There’s a certain kind of gay guy who hates women. You probably know a few of these types, and if you don’t you’re no doubt familiar with a few of small-scale celebrities who’ve made a name for themselves throwing queer tizzies in the media or on TV. John Aravosis of Americablog comes to mind, as does Jeff Lewis of Bravo’s Flipping Out.
These guys are generally pretty jocular. They bitch, A LOT, about other people because they think that funneling their intuitive feelings of ickiness toward another person into weak intellectual arguments repeated or repeatedly shouted makes them critical thinkers. It does not. It makes them bigots and mean people. Of course, being leftist and gay they are afforded a level of protection from push back, for according to Left America, there are no gay bigots.
In online journalism, the two big, gay, woman-hating pundits are Andrew Sullivan and Glenn Greenwald and they are both on a woman-hating binge of late. Sullivan went off last year over Sarah Palin and never did make it back to the reservation. Greenwald has the occasional apoplectic fit, as he has most recently with Supreme Court Nominee Elena Kagan. It is the force and frequency of their arguments as much as the contents of them that is so revealing about the latent agenda of these two Tizzy Queens.
Let’s start with Andrew Sullivan. I’ll be brief because he has already done a spectacular job of discrediting himself, but that’s partially the result of his British-born misunderstanding of the American political psyche. No one really trusts him; they just exploit him when he says something they agree with. The fact that he’s a raging pothead doesn’t help his case. At any rate, Sullivan came late to this party (and woman-bashing is always a party), I suspect aroused from his slumber by the noise generated by Greenwald. After warming up with a couple of blog roundups covering what everyone else was saying, Sullivan dug in on the day of Kagan’s nomination with a post boldly and bitchily titled So Is She Gay? In typical Sullivan style, his rhetoric is uninformed and hyperbolic:
It is no more of an empirical question than whether she is Jewish. We know she is Jewish, and it is a fact simply and rightly put in the public square. If she were to hide her Jewishness, it would seem rightly odd, bizarre, anachronistic, even arguably self-critical or self-loathing. And yet we have been told by many that she is gay … and no one will ask directly if this is true and no one in the administration will tell us definitively.
I really hope I don’t have to point out the usefulness of aligning gayness with Jewishness as a rhetorical device. Everybody wants a piece of that Jewish pie. It’s effective, if overused and offensive, rhetoric. So there’s the hyperbole. Sullivan is uninformed in asserting that no one in the administration will tell “us” definitely. By “us,” he no doubt means the anxious, shirt-clutching masses who actually give a crap about another person’s sexuality, which counts me out.
At any rate, in mid-April the administration already had to deal with a rumor that Kagan was gay, and several unnamed and named administration officials went on the record stating unequivocally that Kagan is not gay. That really should have put the matter to rest, and the fact that it even came up is most likely the result of the sexist latent thinking that says a woman cannot be overweight, unconventionally attractive, middle-aged, and single and be heterosexual. But of course, in a purple haze, Sullivan becomes convinced that Kagan is in fact gay, and is just being dishonest about it. Nevermind that he’s being presumptive and sexist and well, so fucking infuriatingly Sullivan:
In a word, this is preposterous – a function of liberal cowardice and conservative discomfort. It should mean nothing either way. Since the issue of this tiny minority – and the right of the huge majority to determine its rights and equality – is a live issue for the court in the next generation, and since it would be bizarre to argue that a Justice’s sexual orientation will not in some way affect his or her judgment of the issue, it is only logical that this question should be clarified.
Either it doesn’t matter or it does, and Sullivan’s immediate contradiction of himself in the space of three sentences is what is preposterous. Amanda Hess rightfully addressed Sullivan’s public fantasizing, calling it out for the load of sexist tripe it is. Sadly, her bullhorn is much smaller than his.
I could go on and on about Sullivan’s obsession with Kagan’s sex life, but what’s the point? He’s reverted to 11-dimensional chess territory, sucking so publicly on the thumb of his fantasies that I can’t bear to watch any longer.
