Follow-up to my post about the gay rights movement (as distinct from gay rights)

Obama First Gay PresidentMy post the other day about the gay rights movement didn’t touch upon the movement’s merits. Instead, I posited that the movement grates on me because the Democrats are using it as an avoidance technique to distract people’s attention from the administration’s myriad failures in every area within the executive’s scope. The comments I got from all of you were amazing.

Eidolon’s comment resonated especially strongly with me since it touches up the intellectual dishonesty, bullying, and Alinsky-ite targeting behind the whole “homophobia” movement. I therefore took the liberty of re-printing that comment here:

One thing that really gets to me about all the “gay rights” stuff is the insanity of insisting that anyone who doesn’t change their beliefs as facilely as the most hardcore advocates do is evil. Holding the view that Obama had when he was elected in 2008 is now hateful and bigoted.

I can’t understand the thinking here. There is no new factual information; there’s been no “gay gene” discovered (not that I see how that would matter either, but at least it would be something new), there’s no definitive fact that changes the nature of the situation. It’s not as though something has changed which invalidates the positions of nearly all people throughout all of history on the subject. It’s not as though it has been clearly proven that the Earth is not flat, in which case I can understand feeling that those who cling to the old view without evidence are backwards.

Besides, do they think that people like Hillary, who in the 90′s gave an impassioned speech that amounted to “how dare anyone suggest that I’m any less dedicated to marriage being between one man and one woman than anyone else,” hated gays then but suddenly stopped hating them recently? Did Obama hate gays until a couple of years ago? Or do you have to change your views constantly in order to not hate gays? It’s amazing that if you were an advocate for civil unions 10 years ago and are still one today then you went from loving to hating gays while standing still.

MLK argued successfully that racial discrimination and segregation were not consistent with the moral foundation of the United States, nor with the Christian faith. He understood that not all people who opposed him were evil, and continued making his case to them. He said that one must love others if one is to change their minds. The gay rights advocates, apparently know better; one must constantly accuse, belittle, lie to, and sue those with whom one disagrees. One should not acknowledge any evil done in the name of one’s cause, and should proudly trumpet any lies that might be useful to the cause. One need not acknowledge this his opponents are human beings, and should freely call them bigoted monsters while giving no new evidence or argument as to why he should change his view. Leaving others alone with whom one disagrees is not enough to not be evil, one must enthusiastically endorse the correct views.

Do they not see how dangerous this is? How this exact mechanism, bullying demands of acceptance without making a remotely convincing case, dismissal of all disagreement of any kind as bigotry, and rejection of the accumulated knowledge of the generations, could be used for anything at all? You could certainly use this mechanism to convince people to practice any number of awful things. This would be an excellent way to implement eugenics, population control, or other evil policies that can be made to sound nice when you don’t think about them.

I know they control the culture, so they think that would never happen. But apparently they’ve forgotten that liberals once passed Jim Crow laws and endorsed eugenics (not to mention socialism and communism). Cultural inertia meant that these practices didn’t catch on as much as they could have in America, and eventually their evil was exposed and they were discarded. Terrible, terrible damage could be done if we rush to judgement and force the views of a small elite on the general populace in this way.

I’ve finally figured out why I dislike the gay rights’ movement — and it has nothing to do with my support for gay civil rights

Obama First Gay PresidentI’ve always thought of myself as someone who’s cool about gays.  For many years, I could honestly say that many of my good friends, and some of my best friends, were gay.  I didn’t appreciate their lifestyle excesses (especially because I lost a lot of friends to AIDS because of those lifestyle choices), but I appreciated the qualities that made them my friends.  These were the same qualities I looked for in any friends, female (straight or gay) or male (straight or gay):  humor, kindness, intelligence, loyalty, etc.

Lately, though, I find myself increasingly uncool about gays and I haven’t been happy about that feeling.  I kept asking myself, “Am I a homophobe?”  My answer was, “I don’t think so, because I wish all American citizens well, and I pray for the well-being of all victimized people at home and abroad.  I don’t see where homophobia fits into that world view.”

It was Ben Shapiro’s article about the failed Sochi Olympics that made me realize what was bugging me.  It’s not the gays that bother me; it’s the way the Democrat establishment, from the White House down, is hiding behind gay rights to avoid being called upon for the Obama administration’s myriad failings in every area of domestic and foreign policy.

Here (in no particular order) are just some of the headlines that should concern the President:

Venezuela is teetering on the brink of revolution.

America is completely reliant on China and India for prescription drugs — countries that frequently provide tainted or defective medicines

Syria peace talks have failed, leading to increased tension between Russia and the United States

Islamist rebels in Africa are attacking Christians at an accelerated pace

Obamacare is proving to be a costly, destructive train wreck (no link needed for that, right?)

America’s debt now stands at $17 trillion, and that number is growing at an exponential rate

Our jobless rate is artificially low, because many people have just given up

Obama is paving the way for a nuclear Iran

The routine persecution everyone (including gays) in Muslim countries.

America is running out of clowns

Those are some pretty damn significant issues, and all of them fall within the purview of a President who owns half of Congress and who, for two years, owned all of Congress.  Moreover, this is a president who came into office with all the goodwill in the world to give him a head start on tackling big issues.

Obama and his friends, however, are not interested in big issues.  Instead, here is what the administration and its spokespeople are talking about:

Climate change, despite the fact that there’s ever-increasing evidence that the earth’s temperature hasn’t risen in almost two decades, that any change is natural and cyclical, and that we’re losing the benefit of the lovely warming period that’s made the earth so fruitful for the last few centuries.  In other word’s, climate change is a con.

Gay rights as the “unfinished business of the 21st century.”

Gay football players

Gays in Uganda (when the administration should be talking generally about the dysfunctional, corrupt Ugandan political scene)

Transgender bathrooms in California’s public schools

Gays at the Sochi Olympics

Persecution of gays in Christian countries (although persecution of gays in Muslim countries and societies continues to be the persecution that dares not speak its name)

And, of course, gay marriage, gay marriage, gay marriage

Just about the only thing lately that gets the Obama administration excited is a report of discrimination against gays anywhere in the world.

