Thursday, June 26, 2008

It's Scalzimania, right here in this post! As many of you may know, I am a huge fan of author/blogger John Scalzi. This is a collection of links I've been meaning to post to his blog about various things he has recently posted, both good and bad.

1) Bad: In this post, Scalzi qoutes (from here), that:
The Illinois Family Institute’s blog refers to the legalization of same-sex nuptials this week in the Golden State as “the California marriage disaster.” Such recognitions “do not and cannot exist, no matter what legal document the state issues homosexual couples,” writes institute blogger Laurie Higgins. “There is an existential, ontological reality that supersedes the ill-begotten works of man.”
Scalzi then proceeds to mock it mercilessly, saying:
Translation: “They’re legally married but I’m in denial, so I’m just going to pretend it didn’t happen, like that season on Dallas. La la la la la la, I can’t see you married homos.”
He proceeds to "wish away" many valid marriages on obviously spurious grounds (e.g. "think[ing] Dane Cook is funny"). Then he asks:
Do these people’s marriages really not exist because I just now wished them away? Yes, exactly to the extent that the marriages of same-sex couples who got married in California no longer exist simply because a bunch of bigots prefer to pretend they don’t. Which is to say: No. Because, you see, real, legal, actual marriages don’t stop existing just because some malign jackass doesn’t want to have accept that those marriages are real, and legal, and actual.
Go through to his post for the full effect.

I can't chase the quote back to it's context, so I may be overly charitable toward the Illinois Family Institute, but I could make a reasonable argument for their position. It appears to me that they are trying to draw a distinction between the religious institution of marriage and the legal one. To a Christian (which is the typical anti-gay straw-man) this difference is crucial. For example if my wife and I had not filled out the marriage certificate and turned it in to the State, we would legally not be married (this almost happened). In the eyes of the Church and God, however, that paper means nothing, and we were married as soon as the ceremony was concluded. To a Christian, what does and does not constitute marriage is not a matter for the State to decide - it has not the proper authority. Just as there are legal marriages that the Church may not recognize (e.g. homosexual marriage, common law marriage), so can there be marriages that it recognizes but the state does not (e.g. had we not submitted the paperwork, legal divorces). Presumably in the eyes of the Illinois Family Institute, though these couples may be legally married, they believe the religious (the real, to them) definition of marriage cannot encompass such a union, and thus in their eyes, such couples are not, in fact, married.

Frankly, since Scalzi majored in Philosophy in college, I'm a bit shocked he didn't pick up on the distinction.

2) Good: His ridiculous book is on preorder at Subterranean Press: Your Hatemail Will Be Graded: A Decade of Whatever, 1998-2008

Oh, and it has a sweet cover:


3) Awesome: He answers questions in quasi-podcast form, including some of mine (from "Randomscrub," obviously) here. My 3 questions start near the 12:20 mark. (Though only the third will be of any interest to people who don't actively read his blog.) Enjoy!

4) Also awesome: a hilarious home-improvement tip.

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