16 responses

  1. TampaZeke
    August 14, 2013

    Ignorance and hate make for strange bedfellows!

  2. Jay
    August 14, 2013

    TampaZeke, Buchanan and Putin are not strange bedfellows. They are both fascists.

  3. MattNYC
    August 14, 2013

    QED – My comments about the “uniqueness” of Russian homophobia and a nostalgia for the “good old” ’50s.

  4. Charles
    August 14, 2013

    Buchanan has kept his mind closed during the last 50 or so years to the revelation that homosexuality is no more of an evil than being left handed. God gave us a brain to use and mental health experts have determined that one doesn’t choose their sexual orientation. Does Buchanan want to bring back burning at the stake for those accused of being witches?

    ………….has his sister come out of the closet, yet?

  5. Andrew
    August 14, 2013

    The discussion of “sides” here is unfortunate, since I’m really not looking forward to the return to cold war mentalities that Putin is returning us to. The one vaguely decent thing about Buchanan’s mindset is that he does not apparently see the world in that binary anymore, and I kind of wish this article didn’t do that in the very last line (America *or* Russia’s) – I regret that we seem to be seeing the media in this country reflecting the anti-American sentiment outside of Russia that Putin is using to bolster his nationalistic support inside of Russia. Each time we use “us or them” when speaking of Russia, we play into Putin’s message and strengthen his hand. The story of Russian oppression all along has never been about Russia or the USSR vs. the West – that’s the story they tell – it’s been about their government versus their own people and against human dignity.

    But yes, this reflects an unsettling set of priorities in Buchanan – that he would laud an oppressive state in their activities rather than see them in their larger context which spells trouble for many Russians in many contexts.

  6. Marcus
    August 14, 2013

    Well said, Andrew. It’s disappointing when LGBT-rights supporters resort to sexism, racism, or on this issue, xenophobia. If anything, we should be better at keeping ourselves away from bigotry.

  7. MattNYC
    August 14, 2013

    “Does Buchanan want to bring back burning at the stake for those accused of being witches?”

    The answer is clearly, “yes”–and he’d classify as “witches” a great many people with whom he disagrees. For fun, go watch his 1992 GOP Convention speech, on which the great Molly Ivins commented, “probably sounded even better in the original German.”

  8. gar
    August 14, 2013

    What TampaZeke said.

    Pat’s a kook. A fringe. A pompous cipher, albeit a dangerously noisy one.

  9. MattNYC
    August 14, 2013

    This isn’t about West versus East or Left vs. Right.

    It’s about enlightenment versus medieval times.

    The only bigotry I hold is against bigotry. Calling out Russia and Dark Age ideologues like Buchanan is not bigotry.

    And on Russians in general, this isn’t like the view of the world of the “re-election” of Bush in 2004 (at least many in the world recognized the theft even as they shook their heads at our susceptibility to Goering-style misinformation). Russians in all wide polling seem to have owned this desire to circle the wagons and act like savages.

  10. Charles
    August 14, 2013

    By the way Russian psychiatry is still mostly controlled by the state. There is a small independent organization that is tolerated.

  11. Marcus
    August 14, 2013

    MattNYC,

    There’s a difference between calling out Russian leaders on their bigotry (not xenophobic) and treating the Russian people as a monolith, blaming them for their government’s actions, and generalizing with anti-Russian stereotypes (xenophobic).

  12. Andrew
    August 14, 2013

    Marcus, I certainly did not mean to imply that there was xenophobia or bigotry going on here – not at all.

    It’s just an unfortunate turn of phrase in the posting that plays off of what Buchanan had to say. My comment was intended to be a minor nudge, not a condemnatory statement. And it comes in the context of breathless media coverage elsewhere about “the return of the cold war”, honestly… my comment really is intended to serve as a coda to keep that particular phrasing (us v them) from becoming an accepted subtext.

    I’m all about subtext – it’s the accidental or intentional insertion of facts not in evidence into a conversation or argument, and it serves to shape debate through language rather than through persuasion.

    I feel certain that Jim is not a “cold-warrior”. What’s weird for me, here, however, is that Buchanan – who is a great candidate for that label – is not adopting the mantle being dragged out of deep closets by his conservative allies who are grumbling along those lines. That is what is fascinating here. All the old Hawks are talking “return of cold war” and Buchanan is out-of-step with them in admiring Russian social conservatism. That says something very interesting, and why it’s well worth posting.

    Sorry, Jim, I think you tried to summarize a lot with a few short deft penstrokes. I think I appreciate where you’re coming from !!!!

  13. Priya Lynn
    August 14, 2013

    Andrew said “The one vaguely decent thing about Buchanan’s mindset is that he does not apparently see the world in that binary anymore, and I kind of wish this article didn’t do that in the very last line (America *or* Russia’s)”.

    Although Andrew may have more or less said what I’m about to I want to say that I don’t think the “America *or* Russia’s) comment was meant in the general sense of “everything American good, everything Russian bad” but rather in the sense of “Are you on the side of Russia’s anti-gay oppression or are you on the side of America’s acceptance of gays?”. In that limited sense it most certainly is “Us versus Them”.

  14. TomTallis
    August 14, 2013

    Some people outlive their souls…

  15. Andrew
    August 14, 2013

    Priya, I wholeheartedly agree, and I’d love to see that carefully parsed – there are so many lugheads out there in the boorah crowd who would love to see a return of the Evil Empire so we know who to hate again.

    I also want to remind folks that the kernel of homophobia in Russia appears to be a hypermasculine militarized nationalistic culture of aggrievement in the post-Soviet empire.

    Putin has successfully convinced Russia that “The West” is responsible for the lousy state of affairs in Russia today, while leveraging his martial and ridiculously “masculine” persona. In this context, “gays” are “Western corruption”, especially from a masculinity point of view (in their limited worldview).

    The reason I highlight that is to point out that even to put the moral question into an “us” versus “them” argument risks bolstering and underscoring the game Putin is playing. He sounds the call from within, and by responding to it, we confirm it from without. The result is very convincing to the average Russian. LGBT Russians lose – badly – despite our best intentions.

    What I haven’t figured out yet is how to confound what is really a very nasty clever little construct Putin (and many other repressive leaders) have created — oppress your people, blame outside corruption, and when outsiders critize your repressive tactics, use that as proof that they’re responsible for the corruption. You’re damned if you speak out, but you’re certainly damed if you remain silent.

  16. Marcus
    August 14, 2013

    Andrew – I wasn’t singling out any comment in particular, or even necessarily the comments on BTB. But the subtext you’re describing so eloquently is infiltrating much of the online discussion of Russia’s homophobic laws, and I think it’s accurate to call that subtext xenophobic.

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