Elena Kagan | News | Supreme Court

Is the Wall Street Journal Gay-Baiting Elena Kagan?


That's what many are suggesting of the 17-year-old photo they used to illustrate news of her nomination:

"But Journal officials ridiculed a question about the image, which also appeared among other photographs in the Times's coverage of Kagan. 'If you turn the photo upside down, reverse the pixilation and simultaneously listen to Abbey Road backwards, while reading Roland Barthes, you will indeed find a very subtle hidden message,' said Journal spokeswoman Ashley Huston. 'I think your question is absurd,' said Journal Deputy Managing Editor Alan Murray in a separate email."

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  1. The WSJ should have responded with a "Hey, good question. IS she a lesbian?" It's the topic no one discusses.

    Posted by: patrick | May 11, 2010 6:40:17 PM

  2. She's not a lesbian because she plays softball. But she's probably a lesbian because she's had the same haircut for 17 years.

    Posted by: crispy | May 11, 2010 6:48:30 PM

  3. The WSJ is a right wing Murdoch rag, so what would you expect?

    Posted by: Bob R | May 11, 2010 7:00:25 PM

  4. Have to say the first thing I thought when I saw the WSJ today is that they ran with an old softball picture only to get out the idea she's a lesbian.

    Posted by: Clem | May 11, 2010 7:50:55 PM

  5. This is so transparent, and they try to deflect it with cynicism and scorn. Screw the WSJ. Since when does a paper print a 17-year-old picture of someone unless that person is dead or the paper is trying to make a point?

    Posted by: Paul R | May 11, 2010 8:19:15 PM

  6. Is it a legitimate question? I don't like kagan because she's a right leaning moderate who endorses political influence of court decisions, and did nothing as dean of harvard law during the bush junta while others were furiously expressing their condemnation of that administration's brazen disregard for the constitution. She hasn't expressed a strong opinion on any controversial issue, and this seems deliberate. She's a wild card. I couldn't care less about her sexual orientation, but if she is willing to say that there is no constitutional right to same sex marriage, and that implies that she would be opposed to it as a matter of equal access, I have nothing against outing her.

    Then again, her appeasement to remain uncontroversial (a lame attempt to make everyone happy with her milque toast leadership as dean of havard law, and for the rest of career) and deliberate attempt to minimize a clear theory of jurisprudence...could be useful...to obama. After all, she perfectly exemplifies his leadership style: disappointing.

    Posted by: TANK | May 11, 2010 8:36:09 PM

  7. However, I was reading earlier today that if she were confirmed, there'd be no protestants in the SCOTUS for the first time, and that really works for me. But that's not a reason to support anyone...until it is, which depends on the religion (e.g., mitt romney...no mormons! No cultists)

    Posted by: TANK | May 11, 2010 8:39:15 PM

  8. Oh God. I really do not care for butch lesbians. Why? Well, they hate me. They hate me the way a hyena hates a lion or vice versa. We are just natural enemies forever. I am a straight white guy who works out but otherwise just lets himself be a dude. Butch lesbians want to be me like many homosexual men seem to want to be black women. Boool Dyikees want to buy up all the flannel, fight me for a good spot in line at the local barber where I get my buzz cut, and compete with me for rank in the US military reserve. Lucky for me that they are really just short, fat, ungroomed ugly men who don't technically have a penis and so I don't have to compete with them for a urinal at the mens room at least.

    Posted by: Mikey | May 11, 2010 8:42:34 PM

  9. Huh? I don't see it.

    Posted by: James | May 11, 2010 9:17:08 PM

  10. I guess I get it in a subtle way, I just don't really care. WSJ is saying that's not what they meant, but it's uh, er,interesting that with all of the pictures that I've seen of Kagan (just today), they chose to run a 17 year old picture. Mr. Murray, somebody was trying to say something..

    Posted by: Ealan | May 11, 2010 9:28:09 PM

  11. I completely agree that this was intentional and intentioned by the WSJ. I find it very offensive that the paper that i read "religiously" has stooped to so obvious a ploy. The sentiments in this post were exactly what I thought when I saw the paper this am.

