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She's not the messiah, she's a very naughty girl

Every now and then, Scott Adams performs a little sociological experiment on his blog readers. He'll post a position, a question, a dilemma, designed to elict certain responses. It's always done so cunningly that almost no one smells the setup, and he usually ends up proving just what he'd argued for a little while ago -- and had been roundly denounced for. Here's a perfect example.

I'm nowhere near that clever. If I was, then my recent posting on Mary Cheney and other children of politicians would have been a perfect example.

In that, I argued that, pending exceptional circumstances, the children of politicians should be off-limits in discussions about their parents' political views. There was quite a bit of disagreement.

But the one odd thing I noticed, and should have realized before writing it (so I could pull a Scott Adams-style punking), was that there is an amazing phenomenon behind those who want to make hay out of Mary Cheney.

They are arguing that Mary Cheney is a legitimate, valid political figure and target -- and wish to use that right to praise her.

It's almost Pythonesque. Remember "Life Of Brian?" There were hordes of people convinced that Brian was the Messiah, despite his protests, and demanded the right to worship him -- no matter how much he did to discourage them. ("How shall we fuck off, O Lord?")

What keeps this from being perfectly Pythonesque is that their admiration for Mary Cheney is not sincere. She's not a role model to them, she's a cudgel. They're objectifying this woman, refusing to recognize her as an individual and instead simply as a tool -- the only thing that matters is that she's gay and involved with a partner and they're expecting a child. Not all that different from a lot of other women around the country -- she just happened to poorly choose her father.

And these days, that's all that's necessary.

Comments (55)

What drives the intolerant ... (Below threshold)

What drives the intolerant left wild is that Mary and her family obviously love each other.

I have no problem with poli... (Below threshold)

I have no problem with politicians children being off limits, but as soon as that child starts speaking publicly about politics, or campaigns for their parents then they are fair game. Period.

She's not a role m... (Below threshold)
She's not a role model to them, she's a cudgel. They're objectifying this woman, refusing to recognize her as an individual and instead simply as a tool

I'm not really seeing how "recognizing her as an individual" and "recognizing that her orientation has political implications" are mutually exclusive.

This exclusivity principle is the hidden presupposition of your argument, so perhaps you could flesh it out a bit. Two related reasons: a) it's a necessary component of the argument; and b) objections to the argument will doubtlessly turn on and deny the exclusivity principle.

So Jeff, were Joe and Val "... (Below threshold)

So Jeff, were Joe and Val "fair game"?

Excellent comment Kim. I he... (Below threshold)

Excellent comment Kim. I hear his head buzzing from here. ww

Look, jpe, it's Foley all o... (Below threshold)

Look, jpe, it's Foley all over again, and all your twaddle isn't gonna change that it's beating up gays, hypocritically, shamelessly, and it's not good karma. Is that all they have? Hallucinated dissonance? Do you think the Cheneys are dissonant?


"twaddle" is not the mot ju... (Below threshold)

"twaddle" is not the mot juste; I'm just blocking on the right one, now.

Could it be 'logic'?... (Below threshold)

Could it be 'logic'?

I'm grateful we've become r... (Below threshold)

I'm grateful we've become rich enough to afford gays, but wonder if I've not got the causation backwards.

I don't find the argument t... (Below threshold)

I don't find the argument that Scott is advancing all that compelling, really.

He produces "cognitive dissonance" only by creating a false model. The model he tried to create was "good people don't break laws." And that's an absurd model guaranteed to lead to weird results.

In fact, lots of good people break laws, every day, including Scott.

The law states that we must come to a complete stop at all STOP signs. So, if I "break" that law, am I ipso facto a bad person?

Let's take the music industry as an example for a moment, and consider why people download music from the internet. First, it's not against the law to download music, despite what you might think. It is against copyright law to make unlicensed music available for download but only in the United States. Some other countries have no such laws.

But put that aside for a moment. Why do I think it's ok to download music?

It's OK for the same reason that not coming to a complete stop at a STOP sign is OK. It's because the law is stupid and unnecessary. So, we all of us, violate it regularly. By mutual agreement. Is it still possible to get a ticket for failing to stop at a STOP sign. Sure it is, and that's OK with all of us.

Is that dissonance. On the surface, you'd think so. Why don't we just eliminate the law? That's what logic would dictate. If logic alone was at issue.

The reason that we all don't want the law repealed is because SOMETIMES we want it enforced ... such as when children are crossing the street.

Music downloading doesn't happen in a vaccuum. It occurs in a regulatory and business environment RIPE with corruption and illegality.

