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May 10, 2010

The Supremely Gay Card

<span style="font-size: x-small;">Chip Somodevilla-Getty Images</span>
Chip Somodevilla-Getty Images

Does the gay buzz from the opening bell of the Kagan nomination spell:

1. a breakthrough on the issue of gays in high places?

2. an eruption of DC homophobia?

or

3. the right-wing’s cultural undermining of  a nominee who is otherwise near-impossible to ideologically typecast ?  (Here, I’m specifically referring to CBS’s publication of Ben Domenech’s smear piece making an issue of Elena Kagan’s sexual identity, followed by the sudden and eager amplification of the question by the rest of the media — not to mention the perhaps overeager refutation by the White House.)

The over-amped gender and identity politics already surrounding the Kagan nomination is evidenced by WAPO ignoring the obvious read of this image, which both emphasizes and celebrates a potential third woman on the Supreme Court, by instead, applying this caption to this “intro to Kagan” slideshow photo:

When a writer at CBS wrote that Kagan is openly gay, the White House responded to the contrary with surprising vigor.

…The NYT.com caption of this same photo published Sunday evening, by the way, reads:

Ms. Kagan is known for her easy banter with the justices. She spoke with former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor at a conference in 2009.

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