Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Matthew J. Franck embraces Janna Darnelle (again) on Witherspoon's blog

Matthew J. Franck
Matthew J. Franck rarely gets my attention. He is an unimaginative, pedantic, impossibly verbose Defender of the Faith blowhard, prissy pseudo-intellectual and bigot. Presumably an Opus Deist, Franck is a Witherspoon employee. According to the organization's 2012 tax return, Franck is the highest paid employee at $143K. Yet he is neither an officer nor director of the organization. Today he writes:
Public Discourse recently published a very important essay titled “Breaking the Silence,” in which Janna Darnelle wrote with heartbreaking candor of what she and her children have suffered since her ex-husband abandoned their marriage, married another man under state law, and obtained joint custody of their children. When Darnelle’s essay was published, I had just finished reading Anthony Esolen’s new book Defending Marriage: Twelve Arguments for Sanity. As I read her essay, I realized that her story encapsulated nearly every one of the book’s arguments.

Darnelle wrote about the humiliation that she (not her children) suffered when her husband left her for another man. It is perfectly obvious that she is very angry and irrational. If her children suffered it is likely at her hands. Her husband didn't abandon anything; He got a divorce. Darnelle implied that he got primary custody. Then Rivka Edelman claimed (on the same blog) that Darnelle got 60% custody. Franck is referring to joint custody. Apparently, the gay husbands having any custody is remarkably upsetting to Darnelle. Instead of getting professional help, she is probably talking to a priest.

Moreover, Anthony Esolen's book is not "new." It was released last May.  Are there any other little factual discrepancies that I can clean up before I proceed?

What follows is Franck's glowing review of Esolen's tome as an antidote to yesterday's action by the US Supreme Court. I haven't read Esolen's little treatise on marriage discrimination nor do I intend to. Having said that, Mr. Franck provides us with Mr. Esolen's credentials to write a book based on social science:
He [Esolen] teaches literature at Providence College, has translated Dante’s Divine Comedy and other medieval works, and writes with a master’s ease of Shakespeare, Spenser, Tolkien, Orwell, and other authors in this book.
Translating Divine Comedy certainly makes Esolen perfectly qualified to write about the sociology of marriage. Don't you think? Actually Esolen is no less qualified than the ambitious prelates who are responsible for  the teachings of the Church on issues such as homosexuality. That "objectively disordered" nonsense was written by a theologian who ultimately became Pope Benedict. He knows no more about sexual orientation than, say, Tony Perkins. But I digress. Franck goes on (and on, and on):
Janna Darnelle’s story should be enough to wake anyone from the pleasant dream that all may still be well if same-sex marriage is nationalized. She is already living through some of the direst consequences of which Esolen warns. They happened to her and her family in the most immediate way, but those consequences await us all.
Darnelle's story has absolutely nothing to do with same-sex marriage. At the time of the divorce, the state of Washington did not recognize same-sex marriages. At its core this is about a closeted gay man who tried to be something that he is not. If anything, same-sex marriage (along with less oppression by the Church) might prevent some of these sham marriages to begin with. Contrary to the teachings of the Church, homosexuality is not a bad habit. Sexual orientation is the basis for how we form romantic relationships. When gay men have straight sex that does not produce a straight man. As for those elusive consequences of same-sex marriage:
First, as Esolen shows, the redefinition of marriage means the establishment of the sexual revolution as the nomos, the law of the place, in our culture and polity. All of “mankind’s long history of meditation on the difficulties of love,” in this new order of the ages, is “consigned to oblivion,” and replaced with the principle that sexual gratification is its own justification. Chastity, purity, modesty, and the demand that we honor these qualities in one another—all these become impossible to uphold.
What - - - the - - - fuck? Same-sex marriage destroys romance and goodness? A few gays getting hitched is going to do all that? Just because civil law recognizes their relationship? I defy Franck or Esolen to be specific about any of these so-called consequences of same-sex marriage. What has happened in Massachusetts that offers any substantive support to this bizarre theory stated as fact? Massachusetts has recognized same-sex marriages for over a decade. Where is the evidence?

It gets worse:
As the late William F. Buckley, Jr. was fond of saying, “Who says A must say B.” He who says that a man can marry a man, or a woman marry a woman, says that our law and culture will honor and uphold partnerships in which fidelity, permanence, and devotion to the bearing and rearing of children are no essential feature of the relationship between the partners. He who says that is a “marriage” necessarily says that chastity is no longer intelligible as a moral norm binding on anyone. As Esolen puts it, “you cannot say to John and Mary, ‘You two must wait till marriage,’ while saying to Alan and Steve, ‘You two can go right ahead.’ What can chastity or purity even mean, once you have smiled at sodomy?”
Again, where does this guy get the notion that heterosexuals have a monopoly on fidelity and permanence? Where is the evidence? Furthermore, many gay couples are also  devoted parents and many heterosexual couples are childless. This is a prime example of why I call Franck a bigot. He simply assumes the stereotype.

Sodomy, by the way, means non-procreative sex such as anal and oral sex. It is forbidden by the Church. I suspect that Catholic men love being blown as much as Jewish men, gay or straight.

I'll just quote one more paragraph within this horrific jumble of logic and religion:
So too, in the world that is rapidly embracing and recognizing homosexual relationships as normal and normative, the space for deep and meaningful male-male or female-female friendships among the young is rapidly shrinking to the vanishing point. “The stigma against sodomy,” Esolen rightly notes, “cleared away ample space for an emotionally powerful friendship that did not involve sexual intercourse, exactly as the stigma against incest allows for the physical and emotional freedom of a family.”
None of that is true. Where is the evidence to support any of this? Esolen is simply wrong and Franck uncritically accepts Esolen's unsupported theories. Perhaps Franck just likes the writing style and that's good enough for him. This is likely just a projection of Esolen's own insecurities.

Evidence, logic and critical thinking are not the currency of men like Franck and Esolen. Rather than substance they pursue the production of pretentious Thomistic styled essays where faith prevails over evidence. As for marriage, heterosexuals have done a pretty good job screwing it up. Hopefully, we can do a little better.

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