Record companies routinely break the law by paying disk jockies or radio companies to play certain songs. This is known as "payola." They force music purchasers to buy songs they don't want in order to get the songs they do want (bundling).

The music industry has also colluded on prices and while they've paid a settlement ... did you get your check? Or did some lawyer?

It's OK to do illegal things if you can get away with it, seems to be the model they play by.

Once you start to look at the copyright issue by considering more than simplistic models of "good" vs. "bad," things become a lot more easy to cog.

Don't they?

Trackbacked by The Thunder ... (Below threshold)

Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 04/14/2007
A short recon of what's out there that might draw your attention.
This is the Weekend Edition of the Web Reconnaissance it is updated periodically throughout the weekend as time and family permits.

Scott's post was obviously ... (Below threshold)

Scott's post was obviously flawed by the false choice he sets up, which is why I'm interested in hearing a defense of how the post here isn't the same. Intuitively I can't see how acknowledging the obvious, that our personal lives have political ramifications, is incompatible with some as-yet-undefined respect for individuality.

The Law, in settling behavi... (Below threshold)

The Law, in settling behaviour, has the unsettling characteristic of constantly being in pursuit of the people, and ever failing to catch them.

To return to the Cheneys fo... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

To return to the Cheneys for a moment..I needed to decide if I could continue working for a President who wanted to write discrimination into the Constitution: Mary Cheney.
Evidently she decided, became 'Director of Vice Presidential Operations.'for the Bush /Cheney campaign of 04.... Yes, sure they love each other..and their rich public and private careers, and they will probably have exempt status from Virginia where Mary lives , which last November, with prodding from the Bush/Cheneyadministration, last month became one of 27 states with a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

Intuitively, they are compa... (Below threshold)

Intuitively, they are compatible, and magnificently so.

So Steve, explain the gay-b... (Below threshold)

So Steve, explain the gay-bashing of Foley and Mary.

Talk about objectification.... (Below threshold)

Talk about objectification. This whole post is the use of Quirky Daughter to garner pity points for Dick.

But I'll play:
Mary is a political operative and mouthpiece who has already written and mass marketed her AUTOBIOGRAPHY (Part 1, most likely). Therefore, she is a public figure who LIKES publicity, and since Kitty Kelly isn't after her, it could be much, much worse.
And Dick's a bit peeved about the situation. So what! The draft dodger deserves it. (Remember, Mary LOVES it. And this is a Mary Post, RIGHT? Wrong. It's a Dick Post in diguise. Mary's just the rattle.)

Well, it ACTUALLY a Mary Po... (Below threshold)

Well, it ACTUALLY a Mary Post inside of a Scott Post disguising a Dick Post....

Mary is a politica... (Below threshold)
Mary is a political operative and mouthpiece who has already written and mass marketed her AUTOBIOGRAPHY

This much is true, but not entirely relevant, IMHO. For starters, no one has attacked Cheney for being gay - people have pointed out that she's gay and then either a) attacked D. Cheney for not caring about the rights of a group of people of which his daughter is a member; or b) attacked Cheney because she has leveraged her orientation opportunistically (being the Coors liason to gays, etc).

All that aside, though, the post asks to buy the notion that merely acknowledging that a person's sexual orientation is relevant to politics is somehow "denying their individuality." And that strikes me as clearly goofy. It'd be akin to saying I can discuss racism, but can't talk about any specific black people within the context of politics.

KIm, I think most of the ga... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

KIm, I think most of the gay bashing comes from the right..Hey it is not a big issue for me..I think the Cheneys have handled it pretty gracefully, but the anti gay marriage amendment even if half- heartedly pushed by Bush has consequences..If Bush/Cheney want Conservative evangelical support for their Mid /East policies, they must expect on the other red meat issues, the social issues, some embarrassment when government initiatives have consequences for real families...such as Cheneys.

What's objectified here is ... (Below threshold)

What's objectified here is the imagined hypocrisy within the Cheney family. Look at what is externally applied by all the commentators. Do any of them have much idea of the reality of the Cheneys lives? Not likely; it's all made up to follow a story line, whichever one fits the politics of the commentator.

Right, Steve, blame Bush fo... (Below threshold)

Right, Steve, blame Bush for states' initiatives.

I blame CREW and an evil cabal of hypocritical Democrats for bashing Foley. I blame Kerry and a host of hypocritical Democrats for bashing Mary.

By the way, Steve, my take ... (Below threshold)

By the way, Steve, my take on marriage is that it is a confusing cultural derivative of sex, which I also don't understand.

