closet case

A Sideshow, Squared

Representative Aaron Schock, a Republican from Illinois, pauses while speaking during an interview in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014.  Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee resisted parts of the early versions of Chairman Dave Campo's plan for the biggest tax-code changes since 1986, said Schock.  Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images.

“Of course, we don’t know for sure whether Schock is gay. All we know is that relatively few heterosexuals are forced from office by an interior decorating scandal.”

Matt Baume

Well, you know, there is that.

Then again, there is a bit more to it, as Matt Baume explains:

If Schock is in the closet, it’s a closet that he helped perpetuate during his years in Congress. Thanks to his opposition to open military service, marriage equality, and hate crime protection for LGBT people, he earned a perfect 0-percent rating from the Human Rights Campaign. Too bad HRC doesn’t award bonus points for best swimwear ....

.... When I talk about Schock’s “closet,” I mean the system of keeping LGBTs down by intimidating and disadvantaging them. Schock never met an anti-gay law he didn’t like, even though he was uncomfortable when asked why. Laws like those Schock supported are designed to oppress gays and lesbians, and they send a clear message: Sure, go ahead and be openly gay; just remember that you could lose your job, your home, your safety, or your life.

While it is true that Schock has long been subject to rumors and jokes about his sexualityα, it really doesn’t seem to be relevant here. Well, except for the point about the decorating.

That, at least, seems to be worth a chuckle.

And none of which should take away from Baume’s point; the LGBT community has reason to celebrate this falling from grace. Not that the one has much to do with the other except for a vague discussion about corruption of the soul or psyche, but still, you know, we take what we can get.

Ain’t that always the way?

____________________

α There was the bit about the teal belt. And John Aravosis certainly entertained himself with the notion last year, and enough noise happened that Salon picked up on the murmur, and things have gone on the way they’ve gone on so that, well, now a scandal-plagued congressman infamous for his overdecorated office can’t possibly resign in shame without a queer question controversy.

Image note: Representative Aaron Schock, a Republican from Illinois, pauses while speaking during an interview in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014. Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee resisted parts of the early versions of Chairman Dave Campo’s plan for the biggest tax-code changes since 1986, said Schock. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images.

Baume, Matt. “Aaron Schock and the Closets of Downton Abbey”. The Huffington Post. 19 March 2015.

See Also:

Savage, Dan. “Rep. Aaron Schock’s Belt Is…”. Slog. 15 June 2010.

Aravosis, John. “Anti-gay GOPer Aaron Schock locks down Instagram account as outing rumors swirl”. AmericaBlog. 4 January 2014.

D’Addario, Daniel. “The bizarre quasi-‘outing’ of Aaron Schock”. Salon. 6 January 2014.

Petrow, Steven. “Civilities: Please stop pink-baiting Aaron Schock”. The Washington Post. 20 March 2015.

A Middle-Aged Reflection on Closeteering

Briefers Rock, from 'Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt'.

“A-ha! Shoot! Let’s get this thing started!”

TeddyLoid

The simplest way to explain it is that you never quite know when the difference is going to bitch-slap you with a fleshy truncheon.

Or was that a little much?

Once upon a time, everything about the song would have annoyed me, especially that pretentious voice absolutely dominating the back end of the track.

And now?

Well, yeah. Okay, that’s sexy.

The Strange Phenomenon Known as Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a news conference following a meeting with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, March 5, 2015.  Italy's prime minister visited Moscow on Thursday in a bid to repair ties that have been hurt by Russia-West tensions over Ukraine.  (AP Photo/Sergei Karpukhin, Pool)

Strangeness and Vladimir Putin might go together like, well, never mind that part. But Puti-Toots is missing, and there goes next season’s Dancing With the Tsars. Damn. Too bad about that; I should have gone with a cliché about not having a thing to wear.

