On Being Straight Until Proven Guilty


We turn again to New York Times critic Edward Rothstein — who today wrote about the “irrelevance of gayness” with regard to the fictional wizard Albus Dumbledore –and shake our heads in wonder and dismay: how did such an arrogant, presumptuous blockhead get a PhD? a job with the Times? We must conclude that it was through favors and friends, and recommend that not another minute be wasted over the scribblings of such a shallow mind.

For to read through his past columns is to become quickly angry and depressed, as it becomes clear that in Rothstein’s world, to be gay or “homosexual” (his regular use of the word as a noun a symptom of his larger problem) is to be inferior or “diminished.” So with regard to Dumbledore, he writes: “The question is distracting, which is why it never really emerges in the books themselves. Ms. Rowling may think of Dumbledore as gay, but there is no reason why anyone else should.” This — again — is the line typically used by inept historians who in their attempt to avoid the truth ask why it even matters if say, Lincoln or Washington or Melville or Hawthorne slept with men, as if it were the equivalent of learning that they had a longstanding appreciation for chocolate cake.

Or you can turn to Rothstein’s 2002 column, in which he asks: “Is There a Gay Basis To Nietzsche’s Ideas?” The short answer, he tells us, is yes, there is overwhelming evidence that Nietzsche was in fact — like us! — a gay recluse, but is this a good thing? Noooo. It leads Rothstein to conclude: “Is it possible, after so long serving as a prophet of dismantlement, that Nietzsche has become just such an idol himself? Are his ideas now entering their own twilight? And don’t they gleam with too inhuman a light? If so, Mr. Köhler’s book may be seen as an attempt not to diminish Nietzsche but to restore him to daylight and perspective, showing that beneath his posturing and prophecy, Nietzsche was, to use one of his own phrases, ‘human, all too human.'”

Reading such blather, can you not see Rothstein trembling in the face of this “inhuman” philosophy, which as anyone who has read more than a sentence or two can attest is infused with the turbulent, demented energy of obsessive (i.e., homosexual) longing? This is what gives Nietzsche his destructive power, and in this age of religious zealotry, his power is hardly diminished for having been gay (to the extent we can apply the label retroactively, by which we mean his desire to have sex with men). Rather, his homosexuality is an inspiration to all serious thinkers who profess the same desire to dismantle the moribund systems of our own times; Rothstein is so far removed from this that he cannot even write about a gay wizard without obscuring the truth.

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