aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Friday, October 14, 2005
Arianna’s hearing the Times’ Judy-culpa’s coming Sunday. And Judy’s camp is worried:
“The team of reporters working on the story is absolutely top notch,” a Times source told me. “Don Van Atta is one of the best investigative reporters in the country.
If there is something gettable, they’ll get it. And I’d be stunned if Sulzberger and Keller tried to suppress anything these reporters come up with.” The team has been interviewing what a source calls “some of Judy’s most ardent critics, people inside the paper who have worked with her in the past.”
Arianna says there’s a lot riding on it. The Sunday chat shows should be good.
UPDATE: In an irony not unlike Albert Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, assuaging his guilt with the Nobel peace prize, today we learn that Judy will get a First Amendment Award on Tuesday, and speak on a panel titled “The Reporter’s Privilege Under Siege.”
She’s got lots of money. And big ambitions. I’m impressed that 95% is from small donors:
Sen. Clinton’s campaign account raised $5.2m in the quarter from a record 70,052 individual donors. It’s the largest number of contributions ever to the campaign in any quarter; Approx. 95% of the contributions were $100 or less. Going into the fourth quarter of the year before the election, Clinton has nearly $14m on hand.
Democratic fundraisers who speak with the New York Senator’s tight circle of advisers guesstimate that Clinton’s campaign intends to raise as much as $70m for the re-election campaign and spend about $40m of it—leaving them with a nice, $30m cushion should any other, eh, opportunities present themselves. Folks who actually know such things poo-pooh any specific plans so far in advance.
And in other Hillary news, Nixon’s son-in-law has dropped out of the race. (I didn’t even know he was in it!)
Andrew Sullivan is at it again. Gay culture is over. You see it, he says, in the P-town real estate bubble, ignoring that it’s of a kind with that in San Francisco, Manhattan and L.A., and that gentrification there is like gentrification everywhere.
Slowly but unmistakably, gay culture is ending. You see it beyond the poignant transformation of P-town: on the streets of the big cities, on university campuses, in the suburbs where gay couples have settled, and in the entrails of the Internet. In fact, it is beginning to dawn on many that the very concept of gay culture may one day disappear altogether. By that, I do not mean that homosexual men and lesbians will not exist--or that they won’t create a community of sorts and a culture that sets them in some ways apart. I mean simply that what encompasses gay culture itself will expand into such a diverse set of subcultures that “gayness” alone will cease to tell you very much about any individual. The distinction between gay and straight culture will become so blurred, so fractured, and so intermingled that it may become more helpful not to examine them separately at all.
The gay culture he describes, the one I agree is ending, is the gay sex culture. Though he notes the paradox that “gay culture in its old form may have its most fertile ground in those states where homosexuality is still unmentionable and where openly gay men and women are more beleaguered: the red states.” I know that to be true.
He’s also right that there is no “single gay culture” today. But when he asks, “Who can rescue a uniform gay culture?” I wonder, was there ever? Not that I know of. And I was there in the 70s when:
The fact that openly gay communities were still relatively small and geographically concentrated in a handful of urban areas created a distinctive gay culture. The central institutions for gay men were baths and bars, places where men met each other in highly sexualized contexts and where sex provided the commonality. Gay resorts had their heyday--from Provincetown to Key West. The gay press grew quickly and was centered around classified personal ads or bar and bath advertising. Popular culture was suffused with stunning displays of homosexual burlesque: the music of Queen, the costumes of the Village People, the flamboyance of Elton John’s debut; the advertising of Calvin Klein; and the intoxication of disco itself, a gay creation that became emblematic of an entire heterosexual era. When this cultural explosion was acknowledged, when it explicitly penetrated the mainstream, the results, however, were highly unstable: Harvey Milk was assassinated in San Francisco and Anita Bryant led an anti-gay crusade. But the emergence of an openly gay culture, however vulnerable, was still real.
Sullivan says that culture was “primarily about pain and tragedy.” I’d quibble with words. Not “primarily about” but infused with…
That was an era, but there was a before. Indeed, I worked on the film, Before Stonewall, that made the point that gay culture didn’t start then. There was Mattachine and Daughters of Bilitis and Walt Whitman and Oscar Wilde.
And there will be one tomorrow.