of all wars, this is surely one in which gay America can take
a proud and central part. The men who have launched a war
on this country see the freedom that gay people have here
as one of the central reasons for their hatred."
GRAIN OF TRUTH
is irony in this fatuous self-centeredness, as well as a grain
of truth. No, Osama isn't pissed because he wasn't asked to
be Grand Marshall of Kabul's Gay
Pride Day March & Celebration it's just that the
rebellion that brought the Taliban to power was sparked by
a fight between two Northern Alliance thugs over the charms
of a comely Afghan youth. The mujahedeen, having overthrown
the Soviet-backed Commie regime, looted and raped their way
from one end of the country to the other, and boys as well
as women were not safe. During their reign a beardless boy
ventured outside at severe risk to his virtue. This
was Mullah Omar's ticket to power: when parents complained
to him, he and his followers declared a holy war against the
perpetrators and eventually managed to seize power over much
of the country. So, yes, a distaste for sodomy is "central"
to Taliban history and ideology, but not in quite the way
Sullivan means it.
HOMOSEXUALITY, AND THEIRS
in reality most men in Afghan society engage in homosexual
acts as a matter of course: the sheer unavailability (indeed,
invisibility) of women makes that the only alternative to
complete celibacy, unless you consider sheep and cored apples
more viable options. The Taliban admitted that homosexuality
posed a "dilemma"
in their own ranks. Now that they have been driven from power,
taste for young male flesh is being more
openly pursued. So in reality virtually every Afghan male
is considerably more "liberated" than the average i.e. stubbornly
heterosexual American male, who is almost neurotically frightened
of even the hint that he might be "that way."
comparative cultural analysis is way beyond the province of
the war propagandist, and Sullivan takes advantage of the
opportunity afforded by 9/11 to make the case for a gay jihad
against the mullahs at home as well as abroad:
monsters believe that gay men and women deserve to be tortured
and executed in hideous fashion. They murder and muzzle women;
they despise and murder Jews; they demonize gays. We have
rightly seen how Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson have destroyed
themselves by their hatred in this moment and we can take
solace that America has repudiated their poison."
and Robertson did nothing of the kind both are operating
as usual, after having merely expressed the traditional Protestant
view that man is continually
being punished for his sins. But that is irrelevant, really,
to the astonishing depth of hatred evidenced in Sullivan's
frothy-mouthed rhetoric and the ugly gloating at the alleged
destruction of these two religious leaders. Sullivan no doubt
considers this just punishment for the sin of homophobia,
and the same with the Taliban:
let us also remember that the men who committed this atrocity
make Falwell and Robertson look mild in comparison. They are
the Religious Ultra-Right, and they have already murdered
us. Given the chance, they would wipe gay people from the
face of the earth."
quite a few in their own ranks, but never mind that: consistency
or logic is not something that war propagandists find useful.
What they do find useful is hate, fear, and of course
hyperbole. And surely it is hyperbolic, to say the least,
that the Taliban and Al Qaeda aim to "wipe gay people from
the face of the earth." Do they really care about the entire
earth, or just their little corner of it?
but in Sullivan's world, no one is to be left alone in their
little corner, not as long as World's Only Superpower and
its pundits-in-waiting walk the earth. Everyone, everywhere
must approve of homosexuality: at the very least, if they
don't they ought to keep their mouths shut about it or else
face the wrath of our Oh So Special Forces.
up and itching for a fight, Big Butch Andy sternly lectures
his fellow queers including me, I guess about the dangers
of being, well, a pansy when it comes to supporting
respond to that threat by cautioning peace or surrender or
equivocation is to appease men who would destroy every last
vestige of gay America if they could. Gay Americans should
not merely support this war as a matter of patriotism and
pride; they should support it because the enemy sees us as
one of their first targets for destruction."
WILL FIGHT THEM ON THE BEACHES!
is identity politics brought to its logical and totally absurd
conclusion: we have to stop them in Afghanistan before they
march down San Francisco's Castro street, or land on the beaches
in Provincetown. Although the chances of Islamic law being enacted
are absolutely nil, this is what passes for serious political
commentary in the gay community where hysteria is a permanent
state of mind.
those nasty Muslims "despise our freedom" to f*ck each other
senseless and buy a lot of stuff, "they have contempt for
our culture" almost as much as we do and (horrors!) "they
loathe our diversity." Of course, being against "diversity"
is a virtual sentence of death these days, and nothing more
need be said. Naturally, the much-vaunted virtue of "tolerance" doesn't extend to the supposedly intolerant: i.e. anyone
religious, traditionalist, or just plain cantankerous. So
racial and sexual "diversity" is glorious, but not
when it comes to the ideological realm.