Such as it is, Julia Ioffe explains for the Washington Post:

It’s been more than a week now since anybody’s seen Russian President Vladimir Putin. He had a mundane meeting with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi on March 5, and then … nothing. Since then, Putin hasn’t been seen in public, and the Russian blogosphere can talk about nothing else. Their president skipped a number of events—including one with his FSB bigwigs—and the Kazakhs, with whom Putin was supposed to meet this week, said the Russian president was ill. They quickly walked it back after the Kremlin denied it. The Kremlin began fiddling with Putin’s schedule. State television began broadcasting news of meetings planned for the future as if they had already happened in order to show that Putin was alive enough to attend meetings. Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s mustachioed spokesman, has been stonewalling all week, insisting that his boss is not only breathing, but “breaking hands” with his manly handshake.

Unsurprisingly, this combination—active and seemingly frantic dissimulation, and flat denial that anything is amiss—is perfect for the Internet. #PutinIsDead began trending on Russian Twitter, and the Russian blogosphere began to churn out theories of what happened to Dear Shirtless Leader, each version more ludicrous than the next.

In a way, it would be perhaps genuinely funny if something untoward has, in fact, occurred. Ioffe’s account of the current murmur is about as morbid as we can expect for so entertaining a spectacle as the Russian President puts on, and, well, there is a bit of history with Russian leaders suddenly disappearing. In other words, it is not quite fair to say that it keeps going downhill from there, although we would note that nobody’s suggesting autoerotic asphyxiation, or even merely two weeks off for the world’s most famous closeteer to scratch his itch.

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Image note: Detail―Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a news conference following a meeting with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, March 5, 2015. Italy’s prime minister visited Moscow on Thursday in a bid to repair ties that have been hurt by Russia-West tensions over Ukraine. (AP Photo/Sergei Karpukhin, Pool)

Ioffe, Julia. “This is why it’s impossible for the Kremlin to lie about Putin’s weird disappearance”. The Washington Post. 14 March 2015.

¡A Puti-Toots Bonanza!

"I understand why he has to do this—to prove he's a man.  He's afraid of his own weakness. Russia has nothing, no successful politics or economy. All they have is this."  (Angela Merkel)

When it rains ....

And that’s not a Weather Girls joke.

Apparently the story is famous, which is why Max Fisher has to explain it to Americans, complete with a headline that tells us what it means.

The incident of Vladimir Putin, Angela Merkel, and the dog is a famous one. It was 2007 and Merkel, Germany’s Chancellor, was visiting Putin at his presidential residence in Sochi to discuss energy trade. Putin, surely aware of Merkel’s well-known fear of dogs, waited until the press gathered in the room, then called for his black Labrador to be sent in. The Russian president watched in unconcealed glee as the dog sniffed at Merkel, who sat frozen in fear.

Later, in discussing the incident with a group of reporters, Merkel attempted an explanation of Putin’s behavior. Her quote, reported in George Packer’s recent profile of Merkel in the New Yorker, is one of the most pithily succinct insights into Putin and the psychology of his 14-year reign that I have read:

“I understand why he has to do this — to prove he’s a man,” Merkel said. “He’s afraid of his own weakness. Russia has nothing, no successful politics or economy. All they have is this.”

And who else but Puti-Toots would try to dog the German Chancellor … with an actual dog?

____________________

Fisher, Max. “This quote about Putin’s machismo from Angela Merkel is just devastating”. Vox. 2 December 2014.

Even More Puti-Toots (Bill Day Ltd. Ed. Mix)

Detail of cartoon by Bill Day, 2 December 2014, via Cagle Post.

What? We couldn’t resist. Attribute this one to Bill Day of Cagle Cartoons, via Cagle Post.

Puti-Toots on a Roll

Vladimir Putin's closet eyes.

The New York Times characterized this as a “rare diplomatic defeat” for Putin, though I’m not sure why. Indeed, diplomatic defeats appear to be the only thing the Russian president has accomplished lately.

