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 »
“PUBLICITY SEEKING”
Trump Blasts Graham, Flake on Twitter
2 hours ago
THE LATEST

As part of a twitter rant on Thursday morning, President Trump singled out Republican Sens. Jeff Flake and Lindsey Graham for criticism. He said Flake is "WEAK on borders, crime and a non-factor in Senate. He's toxic!" Trump also named Flake's primary challenger, Kelli Ward. He said Graham's contention that Trump suggested a moral equivalence between the neo-Nazis in Charlottesville and the counter-protesters is a "disgusting lie."

Source:
“YOU CAN’T CHANGE HISTORY, BUT YOU CAN LEARN FROM IT”
Trump Defends Confederate Statues in Tweetstorm
2 hours ago
WHY WE CARE
CEOS HAVE BEEN FLEEING FOR THE EXITS
Trump to End Business Councils
22 hours ago
THE LATEST
FROM STATEMENT
McConnell: “No Good Neo-Nazis”
1 days ago
THE LATEST
NO FORMAL LEGISLATIVE EFFORT
CBC Members Call for Removal of Confederate Statues from Capitol
1 days ago
THE LATEST

"Members of the Congressional Black Caucus are reviving calls to remove Confederate statues from the Capitol following the violence at a white nationalist rally in Virginia." Rep. Cedric Richmond, the group's chair, told ABC News that "we will never solve America's race problem if we continue to honor traitors who fought against the United States." And Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson said, “Confederate memorabilia have no place in this country and especially not in the United States Capitol." But a CBC spokesperson said no formal legislative effort is afoot.

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login