Re: Why do you hate freedom?

1

Did you know that Massachusetts has 49 towns whose names start with 'W'? Doesn't that seem like a lot?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 6:29 AM
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Woston, Wambridge, Wape Wod.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 6:31 AM
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Why do you hate my mom, heebie?


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 6:33 AM
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Because she didn't want to cuddle after we totally banged.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 6:34 AM
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Keep in mind that in Brooks' head, gay marriage being legal == everyone must get gay married.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 6:41 AM
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David Brooks is a horrible person. But my friend was talking about this column on Facebook too, and I think people aren't understanding it, because it's not that weird. It's imagined oppenent is probably something of a straw man, but that's all. It's just a relatively lighthearted, playfully ironic way of saying that a vogue for chasing libertine satisfactions instead of pursuing a disciplined, ethical life is passing out of favor in America, and yay for that. Maybe there never was such a vogue, or there was to much less of an extent than he claims. Maybe marriage isn't the right or only way to have a disciplined, ethical life, even a disciplined, ethical sex life. But still, this column just isn't that weird.

David Brooks is a horrible person. He blamed the Haitians' suffering after the earthquake on their culture two days after it happened, and I dare say he has not undertaken a deep study of Haitian history and culture.


Posted by: Tia | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 6:46 AM
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It's just a relatively lighthearted, playfully ironic way of saying that a vogue for chasing libertine satisfactions instead of pursuing a disciplined, ethical life is passing out of favor in America, and yay for that.

But:
1. the legalization of gay marriage is in no way evidence of such a thing.
2. "freedom" is a really loaded word to twist, in the context of legalizing gay marriage.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 6:48 AM
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Brooks' argument is actually:
1. Personal freedom has won a lot of battles over the past 40 years.
2. Society requires a balance of freedom and restraint.
3. Marriage restricts freedom.
4. Therefore legalizing gay marriage is a setback for freedom.
5. And therefore we should do it.

Which is an odd way to put it. Sounds vaguely Onion-ish: "Area Heterosexuals Welcome Gay Neighbors Into The Stifling Inescapable Trap Of Marriage". We can infer that Brooks would be happier still with gay marriage if it precluded the possibility of gay divorce.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 6:48 AM
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Freedom is another word for nothing left to lose.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 6:49 AM
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Basically I think his main problem with gay people is that they seemed to be starting to enjoy themselves too much, and he reckons letting them get married would put a stop to all that nonsense.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 6:51 AM
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The column is a pretty much a "Look at me, aren't I clever?" response to an argument against gay marriage that nobody really seems to be making.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 6:53 AM
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Doesn't this just mean he fell hook, line and sinker for the more-or-less explicit attempt to use marriage and military service (rock solid conservative values!) as the wedge for gay rights in America? I mean, yes, David Brooks is stupid, but hooray shadowy gay figures who pull the puppet strings, your strategy is validated.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 6:55 AM
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He's just reworded Andrew Sullivan's original argument for gay marriage.

There is a reason why the radicals in the gay liberation movement didn't care about gay marriage.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 6:57 AM
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12 - You won't be laughing when the gay agenda reaches stage 6, "Everyone has to pretend to like ABBA."


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 6:59 AM
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14: But... everyone _does_ love ABBA, don't they?


Posted by: Rance | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 7:00 AM
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1: Looks like an ethnic thing. W's start 10% of municipality names in England, 13% in Massachusetts.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 7:00 AM
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Who's pretending?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 7:01 AM
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I think it's more like, gay marriage being legal, all gay people are required to get married, just as all straight people have been required to get married since ancient times.*

*For evidence on the mandatory nature of marriage, examine 1950's comedy routines. "Take my wife, please" and a million other jokes about the old ball and chain depend on the premise.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 7:01 AM
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15, 17 - Back and to the left... Back and to the left...


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 7:04 AM
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As someone who personally hates freedom, i.e. I am constantly annoyed by the "paradox of choice", feels relief when what seemed to be a list of 500 possible mutual funds only lets me choose 20, etc... I can see why a gay person who also hates freedom would be glad to have his realm of default options for how to define a long-term relationship narrowed to one.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 7:04 AM
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Again, it comes back to "I don't understand this gay marriage stuff, but as long as you are unhappy, that's what is important."


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 7:05 AM
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14 - Stage 6 is not nearly as bad as stage 9 (herding thought criminals on trains to Barbara Streisand reëducation camps).


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 7:05 AM
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They committed themselves to the idea that lifestyle choices are not just private affairs but work better when they are embedded in law.

This sentence does a good job of capturing why I've always felt uncomforatble with marriage.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 7:07 AM
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23: Not all that comfortable with spelling either.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 7:11 AM
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11 is exactly right. David Brooks is just turning the crank on the David Brooks machine and this is what came out.


