Joe Catron Vs. The Gay White Bogeyman

The past few days have been truly bizarre in the depressing extent to which the Supreme Court inspired people to incoherently and stupidly bemoan queer failings and betrayals and to grossly overstate the negative impact of same sex marriage. This is the latest outbreak of a disease afflicting the internet left, and while I still don’t wish to address it in comprehensive terms, I do want to close up shop on Joe Catron, who is simply emblematic of the bigger problem.

Catron is in his own special class of disingenuous, lying, reactionary prick, so congrats to him for forcing a break in the ice. All by himself, he is a problem — as vicious and divisive as a provocateur  — but he’s not the problem. Where the problem is concerned, he certainly makes a good case study in his shamelessly dishonest use of bastardized cultural appropriation theory to maliciously set people against each other. He’s also clearly adept at performative bad faith, where an almost showy disingenuousness is part of the stigmatizing game.

His argument for blaming “white gay people” and turning the Outrage Machine loose on them for a comic they had nothing to do with is shamelessly shabby: A few gay people — who he was unwilling to point to when pressed — RT’d it.  But the shabbiness of his argument is simply another way of telegraphing his contempt and status.

Between a conversation with me and one with Glenn Greenwald, it became clear why he thinks it’s perfectly fine to lie and invoke bad theory to stigmatize gay people: he sees queer social inequality as a thoroughly trivial matter except as a multiplier for a real problem, like racism. This is another thing we see a lot these days: The presumption that white queers, particularly men, are largely insulated from the pernicious effects of social inequality, which are presumed to be, by themselves, fairly minor anyway.

Catron’s first engagement with me came two days after my post, during a discussion of the episode into which he’d been tagged:

Looking for a Reason

How tiresome the use of this truly idiotic Park Slope thing is, which apparently signifies my vast wealth, and would be argumentatively meaningless even if it weren’t completely made up. But Catron’s use here at least hints at why so many people invoke this with me, sometimes with dog whistles like “effete.” Abundant wealth is part of the Gay White Male caricature, which I’m guessing is what neutralizes any reluctance lefty non-homos might have to hector, talk down to, and even be blatantly homophobic with us.

Indeed, the Gay White Male casts an increasingly long shadow over all queer-related discussion in this realm. He’s even a meme. At first glance he looks like a proxy for his straight counterpart, but on inspection he is uniquely more prone to racism, selfishness, transphobia, misogyny, and conformity, as well as stereotypical consumerism and superficiality. He maintains an iron grip on queer institutions and politics for the sake of pursuing his own narrow interests. When he’s not shopping, gentrifying neighborhoods, choosing china patterns, excluding trans people or insulting Black women, this monster is cutting deals with neoliberalism and derailing everyone else’s work toward true liberation. Dishonest beatdowns in unadorned bad faith is the least this character deserves!

I shouldn’t have to temper that with a dose of reality, so I won’t, except to say that I told Catron that I had been assaulted for being queer. Which elicited this:

Poor TarzieImagine this reaction to a similar disclosure by a victim of any other hate crime. I’m saying that because, based on the way things have been going, I doubt that this level of nastiness would strike anyone as particularly awful without a substitution analysis, and even then, maybe not. Is substitution analysis still outside the ever widening net of vulgarized cultural appropriation theory?  I’d sure hate to erase anyone else’s assault by comparing it to my own.

Our conversation was much longer than it needed to be, with Catron making fast and loose with the “pampered little nitwit”s and the “the angry rich kid”s and “Park Slope anarchist”s, never ever dealing with my insistence that he misrepresented the comic to promote animus against gay people.

Not one to leave any Asshole stone unturned, he went all Dadly after we’d finished:

Angry Young Radical

Oh Father dear, how I wish I were the rich, exceedingly young blade of your and so very many imaginations! But sadly, my contempt is not youthful folly. I dislike you because you’re an asshole.

Somewhat later, an uncharacteristically mild-mannered Glenn Greenwald  took this up, eliciting less invective but not much else :

Catron and Greenwald

I love the “what you may delicately call ‘known gay’ sources” even though I have no idea what the fuck he’s insinuating. What would Catron indelicately call them, I wonder.

Twitter search is not definitive, but a search of the link to Liniers original post suggests that all the tweets in English from the very beginning were admonishments remarkably like Catron’s. He told Greenwald that his known gay sources deleted all connection once they sensed the beatdown machine’s disapproval. I would bet all of my vast Gay White wealth that this is a lie, but it’s also beside the point. A smattering of “known gay sources” so small that it can disappear with nary a trace, is not sufficient grounds for singling out “gay white people” for an alleged theft of an iconic moment in Black history.  But Catron breezes right past this on his high horse:

I'm sorry

Deal with it

Later, Catron suggests Greenwald shouldn’t assume anything about Catron himself. Though if it’s a secret between Catron, the NSA and his bedroom walls, he is particularly unqualified to tell gay people how not oppressed they are, though it could explain why he’s so belligerently inclined to.

Catron: Well now...

Others joined in and Catron kept to the trail blazed for white proxies of POC by Tim Wise, where colonized people are entirely authoritative when they agree, and as inconsequential as anyone else when they don’t. Observe:

No Laughing Matter

With that, I’m way past sick of this guy and a whole lot of others. But I wanted an end to this story and this is it. I recommend checking out what Liniers has said about the fracas on his timeline. He took down the comic, but refuses to apologize for it.  He’s not won over to the merits of Balkanized human rights struggles. I can’t imagine why not.

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56 Responses to Joe Catron Vs. The Gay White Bogeyman

  1. Just wanted to say all over again that these past days have been excruciating and enraging. I usually expect to be grumpy around Pride, but for entirely different reasons.

    Catron’s nastiness to both you and Greenwald was inexcusable, and his tiptoeing and awkward phrasing (“known gays”…one step past “admitted sodomite”, basically) made a terrible thing that much worse.

