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It's a cliché as old as it is unfounded. Any woman who plays softball, the spurious logic goes, is probably gay. You might think that we as a society could refrain from indulging such a silly stereotype as we explore the non-silly issue of President Obama's nominee to the Supreme Court.

But that nominee is an unmarried woman battling rumors about her sexual orientation, and someone found a 17-year-old black-and-white photo of her playing softball, so you can predict where the national discourse goes from there. Talking Points Memo has compiled a two-minute video of the breathless cable news coverage of Elena Kagan's fondness for softball and what that means for her judicial philosophy.

  • They're Right  Gawker's Brian Moylan endorses the coverage. "When she worked at the University of Chicago, she played softball. There are pictures to prove it. Sorry, but softball=lesbian."
  • Society's Absurd Standards of Femininity  Salon's Mary Elizabeth Williams fumes, "If there are any photographs out there of you running on a field, dribbling a basketball, or God forbid, standing on a golf green, prepare to have your sexuality open to dispute. ... Why, in the year 2010, is the notion of a woman playing sports still considered a dis? Because gay or straight, the implication is that real women -- feminine, socially appropriate women -- wouldn’t be caught doing anything as butch as playing softball."
  • So Much For Our Media  Liberal blogger Annie Laurie sighs, "the Very Serious People are all obsessed with the Very Serious Question of Elena Kagan’s softball skillz."
  • So Much For Democracy  Wonkette's Jim Newell declares, "BREAKING FOOTAGE: 234-Year-Old ‘America’ Experiment Collapses On Self."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

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