Friday, December 17, 2004

A Queer Study of Abe

On my way into the office in the morning, and again on the way home this evening, two different radio hosts were commenting on the New York Times piece on the upcoming book attempting to “out” Abe Lincoln as a homosexual. This was of course followed by the inevitable cop-out where the host says he doesn’t really care one way or the other. Of course he cares. Otherwise, why bring it up?

And they care for good reason. If true (and for the record, to me it screams “agenda-driven publicity stunt” more than “serious scholarship”), what does it say about the history of homosexuality in America?

Not to rain on this latest gay-parade, but if true one thing it seems to suggest is that closeted homosexuals - the kind who married women, fathered, and raised kids - were able to attain the highest offices in the land. They were not resigned to the ghettos of public life. All that was required was public discretion about the nature of their peculiar sexual interest. The same discretion that was required of any others with unusual sexual proclivities.

I’ll not hold my breath waiting for Andrew Sullivan to revise his calls for publicly recognized gay marriage as a result.

And indeed he shouldn’t, because this story will not hold up to scholarly review any better than Michael Bellesiles once celebrated and now discredited book claiming that personal ownership of guns was rare in early American history. Just like that other “controversial” book which boastedabout shattering long-held beliefs, this fits just a wee bit too conveniently into the modern-leftist preference more than the likely historical reality.

But I have to admit, this is fodder for some good jokes. Like the title of Joe Gandleman’s post on this topic “So He Went To The Theater To See A MUSICAL...

That’s worth a “Heh,” or two.


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