Slog Music

Music, Nightlife,
and Drunks

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Education of John Fay

Posted by on Tue, Nov 25, 2008 at 11:12 AM

The author of that Daily editorial would do well to learn what the hell he's talking about, especially if he's going to keep up with his theater of condescension, because nothing's more embarrassing than being condescending and undereducated at the same time. Mr. Fay writes:

Also, the Christian concept of marriage predates any state-sanctioned licensing program, which means marriage is an inherently religious concept in America.

Hmm. What was marriage like before John Fay's parents got married, and before their parents got married, and before theirs, and before theirs, and before theirs? Fay's grasp of the history doesn't seem particularly complete. There was definitely a church component, but, um...

For centuries in Europe, formal marriage was a private contract between landed families, designed to insure that property remained within a particular lineage. In the upper classes, families essentially married other families, forging political alliances and social obligations among relatives and kin. It was during the Reformation, with the emergence of the early Protestant idea of “companionate marriage,” that the emotional bond between husband and wife came to be seen as an end in itself. As the social historian Lawrence Stone noted, this was a marked departure from the Catholic ideal of chastity, which considered earthly marriage a more or less unfortunate necessity meant to accommodate human weakness; “It is better to marry than to burn,” St. Paul had said, but he made it sound like a close call.

That's Adam Haslett in The New Yorker four years ago. Here's a little more:

The philosopher Charles Taylor, in an examination of how our attitude toward interior life has changed over the past five hundred years, argues that the trend line runs in one direction: from a self-understanding gained from our place in larger entities—such as a chain of being or divine order—toward purpose discovered from within, through what we consider to be authentic self-expression. This is the distance Western culture has travelled from the church confessional to the therapist’s couch. In turn, the choice of whom to marry has become less about satisfying the demands of family and community than about satisfying oneself. When you add the contraceptive and reproductive technologies that have separated sex from procreation, what you have is a model of heterosexual marriage that is grounded in and almost entirely sustained on individual preference. This is a historically peculiar state of affairs, one that would be alien to our ancestors and to most traditional cultures today. And it makes the push for gay marriage inevitable.

There's a lot more to the piece—including information about constitutionality, a subject I know you're interested in, Mr. Fay, as well as tons of other smaller legal asides ("As recently as 1984, a man could not be prosecuted for raping his own wife; today, it’s a crime in all fifty states")—here. You're welcome, John. Least I could do. Go dawgs.

(Other things I've learned in the last five minutes: Fay is not prolific, having written only three editorials for The Daily, and the one in question is the first to be illustrated with a man who appears to desire to have sex with a sheep; he is a big television watcher, apparently his primary source for information; and he is the finance chair for the College Republicans at UW, according to an article in The Daily about campus reactions to news of Obama's victory ["The College Republicans also held an election party in Bellevue. John Fay, finance chair of the College Republicans, said the group didn’t want to speak with press at the time"].)

If you have thoughts about Fay's piece that you'd like to share with the editor of The Daily, the number is 206-543-2700. Dial 1 for the editor in chief and 5 for the opinion editor.


Comments (37) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
Posted by Mike in Renton on November 25, 2008 at 11:11 AM · Report this
Q:Where are the Stranger trolls?

A:Busy getting ready for another stellar print edition.
Posted by Your Famous Name Here on November 25, 2008 at 11:17 AM · Report this
Thanks, Christoper. I've been trying to find some historical info on marriage for a few weeks now, as I've been wanting more and more to refute this "traditional marriage" bullshit in a more informed way. A friend of mine read a book a few years back that went into this in more detail, but I can't remember the name right now. My best guess is this:….

Anyway, it sucks that no matter how informed I am(or anyone who supports marriage or queer equality is), that some folks will just continue the "traditional marriage" line. Aargh.
Posted by bookworm on November 25, 2008 at 11:18 AM · Report this
The Daily has always been an embarrassment to journalism.
Posted by elswinger on November 25, 2008 at 11:21 AM · Report this
Incidentally Fay's degree matriculation is HISTORY according to his Facebook profile....hahaha
Posted by Non on November 25, 2008 at 11:22 AM · Report this
This is the best thing the Daily's done to raise its profile in many years. They must be shitting red bricks of delight to get such a public slogflogging!
Posted by tomasyalba on November 25, 2008 at 11:23 AM · Report this
@6, theyre employing ECB tactics.
Posted by Bellevue Ave on November 25, 2008 at 11:24 AM · Report this
gotta protect your turf

condescending and uniformed commentary is to be exlusively The Strangers domain
Posted by got that right on November 25, 2008 at 11:24 AM · Report this
Gosh, Chris! You are as big a bully as Dan! Shameshameshameshame! Get ready to be sued! My common sense tells me that you need to leave that poor boy alone, big bullypants!

