Whither Sunstein and Koppelman?
June 17th, 2015


Nine years ago Andrew Koppelman and Cass Sunstein were dismissing the idea that gay marriage could ever threaten religious liberty. Here’s Koppelman:

“This is yet another of the predicted horrible consequences of same-sex marriage that just isn’t going to happen,” said Andrew Koppelman, a law professor at Northwestern University.

“The Catholic Church refuses to recognize the remarriages of divorced people whose spouses are still living. Their tax exemption has never been threatened because of this.”

Here’s Sunstein:

Asked whether the hypothetical religious college at the top of this article could lose its tax-exempt status for refusing to recognize John and James as married students, constitutional law scholar Cass Sunstein said: “Sure–and if pigs had wings they could fly.”

“The answer is no,” said Sunstein, a professor of law and political science at the University of Chicago. “That’s an argument that would be generated by advocacy groups trying to scare people. The likelihood religious organizations would lose their tax exemption is as close to zero as anything in law is.”

And here, just as a reminder, is the solicitor general of the United States, Donald Verrilli, asked specifically if religious schools could lose their tax-exempt status over gay marriage, warning the Supreme Court that, in fact, the government will be looking very hard at this question:

You know, I—I don’t think I can answer that question without knowing more specifics, but it’s certainly going to be an issue. I—I don’t deny that. I don’t deny that, Justice Alito. It is—it is going to be an issue.

I wonder of Koppelman and Sunstein have changed their views. At the very least, they owe religious liberty proponents an apology for dismissing their concerns as fanciful.

Or rather, they would owe them an apology if they were legitimately interested in the law and not engaged in a giant cultural bait-and-switch.

 

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Obligatory Rachel Dolezal Post
June 16th, 2015


Four quick observations:

1) In the cosmic scheme of things, what are the odds that that Rachel Dolezal “transracial” story breaks mere days after the “Caitlyn” Jenner push, setting up the perfect storm of grievance conflict/emperor has no clothes?

If Andrew Breitbart was alive, the left would insist that he was behind the whole thing.

2) I understand why the left reacted so viciously to Dolezal–they aren’t incorrect to see “transracialism” as an existential threat to the “transgender” movement. Because either transracialsm is officially real, at which point you lose all hope of also persuading middle America to get onboard the transgender project. Or because transracialism is officially not real, at which point you have to explain why there’s a good trans and a bad trans.

Neither prospect is helpful for World War T. So the smart play from the left is to simply try to make Dolezal go away, fast.

3) My favorite lefty-trans freakout is from MTV’s Rachel Paoletta, instructively headlined “Here’s Why You Must Not Compare Caitlyn Jenner and Rachel Dolezal.” The “Must” is gold:

Here’s the thing: The conversation around being “transracial,” which has manifested in comparisons and memes like these, is transphobia and racism operating under the guise of a philosophical conversation. . . .

According to her parents, Rachel Dolezal was born a white woman. If this is true, she’ll alwaysbe a white woman, and therefore will never live the experience of a black American. Caitlyn Jenner, on the other hand, has always been a woman. Simply put: Rachel has (allegedly) been pretending to be a black woman for years — Caitlyn isn’t pretending to be a woman because she’s always been one.

Emphasis in the original. Obvs.

4) All it will take is one prominent lefty bucking the herd and saying, “Hey, you know what, this lady seems totally sincere, has spent her life fighting for social justice, and has endured a ton of abuse. Why shouldn’t we respect her truth?”

That would be, obviously, the hottest take around.

So if it doesn’t happen–is no one on the left is willing to give it a ride–it’ll be a nice little data point on the level of groupthink gripping that side of the spectrum.

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Michael Mann, ‘Blackhat,’ ‘Lucky Star’
June 16th, 2015


Ummm, did anyone else know this:

Even the pulpy Blackhat has its roots in a real-life criminal (muscular, Nordic-looking bank hacker Stephen Watt, another of Mann’s consultants), and seems to have had a long development; many of its plot points first popped up in, of all things, a Mercedes-Benz commercial Mann directed in 2002.

Here’s the commercial. It’s pretty awesome, of course:

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Pyramid of Grievances
June 12th, 2015


So where do we think transracialism ranks? Because it’s clearly going to be a thing. Here’s our first exhibit, a story about a woman in Spokane who runs the local NAACP chapter and has been passing as black. But is actually . . . white? Yuh-huh. Some highlights from the blockbuster investigation:

A recent investigation into racially charged threats made toward the president of the NAACP chapter in Spokane have raised questions beyond who made the threats.

On Thursday, Rachel Dolezal’s parents claimed she had been deceiving people.

