Whatever we deny or embrace

25 03 2015

Sometimes a girl just wants a beer.

I don’t want to have to be bothered with the bodega owner’s religious beliefs, or the beer company’s political donations; I don’t want to have to run through some kind of checklist of acceptable/unacceptable views before I lay down my 10 bucks for a six-pack.

You see, all that time I spent spewing a not-inconsiderable number of words on the concept of “one law for all”, I was really just covering for my own laziness.

Okay, not entirely true, but if we decide to divvy up our laws and protections based on personal beliefs, then those of us who have strong beliefs (of whatever sort) are gonna end up wasting time trying to make sure we’re not paying for someone else’s loathsome agenda.

I don’t mind searching for fair trade coffee, say, and do try (although sometimes fail: Amazon) to buy products and services from companies which don’t mistreat their workers; connecting labor conditions to the purchase of things labored is a pretty direct relationship, and thus makes sense to me.

But beyond that direct economic relationship, I’m a raving pluralist, and thus neither want nor expect that everyone and every company which produces anything I could possible buy, use, or otherwise enjoy would line up with my own beliefs.

More than that, I think it would be bad if we only ever consorted with our own kind on every last thing.

How dull. How constricting. How small.

I do notice the expressed political or religious views of authors and actors and musicians, and yeah, it does affect my view of them—and I don’t like that. (I have yet to write the Play to End All Plays, but if I could get Brian Dennehy or Danny Aiello to star, I would be a fool to turn them down just because they’re conservative.) I don’t know these people, will never know these people, so if I’m watching a movie or listening to a song, why should their personal views have anything to do with my enjoyment of their performance?

Such tribalism is only human, I guess, but I don’t have to feed it; getting past tribalism is human, too.

Which is where one-law-for-all comes into play: it’s good for pluralism. When we enter the public sphere, each of us is by law equal to the other, which means that by law each can go where and do whatever anyone else can do*. It is a basic kind of justice.

(*Yes, there are some exceptions to this—“employees only” and “you must be this tall. . .” and all that—but the general rule stands.)

It is—horribly—clear that not everyone is treated equally and that injustice is a daily part of life. Still, that we are all to be equal under the law promises, if only in the breach, that each of us deserves to be a part of public life, that however different we may be from one another, we belong.

All right, I’m getting tired, my thoughts are wandering, and this argument is falling apart even as I make it, so lemme just jump to the end: having different laws for different groups disrupts that basic equality and obscures the basic standard of justice. Instead of being free to move about the country, one has to worry about getting/determining who to shut out.

And the second end: if we instantiate the lines we draw around ourselves, those lines come to matter more than anything else—more than the beer, the books, or the movies we could enjoy, more than ease of moving through our towns and our cities, more than the experience of being in the world.

I don’t want society to be a mush; I want us to be able to differ. And the best way to do that is to make sure that, whatever our differences, we are, by law, treated the same.

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Grab my rack of bones

4 05 2013

Yeah, yeah, another bitchfest about Bones.

I got nicked up over at TNC’s joint last week for writing that I’d hoped this was the last season, but, dangnabbit, that’s my ‘pinion and I’m stickin’ to it!

Consider last week’s episode (spoiler alerts blah blah): Brennan stuck a man in the neck with a syringe he thought was full of a mutated RNA-virus/botulism mix in order to, ah, motivate him to reveal the whereabouts of an antidote which could save Arastoo, who had pricked himself. . . really, does it matter?

Small thing first: It’s gotten to the point in Bones that if they bring a body into the lab full of terrifying microbes you know someone’s gonna get it. It didn’t used to be this way—utterly predictable—but there you go.

BIG THING: Brennan fucking stuck a man in the neck with a syringe of what he thought was full of killer germs! And nobody said anything!

Oh, wait, there were a few gasps in the room, and afterward Mr. CDC Man told Booth how lucky he was to have Brennan and Booth agreed and as they were walking out Brennan said You know I didn’t really inject him with a killer bug and Booth said I know and Brennan said But I would have and Booth said I know and he smiled and they decided to go out to and drink champagne!

Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee………………………….WHAT?!

She fucking assaulted a man and inflicted psychological torture on him and. . . that’s cool? Not arrested? Not fired? Not even the slightest bit chagrined because, hey, they saved Arastoo and got the bad guy so it was all good?

NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO. NO.

They used to give a shit about crossing lines on Bones. Yeah, I know, t.v. show, fiction, procedural, what did I expect, but Booth, at least, used to hold the line against shit like this because he knew that the lines mattered. (Brennan was always a more mixed case: on the one hand she cared about torture and genocide and on the other she did wanted to do what wanted to do and that was that.) But even if our plucky lil’ Jeffersonian gang was happy for the result—yay! Arastoo lives!—you’d think there’d be at least some blowback.

Nope.

Maybe there will be in later episodes, although I doubt it; in the meantime: champagne!