Posted by P to the J on November 25, 2008 at 11:24 AM · Report this
Posting the phone number, isn't that a bit much?

Poor College Republicans.
Posted by clearlyhere on November 25, 2008 at 11:25 AM · Report this
Elswinger, no offense, but I think you're an embarrassment to slogging. The Daily kicks ass. I'm at a job right now because of its Help Wanted section.
Posted by daniel on November 25, 2008 at 11:26 AM · Report this
There's nothing wrong with Fay that psychosurgery won't cure.
Posted by Mr. Poe on November 25, 2008 at 11:26 AM · Report this
"Go dawgs." is incredibly condescending in and of itself, Frizzelle. As though we can all be lumped together with this guy. As though you are not a Dawg yourself.

OH RIGHT, you never finished your degree at the University of Washington.

But your points are otherwise well made.
Posted by Andi on November 25, 2008 at 11:26 AM · Report this
The Daily has lost all journalistic integrity with this coming year, with an all new green staff. That leans REPUBLICAN. IN SEATTLE. AT UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON!. They are worse than fluff and irrelevant. They are an insult to intelligence. For shame.

I am an '08 undergrad. I remember when The Daily was at least kind of relevant.
Posted by hahnsolo on November 25, 2008 at 11:29 AM · Report this
Pretty much all of us here at the UW are laughing at his "editorial" and how clueless he is.

It's as if the lunatics who couldn't write their way out of a paper bag all escaped and started running the zoo - so far as any of the readers of the Daily can tell ...
Posted by Will in Seattle on November 25, 2008 at 11:30 AM · Report this
Look, John Fay’s op-ed piece may seem simplistic and borderline idiotic to an informed and rational person, but we have to realize and accept that this is how most Americans think.

There’s a reason that all of the op-eds, books and essays by today’s American conservatives sound like they were written by mental patients or 12 year-olds in fundamentalist Sunday School. These people read the Bible and think it makes sense, for fuck’s sake.

Unfortunately, our society is characterized by a near total lack of empathy, social intelligence and basic reasoning skills. If we’re going to make any progress with people like John Fay, we have to dumb-down our message to a level that they understand. We can’t make grand arguments about constitutional rights or historical legacies with people who have no comprehension of these concepts. If anything, they’re impervious to logic and intellectual persuasion since much of their worldview is shaped by religion-based sexual hysteria.

My best guess is that an approach based on individuality, testimonials and personal freedom may work, but this is obviously going to be a very long process.
Posted by Original Andrew on November 25, 2008 at 11:33 AM · Report this
Star Tribune's primary Sunday opinion piece did an excellent job comparing the history of marriage with the current same-sex marriage debate:…
Posted by Lumpmoose on November 25, 2008 at 11:33 AM · Report this
Glad to see SOMEONE is pointing out the lack of religion in the origin of marriage... which seems like it would be obvious, seeing as marriage crosses most all religious, economic, and geographic borders.
Posted by UNPAID COMMENTER on November 25, 2008 at 11:36 AM · Report this
@14, seems like a problem of the leftist students attending too many "capitalism in trouble?" rallies to be bothered to write for the Daily.
Posted by Bellevue Ave on November 25, 2008 at 11:37 AM · Report this
Come now, Christopher. Like bigots ever let facts get in the way of their emotional temper tantrums. They want to pick on someone. It's no longer okay to pick on someone cause of skin color, gays are all they have left.
Posted by Enigma on November 25, 2008 at 11:40 AM · Report this
@13 -- Semantically, "Go dawgs" isn't condescending in and of itself. It's a cheer. But you're right, my intention wasn't entirely cheerful. UW was crawling with anti-gay evangelical righteousness when I went to school there. The trend seems to endure.
Posted by Christopher Frizzelle on November 25, 2008 at 11:43 AM · Report this
@10. The number listed is for The Daily, not for Fay. The only way to get them to think about their content is to tell them what you think. Otherwise you're just sitting and bitching, a popular but not very productive pasttime.
Posted by Lara on November 25, 2008 at 11:45 AM · Report this
Daniel, The Help Wanted section and the ads are the only thing worth reading in The Daily. Also, maybe, the sports section and the stuff they rip off from the A.P.

But ever since the Daily used its April Fools issue to make fun of serial rape at The Evergreen State College (my alma mater) I have had zero respect for them.

