The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

‘Outing’ Ellen Page: The Politicization of Sex and the Sexualization of Politics

Posted on | September 19, 2011 | 72 Comments

One of the unfortunate consequences of living in a sex-obsessed culture is that sex pervades and dominates everything, so that no subject can be discussed outside a sexual context. And this explains why I’m writing about Ellen Page, a 24-year-old actress whose name I’d never heard before I received an e-mail this morning.

Miss Page starred as a pregnant teenager in the acclaimed 2008 film Juno, which provoked much cultural commentary because of its pro-life theme. Yet the actress disavowed any pro-life motive of her own:

“I call myself a feminist when people ask me if I am, and of course I am ’cause it’s about equality, so I hope everyone is. You know you’re working in a patriarchal society when the word feminist has a weird connotation. . . . I very much am pro-choice.”

You see embedded in her comments a sort of sexual politics that didn’t exist 50 years ago, before “pro-choice” was a political category, before women had been taught to speak of themselves as feminists opposed to “a patriarchal society.” Many young people take this kind of rhetoric for granted, since it’s all they’ve ever known, but it reflects two trends of the recent past: The expansion of the cultural space involving sex, and the expansion of politics to include sexual matters previously regarded as private.

If an individual’s sex life has political meaning, the consequence is that no one’s sexual activity is truly private, as Miss Page discovered last month when a blogger named Christoph Topitschnig “outed” her as a lesbian — or at least, bisexual. Celebrity blogger Deana Barnert quoted Topitschnig’s argument:

“I gave Ellen Page a decent chance to come out with the truth,” Topitschnig posted on V-Generations. “Two months ago, I mentioned her in my LGBT article and made it pretty clear what she had to do. . . .
“I wrote: ‘In times like these when young gay people commit suicide out of fear of rejection, role models are needed. The gravity of the situation doesn’t ask for passive hiding but active fighting. What will Ellen Page’s choice be?'”

Consider the logic of Topitschnig’s argument: Miss Page has an obligation to disclose her (alleged) lesbian romances, in order to prevent “young gay people [from] commit[ing] suicide out of fear of rejection.” This seems rather a heavy burden for a blogger to impose on a young actress who, evidently, is still sorting through her own romantic/erotic interests: Confess your lesbianism, or gay kids will kill themselves!

And notice how Topitschnig portrayed himself as some sort of humanitarian for having given Miss Page “a decent chance” by waiting two months after his ultimatum before “outing” her. He “made it pretty clear what she had to do,” he says — just as Hitler once made it clear what Poland “had to do” about the Danzig Corridor.

That last analogy is no accidental violation of Godwin’s Law, for it is my argument that the politicization of sex necessarily entails a destruction of private life that is totalitarian in its implications. Miss Page was willing to accept a political dimension to sex insofar as it regarded being “pro-choice” and fighting the “patriarchy,” but I am unaware if she has commented on Topitchsnig’s “outing” blackmail.

Now, I said in the first paragraph that I had never heard of Miss Page until I got an e-mail this morning. That e-mail included a link to a new blog post by Toptischnig, this one quoting notorious left-wing blogger Mike Stark’s 2010 allegation that Rick Perry had a sexual affair with former Texas Secretary of State Geoffrey S. Connor.

Confess, Governor Perry, or gay kids will kill themselves!

And if you disagree with such tactics, they’ll smear you as a homophobe.

UPDATE: A commenter points out that Ellen Page makes it difficult to feel sorry for her. If her ambition is to become the next Janeane Garofalo, Whoopi Goldberg or Rosie O’Donnell, she’s gotten a good head start.


72 Responses to “‘Outing’ Ellen Page: The Politicization of Sex and the Sexualization of Politics”

  1. Julie
    September 20th, 2011 @ 4:47 am

    Was it ever about what people do “in the privacy of their own bedroom?”

    This isn’t the bedroom, it’s the public square.

    And the “outer” is abso-fricking-lutely a fascist thug.

    Pay attention to how the “tolerant” left treats those of their own who fail to toe the line.   This is about punishing Ellen Page, and it wouldn’t be punishment if it actually was “okay” to out someone – ever.   Watch them next time someone on the left fails, somehow, to conform adequately to their rules.   It makes how they treat conservatives look outright tame.

    And the reason for that is that one of the most abusive and violent things that can be done to someone within a community is shunning.   A person who faces expulsion from their “tribe” will do or say almost anything to reconcile.   Watch when it happens and you’ll see the most humiliating groveling being demanded and those demands met.

    Conservatives can’t be hurt that way because we’re already the Other.

    Just WATCH what they do to their own.

  2. McGehee
    September 20th, 2011 @ 5:45 am

    After all, if you truly believe in “choice” then you have to respect a
    decision to let a baby be born, rather than killed in utero.

    That’s why every “Choose Life” license plate proposal sails right through without a whiff of controversy.


