Wednesday, May 18, 2005

TWISTING IN THE WIND. The Ole Perfesser calls Andrew Sullivan an "excitable" "emoter-in-chief" who should write "a bit less about gay marriage." To his credit, the Perfesser did not just up and call him a faggot, but when you have such command of schoolyard code, you don't have to get crude.

What caused this falling-out of Fighter Keyboarders? Sullivan, via the ever-popular reader e-mail device, makes a disturbing comparison of Reynolds' Abu Ghraib coverage to Reynold's Newsweek-Koran coverage. The Perfesser misrepresents this, saying "Andrew Sullivan seems to think that I should be blogging more about Abu Ghraib, and less about the Newsweek scandal." Of course Sullivan's real point is that the Perfesser portrayed the prisoner-torture scandals as just another example of the damned lying librul media, whereas he treated the Newsweek story as... another example of the damned lying librul media.

In other words Sullivan seems to have tumbled to the fact that some of his fellow "Eagles" are not necessarily the plain-spoken all-American advocates for truth -- kinda rough around the edges, but you know how Yanks are! -- that he, in his Americaphilia, once took them for, and might in fact be operatives on the (horreur!) European model, with an agenda, or idee fixee, in service to which they will not scruple to misrepresent or even ignore the truth.

I wonder when Sullivan began to figure this out? During the last election Reynolds suggested that advocates of gay marriage -- one of the issues, remember, that was supposed to unite "anti-idiotarians" -- should pipe down and support Bush, because supporting his opposition -- "the Bush-bashing Gephardt position" -- might "alienate Republicans, even those who are supportive, or at least not opposed to, gay marriage." Sullivan's response then was critical but collegial, as it normally is when people he respects are tin-eared about his marriage crusade. Weren't they fine feathered friends after all, up there in the aery?

So I wouldn't say that the persistent obtuseness of the other Eagles on gay marriage has by itself worn Sullivan's patience -- rather, it may have come from observing firsthand and over a period of months the lengths to which they will go to spin every datum and factoid into a celebration of their glorious cause. On the same page as his misrepresentation of Sullivan, the Perfesser adds his commentary to George Galloway's recent appearance before Coleman and Levin: a long quote from perhaps the only portrayal in the English-speaking world of that encounter as a victory for the Senators. Even the New York Post couldn't spin it that way; even John Derbyshire, the notorious homophobe and Sullivan's bete noire, would not so lower himself. But the Perfesser, that sea-green Incorruptable, answers to an authority higher than common sense.

The Perfesser suggests that he has done with Sullivan now. Doubtless many other Eagles will also take wing. Thus the scourge of traitors, who could spot an enemy of the Republic by his place of residence, finds himself in exile! I wonder whether, when he looks around his depopulated salon these days, Sullivan thinks of Orwell or of Whittaker Chambers.

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