I’m interested in the history and evolution of the Bush Cult of Contrived Masculinity. Here’s some vintage journalism from Alexander Cockburn on one of the cult’s Ur-tracts, Norman Podhoretz’s Harper’s essay on the faggotry of appeasement:
Above: N-Pod awarded Presidential Medal of
Poddy on the Threat
Now that it’s safely off the stands, and therefore no one can waste a penny on the thing, we can turn our attention to the astonishing essay by Norman Podhoretz in the October issue of Harper’s entitled ‘The Culture of Appeasement.’ Podhoretz starts with the sort of ranting one regularly finds in the pages of Commentary: namely that the Vietnam debacle left as one of its chief destructive effects ‘the undifferenciated fear, loathing and revulsion that the prospect of war now seems to inspire in the American mind… All one heard about and saw was the horrors of war — unredeemed, as it appeared, by any noble purpose.’ Podhoretz, needless to say, thinks this sort of thinking thoroughly bad, since if people don’t like the idea of war — noble or not — then they won’t stand up to the Russians. And, indeed, he suspects Americans have lost ‘the will’ to fight Communism.
After more of this sort of thing — the spread of ‘native anti-Americanism’ and so forth — Podhoretz finally gets down to the real business.
He detects, he claims, resemblances between the United States of today and Great Britain in the years after World War I. Similar distaste for combat occurred then to the extent ‘that the Illiad…could no longer be comfortably read.’ England itself was discredited in the eyes of the young; the place seemed drearily middle class. The young rebelled, some of them becoming Nazi sympathizers, others Communists or fellow travellers. ‘That Auden and Burgess were both homosexuals,’ says Podhoretz, ‘clearly had something, perhaps everything, to do with their need “completely and finally to rebel against England.” And indeed it is impossible to read books like Children of the Sun or Paul Fussell’s The Great War and Modern Memory without being struck by the central role homosexuality played in the entire rebellious ethos of the interwar period in England.’
‘…Homosexual feeling,’ Podhoretz says, ‘also accounted for a good deal of the pacificism that rose out of the trenches and into the upper reaches of the culture after the war was over.’ One would have thought, actually, that the fresh memory of the most wantonly bloody war in human history might have had something to do with it. Shortly thereafter, we get to the guts of the matter: ‘No wonder, then, that so many of those who resented their own country…should have been or should have chosen to become, homosexuals. For whatever else homosexuality may be, or may be caused by, to these young men of the English upper class it represented — the refusal of fatherhood and all that fatherhood entailed: responsibility for a family and therefore an inescapable implication in the destiny of society as a whole…they were rejecting their birthright as successors to their own fathers in assuming direct responsibility for the fate of the country.’
It’s a short leap now to the conclusion: ‘Anyone familiar with homosexual apologetics in America today will recognize these attitudes.’ That is: England appeased in the ’30s; there were homosexuals in England; therefore homosexuals caused appeasement. Watch your ass, Neville Chamberlain. Specifically mentioning Allen Ginsberg, James Baldwin and Gore Vidal, Podhoretz says we ‘find the same sort of pacificism [with Vietnam naturally standing in for World War I], hostility to one’s own country and its putatively dreary middle-class way of life, and dersion of the idea that it stands for anything worth defending or that it is threatened by anything but its own stupidity and wickedness.’
Short of direct charges that Commie faggots are running the State Department, it is hard to conceive of a more hysterical and willfully demagogic posture: America is getting soft on Communism; America’s population includes declared homosexuals; homosexuals are pacifists and soft on Communism: finally (though this is as yet unstated), homosexual Communists run America.
[Village Voice, 1977]
This is still important because the Reichwing has so thoroughly adopted The Pod’s thesis. The irony is that in so completely demonizing homosexuality, femininity, pacifism, socialism — which it sees as related, even complementary traits — the Reichwing, creating itself in opposition to these traits, has made itself so fucking butch that it belongs in an S&M parlor in the Castro. All of which is funny enough. Funnier in the more pathetic sense, is that the Reichwing is composed of human physical wrecks like Daffyd ab Hugh and James Taranto, who despite their macho rhetoric wouldn’t last more than a couple of hours on a hippified Sierra Club hike, much less last a day of boot camp. Less funny is that their transformation perfectly mirrors the machoization process of ’20s Germany, the product of which we all know.