Sunday, July 24, 2005


Responding to Gene Stone, Kathryn Lopez writes in the Corner:
From Gene Stone on the dark side of the H-Bomb (most of it), writing about Rick Santorum's outed staffer:
There has to be word for a gay Uncle Tom. Uncle Bruce? Mr. Traynham wins the weekly Uncle Bruce award.

In other words, if you happen to be gay, there is only one acceptable way to think.

I can't say that I'm completely unfriendly to Lopez's point here, hackneyed as it may be. I've always been uncomfortable with the idea that someone's race, gender, or sexual orientation necessarily proscribes certain political views for them. On the other hand, it's hard not to take issue with members of disadvantaged groups who throw their lot in with the opponents of social progress and equality.

Take Ann Coulter, who regularly attacks feminists, or rather attacks a sensationalized wicca-lesbian-Marxist strawwoman she insists is representative of feminism. Coulter is at at least intelligent enough to know that her ability to earn buckets of money publishing dubitably sourced anti-liberal screeds and making an ass of herself on TV owes no small debt to the feminist movement which she constantly degrades. How should this fact enter in to the debate? Is it worth pointing out? Perhaps it's better left as a meta-irony, attending everything Coulter says or writes.

Similarly, Mr. Traynham surely must understand that the only reason that he can remain chief of staff to one of the nation's most powerful lawmakers after having come out as gay is because of the hard work done, the humiliation and violence endured, by gay rights activists. It's hard for me to reconcile the image of Oscar Wilde rotting away in Reading Gaol, his life destroyed by accusations of buggery, with the idea of Robert Traynham, a century later, serving on the staff of Rick Santorum, a man who has built a political career on exploiting the same sort of prejudice that put Wilde in prison. I guess sometimes freedom is like that, but forgive me if in this case I don't particularly feel like celebrating.

But, finally, if we must call names, and I recognize that sometimes we simply must, I offer that Uncle Roy, as in Cohn, is a better choice than Uncle Bruce.

"Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live."
-Oscar Wilde

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