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    Which exit?

    While we’re on the subject of blame-shifting losers, I may as well point out that James Kirchick at IGF has a very good piece on why James McGreevey should be excommunicated from gay community life. Yes, the point has been made already, but gay leaders keep feting the guy, so it bears repeating:

    There are millions of gay people in this country. Most of us are not as politically powerful and connected as Jim McGreevey once was. We work hard, pay our taxes, put up with discrimination, and, I’d like to think, if we ever get caught doing something wrong, do not rashly blame our fate on an inability to deal with sexual orientation. But Jim McGreevey was too much of a coward to admit that what he did was just plain wrong and that he was entirely to blame for his misfortune.

    The world is unfair to gay people and the higher rates of suicide, depression and personally destructive behavior amongst gays, especially gay men, has a great deal to do with external homophobia. But let there be no mistake: McGreevey was forced to resign because he was a corrupt politician who shared more in common with the men in his administration now serving time in jail than he would care to believe.

    Rather than own up to his abuse of office, McGreevey conflated his political corruption with his own struggles as a gay man. In so doing, he lent credence to the ignorant meme peddled by conservatives that gays are emotionally unstable and shifty people who cannot be trusted as individuals, never mind as public servants.

    America loves a redemption story; ace image manipulators like McGreevey and Stephen Glass know that. Unfortunately for them, there’s a fly in the ointment: To pitch yourself as shriven and reborn, you have to be able to admit to wrongdoing. For some people, that’s an unbearable prospect. So they end up twisting themselves into moral-ethical pretzels along the lines of, “Oh, my, yes…I totally betrayed the trust of people close to me, people who counted on me to fulfill my responsibilities. I’m just sick with guilt. But, you see, I wasn’t quite myself at the time…it was all the pressure…the pressure…so, uh, you do love me again, right?”

    2 Responses to “Which exit?”

    1. submandave says:

      I agree that McGreevey playing the “distraught gay suffering from the closet” card is beyond the pale. However, allow me to also point out, as a person with predominently conservative political leanings, that the “ignorant meme peddled … that gays are emotionally unstable … people” is much more prevalent in mainstream Holywood fare than in respectable conservative publications. Just as gays, on a whole, are not accurately represented by NAMBLA, conservatives, on a whole, are not accurately represented by Phelps (or even Falwell).

    2. Sean Kinsell says:

      The comparison strikes me as apples and oranges, though I don’t know that I dispute your larger point. Hollywood exaggerates people’s neuroses and has a tendency not to assign people characteristics that don’t serve as some sort of corner-cutting method of character development. Conservative political publications tended, IIRC, to ignore homosexuality as much as possible until the gay marriage debate made that impossible; but when statistics by non-scientists such as Paul Cameron have been cited in the public sphere, it really has tended to be by people like William Bennett. I wouldn’t count Phelps–a registered Democrat still, no?–among conservatives, though I know that plenty of leftists use coarse reasoning to do so.

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