Today the streets of Manhattan’s West Village were packed with revelers celebrating the New York Pride March that happens every year on June 28 to commemorate what was essentially the beginning of a global gay rights campaign, the so-called Stonewall Riots (more on that in a moment).
My wife and I attended our first Pride March, or as it’s more commonly referred to, the Gay Pride Parade, last year, entirely on accident. We had only lived in the city for a few weeks when we decided to spend a Sunday after church wandering around the West Village. We heard the music first as we made our way down Sixth Avenue and we followed the sound until we found the crowds, loosely packed initially, crowding outside of the many bars and restaurants in the Village, and then, suddenly, the sidewalks were so full of people that it became nearly impossible to get around.
As we had only intended to take a leisurely stroll, our goal once we found ourselves surrounded by partially undressed men, barely dressed women, drag queens and the like (there were, of course, a majority of not-so-eccentric people around, but somehow that detail is less memorable) was to find our way out of the crowds and back onto more lightly populated streets. But in that time we saw and experienced a lot of what went on at the parade and, again, being new to the city, we needed several more hours of walking just to debrief.
I’m going to avoid passing judgment on what we saw in the streets last year, or again this year as we tried to make our way through the West Village to the East to find a bar to watch the final game of the Confederation Cup tournament. I will say that I am and always have been of a more reserved temperament, embarrassed, even as a child, when my sister would do something eccentric like dance in the aisles at a family restaurant. So for that reason the kind of partying that happens as the Pride Parade makes its way through the city causes apprehension and embarrassment in me and, generally, an urge to flee.
But more than that it always causes me to question. How should I feel? Is what is happening here something that I should react to on moral grounds? What would a family member or church friend do or think in this situation? What do gay people who are more reserved think of the parade?
Last night my mom called for what I thought was going to be one of those regular, “How’s life in the big city” conversations that we’ve both grown so fond of, and for a minute there it seemed that is where we were heading. Her line of questioning was pretty standard:
“How’s Steph? How’s work? What are you writing? When are you coming home next?” All quite normal, and then this, “Are you a part of the Emerging Church?” I nearly spit out the beer I was quietly drinking in an old habit of hiding the fact that I would dare drink a beer whilst talking to her on the phone.
“Emerging Church? Now that’s a name I haven’t heard in a long, long time,” I say doing my best impression of Sir Alec Guinness as Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars: A New Hope.
The thing is, a few years ago I was all about the emerging church. As a principle I’m generally for all things emerging and the idea that we could do church in a whole new way, in a way that, frankly and controversially, seemed in many aspects more biblical than the kind of churches I grew up in was actually quite appealing.
Erika Lassen—a Brigham Young University graduate, stay-at-home mother of five, Texas native, Virginia resident and self-described conservative—objects to a Calvin Klein ad in New York. Here is a link to the maybe just "sexy," maybe "borderline pornographic" but definitely "attention-whoring" ad. But a WARNING before you click! Lassen writes:
I am grateful for freedom of speech. It is because of this right that I am able to publicly disagree with President Barack Obama. However, should there be a line drawn that freedom of speech should not cross? We are free as long as our freedoms do not infringe upon the civil liberties of others, correct?
An interesting thing happens when pornography is viewed. Like a leech, it clings to the brain. The image pops up in our minds at rather random, unexpected times. Even if we don't want to ever see the image again, it sneaks up on you. I do not want the Calvin Klein image in my mind and when I saw it on the front page of Fox I immediately wished I had not, but I did see it. And now I will need to force the image out whenever it springs on me.
Calvin Klein's freedom of speech has effectively infringed upon my freedoms.
Ok. Hmm. I have seen this ad and have never thought about it once. It went in one eyeball and out the other, never springing on my brain again at all. This may be because I don't have lesbian or foursome fantasies, or am totally mature, or jaded and conscience-calcified from living in the city or all of the above.
Even if it did bother me the bottom line is—I decided to live in New York, so I deal with it. Lassen has chosen to live in Virginia, so why does she care
After the jump: would my perspective change if I was the mother of five?
Someone sent me a link to ChristWire.org with the query, "Is this a joke, or am I just scarred because I know people who actually sort of think like this?" I took a look, posted a link and asked the same thing.
You have to wade through several posts to figure out it is, in fact, a joke. ("Mexican Zombie Flu Raises Black Rapper 'Tupac' From the Dead" finally tipped us off.) Now I have spent many a riotous hour reading LarkNews.com, so I can appreciate Christian satire. My main objection is that Christ Wire is so clumsy and heavy-handed that it's just not funny. (Although another friend said that added to the intrigue, because it's so close to believable.)
So why am I drawing everyone's attention to non-funny satire? I have a theory that the best satire has a little bit of affection behind it. You love a community that, because it is made up of humans, always fails to live up to its grandiose goals. Satire just slyly points out that discrepancy and so it's a kind of exhortation. That's why people sometimes hate it — it's truer than reality.
Anyway, Christ Wire is like watching a non-funny person with an obnoxious laugh constantly crack himself up. Read Lark News instead.
In light of Joshua Green's call to "Regulate Pundits!" let's take a refresher course in the recent truly substantive coverage of the Letterman-Palin feud.
Today in a pleasant post on The Atlantic, Green said we should hold pundits accountable for getting it all wrong:
Yes, pundits are a plague on us all. It is time we acted.
The crowning indignity, of course, is that they're usually wrong. Not just off-by-a-few-degrees wrong, but invading-Iraq-is-a-good-idea wrong. "Dow 36,000" wrong. And what are the consequences? There are none at all! You can blow the biggest questions of the day, time after time, and still claim to be a discerning seer.
Well, there ought to be consequences. It's not as if blogs and propaganda outlets don't keep track of this stuff. In Washington, regulation is back in fashion. If we can regulate tricky things like credit-default swaps, surely we can regulate pundits.
On June 12, after Letterman's first apology, Margaret Carlson said on The Daily Beast, "Palin Can't Outsmart Letterman":
There is only one reason Palin should relent—she’s not a good enough politician to play. … Picking a fight with a trained comedian, refusing to accept his apology, and continuing to battle after the white flag is shown reveals a complete lack of political sophistication.
This is what we all thought, but there's no doubt now that Palin won and Letterman lost.
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