A Partial List of Total Point-Missers (Promisses No. 11: Stuff is Complicated)

I’m not sure exactly what the rules are for what shows up in Google News, but I know the default search doesn’t go back too far, and a Google News search for “Scalia hypocrite” (without the quotes) currently returns thousands and thousands of results. More than 2000 of them are lumped together in one “see more” link, because they’re all about roughly the same thing: Justice Scalia voted to trample on the popular Voting Rights Act  and then the very next day wrote a dissent preaching democracy and judicial restraint in voting to uphold of the Defense of Marriage Act. The words for his hypocrisy are words like “stunning,” “jaw-dropping,” “galling.” 

Only, as we discussed yesterday, that’s not how it went down. Not even close. But a lot of people got it wrong, and I haven’t seen anybody else take the time to set them right.

That’s a bit upsetting to me, partly because (a) you really only needed to bother to read the tiniest little bit beyond Scalia’s second paragraph to see that he’s not saying what you’re about to accuse him of saying, and (b) it distracts from all the horrible things Scalia does say, things that dehumanize certain individuals and families and that show just an appalling failure to understand certain realities that, by now, simply everyone should understand, or at least accept.

Here’s a terribly incomplete list of self-righteous and angry and mocking articles or blog posts that are getting all self-righteous and angry and mocking about very much the wrong thing (note that many of these are excellent pieces that make a number of excellent points, but all of them rely, in an early or prominent place, on the Scalia’s-hypocrisy silliness):

The Atlantic Wire: Justice Scalia Hates Judicial Review, Except When He Doesn’t
The Nation: The Supreme Court’s Constitutional Hypocrisy
BET: Commentary: Gay Rights, Civil Rights and the Supreme Court’s Hypocrisy
The American Prospect: Justice Scalia’s Infuriating Hypocrisy
Wonkette: Supreme Court Update: Special ‘Over-the-Top Nice Time Let’s All Gay Marry Our Dogs’ Edition [Note: this one’s really funny, and vulgar. But still gets it wrong.]
News Corpse: DOMA vs. Voting Rights: Justice Scalia’s Jaw-Dropping Hypocrisy
Nashville Scene: The Hypocritical Stylings of Justice Scalia


Law is Hard

Promisses No. 10: Really Gross Proverbs

Well, this week has been kind of a downer, huh? I mean, I’m proud to be a feminist and to speak up for stuff I believe in, but never really envisioned this blog becoming an all-gender-stuff-all-the-time sort of thing. I’m looking forward to finding something else to get on about next week, if the world allows.

Anyway. It’s Friday, and I finally missed one last week, but Friday still means frivolity here, more or less. Today’s Promiss is another one that was suggested by my two-decades-plus friend, co-baseball-blogger and heterosexual life partner Mike:

In re. Cat Skinning

And it got me thinking about this proverb. I mean, when you think about it…what? Who skins cats? And there really isn’t more than one way, not essentially, is there? I don’t want to think about that too hard, but I wouldn’t think so. The message — that most problems have more than one solution — is a good one, but there are so many more relatable, less disgusting and truer ways of saying that. There’s more than one way to tie your shoes! More than one way to clean a bathroom! To burn calories! To win at a game of hearts! To get from Seattle to Miami! To get to Carnegie Hall! To eat a Reese’s!

But this one? Ew. It apparently originated sometime in the mid-1800s (earlier, but the “skinning” part didn’t come in until then), and it’s not clear were it came from or that it ever related to actually skinning cats. (That link suggests that at least in the American South it originally referred to skinning catfish, which makes much more sense but is still pretty gross.)

Happy Friday! Never forget:

Kickin’ in the front seat
Sittin’ in the back seat
Gotta make my mind up
Which seat can I take?