Friday, November 15, 2013

Celebrities Behaving Badly And St. Elsewhere

Ta-Nehisi Coates has a nice post up riffing off of an Andrew Sullivan post about Alec Baldwin being a bigot. I honestly don't really follow celebrity news so I didn't realize all the things that Baldwin has in fact said. And yes I would have to agree with with both of them and say that from what I've read yes, Alec Baldwin has behaved in an abusive bigoted way and I really wish so many progressives wouldn't jump up to defend him.

Having said that I do want to say that I find these kinds of posts to be a bit frustrating. Rather than using the events as a spring board for say talking about the phenomena of racism and homophobia, a lot of authors go down the rabbit whole of writing a lot about how a certain person is terrible. And while I'd agree that Alec Baldwin has behaved in a terrible manner in the past, I don't think you can get a whole lot of mileage in the whole social change realm out of proving that one person (one celebrity even) is awful. Sadly enough, the world is full of terrible people.

Ta-Nehisi goes a little further and expands onto some important political points:
One need not believe that LGBTQ human beings are equal to support their right to marry, any more than one needed to be an anti-racist to support abolition, or an anti-sexist to support women's suffrage. There any number of self-interested reasons to support the advancement of civil rights.
I think that is spot on, but unfortunately Sullivan basically writes up a giant Alec-Baldwin-Is-Awful-And-Liberals-Should-Stop-Carrying-Water-For-Him type polemic and then debates some emails he says he got from liberals trying to carry water for Alec Baldwin (this is one of Sullivan's more annoying tendencies, he picks emails that "make the other sides argument" instead of actually engaging with the other side head on). And I'd agree this is an important argument to make! But the conversation could be so much more than that.

This will probably blow over, just like Mileygate and Imusgate and our periodical Tom Bernardgates here in Minnesota and, well this list could go on for pages. Maybe if enough people make enough of a stink we can get MSNBC to discipline Baldwin, or at least make him take some anger management classes or something, but the reality is Miley is bigger than ever (and probably right now is thinking of ways to outdo it in her next VMA appearance) and Imus and Bernard are still on the air and so on and so forth.

Which I think is a shame, because we could be having an interesting conversation about what it means to be homophobic, but instead are getting a lot of debate about how someone is a jerk.


Over the past two weeks at The Good Men Project I've been writing up quite the storm, well the usual two posts per week. But you should still go read them! I talked about why a hypothetical president Hillary won't change Washington all that much, I also highlighted how awful Ted Cruz's dad Rafael is, I talked about why the 2013 elections don't tell us much about what will happen in 2014, I also did a Veterans Day post about the legacy of the Iraq War (this was a bit out of my wheelhouse, but I was really pleased with the outcome), and today discussed the future of Obamacare (it's not going anywhere).

Read them all!

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