Posted by: real ffeJ annaH | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 7:14 AM
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He subcontracted his previous column to an undergrad, ffs, so he's even more lazy and shameless these days than usual.


Posted by: real ffeJ annaH | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 7:18 AM
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This is basically the same as McMegan's thing from the other week, isn't it? Telling gay people that once they can get married, don't think they'll still be allowed to have interesting non-nuclear-family oriented lives?

People need to figure out how to conceptualize a space between forbidden and mandatory.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 7:22 AM
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People need to figure out how to conceptualize a space between forbidden and mandatory.

One would think that a country obsessed with the concept of individual liberty would be good at this, but alas, that is not the case.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 7:26 AM
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This is basically the same as McMegan's thing from the other week, isn't it?

That was my thought when I saw it yesterday. Like he read that and thought, "Hey, I can totally do McMegan one better!"


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 7:31 AM
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Weird, where'd my name go? 29 was me.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 7:34 AM
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30: Was it? How can we ever be sure?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 7:42 AM
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I'm so sick of reading about stupid right wing idiots making stupid right wing arguments. The next time I hear about Brooks, McMegan, or Steven Landsburg I want it to be because they're being slowly chewed to death by Komodo dragons.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 7:46 AM
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What's nice about Komodo dragons is that you really don't need to be chewed to death to suffer; their saliva is so toxic to humans that even if Brooks, McMegan and Landsburg just got one solid chomp on the calf each, they would be hallucinating and feverish and in dire need of antibiotics in very short order.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 7:50 AM
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What if only Brooks were bitten by the Komodo dragon, and he, in turn, bit the other two? Would that work?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 7:51 AM
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Maybe if he rubbed his wound on them and they had open sores or it got in their mouths or something.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 7:53 AM
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People need to figure out how to conceptualize a space between forbidden and mandatory.

Alles, was nicht Pflicht ist, ist verboten, as my father often told me when I was a wee lad.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 8:02 AM
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I would love to read the works of a feverish hallucinating McMegan.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 8:08 AM
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33:

Wow, that's cool. Venom and crazy toxic bacteria!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Komodo_dragon#Saliva


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 8:10 AM
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39

Your father's nickname for you was Alles?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 8:13 AM
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Also it's interesting how the theme people drew from the process leading up to the 9th Circuit decision was "anti-marriage-equality people have no arguments founded in anything other than bigotry (religious or otherwise)", and all the jabber about marriage-as-bond appears to be a response to that, trying to make nominally secular and rational arguments. So people like brooks are ceding a lot of rhetorical ground and leaving their base alone to froth.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 8:14 AM
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People need to figure out how to conceptualize a space between forbidden and mandatory.

I keep getting in arguments about the opposite take on this with people who think that if something is NOT mandatory, that means it's forbidden.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 8:15 AM
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Oh wait maybe that's what the German up there says. SPEAK ENGLISH OR GO HOME, NEB.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 8:16 AM
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10 is probably a corrrect, though uncharitably phrased, interpretation. Permission to marry means that all the bourgeois pressure to lead a "respectable" life now apply to gay people too, since in many places they don't have the convenient excuse of gay marriage being illegal anymore.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 8:25 AM
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44

This right to marry benefits gay people who want to live a life that is "respectable" by bourgeois standards (and there seem to be a lot of such people) but harms the folks who would rather not.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 8:26 AM
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45

44: Because, when your parents would nag you to get married, you used be able to shut them up by telling them you're gay.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 8:29 AM
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"A dumb person's idea of what a smart person sounds like." It was originally used about Newt Gingrich, but it fits here. (Googling, it has been used about a lot of people, and Gingrich wasn't the first, of course, but anyways.)

Brooks might or might not be stupid in his heart of hearts, but the ideological niche he's made a career out of occupying definitely is. And the problem with being an ideologue in general is that you can't admit that there are times when your approach doesn't fit the issue of the day. This mental pretzel is about as good as he could hope for.

33
even if Brooks, McMegan and Landsburg just got one solid chomp on the calf each, they would be hallucinating and feverish and in dire need of antibiotics in very short order.

But how could we tell?


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 8:30 AM
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44 - I really want the right to have access to the benefits of being married (like insurance for my husband at work), rather that to live a life that is respectable. I, for one, am hoping it can be two things.


Posted by: Rance | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 8:30 AM
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48

A theory that I feel sprang from my head, but was in fact probably distilled from opinions here, is that the continual progression of individual rights to new spheres serves plutocracy by making it possible for a greater and greater share of the population to think they could make it big someday, and therefore shut up about inequality and participate in keeping down others.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 8:32 AM
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Oh wait maybe that's what the German up there says. SPEAK ENGLISH OR GO HOME, NEB.

It means "everything that is not compulsory is forbidden".


