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
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 »
CALIFORNIA VOTES IN A WEEK
Jerry Brown Backs Clinton
31 minutes ago
THE LATEST

California Gov. Jerry Brown endorsed Hillary Clinton today, calling her "the only path forward to win the presidency and stop the dangerous candidacy of Donald Trump." While praising Sen. Bernie Sanders' campaign, Brown said "Clinton’s lead is insurmountable and Democrats have shown – by millions of votes – that they want her as their nominee. ... This is no time for Democrats to keep fighting each other. The general election has already begun."

Source:
GLASS CEILING STILL HARD TO CRACK
Clinton Says Voters Still Hung Up on Gender
3 hours ago
THE LATEST

In a New York Magazine profile, Hillary Clinton said she still encounters misogyny at her own events: “‘I really admire you, I really like you, I just don’t know if I can vote for a woman to be president.’ I mean, they come to my events and then they say that to me.”

Source:
CHANGE WE CAN’T BELIEVE IN
Trump Vows Not to Change
4 hours ago
THE LATEST
Source:
FILING DEADLINE IS JUNE 24
McConnell Urging Rubio to Run for Reelection
6 hours ago
THE LATEST

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell: "One of the things that I’m hoping, I and my colleagues have been trying to convince Senator Marco Rubio to run again in Florida. He had indicated he was not going to, but we’re all hoping that he’ll reconsider, because poll data indicates that he is the one who can win for us. He would not only save a terrific senator for the Senate, but help save the majority. ... Well, I hope so. We’re all lobbying hard for him to run again."

Source:
LEAKER SHOULD STILL STAND TRIAL
Holder: Snowden Performed a Public Service
9 hours ago
THE LATEST

Former Attorney General Eric Holder said that NSA leaker Edward Snowden "actually performed a public service by raising the debate that we engaged in and by the changes that we made" by releasing information about government surveillance. Holder, a guest on David Axelrod's "Axe Files" podcast, also said Snowden endangered American interests and should face consequences for his actions. 

Source:
×