Let me be clear:  It’s morally right to take a stand against discrimination against gays, whether in Russia or the NFL or Uganda or the entire Muslim world.  No one should ever be imprisoned, murdered, beaten, fired, barred from employment, harassed, or otherwise accorded violent or oppressive treatment at the hands of the state or of fellow citizens simply because that person does not embrace heterosexuality.

My complaint, therefore, isn’t that the administration regularly takes a principled stand for gay civil rights.  My complaint is that, in addition to Obamacare (a terrible, destructive failure), and anthropogenic climate change (a non-falsifiable theory that is almost certainly a con), LGBTQ rights are the only things that excite the administration and its base. In that context, gay rights are a shell game, meant to distract the American people from the fact that the administration is routinely failing in its responsibilities to ensure that all Americans, not just gay Americans, can thrive at home.  It’s also failed to fulfill America’s traditional role (since WWII) of keeping the world a safer, more democratic place, something that benefits all people regardless of race, religion, gender identity, or sexual orientation.

The whole gay rights thing puts me off, not because I hate gay rights, but because the administration uses it as both shield and sword to ignore much more pressing matters, some of which, if they were addressed (such as rising Islamism or increasing Russian oppression), would benefit gays along with everyone else.  I don’t hate gays or gay rights; I hate false flag operations that hide policy failures with real world consequences, not just for gays, but for everyone.

As long as the Democrat establishment cynically uses gay rights as a way of avoiding the real issues, I’m going to have a negative visceral reaction every time I see yet another Democrat talking head or media figure (but I repeat myself . . .) mouthing off about gay rights issues at home or abroad.

Benghazi is not news at the Times; Michael Sam’s sexuality is

Michael SamI know this is a politically incorrect thing for me to say, but I couldn’t care less about Michael Sam’s sexuality.  If it were up to me, it wouldn’t be news at all, or it would be at the bottom of page three in the sports section. I’m not homophobic; I’m homo-disinterested.  Peculiarly enough (nowadays), I measure people by attributions other than their sexual orientation.

The New York Times, however, considers Sam’s announcement that he is gay to be major news, not non-news, and has given him lavish coverage (which I haven’t bothered to read, because I really don’t care).  As far as the Times is concerned, a gay college football player is front page news:

New York Times on Michael Sam

Think about this:  in the world of the New York Times, it’s minimally newsworthy that (a) the Secretary of State failed to provided necessary security for an Ambassador in a tremendously dangerous region, where he and three others subsequently died; (b) that the Secretary of State and the President both seem to have been AWOL while the Ambassador and three others were dying; (c) that the Secretary of State, the President, and the entire administration lied about events leading up to and including these four deaths; and (d) that the Secretary of State loudly proclaimed that none of this mattered.  The New York Times also thinks this same Secretary of State would make a stellar president.  (And maybe that’s true, if you like your presidents to be utterly unprincipled and un-accomplished.)

Considering that the New York Times styles itself the paper of record, wouldn’t you love to ask the petty, squabbling, arrogant staff there, “Just what record are you talking about there?”

Happily married man comes out as gay — and stays happily married

Gay men at San Francisco street fairGrowing up in San Francisco during the 1960s, I have very fragmented memories of an older time, when women still wore gloves, and both men and women wore hats.  Most of my solid, coherent memories start kicking in with San Francisco’s Summer of Love, which very quickly turned into its winter of degradation.  During those formative years (from about ages 6 though 16), it was common for me to see people tripping on sidewalks, lying in filth, and vomiting all over themselves.  I was also routinely assaulted and insulted by the smell emanating from these Flower Children.  Ick.

By the mid-1970s, hippies were passé in San Francisco.  The new “in thing” was the gay scene.  The libertarian part of me thought it was a wonderful thing that men and women (but mostly men) could love freely, without being afraid that they would be humiliated, beaten, ostracized, or imprisoned.  Even as the gay lifestyle flowered in San Francisco, we heard stories about gays being imprisoned in Soviet Russia for no other crime than the fact that they were gay.

Nevertheless, even though I appreciated the gay liberation movement, I was revolted by the movement’s excess.  The drug use, nudity, orgies, etc., were too reminiscent of the hippies.  I already knew the price people paid for excess.  After AIDS came along, and the stories really broke about what was going on in the bath houses, I wasn’t surprised.

When I tried to explain to people my sense of repugnance about the gay lifestyle, what I always fell back on was the fact that this type of hedonism couldn’t be good — not for society and not for the individual.  In addition, I was offended by the lack of intimacy.  Getting naked with a stranger and having drug-fueled sex is not intimacy.  Getting to know someone, loving them, sharing the highs and lows of life together, understanding what makes them tick, wishing them well — those are the ingredients for intimacy.  The gay lifestyle I saw around me was aggressively opposed to those “mundane” relationship attributes.

Growing up and working in San Francisco, I was able to see that, to too many gays, their choices have always been, first and foremost, about sex.  Without exception, every person I knew from high school who came out of the closet instantly embraced a package deal.  It wasn’t just that they selected their partners from their own sex.  It was that they suddenly only went to gay movies, had gay porn magazines in their household, hung out only with gays, and voted gay . . . which meant an increasingly hard Left political agenda.  They were no longer “Larry, a teacher and father who happens to have a male partner.”  Instead, “they were a gay man named Larry who happens to teach on the side and is proud to raise his kid in a same-sex parent home.”

This obsessive focus on sex left little room for anything else.  As the 70s and 80s demonstrated (and as is becoming true again today for a young generation of gay men), brief, intense, drug-heightened sexual encounters were like meth for the brain.  Why have a stable, loving relationship with anyone when you could go to the bathhouse, or just walk down the street, and be a sexual endorphin junkie getting hit after hit?  Even those men I knew who were in stable relationships with long-term partners weren’t monogamous.  Instead, their relationships were still about having sex with as many men as possible — provided that they shared dinner with the same man every evening.

