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BTW [*].

Tricky Dick on Tape. The release of another 454 hours of the "Nixon Tapes" gives us new insight into the mind of Richard Nixon, who expresses contempt for Mexicans, blacks, Catholics, Jews, and (of course) homosexuals. "I don't mind the homosexuality, I understand it," the President is heard to opine at one point, adding: "Nevertheless ... I don't think you glorify it on public television." He goes on to say that homosexuality destroyed the ancient Greeks: "Sure, Aristotle was a homo, we all know that; so was Socrates." And can the Romans be far behind? "[The] last six Roman emperors were fags." Nixon then suggests that the early Popes satisfied their manly urges by having sex with nuns, adding this choice analysis: "But the Catholic Church went to hell three or four centuries ago. It was homosexual, and it had to be cleaned out. That's what's happened to Britain, it happened earlier to France." Nixon praises societies, such as Russia, which "root 'em out. They don't let 'em around at all. ... Homosexuality, dope, immorality are the enemies of strong societies. ... That's why the Communists and left-wingers are clinging to one another. They're trying to destroy us." In light of Nixon's view of the invidious influence of homosexuals on the fate of empires, it is instructive that Nixon's early associates and mentors included: Joseph McCarthy, a deeply closeted homosexual; Roy Cohn, who denied to his dying (of AIDS) breath that he was gay; and FBI Director J. Edgar ("love that frock") Hoover. In short, Nixon was surrounded by closeted gay men--men who flaunted their homophobic attitudes. It would seem that Nixon learned early on how to "cover up," and learned it from the best of them. (Reported by Lewis Whittington.)

Name that Majority Leader. It must be tough going through life as a committed homophobe with the name "Dick Armey," but such is the fate of the Majority Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives, who distinguished himself a few years ago on the House Floor by referring to Cong. Barney Frank as "Barney Fag." This time the setting was only slightly more private, as Armey's mind wandered to the curious double meaning formed by his first and last name, yielding a fantasy that had implications for the "gays in the military" controversy. As modified by his first name, mused the Majority Leader, such an "army" might appeal, say, to a certain openly gay Congressman. But, then, it is Dick Armey whose name it is and who has to live with the dreadful possibility that his name seems to conjure in his own mind.

Leather and Beer. That Republican VP presidential nominee Dick Cheney's daughter is an out lesbian has been widely discussed in the media (or at least the gay media). Mary Cheney even worked for several years as public relations coordinator to the gay and lesbian community for Denver-based Coors Beer whose product the gay community had been successfully boycotting for years (due to the Coors family's homophobia). It was Cheney's job to promote distribution of Coors to the gay community (read: gay bars)--and apparently she was damn good at it. Less widely reported is that her most successful strategy was to cultivate the male leather community, whose events she attended and whose leaders she got to know. Cheney convinced Coors to sponsor a number of major leather conventions and contests, including the annual International Mr. Leather competition. Her finest hour came when Denver's Bruce Chopnik won this contest in 1999. When Chopnik went on the road with his title, Cheney was often by his side. With Coors spo nsoring many of these events and Chopnik joining Cheney in talking up the beer, Coors was reportedly able to make major inroads into the leather community. (Reported by Dave Cullen in magazine.)

Oedipal Politics. One of the more curious stories to come out of this year's election is that of Jim R. Morrison, a gay, 21-year-old college student from Selah, Washington, who's running for state representative in his district. It seems the seat he's running for is currently held by his father, Jim L. Morrison, a conservative Christian Republican who's running as an incumbent and has no intention of retiring. But if being challenged for his seat by his own son wasn't enough, the elder Morrison had to witness the further humiliation of his son calling a press conference for the express purpose of announcing he's gay. Worse, this news was greeted, not with outrage in the ultra-conservative district, but with widespread support! The son must win the Democratic primary before facing off against his father in November.

Bloopers Happen. The American Family Association (AFA), a conservative Christian group, issued an "Action Alert" calling for Bryant Gumbel to be fired by CBS for remarks he made on his early morning talk show. Gumbel apparently made the comments after interviewing Robert Knight of the Family Research Council on the Supreme Court's ruling on the Boy Scouts. Complained the AFA: "Robert Knight had articulated a very traditional religious viewpoint regarding homosexuality, and had just left the set, when Gumbel allegedly referred to Knight as a 'f***ing idiot.' Gumbel apparently thought his microphone was turned off and the camera focused elsewhere when he made the comment." In its bulletin, the AFA issued the usual threat of a boycott of the show's advertisers if Gumbel were not fired.

Listen up. The revelation that the FBI employs a broad Internet eavesdropping capability, aptly named "Carnivore," has caused alarm among civil libertarians in general and those in the gay community in particular. The system is designed to intercept millions of e-mail messages sent and received by U.S. citizens. Noted Richard Sincere of Gays and Lesbians for Individual Liberty (GLIL), GLBT people often discuss on-line matters "of a sexual nature that remain illegal in 18 states and under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. There is a danger that zealous FBI and local law enforcement agents could use Carnivore as a dragnet to find people who may violate unjust sodomy laws."

(*.) "BTW" = "by the way" in e-mail-speak. This is projected to be a regular feature as the G&LR begins bimonthly publication.
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Publication:The Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 22, 2000
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