Charlie Martin at Pajamas Media made history today

by CynthiaYockey on May 9, 2010

I think Charlie Martin made history at Pajamas Media today when he defended the equality of lesbians and gays in the comment section of my piece on why it is a slur to call someone lesbian or gay, which came up due to the possibility that Obama will nominate Solicitor General Elena Kagan, who is a lesbian, to fill the seat on the Supreme Court that will open when Justice John Paul Stevens retires this summer at the end of the court’s current session.

Here’s Charlie:

Theo, your comment came ->| |<- this close to ending up in the trash, since it has no point at which it responds to Cynthia except to make unwarranted assertions about her personally. In fact, I trashed it and hit undo twice before deciding to pass it through and respond to you instead.

(1) This comment is wholly unjustified. In fact, Cynthia lived for 20+ years in a committed relationship with a partner who was slowly dying from a chronic disease, and now lives with her father because her father needs a full-time caregiver. She deserves an apology which, I suspect, you aren’t sufficiently adult to give.

(2) When posting a comment consisting, as this does, entirely of an ad hominem against the author, you ought to re-read item 3 in the comments policy, and consider that the comments may be being moderated by a cranky old-fashioned SOB who may not be in a mood to suffer fools.

There’s more — click the link above to see. And pay attention to what you DON’T see — the ad hominem comments that are NOT getting approved that until today WERE considered valid contributions to the discussion of lesbian and gay equality. Based on past experience, I believe Charlie probably has deleted at least 30 or 40 anti-gay rants from commenters who have been accustomed to seeing comparable remarks get approved. Similar attacks on the concept of equality for women and Jews do NOT get approved in the regions of the conservative world that consider those settled questions. This is a tipping point moment in the conservative blogosphere in the direction of the paradigm shift toward equality for lesbians and gays under the law.

Also see my piece on “How to grab the gay equality issue from the Left,” which I discussed with Charlie and which I believe directly led to this moment.

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Amy May 9, 2010 at 3:16 pm

Well, I was gonna go over there and kick Theo’s ass but I decided to just leave a polite comment instead. I am feeling rather mellow today, what with being allowed to sleep in and then take a nap! Mother’s Day…I take full advantage of it.

Cynthia Yockey May 9, 2010 at 5:33 pm


I hope it’s a wonderful day for you and all mothers!


Charlie Martin May 9, 2010 at 5:11 pm

Thanks, Cynthia, but I think you’re overstating things a bit. Roger has been vocal about GL equality as long as I remember — back before PJM — and honestly we’ve been tightening down on the comments generally after taking a very liberal (heh!) approach for a long time. I don’t think I’ve trashed but a few comments on your piece — we have been getting a lot of Moby action on the Cinco de Mayo ones though.

We’ve been looking up IP addresses from nasty comments, and you’d be surprised how many come from places you might otherwise expect to be more measured in tone.

Cynthia Yockey May 9, 2010 at 6:53 pm

Charlie Martin,

As we discussed a couple of weeks ago, I got so many toxic comments on “My Blissful Gay Marriage,” which was published by Pajamas Media on June 23, 2009, that for most of the last year I’ve only read PJM’s marquee writers. And, as you know, I was shocked that another editor there paired my gay marriage piece with an anti-gay one in the name of fairness — even though the ratio then tilted almost totally to anti-gay essays, which appeared to me to create an attitude in the anti-gay commenters that they were in tune with the editorial position of Pajamas Media and had PJM’s total support in denouncing both gay equality and me.

Because I’ve only dropped by PJM here and there over the last year and only read Roger’s column and comments regularly, I haven’t observed the changes as they happened. I HAVE noticed over the last couple of weeks that there haven’t been any anti-gay, anti-woman/anti-feminist rants published, as there were last year. THAT is a welcome change.

I do hope that Roger Simon will make history AND headlines by announcing a new editorial policy at Pajamas Media and PJTV saying that essays and videos opposing equality for lesbians and gays will no longer be published or shown online there AND that anti-gay comments that are discourteous or based solely on religious objections also will not be published — and I hope that that newly restrictive comment policy will be a bridge to a comment policy that regards the goodness of lesbian and gay equality to be as settled an issue as the right of Israel to exist and the rights of women and blacks to equality under the law and therefore denies the publication of comments that argue otherwise.

About the nastiness of the comments and their sources — I think you’ll be surprised to find a sharp improvement in the intelligence and courtesy of the comments you receive when you set the tone by publishing only the intelligent and courteous ones. This is worth doing because your commenters are effectively your co-bloggers and the nasty ones run off the courteous ones. In addition, I predict a lot of your readers will express their appreciation for the improvement in the general atmosphere of the place. I also predict that even your best writers will be able to improve their thinking and writing when their essays are met with a more intelligent and courteous reception.


Joe May 12, 2010 at 4:11 pm

I would like to see a time where being gay was no big deal. Is Elena Kagan gay? She seems gay, but I do not know and really don’t care that much. I have made jokes that perhaps he is straight and has an ongoing relationship with two men, Ben & Jerry. Okay, that is mean and inappropriate (although I recall quite few jokes about Alito going to fantasy baseball camp, which were mean but were probably okay to joke about).

She seems nice enough as a person. I question her politics and liberal leanings, becuase of the impact they might have on the court. Since I am pro gay marriage (although opposed to it being imposed judicially as some “right” suddenly gleaned from constitutions and amendments that clearly did not address the issue) I am concerned about potential decisions on that issue as a matter of jurisprudence as opposed policy. I am more concerned with her judicial orientation and how she views the Constitution and the role of the Supreme Court.

And I am glad folks stepped up to defend Cynthia.

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