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Thursday, November 6, 2008

I Love the New York Times

posted by on November 6 at 10:18 AM

Always have, always will. My devotion to the NYT caused me to make a terrible first impression on my in-and-out-laws—my boyfriend’s parents (in-laws in Canada, where my boyfriend is my husband; outlaws in the USA, where my husband is my boyfriend)—on my debut visit fourteen years ago. I had them drive me all over Spokane, Washington, in a futile search for just one copy of the New York Times. A copy of the Spokesman Review wasn’t good enough for me and they thought me a bit snotty as a result.


While I was moved by the NYT’s lead editorial today about the travesty of justice in California, and while I appreciated the editors’ decision to run their story about the approval of anti-gay-marriage amendments in California and two other states on the paper’s front page and above-the-fold, and recognizing that there’s no way to say this without looking like a self-serving ingrate, it has to be said: The New York Times needs to add a gay writer to the its roster of opinion columnists. (And, no, I’m not thinking of the gig for myself; I’ve written for the NYT op-ed pages in the past, but I’m fond of the column I’ve got, thanks, and way too fond the “f” word to be a NYT columnist. I’m thinking of Andrew Sullivan, who would be a great choice, as would Jonathan Capehart, Pam Spaulding, and a dozen others I could name off the top of my head.) I came to this conclusion after reading the three opinion columns on today’s NYT op-ed pages.

Nicholas Kristof writes

America is more than a place. At its best, it also is an idea.

When my father was driven from his home in Eastern Europe in World War II, he initially settled in France. But France offered no opportunity to impoverished refugees, so my father sought better prospects for himself and his descendents by moving on to an Oregon logging camp to begin to learn English and start a new life. What lured him was not the real estate of America, but the idea of America.

We Americans have periodically betrayed that idea of equality and opportunity, but on Tuesday evening we powerfully revitalized it.

Uh, Nicholas? Voters in three states—including the nation’s largest—betrayed the “idea of equality” for gays and lesbians on Tuesday. I agree that the election of Obama powerfully revitalized the idea of America, but the symbolism of Obama’s election was marred by the results in California, Florida, and Arizona.

Gail Collins writes today


We are only thinking cheerful thoughts today, people. America did good. Enjoy.

Gay and lesbian Americans aren’t so cheerful today, Gail, particularly gays and lesbians who read your paper’s front-page story about the “stunning victory” of the religious right’s efforts to ban gay marriage in California, Florida, and Arizona.

Maureen Dowd writes

In the midst of such a phenomenal, fizzy victory overcoming so many doubts and crazy attacks and even his own middle name, Obama stood alone….

There have been many awful mistakes made in this country. But now we have another chance.

As we start fresh with a constitutional law professor and senator from the Land of Lincoln, the Lincoln Memorial might be getting its gleam back.

Tuesday didn’t offer a fresh start for gays and lesbians, Maureen, just more “awful mistakes,” more bigotry and discrimination, courtesy of straight voters in three states who exercised their “special right” to vote on the fundamental civil liberties of their gay and lesbian fellow citizens. (Is any other minority group subject to this treatment in this country anymore?) No gay American can read the words chiseled onto the walls of the Lincoln Memorial today—”With malice toward none, with charity for all…”—and conclude that the Lincoln Memorial got its “gleam back” on Tuesday.

I’m sure Frank Rich will have something to say about the anti-gay marriage amendments that passed on Tuesday in his column this weekend. Rich is passionate defender of the dignity and equality of gay people; like no other straight writer in America (maybe it’s his love of the musical theater?), Rich understands that our struggle for equality under the law is the civil rights struggle of our time. For that reason alone the NYT should have a gay opinion columnist. That the three devastating blows delivered to the “idea of equality” on Tuesday failed to register with even one of the opinion columnists featured in today’s paper makes the need for a gay columnist at the NYT that much more pressing, urgent, and obvious.

RSS icon Comments


The NYT is not worth your love or admiration. Learn some truth - read something like 'Manufacturing Consent', and become a useful mouthpiece.

Posted by Moose | November 6, 2008 10:24 AM

I too am thrilled about Barack Obama.

But I also find it painful to hear people talk about what a huge step forward we took, and how we finally achieved equality, blah blah blah.

The lie is so obvious.

Maybe by the inauguration, I'll be able to feel more fully jubilant. But right now, I'm one very angry faggot.

Posted by Raphael | November 6, 2008 10:24 AM

Sullivan would be a great replacement for Kristol, that man dumbs down the op-ed section every time he puts his fingers to the keyboard.

