Thursday, June 23, 2005
THE MILKY LOADS OF SELF-PITY:
By now blogs too numerous to link to have already picked up on Sullivan’s are-you-serious? Advocate column in which he apologizes for not having gotten sick since his HIV infection and, more importantly, Michelangelo Signorile’s response, which nails the underlying resentment he still harbors toward his infection, an attitude we’ve been unable not to notice over the years, spot on:Now honestly, Andrew, what is the purpose of this column — beyond you masturbating on your testosterone-fueled self? There is nothing wrong with building self-esteem, for yourself, for others who are HIV positive, or for people who are challenged by any adversity in life. But this is an angry rant in which you’re speaking not to positives but to negatives, about whom you have enormous contempt for what seems like one simple reason: They are still negative.
If I am wrong, please answer, clearly, the following questions: Should gay men try as hard as they can to stay negative, including always engaging in protected sex? Unless we warn them against getting HIV by using the fear of becoming infected, what else will be the incentive to stay negative? And why are you so angry, anyway, about people using fear as way to warn people to play safe — the way we use fear to warn people that obesity will lead to adult onset diabetes or smoking will lead to lung cancer — even if it sometimes isn’t as effective as we’d like it to be?
Because we warn people of the downsides of HIV – from complicated drug regimens with terrible side effects (yes, many people don’t respond to the drugs as well as you have) to strains of HIV that simply don’t respond to treatment (and they have been around for years, long before the “super strain” hype, and mark my words, and the words of respected epidemiologists around the world, they will spread), to the fact that people still die from AIDS, however, thankfully, lower the numbers may be right as this moment, as the still very new drugs continue to hold out for many – you feel that the message somehow hurts your self-esteem. It somehow affects your well-being. It somehow makes you feel that you must scream from the rafters of your blog – and the pages of the Advocate – that, no, HIV truly is the best thing to happen to me, honest!
And that tells us, Andrew, that you don’t feel good about having HIV at all. You perhaps even hate yourself for having allowed yourself to become infected via unprotected sex long after it was known how HIV is spread. It’s been difficult for you, someone who found yourself at the center of attention, the golden boy editor of the New Republic, the Gap model, to suddenly be in a group that is certainly not, nor should ever be, considered “hip.” So you would turn that around, and write about how wonderful it all supposedly is. And this is where I believe that you actually want young gay men to seroconvert. You want them to become positive. You want them to join your club, so that it just becomes hipper and hipper and those mean negative people just look more and more marginalized.
If all of that is not true, Andrew, then please state so unequivocally, and sing it from the rafters. Here you have this platform to actually impact people’s decisions on prevention, and what do you do? You spend all of time and space attacking other people’s prevention methods – those nasty lecturing negative people – without offering any of your own, or even your opinion that HIV is not good.
You’re glamorizing illness, for your own selfish reasons, for your own ego. And I think you know that because, oddly, you have not linked to the Advocate column on your web site, where all of the legions of your right-wing, Republican conservative fans can see your recklessness and irresponsibility, and be appalled. It’s funny because you link to everything you write, making sure your fans can get every bit of Andrew Sullivan. But this column, directed squarely at the gay audience in the Advocate – and particularly at all those horrible negative people – seems to have gotten overlooked. Why Andrew? Hey, if you are really so secure and proud of your HIV infection, you might even link to this open letter of mine too, so your conservative Republican fans could see how supposedly ridiculous I’m being. But I bet you won’t.
Well, actually, a lot of those right-wingers have, as we once put it borrowing from Steely Dan, “gone and joined the human race.” But anyway ...
This has been evident for a while, that any reminder of his HIV status harshes his mellow (and even before his infection, in the famous (or infamous) “Gay Life, Gay Death” article from the mid-’80s New Republic which (tellingly) is still on his website) But no one’s ever hit it like Signorile has.
posted by Sully 6/23/2005 02:58:00 PM
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
OK, we finally checked with Orangeperson’s classmate who reminded us of Bruce “GayPatriot” Carroll’s pre-Daily Orange career and told us a story that should show everyone just how noxious and disingenuous this boy truly is.
Bruce, we recall, was also active (unsurprisingly) in campus politics while working as a journalist, something that couldn’t happen in the real world but is sometimes unavoidable in college.
Ambitious then as now, he decided to run for president of the Student Government Association in junior year, while he was already a DO columnist and editorial page editor. OK ... Jesse Helms did something similar; it’s not a disqualifier. He would have had to resign his newspaper position, and he knew it, if he won.
