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    Free xone

    A dear blog friend asked whether I’d seen this and implied that I might want to comment on it. I’m not sure what good that will do—the post is so incoherent that there’s no point to a line-by-line, Fisking-style approach, and I can’t really pick out a well-developed central argument to discuss more generally. So let me split the difference and make a few passing observations:

    •   To the extent that McCain has a point, his point is that Palin-hatred on the part of leftist gays is especially vitriolic in the way it’s targeted toward her identity as a wife and mother. But the example he chooses is this:

         A hetero swine like Letterman makes “slutty flight attendant” jokes about Palin’s looks. Gay men make tasteless jokes about Palin as a mother. This is a blog, not a textbook, but if you’ve read this far, you can generalize from that observation to consider why Andrew Sullivan has spent months mucking around the fever swamps of Trig-trutherism.

         Huh? The joke Letterman actually took the most heat for was the one about Palin’s daughter’s being impregnated by A-Rod, which is not only targeted at Palin as a mother but also targeted at her daughter as a mother. (Letterman insisted that he was talking about Bristol rather than Willow.) Perhaps McCain has confirmation that that particular one-liner was devised by one of Letterman’s gay writers, but I haven’t heard tell of any such thing. And I haven’t heard any allegations that Letterman himself is gay. (Aside to the heavens: Please, no.) The writer of that recent PlayboyOnline article about conservative women as objects of what we will delicately call adversarial lust was, to my knowledge, straight, too.

         As for Sullivan’s obsession with the provenance of Trig Palin, yeah, it’s embarrassing; and the part about Sullivan’s being a gay guy who’s obsessed with the traffic through Palin’s cervix is one of the media’s more amusing ironies. But I’m not sure it’s any more telling about Sullivan’s gay mind than, say, the loopy obsession with President Obama’s birth certificate implies racism on the part of the fringe-right wackos who keep fulminating about it. Sullivan thought there was a weakness to exploit in someone he was trying to take down politically, and he went for it. He ran it into the ground, but lately he runs everything into the ground, cervix-related or not. If this were some sort of intrinsically gay male thing, we might expect Jonathan Rauch, Bruce Bawer, Deroy Murdock, Walter Olson, or Dale Carpenter to be routinely going bananas over women they oppose politically. But they don’t.

    •   McCain has anticipated such objections by saying that of course there are exceptions; he’s just stating the general rule. I don’t know what kinds of persons McCain hangs out with, but I’ve been a gay guy in Philadelphia, New York, and Tokyo for a decade and a half, and I’ve found it pretty easy to avoid neurotics. Yes, you basically have to give up on organized gay activism, which is dominated by one-note obsessives; and if your political positions skew what’s seen as right, you deal with a lot of spluttering at dinner parties. But that’s life in the big city, and it’s no better among leftist straight people.
    •   The fashion industry, or the section of it that McCain is talking about, is also part of the big city. Lots of small towns out in the provinces have gay dressmakers who make the local society ladies look like local society ladies, which normally doesn’t mean streetwalkers. Hell, even the gay guys in New York who contribute to the production and distribution of lines of tarty clothes will, when a living, breathing female friend asks them to help her get ready for a date, counsel her in the direction of feminine and romantic and away from anything that looks too slutty. The sort of high-end fashion design that you see in Vogue is generated by people who prize the unfettered imagination over everyday wearability for everyday people. (You can see the same phenomenon in architecture and interior design.) They like their models tall and slim, even when they’ve got curves like Gisele, because clothes in general hang better and show their construction better on tall, slim bodies. Miuccia Prada, Donatella Versace, Behnaz Sarafpour, and thousands of less famous women are just as numerous in that world as gay guys are. And it’s bizarre that McCain can actually mention ultra-hetero hip-hop without noticing that that‘s where a lot of the flesh-displaying shapes that fashion has absorbed over the last two decades have come from.
    •   I’ve never heard another gay guy use the word fish to refer to anything but his order of trout amandine, except on episodes of Queer as Folk. That’s not to say it doesn’t ever happen, only that it doesn’t necessarily characterize gay life in general. And while fag hag can certainly be used negatively, in my experience, it tends to describe a very particular kind of straight woman: one who latches on to gay-guy friends because she can’t handle straight men who might want to have a lasting, mature relationship with her. The exploitation goes both directions, and it can be depressingly difficult for bystanders to determine who’s making the bigger sucker out of whom. But to the extent that dysfunctionality and derogation are involved, they aren’t just homosexual dysfunctionality and derogation.
    •   The idea that gay men are more hostile to women than the lesbian sisterhood is to men, which is implicit in the statement that lesbians are “riding in the back of the Equality Bus” while we male homos steer it, is pretty hard to believe on the face of it. I don’t know about Cynthia Yockey, but I do know that Camille Paglia and Tammy Bruce, while they’re critical of gay men’s excesses, have reserved their most astringent comments for the self-defeating practices of fellow lesbians.
    •   One final thing that’s applicable to McCain but hardly, more’s the pity, exclusive to him: can we please knock it off with the bratty, self-satisifed, look-how-daringly-un-PC-I-am tone? If you’re calling them as you see them, alert readers will be able to tell that you’re not cowed by PC pieties without your having to ham and mug about what a roguish taboo-trampler you are. It’s no less obnoxious coming from the right than it used to be coming from Karen Finley.

