Good For You, Mary

Sometimes I’d like to just slap the so-called “journalists.” 

Take this article in the NYTimes, for example.  While I applaud Mary Cheney’s decision to publicly talk about her pregnancy, the simple fact of the matter is that she shouldn’t have to “defend” it.  The right of procreation extends back further than the ability to speak, and if she wants to have a baby it’s nobody else’s damned business.  I rarely have agreed with Mary’s political decisions, but for once (and probably the only time) I agree with her:

“This is a baby. This is a blessing from God. It is not a political statement. It is not a prop to be used in a debate, on either side of a political issue. It is my child.”

Damn straight, baby. 

This sense of entitlement we have when it comes to public figures really is out of proportion with what we are actually entitled to know.  Look at the implication of this sentence in the NYTimes article:

Ms. Cheney, who is vice president of consumer advocacy for AOL and lives in Virginia, has not said how she became pregnant.

The obvious implication there is that she is somehow obligated to publicize every intimate detail of her pregnancy.  Hogwash.  What right does anyone else have to know the intimate details of “how” she became pregnant (except Heather, of course)?  While I’m sure there will be mounds of speculation on whether it was David Crosby or some other method, the plain fact is that “how” she became pregnant isn’t news–it’s gossip.  And hardly worthy of one of our major news organizations.  Shame on you, NYTimes. 

10 thoughts on “Good For You, Mary

  1. Okay, but, to be fair, given her past and her connections, anything she does at this point is a political statement. It might be different if she hand’t embraced her father’s political goals so extensively. I mean, Kristin Gore seems to have made it out alright and will always have a special place in my heart as a writer on Futurama.

    Cheney, however, became a political creature when she took over her father’s campaign, knowing what was part and parcel in that campaign. She can’t just now disavow her past actions in light of her recent blessing. If she didn’t want her life to be viewed as a political statement, she shouldn’t have been political.

    Now I wish her, her partner and her baby the best of luck. I truly do. But it is disingenuous in the extreme to try and divorce this from politics. Every intimate detail? No. The fact that the lesbian daughter of a right-wing conservative political figure who even, for a time, herself led a visible political life in a party notorious for its stance on homosexuality, gay marriage and gay parenting is having a baby? Definitely public domain.

  2. Okay, but, to be fair, given her past and her connections, anything she does at this point is a political statement.

    Really? Anything? So we’re entitled to know what she had for breakfast then? That’s extreme, but where do we draw the line? My point, QJ, is that the NYTimes story is about a half-inch away from asking her if she used a Turkey baster, and that’s out of line. Of course she should expect people to talk about her pregnancy. For many people this is a questionable moral action on her part, and it obviously invites discussion. It’s the manner in which the Times wrote this particular piece that has me ticked off. The overall tone is that her pregnancy is something she has to defend, and I don’t agree with that at all.

    Is she a public figure? Sure. But there are levels and then there are levels of “public figure.” She’s not running for office herself, but still has made her positions clear on the issues. Are we entitled to ask questions about what she does and look for hypocrisy? Certainly. But are we entitled to know “how” she became pregnant? Absolutely not. We can blog and gossip about it all we like, but it’s not the job of the NYTimes to speculate. It’s to report. Leave the speculation to those who don’t call themselves “journalists.”

  3. We’re entitled to know what she had for breakfast if she makes it an issue by working for a campaign that is generally against breakfast. I agree, there is a line and that line is the baby. The trouble is Mary is trying to confuse that line. Her baby is off limits, but her pregnancy isn’t, particularly when coupled with her past behavior and support. And yes, I think it’s a legitimate point to note that she hasn’t said exactly how the baby was conceived.

    I don’t see anything in the article that suggests she “has” to defend her pregnancy. It seems to be a pretty straightforward relation of facts. She is choosing to defend her pregnancy, just as she chose to run Dick’s campaign. Once again, she’s choosing to make herself available to the public and once again she’s demanding that no one take notice.

  4. And yes, I think it’s a legitimate point to note that she hasn’t said exactly how the baby was conceived.

    Sorry, QJ, I just don’t see how it’s anyone’s business but Mary & Heather. It’s not her father’s business, her mother’s, and it’s certainly not the public’s business. People may want to know: that doesn’t mean they have the right to know.