    Indeed the Gay White Male casts a long, evil shadow over all queer-related discussion in this realm, and he could be seen as a proxy for his straight counterpart, were he not uniquely more prone to racism, selfishness, transphobia and misogyny, in addition to maintaining an iron grip on all queer institutions and politics, and being stereotypically consumerist and shallow.
    Great summary of this Big Gay Bogeyman. I can’t *not* see it everywhere right now – I just read that all white gay people want to party while all QPOC struggle to maintain revolutionary praxis – and it’s depressing the fuck out of me. But your identification of this issue and analysis are beyond valuable. Thank you.

  2. A Really Small Farm says:

    Andy Thayer has some interesting observations in his article “The Supreme Court Didn’t Give Us the Right to Marry (Neither Did the Politicians and Their Hangers-On)” on CounterPunch. I think the first three paragraphs pretty much answer the objections (or rather, the sneering remarks) from these liberal-types.

    Also, hope you don’t deactivate this blog if that is what you meant in your reply to just a nobody.

    • Tarzie says:

      Thanks for the tip.

      Deactivating Twitter is more likely than deleting the blog.

      • thombrogan says:

        Deactivating Twitter is more likely than deleting the blog.


        Catron a la voice of radical black disappointment reminded me of a lot of the hate heaped on conservative columnists I used to read. If they weren’t men; and more so if they weren’t white men; their ‘progressive’ detractors vomited misogyny and racism that would’ve made a neo-nazi blush. If they didn’t “know their role,” or “stay in their lane,” it staid ugly. Not saying the columnists’ viewpoints were agreeable, but the venom they received exceeded the same received by their white, male colleagues with close views.

        But that seems to directly apply to only Catron in this instance as he went out of his way to make the Liniers’ illustration into something new. Everyone else gleefully flashing homophobic fangs gave me other thoughts.

        What purpose does fighting tooth and nail for title of “most oppressed group” serve? It doesn’t aid in fighting/reducing oppression and makes such a goal appear barely pursued and hardly valued when minimizing/dismissing greviances from other oppressed groups is worth so much energetic hate and easily set off by Joe Catron. I’m guessing the intersection of white liberal and black liberal guilt intersects at acknowledging that LGBT people are humans.

        Or in less words: fuck that doofus and everyone who went along with him with a log splitter.

      • Tarzie says:

        Yeah, that’s a good point that you raise about non-white, non-male conservatives. Brings to mind the misogyny heaped on Michelle Malkin and the homophobia heaped on her husband by liberals. They got a lot of lascivious yucks out of Larry “Wide Stance” Craig, too.

        Yeah, fuck all of them, I say. This shit is dishonest and dumb.

  3. gbelljnr says:

    I’m glad you did this last post, because while Catron’s RT spree was indicative of a broad receptivity to this kind of bullshit elsewhere, as regards Catron it bore testament mainly to his planetary self-regard. Whereas these exchanges offer a plainer insight into where it’s all coming from.

    (Apparently) straight white guy appropriates one minority liberation struggle to instigate resentment and loathing against another. He has made crass appeals to both Black liberation and class discourse in order to incite against queers. I read that he is also a Pal solidarity activist. How did this guy end up as the umpire? Sitting at the interstices of all these different struggles, affording him the position to arbitrage their moral force and vitality to his own advantage, undermining solidarity, encouraging division, leveraging the discourse of each minority struggle in just such a way as to chafe aggressively with that of the other, enhancing his own status while leaving the oppressed confused and atomized, taking lumps out of each other and doing the work of the oppressor? There is nothing new about this bullshit. In which of the aforementioned movements is this guy a member of the oppressor group?

    • Tarzie says:

      Jesus, George, if you ever start blogging, I’m gonna be outta business. That is extremely incisive and well said.

      He has made crass appeals to both Black liberation and class discourse in order to incite against queers.

      This is quite a perfect summary.

      As for what group he’s in, I’m pretty sure he’s a straight white guy, though there’s nothing definitive. I think that’s likely how most people jumping through his hoops see him. One of the things I found so depressing is the way an apparently straight white guy pitted oppressed groups against each other and they grabbed the bait. Sort of makes clear where, in status terms, straight guys sit against queer guys, even for a large number of Black people. He said jump and they did. To this suggests, political who don’t think strategically at all. Like, do they honestly think that atomizing their movement from everyone else’s advances their group interests? This shit is religion not politics.

      • RUKidding says:

        I am – depressingly – reading through your various blogs about this distressing, and ultimately disgusting, situation. I thought I had gotten long past being mind-boggled, but there you go: just when you think it can’t go lower… there’s some slimbag out there who will Prove. Me. Wrong.

        I couldn’t tell from the tiny photo, so I figured this Catron creep – who IS he anyway? I, for one, have never ever heard of him & hope I don’t have to again – was at least black/African American. If so, still not at all acceptable what’s he’s ragging about, but at least lends a chimera of, uh, I dunno sort of “credibility” to his nasty diatribing bullshit.

        It *appears* that he managed to gin up a lot of anger amongst what I assume to be African Americans – directing their ire against gay white men. Most unfortunate and certainly unmerited, even if every single gay white guy was super rich (which they aren’t). I don’t really “get” how someone’s economic status ties into whether one should or should not be granted constitutional rights. Is Catron saying/implying that if you’re rich, it doesn’t matter whether you can marry legally or not? I don’t get it, frankly.

        Sad to see this happening on what’s alleged to be the “left.” Is Catron truly “left,” or is he some paid troll of the PTB sent forth to gin up division amongst the hapless (and we are pretty much hapless) proles? Seems more akin to the divisiveness being sown by the so-called “Christian” evangelical right, whose carpet-bagging “leaders” (I’m looking at you Franklin Graham) are all about the money by ginning up their various “flocks” into phoney outrage du jour. This makes their “ministers” rich rich rich.