Growing up, seeing the hippies and their drugs and orgies, and then the gays and their drugs and orgies, what I figured out was that sexual pleasure, while delightful, is not the same as the pleasure of a life shared with someone else.  We can decide what we want to have as the center of our relationships:  the sex or the intimacy.  If it’s the sex, it had better be damned good and be damned good all the time because you’ve probably got nothing else to fall back on.  If it’s the intimacy and the stability, sex is important, but much less so.  If the sex isn’t good, or isn’t good all the time, or isn’t even there at all, there may be many compensations that keep the relationship pleasurable.

All of the above is an introduction to a most amazing post from a couple of years ago, written by the proprietor of a humor blog called “The Weed.”  (H/T:  Earl.)  Its proprietor, Josh Weed, came out of the closet at this site, but in a most unusual way:  he is a gay man, happily married to a woman and, most unusually for one of these “out of the closet” confessions, he plans to stay that way.  The reason he is able to recognize his sexual attraction to men, while maintaining a stable, loving — and, yes, sexual — relationship with his wife is because of his priorities:

The truth is, what people are really asking with the above question is “how can you be gay if your primary sex partner is a girl?” I didn’t fully understand the answer to this question until I was doing research on sexuality in grad school even though I had been happily married for almost five years at that point. I knew that I was gay, and I also knew that sex with my wife was enjoyable. But I didn’t understand how that was happening. Here is the basic reality that I actually think many people could use a lesson in: sex is about more than just visual attraction and lust and it is about more than just passion and infatuation. I won’t get into the boring details of the research here, but basically when sex is done right, at its deepest level it is about intimacy. It is about one human being connecting with another human being they love. It is a beautiful physical manifestation of two people being connected in a truly vulnerable, intimate manner because they love each other profoundly. It is bodies connecting and souls connecting. It is beautiful and rich and fulfilling and spiritual and amazing. Many people never get to this point in their sex lives because it requires incredible communication, trust, vulnerability, and connection. And Lolly and I have had that from day one, mostly because we weren’t distracted by the powerful chemicals of infatuation and obsession that usually bring a couple together (which dwindle dramatically after the first few years of marriage anyway). So, in a weird way, the circumstances of our marriage allowed us to build a sexual relationship that is based on everything partners should want in their sex-life: intimacy, communication, genuine love and affection. This has resulted in us having a better sex life than most people I personally know. Most of whom are straight. Go fig.

Josh also realized something really important, which is that nobody can ever have it all, something that’s especially true for gays:

One of the sad truths about being homosexual is that no matter what you decide for your future, you have to sacrifice something. It’s very sad, but it is true. I think this is true of life in general as well. If you decide to be a doctor, you give up any of the myriad of other things you could have chosen. But with homosexuality, the choices seem to be a little bit more mutually exclusive.  If you are Mormon and you choose to live your religion, you are sacrificing the ability to have a romantic relationship with a same-sex partner. If you choose a same-sex partner, you are sacrificing the ability to have a biological family with the one you love.  And so on. No matter what path you choose, if you are gay you are giving up something basic, and sometimes various things that are very basic. I chose not to “live the gay lifestyle,” as it were, because I found that what I would have to give up to do so wasn’t worth the sacrifice for me.

(You should really read the whole thing, which includes the way his Mormon parents accepted his sexuality while helping him focus on the things that matter in life.)

I am not suggesting that every gay person must replicate Josh’s decision to acknowledge his sexual attraction to men, but nevertheless commit to a relationship with a woman.  I’m simply suggesting that the gay milieu too often denies men and women the choice to have a traditional heterosexual relationship.  With its relentless emphasis on sexual identity and sex, the LGBTQ lobby puts enormous pressure on young men and women who self-identify as LGBTQ to abandon the notion of traditional intimacy in favor of a lifestyle focused solely on sexual preferences and, by extension, sexual pleasure.

The fact is that, as Josh shows, people’s sexuality is malleable, and our pleasure centers are surprisingly adaptable.  Many people can consciously choose one lifestyle over another — or, as I think happens with many young LGBTQ people — be bullied into one lifestyle over another.

Anyway, coming as I do from a background that left me with a deep distrust of hedonism, I was very impressed with Josh’s (and his wife Lolly’s) coming out post and think it is an interesting addition to the discussion about the LGBTQ community and the lifestyle choices its members make.  It’s especially interesting given that the 9th Circuit will soon be hearing arguments about the constitutionality of a California law that makes it impossible for religious people to help willing gays voluntarily transition away from the gay lifestyle.

Why Phil Robertson won’t apologize *UPDATED*

Phil-Robertson-813x1024

If Phil Robertson continues his refusal to bow down to the gods of political correctness, Lee Habeeb will have explained why:

It had never happened before. When big, powerful TV executives ask a star to apologize for what they deem inappropriate comments or behavior, the star simply complies. A team of publicists is assembled, the star does the obligatory apology tour for the press and promises never to do or say what he did or said again. Ever.

But the TV gods never met a man like Phil Robertson. Or his family. When they decided to place the patriarch of the Duck Dynasty clan on a non-suspension suspension for his comments to a GQ magazine writer about homosexuality, the executives at A&E created a problem.

Because this family believes in a bigger God. The same God that roughly 70 percent of Americans believe in. The Robertsons take their faith seriously, and one of the more important elements of that faith involves putting no god before theirs. Not even the suits at the big network.

Read the rest (and all of it is worth reading) here.

I don’t know about you, but I am entranced by the notion of someone who won’t be bullied into apologizing for something he believes.  Social bullying has never appealed to me.  And if you want to see how bad that bullying is, you can see that GLAAD makes old Joe McCarthy look like an amateur.

UPDATEA&E caved.  Let’s hope other conservatives will learn to stick to their guns.

