The Wednesday Pop Culture Rant had nigh on a perfect 4th of July: we shot fireworks to our heart’s content (Freeeeeddddoooommm!)1, and then had biscuits with sausage gravy the next morning. When God needs comfort food, she2 has biscuits with sausage gravy. Given the current state of affairs, we assume this happens on a regular basis. Heaven will be filled with biscuits and gravy along with chicken and waffles, served up by a woman named Gladys who calls you “honey” and saves the last piece of coconut cream pie for you. At least that’s what will be going on in The Rant’s corner of paradise3

The Rant has been patiently waiting for the brouhaha to abate over the marriage equality decision before offering our two Rants worth of opinion. While we are delighted with the decision handed down by SCOTUS, we are more interested here with the reaction of grumpy old Antonin “Jiggery-Pokery” Scalia and his vapor-suffering cohort.

Scalia made his bones adhering to a form of legal interpretation called Originalism. In its extreme, Originalism invokes the mystical powers of the Founding Fathers to discover intent and then argues that can be the only application of the Constitution. Scalia believes intent involves how a “reasonable” person would interpret a law at the time it was written. No law can then be applied beyond that understanding.

The Rant would like to deploy our own hyphenated word to refute this approach: piddly-poo. Listening to Scalia for a even a few moments leads to the realization he believes he is the only reasonable person alive, so guess what, he is the only person that gets to declare what original intent means. All fundamentalists, including Scalia, want us to assent to the idea that interpretation is monolithic so they can control all meaning which in turn confers all power to them.

Scalia dreams of a world of interpretation by coercion rather than persuasion. He doesn’t want to make an argument; he wants to utter decrees. When it comes to language and the law and society, how we arrive at our conclusions is just as important as the final outcome we assert. Once you decide you have cornered the market on interpretation, community and government become impossible. That’s the type of jiggery-pokery the Constitution has brilliantly avoided time and again and that a majority of the court embraced in its decision that marriage, in a society striving for equality, can include everyone.

  1. At one point during the proceedings, our Tween turned to The Rant and suggested that perhaps we should consider scaling back on the pyrotechnics in the future. When a twelve year-old expresses reservations about causing explosions, it may be time to reflect
  2. Look, if we are going to posit an all-powerful and perfect being, such an entity would have to transcend gender. But if you still insist on assigning a personal pronoun, she has a lot better shot of expressing said perfection. Search your feelings, Luke. You know it’s true
  3. We’re just ignoring those making the ugly suggestion The Rant might not make the grade to achieve eternal bliss. Look in the mirror, friend. Our soul still has that new conscience smell.

2 Responses to “The Rant’s Red Glare”

  1. Cindy Zimmerman

    Now I understand the definition of Originalism, and I think because it is included in an essay with biscuits, gravy, and fireworks–which as any reasonable person knows, need no interpretation…


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