Wednesday, June 06, 2018


The Trump era was made for such as Rod Dreher. He likes to protest that he's not a Trumpkin, but no one else on God's green earth has as many "I'm not a Trump supporter but..." qualifiers in his writing as he does. Part of this has to do with his Benedict Option racket -- how can he sell the rubes on his monasticism-plus-wifi palaver if Trump has sanctified the land and removed the need for holy retreat? But mainly it's that Trump is Dreher's secret dream: He's embarrassed by Trump, but he loves what Trump is doing for America -- that is, making it easier for bigots like himself.

Lately Brother Rod's been especially hard on the blacks and the gays. Recently he found a Quillette article by a black wingnut at Columbia where the kid, Coleman Hughes, actually asks: if Rihanna gets to have an all-black band, why can't a white person have an all-white band? The obvious answer is GO TO ANY GODDAMN MUSIC FESTIVAL IN AMERICA OR THE U.K. THEY DO IT ALL THE TIME! But Dreher's excited, thinks Hughes is "very, very brave" -- though I can't guess why, because black wingnuts are worth their weight in gold these days -- why, with such credentials you can commit felonies and, if you're sufficiently vituperative toward liberals, there's a good chance Trump will pardon you. (Dinesh D'Souza is so juiced about his pardon that, to reward his benefactor by making him look racially sensitive, D'Souza actually inferred that he himself is a person of color, which I don't believe I've ever seen him do before; usually he hits black people with racial slurs.)

Anywho, Dreher thinks Hughes is the bees knees and, though there's nothing in the Quillette article about gay people, he hauls them into the target area too:
[Hughes] focuses on blacks, but as a general matter, if you read the mainstream press, you’ll find there’s a tendency to treat gays and other minority groups favored by liberals with kid gloves — as if they were symbols, not real people, with the same virtues and vices that everybody else has.
"Mainstream media" being here an obvious, redundant synonym for liberals, this is a callback to an ancient trope that I've been hearing all my life -- probably most familiar to you via Tom Wolfe, but known to me by the yammering of the bigots I grew up with: That liberals, who are always assumed to be white, must not see blacks as fully human -- because if they did they would, like conservatives, despise them. But this Dreher column is the first place I can remember seeing gays pulled into this if-you-really-knew-them-you'd-hate-them-like-me paradigm as well.

The gays have been on Dreher's mind much of late, thanks to Masterpiece Cakeshop's SCOTUS victory over the same-sexers who thought they had a right to buy a wedding cake from them. Over several posts Dreher pee-dances over the decision because it was narrow and does not guarantee a wider right to discriminate against Sodomites (and to keep alive the BenOp shtick, natch). It's all disgusting, but one section particularly leapt out at me: Dreher quotes with approval (that is, he says the author "nails what's happening") R.R. Reno of the theocon magazine First Things on Masterpiece:
That two gay men in Denver can bring to bear the full power of the state against a baker who does not wish to bake them a wedding cake is the height of absurdity. The gay couple do not belong to a vulnerable class of Americans. IRS data show that male-male married couples filing jointly have dramatically higher family incomes than other married couples, to say nothing of the disintegrating working-class families who don’t enjoy the benefits of marriage. Empowering a segment of the upper class to beat up on those who don’t approve of their sex lives is a recipe for social fragmentation.
This brought to my mind the triumphal citation among normal people of gay earning power and corporate acceptance as a sign that gay rights are here to say. I actually got a taste of this today at the corporate cafeteria I visited for lunch, where they were giving away Pride t-shirts, festooned with anodyne (and mostly too small to read) pro-gay hashtags and the (large and readable) company logo on the back. The innocuous ubiquity, or ubiquitous innocuousness, of this sort of thing may give the impression that the battle has been won.

But the very thing that looks like victory -- and should mean victory, given that America advertises itself as a place where honest commercial and financial success are all that matter -- is what Reno is using to attack gays: the notion that they "do not belong to a vulnerable class," and in fact "beat up on" the "disintegrating working-class families" (always presumed to be white and straight) who "don’t enjoy the benefits of marriage"  -- that is, have chosen not to get married, which in the minds of Reno and Dreher must be the gays' fault -- or that of the liberals (always, also, presumed to be white and straight) who, perversely and disloyally, side with the gays. As for the beating-up, why, that is done by gays merely by being gay, and being so rude as to insist on what in other contexts are called Constitutional rights.

In short, these people will do anything to destroy gay rights, and the easiest path for them now is to pretend they're doing so on behalf of less fortunate white straights -- in other words, that segment of the population shown to be most susceptible to Trump's bullshit. If they can convince these poor white, het dopes that gays are stealing something from them -- Straight pride? Jobs that might otherwise be reserved for heterosexuals? The right to beat up and/or rape a class of people that had been fair game in their pappy's day? -- then they just might be able to hitch the Trump Train to their retro mission and pull things back to the way things were before members of the same gender could hold hands in public, let alone all that other stuff.

What I'm saying is, happy Pride, but be prepared: Stonewall was a riot, and it looks as if we may have to pick up some paving stones ourselves.

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