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July 13, 2004

Ace of Spades Gets Results... Sort Of

Well, my second letter to Andrew Sullivan wasn't quite as restrained as my first:

How about stonewalling on the outing of gay politicians who aren't sufficiently pro-gay-marriage?

How , exactly, do you justify running piece after piece on sexual privacy -- Tony Hendra, Jack Ryan just two of your latest offerings -- and yet sit there silent while your gay allies violate the sexual privacy of gay politicians?

I don't get it. I don't understand you can be so brazen to think you can just sit refuse to comment at all -- in fact, you not only refuse to comment; you refuse to even state you're refusing comment.

Silence is an endorsement of these actions. Which at this point I have to take to be your intention.

If you support violating the sexual privacy of those you deem political opponents, then you have no right to whine about the violation of your own sexual privacy.

Well tonight Sullivan has a very begrudging condemnation of the practice. Oddly enough, he's not writing a big column about it; nor did he offer his opinion of his own volition. As he himself says -- "some of you asked." Well, why the hell did we have to ask in the first place?

Here's part of his statement. Notice how brief the condemnation part -- and we know he can write like a fiend about those who violate others' sexual privacy; tracts against this practice make up a quarter of his oevure -- before he launches into an attack on those being outed as "dishonorable":

Some of you have asked me what I think about the campaign to out closeted staffers for Republican senators who may vote for the FMA. In a word, I think it's wrong. The people perpetrating it are the usual suspects - people who are only truly happy when persecuting others. The viciousness of the campaign, the way it demonizes individuals whose own consciences are unknowable to any outsider, is a mark of authoritarianism and cruelty. You cannot force people to be honorable, let alone heroes. You cannot force people to have self-respect.

It's a campaign to force "honor," "heroism," and "self-respect" on closeted gays? That would seem to undercut the previous language about viciousness and cruelty. After all, the outers are just prodding them to have some "self-respect." How can that be a bad thing?

But, as Graham Chapman used to say, "Wait for it:"

I do believe, however, that those gay men and women who are supporting some Senators in this war against gay citizens are acting dishonorably. I can see compromises that are inevitable in politics - even on the issue of marriage. But the Constitutional Amendment seems to me to be in a class of its own.

We started this as a nice little post condemnig this practice. We seem to have morphed into a desperate times require desperate measures sort of vibe, haven't we?

Note the language, too:

war against gay citizens

Apparently we're in two wars: A war against terrorism and a war against gay citizens. Well! No wonder poor Sully feels so conflicted! He's signed up to fight one war and he finds his nation "warring" against him in another!

It's an unprecedented attack on the citizenship of an entire minority of Americans.

The anti-gay-marriage campaign, he means. Not the outing.

And then he prattles on about nothing, making no real point, seeming apparently quite baffled about his own opinion on the issue. Which isn't surprising, as he's clearly not really against outing these people, at least not strenuously. His unclear conclusion is a product of his mixed messages and mixed thinking.

So, there's your statement. It only took him one week and numerous (I'm imaging) readers' emails to provoke it.

And not precisely a clear-cut statement against the practice, as I read it. It reads like those horrid Howell Raines NYT editorials on Clinton's impeachment. He'd start of saying how "deplorable" and "indefensible" Clinton's conduct was, and then begin justifying Clinton's lying by comparing it to the greater outrages of his Republican pursuers.

I seem to remember Andrew Sullivan noting that those who say "I'm against terrorism, but..." don't really seem very anti-terrorist. They seem, rather, to be mouthing a condemnation that they do not much believe but which is required by politics, before more-ethusiastically ticking off the circumstances mitigating the blameworthiness of terrorist acts.

So, there you have it. Sullivan is against outing gays, but...

That damnable conjunction, eh?


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posted by Ace at 03:02 AM

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