Saturday, September 13, 2003

All week, I've been feeling as if I'm losing focus here at Fuck Everything.

I sense some of you are confused.

"Focus? What the fuck? This place never had any focus." But it seems like I've had lots more random shit about what Google searches brought people here, or new linkers (which I want to do to acknowledge people who are nice enough to link to me, but it is somewhat self-aggrandizing), or random shit that's going on with me. I suspect that people care less about my life than they care about my opinions.

That being said, it's time to work some more on that "opinion" part. More specifically, do it in one of my favorite manners: through weak, mostly ad hominem attacks on conservatives. In getting back to my decaying roots, I also decided to try something new. I went ahead and printed up the article I'm about to attack and comment on, and scribbled down some notes and commentary as I went along. I scanned the document, and posted it online. I don't know how readable it or my comments will be, though. It looks OK on my 1024x780 laptop screen, but it may come out shitty for others. If anyone really cares, I can find a better way to post the original JPEGs, since the online photo album thing scales them for some fucking reason.

About a month ago, I came across a Weekly Standard article entitled What Marriage is For. From the teaser, I could see that it was going to piss me off - some conservative bitch was going to talk about gay marriage and single parents. Since I knew I was going to get mad from reading it, I decided to get up, walk around, and have a snack first.

Well, about a month later, I found myself ready to take on the article, so here we go. My annotated copy can be found here, and the original can be found here.

I think I've made my opinion on gay marriage fairly well known. I don't buy into the bullshit that it's going to destroy the foundations of marriage as we know it. All it will do is force an evolution as to what marriage is for our weak-minded society: evolution from a narrow view of only being between a man and a woman to a more enlightened view of being a union by two people who love eachother.

Maggie, naturally, thinks that marriage should only be between a man and a woman. In her article, she proceeds to do everything she can to push this idea on us, just as conservatives have been trying to do for years. Like all those other conservatives, she fails to make any sort of case as to why things should be how she says they should. Her continual argument is the same bullshit one we hear used to justify things like censorship: it's for the children.

The whole purpose of marriage, for her, is to produce and raise children. She almost makes it seem like marriage is the only way to have children. Then, of course, she points out things like teen pregnancy and horny guys causing out-of-wedlock pregnancies. For her, of course, a man and woman married are the only ones she sees fit to be parents. Nuts to that, I say. There are plenty of married men and women, god-fearing Christians nonetheless, who are totally unfit to have children. Like the kind of people who drop their newborns or name their kid "Maximilian" or "Terra Hymen."

Many points made in the article had me saying "no fucking shit, lady," like when Maggie tells us that children are the only way for our species to survive. She obviously doesn't have any respect for her readers if she feels the need to re-iterate things like this. Then again, her core audience believes in stupid bullshit like virgin birth, so nevermind. Her "survival" of the species point is completely useless to her argument - humans can make babies and continue to survive with and without marriage because, as she was kind enough to point out, you don't have to be married to have a baby.

The converse of that is true - you don't have to have children to be married. Lots of married couples have no children, and lots of them will never have children. Since children are not always involved, it's completely unfair to base your whole argument on children.

In the end, Maggie makes no substantial claim for her beliefs. She simply thinks that children should be raised in a home consisting of their two biological parents, a man and a woman. She doesn't come right out and say it, but I suspect her ideal environment is a Christian home. She presents the weakest of cases, giving us her opinion as if it were well-accepted fact. She isn't the first to do this, and definitely won't be the last. She doesn't give any sort of research that proves children cannot be raised well outside of her ideal situation. In fact, she even wanders into this creepy realm where she repeatedly makes mention of the need to "reconcile the needs of children with the sexual desires of adults." I know it's not what she was going for (probably), but it still creeped me out to hear "children" and "sexual desires of adults" mentioned in the same sentence at least twice in the article. As such, I made some inappropriate comments in my notes.