 

When it comes to Norman Rockwell (“nudge, nudge”), homosexuality is in the eye of an obsessed culture

Norman-Rockwell-Triple-Self-Portrait-1960Back in the day, the Monty Python team was famous not only for its nonsense (“Dead Parrot” anyone?) but also for its edgy, modern, topical humor.  One of their most famous (and irritating) sketches was the “nudge nudge, wink wink” sketch, made all the back in 1971 (officially known as the “Candid Photography” sketch).  In it, Eric Idle played one of those awful people who believes that every word spoken is a double entendre about sex.  His character was both annoying and pathetic, as he responded to everything the stodgy, proper Terry Jones said with a leering “nudge, nudge, ya’ know what I mean?”

In 1971, that was still pretty ground-breaking stuff.  Before the 1960s, while people were thinking about sex, as people have done since time immemorial, most of them, barring New York sophisticates bathed in Freud and Kinsey, weren’t talking about it yet at cocktail parties or with strangers in pubs.  The 60s changed all that.  I vividly remember a family friend who pressed on my father a small book purporting to show that Madison Avenue had taken the famous “sex sells” dictum (pretty women in ads for everything from cars to cigars) and brought it to a whole new level with “subliminal” sexual images.  When you thought you were looking at a glass of Bacardi’s with ice, you were really seeing a subliminal image of a naked woman writhing sinuously in your rum — never mind that this invisible woman was missing three limbs and a breast.

By the end of the 1970s, the “everything is about sex” mentality had been mainstreamed.  One of the teachers who occasioned the most nervous laughter at my high school was the woman who insisted that Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are had achieved its iconic status, not because it showed a little boy safely acting out the frustration children so often feel in a grown-up world, but because Sendak had included couples copulating in the trees that are the backdrop to every image in the book.  If you didn’t see them, you weren’t looking hard enough.

Of course, once you’ve mainstreamed sex to the extent that everything is all about sex, you end up with blasé teenagers, instead of twittering, quivering, young sexual acolytes.  So where do you go from there?  Simple.  Everything is about gay sex.  That’s how gay activists manage to get headlines.  One of their big headlines was the claim that Lincoln was gay.  Their “proof” was less compelling than the certainty with which they expressed it:  in an era when it was the norm for men to have close male friendships and, when traveling, to share beds at inns, Lincoln had close male friendships and shared beds at inns.  If they could, the activists would have written QED after that one, not to say quod erat demonstrandum, but instead to say “queer everyone [who's] dead.”

The most recent entry in the “if he’s a famous dead man, he must have been gay” approach to biography is Deborah Solomon’s American Mirror: The Life and Art of Norman RockwellSince Solomon spent a large part of her career at the Wall Street Journal, I’ll let that publication describe her premise:

Deborah Solomon starts her new biography of Norman Rockwell, “American Mirror,” with a joke the artist once told his therapist about a man who wants to marry an elephant. Unattainable love proved a powerful theme in the artist’s life, says Ms. Solomon. Her book’s theory: Repressed sexuality, fear of women and fascination with manhood made Rockwell’s art brilliant and his personal relationships troubled.

The 56-year-old New York writer spent more than a decade on Rockwell. This wasn’t a painter of family life, she argues, but a man seeking comfort outside conventional relationships. Of Rockwell’s 322 covers for the Saturday Evening Post, only three depict a traditional family of parents and at least two children, she says, adding that his paintings instead largely feature boys and men.

[snip]

Is your book basically saying that Rockwell was a latent homosexual?

I’m not a shrink, and I really don’t speculate about a life and a person’s psychology as a writer. As a critic, I can say when I look at his work I feel it’s possible to discern enormous homoeroticism as well as a desire to distance himself from his own desires. In his life, he did prefer male company. It was a special kind of sexual ambivalence that he may not have acted on. Do I think he had homosexual relationships? No. He goes camping and shares a bed with his assistant Fred Hildebrandt and the next morning he said, “Fred looked fetching in his pajamas.” He was very comfortable around men and he loved male bodies.

There’s more, but you get the idea.  Rockwell wasn’t actually gay . . . but he wanted to be.  In addition to the “I think he’s gay” stuff in the above interview, Solomon wrote other things in her biography that show a woman with sex on her brain.  The most bizarre theory comes when she discusses one of Rockwell’s more charming paintings.  It show a little girl on the cusp of adolescence, seen from the back, staring into a mirror.  She’s thrown her doll aside, and is longingly comparing her still childish face with a photograph of Jane Russell:

rockwell_mirror

You and I see the moment a girl leaves her childhood behind and starts preparing to function (and compete) in the world of adult women. Solomon saw something very different:

‘Actually,’ says Solomon, ‘seen from the back, she could be a boy.’ And the girl’s doll, tossed on the floor? ‘A bizarrely sexualized object. With her right hand buried in her petticoats, the doll could almost be masturbating.’

Wow!  They do say that, to a hammer, everything is a nail, and I guess to a New York sophisticate, everything is about sex (the more deviant the better), but that really is taking the whole thing to extremes.  I’m surprised Solomon didn’t throw in something about drag queens and cross dressing.

Solomon doesn’t stop with the gay subtext of little girls.  She also takes a stab at analyzing Rockwell’s famous “freedom of speech” painting:

norman-rockwell-freedom-of-speech-picture

You and I see a man free to stand up in his community and speak his mind.  Solomon sees “out and proud”:

Her take on Freedom of Speech is that the man standing is ‘unattached and sexually available. Unbuttoned and unzipped.’

It seems as if Solomon’s take on the matter is like a parlor game.  “Pick a picture, any picture, and I can spot the gay subtext.”  Rockwell’s world is no longer one of small town innocence and all-American charm.  It’s a shadowy world of cross-dressing boys, men advertising their wares for sale to other men, and even predatory pedophiles.  What!?  Predatory pedophiles?  Yes, indeedy.  Take that famous picture of a cop sitting at a soda fountain next to small boy who has, at his feet, the stereotypical early 20th century symbol of an innocent runaway:  a bundle of clothes wrapped in a handkerchief tied to stick.

