HOME



Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405



Facebook: Digby Parton

Twitter:
@digby56
@Gaius_Publius
@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)
@spockosbrain



emails:
Digby:
thedigbyblog at gmail
Dennis:
satniteflix at gmail
Gaius:
publius.gaius at gmail
Tom:
tpostsully at gmail
Spocko:
Spockosbrain at gmail
tristero:
Richardein at me.com








Infomania

Salon
Buzzflash
Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Slate
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic


Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018 April 2018 May 2018 June 2018 July 2018 August 2018 September 2018 October 2018


 

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Hullabaloo


Friday, February 28, 2003

 
Closets

Atrios links to this article by Michelangelo Signorile on the Koufax matter and his comments section has a very lively debate going on the subject.

I think that Signorile and some of the commentors are dancing around another issue, but I'll get to that.

First, I don't agree with whole "public figure" aspect of this argument at all. If somebody makes an issue of their sex lives, then it becomes an open topic. Similarly, if you make public pronouncements about other people's sex lives then you have opened up your own for scrutiny. But, if you are just living your life, (as a long retired athlete, for instance) you have a right to have keep your sex life private, period. The issue with the media is sexual privacy no matter what the gossip item refers to, whether it has to do with being gay or having blow jobs in the oval office.

Tabloids are exploitive, lying, piece of shit rags that feed the base nature of everybody who reads them and as much as I believe in free speech I can't say that I wouldn't feel gleeful at the sight of a pile of New York Posts going up in flames. They are a destructive force in our culture and if you don't believe me then just turn on
television news for 10 minutes and you'll understand what I'm talking about. It is no coincidence that Bill "Enemy of the State" O'Reilly came from that bastion of respectable journalism, "Inside Edition." It is a pervasive influence in our politics and has been instrumental in the dumbing down of our national media and the trivializing of our political system to such a degree that an ignorant sock-puppet could be elected President because the news media were obsessed with the superficialities of the candidates to the exclusion of everything substantive.

The argument should not be about whether there exists a double standard, but why there aren't more standards to begin with.

But, with the case at hand, there is more to it than that, isn't there? From what I can tell, people are dismayed that the issue was blown up because of the nature of the "charge" --- that is that he was accused of being gay and it was treated as if he had been a "child molester." This is true. But, there's a little Claude Raines action going on here, too. It is wholly unsurprising that in the macho world of sports that an item like this would gain attention and approbation. But, it's not fair to say that the sportwriters across the board find it "contemptible" that someone would be accused of being gay. After all, they didn't react to the original blind item at the time and the reaction to the Mike Piazza rumor was far less energetic.

Part of what they are reacting to (and I don't doubt that there is quite a bit of homophobia involved as well) is that this is Sandy Koufax, a legend and notoriously private man, who has been falsely accused of making a deal with an author contingent upon her not revealing that he is gay. It's not just the gay thing, it's also the idea that he was portrayed as an underhanded liar. A lot of people admire Sandy Koufax, for more reasons than his pitching arm, and that hurt. But, to be fair, they also reacted strongly when Koufax quit the organization and a lot of them said that it was "wrong" for him to be accused of being gay by using rather obtuse language.

Which brings us to the heart of the matter. In some of the commentors's arguments the idea is bubbling that because there is nothing wrong with being gay, that a public figure of integrity should not object to being called gay, whether he is or not. One could correct the record for accuracy's sake, but it really shouldn't be much of a concern because, after all, there's nothing wrong with being gay so what's wrong with people thinking you are?

This is a fatal error, I think, because it supposes that people, gay or straight, should not mind if others misrepresent their sexual orientation. If it is not ok to force gay people to publicly live as if they are straight, is it really much different to ask straight people to behave as if it doesn't matter if they are perceived as being gay?

I realize that there are many people who have an ambiguous sexual orientation and that is a perfectly natural state for them. But, for many others, sexual orientation is an intrinsic part of who they are and it is fundamental to their identity. To assume that it should not matter to people how they are perceived in that way is asking to change something very basic in human nature. This seems to me to be the very essence of the gay rights movement. It's not just about being who you are --- after all, you have no choice in the matter --- it's about being seen and accepted for who you are.

Sandy Koufax, rightly or wrongly, will now be the Hall of Fame pitcher who will be known for his blazing fastball and also the guy about whom it will be said "he was gay." The truth or untruth of that is certainly not relevant to his standing as a legendary athlete. But, to him, as a person it might matter a great deal if it is not true, not because he finds being gay "contemptible" but because it is a fundamental misrepresentation of who he really is.

One should not have to be willing to have the world believe one is gay, in order to be completely open and accepting of homosexuality. I don't think we can ask people to live a lie, or to acquiesce to lies told about them, no matter what cause it purports to serve. Nothing good can come of it.

(For the record, I've been called gay by wing-nuts in comments sections and in e-mail many, many times. When idiots call someone "gay" on the internet, it is so stupid that one can only laugh in return. I don't consider morons hurling "gay" as an epithet the same as normal people misperceiving someone as being gay when they are not. A fine distinction, but a distinction nonetheless.)

Update:

In retrospect, I think I was unfair in categorizing Signorle as one who thinks people should accept a designation of gay to further the cause. He clearly states in his article an admiration of the way Mike Piazza handled the situation, which was to deny that he was gay and shrug it off while offering support to gay players. And, he further stated clearly that he thought one of the issues that needed tending was the sensitivity of athletes. To that I can only agree, but one couldn't confine it to the gay issue. Jocks are about the most insensitive humans on earth. It's a big job.