Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Trademarks and free speech

On the blog Above the Law, Joe Patrice writes about "the path that most defines the Roberts Court: the provisions of the Bill of Rights are for making money." Sure, if you ignore all of the decisions of the Roberts court that don't suggest that.

Patrice points out that "no one was trying to ban any speech here" and continues,

Federal trademark protection flows from the congressional power to regulate interstate commerce, and in light of the broad grant of power the Framers gave the government here, it’s entirely reasonable for the government to impose limits on what marks it gives the imprimatur of nationwide recognition, in the interest of regulating the market. This isn’t banning someone from expressing a disparaging view. It’s not even banning someone from making money off a disparaging view. The statute barred the federal government from inserting itself into a potential dispute between someone trying to make money off a racial slur and someone trying to make bootleg products to make money off that same racial slur. And, as already discussed, it doesn’t even stop someone from suing the bootlegger.
Such limits stop being "entirely reasonable" when they are based on viewpoint. In fact, a long line of precedent forbids government to impose such viewpoint-based restrictions, even when government was under no Constitutional obligation to provide the service under consideration in the first place.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Someone actually wrote this: Is Pride Still for Queer People like Me?

In today's New York Times, Krista Burton writes,
Pride was a party, a huge gay party, and I had never been so excited to be invited, or felt so instantly welcome, anywhere.

That’s where Pride succeeds. It gets more inclusive and welcoming every year, and as the queers become less threatening, more straight people come, and more minds are opened to the possibility that we gays might just be regular people, after all. (Albeit with better decorating sense and the sass to pull off chaps that leave little to the imagination.)

Apart from the fact that Ms. Burton parrots outdated stereotypes of gay men, what's the problem?
Having allies is wonderful, but sometimes I wish they could be allies every other day of the year, and let us have a party as gay and naked and radical and un-family-friendly as we queers might like.
Given what she just said, she seems to want to argue with success.
Pride is clearly also for corporations who want to milk as much money as possible from a previously ignored demographic. In the past decade or so, companies have scrambled to prove how O.K. they are with L.G.B.T.Q.I.A.+ folks, and well, it’s embarrassing how transparent the scramble for our money is.
Quite unlike those politicians who "evolve" on our issues when politically expedient. Many people want the former to prove their ideological purity, while the latter get participation trophies.
We see you, Miller Lite, with your oddly wholesome, rainbow-spattered ads. Where were you before it was in your best financial interest to be accepting of queers?

Where were any of these companies when a single corporation standing up for queer rights would have stood out like a lit “Golden Girls” prayer candle in an endless night of straight missionary sex?

Where was Ms. Burton when many businesses were leading indicators of our progress even as politicians were so often lagging indicators? Where was she when businesses went to bat for us against homophobic or transphobic state legislatures? And what is it with those stereotypes of gay men that so fascinate her?
I hate that white, gay, cis men are the only kind of gays with real activist funding behind them.
And I hate that up is down and that the sun rises in the west.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Where the LGBT movement can go right, and where it can go wrong

In today's Washington Post, we read,
Since 2001, there has been a clear and, apparently, irreversible, move toward more permissive, or, to use Gallup’s word, “liberal” social norms.

“Libertarian” might be a better term. Gallup documents what can only be called a strong live-and-let-live consensus regarding several practices — birth control, divorce, sex between unmarried adults, gay or lesbian relations, out-of-wedlock child-bearing — that within living memory were either fiercely contested or taboo.

The key words are "live-and-let-live consensus." Unfortunately, I see many LGBT people refuse to learn the lesson. Despite the evidence that live-and-let-live is a winning strategy, they want to replace homophobes' form of live-but-not-let-live with their own. We have already seen backlashes from stepping on others' First Amendment rights.

See also The perfect argument, if we hadn't forfeited it