David Frum and John Bolton Ahead of Obama on All Things Gay!


david_frum gb.jpgDavid Frum is really coming out of the closet on all sorts of things.
First, he agreed with me in a BloggingHeads/New York Times exchange that Iran’s leadership was behaving as if it really wanted to be bombed with some of its antics and thus Israel and all parties should take a step back from their hyperventilating intoxication with the subject and reconsider. Then he blasted the Republicans for their health care position — and now he is giving credit where credit is due on making Halloween a sexy, fun, adult holiday — to the gay community.
When I was 13, all of my closest friends happened to be Jewish while I was a failed and perpetually failing Episcopalian. So, I got an honorary Bar Mitzvah party.
After this great post reflecting on gay heritage and a holiday about dressing up in all things fun and ghoulish or fabulous, David Frum earns my vote as an “honorary gay man” — at least for a few days.
Frum writes:

To understand the global appeal of the Halloween holiday, go back to its origins. Those origins are found not in mystic Celtic folklore, but in modern gay culture.
Halloween is overwhelmingly an adult holiday. This year, for example, Americans spent an estimated $800 million on costumes for children, $1 billion on costumes for adults. Where did that adult dress-up party begin?
As best we can tell: in San Francisco’s Castro neighborhood. In the 1970s, that neighborhood emerged as the heart of a new home-owning, bourgeois, coupled gay community. A local variety store had long sponsored a Halloween street festival for kids. In the 1970s, the street festival transitioned into an adult party of lavish costumed theatricality. The “Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence” — a troupe of transvestite nuns — got their start here.
The Castro Halloween party spread to other gay neighborhoods in the 1980s: Greenwich Village, West Hollywood, Key West, Florida. In 1994, University of Florida anthropologist Jerry Kugelmass published a book on the new trend, “Masked Culture,” describing Halloween as an emerging gay “high holiday.”
And after a while — the straights imitated.
From the spread of disco in the 1970s — to the habit of paying money for sparkling waters such as Perrier — culminating in Halloween, gays have incubated and developed major cultural trends. Straights adopt, and then ungratefully forget whom they are adopting from — just as American Christians forget how much of the modern Christmas music they enjoy was written by Jews, starting with the most popular of them all, Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas.” The majority culture forgets what the minority culture has produced.
The “masked culture” first developed by the gays of San Francisco has reached across the lines of orientation — and now jumped across the boundaries between nations and languages. It’s not just a party. It’s an ideal of personal emancipation, self-expression and self-fulfillment — an ideal that loses none of its power when it takes the form of a sexy nurse’s outfit.

I want to take David to Nellie’s, JR’s and Cobalt (his wife Danielle too) and introduce him around. David Frum, no matter what he once inspired on Iran as a leg of the axis of evil, could make great bait at a gay bar (not for me – but for others. . .)
john_bolton_.jpgBut in all seriousness (i.e., the last part was NOT serious), I admire David Frum — who no doubt will be an architect of some future Republican order — for working hard to neutralize the anti-gay currents of his party.
I don’t think he has succeeded yet, but it’s good to have him there pushing the right buttons that embrace and include gays and lesbians in our national narrative.
And while I don’t want to get too far down this track, mark me as “pleased” that even John Bolton is making increasingly clear his support for “gay marriage.”
That’s right. John Bolton supports gay marriage. And I salute him for it.
And he supports the abolition of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. That’s right. JOHN BOLTON.
While I don’t agree with Bolton’s views in much of the international sphere, he is darned right enlightened on these issues.
Not even President Obama, who admits his own views may be on a bit of a journey, has gotten to the admirable place that John Bolton and David Frum have on the civil rights issue of this era.
— Steve Clemons


11 comments on “David Frum and John Bolton Ahead of Obama on All Things Gay!

  1. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Bolton, who has a great chance of getting his talons on some power once again, is just covering all his bases. Realizing that he will get another chance to suck Netanyahu off, he just doesn’t want to be seen as a hypocrite.
    And who cares what Frum thinks or does?


