Tuesday, March 26, 2013

News and commentary

I know I should follow the Supreme Court news from the newspaper. And I am. These are exciting times!

But the Facebook response is so compelling. Friends who've replaced their profile photo* with equal signs of different colors. Some, I think, post one, then switch the color. Some of these profile-switches get more likes than others. Is this about how gay-friendly their friends are? Or how many friends they have, how much their friends like them? Or how late in the day they got around to doing this? Time zones? Is Facebook advocacy inauthentic if not backed up by in-the-trenches support, or better than nothing? What does it all mean?

More substantively, a friend of several friends, a person with I suppose not so strict privacy settings, has produced an epic tirade attacking same-sex marriage and straight allies... from the left. And not just the usual critique from the left, that marriage is a limiting, religiously-tinged institution for boring straight people. This person seems to think straight support for same-sex marriage is some kind of conspiracy to deny AIDS patients medical care, and that to be an ally, you need to fight capitalism. 38 people, last I checked, like this. (So much for the gay, married, and capitalist.) I was on the cusp of considering posting something myself - against my general rule of not getting involved with solving-contentious-issues-on-Facebook - until I realized that the thread didn't originate with anyone I know or even know of, and thus that settings were such that this thread was, for me, read-only. For the best!

I've seen no evidence of anyone on my list (which does have some political diversity, what with my own political meanderings over the years, and what with UChicago) opposing same-sex marriage from the right. I remember a NYT story recently about the existence of young anti-SSM activists, but there are NYT stories about people who eat only farmers'-market food year-round and other ideological micro-minorities. Is my newsfeed devoid of opposition because it's become socially acceptable for conservatives/Republicans to support gay marriage, so whichever percentage opposed it for party-line reasons (as opposed to religious reasons, why-has-sexuality-been-split-from-reproduction reasons, or simple bigotry) now get to either support it or not care either way? Yes, fine, an unrepresentative sample if there ever was one, but it's uplifting all the same.

*My profile picture is my dog in profile, but I am, for the record, in favor of marriage equality. I asked Bisou (note to self: dissertate from a library or coffee shop, not home), and she's on board, although she remains miffed that the boy-dog she chases around the dog run definitively prefers being chased - and caught - by another of his kind. In this way, poodle female adolescence resembles the human variety.


Andrew Stevens said...

Conservatives by their nature are skeptical of change and slow to support movements like this one (which I first heard of in 1991, so it's less than 20 years old as an argument). The moral argument for gay marriage is, in my opinion, fairly convincing and Andrew Sullivan's conservative case for gay marriage has always been a good one. I never had any doubt conservatives would eventually come around on it just as William Buckley did on civil rights. I think your optimism is justified.

Andrew Stevens said...

Sorry, I said "less than," when I meant to say "only a little more than."

Anonymous said...

This may not be an exhaustive list of reasons for the absence of dissent on your facebook feed.

Phoebe Maltz Bovy said...


That's what I hope! I also remember liking David Brooks's conservative case for SSM, however long ago that was.


You hint at something deeper, but are probably just observing that people's friends tend to share their politics. You don't spell it out, so I can't know. If it's something deeper, I'd be curious.

Anonymous said...

And if your friends don't share your politics but determine such things as your employment, there may be good reasons to keep quiet in mixed company, so to speak.