        Divide and conquer is the name of the game. So, again, who the eff is this Catron creep, and is he really somehow, in some way truly on the “left”? If so, who died and assigned this “position” to him. To be redundant: seems to be acting in typical “troll” behavior. Are you sure he’s not paid off by the likes of the Kochs or some rightwing think tank? Just curious & just saying…

      • Tarzie says:

        I’m not sure about Catron’s ethnicity or even his sexual orientation. He’s got one of those faces that could be 100% white as easily as it could be mixed race. I don’t think he looks Black in his avatar at all, and looking at other pictures doesn’t clarify it for me. I’ve referred to him here and there as a “white guy” and no one’s corrected me. I know that he doesn’t read these posts, so he’s not around to answer the question.

        You asked about how he views rich guys not being able to marry. In the exchange with Greenwald, he made clear that he saw no particular benefit in marriage, so naturally the different treatment wouldn’t seem terribly oppressive to him, if it seemed oppressive at all. If you read the full exchange with Greenwald, you’ll see how indifferent he is to queer social equality isolated from other problems. Maybe this is what happens when you spend as much time as he does in a hellhole of death and destruction like Gaza. Everything else seems very trivial. I can imagine feeling that way myself under similar circumstances, but I don’t think it justifies belittling other people’s problems, which, while not as severe are still genuine problems. Belittling my assault was beyond the pale, even though it didn’t sting me particularly. It’s the equivalent of telling someone they’re entirely negligible. Their well-being is of no consequence.

        I agree that this looks like deliberate provocation, but the motive could simply be to act out his own issues with queers, promote himself or some combo of both. When he started flooding my TL with those RTs, my jaw dropped. It felt like goading. Not of me specifically, but anyone observing it. I found it threatening, to be honest, which is how I find a lot of this generalizing about The Gay White Male. Up until he pulled this stunt, I had no objections to him and we’d even had a few pleasant exchanges.

        I’ve wondered a lot about some these Palestinian advocates. Out of the blue they’ll take really odd positions, like getting behind US activity around Syria. I also think a critique so narrowly focused on Israel has potential to run cover for US imperialism, though, among them, Catron is a fairly vocal anti-imperialist. I’m completely sympathetic to the cause, but so many of the people connected to it are awful and, in particular, weirdly hostile to the mainstream LGBQT movement.

      • gbelljnr says:

        You’ll never be ‘out of business,’ Tarzie. You write about thinking strategically, but this blog is the only game in town insofar as doing that is concerned. It’s an education.

        As for what is discussed above, if JC is not a straight white guy, I apologize to him unreservedly for making a qualified assumption about that, and for diminishing in any way oppression he may have experienced pursuant to those axes of oppression. Even so, I still don’t think what he’s said and done is consistent with any politics I want to be part of. At the very least, there needs to be more delicacy, more humility when dealing with these topics. But I honestly think the critique of this conduct needs to be much sharper than that.

      • Tarzie says:

        Thanks, George.

        I wonder if I should go to a most recent first format. That’s probably a setting.

      • a lonely thought says:

        I’m completely sympathetic to the cause, but so many of the people connected to it are awful and, in particular, weirdly hostile to the mainstream LGBQT movement.”

        There’s a pretty clear root to this – Electronic Intifada, which Catron writes for, has long taken a hostile stance to the mainstream LGBTQ movement, be it through publishing or going to bat for Joseph Massad, or through the personal views of the site’s writers. EI has a bit of a cult following – their reporting is really good, and pretty authoritative, but as a result, the stances they take on anything else have the tendency to get mindlessly adopted and espoused by their followers, many of whom seem to be straight white dudes.

  4. forest says:

    catron tweets high and mighty – a sure sign he’s flaccid. don’t deactivate.

  5. Jack-Off-Spades says:

    Has anyone actually ever produced evidence that engaging in historical referentials somehow ‘erases’ the previous event? This isn’t the first time this charge has been made and not only on queer issues. I remember that a group of people were making these same complaints, ironically, about Palestine solidarity activism. They claimed that paralleling the experience of palestinians and black americans was erasive and appropriative. I believe it was Tamara K Nopper who actually wrote something like this in the Jacobin.
    The reference doesn’t seem THAT far off given what was and still is happening in Russia for queer people right now. You have actual fucking nazis such as ‘Occupy Pedophilia’ hunting down and executing and gruesomely torturing queer people there(I bet Catron would find that amusing), dare I even say lynching lest I invite twitters unwanted wrath? Meanwhile white supremacist groups are still even today attacking and lynching black people with the virtual endorsement of the state. I am a little surprised about the reply to the 2 gays guys being white I mean…Russia isn’t exactly known for having a large black community or same racial political configuration of its population, maybe would have been better to include a chechen or Kazakh *shrugs*?
    Anyways, you’re right about the cultural appropriation thing being “…ever widening net of vulgarized cultural appropriation theory?”. No specific definition has pretty much meant that it has a chameleonesque definability.
    Wasn’t the civil rights movement itself heavily enmeshed with referencing centuries of jewish struggle against gentile europe and even indigenous struggles in the western hemisphere as well?
    Anyways I’ve rambled for too long, these people reek of inverted trotskyism, old trotskyites only focused on class at expense of everything else, these guys do it with race and belittle everything else.

    More of an aside but reading through those replies to the tweet I came to realize how amero-centric most of them were, people were actually telling an argentine to be more educated about american civil rights history. Which makes me think, “Does that mean you’ll be more informed about the dirty war and 10′ of thousand disappeared by US backed junta?” What exactly is this goal that american anti-racist activists seem to have for imposing their own historical metrics on other political landscapes. This sort of thing HAS been harmful to other countries developing their own political narrative and understanding of race/class/gender/etc. In Canada for instance this imposition has lead to a variety of stupid reaction from comparing First Nation to African Americans as equivalent groups(they aren’t this only erases Black Canadians from the picture) to serious disregard(in other words racism gets written off as an american phenomenon because it doesn’t look the same up north). There are probably a million and one things to say about this given the cultural and academic hegemony US institutions enjoy globally though.

