Richard Goldstein writes in The Village Voice "The Queer Issue" about the popular conception of The Gay Predator and speaks to something that I think explains to a great extent why heterosexual men hate -- sometimes virulently so -- gay men. It has to do with almost instinctive fear of rape.
Because its victims must contend with fearsome threats to their sexual identity, male-on-male rape may be the most secret sex crime, though it's more common than meets the eye, especially if you include the epidemic of sexual assaults in prison. Few of the perps are homosexual; most would be quite willing to rape women if they could get their hands on them. Male rape, like all rape, is a crime of power, and its unconscious ambition is to enforce the sexual order. As gender traitors who already seem degraded, gay men are far more likely to be violated than to violate.

But in the straight imagination, a different image applies. Here, the terror of being raped (and the temptation that comes with it) is projected onto the homosexual, presumably lusting for straight-male tail. Every homo is imagined as a potential predator, and any display of gay aggression is likely to be seen, at least implicitly, in this light. Generations of us have been marked by the need to play the servile faggot in order to reassure straights that we pose no threat. We are taught from our first wet dream that it's dangerous even to imagine striking out against "real men," and the culture re-enforces this taboo by churning out endless images of what happens to queers who violate it."

That also explains why, at the first glimmers of sexual awakening at the onset of adolescence, those of us who realized with astonishment that we didn't share the same attractions as most of our same-gender peers instinctively knew the way to the closet. We sussed that something as innocent as commenting on another guy's attractive frame (which would have drawn no more than nodding assents if directed at a gal) would be viewed with hostility and likely result in a violent reaction.
Richard Kaye writes in The Village Voice "The Queer Issue" (it's June, it's Pride, natch) how historians are hard at work "outing" historical figures. Among them, one of the more recent, interesting cases is that of President Abraham Lincoln.

"The most contentious of recent outings involves Abraham Lincoln, who had a relationship with a 24-year-old merchant named Joshua Speed when the 28-year-old Lincoln was living as a bachelor in Springfield, Illinois. The rumor mill on the Lincoln-Speed case has been smoldering for years, beginning with Carl Sandburg's 1926 observation that their relationship held a "streak of lavender and spots soft as May violets." Scholars have long noted the intense bond between the two men, who lived together for four years and—once again, the controversy thrives on sleeping habits in cold climates—may have shared the same bed.

The intensity of Lincoln's feelings for Speed is evident in Lincoln's depression after the younger man sold his store to return to his native Kentucky, an event that may have persuaded Lincoln to break off his engagement with Mary Todd. ("I am now the most miserable man living," Lincoln wrote. "To remain as I am is impossible; I must die or be better.")

There are two books in the works about the Lincoln-Speed case, one co-authored by former Kinsey researcher C.A. Tripp, another by Larry Kramer, whose forthcoming The American People will draw on hitherto unseen writings by Speed, some of which reportedly were found in the floorboards of the building he shared with Lincoln. Kramer has been wary about revealing the contents, but he did read passages from it at a 1999 gay studies conference at the University of Wisconsin. A local paper reprinted some of Kramer's more titillating quotes: "He often kisses me when I tease him, often to shut me up. . . . He would grab me up by his long arms and hug and hug." Describing his friend as "Linc," Speed described the future 16th president as a man who could not get enough huggin' and kissin'.


Warren St. John writes in the New York Times (though I read the article in The Chronicle) about a new marketing category: the metrosexual which describes men who are "just gay enough" or "flaming heterosexuals". In other words, they are fashion concious, buy hair care and skin products and are str8 as an arrow. This is where "Joe American" is going and, interestingly, he is being led there by gay men.


Frank Rich writes in the New York Times about The Gay Kiss on the Tony's Award shoe that is just the tip of the iceberg of the increasing acceptance of things gay in America. Obviously, Broadway isn't representative of middle America (and, let's face it, gay men and show tunes are inseparable), but it's a harbinger of the way that the culture is going. Rich does a pretty good job surveying the cultural, political, legal and social landscape of things gay at the moment. A highly recommended read.


Andrew Sullivan writes in the New Republic as to why the sex act most commonly associated with gay men, i.e. sodomy, is considered "wrong". He provides a useful capsule history of sodomy (historically, it isn't what you might think it is) and how proscriptions against it came to be encapsulated in law. He then goes on to explain how it relates to the recognition in law of marriage relationships and the import of the "Lawrence & Garner vs. Texas" case that went before the Supreme Court in March, the outcome of which will be announced Thursday, June 26 according to HRC and Lambda Legal.


And this is printed in a newspaper *friendly* to the US and the current administration. What, one wonders, is the actual situation on the ground?


Timothy Garton Ash writes in the New Statesman about The Real Europe and American Culture's hand in it. He refers to Elf, i.e., English as Lingua Franca (American English being the most part of it).

"... what is the most influential think-piece written about Europe over the past year? The one by Robert Kagan, an American neoconservative, endlessly quoted in all European capitals. So it's not just that our fast food, films, fashion and language are American. Even our debates about Europe itself are American-led.

As a result, there are two characteristic figures in Europe today: the deeply Europeanised anti-European and the deeply Americanised anti-American. We have all met him, the pinstriped Tory Eurosceptic who has a house in Tuscany, is an expert on French wines and knows a great deal more about Wagner operas than Chancellor Gerhard Schroder does. (This last may, admittedly, not be saying a great deal.) We have all met her, the ageing German anti-American peace campaigner, whose inspirations are Woodstock, Joan Baez and not the German Martin Luther but the American Martin Luther King. Except that each in turn would protest: "I'm not anti-European, I'm just against the Brussels Eurocratic vision of a federal superstate", and "I'm not anti-American, I'm just against the inhuman, warlike policies of that Texan cowboy in the White House."

This distinction is sustainable - up to a point...."
In the Guardian, Eric Hobsbawn comments on America's imperial delusion.

An Excerpt:
"...the US, like revolutionary France and revolutionary Russia, is a great power based on a universalist revolution - and therefore on the belief that the rest of the world should follow its example, or even that it should help liberate the rest of the world. Few things are more dangerous than empires pursuing their own interest in the belief that they are doing humanity a favour."