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N-Pod on Why “Defeatocrat” Means “Queer”

At Reason's blog Hit & Run, Brian Doherty calls my attention to a sharp piece by CATO foreign policy analyst Justin Logan in the pages of The American Prospect on the inanity of analogies between present circumstances and Hitler and … Read More

By / November 8, 2007

At Reason's blog Hit & Run, Brian Doherty calls my attention to a sharp piece by CATO foreign policy analyst Justin Logan in the pages of The American Prospect on the inanity of analogies between present circumstances and Hitler and the Munich agreement that have saturated political discourse ever since, well, the original Hitler ended up in a ditch, covered in petrol, on fire.

Like Brian, I was struck, and perhaps a more fitting term would be awestruck, by one of the items Justin presents in his brief:

[Norman] Podhoretz penned a meandering essay in Harper's in 1977 titled "The Culture of Appeasement" which likened antiwar sentiment in post-Vietnam America to the wariness of war in Britain after World War I, and then linked the latter to a homosexual yearning for relations with all the young men who perished in the Great War. In Podhoretz's view, "the best people looked to other men for sex and romance," and as a result, didn't much like them being killed by the score on the Continent. "Anyone familiar with homosexual apologetics today will recognize these attitudes."

Indeed. Future scholars of the Norman Podhoretz oeuvre will undoubtedly hail N-Pod's sounding of the klaxon against the rising tide of homosexual-inspired pacifism (or is it pacifist-inspired homosexuality?) as a fitting complement to "My Negro Problem and Ours," which, reversing the relative quotients of offensiveness and perspicacity of the Harper's piece, surprisingly restricts the former to its title. (But I digress.)

It seems almost beside the point to mention that connections between martial traditions, attitudes, and experiences and (male) homoeroticism have a venerable literary and historical pedigree even encompassing some of the most beloved figures in American history. The flip side of this phenomenon is the observable connection between foreign policy belligerence and xenophobia, on one hand, and gender anxiety on the other. To be sure, I do not mean to imply that a desire to start wars whenever and wherever possible is an expression of latent same-sex desire, but rather, that waging war can be an ideal avenue for validating one's masculinity, provided due diligence is maintained against any queering-up of the proceedings. (Julian Sanchez has some related thoughts here.)

The aforementioned piece about the Negro Problem — you know, N-Pod's and yours and mine — is salutary at the very least for tying together the scattered threads of Podhoretz's career. If we take him at his word about the psychic scars that black bullies left on the pre-adolescent Podling, his turns from socialist exponent of workers' rights, to liberal Zionist, to neocon alarmist, to addled paranoiac projecting the demons in his mind onto the geopolitical map, all begin to coalesce as variations on a campaign for revenge against his childhood tormentors. (Incidentally, I do try to refrain from psychoanalyzing where possible, but anyone who could write the lines I quoted deserves to be the subject of a conference.)

In any case, Mark Steyn owes N-Pod royalties for originating a theoretical framework connecting gayness with Islamofascism.

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