  3. cork
    September 20th, 2011 @ 6:14 am

    I’ll apply the current Internet standards:

    Pictures or it didn’t happen.

  4. Joe
    September 20th, 2011 @ 6:17 am

    You must be anamika to make such leaps of assumptions without any evidence.  I am pro life, I do not dispute Ellen Page is pro choice (which in fact I knew before this post), but I found the message in Juno life affirming. 

    But I agree with you people should not be “outed” for some greater social good.  The rights of the individual trump the rights of the collective, especially so tenuous of collective rights to justify this.  Which is why I say the right of a fetus human should be given the same respect as the right of the mother (with a few limited exceptions). 

  5. Brad
    September 20th, 2011 @ 7:29 am

    I’d have much more sympathy for Ellen Page if it weren’t for this…

    So I see her outing as an ironic injustice.  It’s her own side which is outing her.  Maybe now, since she’s been a target of  the same smug left-wing moral superiority that she demonstrated herself, it might give her pause.

    After all didn’t Breitbart’s conversion from liberalism begin with the realization of what jackasses his fellow left-wingers were? 

  6. Anonymous
    September 20th, 2011 @ 9:28 am

    Phyllis Schlafly wrote an excellent criticism about the movie Juno about three years ago. The criticism is far better than the movie.

  7. Bob Belvedere
    September 20th, 2011 @ 11:35 am

    The light-in-the-loafers crowd can have that word.

  8. Anonymous
    September 20th, 2011 @ 12:04 pm

    (OT: Easily impressed, hmm?)

    I guess it is a facet of being old, but I’m damned tired of this. I’m beginning to feel that every time someone “gets in my face” about what their bedroom preferences are, I’ll hit them with my cane. A smart rap on the leg or backside. “I’m sorry, I thought you said your parents hadn’t civilized you… it takes a village, you know!”

    I *am* a “village elder”, after all.

    I was watching the Macey’s Parade in (I believe it was) 1971 when the first homo-contingent marched. The PBS brainless-head was doing an interview segment, and that was the first time I heard it “we prefer to be called ‘gay’.” When asked why, the spokes-thing said “we want everyone to know what a wonderful way of life it is, and we know it to be superior to any other. At least 10% of everybody’s friends and acquaintances are “gay” and it hurts them to have to hide it!”

    Looking over at my wife, I noticed she had the look of someone observing an animal in the zoo caught indulging

  9. Bob Belvedere
    September 20th, 2011 @ 12:09 pm

    If she’s so Goddamned proud of being a Feminist, why didn’t she keep both last names?  Rose Huntington-Whitley, anyone???

  10. Bob Belvedere
    September 20th, 2011 @ 12:11 pm

    I’ve found most of the Jet Blue gals to be under thirty-five.

  11. Bob Belvedere
    September 20th, 2011 @ 12:16 pm

    Dirty old man: she’s young enough to be your granddaughter!

  12. Bob Belvedere
    September 20th, 2011 @ 12:17 pm

    Considering my reply to Adobe immediately above, I probably shouldn’t say this, but, what the Hell: I’d like to ‘Bing’ her.

  13. Bob Belvedere
    September 20th, 2011 @ 12:19 pm

    For accuracies sake, we should probably rename it them Melodramagers.

  14. Bob Belvedere
    September 20th, 2011 @ 12:24 pm

    When Lenin and the Bolsheviks felt they had solidified their power, they went after the other Leftists first before they dealt with those on the Right.  This pattern has been repeated each and every time in revolutions.

    I think it comes from the fact that the victorious Leftists feel an incredible anger at those ‘who should know better’ and are sullying The Struggle, whereas they see those on the Right as lost causes.

    As for Miss Page: hoist, meet petard.

  15. Bob Belvedere
    September 20th, 2011 @ 12:28 pm

    I’ve only seen about a fourth of it in various snippets, over time.  Her character annoyed the living sharia out of me because I can’t stand those stories where the wise-cracking, wiser-than-her-years teenager is smarter than every other person in the story.

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  17. Joe
    September 20th, 2011 @ 5:59 pm

    Newt really is like Devine.  At least ever since his walk on the wild side with Scozzafava. 

  18. Anonymous
    September 20th, 2011 @ 7:07 pm

    While your characterization is correct I was referring to your self confessed inability to pass up an opportunity for a joke.

  19. Anonymous
    September 20th, 2011 @ 7:07 pm

    While your characterization is correct I was referring to your self confessed inability to pass up an opportunity for a joke.

  20. Anonymous
    September 20th, 2011 @ 7:07 pm

    While your characterization is correct I was referring to your self confessed inability to pass up an opportunity for a joke.

  21. Anonymous
    September 20th, 2011 @ 7:10 pm

    After spending ones earlier life as a “dirty young man” it shouldn’t surprise when one becomes a “dirty old man” as time passes.

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