Gay Man Gets Job. Religious Right Unhappy. Film at 11.

Here's a ridiculous little non-story for you. The religious right is now up in arms because Condoleeza Rice swore in an openly gay man as the administration's global AIDS coordinator. Because obviously no gay man could actually be qualified for a job or anything. They're also upset that during the swearing in Rice referred to his partner's mother as the man's mother in law:

The ceremony involved Secretary of State Rice and the swearing in of Mark Dybul, an open homosexual, as the nation's new global AIDS coordinator -- a position that carries the rank of ambassador. An Associated Press photo of the ceremony also shows a smiling First Lady Laura Bush and Dybul's homosexual "partner," Jason Claire. During her comments, Rice referred to the presence of Claire's mother and called her Dybul's "mother-in-law," a term normally reserved for the heterosexuals who have been legally married.

Some semiotician really should do a study of the use of scare quotes by the religious right. They absolutely love them, it seems, and they use them in the most ridiculous ways. Why are there scare quotes around "partner." Suggesting what? That he isn't really his partner? Just weird.

Peter Sprigg, vice president for policy at the Family Research Council, says the secretary's comments were "profoundly offensive" and fly in the face of the Bush administration's endorsement of a federal marriage protection amendment, though that backing be less than enthusiastic.

Apparently, Agape Press is now hiring reporters who write in ebonics; it be less than enthusiastic indeed. And I love the fact that Prig...I mean, Sprigg...thinks that using the phrase mother-in-law is "profoundly offensive." Technically inaccurate? Sure. Profoundly offensive? Only if you're profoundly hypersensitive and given to grandiose overstatements. Prig, chill out. It's not your mother-in-law. You're not involved in any way whatsoever. You don't even know these people. Nothing said there could possibly be found offensive by any sane human being.

"We have to face the fact that putting a homosexual in charge of AIDS policy is a bit like putting the fox in charge of the henhouse," says Sprigg. "But even beyond that, the deferential treatment that was given not only to him but his partner and his partner's family by the Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is very distressing."

It's hard not to agree with him, really. Not only did they give a gay man a job, but they treated his partner and his family as though they were normal human beings. You don't have to be Paul Cameron to see where that sort of thing leads. One day you're being nice to a gay man's mother and the next thing you know we've got forced sodomy as an activity in elementary school gym class. We've got to nip this in the....well, it clearly needs to be stopped. Bill Frist will now attach a bill requiring everyone to be rude and impertinent to all gay people and their mothers to an omnibus appropriations bill.

But here's my favorite part:

Dybul, who was confirmed by the Senate two months ago but was just sworn in due to scheduling conflicts with Secretary Rice and Mrs. Bush, is the nation's third openly homosexual ambassador. The other two no longer hold their positions. According to news reports, in all three cases the men's homosexual partners held the Bible on which the oath of office was sworn.

Oh. My. God. Gay people touched a Bible! It must not have been a real Bible, of course, because every righteous person knows that if a gay person comes in contact with the Word of God, their skin will begin to burn off. This smiply must be stopped. If we don't put an end to this defilement of all that his sacred, the negroes will get all uppity and they'll be coming after our white women.

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Is there where I insert the priest joke?

Ummm... is that Ebonics (a name I hate) or is the subjunctive? True, "less than enthusiastic though that backing be" would be a more usual phrasing, I can't see anything wrong with this.

I particularly loved the Washington Times' use of scare quotes back after Massachusetts legalized gay "marriage" - uh, guys? In Connecticut it's gay "marriage", in California it's gay "marriage", heck even in the UK it's gay "marriage", but in Massachusetts, like it or not, it's gay marriage.

I also can't quite figure out why they feel the need to specify that a gay man has a homosexual partner. Do straight men have heterosexual wives? I mean, yes, they probably do, but are they routinely labelled as such?

Dybul's homosexual "partner," Jason Claire.

Agape Press could probably be sued over those quotation marks. That amounts to libel. It places unnecessary and perhaps inaccurate meaning on the word.

By FishyFred (not verified) on 17 Oct 2006 #permalink

"administration's endorsement of a federal marriage protection amendment, though that backing be less than enthusiastic."

I thought he was speaking pirate. He is an FSM follower isn't he?

Nah, Yoda is more "Make one great scare quotes do not." Yoda puts the verb at the end of the sentence, and reverse placement of the subject and compliment. I don't think it's ebonics, pirate, or Yoda. It's dumby-that-doesn't-proofread. It's not confined to the internet.

FishyFred says:

Agape Press could probably be sued over those quotation marks. That amounts to libel. It places unnecessary and perhaps inaccurate meaning on the word.

Nah, the word "partner" was a direct quote from Dr. Rice. The Agape Press no doubt meant it to spook the reader (and Ayeee....queer cooties on the Bible!!), but there's no legal grounds here in my admittedly limited-in-legal-knowledge opinion.

Nah, the word "partner" was a direct quote from Dr. Rice. The Agape Press no doubt meant it to spook the reader

"They are partners! That just proves that there's a Gay Conspiracy!"