But Greenwald. Grrrrr. I’d been a regular Glenn Greenwald reader from way back, Unclaimed Territory days, well before he moved over to Salon. Greenwald was always a little uptight in his analysis, always assuming the worst possible motive for everything (a major flaw when it comes to critical thinking), but he was also always meticulous in his sourcing and his posts were substantive, something I enjoyed more than the quip-trading at other liberal blogs. At the time, I was a Democratic kool aide drinker myself, so I can’t honestly give testimony to whether he’s always been sexist, or just got subsumed by his own latent sexism in the 2008 pile on of women. I had to stop reading him that year because of the intellectual gymnastics he displayed in his support of Obama, nevermind his treatment of Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin.
I care so little about another person’s sexuality that I actually just found out yesterday that Greenwald was gay. To his credit, so far he has yet to weigh in on Sullivan’s Kagan-is-gay-dammit! argument, but that hasn’t stopped him from putting his bitchy illogic out there for all the world to see. As I noted yesterday, he has been obsessively writing about her since mid-April, a fact he as much as admitted today even while he excused himself for doing so. His last five posts have been about her in one way or another. As with Sullivan, Greenwald can’t even be bothered to contain his contradictions, on one hand lambasting her for legal positions, and then arguing that she’s a blank-slate with no positions on the other. He then follows that up with the always-recognizably-sexist argument about her personality, of all things:
And read David Brooks’ perceptive column today about Kagan’s personality type: someone who is so driven by a desire for career advancement and to serve institutional power that she basically avoids taking any positions on anything of significance: “One scans her public speeches looking for a strong opinion, and one comes up empty.”
Did you catch that? Brooks is perceptive according to Greenwald. Today. But I digress.
Greenwald is so apoplectic over Kagan that he has resorted to attacking people who defend her. Take his position on Larry Lessig, who had the unmitigated gall to defend Kagan against Greenwald’s onslaught of attacks on Rachel Maddow’s show on Monday night. Here the Queer Tizzy is in full form. It must all be evil Lessig’s purposeful fault because he’s an evil supporter of that evil Kagan:
If I were listening to that and had no familiarity with what I had written, I’d have thought: Wow, that Glenn Greenwald is either completely dishonest or a total idiot; how can he go around claiming that Kagan’s 2001 law review article defended Bush detention policies when it was written before those policies were even implemented and had nothing to do with those policies? People questioning the Kagan pick obviously have no credibility. And that, of course, is exactly the impression Lessig’s accusation was intended to create.
Except it’s totally false. I’ve never said, believed or even hinted at any such thing — let alone “repeatedly asserted” it. Lessig just made that up out of thin air and, knowing nobody was there to dispute it, unleashed it on national television.
It couldn’t possibly be that Greenwald is so busy with the spewing against Kagan himself that he failed to articulate a clear argument. Here’s what Greenwald said that Lessig based his assertion on:
And what little there is to see comes from her confirmation hearing as Solicitor General and a law review article she wrote in 2001, in which she expressed very robust defenses of executive power, including the power of the president to indefinitely detain anybody around the world as an enemy combatant, based on the Bush-Cheney theory that the entire world is a battlefield and the US is waging a worldwide war.
Bolding Greenwald’s; italics mine. That’s just a sloppy sentence. Just sloppy as hell, and if he’d written it for my freshmen composition class, I’d have assumed he was referring to the 2001 article as well because, well, he put it in between the citation of the SG confirmation testimony and the defense he claimed she made during that testimony. Basic English 101: always put the words that go together closest together; avoid breaking them up with unrelated details. He poorly articulated his argument and that led, as errors in thinking and writing inevitably will, to a misunderstanding of his meaning. Of course Greenwald’s sentences are often muddled like this.
He’s backtracked somewhat on his ridiculous attack on Lessig this morning, but he still sees nothing wrong with his behavior overall, a function of his own ambition, no doubt. He’s still attacking Kagan, of course, and it’s useful to speculate on whether or it not it is the latent sexism inherent in some Type A homosexual males that drives his obsession. As liberals and independent supporters of progress for women, we do ourselves no favors by pretending these two jokers are anything but problematic for the progressive women’s agenda. We do a disservice to ourselves and our cause every time we fail to address one of these caustic queens when they unleash a diatribe against a woman just because they can’t fit her into their patriarchal world view. We hurt the cause of all women by pretending that all gay people are perfect intellectuals or at least too victimized to victimize others. We need to be honest with ourselves about the complicated realities of the gay community and its influence on agendas where they hurt our own. We also need to lend a hand to our lesbian sisters, both in and out of the closet, who are often the unsuspecting victims of gay patriarchy.