Saturday, March 17, 2012

"He Thinks I Look Alike"

The other day, media blogger Jim Romenesko wondered whether this was the “Best Washington Post Correction Ever.” It might have been one of them. It noted, in confused language and without apologizing for it, that the paper had run a story about a Catholic priest’s denying communion to a Maryland woman at her mother’s funeral because of her sexual orientation, and had accompanied the story with a picture of the wrong lesbian.

This raised a question for Talmudists, Aristotelians, and Marxists: Could two gay ladies, looking exactly alike, wearing exactly the same glasses, living in exactly the same state, and bearing exactly the same name, be seen, metaphysically speaking, as the same lesbian?   

We know now, thanks to Mr. Romenesko again, that the Post is vastly more philosophically perplexed than that first correction might have suggested. For the misidentified party of the first part turns out not actually to have been the misidentified party of the second part, but rather an altogether different misidentified party of the third part, and here, in case there’s any confusion, is the Post’s second correction:

Sarah E. Reece, director of the Academy for Leadership and Action of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, was misidentified as Barbara Johnson in a photo caption that appeared with a March 15 Metro article. She was identified as a different Barbara Johnson in a March 16 correction of that photo caption.

The priest has since been punished by the Archdiocese of Washington. But where is the Post’s own higher authority, ombudsman Patrick Pexton? He has yet to issue a mea culpa, or better yet a series of them, to the LGBT community and the world at large, begging pardon for the newspaper’s extreme insensitivity to issues both gay and gender, suggesting his colleagues undergo some aggressive diversity (re)training, and promising that, to his perspicacious eyes at least, all lesbians do not look alike.

Looking forward to the fawning.

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