Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Latest Moral Crusade of Andrew Sullivan

Chronic failure Andrew Sullivan is incensed that Jodie Foster did not publicly fight for gay rights, instead trying to preserve a little privacy throughout the length of her extremely public life.
I'm thrilled Foster can now live a fuller life with less fear. I'm saddened she waited until others far less powerful had made the sacrifice to make that possible. And that she waited for the safest moment of all - winning a well-deserved Lifetime Achievement Award - to do so.
Sullivan is not just an activist for gay rights, he's also an activist for white people seeking to prove the genetic inferiority of blacks. But he's furious that Foster brought her friend Mel Gibson to the event.
Her date last night, believe it or not, was wife-abusing, homophobic anti-Semite, Mel Gibson. Would you entrust your young sons to a man with Gibson's violent and vile history?
Mel Gibson, at least, has a reason for being a bigoted nut; he was cruelly and thoroughly brainwashed by a bigoted, nutty ultra-Catholic father. (The linked post is extremely good.) Gibson is the inevitable product of his grossly authoritarian upbringing but Foster, a highly respected figure, is his friend anyway. There is probably a little more to him than his demons.

But what is Andrew Sullivan's excuse for his own demons, that set him to persecute his political enemies in the tradition of the very worst anti-Semites and homophobes? Watching Sullivan rack up page hits by trashing yet another woman he deems "narcissistic" and "self-loving" is nothing new but it seems that many people never tire of Sullivan's man-of-the-world-man-of-the-people shtick.

Sullivan quotes Foster saying:
I already did my coming out about a thousand years ago, back in the Stone Age, in those very quaint days when a fragile young girl would open up to trusted friends and family, co-workers, and then gradually, proudly, to everyone who knew her, to everyone she actually met. But now, apparently, I’m told that every celebrity is expected to honor the details of their private life with a press conference, a fragrance, and a prime-time reality show.
Bizarrely, Sullivan ignores Foster's statement that she came out publicly to the people in her life, the only people with whom she felt that she should share the information.

What unadulterated bullshit. She never came out until, very obliquely, in 2007.

Sullivan's public is not Foster's public. Sullivan wants as much attention as possible and built a career based on  forcing the public to accept the legitimacy of a gay Catholic Tory/Republican. He is driven by his demons to gain public recognition and admiration, in which he finds personal validation. Foster has lived in the public eye all her life. And of course she does not mention it but her early adulthood was spent in an especially and  horribly conspicuous public circus, when John Hinkley Jr. shot Ronald Reagan to impress her. 

[S]eriously, if you had been a public figure from the time that you were a toddler, if you’d had to fight for a life that felt real and honest and normal against all odds, then, maybe, then you too would value privacy against all else. Privacy. Some day, in the future, people will look back and remember how beautiful it once was. I have given everything up there, from the time that I was 3 years old. That’s reality show enough, don’t you think?
 Foster was probably referring to the loss of privacy in our crowded and security-minded world as well as her own media-saturated life but Sullivan unaccountably assumes she is talking about his own predominate concerns.

 "How beautiful it once was"? When gay people were put in jail, or mental institutions, or thrown out of their families - all because of the "beauty" of privacy for Hollywood royalty like Foster?

Foster was born in 1962. It's more than a little unfair to blame her for events that were already changing when she was a little girl. It is especially unfair to blame Hollywood for public persecution of gays. Rock Hudson was not obligated to ruin his career so Andrew Sullivan wouldn't have to deal with the homophobes in his own party.

When someone defends Foster's desire to live her life on her own terms Sullivan just hand-waves the issue away.

Yes, yes, yes. But the only way we were ever going to get past that oppression was through it. I'm thrilled Foster can now live a fuller life with less fear. I'm saddened she waited until others far less powerful had made the sacrifice to make that possible. And that she waited for the safest moment of all - winning a well-deserved Lifetime Achievement Award - to do so.

There is something very familiar about such a complaint. Oh, I know. Andrew Sullivan now lives a richer, fuller life with less fear because soldiers far less powerful than he make the sacrifice of their lives and limbs to feed his career. Andrew Sullivan is evidently hoping that Jodie Foster will do the same.



Downpuppy said...

Back in 2007, she was just as coy. I had a joke contest going in response to another misconceived contest that looked to never end -

Downpuppy said...

Oh - I did happen to watch the Golden Globes. (All award shows should get the recipients as likkered up as possible)

The thought at the time was : Her best Hollywood friends are Downey & Gibson?! This is weirder than the Charlie Sheen bit in Being John Malkovich

Anonymous said...

Sullivan's greatest hits with Betsy McCaughey, Charles Murray, The Fifth Column, Hillary bashing, and general cognitive dissonance and not being able to understand statistics.

Susan of Texas said...

Foster must see something in them that we do not. Both are controlled by their impulses and regularly crash and burn but they have a great deal of barely hidden vulnerability and pain as well.

Driftglass is good on Sullivan. (And Brooks.)

Downpuppy said...

I try to remember that what gets written about celebrities tends to be full of utter rubbish as well as incomplete.

The rule is easy to remember when you read that they're a saint. When they're Mel Gibson or Kelsey Grammar, it's easier to forget.

Batocchio said...

Also, too.

Susan of Texas said...

That was awesome. I work piecemeal, gathering and analyzing data a little bit at a time, so it's a shocker to see it all laid out the way Mark Ames and others have been doing.

McArdle had better hurry up and finish her book.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Was going to post the same link as Batocchio.

Everyone should post it everywhere.

Batocchio said...