Posted by vooodooo84 | November 6, 2008 10:26 AM

Richard Kim

Posted by Fawxer | November 6, 2008 10:28 AM

Agreed, except for the Sullivan thing. Please God not Sullivan. He works really hard and that's admirable, but not as clever as he makes sure the reader knows he thinks he is. It'd be great to get a real heavy hitter in there.

Posted by tomasyalba | November 6, 2008 10:29 AM

I agree with your nomination of Sullivan. His logic, passion and sheer intellectual wattage have only grown over the past 6 years. His point of view as a gay man of faith with AIDS would give him enormous credibility with those who don't yet know or read him.

Posted by Marcus | November 6, 2008 10:29 AM

And I hate to say it, but you're probably the only bitch who could actually do the job. You'd be smart and entertaining and not usually mawkish and could take a hit and would rise to the occasion. But work from home, don't move there like John Richards - look what happened there.

Posted by tomasyalba | November 6, 2008 10:31 AM

I disagree...
The NYT is a Jewey propagandist rathole. Now you think it should be a faggy Jewey rathole?
I know it has long been SOP for Jews to advance the gay issue, but it appears America has decided to soundly reject a state endorsement, and in liberal CA of all places. I suggest finding a different aberrant behaviour to try and advance. Maybe you can push the cause of cage fighting as after-school TV for the kiddies or something...

Posted by Shootingsparks | November 6, 2008 10:32 AM

the stranger needs to add a "share this" application to the slog. i'd like to post some stuff on facebook.

Posted by konstantconsumer | November 6, 2008 10:32 AM

What the NYT needs is some "fuck" in its print.

Posted by Mr. Poe | November 6, 2008 10:36 AM

One of the more tiresome* things about Chomsky fans is that they all think they are the only ones who have read 'Manufacturing Consent'.

* Tiresome if you're an adult. If you're still in High School, I suppose it's sort of cute.

Posted by elenchos | November 6, 2008 10:38 AM

Agreed. I still get all teary about the Obama thing because I think it's wonderful on so many levels and is partly why the anti-gay stuff has less of a sting than it did in 2004, but it's remarkable how clueless a lot of straight folks are. We had to explain the CA and Arkansas thing to one of our straight friends last night. It's just not on most straight people's radars, and that's unfortunate. It needs to be. How do we make it so?

Posted by Balt-O-Matt | November 6, 2008 10:43 AM

@ 8
Or maybe we can have bigoted fuck-wads like yourself nominated for the Moronic Post of the Year Award. Oh wait, #1 already won it.

Posted by crazycatguy | November 6, 2008 10:47 AM

@13. #8 could still win Moronic Post of the Year, as #1 is the clear winner for the Douchebag Prize (Le Prix de Douchebag) this year.

Posted by Lucky | November 6, 2008 10:51 AM

I'm pretty sure any place where copious repetition of the word "fuck" is more offensive than completely ignoring a massive step backward in civil rights history is somewhere no one should want to be.

Posted by Lara | November 6, 2008 10:51 AM

What was nice about Rich's piece last Sunday was that he pointed out that Obama's parents' marriage would not have been legal in many states (i.e. Virginia).

Obama could be the ideal advocate for marriage equality, for the reason above and his high popularity among largely homophobic African Americans.

Alas, my first disappointment with Obama - that he didn't come out against Prop 8 - has come.

Posted by Fawxer | November 6, 2008 10:54 AM

Um, shouldn't that be *4* devastating blows?

Posted by hillpagan | November 6, 2008 10:58 AM

@2, I totally agree. Everyone around me is so happy about Obama being elected (especially the African-American middle schoolers I work with) and of course, I am too. But whenever I think of it, my mind is pulled in another direction, thinking about Prop 8 and the other horrible ballot initiatives that passed on Tuesday night (and crazy-ass Michelle Bachmann getting re-elected in my home state of Minnesota). I watched the election returns come in at a gay bar in St. Paul. As soon as the polls closed in CA, I started checking on my laptop for the Prop 8 numbers. By the time Obama made his speech, I knew things did not look good. Watching all the happy gay and lesbian couples hugging and kissing after he finished speaking really touched me.

Posted by Lis | November 6, 2008 11:09 AM

I don't get the slavish devotion to Sullivan, a discredited, opportunistic hypocrite who, as a self-appointed pundit, is not half as smart, clever or interesting as he thinks he is. It would be hard to imagine a much worse representative of the LGBT community. Fortunately, he's not taken seriously now and no unearned opportunity should ever be given him for that state of affairs to change.

His only schtick is "re-invention" and by that I mean, of course, his ability to twist, however poorly and awkwardly, in whichever way he perceives the wind to blow.