  2. Dirk says:

    I live very near San Francisco. I know quite a few gay people and while I haven’t addressed this particular issue in my conversations with them, I would venture to say that very few hold either Frum or Bolton in high regard. Especially when compared to President Obama.
    Conservatives, both paleo and neo, are the problem real problem, in this country and the world.
    Your article is almost Broderish in its attempt to paint these extremists in a moderate light just because they seem to agree with you on one point.


  3. questions says:

    A nice piece by Jonathan Bernstein on political choices and their consequences and the weighing of same:


  4. davidt says:

    Interesting timing Steve. But then I know that you never liked Obama. How many prior presidents support gay marriage? I support it and the demographics are moving in our direction, but to me this is just another of your cheap shots at Obama. If you wanted to do a post addressing this issue, how far it has come and how far it has to go and explaining some of the variables involved, that would be great. In tgat context you might address how Obama has dealt with it. But this is just a sideswipe.
    And yes, let’s cheer on two individuals who are unlikely to have much influence on this issue yet are likely (at least one of them) to have quite a lot of influence in challenging passage of the START treaty. But then that’s something important to the president so its probably bad (or at least it will be fun for you to have one more thing to critique him on) and probably to you just a minor foreign policy issue, so, never mind.
    Why not cheer these guys on so they can get a full head of steem before making our president look bad again in not too long after the election tomorrow.
    Hey, a coincidence here? I wonder?


  5. nadine says:

    “In fact I would argue that most neocons are really socially liberals with hawkish foreign policy mindset. ”
    Yes, Anthony, they used to be called “Democrats” before the New Left hate-America crowd hijacked the party. If John F Kennedy were still alive, he would be a neocon too.


  6. DakotabornKansan says:

    Repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act was one of Obama


  7. Ed Levy says:

    Before we get too smiley face about Frum, consider his comment on NPR Marketplace this week:
    “I know, I know, I know! There’s Christine O’Donnell, Rand Paul and Sharron Angle. Never mind Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin and Fox News. There’s the crazy guy in Texas who says that revolution is “on the table.” And anyway, what kind of fiscally conservative party campaigns on a pledge to protect Medicare exactly as it is?
    Yet I will, nevertheless, be voting the straight Republican ticket on Nov. 2 …”
    Frum voting the straight Republican ticket is about as surprising as the sun coming up tomorrow.


  8. Michael Rogers says:

    Frum has a couple of his facts wrong. The NYC parade (immortalized in Lou Reed’s hit HALLOWEEN PARADE) began in 1974 and the SF Parade did not get to the Castro until 1979.
    Obama is lying about his views. He was pro marriage equality 14 years ago…
    For Reed’s awesome tune:


  9. questions says:

    Fro the life of me I can’t quite figure out Obama on this, save for the possibility that he’s known since he was in kindergarten that he wanted to be president. You don’t (yet) get elected by being pro-gay marriage, and you probably don’t rise up in the fairly socially conservative world of the Black church with super pro-gay marriage views.
    “Bit of a journey” might be a bit of political doublespeak. He waffled on guns and the death penalty and tried to be on both sides in his book, and “came out” pro-gun allegedly after a conversation with a U of C prof (Sunstein???) regarding the alleged “individual right to own guns”.
    What he wants for ending DADT is a)cover from Congress, and B)something irreversible by Congress or the next admin.
    He hires gays, promotes them, possibly puts them on the Supreme Court. He has respect for all human beings. But there are political limitations on politicians for a range of issues.
    I hope that very soon gay marriage is the law of the land, and that neighbors, friends, family, and acquaintances can all take part in the love, the tax benefits, and the solidity that marriage provides to those who wish for these particular characteristics.
    The notion of a zone of privacy and the right to conduct a life as one sees fit are central to our Constitution, and it’s really about time to get the laws in line with the most basic ideas of the Constitution.


  10. Anthony says:

    People like Bolton and Frum are closet liberals. The sole reason they pretend to be republicans is because no democrat buys into their neoconservative mentality when it comes to foreign policy.
    In fact I would argue that most neocons are really socially liberals with hawkish foreign policy mindset. Republicans are an easy target to garner support for their hawkish foreign policy. All you have to do is wrap yourself in an American flag, lash out at the “naivete” or “weakness” of liberals/left. Instant popularity!


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