Norman Rockwell's runaway

You and I see the cop using folksy charm to get the clearly well-cared for child to head back home, as the man behind the counter smiles at the scene playing about before his eyes.  Solomon sees something sleazy:

In The Runaway, a painting of a burly cop and a little boy on adjacent cafe stools, the cop leans toward the boy ‘as if to emphasize the… tenderness that can form between a grown man and a little boy… the hint of homo-eroticism’ she writes.

No doubt, were Solomon to analyze “Two Flirts” (one of my favorite Rockwell paintings), she would assure us that the fact that there are two men in the truck means that they are indeed homosexual (after all, one of them is touching the other one), and that their blatant ogling at the pretty blonde is their way of trying to pass for straight in a homophobic society:

Rockwell's two flirts

Solomon made only one mistake when she decided to “gay up” Norman Rockwell.  She forgot that there are people still alive who knew the man.  Unlike Lincoln, who had no one left behind to speak about him when the “Lincoln is gay” theory hit the airwaves, Rockwell still has living children and grandchildren, and they are not pleased to see their relative painted as a depressed and repressed homosexual.  They’ve issued a strong public statement challenging the book.  Intelligently, they’ve attacked myriad provable errors in the book, rather than just saying, childishly, “She’s wrong.  Nyah-nyah-nyah.”

The Norman Rockwell Family Agency, in light of today’s New York Times review of American Mirror the Life and Art of Norman Rockwell, is compelled to finally address the many analyses of Norman Rockwell. The Norman Rockwell Family Agency is making this final statement:

Many of the reviews of Deborah Solomon’s American Mirror The Life and Art of Norman Rockwell have accepted her account of his life and work. Her account is essentially wrong. She has neglected or misused the sources which she cites. Her use of Norman Rockwell’s autobiography, My Adventures as an Illustrator, is highly selective. As Professor Patrick Toner of Wake Forest University states in his online review on First Things.com, “Solomon has a pronounced tendency to either distort or simply ignore evidence to the contrary.”

Garrison Keillor states in today’s review, “She does seem awfully eager to find homoeroticism – poor Rockwell cannot go on a fishing trip without his biographer finding sexual overtones. Keillor comments on Solomon’s suggestion that the doll in “Girl at Mirror” could be masturbating, “Well, I suppose that Michelangelo’s “David” could “almost” be masturbating”.

On page 94 of her book, Solomon describes how Rockwell would “hang about the schools at recess . . and stop little boys on the street . .” She then comments, “Today with our awareness of pederasty scandals (meaning pedophilia) this kind of behavior might seem problematic . .” She then omits a passage just below this in the Autobiography that fully explains what really happened – after Rockwell would convince a boy to pose, they would go to ask the mother’s permission. On page 101 she comments on his relationship with his models: “The integrity of the boys was never in question. But his own character was not nearly so straightforward.” Referring to Nabokov’s novel, Lolita, Solomon writes, “In a way Rockwell was Humbert Humbert’s discreet and careful twin brother, roused by the beauty of children but (thankfully) more repressed.” Many of the reviewers have ignored the claim of pedophilia, perhaps because the suggestion of it blows the credibility of the book out of the water.

She supports this unfounded claim with another phantom theory, that Rockwell was a closeted homosexual. To link pedophilia and homosexuality in this way is offensive and clearly homophobic. We have found at least 68 of these sexual references throughout the book. On page 168 she comments on his search for costumes for his models: “. . . he did enjoy acquiring clothing from men who caught his eye, as if it were possible to acquire the less tangible parts of them as well.” Solomon now claims that sex is only a “tiny part” of her book. But sex is a major theme of the book and her phantom theories color and distort everything, including Rockwell’s entire character and her interpretations of his art. There is no way to separate her sexual theories from the rest of the book. Her take on Freedom of Speech is that the man standing is “unattached and sexually available. Unbuttoned and unzipped.” Solomon also omits from the Autobiography many accounts of Norman Rockwell’s feelings and relationships with women.

There are also many other factual errors and omissions — we have found at least 96. Again, this is something that few reviewers seem to notice — they simply do not know enough about Norman Rockwell’s life, and are too dependent on Solomon’s flawed account. She inadequately interviewed Rockwell’s three sons and therefore her account of his life is often inaccurate. She gives an incomplete account of a significant difficulty with the Post when the art editor, Ken Stuart, painted out a horse from one of NR’s covers without consulting him. Solomon omits Norman Rockwell’s difficulties when his abilities were failing — in one instance he painted portraits of the Ross Perot family and they were so badly done that Mr. Perot sent them back and NR returned his check.

Most important of all, Solomon doesn’t understand the man, who Norman Rockwell was as a person. She says “On most days he was lonesome and loveless.” This is absurd. He did not mope, was not a chronic depressive, or a hypochondriac. He went through his trials and storms as we all do, but he was someone who ultimately affirmed life. People liked Rockwell and enjoyed being with him. He was interested in people and what they had to say. On a personal note, “I always had a wonderful relationship with my father, we were especially close when I helped him with his Autobiography.”

Solomon claims that her book is based on an examination of his art and that Norman Rockwell painted mostly men and boys. We counted all the Post covers from 1916 – 1951 and all the early covers for Life and Literary Digest. There are 172 covers with girls and women, and 141 covers with boys and men. Her theory is demonstrably wrong. Norman Rockwell also did 9 covers of Santa Claus. We’re not sure in which category Solomon would place Santa.

We are troubled and mystified that the Norman Rockwell Museum at Stockbridge has endorsed the book.

This is our last word, we are no longer going to participate in the drama Solomon has created. This book says a lot more about Deborah Solomon than it does about Norman Rockwell.

Thomas Rockwell and Abigail Rockwell

For The Norman Rockwell Family Agency
Cynthia DeMonte, 917-273-1717
cynthiademonte@gmail.com

The most telling error the Rockwell’s expose is the way Solomon asserts that Rockwell’s famous post covers gave short shrift to women, and the way that a simple count proves her error:  “Solomon claims that her book is based on an examination of his art and that Norman Rockwell painted mostly men and boys. We counted all the Post covers from 1916 – 1951 and all the early covers for Life and Literary Digest. There are 172 covers with girls and women, and 141 covers with boys and men. Her theory is demonstrably wrong.”  That one deserves a true QED.

