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My Heros Pity Me for the Wrong Reasons April 8, 2020

Posted by Onely in Celebrities, Uncategorized, YouTube Style.
Tags: , , , ,

After years of advocating for unmarried people’s rights, I’m kinda frustrated. Singlism still looms strong, even in society’s most progressive echelons. No, “looms” is the wrong word. Singlism doesn’t loom, it creeps. It’s insidious, pushing its tendrils into other even more nefarious isms. Its strength comes from its subtley. We need to demystify marital status discrimination and loudly acknowledge that it’s a problem, so singlism loses its ability to hide, even and especially within the rhetoric of otherwise smart and liberal influencers. Toward that goal, but with chagrin, I am flagging denigrating singlist statements made by two of my heroes: the hilarious comedian Jim Gaffigan and the progressive senator Kamala Harris. 

In which Jim Gaffigan gets mildly singlist:

The link: https://youtu.be/LcHvDJz8fUM

The context: Gaffigan is talking to Seth Myers about having been worried about being separated from his family because he was travelling internationally when the COVID-19 crisis started in the U.S. He explains that the experience inspired him to start his YouTube show “Dinner With the Gaffigans”. At 4:30, Gaffigan says, 

I know there are some people separated from their families–or they are just by themselves. I have some friends that are by themselves. So it was something to serve as a break from the constant consumption of news. . .

The problem: It’s subtle, but it’s there. Gaffigan lumps single people (or more specifically, people who live alone) in with people who are unwillingly separated from their families. The latter is an inherently distressing condition, but the former is not necessarily distressing at all. Every day of quarantine I’m so thankful that I live my myself. I can barely handle the persistent lap-seeking of my geriatric blind cat Marble (photo above). If I had to make dinner for kids every night, or negotiate chores with a partner, I might lose my mind. Side note: Some singles advocates are irritated by the use of “just”, as in Gaffigan’s “just by themselves” or more commonly, “Just one?” as said by restaurant hosts. I personally am not really bothered by this particular rhetoric. Copious Readers, does it bother you? Should it bother me? 

In which Kamala Harris gets majorly singlist:

The link: https://youtu.be/q_-pPKPaOnY

The context: Kamala Harris is talking with Seth Myers about how now is a good time to reach out to people. At 5:15, Harris says: 

Let’s remember our single friends, and our friends and relatives and neighbors who are seniors. There’s a requirement of social isolation, but let’s make sure we’re not engaging in emotional isolation. People are literally alone right now; it’s so important that people don’t *feel* alone.

The problem: Harris lumps single people with seniors. The latter are an inarguably vulnerable population right now. Singles, by contrast, aren’t inherently physically or emotionally vulnerable (more…)

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