    • Tarzie says:

      Has anyone actually ever produced evidence that engaging in historical referentials somehow ‘erases’ the previous event?

      Hi JOS, it’s good to see you here.

      I’ve tried to stay fairly clear of analyzing what “cultural appropriation” is happening in the drawing or the different things people were saying about it, since one of my main points is that “white gay people” have got no culpability here, regardless of whether or not the complaint about the cartoon is legit. I’m glad you wrote this, though, because I think it is worth discussing, especially since these claims are increasingly a thing.

      I had many of the same reactions you had. The US-centricnesss of it struck me right away. Not simply in making demands that Liniers know more about the US than surely most of them know about Argentina, but also the demand that he immediately and uncritically acquiesce to their bastardized appropriation theory. This is what I love about the outrage machine. It invents and follows fads, but once the fad takes hold, it’s as if it were ordained by God. No explanations required. “YOU SHOULD KNOW THIS ALREADY, SINNER!”

      It is certainly not immediately obvious to most rational people that evoking a 1968 event that a lot of people don’t even know happened, “erases” it. The use of the image is only meaningful because of its previous significance. The assumption that this kind of image use “equates” the two movements is also false. It’s quite clearly just placing them in the same constellation of concerns: human rights, equality, justice. As to the whiteness of the images, I think Liniers said he was envisioning skiers, which is a sport overwhelmingly dominated by white Europeans. To me, if the image is removed from the Sochi context, the complaint that it’s just white guys seems the most legit. But once you know the context, it’s hard to complain.

      The fracas over Palestinian solidarity was the second time I had seen this come up. The first time was when someone somewhere compared Chelsea Manning to Nelson Mandela. I found it ridiculous and needlessly divisive at the time. Really, what is the political purpose of this other than to create rifts between oppressed people. I could see it, maybe, if the underlying theory appealed logically, but it simply doesn’t. This outrage is 100% cultivated and learned. Completely agree with you that this is in the same neighborhood of class-only radical politics.

      I guess this is one more movement-stopping fad originating in universities. A white Marxist graduate student told me that the idea of “class” is an invention to conceal or abet — I forget which — white supremacy. You see something akin to this in the high-profile representation of Black Lives Matter, where people like DeRay insist that capitalism is a result of white supremacy, and are extremely resistant to introducing any issue besides Blackness and white supremacy.

  6. no soy yo says:

    At what point did “Don’t co-opt my movement” become a game of “I’m more oppressed than you are”? Considering the role of the US in the world, anyone in the US has more privilege than billions. I wonder what the 4.4 billion people in the world who have no access to the Internet (many of whom who have no electricity) would think about this ridiculous Internet contest about privilege and oppression? Or ask the people who have US-made bombs dropping on them regularly about privilege. Considering the history of the US’s reign of terror in Latin America, it seems strange to be trying to play “who’s less privileged” there, though of course someone from Argentina wins less points than someone in El Salvador.

    And not only does some random straight white cartoonist in Argentina need to know the nuances of US politics, like others have pointed out, but he also has to know the English language well enough to argue his point. Because, naturally. English. Some tweeters from the US were magnanimous and used google translate into Spanish and tweeted semi-nonsense (as opposed to the legible nonsense they tweeted in English).

    There’s always a problem in any group with co-opting and controlling by those with more privilege. We’ve seen it with the gay rights movement, civil rights, feminist movements, etc. Those of us with more privilege should always be thinking about it if we’re involved in these struggles.

    Yes, in this country, if I’m going to compare, I would say the historical experience of black people is “worse” than probably any other group’s. However, there’s something unique about having your very existence be illegal, and have people think they can change your very existence by prayer, or by beating you up (though apparently if they beat you up and you live in Park Slope, as opposed to East New York, the pain’s diminished). And there’s something unique about having gay and straight people alike criticize you and think it’s a choice and you should just “make up your mind.” And there’s something unique about being part of the majority, yet despite that still be discriminated against in the workplace, looked down on in the media, have to think about physical attacks when you get dressed in the morning and when you go out at night. Etc.

    These comparisons don’t stop the co-opting, and really don’t have anything to do with it. Today Jesse Jackson has more chance of co-opting Blacklivesmatter than I do (and he is sure trying, and in some cities succeeding), despite the fact that he has more points in the tally. Like others have said, it just makes us weaker with this eternal divide and conquer. Worry about “appropriation” becomes absence of solidarity. The revolution can’t be won by disabled black immigrant trans lesbians living in Palestine, so solidarity is a prerequisite. Not that “the left” seems to truly want substantive change anyway. As Joe Catron shows, these comparisons also can serve as a cover for homophobia in his case, or racism, sexism, etc.

    And, yes, the gay rights movement involved in SSM was run mostly by the more mainstream contingent. But part of the victory was making SSM mainstream.

    The classic homophobic response to SSM has been that somehow if gays could marry that would affect their own straight marriage. And now many people on the left seem to be saying that SSM somehow makes other groups more oppressed, or is responsible for their lack of progress. Yes, social security will probably soon be gone, health care is still unaffordable for many and getting worse, etc. Yes, the world is basically just as fucked up today as last Thursday, but the fact that it’s a bit less fucked up for some people after Friday doesn’t increase anyone else’s pain other than the pain of people who don’t accept that gay people should have the same right to marry, or their right not to marry if they don’t need the benefit and don’t want to support the institution of marriage, etc. Republicans who complain about gay marriage are called homophobes. “Leftists” who complain are of course instead sophisticated political thinkers.

  7. wendyedavis says:

    Once again, you and your commentariat have demonstrated how egregiously easy it is to pit people against one another; again, it makes me sad, as did your ‘Meet the New Police Reformer’ distributed cooptation. Tragically, it once again shows why unity against oppression has always failed in the US.