    Posted by: Michael Aronson | May 11, 2010 9:57:08 PM

  12. A butch cigar smoking, sofball playing tom-girl. Doesn't mean she is a lesbian.

    Posted by: galore | May 11, 2010 10:09:19 PM

  13. Is it a legitimate question? Of course it is. It is important to know why she refuses to answer the simple question of whether she is a lesbian or not. It is NOT an invasive question as many liberal (straight) bloggers would have us believe. We know the "sexual orientation"--at least implied--of every other member of the Court. Specifically because their heterosexual relationships are sanctioned by law. Something gay people are wrongfully denied. Asking if she is a lesbian is not asking about her sex life, it is about simply knowing an innate characteristic, like gender or race. Imagine if she tried to get away with hiding that? Pat from SNL as a Supreme?? It is laughable. It is ridiculous that she would refuse to acknowledge the matter, regardless if she is gay or not. And if she just likes to be by herself outside of a relationship, she should just say that--that she is neither. It is telling that those (straight) pundits on the left don't get what this is really about, not to mention many in our own community. This is the essence of our civil rights movement. As long as gay identity is considered something that should (or can) remain hidden we will continue to have closet cases like Rekkers and Haggard, and people will continue to legitimately (in their minds) believe that it is OK to deny LGBT Americans civil rights, because it is not about identity, it is about sex.

    Posted by: gaylib | May 11, 2010 10:10:47 PM

  14. Actually it's a nice picture. An the Heading "Court Nominee Comes To The Plate is perfectly appropriate. But the hue and cry of "makes her look like a lesbian" rises up BECAUSE SHE IS A LESBIAN!

    Not that there's anything wrong with that. . .

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | May 11, 2010 10:20:16 PM

  15. But how would answering that question impact her ability to do the job, gaylib? Countrast that with the perceived "inability" of kagan to perform the tasks required of the irrational members of the senate, and do the cost benefit. If it wouldn't, what do you ground the legitimacy of a question in this context? Would it also be legitimate, then, to ask if she liked strawberry shakes? I think it would be a waste of time, personally. And that would be a waste of money.

    As to the implication of this photo, there's very little doubt the message that the journal was sending, despite what they've disclosed as to motivation.

    Posted by: TANK | May 11, 2010 10:25:58 PM

  16. This is what they call in the newz biz "color". If the Post had does this, then yes, all sorts of things are implied. Not sure about the WSJ, though it is funny. If your only picture of Rudy Guiliani was in drag then something would be amiss too though.

    Posted by: anon | May 11, 2010 10:52:24 PM

  17. I would agree Tank, except that the WH went out of its way to say she was NOT a lesbian. Obviously they asked, or it was publicly known. To suggest now that knowing her identity as gay/straight/other is somehow invasive or irrelevant is ridiculous. They let the cat out of the bag and now every straight blogger out there is showing what an ass they are and just how little we are perceived as a legitimately oppressed minority group by getting in a tizzy over people delving into her "private" life. They make the argument that everyone has the right to pretend they aren't who they are. That includes people like Rekker and Larry Craig. Of course, they do, but it speaks very poorly of their character. If Kagan isn't a lesbian, why on earth would she not just say so and be done with it? If she is gay, of course, the fact that she remained silent despite the WH lying about her raises serious questions about her credibility. Of course the WH may be playing up this whole angle to rally the party faithful who say they care about gay rights, but don't have a clue about what our struggle is really all about.

    Posted by: gaylib | May 12, 2010 12:07:36 AM

  18. Without a doubt!

    Softball = Lesbianism
    (everyone knows that)

    Posted by: txstevo | May 12, 2010 2:23:54 AM

  19. This is nothing, the New York Post put a photo on its cover of Kagan eating a vagina!

    Posted by: Strepsi | May 12, 2010 2:58:50 AM

  20. I really think this is reading a bit much into it. You could equally say that they are trying to hint that she wouldn't be a neutral umpire, as Roberts CJ claimed he would be.

    Overall, however, I think it is a really positive photo that, if anything, helps break down the idea that she is merely an ivory towered academic. She looks strong, confident, and capable. Would it be better if she was wearing a floral summer dress and applying lipstick?

    Posted by: Chris | May 12, 2010 5:12:22 AM

  21. I really think those ladies need to get their panties out of that jam. She's playing baseball/softball/something involving a bat (who cares). That's it. Crist, are we as a community really expected to piss and moan and overreact to such bullshit every. single. effin. time? Sorry, but not me. Gah...

    Posted by: CJ | May 12, 2010 9:19:24 AM

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