gets to have a hissy-fit over it. As I see it, she's just exercising her "Womans right to choose". She chooses "Opposite Marriage" So what! And Eric, not trying to correct you but the "Opposite" of marriage is, I think, "Being Single", but I digress.

Ms. Hilton stated that 4 states allow gay marriage. Fantastic. That means that as it stands, right now, at this moment, 46 states do NOT. Now, I know I'm the resident conservative here, but when it comes to this topic, I just don't give a rats ass. There are too many other issues to concern ourselves with.

Can we all just enjoy Ms. Prejean for what she is? A hot blonde with a great body. THAT is really what this shameless contest is all about. If Ms. Hilton wants to answer questions, I suggest that next year, he squeezes his fat ass into a bikini, and takes hard-hitting questions just like he dishes out. Perhaps he could be asked questions about Batting Averages, or 3-point percentages. That should do it!

Nathan Monday, May 4, 2009 at 3:29:00 PM EDT  

Hilton was looking for his own headlines and he was going to ask the same question regardless of which contestant had the misfortune of pulling his name out of the hat. It was Prejean's bad luck to be the one. And regardless of who got that question, they were going to do their absolute best to answer it in as non-controversial of a manner as possible. (It's not for nothing that "wishing for World Peace" is/was the standard answer/non-answer.)

What's interesting is that just a few years ago, she probably could have gotten away with that answer. America is in the process of moving past her and she just hasn't noticed.

On the face of it, Eric, I agree with you. (I don't even particularly have any issues with Leanright's comment...who'da seen that coming?) So, yeah. I defend her right to say any damned-fool thing that bubbles to the top of her pretty little brain. If she'd been asked, "What frightens you?", and answered, "Negroes", I'd defend her right to say it...but I wouldn't fault anyone for calling her on being a racist bigotted asshole either.

Janiece Murphy Monday, May 4, 2009 at 3:42:00 PM EDT  

I think Nathan makes the salient point, here - the interesting bit is that there was an uproar over her backward answer.

Yay, progress, however slight!

And what Eric said. Perez wasn't my 'tard because he disagreed with the dumb blond (Hell, I disagreed with her - vehemently), he's a 'tard because he can't see the value in her right to be backwards in public. Plus he's a whiny little bitch, but that's secondary.

Yay, 1st Amendment!

Leanright,  Monday, May 4, 2009 at 3:50:00 PM EDT  

Okay...I butchered my grammar like a madman. Please give me a pass.

Random Michelle K Monday, May 4, 2009 at 7:01:00 PM EDT  

You all know about the Prejean vs. Hilton mess, I'm sure.I read this and thought the CA dolt and Paris Hilton got into it? What a meeting of the minds! Who was wearing less clothing?!

I was disappointed to discover we're still talking about the guy who is famous only for being snarky about famous people.

Random Michelle K Monday, May 4, 2009 at 7:02:00 PM EDT  

Though I bet a jello wrestling match between Prejean and Paris Hilton would gets lots of attention.

And be about as intellectually stimulating as the Miss USA pageant.

Leanright,  Monday, May 4, 2009 at 9:58:00 PM EDT  

THAT might be the first pay-per-view event I'd ever be willing to sign up for.

Dr. Phil (Physics) Tuesday, May 5, 2009 at 12:48:00 AM EDT  

BTW, Miss USA predates Trump's involvement. Though it has always been the less bright cousin to Miss America.

Dr. Phil

Jim Wright Tuesday, May 5, 2009 at 11:26:00 AM EDT  

...the less bright cousin to Miss AmericaNow that's an insult, talk about dumber than dirt :)

You know I don't even know who Perez Hilton is. Seriously, I don't think I've ever seen anything at all by him? Her? And the stupid Prejean chick? Just another dimwitted ignorant bimbo, who'll spend her whole life making a living on her tits and ass and bitching about how people don't respect her for who she is. Bah.

Leanright,  Tuesday, May 5, 2009 at 12:40:00 PM EDT  

I think my biggest issue with Hilton is that s/he cannot respect someones choice, simply because he does not agree with it. S/he needs to take a look in the mirror. S/he has made name for himherself by "outing" gay celebrities. Neil Patrick Harris (Doogie)was comfortably in the closet until Hilton outed him. There have been others.

Don't these people have the right to come out on their own? Is it really HIS/HER business to PUSH them out? If an individual is gay, and chooses to live that lifestyle in secret, then that is COMPLETELY their decision. Just like it's Prejean's decision to support "opposite" marriage, regardless of how much of a doofus she is.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary definition of tolerance states:

Sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one's own.

We can stop throwing around INTOLERANCE to discredit some group. Both side of each issue show intolerance. Perhaps Prejean is "intolerant" of gays and the issue of marriage (although her answer was stated as HER opinion and not an attack), But Hilton is also "intolerant" due to his criticism, NOT of her opinions, but of HER in general. Calling her a "bitch" is an attack. SHE did not "attack" any individual; she merely answered a question she was asked with honesty. Perhaps to win the crown next time, "NOT" standing up for her beliefs would be the best course of action. You may not agree with her, but you can't fault her for expressing what she feels about the issue.

I think Hilton is just going through the "change" that all ladies go through at some point.

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