    You may consider it ‘too soon’ to appreciate, but I just went to the Intercept in order to see just how irrelevant it is, and found what fearless and uncompromising journalism™ looks like (when you’re backed by “Pierre’s” quarter of a billion bucks). ‘First Look Joins Legal Fight Over Hulk Hogan Sex Tape’ By Jon Schwarz I know I’m pullin’ for them!

    • Tarzie says:

      Holy shit.I thought you were joking.

      • wendyedavis says:

        lol; I wish it were an April Fool’s joke. But… er…apparently not; but the laughs were worth it.

      • Tarzie says:

        When I read something like that, I really do feel for the celebrity. That’s just disgusting. Obviously this is a genuine invasion of privacy, not a stunt.

      • wendyedavis says:

        It’s possible I shouldn’t have laughed, since of course it’s an invasion of privacy. As per the first commenter, he didn’t know they were being taped. He also calls bullshit on the reasons for the First Look joining the suit.

        But my enjoyment was simply schadenfreude, one of my worst flaws. Look at the articles listed o the front page; a lot of tittle-tattle, and even some very conventional drivel. Thank you for jerking me back to a more empathetic look at the celebrity’s side.

        But compared to: “Do you think if we had dirt on “Pierre” we wouldn’t publish it?” this is insulting as all giddy-up to the cause of journalism.

      • Tarzie says:

        It’s gross. They’re bringing everything down by putting their lofty serious brand on the same shit. The high-mindedness of Schwartz’s post is truly cringe-making.

      • wendyedavis says:

        Your concern for their brand may be entirely satirical, or at least I hope so. Myself, I have no idea if this piece was a feature or a bug; possibly a feature, given the other ho-hum article titles. Nor do I give a good goodam about FDL’s ‘former’ brand. The place has committed hara kiri, and now the Over Easy chat room authors are front-pagers (well, there are no ‘Readers Diaries’ any longer, which were often the most rebellious, if not altogther radical). Again, ample evidence of my schadenfreude.

        No so yo seems to have it right, and his final sentence was what I’d meant to convey about hacktivists having scored Soros emails on Ukraine, but not Pierre’s. (Some brain damage causes me to forget to finish my thoughts too often.)

        By the by, Lambert Strether reposted your ‘Meet The New Police Reform Bosses’ piece for his Links at Naked Capitalism the other day.

      • Tarzie says:

        You misread me. I don’t care about the TI brand. I care that they lend seriousness to trash like the Hulk Hogan sex video, and with high-minded talk about legal precedent. The impact isn’t on their brand, it’s on the culture.

        Yeah I saw that Strether had linked me by way of my stats. They drive a lot of traffic when they do that. That site must be very popular.

      • wendyedavis says:

        Yes, we seem to be talking past one another. I’d indicated that the post insulted journalism, and beyond that, it may be faux ‘absolutist journalism’, as per commenter Mona. ‘Far-reaching ramifications’ and all that hooey. But in the end, I may not know what you mean by ‘the culture’.

        Yes, NC is a very popular site with an experienced commentariat, and at least in the past, many high-minded folks.

        Speaking of which, it seems that Twitter is not conducive to psycho-spiritual health, given the wars that erupt all too often. Just sayin’.

      • Tarzie says:

        It seems that Twitter is not conducive to psycho-spiritual health

        So tell me something I don’t know. Cigarettes aren’t conducive to health either.

      • wendyedavis says:

        When I first wrote a post at My.fdl questioning the validity of a multi-billionaire funding the ‘new venture’, with multiple ‘magazine’ tabs or such, I’d speculated that it might turn into a more high-brow Huffington Post, much to the objection of many commenters. And yes, I agree with your belief that the self-conscious seriousness of the stable of 32 journalists give this garbage some patina of respectabitly that is one more race to the bottom.

        One thing I hadn’t noticed is that there was a note saying that the piece was originally published on the ‘Unofficial Sources’ tab at First Look, which magazine’s motto is “If you want the truth, don’t ask the official sources.”

    • no soy yo says:

      Let’s see if I can get this straight: post someone’s private sex tapes, invading his privacy. He sues, and then various media groups claim that posting those same sex tapes again is paramount to the transparency of Florida re (civil) courts. And one of those groups making those claims is an entity whose management and key staff have claimed that they should make the decision whether to publish information that affects every person on this planet, because they’re especially capable. And who claim that Chelsea Manning’s “dumping” of info relevant to all in many countries is “irresponsible” while their blocking info (until the movie at least) is oh-so-responsible.

      If you think the difference between an aircraft carrier and a catamaran is too “subtle” a difference, let me explain:
      Wrestler’s private sex video: private
      If wrestler had emails about WWF conspiracies and felonies: that would be public (but that’s not an issue here)
      If wrestler had raped someone: (no suggestion of anything but consensual sex) discussion public, but perhaps video should be kept private to protect other party
      Pierre Omidyar’s private sex videos: private
      Pierre Omidyar’s emails re. Snowden or Ebay etc.: interest to public, therefore “transparency” and “freedom of speech” relevant
      Snowden’s documents: of interest to every human on the planet, therefore should be public.
      Oh, and yes, no one’s privacy should be worth $100 million. And professional wrestling is a fucked-up business.

      You’re right, too subtle to figure out. Obviously we should err on the side of The Intercept, because: GlennGreenwald, Ryan Devereau, Jeremy Scahill, etc.

  8. This is incredible. You submitted to the cult of Catron and his ilk here when you shared a trauma, (I’m sorry- how did you do that? I am really loathe to perform for this slimy crowd). And then he literally mocked you for it? The cult of identity vapidity is slowly breaking down and can only thrive on Twitter/Tumblr, I think. (See: the Andrea Smith stuff this week.) College students eventually have to leave their campuses too.

    • Tarzie says:

      how did you do that? I am really loathe to perform for this slimy crowd

      I didn’t consider it a performance or submission. I wasn’t looking for sympathy. I simply stated a fact that was at odds with all the trivializing that was going on. I actually down-played the amount of violence I’ve been subject to, cause I didn’t want to get all victimy. I really think a lot of people think that being gay no longer has a high cost, at least for white men.