Yeah, it should be widely spread. The efforts of bloggers and alt-media types are generally complimentary, reinforcing. synergistic and all that; everyone who thoroughly critiques Sullivan, Brooks, Friedman, McArdle, Douthat, Gingrich, etc. help the others on the same beat.

For perennial hacks, I think it's great to be able to link omnibus rap sheets like that each and every time they open their mouths. (I'd say some of your McArdle posts, if not as exhaustive as that piece on Sullivan, do a great job of bringing up her history and putting her latest hackery in context. Personally, I'm not fond of bloggers who almost exclusively cut-and-paste from other writers and only add a sentence of commentary or two. It's fine once in a while, but I appreciate integration, comparison, context, original analysis, writing… so thanks.)

(Slightly OT, Susan, but you seem to be getting an awful lot of spam in comments, based on the subscription e-mails I get. I suppose you could turn on word verification, but you seem to keep on top of it quite well!)

Anonymous said...

he did the same thing to Sally Ride. no, actually, that was worse. The woman was dead. It is one of only two times I've emailed a blogger in anger. What an asshole.

"But the point about Ride was how unfucked-up she was, how brilliant a role model she could have been to young lesbians.

And now we know that her real lesson to young lesbans was and is: duck and cover."

Both Sides Do It said...

Sullivan invented the term Fisking? Dammit, I love that term.

What makes Sullivan's preening about Foster even sillier is that Sullivan gained attention by claiming Michael Oakeshott as his main intellectual influence and trying to translate his thought to American political issues.

Oakeshott, one of whose main ideas is the irreducible unity of an individual's experiences, the problems that entails for understanding or interacting with other people, and the difficult necessity of reconciling your experience with another person's.

A theme Foster used in her speech.

And one which Sullivan completely ignores while shitting all over her.

Funny, that.

SophieCT said...

Has Andrew Sullivan ever criticized any MAN for staying in the closet?

I think Foster and others are entitled to their privacy. The only people who should be publicly condemned for staying in the closet (IMHO) are hypocrites who make life miserable for gays and lesbians. For example, those politicians who run on "family values" and end up having a "wide stance."

zuzu said...

I think I found this linked in the Guardian, but it explains so well why Foster guards her privacy so fiercely:

And, while I was looking for that again, I discovered that Hinckley is trying to get out of the hospital, and the hospital thinks he's ready to go.

Susan of Texas said...

''From the start, all I wanted was for someone to love me. I desperately wanted to be loved but I never could give appropriate love in return."

He wanted love from his parents and blamed himself for their lack of a relationship. Yet kids who are not loved are angry at their parents for denying them what everyone else seems to have. Add some mental illness isuues and you have a guy just waiting to strike back.

"I seem to have a need to hurt those people that I love the most. This is true in relation to my family and to Jodie Foster. I love them so much but I have this compulsion to destroy them.

Then his psychiatrist tells his parents to cut him off, which seems like a complete rejection to Hinkley. In retaliation he decides to force his parents to deal with his existence constantly, to bind them together for all time. Likewise he wants to force Foster to be conscious of him at all times, a type of mental rape of course.

''On March 30, 1981 I was asking to be loved. I was asking my family to take me back and I was asking Jodie Foster to hold me in her heart. My assassination attempt was an act of love."

It looks like he had given up asking to be loved and now was demanding to be acknowledged instead.

I'm sorry love has to be so painful.''

We learn this from our parents.

davidly said...

While on this slight detour, does anyone remember this:,846911&dq=hinckley+neil+bush+1981&hl=en

bob_is_boring said...

Just chiming in to say:

Fuck. Him.

Although I do enjoy the thorough takedown(s) (here and at other fine blogs across the intertubes) I remain convinced that the only way we'll ever be rid of him is to ignore him.

Duncan Mitchel said...

"Has Andrew Sullivan ever criticized any MAN for staying in the closet?"


About Foster, I don't really follow celebrity news, and I agree that celebrities are entitled to protect their privacy. But I remember reading in a discussion of outing, a decade or so back, that Foster and Daniel Day-Lewis both made much of their private lives being private -- but only when questions of same-partners were involved: both were eager to tell the press all about their opposite-sex involvements, though I think those are also private.

I have mixed feelings about outing; it's a complicated issue. But I agree with Sarah Schulman, who wrote in 1990:

"Most gay people stay in the closet -- i.e., dishonor their relationships -- because to do so is a prerequisite for employment, housing, safety, and family love. Having to hide the way you live because of fear of punishment isn't a 'right' nor is it 'privacy.' Being in the closet is not an objective, neutral, value-free condition. It is, instead, maintained by force, not choice."

I'm quite content if Kevin Spacey, or Jodie Foster, or Queen Latifah stay in the closet. Nothing is gained for anyone by cowards and liars suddenly jumping on a bandwagon -- and by now, it can be called enough bandwagon. For that matter I wish that people like Rosie O'Donnell, Nathan Lane, and Lily Tomlin had stayed closeted, because they used coming out as an opportunity to trash other gay people instead of expressing solidarity with us. By contrast, Ricky Martin, Ellen DeGeneres, and Ian McKellen are exemplary.

--Duncan Mitchel (putting my name here because this will be posted under my blogger identity The Promiscuous Reader)

Susan of Texas said...

I think people have the right to decide for themselves what they want to do, based on their individual circumstances and temperament. Even though deception is ignoble and once you start down that road it's hard to control it.

But people people have the right to keep their sex life private. One could say that rape and incest victims are obligated to out themselves, because secrecy aids the perpetrators tremendously. Yet who would force a victim to out herself, when she already has so much pain and so many difficulties to endure?