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« Great-grandson of polygamist, with no show of irony, says "Marriage is a relationship between one man and one woman" | Main | Moral authority »

May 13, 2012

Irritating Newsweek cover

NEWsweek This upcoming Newsweek cover is just wrong. I haven't yet seen the associated cover story by Andrew Sullivan, so I will withhold judgment on that. But while I recognize that Barack Obama is being called the first gay president in the same way that Bill Clinton was once called the first black president, and I know it isn't meant literally etc. etc., I still think both phrases were and are stupid and patronizing.

And what's with the halo? Those of us who have long been arguing about the importance of not abandoning imperfect allies are NOT helped by that halo. Here's hoping the article itself is better.

Update: I found Andrew's article thoughtful and perceptive. Here's a sample:

The interview, by coincidence, came the day after North Carolina voted emphatically to ban all rights for gay couples in the state constitution. For gay Americans and their families, the emotional darkness of Tuesday night became a canvas on which Obama could paint a widening dawn. But I didn’t expect it. Like many others, I braced myself for disappointment. And yet when I watched the interview, the tears came flooding down. The moment reminded me of my own wedding day. I had figured it out in my head, but not my heart. And I was utterly unprepared for how psychologically transformative the moment would be. To have the president of the United States affirm my humanity—and the humanity of all gay Americans—was, unexpectedly, a watershed. He shifted the mainstream in one interview. And last week, a range of Democratic leaders—from Harry Reid to Steny Hoyer—backed the president, who moved an entire party behind a position that only a few years ago was regarded as simply preposterous. And in response, Mitt Romney could only stutter.

Andrew also discusses Obama's early struggle to find his own identity as a multiracial child raised by white grandparents and a single white mother, and suggests that this helped him to identify with the sense of otherness experienced by gay children. Overall, I find nothing to fault in the article. The cover appears designed to sell copies. It certainly got attention. Actually, some of the right-wing responses to it, including a fake letter from Mitt and Ann in WaPo, are so over-the-top that they annoy me more than the cover itself.

Jonathan Capehart offers his take on the Newsweek cover.


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