Our society’s obsession with homosexuality is not healthy.  It leads us to pervert history, science, and the values that hold a society together.  I know I sound homophobic when I say this, but I’m  not.  When I attack American Jews who have replaced the Torah with the Democrat Party platform, I don’t see myself as being either antisemitic nor self-loathing.  I believe, instead, that I am pointing out ugly mutations in a culture that, when not mutated, is a health contributor to the world.  I believe the same is true of those who reside on the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning spectrum, a spectrum that is a very small part of the larger range of human sexual behaviors.

I don’t doubt that some people (such as the ones who died in Soviet gulags and Nazi concentration camps because of their sexuality) are emphatically gay, must as others are emphatically straight.  I also believe that there are lots of people who could go either way.  They’re not bisexual insofar as they do not choose to go both ways simultaneously.  Instead, at a certain point in their sexual development, they look at a lifestyle and pick the sexuality that goes with it.  In the old days, social pressure said to men, “Pick the wife, two kids, and the house in the suburbs.”  By the late 1970s and pre-AIDS 1980s, when I was watching the gay revolution play out in San Francisco, an enticing social option to men with fluid sexuality said “Pick the lifestyle that allows you 100 orgasms per night” (which was precisely what was going on in the bath houses that were such vectors for the spread of AIDS.  The queer culture, with its press to be included in American education, is trying to revamp the 1970s and early 1980s pressure regarding gay sexual orientation.

We are an unhealthy culture when we force the brilliant Alan Turing, who may well have been the most important factor in winning World War II, to chemically castrate himself, a penalty (combined with public humiliation) that drove him to suicide.  We are an equally unhealthy culture when the prism through which we view ourselves paints everything — and I do mean everything — in terms of a sexual orientation that encompasses at most ten percent of the population (and, quite probably, far less than that).  A healthy, moral society protects the outliers from discrimination, but it must shape its values around the norm.  In our case, the norm is that big bulge in the bell curve that is heterosexuality.

Freud gave Americans permission to talk about sex, all kinds of sex.  At the same time, and long before Bill Clinton re-sexualized cigars, Freud is reputed to have warned that, at least sometimes, a cigar is just a cigar.

 

Prancer, Dancer, and Vixen

Phil-Robertson-813x1024I linked obliquely to this video yesterday, but as the Phil Robertson matter heats up, I want to include the following Obamacare video here, with its focus on getting gay  men to sign up.  Please be warned that the video is vaguely NSFW.  There’s no bad language, nudity, or sex, but it’s full of partial nudity and gay sexual allusions that may make you and your colleagues uncomfortable.

As Dan Calabrese notes, although the government probably didn’t fund the video, it’s almost certain that taxpayer dollars funded the video indirectly.  The bigger point, however, is this one:

Now before you start disputing the comparison between this and the Phil Robertson situation, let’s get it straight. Yes, this is a video on YouTube and Phil Robertson could do one of those too. I’m talking about the broader stance of the prevailing culture. Robertson cites and embraces scriptural teaching on homosexuality, and he is suspended because A&E is “disappointed” in him for what he said. These guys prance around in a clear and unmistakable celebration of a) gay sex; and b) ObamaCare; and that’s perfectly fine because hey, what are you, some sorta bigot or something?

Please note that neither Calabrese nor I are saying this video shouldn’t have been made.  What he says, and I agree with this, is that in a truly free society, both videos get made, rather than having the one supporting traditional values get axed.

Two more things:

(1) Couldn’t they have gotten a better singer? Her voice is dreadful.

(2) Is it a coincidence in this carefully staged set piece that one of the prancers and dancers is wearing dog tags?

(I didn’t come up with my clever post title.  The friend who emailed me the link did, and it was such a delicious line that I had to borrow it.)

Thoughts on the Robertson kerfuffle

Phil-Robertson-813x1024In random order:

1.  A&E is not a government entity and is within its rights to make insanely stupid, bigoted decisions.

2.  Phil Robertson doesn’t need A&E but, judging by his show’s popularity, A&E needs him.

3.  GLAAD is a fascist organization.  A friend of mine who was watching CNN caught a GLAAD advocate said that the world is changing and Robertson needs to “…get in line.”  In other words, my friend accurately notes, GLAAD is saying that Robertson is guilty of thought crimes.  How very Orwellian.

4.  As others have noted, and contrary to the Drudge headline, Robertson did not go on a “rant,” nor did he compare homosexuality to bestiality.  What he said was (1) that, physically and emotionally, the homosexual act makes no sense to him; (2) that the Bible characterizes homosexual acts as a sin, as it does several other sexual behaviors, including adultery; and (3) that, while he’s bewildered by homosexual acts, it’s God’s responsibility, not his, to decide whether and what consequences sinful acts deserve.

5.  Nobody knows what the contract is with the other members of the Robertson clan, so it’s still up in the air whether they will be allowed to leave or to speak of Robertson’s beliefs when they start filming next year’s season.  (This year’s episodes are already filmed.)  It’s also unknown whether, contract or not, the other members will nevertheless stage a walk-out or something.

6.  You can boycott A&E if you want, but they’ll never know unless you’re a Nielson household.  The better thing to do is to boycott companies that advertise on A&E.  Indeed, the best thing to do is to copy GLAAD and other “queer rights” organizations, and to make the advertisers completely miserable.  Remember — always follow the money.

7.  It amazes me that our “first gay president” hasn’t yet waded in this matter.  It is, after all, the only issue that seems to stiffen his backbone.

8.  One wonders if there are enough people left in America who care enough to push back against these attacks on speech and faith.  I know there are people who care, of course.  I’m just wondering whether there are still enough of them, and they are exercised enough, and powerful enough, to make a difference.

