I have to say that it was the timing as much as the tone of Billmon’s original post that put me off. After having to read the ceaseless barrage of sexual innuendo coming from the pro-war Right — if it isn’t Steven Plaut, champion of the Kahanists, cackling about Justin Raimondo “godmother of a grand conspiracy theory,” it’s my fellow “libertarian” Tom Palmer, of the Cato Institute, referring to my mysterious “unsavory career moves,” whatever that means — I suppose I was being just a wee bit hypersensitive. I mean, what is wrong with people these days? My defend-the-underdog instinct kicked in.
Be that as it may, Billmon makes some very good points:
“The truth is, Jim/Jeff Guckert/Gannon represents, in one muscle-bound package, just about everything I find repulsive about the modern conservative movement. And while I don’t hold Jim/Jeff’s sex business against him (so to speak), the pseudo-military fetish that was/is his specialty frankly creeps me out…”
Yeah, it creeps me out, too. I was going to mention this in my own column on the Gannon affair, but then started thinking that I could actually devote a whole piece to the psycho-sexual mentality of the War Party — and decided I didn’t want to go there. Anne Norton, professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania, does go there, to some extent, in her recent book on Leo Strauss and the Politics of American Empire. Describing the inmates of this particular neocon asylum, she writes:
“Tiny little men with rounded shoulders would lean back in their chairs and declare that Nature had made men superior to women. Larger, softer men, with soft while hands that never held a gun or changed a tire delivered disquisitions on manliness. They were stronger, they were smarter, and Aristotle said so.”
So I agree with Billmon about all that, and, no, I don’t think he “hates gays,” as he avers: it’s just that I can’t help but smile when I read his protestations that he considers “homophobia” a Very Bad Thing, on a par with racism and all the other icky-isms that modern liberals love to hate. Because I can’t help but juxtapose his sincerity to the unmistakable tone of derisory levity that permeated his commentary on the man he persists in calling “Gannon/Guckert.” (Hey, if he says his name is Gannon, who am I to argue: I know Billmon doesn’t believe in property rights, but doesn’t a person own their own name?) I’m smiling because I, like every other gay (male) in the world, knows that, no matter how much we hear anthems to “tolerance” and “diversity” and politically-correct pledges to fight “homophobia” (Szasz help us!), I can see a reflex action common to all non-homosexuals that you might call the Ick Factor. Blue-state baby-boomer liberals are no doubt perfectly sincere in their expressions of liberality, but when they really think about what gay males do, the Ick Reflex kicks in. And that’s okay. I understand. I even empathize. No need to apologize. People are different: they have different tastes.
So I don’t blame Billmon for the Ick Reflex, any more than I blame a cat for running up a tree at the sight of a dog. You’ll have to pardon me, however, if I bark.
I have to say that Billmon’s post is quite funny, and I’m a little … hurt that he accuses me of having no sense of humor. Hey, what about my “Bizarro World” series? Oh well, I guess it’s hard to come off like Jerry Seinfeld when you’re writing about war, as in mass murder. Anyway, I laughed out loud when I read this from Billmon’s post:
“I have no objections, moral or otherwise, to Guckert/Gannon’s sexual preferences, whatever they may be. I also don’t have anything against anal intercourse, although like Gannon (and Jesus, for that matter) I also believe it is better to give than to receive.”