I recently saw this image on Facebook (it was shared by George Takei, whose Facebook feed is pretty entertaining):
While I am personally in favor of passing laws that benefit the interests of gays and lesbians, this comparison of gay marriage to donuts masks what is at stake in the current political battles. It advances the myth of liberalism—the myth that we’re all disconnected individuals (otherwise “to each his own” or “live and let live” sentiments make no sense). But we’re interconnected very much.
Another way of framing this is that Americans are in a battle over who can control the organization of the matrix in which individuals (come to) exist.
One could of course argue that a matrix that prohibits gay marriage burdens the LGBT community more than permitting it would burden conservatives, but it remains the case that those on the left are in fact trying to gain traction in controlling the matrix of society.
Of course, we can ask, what is gained by denying it? In this case it’s clear: when leftists describe the matter as if conservatives alone are attempting to control the matrix of society, they make their own war of position invisible.
I think you are being hypertechnical and quite unfair to George Takei. To expect the public to be well versed in critical theory is one of the reasons crits get no respect from activists. It’s all well and good to cite foucault, power matrixes, etc. but if you cannot advance an argument to convince the activists you so despise, then maybe the problem is not with the activists but with your critique. We have gained amazing strides in gay rights over an amazingly short historical time frame so if you think we somehow “cheated” and the conservatives haven’t, then I suggest you spend some time outside of your ivory tower.
Crits are very good at criticizing but rarely ever advance a constructive or positive agenda for change. They also come across as holier than though and condescend to the mere masses – the hoi polio so to speak. It also reeks of a pseudo-marxist “false consciousness” that is both insulting and condescending at the same time.
Finally, to people unfamiliar with critical theory, it comes off as rather reactionary rather than progressive. You almost sound like Rush Limbaugh with you rant against secularists. I know you come from a different ideological position but when you end of agreeing with the Right, atleast when it comes to rhetoric, you might want to re-evaluate your theory. It almost comes across as concern trolling to use an internet euphemism.
tdlr – this is the type of cheap shot that give crits a bad name….
Also, I noticed the slight of hand you did at the beginning on your article where you elided the fact that you don’t seem to actually support same sex marriage. You state that you favor “passing laws that benefit the interests of gays and lesbians” but that could just mean watered down domestic partnerships, etc. I have a feeling you are one of those left wing critics of marriage as an institution so you view any activism towards marriage equality as reactionary. If so, this supports my view that crits are elitist and condescending to 99% of LGBT who want the right to marry. I’m sorry if this doesn’t fit your utopian vision of social revolution but most of us aren’t radical revolutionaries – a weak form of assimilation is what most LGBT people want so berating us for not being the leninist vanguard for the Revolution is weak form.