Darker Than Black

A Real-Time Note in Which Confusion Rises, Then Gives Way to Mild Embarrassment

Lebanon cooks for Suou and July at Noah's Ark in Sapporo.  (Detail of frame from Darker Than Black: Gemini of the Meteor, episode 5, 'Gunsmoke Blows, Life Flows ...".)

I think we’re all aware that (ahem!) This Is a Small and Insignificant Corner of the Internet. That does not trouble me; it’s a free-hosted blog written by a middle-aged nobody with too much time on his hands. And some days the numbers are puzzling, like when they actually climb. There was the time This Is saw thrice its usual attendance simply because of a post about a crazy elected official in Missouri calling for a coup against President Obama, for instance.

Then again, sometimes they’re puzzling in other ways, and it takes a moment to settle the thought: Ah, I’m getting hits from Bahrain because I use the word Daa’ish. Well, that or someone is interested in the fútbol match ‘twixt England and Germany. You know, weird things like that. Or the time WordPress lost track of the United Kingdom, which was just plain funny.Daily statistics for This Is, 7 April 2015.

You know what would get really good ratings? A fútbol match between this year’s World Cup winner and whatever team Daa’ish can field.

Seriously, that would end the war. The ladies would strip off and oil up, and win the game, anyway, leaving Daa’ish broken and humiliated, and probably cut to pieces by their superiors, who would in turn be broken and humiliated, and then we’d get a year off from the war because they were trying to field a new team, with hostilities only resuming after Daa’ish returns to the pitch and finds themselves devastated by the winner of the Gay Olympics.

Ratings would be down for that one. But they’d be up again for the bombing campaign that would start the next week.

Oh, right. Our ratings. This Is occasionally gets German readership, and it’s not impossible when bagging on Daa’ish to draw a hit from Syria. But six countries in addition to my own U.S.? Nine hits from Lebanon? Four hits from Iceland?

Now I find myself wondering what the hell I did. The diverse range was already established before I made the joke about Doctor Who mashups, so that can’t be it.

Seriously, I spent all day whining about homophobes and Republicans, even when those two terms weren’t redundant.

Oh … that’s right.

Damn, and here I was getting on with some serious self-gratifying humor. Then I had to go and ruin it by remembering the answer to the question.

Okay, okay. Look, to my neighbors in Liban, I really didn’t mean to bait you. It’s true I named my cat Liban, but that’s short for Libane, which in turn is the name of a fish spirit from Irish folklore. But that’s beside the point; in this case, Lebanon refers to a Japanese cartoon transvestite.

And, yeah, it’s true, I did actually get one of those self-gratifying grins from breaking the news. To the other, you already knew about the cartoon transvestite, since you clicked, and saw, and … right.

But thank you for stopping by. All of you. Lebanon, Iceland, France, Syria, Germany, Japan. And, of course, my American neighbors. It is one thing to say it’s not about the raw numbers; I’m certain I would feel differently if the blog drew five hundred hits a day or something. But I only rant like this because I cannot stop, and it is very kind of you to waste a few minutes out of your day discovering that fact for yourself.

Be well, and stop by whenever. We’re always happy to see you. Or not, you know, actually see you, I guess, since this is a virtual sort of thing, but, damn it, you know what I mean.

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Image note: Top―Lebanon cooks for Suou and July at Noah’s Ark in Sapporo. (Detail of frame from Darker Than Black: Gemini of the Meteor, episode 5, “Gunsmoke Blows, Life Flows …”.) Right―Daily statistics for This Is, 7 April 2015.

What It Sounds Like When Bigots Cry

Lebanon dispenses wisdom and confidence.  (Darker Than Black: Gemini of the Meteor, episode 4, 'The Ark Adrift on the Lake ...')