For more on this, I recommend Noisy Room’s take.

I’ve finally figured out the secret for getting Obama to support Israel *UPDATED*

NewsweekLogo-1 [Converted]Since his first day in office, Obama has both passively and aggressively sought to undermine Israel. Unfortunately, he’s proven to be very good at that, which stands in stark contrast to his administrative ineptitude with Obamacare. Under Obama’s watch, Iran is getting near the nuclear bomb; the idea of a multinational Israel is gaining traction, even though it will probably have the same effect as Iran’s bomb; and Kerry, knowing that Israel is on the ropes now that Obama abandoned her on Iran, is pushing his advantage, to Israel’s disadvantage.

It’s time for Israel to think outside of the box, and I might have figured out a workable strategy. To appreciate this strategy, we need to go for a bit of nation hopping, first to India and then to Russia. The answer to Israel’s survival lies in Obama’s dealings with those two nations.

When you have weak leadership, whether in a business or a country, all the dams break — everything flies apart.  The latest entry in this category is America’s row with India.  America arrested an Indian diplomat, something that always creates a kerfuffle because of diplomatic immunity.  Worse, America treated this diplomat as it would any arrestee, by doing a full body (and body cavity) search.

In the old days, India would have objected strenuously and perhaps sent a few diplomats home.  That was when America was a country to be both feared and respected.

In Obama’s America, however, things are different.  Very, very different:

New Delhi cops used tow trucks and a backhoe to dismantle the American Embassy’s long concrete barriers — which are designed to prevent cars from speeding up to its gates in front of the compound.

In other words, in a nation that’s been subject to its own appalling Muslim attacks, the Indian government just declared open season on the American Embassy.  One assumes that, in doing this, it know precisely how careless Obama’s State Department is when it comes to protecting its outposts overseas.

As the Jews say at Passover, “Dayenu,” meaning “it would have been enough.”  But India wasn’t content to stop there when it came to thumbing its nose at the world’s “super power”:

In other acts of aggression:

  • Several India officials boycotted a scheduled powwow with a US congressional delegation visiting this week.
  • Authorities demanded back special ID cards they issue to US Embassy workers and their families for certain privileges and halted the importing of goods such as alcohol to their commissary.
  • Officials vowed to probe the legal status of household help used by US Embassy workers — and what those employees get paid.
  • One political leader even suggested locking up the domestic partners of gay diplomats in retaliation for Khobragade’s arrest — following a ruling last week from India’s supreme court that essentially made homosexuality there illegal.

If the Indian government had merely removed embassy security, demanded the return of special ID cards, and looked into the legal status of household help, you can be absolutely certain that Obama would have contented himself with issuing one of his government’s mealy-mouthed threats that, at a future date, it will issue threats. (i.e., “The United States is very disturbed about the Indian government’s actions and is contemplating writing a letter of protest in which it promises that, should these actions continue, it will send more letters, with more strenuous protests, including the use of the words ‘dismayed’ and ‘upset’.”)

This time, though, the Indian government went a step too far. Let me explain:

Think about Obama’s past responses to international provocations. Kill a US Diplomat and three other Americans? The Obama government apologizes for the fact that we made videos and then lies about everything else. Go forward with a nuclear program that can destabilize the world and liquidate the Jews? Obama sends money. Use poison gas against thousands of your citizens? The Obama government enters into a partnership with you.

But insult gays? Whoa, Nellie! That’s when the fecal matter hits the fan in the White House. Showing the first sign ever that he possesses functional cojones in international affairs (at least when dealing with any country other than Israel), Obama has taken on the Russian government because of the latter’s wholesale attack against homosexuals:

The White House delivered a strong message of opposition to Russia’s anti-gay laws Tuesday with the announcement of its delegation to the opening ceremony of the Sochi Olympics.

The White House delegation will include an openly gay athlete: tennis great Billie Jean King.

It will not include the president, first lady or the vice president, all who headed the previous four Olympic delegations, or a cabinet secretary, only a former one. This marks the first Olympics since the 2000 Sydney Summer Games that a U.S. president, vice president, first lady or former president has not been a member of the delegation for the opening ceremony, which will be Feb. 7 in Sochi.

[snip]

Gay rights groups viewed the announcement as a strong statement. Andre Banks, the executive director of All Out, said, “It’s hard to look at this delegation without seeing it as a criticism of Putin’s anti-gay laws. … What it’s doing is showing the true power of the Olympics, the ability to move people, to change people’s minds and open them up to new ways of thinking. The delegation is shining a light on the values of the Olympics.”

You realize, of course, what this means. If Israel wants to gain Obama’s sympathy and have him stand at her side, instead of stabbing her in her back, she better act quickly to change her flag:

Israeli rainbow flag

That ought to make the Obama administration finally “feel the love” for that small democratic Jewish outpost in the middle of the genocidal Muslim world.

UPDATE:  Believe it or not, Pajama Guy should be part of this post.  I showed the tweet to a teenager of my acquaintance asked her if the guy pictured was the type of image that would make her buy a product.  “No,” she said.  “He looks gay.  I don’t have a problem with that, and I’m not talking smack about gays, but I wouldn’t want to buy something just because he’s selling it.”

UPDATE II:  More on the “gays as Obama’s natural constituency” meme.

Why a healthy society should resist the new generation of gender-neutral pronouns

You can cut off Thomas Beatie's breasts and give him hormones to grow a beard, but he's not a pregnant male, he's a bearded, breast-less pregnant female

You can cut off Thomas Beatie’s breasts and give him hormones to grow a beard, but he’s not a pregnant male; he’s a bearded, breast-less pregnant female

I understand that language changes.  We don’t speak like this anymore:

Whan that aprill with his shoures soote
The droghte of march hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licour
Of which vertu engendred is the flour;

Or like this:

Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf,
Witches’ mummy, maw and gulf
Of the ravin’d salt-sea shark,
Root of hemlock digg’d i’ the dark,
Liver of blaspheming Jew,
Gall of goat, and slips of yew
Silver’d in the moon’s eclipse,
Nose of Turk and Tartar’s lips,
Finger of birth-strangled babe
Ditch-deliver’d by a drab,
Make the gruel thick and slab:
Add thereto a tiger’s chaudron,
For the ingredients of our cauldron.