Steve Benen

Sometimes I think the problem is that news organizations have stripped down the news so much that reporters are often left not calculating which words they can strike in order to fit within the column allocation without wrecking the writing, but, rather, how to fill electronic column space with words that nobody pays that much attention to.

The thing is that generations of writers are now raised to believe that every sentence must be vivid and dynamic and active. Then again, the thing would also seem to be some sort of disconnection between words and their meanings. We might borrow from Lemony Snicket and, saying nothing of watermelons, suggest that “The New York Times called the defeat ‘rare’, a word which here means ‘frequently occurring’.” Or maybe we should just run with Andrew Roth of the New York Times:

President Vladimir V. Putin said Monday that he would scrap Russia’s South Stream gas pipeline, a grandiose project that was once intended to establish the country’s dominance in southeastern Europe but instead fell victim to Russia’s increasingly toxic relationship with the West.

It was a rare diplomatic defeat for Mr. Putin, who said Russia would redirect the pipeline to Turkey. He painted the failure to build the pipeline as a loss for Europe and blamed Brussels for its intransigence.

The decision also seemed to be a rare victory for the European Union and the Obama administration, which have appeared largely impotent this year as Mr. Putin annexed Crimea and stirred rebellion in eastern Ukraine.

Russia had long presented the $22 billion South Stream project as a sound business move. But Washington and Brussels had dismissed it as a thinly veiled attempt by the Kremlin to cement its position as the dominant supplier in Europe while sidestepping Ukraine, where price disputes with Moscow twice interrupted supplies in recent years.

There was a time, not so long ago, when American conservatives fell in love with Puti-Toots. This was not so hard to understand, given their memory problems. (No, seriously, have you checked in on the Republicans who wax macho about how President Bush wouldn’t have taken shit from Putin, but also forget how the Administration stood by and allowed Russia to invade Georgia?) After all, here we have a closet homosexual running a pogrom against gays in Russia, clodhopping his way through the Ukraine, and absolutely burying the state he leads under its own economic detritus while chasing down the Manichaean hole of glory days gone by when the KGB had free rein in a useless dualistic struggle.

(more…)

The Burning Question

"And, er, they are tight.  I mean tight all the way down to the ankles.  And that is not modest, brothers.  No.  It's not appropriate.  It's not sound of mind.  And I was proud of the circuit overseer, who told me this past summer at one of the international conventions—'cause he brought it up—one of these fellas shows up for his circuit overseer visit, and he wants to go out in the ministry, work with him door to door, and he's wearing tight pants." (Anthony Morris III/Kingdom Hall)

One of the challenges facing the blogosphere is its localization. While the democratizing of the internet does mean that any idiot anywhere with an internet conection can now have a soapboxα, there is also the possibility that nobody who happens to live anywhere else has a clue what you mean. Who else is going to understand the Mudhoney bit with socks and toasters, or why the Soundgarden video with the spoons is so damn hilarious?

Okay, plenty, I suppose. It just requires careful watching. Of music videos.

Okay, better example: Who the hell else understands David Schmader?β

I ain't gay no more! I'm delivered!To the other, it is not so cryptic to wonder at the sight of that guy wearing that jacket with that shirt, and that tie and silk square announcing, “I’m not gay no more. I am delivered!”

Which, you know … right. Good for you, dude. Go into business. Jesus the Carpenter would make a killing on closet doors.

Oh, right. Sorry, wrong theology. I’m thinking of Prosperity Gospel, not the Good News of Self-Hatred.

Actually … er .. right. Never mind.

But what, you might ask yourself, is the purpose of such a ranting blog post? Well, to the one, in Slog terms, it’s an entertainment thing. The Stranger and its readers seem to enjoy morbid comedy, and, well, inasmuch as queerness just radiates from the clip, even down to the preacher’s attempt to stir revivalist flames while maintaining a dignified, wooden appearance, ranges between queer and downright f’d up. That is, there comes a point where you look at the little pink glans ring on the microphone as the young man comes in(to) the closet ....

