Friday, January 14, 2005

Lincoln gay? According to Gay crusaders yes, according to academics no. I'm with the academics on this one.

(Hat tip to Sabot Post Moderne)

Andrew Sullivan is generally fairly interesting and entertaining to read. Sullivan is rather widely read as his political stances seem to fly helter skelter all over the map which seems to allow him to appeal too and annoy both the left and right of the blogsphere. However, Sullivan has a nasty habit of becoming almost instantly hysterical any time homosexuality is even vaguely related to the topic at hand.

Hence his views on C.A. Tripp's The Intimate World of Abraham Lincoln aren't particularly shocking, he's simply whole heartedly accepted the rather outrageous argument that Lincoln was gay. Thereafter he rather angrily responds to the books early collaborator who was plagarized in the writing of the book Phillip Nobile, who in the Weekly Standard goes to some length to point out Tripp's intellectual dishonesty, assumptions and flagarant distortions of the truth.

Sullivan goes on to attempt to twist and disort some of Nobile's previously published thoughts on the subject. He also seems to have failed to have read the article in the standard given that he claims there was some sort of conflict of interest in Nobile reviewing the book as he worked on a book of a similair topic. He doesn't wish to acknowledge that in the course of which he was a brought in as a collaborator on Tripp's book and they fell out because Tripp wasn't exercising proper academic rigor and was stretching the evidence beyond any and all credibility. Nobile responds to the response against in the Weekly Standard here.

When Tripp apparantly a notorious gay crusader in historical circles began claiming Lincoln was gay, credible scholars dismissed his claim as lacking any evidence. Nobile who was at least willing to take a look and study the matter seems to have been dissauded by the lack of evidence.

He raises probably the best objection to the suggestion that Lincoln was gay - no one ever even suggested it. Does anyone seriously believe that if Abe Lincoln was even rumoured to be a homosexual that the Confederades wouldn't have just been fighting for Dixies and slavery but to show they'd never accept some tall queer as President? There are a number of historical figures whose enemies have suggested they were homosexual, Lincoln isn't among them.

Tripp also puts alot of stock in the fact that Lincoln was tall earlier on in life as and indicator of his potential homosexuality - you know who else would be tall earlier on in life? A straight tall man.

Furthermore, he seems to put alot of stock in the fact that people claimed he was an "intimate person"? The fact he had close relationships with people is suposed to somehow be code for "he was having gay sex with them?" That seriously stretches the bounds of credibility. By that logic every talk or speak considered an "intimate evening with ____" is really an advertisement for a homosexual orgy.

Also suposedly damning is the evidence that Lincoln slept in the same bed as another man while he worked as a store clerk. Apparantly the third guy sleeping in the room didn't think anything of it, nor mentioned it at any point and really what are the odds he wouldn't have if Licoln has been right there in front of him as a flagarant homosexual? Furthermore, at the time Lincoln was poor and sharing a room with several other people. Given limited means I doubt it was terribly unusual to share a bed strictly for sleeping purposes, especially given that prior to Freud people didn't go around reading sex into everything.

On the whole I don't think this is anything more than an attempt by gay partisans to appropriate historical figures for their cause. They simply wish to be able to say "x,y and z were gay so it must be alright and therefore gay marriages must be" which is a lousy argument to begin with, especially premised on shaky claims to the figures being cited.


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