    Added on 2 July: Thanks to Eric for the link in his own post on the topic:

    The only message I can see that will be remembered from this is that a lot of right wingers think that those who hate Sarah Palin are gay (as if there is no greater insult) and should be called names. A new meme for the left to proudly wave.

    I fail to see how this will resonate in Sarah Palin’s favor.

    I realize that many people are saying that Stacy McCain is only doing this for the traffic. I can’t blame any blogger for wanting traffic, but I do think that if he likes Sarah Palin as much as he claims does, McCain might think twice about whether getting more hits is worth the damage he does to his cause.

    When the dust settles, no one will remember the traffic he got. What they will remember is the shining new conservative principle he established.

    If you hate Sarah Palin, you must be gay!

    Well, plenty of people already believed that kind of thing without McCain’s having to post about it; when I posted this, not a single one of his approving commenters seemed to have suffered any cognitive dissonance over the way he’d characterized Letterman’s Palin jokes–an elementary factual error. Social cons are to be applauded when they take a critical look at politically biased research that uses shoddy methods to generate figures that conveniently shore up preexisting liberal wish lists. It’s just a shame that their disinterested pursuit of the truth rarely extends to their discussions of gay issues, where many of them have a history of being all too willing to let questions about sampling, survey-instrument construction, generalizations drawn from anecdotes, and other basics recede from view as long as there’s a juicy opportunity to paint homosexuals as pathological.

    3 Responses to “Free xone”

    1. Janis Gore says:

      Ken Layne is probably having some fun acting gay for a few days.

      As for the newest foofaraw, if Meg Stapleton hadn’t talked about the “desecration” of an “iconic” photograph, the jokers would have left it alone. That tripped the trigger for “irreverence.”

    2. Sean says:

      I haven’t really heard much about Ken Layne since the “fact-check your ass” days, but yeah, his brand of snottiness always struck me as on the frat-boy (as opposed to the queeny) end of the spectrum.

      I think you’re probably right about the Photoshopping.

    3. Marie Devine says:

      A few proverbs from King Solomon might explain the happenings in blogs, media and campaigns.

      Proverbs 17:4 “A wicked doer gives heed to false lips; and a liar gives ear to a naughty tongue.”

      Proverbs 29:27 “An unjust man is an abomination to the just; and he that is upright in the way is abomination to the wicked.”

      Proverbs 17:15 “He that justifies the wicked, and he that condemns the just, even they both are abomination to the LORD.”

      Proverbs 14:15 “The simple believe every word: but the prudent man looks well to his going.”

      Proverbs 17:19 “He loves transgression that loves strife: and he that exalts his gate seeks destruction.”

      Proverbs 29:12 “If a ruler hearken to lies, all his servants are wicked.”

      Proverbs 24:24, 25 “He that says unto the wicked, Thou art righteous; him shall the people curse, nations shall abhor him: :25 But to them that rebuke him shall be delight, and a good blessing shall come upon them.”

      Proverbs 12:20 “Deceit is in the heart of them that imagine evil; but to the counselors of peace is joy.”

      Proverbs 26:26 “Whose hatred is covered by deceit, his wickedness shall be showed before the whole congregation.”

      Proverbs 26:28 “A lying tongue hates those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth works ruin.”

      Proverbs 29:16 “When the wicked are multiplied, transgression increases: but the righteous shall see their fall.”

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