Ruthanne and Larry Dolezal said Thursday that they want people to know the truth including that their daughter is Caucasian. The Dolezal’s sat down with KREM 2 News and said their daughter is specifically German and Czech. . . .

Ruthanne and Larry Dolezal said their daughter has always identified with the African American culture and had black siblings who were adopted. They said she went to school in Mississippi and was part of a primarily African American community.

The Dolezal’s said Rachel married and later divorced a black man. They said after the divorce in 2004 Rachel began identifying differently. She started claiming to be partially African American and the daughter of bi-racial parents. They said they have noticed her change in physical appearance but do not know how she did so.

“Rachel has wanted to be somebody she’s not. She’s chosen not to just be herself but to represent herself as an African American woman or a biracial person. And that’s simply not true,” said Ruthanne Dolezal.

I’m not sure where Rachel’s parents get off saying that she’s not African American. They wouldn’t be so bigoted if Rachel insisted she was a man, now, would they?

Rachel said she does not consider her biological parents her real parents.

KREM 2 asked to address the public sentiment that she misrepresented her race.

“I can understand that. And like I said, it’s more important to me to clarify that to the black community, and with my executive board, than it really is for me to explain it to a community that I quite frankly don’t think understands the definitions of race and ethnicity,” said Dolezal.

As Santino would say, THIS. Why should Rachel have to explain herself to a community with no understanding about the definitions of race and ethnicity?

The only problem for Rachel is that I suspect she’s about to find out that WTB transracialism doesn’t rank very high on the pyramid of grievances. At least not today.

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Leah Still > Caitlyn Jenner
June 11th, 2015


You know who deserves the Arthur Ashe Courage Award? Leah and Devon Still.

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Quick Note on ‘Jurassic Park’ and Feminism
June 11th, 2015


Over at the Federalist, Mollie Hemingway has a great essay on the liberal freak-out over femininity in Jurassic World and MH points out that the character arc of Bryce Dallas Howard in World mirrors that of Alan Grant in Park: An obsessive careerist who’s resistant to children is broken down and comes to appreciate the value of family life.

Just one note: In the book, Grant’s character is very different. The Grant of the novel is a widower who loves children and regrets not having had them before his wife died. In the movie, Ellie Saddler is his paramour, but in the book, she’s his grad student protege and she’s engaged to a medical doctor back on the mainland who’s her own age. Grant thinks of her more like a kid sister whose happiness and success he’s personally invested in. And in the book, Grant is great with kids. He’s the only adult in the story who knows how to talk to them and relate to them.

I mention this because it’s just one more example of how brilliant the Jurassic Park screenplay is, deviating from the novel where needed, so that it creates tension and character arcs that wouldn’t have been as interesting on the page, but which enrich the adaptation.

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Stiles on FIFA
June 11th, 2015


Galley Bro Andrew Stiles is writing for Acculturated now, too. And it is awesome. His first piece is a review of United Passions, the FIFA movie:

Of all the criminal misdeeds alleged to have occurred on Blatter’s watch, there is perhaps no greater testament to FIFA’s institutional depravity than the existence of this film.

I’ll dispense with the standard “SPOILERS!” disclaimer, because who cares? You’re not going to see United Passions in theaters. Are you? Please don’t. Imagine watching an actual soccer game on replay when you already know it’s going to end in a 0-0 tie, with considerable extra time added on for all the “injuries.” Download it illegally if you must. FIFA’s lawyers are preoccupied at the moment.

 

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About Those Transgender Numbers
June 10th, 2015


I’ve mentioned before that the number pushed by trans activists is that 0.3 percent of the population is transgendered. This seems high–incredibly high–because it would mean that there’s one trans person for every five homosexuals in America, and I’m not sure that comports with anyone’s anecdotal experience.

But Steve Sailer points out a piece in the New York Times which tries to hang a real number on the trans population by using Census data for 2010, looking at the raw numbers of people who’d changed their name from one seeming-gender to another (89,667 people) and from one sex to another (21,833).

As Sailer points out, by those metrics, the trans number is somewhere between 0.007 percent and 0.029 percent of the population. What this suggests is that whatever the real number is, it’s so tiny that it will be difficult to pinpoint with any precision. It’s just too small.

Also, that it is insane that the American media has push the transgender narrative the way they have over the last couple of years. Here are some comparative numbers:

The Census estimates that there are 324,000 Wiccans in America, as of 2008). Back in 2001, the American Religious Identification Survey found that there were 22,000 Americans who practices Santeria; 33,000 who identified as “Druids”; 55,000 Scientologists; and 84,000 members of the Baha’i faith. This is the order of magnitude we’re talking about with transgenderism.

But when’s the last time you saw any of these groups having their cause pressed on the front page of the New York Times?

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