Matt Baume makes the obvious point―

Four states will have to defend their marriage bans before the U.S. Supreme Court this month, and all four are still scrambling to figure out exactly how they’re going to pull that off. They filed a series of briefs with the court last week that are full of weird claims and arguments that just don’t make sense. Kentucky says that its marriage ban doesn’t discriminate, since gay couples are still free to marry someone of the opposite sex. This is exactly the same argument that was used to justify bans on interracial marriage, and it’s essentially saying: “You’re free to do whatever you want, as long as you actually do something else.”

Michigan’s brief is even crazier. They say that gaining marriage equality through a court order, rather than a popular vote, would be demeaning to gay couples. So, thanks, Michigan, for your concern. Tennessee is sticking with the argument that if gay couples can get married, then straight couples will stop raising children in stable families, somehow. And Ohio says that overturning the marriage ban would cause the people who voted for it to feel isolated. Sure.

―but given that he chose Gov. Steve Beshear for the article photo, it’s probably worth reiterating that the Kentucky Democrat isn’t exactly dedicated to the argument.

And, in truth, the title of Baume’s article―“The Four Worst Anti-Gay Marriage Arguments Ever”―really is a matter of opinion. That is to say, I’m not going to knock his summary, but I’m not sure what comes out of Michigan, Ohio, or Tennessee overcomes the absurdity standard set by Paul D. Clement in Hollingsworth, when he argued, on behalf of House Republicans that heterosexual irresponsibility was a reason to ban gay marriage.

Sigh. Yes, he really said that.

And, you know, sure, what Leigh Gross Latherow came up with for Kentucky―after the Attorney General refused to argue the case―is just one of those supremely stupid arguments. We might suggest nostalgia, one last go for the homophobic trolls.

Nor did Baume exactly miss it. Rather, his focus is on the cases coming before the Supreme Court―which reminds of the problem with the word “ever”―and we already know the arguments against marriage equality are so weak that even Justice Thomas has acknowledged the inevitable outcome. What we hear from Tennessee and Michigan is straightforward stupidity. Ohio isn’t even trying. And Kentucky? Well, Ms. Latherow as achieved a new standard in stupidity.

We might have hoped that the Sutton and Cook opinion in the Sixth Circuit would be the “swan song for traditionalist heterosupremacism”, but apparently that wasn’t good enough for Ms. Latherow, who certainly wouldn’t intentionally throw the case. And the vicious excuse for an argument popular among internet trolls six or seven years ago is apparently what she found at the bottom of the barrel.

Scrape away, Ms. Latherow; you’ve certainly achieved your place in history.

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Image note: Lebanon dispenses some manner of wisdom and confidence. (Darker Than Black: Gemini of the Meteor, episode 4, ‘The Ark Adrift on the Lake …’)

Baume, Matt. “The Four Worst Anti-Gay Marriage Arguments Ever”. The Huffington Post. 7 April 2015.

Savage, David G. “Gay marriage opponents take unusual tack with Supreme Court”. Los Angeles Times. 26 January 2013.

Nostalgia: The Mingling Scents of Bluegrass and Excrement

Ah, Kentucky. To the one, it is true that I believed nobody could top the stupidity of Paul Clement, arguing for House Republicans in Hollingsworth that irresponsible procreation by heterosexuals was a good reason to ban gay marriage.

To the other, there is Kentucky.

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear says the state’s ban on gay marriage should be upheld in part because it is not discriminatory in that both gay and straight people are barred from marrying people of the same gender.

In an argument labeled absurd by gay marriage advocates, Beshear’s lawyer says in a brief filed last week at the U.S. Supreme Court that “men and women, whether heterosexual or homosexual, cannot marry persons of the same sex” under Kentucky law, making the law non-discriminatory.

The argument mirrors that offered by the state of Virginia nearly 50 years ago when it defended laws barring interracial marriage there and in 15 other states, including Kentucky, by saying they weren’t discriminatory because whites were barred from marrying blacks just as blacks were barred from marrying whites.

The Supreme Court in 1967 rejected that argument in the historic case of Loving v. Virginia, in which Richard Loving, a white man, and Mildred Jeter, a black woman, were charged with a crime for marrying.

(Wolfson)

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