If you want a level-headed, intelligent, consistently correct LGBT writer, you start with Pam Spaulding. A compassionate, brilliant American working woman of color who has always written and done the right things obviously speaks more for her community than the airhead foreign white man of privilege who used to front for the very people who were trying to destroy us and had the nerve to scold us for the very behavior in which he was secretly engaging.

It's a shame that anyone would hitch their wagon to Sullivan's long burnt-out star, but at least there's no chance of his ever being given the chance to fail to shine again.

Posted by whatevernevermind | November 6, 2008 11:10 AM

Two steps forward and one step back is still forward progress; slow and painful, but still progress. All the anti-choice measures this year failed, even the ones that would have passed only a few years ago. In a few more years, the anti-gay measures will fail, too. Cultural change only very rarely occurs in reverse.

What we need to do is keep getting measures for marriage equality on the ballot, everywhere, in every state. Swamp 'em. Do it every single election cycle. Eventually, your average voter will start voting for marriage equality.

Voters under 30 are more than twice as likely to support marriage equality as voters over 60. Maybe it's just a matter of attrition. I'm not counseling just patience; basic human rights shouldn't be a waiting game - but time is your ally here. Time and lots of ballot measures.

Posted by Geni | November 6, 2008 11:11 AM

Is the majority of Americans, which continually votes to disallow gay marriage, "bigoted fuckwads?"

Democracy can be a double-edged sword.

Posted by Niro DeRobert | November 6, 2008 11:13 AM

@16 Be disappointed no more, as Obama came out against Prop 8 and No on Prop 8 used this fact in a television commerical.

Be disappointed, however, that he has always said he is against marriage equality.

Cease being disappointed, however, as his lying about his opinion about marriage equality was undoubtedly necessary for him to get elected.

Be prepared to be disappointed, however, if, heving been elected, he doesn't eventually have a "change of heart" on the subject and eventually admit that he supports marriage equality.

Posted by whatevernevermind | November 6, 2008 11:14 AM

Great tirade, Dan - no, really! Too bad no one who needs to see it will find it here.

Posted by Cat in Chicago | November 6, 2008 11:15 AM

Off topic:

itneresting news today about OBama turning to Emanuel for chief of staff, big former Clinton staffer, and John Podesta to lead the transition team. Yet another Clinton tied person.

Wow. Obama is so smart. It was brilliant of him to say "Clinton = Bush" in the early stages of the he's using the Clinton insiders, he's talking about the 1990s as the golden years of the economy for the middle class, he's even considering former Clinton Tres. Sec. Sumners for Tres. sec. now.

Now that'd be a bit too much Clintonism in the new Obama white house.

But give Pres. Obama credit. He's relying on Emanuela nd Podesta and that's smart. He's not going to be like Carter and have no fucking clue about how DC really works.

I am liking Pres. Obama.

And did you see Michelle's dress, it was great. I like that red and black motif, it reminds me of one of my favorites novels ("Julien thought it would bolster his hypocrisy to stop off in a church and pretend to pray a bit" -- classic!) as well as one of my favorite political parties, the Sandinistas. Plus it was nice to see someone not wearing the traditional "ladies political red" or blue or white or pink or what all the WASPy first ladies wear.

I wonder if the kids will be sent to a DC public school or if they will continue to go to a special school? I understand they didn't go to the normal public scools in Chicago. If Obama sens his own kids to public school in DC all I can say is wow. That would be real change. I don't think any president has done that.....ever. Lots of security issues if they do that of course, maybe instead they'll go to some Montessori school or that elite international school in the embassy district part of town.

Meanwhile, Jooe Biden can live in the VP mansion but it's not too close to any subway he going to walk a mile to the Red Line so he can still "take the train to work" to his office in the white house or EOB??

Posted by PC | November 6, 2008 11:16 AM

They sell the NYT at the Rosauers two blocks from my house...

Posted by gillsans | November 6, 2008 11:24 AM

@ 22
Obama may have spoken against Prop 8, but in the last few days of the campaign, there was a flood of Yes on 8 robocalls and ads featuring the face and voice of Obama, pushing that even Obama does not support marriage equality. Those ads were not in Obama's control, of course, but he spoke the words and we have to live with them. Sign me "Not Exactly Feeling Betrayed, but..."

Posted by Karl Schuck | November 6, 2008 11:26 AM

@24--Jimmy Carter's daughter attended DC public schools.

Posted by Balt-O-Matt | November 6, 2008 11:26 AM

@15: "...completely ignoring a massive step backward in civil rights history..."

