Friday, August 16, 2013

The Visible Hand of the Market: Public Inequality and Private Violence

Dear Readers,

Pardon the hiatus, if you would be so kind. I can't say that I won't go away again, but instead I will promise to post some of the thoughts I've begun but not completed over the last six months. It seems that, now, this is how I blog.

The following are notes I took while trying to think of something to move the discussion about the Supreme Court hearings on DOMA from where it got stuck--namely, in simple assertions that gay marriage is the new interracial marriage, and denials thereof.


Drawing these equations is fraught, I know. We know about the similar objections: opponents have variously asserted that gay marriage and interracial marriage are unnatural, antisocial, and confusing or outright damaging to children. Advocates for a liberalizing gesture argue that unrestricted choice in the marital arena is as much a hallmark of a free person as the ability to select any new model of cell phone.

I'd like to come at these from a different angle and talk about the shared status of both interracial and same-sex trysts as open secrets. In the spirit of the tried-and-true feminist dictum that "the personal is political," I'd like to sketch out some ways that the open secret of widely-known private affairs connects with the official world of law and economics.