VARNELL IS AN IDIOT
ultimate fusion of gay identity politics and international
relations comes in the form of a priceless essay by gay Republican
Paul Varnell, with the serio-comic title of "Toward
a Gay Foreign Policy." How much farther can the politicization
of homosexuality be taken: will we next see a foreign policy
White Paper issued by the Leather
Daddies of San Francisco? Indeed, there is something
S&Mish about Varnell's foreign policy recommendations,
with the US playing the "S" role and the rest of the world
left licking our boots.
up there with spreading "democracy" and ostensibly free markets,
the goal of US foreign policy must be the sexual and emotional
fulfillment of the world's peoples. According to Varnell:
are vast portions of the world where gays and lesbians must
live closeted, unrealized, unfulfilled lives blighted by the
pressures of rigid social conformity, primitive religious
intolerance, fear, prosecution, and even death. In eastern
and central Europe, gays face hostility from authoritarian
governments heavily influenced by medieval Catholicism or
reinvigorated revanchist Russian and Greek Orthodox religions."
same goes for the Muslims, the Hindus, and any other religion
that forbids same-sex relations (virtually all of them but
Unitarianism). Religion, in all its forms, is the special
target of the new gay Crusaders, and they make no bones about
the alleged necessity of stamping all of them out:
multiculturalism means that different cultures have different
values and there is no way to prefer one set of values over
another, then multiculturalism is a sham and the final enemy
of gays and lesbians."
IN MORAL DARKNESS
stunning authoritarianism of this statement is, perhaps, unparalleled
in its dizzy, breathtaking arrogance. All must be absorbed
into the pagan monoculture of the West. What?! You
have no Gay Pride Day in Baluchistan? Why, then, you are one
of those "nations sunk in ignorance, superstition, barbarism,
and moral darkness, and we should say so loudly and repeatedly."
That is, the US government should say so loudly and
repeatedly. Ah, says Varnell, "but what can we do about it?"
and this is where it starts to get really ugly
ask us to "try a thought experiment" and see what good works
the US government could do internationally "if it really wants
to help gays and lesbians in backward nations." Aside from
routine protests to governments that jail gay people, Varnell
envisions a "sexual minorities desk" at the State Department
to record such outrages as "acts of censorship and anti-gay
statements by government officials." Do you hear that,
course, many would snigger that setting up a "sexual minorities
desk" at the State Department would
be redundant, but Varnell, like all ideologues, is deaf
to the unintended humor of what he is saying, to wit:
desk could make the information public rapidly on a website
so target nations would see that they are being monitored.
Taking a page from Atlas
Shrugged, the website could list gays and lesbians
who flee foreign countries and list the skills and education
they take with them so the countries could see what their
bigotry is costing them."
this be a lesson to the Mauritanians: either open
up a Pottery Barn, or else face the consequences!
AND FOREIGN AID: THE KEY LINK
wants to cut foreign aid (a good idea) but only to those countries
that "persecute gays." He writes:
could say to them: 'You have no natural right to our taxpayers'
money. If you want their money you must earn it by good behavior.
Stop repressing your citizens. Repeal your sodomy laws. Halt
your censorship of gay publications and websites. Educate
it right there, dude: if they have no right to US taxpayers'
money, then how come we're giving it to them at all? Or do
they somehow acquire this right by deciding to coddle the
right minority groups? The narrow narcissism of such a view
that it's okay to violate natural rights, so long as it's
done in a "good cause," like gay rights would be comical
if it weren't offered up with such dead seriousness.
OF (GAY) AMERICA?
outrageous as the preceding may be, this is my favorite
plank in the gay foreign policy platform: Varnell wants us
to make like the Dutch and send "small grants to gay groups
in third-world countries." After all,
hundred grants of $10,000 to $100,000 would cost little but
help fledgling gay groups and send a clear message to anti-gay
would also send a clear message to the American people: Your
rulers have gone nuts! But I digress. Varnell continues:
most powerful weapons the U.S. has are its ideals of liberty
and individuality, free speech, free markets and democracy.
In the past we promoted those ideals through a network of
U.S. radio stations around the world. We should revive and
expand that project. The Voice
of America and Radio Liberty could include substantial
programming about U.S. gays, the legitimacy of gay freedom,
music by gay artists and reading by gay authors. Since its
beginning, the VOA has done exactly one program on gays."
LOVE THAT NEVER SHUTS UP
people of the world are being deprived by not hearing the
homoerotic love songs of One
for the Boys and the Sapphic discography of Phranc.
Free love is just as important as free speech and free markets,
and, besides, why shouldn't gays get in on the "foreign
aid" gravy train? We need to revamp the Voice of America,
get rid of our old cold war mentality, and take up the fight
against those poor benighted and "backward" nations where
The Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name has yet to be transformed
into The Love That Never Shuts Up.
