Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Silly Things Said About Andrew Sullivan


While zipping through Mr. Sullivan's site today, among the usual posts on what the usual suspects think about who is bi and who is not, what the usual suspects think about women shaving or not, what the usual suspects think about Egypt, what the usual suspects think about who can or can't be a potty mouth, and so forth, this...
Tyler Cowen thinks it might be me:
Doesn’t Andrew Sullivan have a reasonably strong claim to that title, especially after the recent Supreme Court decisions on gay marriage?  Sullivan was the dominant intellectual influence on this issue, from the late 1980s on, and that is from a time where other major civil liberties figures didn’t give gay marriage much of a second thought, one way or the other, or they wished to run away from the issue.  Here is his classic 1989 New Republic essay.  Here is a current map of where gay marriage is legal and very likely there is more to come.
Ross generously expands on Cowen’s argument:
I think the case of his work on gay marriage is distinctive. No doubt there would have been a major push for same-sex wedlock without Sullivan: Deep trends favored its adoption, other eloquent writers made the case, and other countries and cultures have taken different routes to a similar destination. But no writer of comparable gifts was on the issue earlier, pushed harder against what seemed at the time like an unassailable consensus, engaged as many critics (left and right, gay and straight) and addressed himself to as many audiences as Sullivan. No intellectual did as much to weave together the mix of arguments and intuitions that defines today’s emerging consensus on the issue — in which gay marriage is simultaneously an expression of bourgeois conservatism and the fulfillment of the 1960s’ liberative promise, the civil rights revolution of our time and a natural, Burkean outgrowth of the way that straights already live. And no intellectual that I can think of, writing on a fraught and controversial topic, has seen their once-crankish, outlandish-seeming idea become the conventional wisdom so quickly, and be instantantiated so rapidly in law and custom.
Again, it’s awfully hard to separate ideas from tectonic shifts in culture and economics, and I have enough of a determinist streak to doubt John Maynard Keynes’s famous maxim that “the power of vested interests is vastly exaggerated compared with the gradual encroachment of ideas.” But just as Keynes heard clear echoes of “academic scribblers” and “defunct economists” in the rhetoric of his era’s politicians, so I hear echoes of arguments that Andrew Sullivan, and often Andrew Sullivan alone, was making thirty years ago in almost every conversation and argument I’ve had about gay marriage in the last ten years. There’s no other issue and no other writer where the connection between things I read as a teenager and lines I hear today is as clear and direct and obvious. And if that isn’t evidence of distinctive, far-reaching influence then I don’t know what is.
Dreher nods:
What Sullivan did — and he wasn’t alone, but as Douthat says, he was there first, and most effectively — was build off the ground cleared by the Sexual Revolution — the bourgeoisification of what were, within living memory, outlaw sexual values — and claim it for the ultimate outlaws in the traditional Christian vision of sex and sexuality: gays and lesbians. What Sullivan and those he helped lead did was radical — and he achieved it by making a kind of conservative case for a revolution, by forcing what people in the post-Christian West already believed about sex, religion, and individual liberty to its natural conclusion. That’s something. That’s something huge.
Well alighty then.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Jesus Fucking Christ.

Driftglass, sometimes I think, "Surely he's just making this shit up!", and then I follow the links, and, no, it's a real thing on the intertubes....

So. The one prominent gay conservative who has been telling his party for years, "I really don't appreciate you treating me like dirt, and one day it will change!", just happened to be right.

And that makes him smart?

This is the same person who wrote an entire article on his "great realization" that he prefers bears to twinks, and felt this public declaration of "I think a guy with a beard and chest hair is hot!" is like Prometheus giving fire to the heterosexuals.

I also love how this circle of "See, I'm cool with the homos!" fappery sees this entire issue in a complete vacuum. There is the Conservative Spirit of Burke, hovering over all. There are named conservatives. There are unnamed conservatives. There is Sullivan, sitting in the middle of the circle, getting hosed down with love, and enjoying it so much he posts about it on his blog. Then there are a few people of the left who only exist in the context of criticizing Sullivan, in order to prove that Both Sides Do It. And so this fapping circle and love-sticky Sullivan float in empty space, in a near-total vacuum, with only the occasional critic to appear to briefly orbit them before shooting back off into space.

There is absolutely no mention of the rest of the world, and the titanic shifts in the rest of the world.

There is no mention that the progressives got there first and were surveying the land and building a lovely little wedding chapel while Sullivan was busy shouting at a group of huddled troglodytes hiding in a cave that the world is not full of monsters.

Which brings me back to...

Jesus Fucking Christ, I cannot believe that someone posted that shit on the internet.

Mike.K.

Suzan said...

But everything on the internet is true.

Right?

meh

I had no idea the first time I saw that ad that it was this bad.

Anonymous said...

Good morning, Mr. Glass.

For your amusement...

Step 1: Copy and paste all those comments onto your computer.

Step 2: Replace "Andrew Sullivan" with "liberals", and set the latter to replace in bold font.

Step 3: Same as Step 2, but with the remaining instances of the term "Sullivan".

Step 4: Read the new version of the text.

Step 5: Enjoy the rest of your day.

Kevin Holsinger

Zipperupus said...

Surely we must respect his mighty intellect on such weighty matters as race and IQ equivalence as well as the paternity of Sarah Palin's baby...?

Anonymous said...

I was going to put in another comment about this. I was thinking that in spite of the the Magic Flying Wank Circle, at lest Sullivan was on the correct side of this. This may be because he was personally targeted by conservative bigotry, but at least he was vocal in pushing back and not trying to be "one of the good homos" to be accepted. (Even from personal experience, conservatives and bigots *love* a gay man who is self-loathing, thinks gay stuff should be hidden in the closet, and thinks gay marriage is a bad idea, because it justifies their bigotry.)

Then Zipperupus posted... Thank you for reminding me that Sullivan is an upper-class Thatcherite princess who thinks that the poor and the coloreds should be grateful that the wealthy provide work houses.

So, never mind. Sullivan is an awful person.

Mike.K.

marindenver said...

And lest we all forget his cheerleading for the Iraq War accompanied by virulent hippie punching/liberal bashing/traitor calling denunciations of anyone who disagreed . . .