Saturday, September 18, 2010

If the defenders of the institution of marriage secretly mean to ridicule the institution of religion, they're doing great!


Here, looking no weirder for being mysteriously flipped, is the opening of the season-opening episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, "Mac Fights Gay Marriage" -- the definitive statement on marriage in America in 2010, and perhaps on religion too, as Mac demands, "Where's our goddamn Bible?"

"Who gives a shit if gays want to be miserable like everybody else and get married? Let 'em do it! It's no skin off my ass!"
-- Frank Reynolds (Danny DeVito), in the Season 6
opener of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

by Ken

The last surviving defenders of California's Prop 8 filed their brief to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals just ahead of the deadline Friday night, and while I realize it was just a coincidence of timing, it was the very day afterIt's Always Sunny in Philadelphia slunk back onto the TV schedule, in the secluded precincts of FX's Thursday-night schedule, with an episode, "Mac Fights Gay Marriage," so sublimely cracked as to constitute, I think, the definitive statement on the State of Marriage in America in the Year 2010.

Who knew, or could even imagine, that Dennis (Glenn Howerton, the show's other creator), the world's most exclusively self-involved human, has marriage on his mind? With consequences, before the episode's end, that I can only describe as eye-popping. Or that his sister Dee (Kaitlin Olson) would semi-overcome the "gagginess" that afflicted her 15 years earlier in the presence of her then-heartthrob, with also-surprising consequences. Or that their not-really-father Frank (Danny DeVito) would find himself attempting to establish a legal domestic partnership with poor, sweet, dim Charlie (Charlie Day)? (I don't think Frank actually set out to be the world's most disgusting human being. Sometimes these things just work out.)

But above all, who would have dreamt that the religious opponents-to-the-death of marriage equality would one day have as their most eloquent standard bearer none other than the addle-pated Mac (Rob McElhenney, the show's other creator)? Unfortunately for their side, Mac does eventually get hold of "a goddamn Bible," and makes possibly the stupidest case that can be imagined, at least until you take a gander at the brief filed by the religious ignoramuses in the Prop 8 case.

Of course it remains to be seen whether the actually are "in" the case. The Ninth Circuit made a point of insisting that they explain what makes them, as parties not named in the original lawsuit, think they have standing to litigate an appeal. Eventually their brief gets around to that, sort of, citing a New Jersey case that has no applicability to California. The twisted argument they wind up making is described by Brian Devine, on Prop8TrialTracker, as "laugh-out-loud ridiculous."

As for the substance of the case, well, in the District Court trial Judge Vaughn Walker did everything but walk up to the boobies defending the case and shake them while demanding they make some kind of case besides just blithering "procreation, procreation, procreation." From the "case" made in the brief, it's hard to tell whether the professional homophobes are too stupid or too dishonest to do any better. As Karen Ocamb recounts:
the Prop 8 proponents claim the plaintiffs erroneously argued that there was animus on the part of the people of California, when in fact the legal team of Ted Olson and David Boies argued convincingly that it was the proponents and pushers of Prop 8 who were motivated by animus toward gay people:
This charge is false and unfair on its face, and leveling it against the people of California is especially unfounded, for they have enacted into law some of the Nation’s most sweeping and progressive protections of gays and lesbians, including a domestic partnership law that gives same sex couples all the same substantive benefits and protections as marriage. And it defames as anti-gay bigots not only seven million California voters, but everyone else in this Country, and elsewhere, who believes that the traditional opposite-sex definition of marriage continues to meaningfully serve society’s interests – from the current President of the United States, to a large majority of legislators throughout the Nation, both in statehouses and in the United States Congress, and even to most of he scores of state and federal judges who have addressed the issue.

What they really want to do, of course, is break into a chorus of "How do I know? The Bible tells me so," but they understand that isn't going to make a persuasive legal argument. As some wags have already wondered, though, is this really the best legal talent the homophobes can afford? When it comes to oral arguments, assuming it does come to oral arguments -- given the standing question -- the Prop 8-ers might do better to have Mac get up before the Ninth Circuit judges and do his extension-cord demonstration to explain how marriage is about procreation.

Unless the whole thing is actually about Mac wanting to boink the breathtaking post-op Carmen (Brittany Daniel). Again, probably not a great legal argument, but better than anything the Prop 8 crowd has come up with.

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At 6:05 AM, Anonymous Mark Scarbrough said...

Ken: This whole let's-hate-on-some-gays BS reeks of that same thing that's everywhere these days: "Somebody might get what's mine--or could be mine--or should be mine--or might be mine if all the cards fall just right." I've always said this garbage economic system we live under--one that has nonetheless done well by my gay self, if I may say so--is based on envy, impure but simple. It's all about trying to get what your neighbor got--and then keep it from the neighbor on the other side of you. Same with marriage, I think. My heavens, some ol' straight white boy may lose his privileged position. (Missionary, no doubt). So to prevent that, we gotta stoke those already simmering fires of envy, the very thing that drives an entire system built on frickin' consumer spending. It starts to eat every way into everyone--and soon enough, everyone's behind security fences and doormen and guards, all trying to keep what's theirs on every level, social, political, and even sexual.

All I can say is "Grow up."

At 11:57 AM, Blogger KenInNY said...

"I've always said this garbage economic system we live under--one that has nonetheless done well by my gay self, if I may say so--is based on envy, impure but simple. It's all about trying to get what your neighbor got--and then keep it from the neighbor on the other side of you. "

Good thoughts, Mark. There's even a name for it, or at any rate what the folks you're talking about think it is: "fairness." As in "THAT'S NOT FAIR," which I find almost always means, "I'M NOT GETTING WHAT I WANT."



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