THAT'S A GOOD IDEA
wait, I spoke too soon, this is my very favorite of Varnell's
U.S. could send openly gay ambassadors to anti-gay governments.
Forget gay-friendly Luxembourg. Think Saudi Arabia, Namibia,
Romania, Cuba, Pakistan. That would force officials to deal
with someone gay who represents the world's most powerful
appears, at this point in the text, an "Editors note" in brackets,
as if to remind us that the utter bizarreness of contemporary
reality has long since outstripped even the wildest imagination:
note: In the fall of 2001, President George W. Bush named
gay Foreign service officer Michael Guest as U.S.
ambassador to Romania.]"
wants gay ambassadors to attend public events with their partners,
and indeed Ambassador Guest caused quite a stir in Romania
when he brought his live-in partner to the Marines Ball. But
who cares what
those "backward" Romanians think? It is the prerogative
of an imperial power to wantonly insult the locals and override
their quaint customs conspicuously, where possible if
only to underscore the privileges of unilateralism, both military
also wants gay ambassadors to "visit gay clubs where they
exist" and "don't worry about sodomy laws: A nation's embassy
is by law its own sovereign territory." So if there aren't
any gay dives in some "backward" country, then why not open
one up in the American embassy? Imagine the fabulous pool
parties you could have!
IT TO THE VATICAN
just gets better or worse as Varnell gets deeper into
his "thought experiment," and if you thought the preceding
was hard to take, getta loada this:
long as the U.S. has an ambassador to the Vatican, that person
should be gay. It is high time those men in cassocks at the
Vatican secretariat met a gay men who is not repressed, closeted
or a hypocrite. It might be a new concept for them."
religion is the Enemy, then the Catholic Church, in the official
gay demonology, is the equivalent of Satan. The crack about
"men in cassocks" is pretty much par for the course: here
self-loathing and crude anti-Catholic bigotry combine effortlessly
in a veritable hymn to hate.
MATTER OF TIME
assures us, finally, that "This is hardly an exhaustive list
of the possibilities," but, really, what has he left out?
This, we are told, is "the beginnings of an activist agenda
for the next two decades," and yet one can only wonder where
and how it will end. Varnell's silly "thought experiment"
may beg not to be taken seriously, but the truth is that what
he suggests is not very far from reality. Already, as Varnell's
editor pointed out, at least one of his more outrageous proposals
is already in effect, and it's only a matter of time given
the straight-line progression of political correctness as
a dominant force in our society before the whole "gay foreign
policy" platform is enacted.
a practicing homosexual,
Varnell's nonsensical blithering is particularly irritating
to me: for here it is possible to see just how and why some
otherwise reasonable person might become a raging homophobe.
Aside from that, however, is the issue of the assumption underlying
Varnell's decidedly queer worldview: the idea that the US,
as the world's One and Only Superpower, has a moral obligation
to impose its cultural and political norms, by force, on a
grateful world. This kind of hubris corrupts everything
yes, even our sexuality and makes us endless enemies. It
is a reflection, as in a distorted funhouse mirror, of the
premise behind American foreign policy in the post-9/11 era.
proposals may seem extreme, to some, but they aren't really
all that far away from the general principles enunciated by
our government in its "war on terrorism": with a purportedly
conservative US President and
his First Lady celebrating the alleged "liberation"
of women in Afghanistan in the wake of the US conquest, can
the celebration of Afghan gay liberation be far behind?
Sullivan, one of Varnell's fellow gay Republicans, has pointed
to the oppression of gays in Saudi Arabia where homosexual
acts are routinely punished by execution as a reason to
turn on and perhaps even overthrow our old allies in Riyadh.
Only a few years ago, such a suggestion would have been laughed
at: today, it is taken seriously. Identity politics in America
whether sexual, ethnic, or whatever has always led to
unfortunate distortions of US foreign policy. This is because
international policy is merely a reflection of domestic political
pressures, since politicians must depend on the votes and
financial support of pressure groups to get in power and stay
there. With the sexualization of identity politics, exemplified
by the feminist and gay movements, this means that there is
tremendous pressure on the United States to assume a stance
of unrelenting hostility to traditional culture on a world
FATE OF THE COMINTERN
the Soviets, who thought they would conquer the world and,
eventually, abolish such "backward" institutions as the patriarchal
family, the US seems on the brink of launching a crusade to
"revolutionize the world," as
David Brooks put it the other day on the PBS News Hour.
With Brooks bibbling on about the advance of "democracy,"
and how we're going to "liberate" the oppressed peoples of
Iraq and the Middle East by installing puppet regimes, I was
reminded of the "revolutionary" proclamations" of the old
which, today, is just a memory moldering in the dust-bin
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