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 8:36 AM
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48: I think class-struggle anarchists have been saying this kind of thing for some time.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 8:36 AM
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51

t the continual progression of individual rights to new spheres serves plutocracy by making it possible for a greater and greater share of the population to think they could make it big someday,

This is true. In my thinking, the personal-responsibility language and self-improvement language are the arenas where this happens. I know I'm in Texas, but students here have no language or concept of systemic patterns that might affect the number of options available to a person.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 8:41 AM
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21: There was a funny stand-up bit by a woman on YouTube where she was complaining "Gay men are too happy. Why are gay men so happy? I have sex with men. Do I seem happy?"


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 8:42 AM
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Brooks might or might not be stupid in his heart of hearts, but the ideological niche he's made a career out of occupying definitely is.

Our own AWB called brooks "A stupid person pretending to be a smart person pretending to be a stupid person."

Its one of her great lines, along with "A society where a woman can't say yes is a society where she can't say no."


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 8:51 AM
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27, 29: This is basically the same as McMegan's thing from the other week, isn't it?

I'm having a brief moment of pride in the unfoggedtariat, since I rushed over to this thread a minute ago to mention that. But of course everybody else noticed the McMegan similarity too.

It's weird: McMegan's column was torn to shreds at the time, and I honestly didn't think anyone else would be dense enough to advance the same 'argument'.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 9:04 AM
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I strongly agree with the passage excerpted in 51. OTOH of course it's not a good argument for trying to limit any individual right.

Both lines in 53 are great. I use them from time to time (always with "as a friend says" since "as someone who calls herself a polar bear on the Internet says" isn't really cool in RL conversations.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 9:05 AM
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"Freedom is merely privilege extended, unless enjoyed by one and all"
--Billy Bragg


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 9:21 AM
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52: Perhaps she should try having sex with gay men.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 10:12 AM
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It'd at least be challenging.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 10:13 AM
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You could try to take advice from Sparta.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 10:19 AM
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If anybody wants to try for a condom joke based on "With your shield or on it," now is the time.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 10:23 AM
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I've been taken aback by how much the decision to get legally married has brought out assumptions that we'll finally be more conventional in other ways, viz. spending more money on more visible things. Triumph of the boo-zhwah, that's for sure.

Since the standard of domestic spending in our neighborhood has been maintained by gay men for decades, the Brooks article doesn't quite land. As usual.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 10:33 AM
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I was reading Far from the Tree at lunch and one of the mothers quoted, who'd given birth to a child with multiple severe disabilities and a few years later one who was non-disabled, said something like, "I was afraid to have children because I loved my freedom, but it turns out I enjoy being a mother more than I enjoyed my freedom." I guess this is how I feel, but I'd never universalize from it (and she doesn't do so either) and I'm creeped out by people who do. But I've also always been a boring homebody, so giving up my "freedom" wasn't much.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 10:39 AM
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60: with your Trojan or upon him?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 10:41 AM
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61.2: Matt Taibbi voices a similar thought in his response to Brooks:

Boy, those gays and lesbians are sure going to be in for a shock when they find out that being in a committed relationship involves constraints on behavior. That'll be some unpleasant new ground they'll be breaking there.

What's probably most annoying about Brooks's (and McMegan's) thoughts on these matters is their apparent unawareness that many, many gay people already do exactly the same things as straight people. Really.



Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 10:43 AM
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Never fear, gays, society will never figure out whether you're supposed to adopt, foster, parent the biological child of one of you and an anonymous donor, be generally avuncular to your nephews and neices, or what. You might be obligated to get married, but at least you'll never be expected to drive a minivan and spend a ton of money on rugrats that puke on your designer clothing.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 10:46 AM
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66

||
The NASA grant that was to save the company I work for has not come through. I'll be unemployed come July. I'm supposed to be focused and busting ass on a fairly ambitious project right now but what I really want to do is drink.
|>


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 11:02 AM
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45: Acceptance of gay people as gay was basically 100% good. Legally sanctioned marriage is not the same thing, and is more complicated, regardless of sexual orientation.

47: I hope you get what you want. Marriage itself is changing, even apart from this.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 11:04 AM
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So sorry, togolosh. That's awful, and having to keep working those last few months with the knowledge hanging over your head seems crazy-making.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 11:05 AM
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67.1 not meant to imply that the present is evenly distributed yet.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 11:05 AM
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66: I'm sorry -- is this sequester fallout, or something else? But there's plenty of time between now and July for something to work out.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 11:06 AM
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That sucks, togolosh. I don't suppose you can carry your work on the fairly ambitious project with you when searching for new employment? By putting it on your resume? That at least might be a consolation.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 11:07 AM
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Very sorry to hear that, togolosh. Hope things turn around soon.


Posted by: Kreskin | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 11:09 AM
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66 -- that blows. Not that I'm suggesting this in any way, but since the firm is closing anyway could you possibly use company resources to build a death ray between now and July and send it to me?