But he filed his candidacy papers a day or two after the deadline and was initially disallowed from the ballot. What a horrid injustice! he complained (how like today’s Republicans!) and the SGA decided to let him on anyway just to be nice.
And they were, because everyone knew when they cast their ballots that he’d filed late, and who wants a leader who’d do that? To no one’s surprise save his, he lost, and quite badly.
It doesn’t end there. One of his next columns at the DO after the election was about ... SGA, the organization he’d so badly wanted to run he didn’t let nitpicky little things like filing deadlines deter him.
Our correspondent writes:Carroll observed that the SGA wasn't good for very much, and that if other major universities survived and even thrived without a representative student government then, by golly, why couldn't Syracuse?Somehow he forgot to mention what everyone knew — that he’d just lost an election to run SGA and lost it badly. If SGA didn’t want him (well, it wasn’t just SGA, it was the entire student body, judging from the election results) he not only didn’t want SGA, he didn’t think anyone else should, either. What else, pray tell, could have made him go from thinking SGA was something so important he had to run it to his epiphany that it was a useless organization (after all, all they mainly did was allocate the student activity fee money to the various organizations, about a million dollars or so? Pretty trifling, right?)
Our correspondent also continues:I have my copy of the 1990 Onondagan in front of me open to Carroll's picture. Now, as then, his smiling face reminds me of one of the Omegas in Animal House, like Marmalard or Niedermeyer. A smile that says 100% entitlement.
Given what happened to him when he was executive editor of the DO, the Niedermayer similarities don’t end there. We may be able to get a copy of that picture up ourselves later ... we’ll see.
This would be amusing if all it were were the indiscretions of a turdy collegian. But it seems that this is the beginning of a pattern.
First there’s the Log Cabin Republicans, whom he wrote so fondly about joining in his self-unmasking. Here, in a cached Google 2002 letter to The New Republic, he writes like the flack he is (and Bruce, why don’t you just come out again and say you work for Johnson & Johnson, because it’s relatively easy to discover thanks to Google) about LCR:I would argue that President George W. Bush’s term has brought a renewed enthusiasm to an already vibrant organization. The real facts about LCR can be found at www.lcr.org. For example, at LCR’s black-tie annual dinner in April, $50,000 was raised for LCR’s PAC to help gay-friendly Republican candidates; the first major-party gay candidate for lieutenant governor spoke; and I met a number of openly gay Bush administration appointees.But suddenly last year, during the election, Log Cabin began showing a streak of independence and self-respect. Bruce couldn’t handle that. He, naturally, chose to imply that the problem was with the leadership of that organization.Patrick also wrote that Log Cabin “must find a way to work with [the president] and his administration over the next four years.” With Log Cabin’s e-mail today, it appears Log Cabin has found a most unusual way to work with that administration. He has yet to praise the president and yet his organization’s first post-election fundraising appeal is for resources to take his administration to court.You’d really be forgiven for thinking he was laying the groundwork to run against Guerrero or something, actually.
[W]hen Log Cabin’s Patrick Guerriero publicly attacked Karl Rove, as he has on several occasions, he hurts his group's standing with the president.But for the fact that he’d left LCR even before the election, actually, though not without making insinuations of financial chicanery.
And here’s his big “I’m walking!” post from last September, complete with a personal attack on Guerrero:But what LCR used to provide to gay conservatives during the time Rich Tafel headed the organization was something that Patrick Guerriero has squandered — a “place at the table” of the Republican decision-making levers of power. How do we have our voices heard now, Patrick?And note these lines from his Blade column.But we need to step up and admit that the responsibility of the gay marriage debate, good or bad, is squarely on the shoulders and the consciences of the so-called leaders of the Human Rights Campaign, National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, Log Cabin Republicans and their ilk.(Emphasis ours). Anybody not think that Bruce Carroll sees that “new way and new leadership” when he shaves every morning? Seems like his early experience with SGA taught them that any group not headed by Bruce Carroll is obsolete, or at least in serious need of the reform that ... Bruce Carroll would be happy to provide.
Gay leaders will scratch their heads and wonder what went wrong, but the fact that they don’t “get it” is proof enough that we need to find a new way and new leadership.
Unfortunately, his later experience with editing the Daily Orange taught him nothing about what his leadership really means to an organization.
Speaking of which, it’s also amusing to note the one place where he does have to admit, indirectly, that his tenure as editor ended prematurely ... the DO’s alumni pages, where his listing says he left in 1989 (we have to send you to the cache as the regular page seems to be having trouble).