  5. Jamie, perhaps it comes from your rural roots and respect for tradition, but you’ve always posited this public/private divide that I don’t think really exist in America anymore. Certainly, it doesn’t exist in the celebrity obsessed part of America I come from.

    We live in an age when a cell phone user can tape your activities and post it on YouTube for thousands to see in a matter of minutes. We live in an age where strangers (with the proper technical skills) can read others’ personal electronic correspondences quite easily. Technology has changed the way we think about public and private life. Period.

    Whether the American people has a “right” to know or not is no longer upto the Supreme Court or Congress to decide. Sure, you can make laws against it, but you cannot stop random folks with access to computers, digital cameras, cell phones, I-Pods, blackberries, and printers from prying into your life.

    While privacy might not be what it once was, tolerance for eccentricity and erratic behavior has also grown. They might want to know out of curiousity, but there’s very little that shocks the American people anymore. With that in mind, it is perhaps necessary for well known folks to think of themselves as always both “public” and “private”. There’s no longer a public face versus a private face…instead, it should be a fairly consistent face.

  6. Perhaps you’re right, John, about where my position comes from, but I don’t think that makes it any more untenable. For instance, if Norm & I ended up having a baby, I wouldn’t tell anyone how that all came about if I didn’t think it was their business. (Unless there was some Prize from the Guiness people involved. lol) Then again, I’ve never really gave much thought to what other people think of me and my decisions. Let them think what they want.

    I guess it goes back to what my Gramma told me years ago: it does no good to hate. The people you hate either don’t know you hate them, or don’t care, so in the end all that negativity just hurts you and no one else. I always took that to mean just be true to yourself and do what you think is right, critics be damned.

    Then again, my original post here wasn’t a denial of Mary’s public persona, but rather a condemnation of the Times’ hackneyed journalism being passed off as actual reporting. Unlike some of my fellow bloggers, I tend to like the NYTimes. But this was the type of thing I’d expect to see n Page6 of the NYPost. Poorly done and in bad taste.

    One more thing: I agree, public figures do have an expectation of being fairly consistent, but I’ve always felt that matters of family, unless there’s a crime involved, should remain matters of family and not fodder for a desperate media bent on speculation. What’s inconsistent with Mary’s being pregnant? She’s been an out gay republican, and unabashedly so, and whether I agree with her political positions or not, she’s consistent in that she says and does what she wants no matter what other people–including her father’s closest confidants–think. That takes courage and should engender just a little admiration, I would think. It’s one thing when Rosie O’Donnell adopts children–she just doesn’t deal with the bigots. But Mary faces them in close quarters on a regular basis and still chose to have a family.

    That’s worth something in my book.

  7. Pingback: Good For You, Mary Revisited « I must be dreaming

  8. I don’t think Mary Cheney is a hypocrite. She has never, ever stated that she supports a ban on gay adoption or the federal marriage amendment. The fact that she appeared with Bush at campaign appearances or attended the annual gay-bashing fest that was the SOTU (circa 2003-2006) was because Dick Cheney is the Vice President. And to snub an invite from the President would damage her father’s reputation. I doubt she felt all that comfortable at those functions.

    Of course, there are plenty of other reasons to dislike Dick Cheney (the arrogance, the greed, the disrespectful attitude towards Congress, the shady backdoor deals with oil companies, the overcharging on construction contracts, etc.), but lets be clear, those other sins are not related to GLBT issues…and they certainly have nothing to do with Mary Cheney.

    My only problem with Mary Cheney on this particular matter is simple. If you grant a press interview, and you refuse to answer the questions you know will come up…the press will imply that you’re being evasive. That’s how the press works, and she wasn’t born yesterday. She knew they would mention the ongoing criticism of her in right-wing circles (that it’s not a “natural” conception, that lesbians are bad parents, and so forth). If she wanted to keep silent about the pregnancy, then she shouldn’t talk to them at all. That means the only thing they can write is: “The Times attempted to contact Mary Cheney for a response, but she declined to speak to us”.

  9. Just another freak dyke! She and her “partner” are going to bust hell wide open when they die! Maybe take the baby with them when it comes to age of accountability!
    Jamie: I would delete this comment, but I want everyone to see the type of bigoted comment gays and lesbians have to deal with every day. “Take the baby with them?” Burn in hell, bitch.

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