Monday, July 11, 2005

The Scholar - 1x05

First, the less serious. Davis is a self-involved twit, but I already mentioned that. So when he had his brainfart and had trouble admitting that he misheard the question, it was some sweet icing.

Second, and more importantly, the debate about gay marriage was rife with (not so) hidden ideology. Since the show is largely sponsored by W@lm@rt, the decision to debate gay marriage seemed like it was a way to get leftist kids to do the arguing for the less thinky conservatives and then to broadcast those arguments nationally. Granted, everything that was aired has already made appearances in the national discourse surrounding the topic -- that is, the arguments are nothing particularly new -- but there are several other issues that are imminently more arguable than gay marriage (gun control and abortion immediately come to mind). The Con side was all but fated to lose, all the more so because of the ideological beliefs of the team members (and apparently, the alternative lifestyle of Jeremy -- a straight kid with your typical dose of liberal guilt wouldn't go so far in voicing his discomfort with having to argue against gay marriage (has he already come out yet?)). There are more reasonable arguments against gay marriage that don't hinge so heavily on religion/morality (which, in my opinion, doesn't get anywhere in a reasonable debate because it just sticks the whole conversation into a polarized, mutually exclusive field with no common ground between the two sides), but such arguments I suspect are beyond the scope of even the more 'gifted' 17 and 18 year olds. (Not to mention that generally few people have imagination enough to consider both sides of an argument in good faith.) (For what it's worth, a better and more sophisticated Con argument would've been the reaction against a decision in favor of gay marriage, using abolition and the Civil War as analogues and the ongoing race problems that remain in the US.)

So anyway, my point is that in debating an issue that seems so divisive that open discourse hasn't really been able to take place in the mainstream, the show seemed to have an agenda of ideologically balancing out an issue that seems to be otherwise be in favor of the left, though the people responsible for balancing it out weren't really up to the task since they merely reiterated the fundamental rhetoric. The upshot of putting the 'morality' argument up against the 'civil rights' argument is that the former gained apparent legitimacy simply through association with the latter.

(Those of you who spot the rhetorical disingenuousness of my characterization of the debate can take up the issue with some blog that cares. I don't know, Wonkette, maybe?)

Indie rating: Of Montreal - "Disconnect the Dots"

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