Friday, December 19, 2008


My father skipped college.

He went from Thomas Jefferson High School to St. John’s two-year law school. Like my mother, he was self-educated, well read, and exceptionally literate. Unlike her, he never doubted his intellectual sophistication.

This may be why, whenever I dragged myself home from college, he never interrogated me about the later novels of D.H. Lawrence, the wisdom of Pericles, or the Iconoclasts of Byzantium. What did catch his interest was my close acquaintance with a bohemian crowd including Performing Arts graduates bursting with apparently authoritative knowledge of the theatrical and gay communities.

He wanted to know who was gay in Hollywood.

My new friends took personal responsibility for his enlightenment.

“Ida Lupino and Randolf Scott,” I reported one week.

Usually, he nodded without comment.

Sometimes not.

“Tony Curtis and Wally Cox.”

“I can understand Cox. You sure about Curtis?”

I half-recall involving John Wayne.

A hard-ass, anti-communist Liberal with a benign social outlook, he would be pleased to see a black president-elect catching hell from a politically potent gay community for awarding the inaugural invocation to a California bible thumper who has publicly opposed gay marriage.

He would have supported gay marriage as an irritant to religion.

I cannot resist saying that this is just the kind of indefensible insult we want to have riling us up.

The Rick Warren controversy arrives absent the scent of cataclysmic potential. Whether our same-sexer pals achieve the sublime status this year or next, and whether or not Barak has shown us an unsightly callus, the final outcome will not bear on the probability of war, global depression, and the crash of the Western polity.

B.’s economic and foreign policy appointments have us up to our armpits in testy speculation over just these existential issues. Poppadablogger believes it likely that the Elect’s choices will position him to take bold, leftward steps essential to salvation. Poppa celebrates the corpulent Christian’s invocation as the death knell to Don’t ask-Don’t tell.

Our friend The Unrepentant Marxist, believes that what we see is what we will get. And what we will get is a murderous continuation of neo-con foreign policy targeting Afghanistan now and possibly Iran, Syria, or Lebanon before the game is up; continued economic malpractice at the hands of Friedman/Gekko disciples who’ve been gnawing at social equity and sensible planning since Reagan times.

In my view, these debates reflect more preconception and temperament than scientific insight. I believe that they go more to our need to express ourselves than to any sound hope of calling the finish. I personally feel that The UM is probably more right than wrong. I also believe that I believe this because I am a pessimist by nature. I do credit PDB for straightforwardly presenting his energetically argued position as no more than a hopeful guess. The UM, on the other hand, admits no possibility that he will be proved wrong. Nevertheless, I’m ready to bet that he will be proved right.

It’s hard to be sure where those old-time Dubinsky Liberals like my father would have come down in this argument. The ones I knew are all dead now, some having morphed right, some leftish.

I’m fairly sure about how they’d have felt had FDR been invoked by a preacher unsympathetic to the admission of Jews to medical schools.

Speaking of Jews, thank God none have been involved in the Bernie Madoff affair. And speaking of Bernie Madoff, I think its fair to say that he has been a unifying figure. Give him credit for that. Rich and poor want to kill him. And nobody gives a flying fuck about whether or not he is gay.

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