But the issue was raised ho... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

But the issue was raised however clumsily and I think it is a legitimate one, which Cheney and Bush would clearly like to duck.

Steve Crickmore, most on th... (Below threshold)

Steve Crickmore, most on the right are christians and to be a true christian you must believe the bible. There is no such thing as a gay (except a happy person) in the bible. There is an unforgivable sin of one sleeping with the same sex.
Bashing gays is more of a leftie thing which recent events prove, or does is it just prove that most of the 'news' outlets are left wing gay bashers.

Who said, 'it's better to live like there is a god, die and find there isn't than to live like there is no god, die and find there is'? Close enough.

jpe, I'll defer to you rega... (Below threshold)

jpe, I'll defer to you regarding the thesis in the link.

My mind skips right across philosophizing of bloggers. Don't want any more bogus info swept into my brain through my eyes, subconsciously or otherwise, than neccessary. Ideas, fine. Formulae, I'll go to the library.

Dilbert's excellent though.

Sc, it's best to live as th... (Below threshold)

Sc, it's best to live as though there were one, even if there isn't.

Sometimes it's easy to ignore you, too, bD; sometimes not.

Kim, since we are opening ... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Kim, since we are opening up a little... like a great many married middle aged men, I'm looking at a messy divorce, and kinda of envy couples, in this case gay ones, who can't get married. If gay couples want to get married that's fine with me, they will have to accept the $institution of divorce as well.

So since Cheney and Bush wa... (Below threshold)

So since Cheney and Bush want to duck it, you want to beat on it. How would it be if you were the one being bashed?

If gay couples wan... (Below threshold)
If gay couples want to get married that's fine with me, they will have to accept the $institution of divorce as well.

And, in honor of upcoming tax day, they'd have to get used to the marriage penalty. Gay marriage would be a revenue windfall.

Do you get it? For most of... (Below threshold)

Do you get it? For most of these hypocritical Democrats, it's an easy thing to do, a cheap shot, a guaranteed easy thrill. It's just disgusting, Foley even worse than Mary. No false associations are being insinuated in her case.

"There is an unforgivable s... (Below threshold)

"There is an unforgivable sin of one sleeping with the same sex.--scrapiron"

WRONG! The unforgivable sin is not allowing the Holy Spirit (God) to speak through you, when/if you are delivered up before Satan.

All other sins are forgivable (but might NOT be forgiven, for "God shall not be mocked". And there's the matter of the victims' testimony that God will consider. Lesser offences will be worked off during the re-education camp called the Millenium. FYI.)

Remember, Steve, fortunes a... (Below threshold)

Remember, Steve, fortunes are hostage to children. Good luck.

Scrapiron..that was <a href... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Scrapiron..that was Pascal's wager

Kim..yet again you are clue... (Below threshold)

Kim..yet again you are clueless...what do the wilson's have to do with a discussion about politicians children? Besides nothing?

I guess by your logic if anyone writes an opinion piece in a newspaper that you don't agree with you can attack, expose, undermine that persons spouse. Sounds like the gop way of doing business to me.

"Kim..yet again you are clu... (Below threshold)

"Kim..yet again you are clueless...what do the wilson's have to do with ... _j"

"Glass Menagerie"

"There is an unforgivable s... (Below threshold)

"There is an unforgivable sin of one sleeping with the same sex." Really??? I guess i've been missing that part of the bible. So Do you have a verse that you want to point to there, scrapiron?

Forgive me, I can't comment... (Below threshold)

Forgive me, I can't comment on Mary Cheney, because I'm still laughing about Kim's EXCELLENT point about are Joe and Val fair game?


Kim, you rock!

There expecting a child? oh... (Below threshold)

There expecting a child? ohh so Marys "partner" cheated on Her with a Man ehh?

Sounds like real love to Me!

Gee Kim you were wrong and ... (Below threshold)

Gee Kim you were wrong and you can't you let it go. How said.

Jay if you were really cleaver the result you should have sought would have been liberals were forced to support the daughter of the Dark Lord while the Holier than Thou are condemning her for sinful ways (see FRC, T. Perkins and Dr Dobson).

You cannot be forgiven for ... (Below threshold)

You cannot be forgiven for a sin that you do not acknowlege but in fact, embrace. Brazingly stating it is a lifestyle choice. That is not asking for forgiveness of sin or leading you from it. There is also more then just the Holy Spirit. A spiritual warfare is going on as we write. ww

Hmmm, is Mary Cheney a vali... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

Hmmm, is Mary Cheney a valid political target for either criticism or praise?

1. She may be the child of a politician, but she's also an adult capable of making her own decisions. She can therefore choose or choose not to be political.
2. It was also her choice to write her autobiography (which I haven't read but I understand has a political bent to it AND obviously very much puts her in the public eye), thus making her a legitimate target for both political and social critics and admirers.
3. Mary Cheney is therefore one of those exceptional circumstances who is not off limits in terms of ANY type political discussion.

Gee, did I just fall into a Scott Adams-esque cognitive dissonance trap with Jay Tea twist?


("How shall we fuck off, O Lord?" LOL. God, it's been a while since I've seen that movie. I really need to watch it again...

She is not the messiah but ... (Below threshold)

She is not the messiah but her name is Mary and she did conceive without the benefit of laying with a man.

Isn't there something in Revelations that fits this circumstance?

Mary Cheney is a political ... (Below threshold)

Mary Cheney is a political adult and as such she is "fair game" for criticisms of herself.

I don't know that being an adult *or* political makes the family relationship "fair game."

Barney, Steve, et al are mi... (Below threshold)

Barney, Steve, et al are missing my point. They are defending their right to criticize her, but not one of them seems interested in actually doing the criticizing. Rather, they want to DEFEND her, perhaps trying to "protect" her -- but she's never expressed the slightest interest in their protection. Hell, I don't see anybody attacking her, just some people who want to defend her (against what isn't quite clear) and others who want to leave her alone.

Instead of Monty Python, it's "Star Trek," circa "The Naked Time:"

Intoxicated, sword-wielding, shirtless Sulu: "I'll protect you, fair maiden!"

Irritated Uhura: "Sorry, neither!"


"Is there some thing in Rev... (Below threshold)

"Is there some thing in Revelations (sic) that fits this circumstance?"

No, Barney--it is called Revelation, the only chapter in the Bible that speaks of the future. But you may find something in the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

Thanks for the correction N... (Below threshold)

Thanks for the correction Nikko. I will make a note of it. Irony is surely not lost on you.

Jay, why should the left attack her? We can attack her father for his blunders. She is not in office. It was the right that attack Chelsea and Amy. They were young girls at a very tender age. They were called ugly and dogs, but that was OK with the right. The left made fun of the Bush twins (adults) for getting busted for underage drinking.

PS, You do know that Sulu was gay, or was that another attempted 'sociological experiment'?

Barney I enjoyed your joke,... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Barney I enjoyed your joke, even if I shouldn't have...I don't know if Jay was setting you up, with talk of a messiah. Jay is correct in much of what he says but he doesn't really give us a chance to comment on the dark side of the Vice President so Cheney comes out of this looking more human, more than, if Mary were straight ( except from the unabashed very conservative)..Parents of gay children always seem very understanding whenever I hear them address the issue. There are many things to tackle Cheney on:strenthening the powers of the prsesidency to the point of a monarchy, calling for American global domination of the world etc., so I guess this issue of Mary though interesting, ultimately is a red herring.

Fair game?<a href="h... (Below threshold)
nogo postal:

Fair game?

She wrote a book...
Anyone here read it?
..didn't think so..

I agree that her being in a long term lesbian relationship is not an issue. I agree that her desire to become a biological mother..is not an issue. I agree that their raising a a child "with two mommies"...is not an issue..

But she wrote a damn book...that is why, like any other author, she is open to public scrutiny..

"So it goes."

I haven't read Mary's book,... (Below threshold)

I haven't read Mary's book, or much else from her....all I know is she is a lesbian that is having a baby from donated sperm. I'm not going to criticize her for that.

Now Liz Cheney.....she's another story!

j, what you don't realize i... (Below threshold)

j, what you don't realize is that the Gods of History have placed Val Plame at the powerful junction of two memes, that Intellegence was inadequate before the war, and that because of it we were lied into war. Who, apparently, was responsible for that intelligence?

Fundamentally, Val Plame wa... (Below threshold)

Fundamentally, Val Plame was exposed by her own incompetence.

In retrospect my Joe and Va... (Below threshold)

In retrospect my Joe and Val comment was a sociopolitical test, too. Rightists will immediately see the justice in the imperfect analogy and leftists see the flaws. Ah, they've become touchstones, like the Rosenbergs.

What evah Nona wants.

I know that correcting Barn... (Below threshold)

I know that correcting Barney is a waste of time, but it was *not* alright with the right to attack Chelsea or Amy. Some people did and by far most people, on either side of politics, thought it was uncalled for.

Oh, bD, I've always depende... (Below threshold)

Oh, bD, I've always depended on the lightness of strangers.






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