You have to know that the outgoing editorial board selects its replacements about April of every year, with a month left in the academic year and even less than that of weekday DOs, as publication ceases a week or so before exams (Or at least did back then; we can’t say for sure about now). Had Bruce and Jay finished out their terms, the end of his tenure would be the same year as his diploma. As it was, we recall, he was gone by the time the snow started to stick (Which, in Syracuse, is pretty early in the school year some years).
posted by Sully 6/22/2005 11:27:00 AM
Monday, June 20, 2005
OH, THE NAÏVETÉ!:
While we continue to work on Gay Patriot, we were struck as Arthur Silber was by Bruce’s trés cowardly column from the Blade last year, to which we linked (and do so again).
Poor Brucie. He really hasn’t removed himself from where even Sullivan was prior to last year’s gay marriage frenzy. He really thinks that if he can get all gays to persuade Middle America that gays are as boringly normal as he is, this unpleasantness will all go away.
Bruce, growing up in Parkesburg failed to teach you (or, worse, blinded you) to the essentials of the situation. Right now, at this moment in history, the straighter you try to be the gayer you will seem to them.
To put it bluntly, what part ofdon’t you understand?THEY DO NOT LIKE YOU
A long time ago we had planned a post using yet another Steely Dan song as a way to explain this to Sullivan. But he got it eventually (as his post this morning noting the similarities between the rhetoric of today’s organized homophobia and yesterday’s organized antisemitism makes clear).
It is, however, most apropos to explaining it to Bruce. So herewith. If they could sing a song to you to explain their feelings, it would probably be this one (slightly amended, particularly the title, at some detriment to the euphony of the words, to make it all the more clear what’s going on and make it more relevant to today)I’m not one to look behind,Soon to be heard on your local “Christian” radio station, no doubt.
I know that times must change.
But over there in Provincetown,
They do things very strange.
And though you’re not my enemy
I like things like they used to be.
And though you’d like some company
I’m standing by myself.
Go play with someone else!
I can see by what you carry
That you come from Provincetown.
Don’t believe I’m taken in
By stories I have heard.
I just watch O’Reilly on Fox News
And swear by every word.
And don’t think that I’m out of line
For speaking out for what is mine.
I’d like to see you do just fine,
But look at what you wear,
And the way you cut your hair;
I can see by what you carry
That you come from Provincetown.
In the beginning, we recall,
The Word was hurled.
Provincetown people got to be
From another world.
Leave me or I’ll be just like
The others you will meet.
They won't act as kindly if
They see you on the street.
And don’t you scream or make a shout,
There’s nothing you can do about ...
It was there where you came out,
It’s a special lack of grace;
I can see it in your face.
I can see by what you carry
That you come from Provincetown.
It also occurs to us when racking our brains, and realizing where we got the above quote from, that W.H. Auden composed a perfect, gentle yet firm, response to Bruce’s position, almost a half-century ago — “There Will Be No Peace”:
Bruce Carroll: Perhaps the first and only gay man who would have been better off in the closet.
Though mild clear weather
Smile again on the shire of your esteem
And its colors come back, the storm has changed you:
You will not forget, ever,
The darkness blotting out hope, the gale
Prophesying your downfall.
You must live with your knowledge.
Way back, beyond, outside of you are others,
In moonless absences you never heard of,
Who have certainly heard of you,
Beings of unknown number and gender:
And they do not like you.
What have you done to them?There will be no peace.
Nothing? Nothing is not an answer;
You will come to believe — how can you help it? —
That you did, you did do something;
You will find yourself wishing you could make them laugh,
You will long for their friendship.
Fight back, then, with such courage as you have
And every unchivalrous dodge you know of,
Clear in your conscience on this:
Their cause, if they had one, is nothing to them now;
They hate for hate’s sake.
(And we’re hardly the first people to see that layer of meaning in the song).
posted by Sully 6/20/2005 12:12:00 PM
While we await clearance to publish another funny yet grim tale about Bruce Carroll, we direct you to Jo Fish, who roasted Sullivan on the grill not once but twice this Father’s Day weekend:Sayeth the relentless cheerleader: “My only fear all along is that we might fail.” Bullshit. You just wanted to be able to say you were right, no matter the outcome. Just another part of the pitiful creature who is Sullivan, licking the balls of those who would ship him to the ovens without a second thought and no remorse.This follows several reminders of when Sully was less uncertain of failure. It’s worth a reread.
posted by Sully 6/20/2005 12:06:00 PM