This one is unbelievable, it’s profoundly putrid.
But I am a little put off the game, frankly–I am having a hard time managing the bile. Because independently of whatever philosophical giant Sam Schulman pretends to be, he has written a piece of fetid garbage so toweringly arrogant, so wrenchingly stupid and foul that I’m struggling to pick which way to stab it in the neck. This is a hall of fame pile of shit, even for The Weekly Standard.
The Worst Thing About Gay Marriage
It isn’t going to work.
by Sam Schulman
06/01/2009, Volume 014, Issue 35
Ow, it already angers. Okay, you guys are not a bunch of bigots, you’re just an endlessly practical lot, right.
Schulman tries a completely new gambit with this mess: marriage is the foundation for the all-important ‘kinship system’. And to underscore how American-life-and-culture providing it is, he never once defines ‘kinship’ or its ‘system’. Bravo, Professor. Nevertheless, the ‘kinship system’ is the paramount thing in life, and gay marriage runs afoul of it. Or it doesn’t reinforce it, or something. Man, this hurts a lot already.
Here is where this whoppingly over-written and under-thought argument delivers its lightning bolt premise: at the end of the seventh paragraph:
The entity known as “gay marriage” only aspires to replicate a very limited, very modern, and very culture-bound version of marriage. Gay advocates have chosen wisely in this. They are replicating what we might call the “romantic marriage,” a kind of marriage that is chosen, determined, and defined by the couple that enters into it. Romantic marriage is now dominant in the West and is becoming slightly more frequent in other parts of the world. But it is a luxury and even here has only existed (except among a few elites) for a couple of centuries–and in only a few countries. The fact is that marriage is part of a much larger institution, which defines the particular shape and character of marriage: the kinship system.
DAMN. We all see where this is going, and I, too, am way ahead of him, not in the least because it takes a logical snail like Sam seven paragraphs to begin an argument.
I reject your idea of ‘romantic’ or ‘modern’ marriage as a ‘luxury’. Unless you will agree that ‘loveless’ or ‘old’ marriage was child-squeezing serfdom, to put it mildly. Less mildly: deadly for women forced to suffer or dodge a whole host of maladies that accompany serial childbirth. And soul-killing for anyone with such an intimate relationship lacking any meaning or vitality other than what Sam Schulman would groundlessly ascribe it.
This is the ‘old’ truth: traditional marriage was a brutal, tyrannical bureaucracy, period. I thought Conservatives hated that sort of thing. Let’s say we never return to it, K?
Already, I figure Schulman has gotten almost everybody who’s reading this to dislike him, but–take heart–he’s not gonna leave anything up to chance.
The role that marriage plays in kinship encompasses far more than arranging a happy home in which two hearts may beat as one–in fact marriage is actually pretty indifferent to that particular aim. Nor has marriage historically concerned itself with compelling the particular male and female who have created a child to live together and care for that child. It is not the “right to marry” that creates an enduring relationship between heterosexual lovers or a stable home for a child, but the more far-reaching kinship system that assigns every one of the vast array of marriage rules a set of duties and obligations to enforce. These duties and obligations impinge even on romantic marriage, and not always to its advantage. The obligations of kinship imposed on traditional marriage have nothing to do with the romantic ideals expressed in gay marriage.
Okay, how much do you despise this monstrous asshole? I can barely contain myself. On and on about what marriage is not, how important the ‘kinship system’ is, nothing about what it is, bargle nawdle zauss…
Consider four of the most profound effects of marriage within the kinship system.
The first is the most important: It is that marriage is concerned above all with female sexuality.
AAAAURRGGHHHHHHH. KILL. MUST. KILL.
The very existence of kinship depends on the protection of females from rape, degradation, and concubinage. This is why marriage between men and women has been necessary in virtually every society ever known. Marriage, whatever its particular manifestation in a particular culture or epoch, is essentially about who may and who may not have sexual access to a woman when she becomes an adult, and is also about how her adulthood–and sexual accessibility–is defined.
Why do I do this?
Women come equipped with free will–Voila! Argument dead. What the hell sort of case is he building anyway–that the ‘traditional’ ways supercede the modern ones? Would he also choose Victorian medicine, too? Sarsparilla anybody?
Again, until quite recently, the woman herself had little or nothing to say about this, while her parents and the community to which they answered had total control. The guardians of a female child or young woman had a duty to protect her virginity until the time came when marriage was permitted or, more frequently, insisted upon. This may seem a grim thing for the young woman–if you think of how the teenaged Natalie Wood was not permitted to go too far with Warren Beatty in Splendor in the Grass. But the duty of virginity can seem like a privilege, even a luxury, if you contrast it with the fate of child-prostitutes in brothels around the world. No wonder that weddings tend to be regarded as religious ceremonies in almost every culture: They celebrate the completion of a difficult task for the community as a whole.
This is so twisted, Schulman is really making me uncomfortable. This is the political web equivalent of those sex talk filmstrips in high school health and driver’s ed. Only far less accurate. Actually, it’s like one of the frighteningly ill-informed and acne’d teens turning the tables, lecturing the filmstrip on how sex really happens.
This most profound aspect of marriage–protecting and controlling the sexuality of the child-bearing sex–is its only true reason for being, and it has no equivalent in same-sex marriage. Virginity until marriage, arranged marriages, the special status of the sexuality of one partner but not the other (and her protection from the other sex)–these motivating forces for marriage do not apply to same-sex lovers.
Marriage’s ‘only true reason for being’ is ‘protecting and controlling the sexuality of the child-bearing sex’? Virginity, arranged marriages, only women’s sexuality being ‘special’–all terrific, vital American stuff? I call a Vomit Break.