Also having (but do you have to?) to work for months on a project for a failing company that you know you'll be leaving sounds like . . . well, just go and get a drink.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 11:10 AM
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70: I think it's sequester related. There were fewer awards this time around, and I guess we were kind of marginal.

71: That's my plan. I need to transition out of my main area of specialization since it looks to be a dead end career wise. What I'm working on now has fairly broad applicability and takes me in interesting directions.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 11:10 AM
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sorry to hear it, togs. remain the good soldier, of course.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 11:21 AM
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74.2: Interesting directions sounds good. Here's hoping that your finances are okay in the interim. I have such respect for what I think you do, it's hard for me to imagine that no one will want you. It's quite possible that I have no idea what goes on in your field, though.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 11:21 AM
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People only get married to share health insurance, car insurance, and avoid taxes upon death, right?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 11:22 AM
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Sucky, togolosh. I had a brightsiding ironic comment laid out, along the lines of Heebie's 51, but the hell with that.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 11:24 AM
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People only get married to share health insurance, car insurance, and avoid taxes upon death, right?

No, but the availability of those legal advantages are what separates a marriage in the legal sense from a marriage in the religious sense. Does anyone else have a stupid question for me?


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 11:34 AM
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I'm supposed to be focused and busting ass on a fairly ambitious project right now but what I really want to do is drink.

Oh, sorry toglosh, that sucks.

IT makes sense that it's hard to be focused on both the project and emotionally adjusting to major news / figuring out the transition.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 11:37 AM
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66: neither of the grants I would have gotten a piece of came through, either. On the other hand, my (minimal) salary does not depend on them, so your problem is worse. Get to drinking!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 11:37 AM
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74: Best of luck landing on your feet. Or somebody else's feet.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 11:38 AM
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83

Maybe you could find a job drinking. Like wine critic.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 11:39 AM
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84

Worse comes to worse, you can get Halford to hire you to make a death ray.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 11:42 AM
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85

Or EMT.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 11:42 AM
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85 to 83.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 11:42 AM
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EMT = electromagnetic terminator, so 85 to 84 as well.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 11:47 AM
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Agh, sorry to hear it, togolosh.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 11:50 AM
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Thanks, all. I expect things will work out in the end. In the meantime I'll entertain myself by building Halford a death ray. A Pagani Huayra without a death ray is like a woman without a bicycle. Or a fish. Something like that.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 11:58 AM
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I suppose there is also a social validation in the fact that one's relationship garners such advantages. So a legal marriage is legal bonds plus the social validation that results from those bonds.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 12:06 PM
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But the real reason people get married is that they are expected to do so, and everyone wants to prove their worth by meeting expectations. Why not let gay people do the same?


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 12:08 PM
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Tia's 6 has been bugging me all this time.

It's just a relatively lighthearted, playfully ironic way of saying that a vogue for chasing libertine satisfactions instead of pursuing a disciplined, ethical life is passing out of favor in America, and yay for that.

It's not lighthearted at all, but leaving that aside, what it essentially does is designate homosexuals as banner carriers of freedom, understood as indulgence of libertine satisfactions. It's not clear to me that gay people volunteered for that. The whole thing is really quite insulting.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 12:09 PM
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93

89: From a more selfish perspective, I hope this doesn't mean you'll miss
Unfoggedydodecadencehedron.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 12:11 PM
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94

92 gets it exactly right.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 12:12 PM
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95

Sorry to hear it, togolosh. Good luck in the job search.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 12:13 PM
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Unfogged is linked on memeorandum, because of Brooks.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 12:30 PM
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93: Nope, I live within drunken staggering distance of the DC Metro, so I ought to make it.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 12:30 PM
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Can you bring a death ray on the DC Metro?


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 1:03 PM
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What is 'freedom'? I think it's just another word for nothing left to lose?

I think there's something to the argument that marriage is a traditionalist step that runs counter to certain kinds of sexual radicalism. E.g. the great Edmund White, perhaps the greatest living out gay male author, has said "I disapprove of all marriage. For gays it's ludicrous; promiscuity is an essential part of homosexuality. But I defend the right of those who want to get married.".

Back in the 70s-80s White straightforwardly opposed gay marriage as a retrograde step. But he said when he saw how much it pissed off the radical right he knew he had missed something important and it must be progressive.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 5:46 PM
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100

Kobe!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04- 4-13 12:24 AM
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we'll finally be more conventional in other ways, viz. spending more money on more visible things.

Up till now, clew has been wasting over $800 a month on noble gases, bacteria, dark matter and abstract philosophical concepts. ("Here comes the UPS truck again. Must be another shipment of photinos and scepticism for the lesbians at number 34." "Yes, dear.")


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 04- 4-13 1:30 AM
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