Congratulations on finding a job, but that ad could have, and probably was posted, in the Stranger.
Posted by elswinger on November 25, 2008 at 11:46 AM · Report this
Jesus (New Testament) on marriage & divorce:
Are you married? Do not seek a divorce. Are you unmarried? Do not look for a wife.

Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

And we know all about what God thinks of adultery:
You shall not commit adultery.

If a man commits adultery with another man's wife--with the wife of his neighbor--both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death.

Jesus on women:
I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes.

A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.

But, for some reason, John Fay only likes one bible passage, even if he ignores the half that says God created gays.
God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another... Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
Posted by jrrrl on November 25, 2008 at 11:50 AM · Report this
The Daily also printed a well-written anti Prop 8 piece in the same issue - please visit it and if you agree with it, give it positive feedback!…
Posted by onion on November 25, 2008 at 11:57 AM · Report this
I suppose the part that bothers me most is the statement "overturning a tradition that has been in place for 2,000 years."

A lot of people lived before that and were married. (Heck, even Saint Peter was married before he was a Christian.)

We sometimes forget that 1st century Palestine was about as important as Alabama in the Roman world. Total backwater on the way to Persia and Egypt (though they had some nice beaches)

Also, @ 24, that wasn't Jesus who said that, it was Paul (and prolly not Paul, but someone who wrote in his name)
Posted by mcFly on November 25, 2008 at 12:07 PM · Report this
Next time someone tells you that their religion (typically Christianity) predates state-sanctioned marriage, you might want to remind them that Christianity is a relatively *new* religion...or don't they know what BC and AD traditionally stand for?

And, lest they get a bit historically confused, 2000 years ago was nearing the height of the Roman Empire, which had their own ideas about marriage (relatively progressive, I might add). Before them, the Greeks, who also married each other. Gosh darn it if you want to get technical, even Abraham had a wife (Sarah? Anyone?) and since he was the *founder* of Judaism (and thereby Christianity, and let's not forget Ishmael and Islam) the practice of taking a spouse obviously pre-dates all of them as well!

So, I guess we should go back to the marriage practices of Ur of Chaldea...think that would be "traditional" enough for the bigots?
Posted by Sara J on November 25, 2008 at 12:09 PM · Report this
@16 My thoughts exactly. Rational arguments are pointless. They will only repeat the same mantra over and over "the bible says, the bible says, the bible says, ad nauseum"
There must be some other way to convince them.
Posted by Urgutha Forka on November 25, 2008 at 12:11 PM · Report this
The huskies write as good as they play football.


Posted by The Peanut Gallery on November 25, 2008 at 12:33 PM · Report this
John Brownfield Fay; 206 522-8339
Senior, History
Posted by none on November 25, 2008 at 1:00 PM · Report this
Selective "Christian" memory and twisting historical facts to fit some self righteous view. Don't look to people like this for reason. It is completely absent. They just don't believe in secular government and they had better be stopped or they will destroy freedom the way their religion always has. The Founders saw this and wrote seperation of church and state into The Constitution. That much cannot be denied.
Posted by Vince on November 25, 2008 at 1:03 PM · Report this
From Fay's story: "Now, I realize the gay marriage issue surrounding the California voters’ decision on Proposition 8 is extremely emotional for a lot of people, and I respect their difference of opinion, but let us try and consider the vote from a rational basis."

Fuck you, kid. The only reason you respect anyone's difference of opinion is because you're on the side that's currently "winning." When the tides turn, you'll become just as vile and disgusting as the people who passed Prop 8, you condescending little prick.

The fact that he says Colbert is his hero and then goes on to spew a bunch of right wing bullshit shows just how clueless this little fucker is.
Posted by T on November 25, 2008 at 1:42 PM · Report this
@21 it's pretty awful
Posted by back at uw after 3.75 years on November 25, 2008 at 1:54 PM · Report this
Today, we are all dawgs, or something.
Posted by Jude Fawley on November 25, 2008 at 2:45 PM · Report this
If I had a dollar for every time Frizzelle quoted The New Yorker...
Posted by Brian on November 25, 2008 at 3:12 PM · Report this
I'd like to write an Editorial for the paper. That means I get to make up all the facts as I go, right? Fun!!
Now..where'd I leave that monkey...
Posted by TypewriterLady on November 25, 2008 at 3:33 PM · Report this
Christopher, the school has something like 27,000 students. It's crawling with just about everything, regardless of what you selectively remember.
Posted by Andi on November 25, 2008 at 11:25 PM · Report this

Add a comment


Want great deals and a chance to win tickets to the best shows in Seattle? Join The Stranger Presents email list!

All contents © Index Newspapers, LLC
1535 11th Ave (Third Floor), Seattle, WA 98122
Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Takedown Policy