Or even like this:

Look at the gams on that dame — and that chassis.  Hot diggity-dog!  She’s the bee’s knees.  This sheik wants to spend some time with that sheba.

Nevertheless, fossil that I am, I find disturbing the fact that the young generation is trying to define away biological reality.  On the same day that we learn (yet again) that men and women don’t only have different hardware (that is, their physical attributes), but also an entirely different operating system (their brains are wired differently), Breitbart reports that the younger generation is trying to introduce gender-neutral pronouns into the English language:

For those who revere clarity in the English language, be prepared; there are a number of young people who are now preferring to eschew the two traditional pronouns for human beings, “he” and “she,” and choosing instead to identify their gender by such terms as “they,” “ze,” sie,” “e,” “ou,” and “ve.”

This may come as a surprise to these politically-correct, non-heteronormative statists, but English already has a gender-neutral pronoun: IT.  Of course, calling someone who is neither male nor female an “it” seems to dehumanize them, so I can see why activists insist on change.  I’m just not willing to go where they’re going with this type of assault, not only on the English language, but on reality.

Take Chaz Bono, for example, someone who seems like quite a nice person.  Chaz has female plumbing under the skin and, thanks to surgery and hormones, a vaguely male appearance at a superficial level (scanty facial hair, no breasts, and goodness knows what external plumbing).  Chaz doesn’t want to be called “she,” but it’s denying reality to call Chaz “he.”  When I write about Chaz, I avoid pronouns, which allows me to respect Chaz’s choice without doing damage to reality or to the English language.

Incidentally, Chaz has come in for some flack lately from “Stephen Ira,” who was born the daughter of Warren Beatty and Annette Benning.  As did Chaz, Stephen took hormones and had surgery to change a female body into one resembling a male body.  As far as Stephen is concerned, Chaz is trouble because Chaz actually clings to antiquated notions about “male” and “female.”  According to Chaz (and I think accurately), the mismatch between a body’s gender and a brain’s gender identification is a form of birth defect.  Stephen took umbrage, writing that Stephen does not feel that, in Stephen’s own case, this mismatch was a birth defect.  Worse, says Stephen, Chaz “is a trans man who seems to believe that his female-assignedness and socialization makes him immune from being a misogynist, and he is manifestly wrong.”  So there!!

I have nothing but sympathy for people whose sense of self, which comes from the brain, is so at odds with the body attached to that brain.  Some people with this disconnect get eating disorders, some people get disfiguring plastic surgery, and some people alter their body’s external appearance to bring it in line with the message their brain sends to them.  While I don’t applaud those with body dysmorphia who starve themselves or throw-up, or who turn themselves into monstrous caricatures through surgery, I don’t see a problem with using surgery and meds to create the illusion of a different gender (although studies show that happiness is not an inevitable sequel to surgery to alter gender appearance).

The fact that I support the fact that some people people take proactive steps to improve their own reality does not mean that we as a society must deny reality.  Denying reality, however, is precisely what this bizarre gender-neutral language is trying to do.  As a percentage of the whole population, there are very few boys who will be girls and girls who will be boys.  The rest of us are pretty clearly round pegs in round holes and square pegs in square holes, and our English language accurately reflects this actual, rather than politically-correct, reality.

 

Another Progressive showdown between ideology and reality

I was in San Francisco during the peak AIDS years.  I remember how death stalked the streets (many, many people I knew died) and I remember how deeply in denial the gay community was.  The most visible sign of that denial was the fight to keep open the gay bath houses, which were scenes of unbridled debauchery and major vectors in spreading AIDS.  There was nothing untoward in the city’s trying to shut the bathhouses down, since the city’s efforts to control an epidemic’s spread fell squarely within government’s traditional role.

At the New Yorker, Michael Specter has written an article that reports something that people familiar with the modern gay community tend to notice on an annual basis:  young gay men have forgotten the scourge, and are repeating the pattern of unbridled, unprotected, promiscuous sex (on a scale heterosexuals cannot imagine) coupled with drug use.  It’s how AIDS gained such a foothold in America last time, rather than living on only in dusty medical journals, and it’s a worrisome sign that AIDS could be resurgent or that something equally awful could take its place (especially today, when we’re reaching limits on our antibiotics).

Specter’s article heads today’s New Yorker’s “most read” list.  It therefore makes a nice matched set with today’s news, which is that men who are openly gay and bisexual are trying to end the ban on blood donations:

A push by activists to ease the 30-year-old blanket ban on blood donations from gay and bisexual men faces a key test this week as a federal panel hears results of the latest research. The findings will be released amid growing pressure from politicians and advocates, including college students, to change the policy.

Critics say the ban is a hangover from the early, fear-filled days of AIDS, stigmatizing gay men and ignoring advances in treatment and detection in the decades since.

Yes, the blood-donation ban is a hangover from the early days of AIDS, and yes, we have better techniques for screening blood . . . for HIV and AIDS.  Given that gay men are engaging in the same behavior that led to AIDS’ rapid spread, though, it’s sensible to worry that they might be acting as the vector from some nasty new disease for which we don’t yet have either screening techniques or treatments.

(I’ve sometimes wondered if my resistance to gay marriage doesn’t stem from the fact that I remember vividly the 1970s and early 1980s in San Francisco. Gay activists over the past twenty-plus years have advanced the gay marriage agenda by painting gay couples as ordinary middle class couples. That’s not the way I remember them. People having drug-fueled orgies with up to a hundred partners, all of them strangers, is not the middle class norm. The San Francisco Gay Pride parade does not present the middle class norm. The public nudity and sex that is a strong feature of the San Francisco gay scene is not the middle class norm. While there are indeed stable middle class gay couples — I know several such couples — I also know that they’re not the norm.)