Uh, as Dan points out, the lead editorial in the Times was about Prop 8. You may want wall-to-wall columns about it, as Dan does, but "completely ignoring?"

Posted by rjh | November 6, 2008 11:28 AM

I don't think that it's a good idea for the majority to decide and vote on minority rights. The Government needs to step in to protect minorities, not turn their issues over to the people to decide.

Posted by printer | November 6, 2008 11:45 AM

Definitely agree with the sentiment, but Sullivan? The guy who went all out promoting The Bell Curve? Jesus Christ.

Posted by trstr | November 6, 2008 12:02 PM

Stepping outside the liberal bubble of Seattle for a second, it's probably safe to say the majority of Americans feel uncomfortable at the sight of two men kissing. And more often than not, a TV news story about gay marriage is going to include those images. And that's what gets lodged in a straight person's brain.

It's a vastly more complex issue, of course, but that discomfort is a big part of the mountain gays are going to have to move.

Posted by Niro DeRobert | November 6, 2008 12:04 PM

Plus, junior NYT-man-from-Seattle Tim Egan noticed:

Posted by tomasyalba | November 6, 2008 12:11 PM

how bout that county-by-county chart of the change from 2004 to 2008?

it really succeeds in showing you where the bigots are. and it's not surprising. still the bible belt.

Posted by max solomon | November 6, 2008 12:17 PM

dan, i love and respect you, but i fear both you are andrew sullivan are spreading bad info on this black homophobia cost us prop 8 meme. so while i would love to see you at the times, i couldn't trust sulli until he accepts some basic facts:

1. african americans made up 10% of the ~10 million votes cast; with a 70/30 split, this means ~700k african americans voted for inequality. well so did ~970k latinos and ~432k asians/others; the margin we lost by is currently at ~427,000. so why not say we lost because of those asian/others? (cuz that's wrong too)

2. even if african americans voted like "enlightened" whites did, 49% yes to 51% no, we would have lost by ~220k votes.

3. what about people 65 or older? ~945k voted for inequality; white and 65 or older? ~672k voted for inequality. So is this not as much generational as about race?

4. the split between yes and no was most extreme along party lines with 81% of republicans, or ~2.27 million, voting for inequality. the number among white republicans? also 81% or ~1.86 million voting for inequality. ideology played a far more significant role than race.

religion, political ideology, generation; these create a proper diagnosis and will lead us to a better prescription. homophobia in every community is the enemy, not just homophobia among a certain group of people. let's not run rove-style wedge politics just for old times sake.


Posted by g.ken patton | November 6, 2008 12:35 PM

Electing Obama to be the next president knocked down one more racial barrier, but I think we should be careful in seeing it as a huge advance for progressive politics. He's a black man, but he's also a political moderate. He didn't champion gay marriage—only legal rights and equal protection for gay men and women. That's something, but it's not enough to see Tuesday night as a sea change in the political and cultural landscapes. A barrier fell—yay! But our politics did not swing markedly to left.

When you consider how much we had moved to the right over the last decade, you should get the perspective needed to get back to work, politically speaking. We've got a lot of work to do.

Posted by joey | November 6, 2008 12:44 PM

Ah...finding a Sunday NYT in the Tri Cities...the story of my life! We've found that Hastings (the video/magazine/stationary chain) in Kennewick usually has it.

Posted by abomb | November 6, 2008 12:50 PM

Let's stop pretending that there isn't a huge problem with homophobia in the black community. I think this election proves this conclusively. And it's clearly worse than the racism found in pockets of the LGBT community.

We really need healing now. We need the leaders of the black community to start aggressively countering the homophobes. And yes, I'm thinking of our president-elect.

Posted by rdm | November 6, 2008 1:14 PM

And the people who suffer the most from the homophobia in the African American community? Black gays and lesbians.

But let's not talk about it.

Posted by Dan Savage | November 6, 2008 1:20 PM

If self-hating closet cases count, how about Bill Kristol? Oh, never mind............

Posted by art | November 6, 2008 1:34 PM

As a californian I was so consumed with anger about Prop 8 I found it hard to really feel the joy about the presidential win, gret as that was. And I'm a straight voter by the way Dan. But I did feel better when I got to work and found many other people also seething with anger about its passing. I had been expecting people to have so much sunshine coming out of their ass about Obama that they just didn't care what an awful defeat that was, but it was cathartic to see others upset by it as well. But still, very bittersweet aftermath.

Posted by Karey | November 6, 2008 1:40 PM

If 51% of white Californians voted against prop 8 and 49% for, does that mean that homophobia is not a problem in the white community? No! In such case, homophobia is still a huge problem but not *quite* huge enough to carry prop 8.