In addition to not proving that children cannot be well raised in non-traditional homes, she neglects the fact that children can be poorly raised in traditional homes. As I've pointed out, some parents are just shitty parents. Others are good parents, but the parents hate eachother. Maggie, however, implies that it's good to "encourage couples to stick it out for the sake of the Children." That is just fucking stupid, because a facade like that is just going to end up damaging kids even more in the long run. If one parent has to go away, or the parents just need to be apart, then so be it. Idealism doesn't always work itself into ideal conclusions, but you've gotta do what's practical and what's best.

Yes, divorce is hard on the kids who are involved, but people never give kids credit for how tough they can be. At least, kids from my generation were tough enough to handle divorce. Furthermore, they can handle being raised by just one parent if need be, which brings me to my next point.

The issue over single parenthood has been a sore spot with me for 24 years. I am sick and fucking tired of the bullshit attacks on single parents. Is it the optimal situation? No, but that doesn't mean it can't work out very well in the end. Do some single parent homes have problems? Of course. But the continual attacks on single parents are a monumental fucking insult to the single parents who work their ass off and do an amazing job of raising their kids.

As you may have already guessed, I grew up without one of my parents being around. I was essentially raised by my mother and grandparents, so it wasn't exactly a single-parent situation, but it was still not what Maggie would have wanted. You know what? I've turned out just fine. Cynical, sure, but still not that bad. There are plenty of other kids just like me, hell, maybe even some who learned to play nice with the other kids (we call those kids pussies, however).

Of course, for all the kids who managed to grow up in non-Maggie homes and still not do drugs or kill anyone, there are plenty of single-parent homes that have had problems. Maggie tries to make a very weak link between things like poverty, crime, and drug abuse and single parent homes. Here's an idea: instead of finding a scapegoat like single parents, how about we try and find the real root cause of societal problems?

While we're talking about societal problems, we might as well tackle marriage itself. Maggie says marriage is in "crisis," which we've heard time and time again from others. Yeah, I think marriage may be going through a rough patch, but not because of the threat from gay marriage. I'm no expert on the subject, but I can report on what I see. I can easily see why the divorce rate is so high, just from seeing kids getting married way too fucking young, oftentimes to people they don't fucking belong with. I've seen lots of kids (and by kids, I'm talking early twenties) who are too impatient, or too insecure, or too whatever, so they decide to get married long before it's necessary. I can at least cut some slack to people who do find themselves a good partner who they'll stay with, but I can't forgive someone for marrying someone who's a bad match for them. Like Chris rock says: "Life is hard? No it isn't - life is looooong. Especially if you make the wrong choices." Well, I suspect that lots of people are making the wrong choices in their impetuous youth, and when they realize it, they end up divorcing.

Like I said, that's just one reason why I think the divorce rate is so high, mainly because I've seen so much of it despite having such a small sample set of friends to choose from. If this is happening with so many of the few people I know, I suspect it's happening on a much larger scale elsewhere. So, again, Maggie, why don't you start going after the real root cause of the divorce issue? Hey, maybe we can even team up and start a program aimed at promoting to teens the idea of abstaining from marriage until they're ready.

Maggie wants us to live in this perfect world, where men and women fall in love, make babies, and we live on forever in our human glory. Well, sometimes parents are assholes and pack up and leave. Other parents are lost tragically. Some end up realizing they don't belong together because, hey, people make mistakes. But you know what? Lots of kids turn out fine nonetheless. If kids can survive these adverse situations, I think they can survive in a world of gay marriage. What kids need to is be loved and cared for, regardless of who those things are coming from.

Again, though, using children to support your idea is a nonsense tactic that's just designed to evoke sympathy for your cause. In the end, marriage is the joining of two people who love eachother, and an expression of that love they feel. Or, lots of times, an expression of the love they feel for the other person's money. Either way children are often added as an element to the equation of marriage, but not always.

In the end, conservative attacks on gay marriage are nothing but an ignorant opinion wielded in an attempt to force their views on the rest of the world. The comparisons to those who fought civil rights for minorities is dead on: you are discriminating against a group for who and what they are, with no logical or rational basis to even begin to support your bigoted views.

Yes, Maggie, you and your friends have lost.

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