Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Apologia for Andrew

Alot of people seem to have a problem with Andrew Sullivan. I started reading his blog because of a brouhaha over his placement of a personal ad which was made out to be shocking but in fact I could recognize as a fairly commonplace thing within GLBT areas. To be sure, he has been quite successful at having held unwise positions in the past, leading critics to question his sincerity and judgement. The breadth of conflicted gay conservatives which I have met suggests why GLBT people would tune him out, but the articulate caliber and timeliness of his writing suggests that what alienates GLBT people is the implication of partisanship not necessarily the philosophy. Still, I will cheerfully admit to reading his blog every day for the past three years, outlasting various passing fancies in my attention to the blogosphere. Maybe it is my admiration for contrarian opinion, even if Jonah Goldberg has a point about extended contrarianness sliding into brattiness(insert 'stopped clock' disclaimer here). Maybe I can shrug it off to a deep and abiding nostalgia for Provincetown and its curious residents and history(Twice I got a parking ticket there on a street named for one of my ancestors). I like what others deride as stupid gimmicks, like his eponymous awards and the windows of the world photoset, both of which are innovative uses of the medium. But that is only tangential to a fascination for his writings on the normalization of the gay world. Really, I guess it is that when you finally get him going on the subject of homophobia he can dish it out like the Prime Minister at Question Time:
[Jeff] Goldstein comments:

    Anyway, I'll leave this up as a public service to Andrew Sullivan — just to let him know with whom he's aligning himself these days. Seems it ain't just the Islamists who might want to cut your head off, Andy.

Some quick thoughts. First (and I'm doing my best here): my name isn't Andy. Second: Goldstein seems to be advancing the notion that there are two teams, and I'm now "aligned" with the homophobic one, i.e. the team Goldstein isn't on. But what if someone's approach to politics does not devolve into a moronic question of whose "team" you're on? I know this is a difficult idea for someone like Goldstein or Reynolds to grapple with; it would require thinking, for example.

But let's assume that Goldstein is making the point that the "left," whatever that now is, can be homophobic. He, a brave, Republican blogger, thinks I need to know this. Hmmm. That devastating insight somehow never occurred to me for the two decades in which I have been subjected to constant homophobic attacks from the gay left, accused of being the anti-Christ, a diseased faggot, a spreader of disease, my private life ransacked, my reputation lied about, my integrity smeared on a daily basis. Left-wing homophobia? Thanks, Mr Goldstein, for clueing me in. I look forward to your future receipt of slurs and innunedoes for writing what you believe. For the team! (Just don't mention the rampant, far more virulent and empowered homophobia on the religious right, or you might forget whose "side" you're on.) 

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