From the a-gape article:
"So, for her to treat his partner like a spouse and treat the partner's mother as a mother-in-law, which implies a marriage between the two partners, is a violation of the spirit if not the letter of the Defense of Marriage Act," the FRC spokesman states."

To me this sounds like a threat. And the hate groups think SSM is a threat to their free speech / free exercise rights! Here they seem to be asking that Condi be prosecuted for expressing an opinion.

PING! goes the irony meter, or is it the hypocrite-o-meter?

"We have to face the fact that putting a homosexual in charge of AIDS policy is a bit like putting the fox in charge of the henhouse,"

What?! How so? I thought that the myth of AIDS being a 'gay disease' was discredited years ago. And even if it was (and I dont think it is, that would be stupid in my opinion)then I still dont see how it would be a negative thing for a gay guy to be in charge of the countries policy. Its like saying "We cant put a general in charge of military decisions! hes in the army!"

The "be" is a correct use of the subjunctive. This site on the subjunctive gives the example:

Walk on through the wind, walk on through the rain, though your dreams be tossed and blown.
From the song, "You'll Never Walk Alone", sung by Mario Lanza, BMG Classics 60720-2-RG (RCA Victor) (album released 1991; recorded 1950s).

Yes, many fundamentalists resent any treatment of gays as "normal human beings" or being gay as a normal human condition. This isn't something they are subtle about; it's a frequent complaint that the media/schools/liberals are "trying to make being gay appear normal." I'm not using scare quotes in that sentence; I'm quoting a remark I heard from a friend about two weeks ago.

If we don't put an end to this defilement of all that his sacred, the negroes will get all uppity and they'll be coming after our white women.

Not to mention the Mongoloids.

I thought that the myth of AIDS being a 'gay disease' was discredited years ago.

As was the notion that gay marriage will destroy traditional marriage, and that the average gay lifespan is 42 years, and....

Some semiotician really should do a study of the use of scare quotes by the religious right. They absolutely love them, it seems, and they use them in the most ridiculous ways. Why are there scare quotes around "partner." Suggesting what? That he isn't really his partner? Just weird.

That's probably exactly what those scare quotes mean.From some online conversations I've had with fundamentalists, at least some strands of fundamentalism distinguish different kinds of love, depending on the degree to which they are tainted with lust. The highest form of love, which, again from remembering what those fundamentalists told me, only a born-again Christian can even begin to understand, is called agape (three syllables), from the Greek, meaning pure, unconditional love.
In that thought system, whatever homosexuals feel towards one another isn't love at all, but a lustful, unnatural perversion of it. So Dybul and his partner aren't really partners in any meaningful sense at all, just bum-bonking buddies, except that they're not even buddies - one is merely the quasi-willing receptacle for the other's bum-lust.

I'm probably not getting the above completely right. Even at the time of that conversation, I found my higher brain functions shutting down in self-defense whenever I was confronted with one of those people. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agape conferms the basic distinctions involved in (some strands of) Christian thinking about love, though.

"We have to face the fact that putting a homosexual in charge of AIDS policy is a bit like putting the fox in charge of the henhouse,"

Uh, this particular statement seems to be implying that the AIDs epidemic is being deliberately spread by gay people as some sort of tactic, something they desire in its own right. It's like putting a drug dealer in charge of the drug policy. He's not interested in curtailing drug use, but increasing it. And homosexuals are interested in increasing AIDs deaths.

Good grief, is this what they think? If not, then the fox/hen house analogy is really, really unfortunate.

Nah, the word "partner" was a direct quote from Dr. Rice.

If it's only one word, you don't need to quote it. It doesn't matter that it was a direct quote.

I have a journalism textbook open in front of me (Reporting for the Media Eighth Edition). It doesn't give a source, but it says the following.

At worst, an orphan quotation may be libelous. A New York newspaper included this sentence in a story about a murder case: "As police delved into his tangled business affairs, several women described as 'associated' with Brenhouse (the victim) were questioned at Hastings Police Headquarters." One of those women, who was named in the story, sued for libel. She argued - and the court agreed - that readers would infer from the quotation marks around "associated" that she had been having a love affair with the victim.

In this case, it's not so clear cut because the quotation marks around "partner" are meant to discredit the relationship as legal or real, so I'm not sure what it might imply about Dybul and Claire.

By FishyFred (not verified) on 17 Oct 2006 #permalink

A "partner" is a business partner. A "'partner'" (with scare quotes) is a live-in-lover and they're trying to make it sound like an arrangement on the up and up, a business or something like maybe one guy handles the finances and the other drives the truck or maybe it could be they play tennis together but boy oh boy it sure isn't what they really mean, is it? Nice try at legitimacy by taking an ordinary word and misusing it.

The scare quotes are to show that no, they're not fooling anybody.

Oh, they were being "nice." Usually they don't use the scare quotes. It is usually reported in the Fundy Hate Press as sex-partner. You know to them, it's nothing more than the sexual act.

Sastra:

I'm with you as being completely confused about the fox and the henhouse metaphor. Unless he thinks that Mark Dybul now has the correct bully pulpit from which to spread Teh Ghey. Or to steal all the AIDS medicine and mix it in with a bunch of amyl poppers.