Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Sally Ride, Cultural Reliquary

Not since churches fought over the relics of saints has there been such contention over a dead person: Astronaut Sally Ride passed away and her obituary listed a woman as her "significant other."

On the one hand, shock and sniggering have erupted; on the other, gay activists are rushing in to both claim her (in the usual groupthink silliness -- see there, one left-handed Irishwoman can too do that kind of thing, so that means any of 'em could!) and condemn her for not having been out, loud and proud. --'Cos you know, NASA astronauts, they just go out of their way to be confrontational, right?

Clearly, she didn't think her private life was any of the public's business while she was alive -- and the kind of personality that gets through spaceflight training doesn't run to controversial outspokenness.

Remember her as an astronaut and educator; think what you want about her home life but bear in mind that she handled it with discretion and grace. Would that society's self-appointed pundits could do the same!

28 comments:

Phssthpok said...

My reaction upon hearing the news:

"Really? Sally Ride was gay?


Huh... Cool!"

og said...

Apparently all she didn't want to do was ride around.

Anonymous said...

Who cares. She was an original.
Steve_in_CA

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

Yep, doesn't change my opinion of her one bit.

Tam said...

Some quick research shows that we apparently beat the Soviets putting a lesbian in space.

It's a posthumous Cold War victory! :D

NAVIGATOR said...

BRAVA!

rickn8or said...

Her home life is none of my business.

BobG said...

Not sure what her gender preference has to do with anything. What consenting adults do is their own damn business.

Tam said...

rickn8or,

"Her home life is none of my business."

In that her spouse of 27 years is being denied any official survivor's benefits or recognition, yes it most certainly is.

docjim505 said...

Tam - In that her spouse of 27 years is being denied any official survivor's benefits or recognition, yes it most certainly is [our business].

I have to agree.

rickn8or said...

"
In that her spouse of 27 years is being denied any official survivor's benefits or recognition, yes it most certainly is."


THAT I care about. Maybe I should have said her "personal life" instead.

Roberta X said...

Yeah, that's pretty rotten -- and maybe showing a quiet example of the inequity is one reason she came out posthumously.

Ken O said...

I do not understand the obsession that people in this nation have with telling others how to live. Black, white, or purple, Christian, athiest or other: keep your own yard neat and don't worry about what is in your neighbor's refuse bin.

GBBL said...

To the LGBT community: We've noticed you. You can stop waving your arms around now just to get attention. If you want to talk about YOUR sex life to someone that wants to hear about it, go ahead. I don't need a third party bluntly telling me about other people's personal lives and intimate business.

JohninMd(help!) said...

I'm pretty much in full agreement with.the.rest of the congregation here. FWIW, I had a relative who worked at Goddard Space Flight Cen. in Md. during those halcyon days of yore. Seems the Medical boffins got some interesting, how you say, telemetry readings on a couple of crew members during that flight. Probably experiments on the effect of micro-gravity on human.....relations. yeah, dats it, relations! (beats the mile high club all to hell!) Info was 2nd or 3rd hand, even if true does not detract from my opinion of the lady at all. I recall her dignified work on the panel that investigated the Challenger tragedy. Sally was a Class Act, and a real pioneer of the Last Frontier. Vaya con Dios, Sister.

LabRat said...

It takes some impressive powers of willful density to insist that the issue is talking about someone's sex life after the rest of this thread...

GBBL said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tam said...

GBBL,

That's a pretty easy cheap shot to take; nobody's denying your spouse survivor's benefits, after all.

The fact that you don't feel six inches tall for typing what you did speaks volumes to your character.

GBBL said...

What is being cheapened by parts of the LGBT community is the memory of a great woman. She chose to keep her life private, but others only see this private information as a way to help themselves.

Honor her accomplishments - they were tremendous. Honor her wish to keep part of her life private.

That is how I will remember Sally Ride. Her personal sex life wasn't my business, and shouldn't be the business of the media or anyone she didn't care to share with.

My character has already been shit on by you, so your assessment doesn't surprise me.

Tam said...

GBBL,

"She chose to keep her life private..."

She outed herself in her own obituary. Fact.

Her spouse of 27 years is being denied any survivor's benefits. Fact.

You said "We've noticed you. You can stop waving your arms around now just to get attention." Fact.

Now, roll those three things together and see what you come up with.

I'd say that the fact that Ms. Ride's significant other does not deserve the same rights as the spouse of a deceased astonaut in a Governmentally-Condoned Opposite-Sex Marriage indicates that GLBT people have not waved their arms around enough.

Thankfully, our children's children will look back on this the same way we look back on the inane fuss over miscegenation...

- said...

OK, you win.

Tam said...

This isn't about winning or losing, this is about Tam O'Shaughnessy being treated with the basic human courtesy she deserves.

LabRat said...

My character has already been shit on by you

When you take a dump in the public square, and other people comment on its offensiveness, have they embarrassed you or did you embarrass yourself?

- said...

"This isn't about winning or losing, this is about Tam O'Shaughnessy being treated with the basic human courtesy she deserves."

When did I say she shouldn't be?

(Sally should be able to decide who gets her benefits. Husband/partner/pet/charity - it shouldn't even be an issue.)

I object to using her. She had a big microphone and never chose to say what others wish she would say. So now they are talking for her. Sally can speak for herself and chose not to. She chose to be private.

- said...

LabRat: Do you support Sally's decision during her lifetime to be private? Or is using her personal life now that she is dead OK?

Roberta X remotely said...

Do we know who wrote her obit? Was it Ms. Ride herself? Ms. O'Shaughnessy? J. Random Reporter?

Despite other disagreements, there's near-uninamity here that people ought to be able to designate survivor's benefits to whoever they choose -- which looks to me like a pretty fair approach.

LabRat said...

Unlike professions with less dignity, like politicians, astronauts' wives and husbands are not typically part of their public face. It was the fact that Ride's spouse's name was printed like any other's in any other obit in the world that was apparently cause for you to start bellyaching about her "sex life" being bandied about, after the survivor benefit point had been brought up.

Was she in the closet before that? Who knows? It wasn't any of our business any more than Buzz Aldrin's three marriages and divorces are. (A factoid I had to actively look up, and dig a little to find, as his site doesn't consider it relevant subject matter for his biography.) But surviving spouses and partners are standard in obituaries. As for that matter are survivor benefits.

Parallel said...

Survivor benefits? No brainer--they were earned by the employee during the career, and should be paid out to the employee's designee.

On the other hand, I fear some LGBT activists want to expand the definition of "marriage" as a cudgel against others who might otherwise act less than enthusiastic about their life choices.

"Hi Mom and Dad, Debbie and I got engaged! We've already picked out matching dresses! Since you're members at First Southern Baptist Church, it will be less expensive for you to hold our big wedding there--right?"