Saturday, October 16, 2004


Anyone who's ever studied sleight-of-hand or stage magic knows that 90% of the magician's job is to direct the attention of the audience away from the mechanics of the illusion. Audiences desiring to be entertained generally play along, and it requires a sharp eye, a skeptical mind, and an iron resistance to instinct to follow the mechanics instead of the misdirection.

Misdirection can depend on any number of methods. Sudden pyrotechnics in a quiet quarter of the stage. Distracting patter. Commotion that draws the eye and attention from the business end of the illusion.

With magic in mind, let's look back to September 2, 2004, at the comment Alan Keyes made about Mary Cheney, the Vice President's publicly lesbian daughter:

NEW YORK - Illinois Republican Senate candidate Alan Keyes has labeled homosexuality "selfish hedonism" and said Vice President Dick Cheney's lesbian daughter is a sinner.

The former talk show host who has made two unsuccessful runs for the White House made the comments Monday night in an interview with Sirius OutQ, a satellite radio station that provides programming aimed at gays and lesbians.

After saying homosexuality is "selfish hedonism," Keyes was asked if that made Mary Cheney "a selfish hedonist."

"Of course she is," Keyes replied. "That goes by definition."

Liz Cheney, Mary's sister, refused to comment Wednesday during an interview on CNN.

"I guess I'm surprised, frankly, that you would even repeat the quote, and I'm not going to dignify it with a comment," she told the interviewer.
Alan Keyes

In contrast to the high-minded reaction on the part of Mary's sister Liz, and the silence from Mary's parents in response to the comments of Mr. Keyes, here's her mother's reaction to Mr. Kerry daring to mention Mary Cheney's sexual preference during the third debate with Mr. Bush:

Lynne Cheney issued her post-debate rebuke to a cheering crowd outside Pittsburgh. "The only thing I can conclude is he is not a good man. I'm speaking as a mom," she said. "What a cheap and tawdry political trick."
Lynne Cheney

You've probably seen the frenzy of media attention that followed these remarks, and other bloggers have reprinted what Mr. Kerry said during the debate, which was, I opine, a mild reference to a widely known fact.

Why the outrage from the Cheney family over a minor issue?
Think about magic, and it'll all become clear.


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