Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Equality and Respect, Celebrities and Pageants

If she's any sort of liberal at all, Eva Rodriguez is the sort of liberal that does liberalism no favors judging from her musings on the kerfuffle concerning Miss California, gay marriage, and pageant judge Perez Hilton. Rodriguez:

Prejean [Miss California] lost, Hilton averred, not because she gave the wrong answer in opposing gay marriage, but because she is a "dumb b----" who failed to offer any serious rationale for her position. I doubt that even a nuanced, sophisticated argument that rejected same-sex marriage would have appeased Hilton.
The epithets are arguably unhelpful, but wouldn't the failure to offer any serious rationale for a position on a controversial question constitute a valid reason to subtract points in a pageant? Sponsors of beauty pageants want to pretend that something is being assessed beyond physical beauty, so they require the contestants to speak improvisationally. This notoriously produces bland, boilerplate encomiums to the family, education, life's simple pleasures, interracial harmony, world peace, US Americans, South Africa, the Iraq, and the importance of maps, but asked about gay marriage, Miss California replied with a mix of misinformation and confusion. As a judge of the contestants, Hilton was right to notice the poor quality of the answer and subtract points for it.

As for Rodriguez's mention of a "nuanced, sophisticated argument that rejected same-sex marriage," she should recognize the futility of expecting any such from Miss California when even the best minds of the anti-gay faction have failed to produce one. Rodriguez continues:
Prejean and millions others like her have a right to their opinion -- and a right to express that opinion without facing the kind of adolescent vitriol spewed by Hilton over the past couple of days. It's the height of hypocrisy, not to mention counterproductive, that people such as Hilton demand rights and respect for their beliefs and lifestyles and yet try to pulverize those who express a different point of view.
And here is where Rodriquez truly goes off the rails: yes, Miss California has a right to her opinions; no, Miss California does not have a right to live free of sharp criticism of those opinions after expressing them in front of millions; and insofar as Hilton is demanding respect for his sexuality -- I'm not sure what the evidence for this demand is, but I grant it may be among his demands (I don't follow him) -- yes, he is prey to hypocrisy insofar as he does not grant reciprocal respect to that which he finds abhorrent. But insofar as Hilton's demand is for equal rights under the law, he is on the firmest of ground, and if she is a liberal, Eva Rodriguez should be able to separate the demand for equality from the emotional, cultural, and political atmospherics that tend to encumber and cloud it.

No comments: