Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Screwing Up Other People's Lives

I have recently had some exchanges with people who find it necessary to pass judgment upon the ways my wife and I raise our children. I find this both fascinating and mildly annoying. Fascinating because I can't imagine for the life of me how one adult could possibly imagine such unsolicited advice would be welcome by another adult; mildly annoying because the opinions of these folks mean nothing to me, but the unmitigated gall and presumptuousness is quite surprising.

Tbogg has a post today on Kathryn Jean Lopez' obsession with the private life of Bill and Hillary Clinton. These two points - the right-wing busybodies who think they have every right to tell people how to live; the right-wing busybodies who think they have every right to know all the details, sordid or mundane, of the private life of a First Family - show similar characteristics. While I do not know for certain, part of me thinks that folks who think this way truly believe that private matters should be their concern because they have the key to Truth and Morality. Whether it's Bill Clinton's receipt of an inexpert blow-job, or my wife's and my insistence on teaching our children to accept pretty much anyone they meet (I would include conservative busybodies in this category) for who they are without thinking them good or bad, these things seem to matter because the people who intrude upon these private spheres just KNOW that these things are wrong. Since they KNOW it, it is their bounden duty to demand a change of behavior. Whether it's oral infidelity or the acceptance of GLBT as human beings of worth, dignity, deserving of love and friendship without any judgment - to some people these are just WRONG, perhaps even EVIL, and therefore the idea that such private matters are no one's business is foreign to them. These private matters, whatever their intrinsic merits or demerits (and I would submit that infidelity of any sort is certainly a demerit) - it just isn't anyone's business.

The American people showed a profound common sense in the 1990's, rejecting right-wing panty- and dress-sniffing in favor of a certain understanding, an allowance for human foibles, and a recognition that even for that most public of personages, the President of the United States, there should remain a zone of privacy. While Tbogg is crude, his forthrightness nonetheless captures the essence, not only of the American people's rejection of the whole Impeachment Clown College Commencement of the 1990's, but implicitly also, I think, a rejection of any attempt by others to poke their noses in to the lives of others:
When Bill Clinton lied on the stand about having an affair he did what just about every man in America would do under the same circumstances. I know I would. This wasn't lying to a grand jury regarding matters of national security (we'll leave that to Scooter Libby). This was lying about fucking around on his wife and, as hard as K-lo may find this to believe, there are a lot of people in this country who acknowledge that this happens and many of these same people don't care where other men put their dicks. No. Really. It's true. And after watching Ken Starr blow through tens of millions of dollars only to come up with a stain on a blue dress, well, let's just say that no climax has ever been so anti-climactic.

Virtual Tin Cup

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