1 Oct 2010 22:43
Let me get this right. Writing for the Washington Post about the tragic suicide of Tyler Clementi, Kathleen Parker (“Decency plunged when Tyler Clementi jumped”) doesn’t “want to play down the gay aspect of this travesty [sic], but there isn’t space in a column to tackle everything.” Then she goes on to recommend solving social problems by making people “feel ostracized” and “targeted as pariahs.” She wants to go back in time to when it was “bad manners to display oneself — or one’s affections — in public,” and she thinks people should “make it unattractive and unacceptable to intrude on others.”
Malicious intrusions of privacy are wrong, but Parker’s idea of “respect for privacy” rings loud and hollow. It rhymes with that facetious definition of “privacy” bigoted homophobes want from gay people when they say (not quoting Ms. Parker now), “Just don’t shove it in my face.” Like, by getting married. Or holding hands in public.
How hard is it for people to understand that gay kids suffer, and some of them kill themselves, because the shame of being gay is so painful to bear. Society ostracizes homosexuality. Straight kids might be embarrassed about their sexuality, but so ashamed to love someone of the opposite sex that they take their own lives to escape the pain? Who can imagine that?
Parker writes, “Although Clementi was filmed with another man, one can imagine as easily a roommate spying on a heterosexual encounter.” Sure, but what one can’t imagine is that the unwitting video star would then jump off a bridge.
By the way, I don’t want to play down Kathleen Parker’s callousness in calling this a “travesty” (does she know what that word means?), but there isn’t space in a column to tackle everything. Fortunately there’s just enough space left for me to say “fuck you” to Kathleen Parker and to mention that I do believe ostracism has a place in the world, but not where she wants to put it.
In contrast to Parker, Bloomberg columnist Ann Woolner (Sex Video Suicide Leaves Shared Guilt Behind) is not a travesty. She understands.