You can skip this and just go read Leaving Fundamentalism

Bristol Palin is pregnant. Again.

Like most people in the liberal/left/skeptic/atheist crowd, my first instinct was a roll-eyed sigh and maybe a bit of a knowing laugh about hypocrisy and irony… I’ll not waste words rehashing the reasons anyone might think that.

Obligatory photo for preview and Open Graph purposes…..

Then two things happened:

  1. I read Dan Savage’s take on the situation. Yes, I agree that if it was either of Obama’s daughters the likes of Fox News would be going into slut-shaming overdrive… but more broadly that made me wonder if said liberal/left/skeptic/atheist crowd were, in fact, doing pretty much the same thing to Bristol Palin. Unrestricted laughing and slut-shaming isn’t okay when Fox does it, it damn-well shouldn’t be when we do it in any form whatsoever.
  2. I read Bristol’s comments on the situation. Those made me think that she was almost certainly more of a victim, in this situation, of a pretty fucked up religious upbringing – she feels the need to consider herself a “disappointment” over this, and that she’s expected to handle it with “grace and dignity”. Think about that for a moment, and the sheer levels of expectation piled upon someone thrust into the public sphere, and then for another moment to what those expectations are. There is definitely something bubbling underneath the surface that is way more messed up than the mere “hypocrisy” you can see from a casual glance at the situation.

(Of course, the “grace and dignity” thing is a pretty trivial goal when you’re immensely wealthy. Such a feat would be significantly more difficult if you were poor, and part of the class that right-wing ideology consistently targets and denigrates on a daily basis. Try handling pregnancy and a newborn with “grace and dignity” when you’re visiting a food bank, then we’ll talk. But aside from that…)

Then a third thing happened: I read Jonny Scaramanga’s Leaving Fundamentalism blog on the subject (he’s now on Patheos, not WordPress, so I can’t simply re-blog it here). There’s very little I disagree with about it, and he put it in many, well-crafted words so I don’t have to. So, if I have any genuine subscribers and non-spam accounts following me, and if I have any real influence in the world at all, please read Scaramanga’s piece on this, reflect on it, and think about it. It’s one of the few things in this world right now that might leave you actually smarter, rather than simply feeling smarter.

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