      I think his reply was usefully revealing, and I felt satisfied that he showed his fangs. I didn’t realize until that moment how bad things were. The general indifference about it is revealing also. I have no regrets. Everything proved my original point. You’re the only person to have remarked on that part specifically, which to me was the most outrageous part of the whole affair, apart from his original provocation.

      I’m not sure “identity vapidity” is how I’d describe this. Clearly gay id politics are the red-headed stepchild, weirdly disparaged with dog whistling class resentment, something that is also otherwise invisible from this politics.

      I agree with you on how stupid these politics are, and I hope you’re right about this nonsense being segregated from the real world, but I’m not so optimistic. In any event, I think people of good faith should throw in the towel on Twitter. It gets worse and worse. Honest, respectful debate is just not possible.

      • Agreed on Twitter. It’s a terrible addiction when I have more free time than usual. I think smart people can use it but please don’t expect to get anything of value in return. It’s amusing for awhile and then turns vicious. Definitely brings out the worst in me.

        re: performance, yeah I see how that sounds and certainly don’t mean to add to offense. I guess what I meant is, I do see it as performance in their brand of politics. As you reference, all colonized people or minorities get granted patronizing pseudo-authority in all discussions in that particular universe he inhabits. Their actual critiques or analysis aren’t treated like any other adult’s and are passed over/around by a mostly white/straight/academic crowd who consumes their soundbytes. So when you submit and flay yourself before them to say, “I too can claim this marginalization and your stereotype is wrong”, I feel like it’s complying with this brand. I also feel it’s harmful to do. N American feminists fell into this in the late ’70s and self-flagellated to death. I certainly am not one of the people saying there is no place for identity discourse/politics. However, I think Catron’s is a clear example of how modern identity politics can obscure actual political events and all because of the fetishization of certain identities (and demonization of others’, like the white gay male as you say). Overall though, we can still rest easy. A lot of the country seems to be celebrating the decision or at least taking it in stride.

        p.s. man, that Park Slope mythology won’t die. I think it’s another example. They are basically saying, “prove yourself, show your tax records/zip code/economic suffering”. Flay.

      • Tarzie says:

        I didn’t take any offense. You have a perspective that I hadn’t considered. I like that you saw that particular exchange as significant. I don’t think too many people did.

        I can see your point about “self-flagellating to death” and how it does concede to their terms. I guess sometimes you just have to triage. Anyone who has to be convinced that queer people experience oppression, or that it matters, aren’t going to be won over by an anecdote about queer-bashing. I guess I keep hoping that this bizarre attitude toward LGBQ — omitting the T which has a much stronger purchase on their concerns — is the result of some really bad opinion leaders that can be overcome with reasonable opposition. A lot of queer Twitter buddies have mentioned how sick they are of this stuff, but none of us says anything. Catron sort of forced the issue for me.

        Overall though, we can still rest easy. A lot of the country seems to be celebrating the decision or at least taking it in stride.

        True. Good to keep that in perspective. So hard to get the full measure of Twitter’s importance or influence.

    • I don’t think it is a coincidence that the violence/mockery stood out to me and that I’m one of a minority here (I think); female readers. This post just made me think of more… I had a nasty spat this weekend with a gay white male friend over Hillary stuff. Just useless stuff in the scheme of things. We haven’t talked in almost a week now. I think I will go back to him and say sorry first, only because this post has forced me to remember, all things considered, his isn’t an easy lot by far. (Even though, I attribute a lot of his support for her to his current well-off, gay white male n’ married status). His life before marrying a successful dude was rough. He is just as dependent on the earning power and status of his husband as I would be if I (did what I feel like is) submitted to marriage. I need to be better to him right now. Gay marriage rights will also finally mean equitable gay divorce rights for all kinds of queer people in mixed class marriages.That is a big deal to my cynical feminist brain.

      • Tarzie says:

        I don’t think it is a coincidence that the violence/mockery stood out to me and that I’m one of a minority here (I think); female readers.

        Not to split hairs, but a lot of women read and comment here. In fact, my most prolific commenters are all women, though you can’t always tell from their handles.

        I attribute a lot of his support for her to his current well-off, gay white male n’ married status

        Undoubtedly, but isn’t this how everyone is trained to do politics? This is what’s bugging me: I don’t think LGBQ people are behaving differently than anyone else. People look to politics through an individualist lens. This is unfortunate — it’s learned, can be unlearned — but LGBQ people don’t have a monopoly on it. (Again, omitting the T because I think that politics is distinctly different right now)

        If anything, we’re late bloomers to putting our interests first and being single-issue about it. Hillary was beloved to the mainstream Dem faction of the LGBQ community all those many years she was saying marriage is between a man and a woman only. Queers asked for little more than some funding on health issues and symbolic support. And that’s all they got. Her husband was a total disaster. Queers loved him too. Gestures are better than outright hatred.

        People who didn’t support Obama last time around were variously called racists and sexists. I’ve yet to see that kind of behavior on an equal scale from LGBT, though surely we can anticipate it as these issues become more mainstream. It’s of course going to be more pronounced among white men since they have fewer competing interests. However, I don’t know any gay men who regard choice and women’s rights as negligible. I’m sure they’re out there. But I haven’t met them and it’s only recently that that support has been unequivocally reciprocated. LGBT rights have never been the dealbreaker Choice is, not simply for rank and file liberals but for LGBT people too.

        I feel the hyper-scrutiny on thoroughly USian, totally orthodox behavior in LGBQ is part of the sickness I’m describing. There’s no possible explanation but bias.

        Glad for whatever part I’ve played in you and your friend’s impending reconciliation, though I’d smack him too. Queers for Hillary. Ugh. I saw her in the NYC Pride Parade one year and booed until i was hoarse while people gave me and my friends dirty looks.

