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August 6th, 2010

History of Marriage

I am happy, I am relieved, I am skeptical about the future of a decision in courts that are both conservative and cautious.  I think Judge Vaughn Walker is a smart, conscientious, and careful writer.  But when I read the following two sentences in his decision, it gave me pause:

The right to marry has been historically and remains the right to choose a spouse and, with mutual consent, join together and form a household. Race and gender restrictions shaped marriage during eras of race and gender inequality, but such restrictions were never part of the historical core of the institution of marriage.

I thought of trying to parse the ways in which these two statements are, at best, historically clueless.  But then wild_irises did it for me, Oh, so much more eloquently and succinctly than I could have.  Read it, please, and be educated (if you don't already know) about the history of marriage.  Marriage, historically viewed, is an arrangement whereby chattel (the woman) is transferred from one man (her father) to another (her husband), to the ultimate economic benefit of both men.  Everything else is window-dressing and romantic hindsight.  One of the true glories of the 20th century has been the gradual rise of the ideal of marriage as the companionate and romantic union between equals.  It is that ideal Walker is appealing to, and a beautiful one it is.  As History, though, it's Alternate.

Clarion 2011!

Out with the Old, in with the New!

Now that the Clarion Class of 2010 has critiqued its last story, dyed Jeff VanderMeer's hair purple, and is preparing to scatter to three continents and I can't even remember how many states, it's time to turn our attention to Clarion 2011.

The teacher line-up is fantastic:

Week One:  Nina Kiriki Hoffman
Week Two:  John Scalzi
Week Three:  Elizabeth Bear
Week Four:  David Anthony Durham
Week Five and Six:  John Kessel and Kij Johnson

Something for everyone, eh?  So start thinking about those submission stories.  They start accepting applications in December.

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