The Best Of The Dish Today

2014 B.A.A. Boston Marathon

Now there’s a Boston physique for you!

Meanwhile, the slams on the dreadful Becker book continue to pile up. When Michelangelo Signorile is compelled to agree with me, you have some idea of how bad it is. He notes how the book grotesquely distorts the legal work of Robbie Kaplan, who argued the much-more-significant Windsor case, only to have Becker relegate it to a footnote of her exclusive-access p.r. clients, Olson and Boies:

In Becker’s zeal to make her book and its insiders seem more important, she shockingly steals the win on DOMA by Kaplan and gives it to Prop 8 attorneys Ted Olson and David Boies. She wrongly portrays Kaplan as having argued a very narrow case, one not based on the dignity and civil rights of gay people, when in fact that is how Kaplan has always portrayed the case against DOMA, in the media and before the courts, right up to the high court. …

But Becker’s breathtakingly shameless conclusion, for which she quotes no legal scholar and clearly got directly from Olson and Boies, is that Olson’s arguments on Prop 8 won the DOMA case for Kaplan. She even quotes Kaplan seeming to back this up, a quotation that I find very strange, having read everything Kaplan has said about the case since DOMA was struck down. (Kaplan has not publicly commented on this book.) The omissions in the book are certainly egregious. But throwing Roberta Kaplan and Edie Windsor under the bus while comparing Chad Griffin to a woman who refused to sit at the back of the bus is truly horrendous.

My sources tell me that Kaplan rebutted this argument to Becker directly, only to have Becker ignore her points – which tells you something about the ethics and fairness of this shoddy p.r. exercise. Signorile, however, has to insist that my notion of the gay left’s resistance to marriage equality in the 1990s is unfounded. Well, since Evan Wolfson is an upstanding member of the gay left, and always has been, he is partly right. But the idea that the gay left was supportive of marriage equality as a priority or even at all in the early days is not true. Don’t ask me (although I can recite you chapter and verse), see this new piece by Richard Kim of The Nation on the epic struggle within the movement that preceded and accompanied the struggle for marriage rights. Money quote:

In the early 1990s, the writers Andrew Sullivan and Tony Kushner, in the pages of The New Republic and The Nation respectively, laid out two catalytic visions of gay politics. In his essay “The Politics of Homosexuality,” Sullivan made the conservative case for a gay agenda that focused solely on eliminating state discrimination against lesbians and gay men, chiefly the bans on same-sex marriage and military service … Kushner’s rejoinder, “A Socialism of the Skin,” published in these pages in 1994, was a galvanizing interpretation of gay liberation’s utopian and solidaristic spirit … I am, of course, Team Tony. But twenty years later, it is undeniable that Sullivan’s brand of politics defines the gay movement and that the achievement of its limited goals is on the near horizon.

Does Signorile think Richard Kim just made all that up?

On Becker, two questions: why, after all this fuss, does she refuse to engage her critics? And where is the NYT’s Public Editor on this mess?

The most popular post today was “Was Jesus God?” followed by my response to Ann Wroe’s thoughts on sin. I also went another round responding to critics of Ayaan Hirsi Ali. From the in-tray, small business owners shared their Obamacare stories (follow the whole thread here).

See you in the morning.

(Photo: A man with ‘We’re Back!’ written on his chest limps by after finishing the Boston Marathon on April 21, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts. By Andrew Burton/Getty Images.)