      • “I don’t think LGBQ people are behaving differently than anyone else. People look to politics through an individualist lens. ”

        Yep, exactly and that’s why I realized I need to apologize first. I was pissed at him for that but it’s no different from any of my young straight female friends favoring Hillary out of “pragmatism” at little else to say at the moment.

        Re: the choice thing, I don’t agree at all that we are seeing parity yet. I know donor lists, event attendees, organizing stats, staff makeup in many repro orgs in the South/Mid-Atlantic and this is still work funded, done, provided mostly by straight women and queer women of all colors, mostly managed by white women but that is beginning to change with some major hires in recent years among the funds nationally. However, you’re up there in the NE so I know we’re seeing different things. We mostly raise for our procedures and support out of the NE and so if the donor lists there have more parity, thanks. I might be a position to know soon too.

      • Tarzie says:

        I didn’t mean parity in terms of legwork. I just meant that Choice was a political dealbreaker for LGBT people, including me, long before SSM or any other queer issue was. Mainstream LGBTQ organizations have included reproductive freedom in their agenda and voter’s guides for years. I was an abortion escort and so were a lot of my gay male pals. We’ve been there for protests. I simply don’t concede that gay men have been generally oblivious to this if you account for the fact that most LGBTs, like most people, are not even politically active on the issues that affect them most directly. I venture that where legwork is concerned, women will always dominate choice for obvious reasons.

        I don’t think there is any non-parity that doesn’t have an equivalent in the LGBQ community. Queers still mostly organize for themselves and fund themselves. It seems to me you are keeping a higher bar for parity for LGBQs unless I’m missing something. Are you seeing some area where we take and don’t give, because in my experience it’s been the opposite, with straight liberals now laughably pretending they’ve been there all along and the rest of the world has caught up. In fact, it’s been taken for granted that queer issues would stay on the backburner until it was pragmatic to do something else. Now we’re learning it’s all just happened because some rich gay guys wrote some checks. I assume you’re factoring in that that there are about 4 queers per hundred people when you’re calculating parity.

    • ” It seems to me you are keeping a higher bar for LGBQs unless I’m missing something.”

      Oh, no. I’m not measuring the activists themselves but the parity analysis comes into play when I think about the size of the population affected by attacks on repro justice. I think repro justice is like environmentalism and needs to be advocated for to some degree by every activist as recognition of the very real public health, criminal justice, population and economic crises that these attacks create. And again, my critique comes from the South where yeah, I would say I definitely see way more straight and queer white people allying with gay marriage equality efforts than reproductive justice. Where I am in the South, with one of the nation’s only gay female mayors, the HRC crowd still outraises everyone else based on the stigma.

      • Tarzie says:

        Yeah I guess there is a big regional difference, though I would have expected that Choice and SSM would be parallel in that regard, that greater tolerance for one means greater tolerance for the other. This is going to piss you off but I don’t agree that repro freedom is some issue that belongs at the top of everyone’s concerns to the exclusion of other things. I see all critical issues as critical and I’m not inclined to rank them, though if I did, mass incarceration would likely be first for me among domestic issues.

        I don’t really think a heterosexual woman is necessarily the best judge of where an issue that affects her most of all should sit in everyone else’s priorities. I kept hearing how repro freedom was MY issue all the time choice took precedent in queer movement politics and it was really not obvious to me and still isn’t. I will never need an abortion. Which is not to say I don’t support it, but I’m getting really tired of this insistence on how it’s emphatically MY issue rather than something I should simply support. During 2012 it was considered sexist — on the grounds of repro freedom — to withhold support from Obama based on his war-mongering. A position only a white dude would take was how the spin went. Choice has been doing that heavy-lifting for the Democrats for years. Oh my Godz, so and so is leaving the Supreme Court, you know what that means don’t you? If there are all these other issues rolling into reproductive freedom, do LGBT people have permission to focus on the subset of related issues that affect them more directly? And what are those?

    • “This is going to piss you off but… ”

      Haha, maybe at 26 but at 30? Naw I’m more chill. I accept this. I think most advocates are guilty at some times or levels of believing their cause is preeminent. I know that I’m obvs very biased by all the limitations that a lack of access for wage equality and healthcare has had on my life as a result of being born a child-bearing-capable person. It’s my job to convince people of my position but you know, I can’t and shouldn’t work full time. I never heard the repro freedom argument about Obama but then again I’m in Texas where he is least popular anyway.

      • Tarzie says:

        Yeah, I think I’ve really underestimated regional differences.

        I think a lot of this tension comes out of all these atomized concerns and movements, that a more comprehensive approach might mitigate. I just don’t know what that approach would look like. I think a movement for health care in which women’s health was front and center might make the connections plainer and engender more coalition support. We seem so atomized and I don’t know the cure. All these different movements are competing with each other, which is not to say it’s not perfectly natural for them to do so. It’s the squeaky wheel that gets the grease, and there’s very little grease to be had. Still it’s lamentable.

        I think what’s happened to repro freedom, despite Roe v Wade is just horrible. It shows the limits of the courts. I’m kind of surprised by it because I felt the movement was strong enough to withstand most significant challenges.

        If I sound snippy, credit it to my communication style. I really appreciate your perspective. You’re challenging me in a different way than I usually am around here. Which is not to say my other commenters are slouches, just that this is something of a departure. I appreciate your thick skin.

    • “If I sound snippy, credit it to my communication style.”
      This is usually my line! Our bluntness works since we understand and communicate that way just from other ends of a leftish? spectrum.

      “I really appreciate your perspective. You’re challenging me in a different way than I usually am around here, and you have a thick skin. Which is not to say my other commenters are slouches, just that this is something of a departure.”

      Again, the feeling is completely mutual! Only wish I hadn’t attempted being a boring respectable leftist for so long by lazily buying into Park Slope hype. Missed out on more challenges. More lurker truth: you helped me out of my GG fandom long before I would humanize you otherwise, aaaggghaha. (I have a signed book and went to his early talks in the mid-recent aughts because I so admired his legal help/analysis/appearances for various Muslim orgs). No matter where we end up disagreeing, your writing alone will always have been worth it to me for that.