Oh, Jesus. Lord help us.

Look, Freudian fallacies (and phalluses) pass for comedy vérité of the highest order around here.γ But it is true; there are fewer places in human society that understand The Stranger in general, or David Schmader in particular, than, say, Calvinism.

But this is where the fun really begins, because after the chuckle comes the scary part.

(more…)

The Danger of the Closet

Ah, Russia ....

A memorial to Apple Inc founder Steve Jobs has been dismantled in the Russian city of St Petersburg after the man who succeeded him at the helm of the company, Tim Cook, came out as gay.

Vladimir Putin, the most dangerous closeteer.The two-metre (more than six-feet) high monument, in the shape of an iPhone, was erected outside a St Petersburg college in January 2013 by a Russian group of companies called ZEFS.

Citing the need to abide by a law combating “gay propaganda”, ZEFS said in a statement on Monday that the memorial had been removed on Friday — the day after Apple CEO Cook had announced he was homosexual.

“In Russia, gay propaganda and other sexual perversions among minors are prohibited by law,” ZEFS said, noting that the memorial had been “in an area of direct access for young students and scholars”.

“After Apple CEO Tim Cook publicly called for sodomy, the monument was taken down to abide to the Russian federal law protecting children from information promoting denial of traditional family values.”

(Golubkova)

Believe it or not, this nonsense actually makes sense if we acknowledge reality. That is to say, it is a real fact that the Russian government believes straight men will somehow become gay and leave their wives if homosexuality isn’t suppressed.

Putin reiterated his concern that Russia must get rid of the-gay, lest the country’s birthrate not rebound sufficiently. Which is to suggest that somehow gay people will steal otherwise heterosexual Russians away from their opposite-sex spouses. And the only people who think that straight men would gladly leave their wives for a gay guy are men who would gladly leave their wives for a gay guy. They’re called bisexuals (or closeted homosexuals).

Welcome to the club, Vlad!

(Aravosis)

And, well, right; this is why Putin’s government is acting like a self-loathing closet case.

____________________

Golubkova, Katya. “Russian memorial to Apple founder dismantled after CEO comes out”. Reuters. 3 November 2014.

Aravosis, John. “Putin wants to ‘cleanse’ Russia of gays, may have just admitted he’s bi”. AmericaBlog. 20 January 2014.

More #GamerGate Fun

Detail of Matt Bors, "GamerGate Contagion Spreads", 29 October 2014.  (via Daily Kos Comics)And then there’s this.

At any rate: What do you call two GamerGaters swapping fantasies about how they want to rape a woman to death?

Closet cases.

What? What were you thinking?

Note to #GamerGate: Seek immediate help.

(Detail of Matt Bors, “Gamergate Contagion Spreads”, 29 October 2014. Via Daily Kos.)

Puti-Toots, Greek Style

He's so dreamy ...?!

Puti-Toots and the HydraVladimir Putin has gone Greek.

The prior statement is really funny if you’re an American who remembers what the phrase “Greek style” meant in the 1970s. After all, Puti-Toots is the world’s most prominent (and, as of this year, eligible) closet homosexuals ever recorded in history. Whether frothing up pogroms against his fellow gays under the excuse that homosexuality will make good heterosexual Russian husbands go gay, or posing for shirtless photos showing him being gentle with a horse, the Russian boss really seems to enjoy making people wonder what’s really going on behind those sensitive, manly, thoughtful eyes. Whatever.

Come out, come out, Puti-Toots. You’re not really fooling anyone. That is to say, we get it. You’re manly. You’re powerful. You’re vulnerable to homoerotic temptation. And look at the homoeroticism you’re inspiring in your fanboys.

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Zavadski, Katie. “Putin’s Birthday Present Is a Hercules-Themed Art Show About How Manly and Amazing He Is”. New York Magazine. 6 October 2014.