Schock and Sinema Pose for a Selfie: An Alternate Interpretation

No, the most salient point here is not that the congresswoman is bisexual.

National Journal
Lucia Graves
Add to Briefcase
Lucia Graves
Jan. 29, 2014, 11:08 a.m.

One of the stranger stor­ies to come out of the State of the Uni­on ad­dress Tues­day night was that “anti-gay Rep. Aaron Schock” al­legedly sat in the lap of “bi­sexu­al Rep. Krys­ten Sinema” and took a selfie with her.

What does it mean?

Is he em­bra­cing the ru­mor that he’s gay or try­ing to sig­nal his straight­ness by flirt­ing with her? The polit­ic­al press wanted to know. The con­sensus from polit­ic­al re­port­ers gos­sip­ing about it was that Schock was oc­ca­sion­ally in Sinema’s lap and at oth­er times he was sit­ting on the side of her chair. So con­fus­ing! To get to the bot­tom of this, the Wash­ing­ton Blade pos­ted a blow-by-blow photo es­say of the en­counter, com­plete with spec­u­la­tion about their “friendly” con­ver­sa­tion.

Did we men­tion Sinema is bi­sexu­al?

It doesn’t even look like he was sit­ting in her lap to us. It looks like he was sit­ting on the arm­rest of her chair. Per­haps if you really wanted to write a story about this you could say he was crouch­ing near her lap?

He was much closer to the lap of the uniden­ti­fied man sit­ting next to Sinema. Per­haps the polit­ic­al press should ana­lyze that? But no. We don’t know the sexu­al­ity of the guy sit­ting next to Sinema! So that wouldn’t be nearly as fun.

This is go­ing to come across as a real Slate pitch, but maybe the takeaway from the big Schock-Sinema selfie-gate is that even though they dis­agree polit­ic­ally about many is­sues, he still likes her as a hu­man. Rep. Tulsi Gab­bard took a pic­ture with Rep. Tom Rice, and curi­ously nobody spec­u­lated about their sexu­al­ity. And when Sen. Mark Ud­all posed with Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Ron Wyden, there was curi­ously little ana­lys­is of their ori­ent­a­tion. In fact, NBC News made an en­tire video of bi­par­tis­an selfies from the night and not once did sexu­al­ity come up. Curi­ous!

It’s pos­sible the me­dia is just a little overly ex­cited about Na­tion­al Journ­al‘s ad­mit­tedly awe­some “Gay in Wash­ing­ton” is­sue, which fea­tured on its cov­er a photo of all eight openly out mem­bers of Con­gress, pic­tured to­geth­er for the first time ever. This is not, however, a good reas­on to run around the In­ter­net re­du­cing people to their sexu­al­ity. Al­though, come to think of it, that’s an in­ter­est­ing ex­er­cise.

What if every time a politi­cian made a ges­ture of bi­par­tis­an­ship, their sexu­al in­ten­tions were scru­tin­ized? Take, for in­stance, when Pres­id­ent Obama gave Speak­er John Boehner a shout-out in his State of the Uni­on Tues­day night, say­ing the “strength of our work eth­ic and the scope of our dreams” is ap­par­ent in “how the son of a bar­keep is speak­er of the House.” Boehner re­spon­ded with a smile and a vig­or­ous thumbs-up. Why did nobody note how closely Boehner was sit­ting to Obama — we mean, how closely straight Boehner was sit­ting next to straight Obama? And why didn’t Obama men­tion that Boehner’s the son of a straight bar­keep — or an al­legedly straight bar­keep, any­way?

And why was the State of the Uni­on not an­not­ated with every­one’s sexu­al ori­ent­a­tion? Ezra Klein once wisely ob­served the im­port­ance of giv­ing people con­text for the facts. “Today, we are bet­ter than ever at telling people what’s hap­pen­ing,” he wrote, “but not nearly good enough at giv­ing them the cru­cial con­tex­tu­al in­form­a­tion ne­ces­sary to un­der­stand what’s happened.” Good thing the me­dia is on it.

What We're Following See More »
TIME TO SPLIT
House Passes CR, Sends Bill to President’s Desk
8 hours ago
THE LATEST
CAN’T NAME ONE WORLD LEADER
Gary Johnson Stumbles Again
9 hours ago
WHY WE CARE
GOES TO PRESIDENT
Senate Approves Bill to Preserve Rape Kits
9 hours ago
THE LATEST

"The Senate on Wednesday approved legislation ensuring sexual assault survivors in federal criminal cases have access to forensic evidence collection kits, sending the bill to President Obama's desk. The legislation, known as the Survivors’ Bill of Rights Act, was passed by unanimous consent as lawmakers prepare to leave Washington until after the election. The House passed the measure earlier this month."

Source:
2-MONTH GIG OR 8-YEAR GIG?
Alec Baldwin to Play Trump on ‘SNL’
11 hours ago
THE DETAILS
FOUR-POINT LEAD IN FOUR-WAY RACE
Reuters/Ipsos Shows Clinton Ahead by 6
13 hours ago
THE LATEST

In one of the first polls released since Monday night's debate, a Reuters/Ipsos survey shows Hillary Clinton leading Donald Trump 44%-38%. When third-party candidates are thrown into the mix, Clinton's share of the vote drops to 42%, with Gary Johnson picking up 7% and Jill Stein at 2%.

Source:
×