Lookit, homophobia in a community does not magically transform from a problem to non-problem when the splits shift from 51/49 to 49/51. So yes, the black community has a homophobia problem, but so do the white, asian, and latino communities.

Posted by ben | November 6, 2008 2:10 PM

I thought Frank Rich was the NYT's gay columnist. Oh well...

Posted by jackseattle | November 6, 2008 2:37 PM

Just as a response to the people saying it's depressing to hear all their friends ecstatic about Obama, and ignoring the setbacks in gay rights--

All my liberal friends on my Florida college campus, all the outspoken Obama supporters, responded to the election news with a sense of a bittersweet victory. When they heard Amendment 2 was passing, they were in shock; and their final joyous feelings over the election were tempered by deep sadness over this social injustice. And 90-95% of these people are straight. They couldn't enjoy the election without reservations, even though it represented their dreams coming true. There are allies out there.

Posted by lymerae | November 6, 2008 2:51 PM

@ 19...not Sullivan, anyone but Sullivan. Mr. Conservative Soul Chickenhawk beat the war drum constantly before Iraq, then in 2008 he has an epiphany and realizes that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11...(no wonder Dan Savage likes him.) And the whole cruising for unsafe sex on the internet thing probably doesn't help the gay image. Do you know what's worse than not having your gay marriage recognized by the government? WATCHING YOUR FAMILY GET KILLED BECAUSE YOU MADE THE MISTAKE OF LIVING IN IRAQ.

Posted by adam | November 6, 2008 3:01 PM

No Sullivan please. He already helped fuck up the Atlantic with his sniveling, wishy-washy bullshit.

Posted by Jay | November 6, 2008 3:03 PM

38: If you really believe blacks are responsibly for Prop 8 failing (especially in light of the fact that half of San Francisco didn't even bother to vote) then you're a bigot. But let's not talk about that. Being gay means not having to answer for your class and racial prejudices.

Posted by Jay | November 6, 2008 3:10 PM

"Responsibly" should read "responsible" of course.

Posted by Jay | November 6, 2008 3:12 PM

What about this:

Doesn't that count?

An openly gay columnist would be nice, but not Sullivan, please.

Posted by la23ng | November 6, 2008 3:47 PM

I am not convinced that all the voters who supported Prop. 8 are homophobic. Many are just frightened by right wing lies. And some can't wrap their minds around the concept of equal justice and secular government. But the fact that so many voted against Prop. 8 gives me hope for the future. And yes Dan, many newspapers need to add gay commentators to their line ups. I have often thought that.

Posted by Vince | November 6, 2008 4:13 PM

@48: I linked to that in my post. I said that I was being a bit of an ingrate, and cited the NYT lead editorial, and it's front-page story about the various anti-gay amendments passing.

I was writing about their opinion columnists, not one of whom even saw fit to mention the irony of American voters breaking a racial barrier while reinforcing bigotry against gays and lesbians.

Posted by Dan Savage | November 6, 2008 4:17 PM

Dan, Are you sure Frank Rich is straight? I thought he was gay, but I can't remember where I read that.

Posted by Robert | November 6, 2008 5:47 PM

Jon Stewart did not shy away from the irony. He once again reaffirmed that he is a better journalist than most the media.

Posted by Will | November 6, 2008 8:11 PM

Dan, why do your Slog posts always contain the most typos? I'm not kidding here, you definitely are the most chronic offender. Spell check doesn't catch everything, you need to read through your work before clicking "post". I know the interwebs are a race, but it looks a little foolish posting this (in bold):

"The New York Times needs to add a gay writer to the its roster of opinion columnists."

Posted by come on, Dan | November 6, 2008 8:55 PM

Bright Lies was here, and read the stuff here, and thought about the stuff here, and went, "hmmmmmmm....".

Posted by Bright Lies | November 6, 2008 10:14 PM

Dan, the obvious choice is Frank Bruni, who is already on the NYT staff. OK, his main beat is food and wine, but last Sunday he wrote a lengthy piece about the election--it appeared in the "Week in Review" section, front page.

Posted by Neil | November 7, 2008 7:20 AM

I was discussing the results of the vote on Proposition 8 with a Californian last night. She was disturbed by the rejection of gay marriage by the Black and Latino voters. But there is a corollary to this. Since the vote was very close and considering the "yes" vote by the Blacks and Latinos, it stands to reason that a lot of McCain Republicans voted "no" on Proposition 8. Change does not always happen as quickly as we would like, but it is happening.

Posted by Bobolink | November 7, 2008 1:32 PM

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