Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
March 31, 2005

Billmon: Fighting Words

An answer to critics of Billmons grand Freak Show piece. Again a good one ...

Posted by b on March 31, 2005 at 01:49 AM | Permalink

Comments

Well I really did'nt like the Kill Bill movie(s), but, you're not really Uma Thermon are you?

Posted by: anna missed | Mar 31, 2005 6:22:08 AM | 1

Profound. Thanks for expressing how I feel, Billmon.

Posted by: beq | Mar 31, 2005 7:54:32 AM | 2

Here's a quick question: I heard that Sun Myung Moon has a prominently placed disciple in the National Press Club. Has anyone heard that report and can you identify him/her? Late last year I recall information that said Moon would be trying to set the NPC agenda.

Posted by: diogenes | Mar 31, 2005 8:12:43 AM | 3

Billmon is right. The corporate media whores are just taking the bread and circuses to another level by having Gannon/? there for a forum.

It is getting very tiring to have this kind of bullshit going on everyday. Bushwackers poll numbers are falling fast because the bread and circuses are getting tiresome. I talked to a bunch of relative yesterday and they can't wait for Bushwacker to be gone. I don't know who voted for that ass but not many common sense people that I know voted for him. But, I live in Michigan. The state that has done the worst of any state while rethugs are in office.

Posted by: jdp | Mar 31, 2005 8:51:18 AM | 4

Billmon,
do not worry. Your piece about the NPC while being heteronormativ was not homophobic. There is a rather big difference.

I do not know Raimondo, but I have a hard time taking his critic seriously when he in the same post talks about the composition of the NPC panel and answers

[A]s for Mr. Guckert, he isn't a blogger, he's barely a journalist, and not a single political blogger involved with the Gannon/Guckert scandal, or otherwise, has been invited to sit on the panel to counter Mr. Guckert's arguments.

"Therefore, we the undersigned bloggers, respectfully but firmly insist that a serious political blogger such as John Aravosis, of Americablog.org be included on the panel to fairly and accurately represent our industry and us. Mr. Aravosis has agreed to our request that he serve on the panel as our representative and is available should such an invite be forthcoming.

with

And why, pray tell, should Gannon have to sit on the same panel with John Aravosis -- because Aravosis is gay?

Well, I see it as Raimondo stretching to find another reason then the stated one.

Posted by: A swedish kind of death | Mar 31, 2005 9:00:57 AM | 5

[grin] O no, Billmon is not homophobic, of course not -- but he still has to reassure us: I also don't have anything against anal intercourse, although like Gannon (and Jesus, for that matter) I also believe it is better to give than to receive.... wouldn't want anyone to think he was "one of those," eh? In patriarchal culture, "gay" and "straight" ain't about what plumbing you got, it's about who's on top -- who's the innie and who's the outie, as it were. This is why it's so easy for Jeff-boy to be a rightwing flaming homophobe -- he's the top, therefore he's the Man, therefore in the most essential way that patriarchy understands these things, he ain't really gay. There's no emotional contradiction. Read http://www.spr.org/en/stephendonaldson/doc_01_lecture.html>Stephen Donaldson's illuminating essay on prison sex for perspective; but be warned it is heartbreaking as well as groundbreaking.

The prisoner subculture fuses sexual and social roles and assigns all prisoners accordingly. Feminist analysis would note this as a patriarchal trait, and I would add that in my experience confinement institutions are the most sexist (as well as racist) environment in the country, bar none. As R. W. Dumond noted last year, "prison slang defines sexual habits and inmate status simultaneously." This classification system draws a rigid distinction between active and passive roles. The majority, which in this case is on top in all senses, consists of the so-called "men," and they are defined by a successful and continuing refusal to be sexually penetrated. A single instance of being penetrated, whether voluntary or not, is universally held to constitute an irreversible "loss of manhood." The "Men" rule the roost and establish the values and behavioral norms for the entire prisoner population; convict leaders, gang members, and the organizers of such activities as the smuggling of contraband, protection rackets, and prostitution rings must be and remain "Men."

And this is imho why -- in our culture that actively produces and perpetuates this brand of "manhood" -- it is very important for men who want to remain Men to make it very, very clear that they "would rather give than receive." Not all cultures believe in a permanent Taint associated with male receptivity; for some it is a phase of life from which a younger boy or man "graduates" to become a Real Man. [Shades of 1920's British public school life here.] Marvin Harris' notes on warrior-culture "gayness" among Pacific-Asian cultures -- i.e. homosexuality in the context of hypermasculine military/warrior aesthetic -- might be worth a look also. I forget which of his books it appears in. Gary Leupp has written a book (which I have not yet read) on similar tropes in Tokugawa-era samurai culture. The Theban warrior-pair-bonding cult might be worth a visit too.

Anyway, there's a long historical precedent for the military fetish aspect of Jeff's story. In fact some would say that half the purpose of the great lumbering military apparatus of the US is to provide a vastly expensive kinky sex toy for the ruling class males. (The other half of course is far more Clausewitzian and instrumental).

Posted by: DeAnander | Mar 31, 2005 2:14:25 PM | 6

That Raimondo can't get the joke about Jerry-Jeff-Gannon-Guckert and Anna Marie Cox addressing the National Press Club at the same time, but chooses rather to take Billmon's post personally, certainly fits my definition of queer.

Posted by: bcf | Mar 31, 2005 3:16:17 PM | 7

"no, Billmon is not homophobic, of course not -- but he still has to reassure us: I also don't have anything against anal intercourse, although like Gannon (and Jesus, for that matter) I also believe it is better to give than to receive...."

I was trying to make a pun, but I see now that the use of the word "better" was unfortunate. For the record, I was expressing an entirely personal sexual preference, not making a moral or cultural judgment -- unless that IS a moral or cultural judgment, in which case I can't win. To quote Popeye: I yam, what I yam.

Posted by: Billmon | Mar 31, 2005 5:02:12 PM | 8

Billmon - you can't win against DeAnander!

Rule one - you can't win
Rule two - you can't get even

;-)

Posted by: Jérôme | Mar 31, 2005 6:18:30 PM | 9

aw Jerome, no fair -- iirc you've won several times! nice variation on the Two Real Laws of Thermodynamics though :-)

@billmon, no pin-the-blame-on-the-donkey intended, just musing as I often do on gender-advertisement, language, persona, birdsong. as askod said above, normative vs phobic, pretty big diff...

Posted by: DeAnander | Mar 31, 2005 6:27:12 PM | 10

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