      • Tarzie says:


        lazily buying into Park Slope hype

        Group pressure is really powerful, obviously. Twitter is a little antfarm for studying how much so.

  9. no soy yo says:

    The reason 140 characters is too few to explain the comparison between animal torture / killing and the holocaust or slavery is because the automatic assumption is that nonhumans are less valuable, and their pain is somehow different from human pain. Therefore the conclusion is that to make the comparison is to cheapen human oppression. It’s hard to believe that some of the resistance to comparisons (or perceived comparisons in this case) of LGBTQ issues to other issues isn’t coming from that same attitude of lesser/different.

    The craziest part of “I’m supporting Obama because of my vagina and I don’t care about war, WH secret death meetings (etc)” is how terrible Obama was to reproductive rights in his first term. During discussion about ACA, in a better sneer than even a Bush sneer: “this is a health care law, not an abortion law,” when of course abortion is the most sought-after health procedure for women. And the ACA allows state exchanges to refuse to allow abortion in any policy on the exchange, and if they do permit abortion coverage, there’s the same onerous policy as for the federal exchange: a separate check has to be written for the abortion part of the policy each month. So it’s easier to offer plans without abortion. And then employer funds just follow the same route. I wonder how many fewer insurance plans cover abortion today than in 2008; I wish I could find the data easily (I do know 22 states don’t permit abortion coverage except for cases of rape or incest and 2 states don’t permit it even then). I think that Obamacare may have been the cause of the single biggest reduction in affordable access to abortion since Roe v Wade. In addition, Obama memorialized the Hyde amendment with his signing statement on the ACA — something he didn’t need to do to pass the bill, plus didn’t he pledge to put an end to signing statements? Not when it comes to making sure poor women can’t get an abortion.

    Of course so-called “progressives” who support Democrats don’t care about actual policy and action, just rhetoric. I do think that SSM and LGBTQ rights are less objectionable for the oligarchy than rights for other groups and other desperately needed changes, but OTOH people involved in the SSM movement have been relentless about it, and not wishy-washy. For example, re. vaginas: NOW was the only mainstream women’s and/or reproductive rights organization to come out against ACA at the time. (NARAL was neutral and Planned Parenthood was for it — probably because of all the extra money they’d get from other services). But you’d never know it with NOW marching outside of SCOTUS, and defending the law to the teeth now. Probably got a lot of complaints from their membership. So fuck the actual results of the law, people feel good about the law so let’s defend it, because otherwise — those big bad Republicans! And you see the same thing with Obama’s foreign policy and wars, the environment (“if you don’t allow Keystone ‘we’ve got your back’ even though you’ve permitted offshore drilling, drilling on federal land, destroyed chance of an agreement in Copenhagen, etc)” SSM activists never did this support of rhetoric as opposed to action as far as I remember.

    • Tarzie says:

      It’s hard to believe that some of the resistance to comparisons (or perceived comparisons in this case) of LGBTQ issues to other issues isn’t coming from that same attitude of lesser/different.

      Sure seems that way from several of the comments and Catron’s behavior.

      Until your refresher, I had forgotten how bad Obama was on reproductive freedom. “this is a health care law…” is just appalling.

      As for support of rhetoric as opposed to action, not sure what an analogous situation would be, but certainly the SSM people supported anti-SSM candidates for years.

      • no soy yo says:

        “As for support of rhetoric as opposed to action, not sure what an analogous situation would be, but certainly the SSM people supported anti-SSM candidates for years.”

        Definitely. And they lost on SSM.

        Then finally they threatened to withdraw support from Obama and he miraculously “evolved.” They threatened to hold back money, too, which is where the complaints about privilege come from. But they never claimed they were only supporting the strongest LBGTQ candidates and then closed their eyes and look away about gay-bashing laws, which is what happens re pro-choice (and every other issue when “progressives” support Dems). For years huge numbers of people have claimed to vote for president only because of the SCOTUS-nominating ability of POTUS, which has historically meant they wanted to protect Roe v Wade, and meanwhile in reality, without the supreme court, choice has gotten harder and harder to come by. I said that NARAL had been neutral about ACA and NOW against it. But now they’re both proponents and huge defenders despite the separate check for abortion coverage rule and the fact that in half the country you can’t get abortion coverage on the exchanges. That’s something to fight for and defend? Then they wonder why we’re going backwards on abortion.

        Personally I’m not looking to the ballot box or the courts for anything, since I dot think that revolutionary change will ever come from them, but I’m not going to piss on a wedding cake when it comes along either.

  10. Richard Estes says:

    RTs are now indicative of antagonistic contradictions?

    I can’t help but recall the homophobia of US left groups like the SWP in the 1970s and 1980s when I read this. Catron comes across as someone influenced by that past, a workerist one where the working class and LGBTQ are placed in a false opposition to one another, as if there are no LGBTQ workers.

  11. T – interested in your thoughts on this image:

    NOPE Chris Christie

    Does is appropriate Obama’s brand? Is it an ironic statement on his fraudulent advertising? Is there a racial component?

    • Tarzie says:

      Answers: yes, no, no.

      I think it’s just using an image because it’s iconic and forces a comparison to someone the displayer probably thinks is vastly superior to Christie.

      I don’t adhere to the Twitter dipshit version of cultural appropriation theory Catron used, but even under those stupid rules, I don’t think there’d be anything to object to. Might be some objections if Christie appropriated it to flatter himself, but he’d never do that, considering who is audience is.

  12. James says:

    Any recommendations on a legit source to read about cultural appropriation? I’m pretty sure the stuff I read about it is from the dipshit twitter versions.
    BTW, great blog. I didn’t realize how much I’d been taken into the typical liberal positions until I saw what real analysis looked like. It’s scary how easy it is to be oblivious, when you’re so focused on the “right wing”.

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