Washington Post readers are accustomed to pansexual propaganda, from exposes of Middle America’s “homophobia” to adoring reviews of feminist plays (as if the five million people in the Washington area were clamoring to squeeze into fetid little theaters to see their values trashed). But even battle-scarred Post readers must have winced one day late last winter, when the newspaper’s Style section outdid itself.
Smiling at them from the front page is a large closeup of Peri Jude Radecic, the pompadoured leader of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. The lengthy article by Megan Rosenfeld blows dozens of kisses at Radecic, joining her in denouncing the “right,” the “religious right,” “the right wing,” and the usual subject—Jesse Helms—while managing to include every gay cliche (we are “victims,” we need to “form our family structures as we choose,” gay-bashing has “increased by 172 percent,” etc.).
Not one critic of the gay rights movement is quoted. No statistics appear to have been checked or challenged. The article even manages to take a swipe at the video The Gay Agenda, one of the few documentaries that accurately portrays the reality of homosexuality. Rosenfeld (the “reporter”) slams the video by writing sarcastically that it features “‘experts,’ who quote unsourced statistics that ‘prove’ that gay men are more prone to disease . . . that they can be ‘reformed’ if they choose, that they ‘recruit’ young boys, and so forth.”
Never mind that the quotes are backed by experienced therapists, studies in major medical journals, and the more honest gay authors and journalists. Homosexual activists have not laid so much as a pinkie on The Gay Agenda, other than to smear the video’s producers as savagely as they know how; they identify them with a “conservative Christian church.”
After the page-sized mash note to Radecic, the reader moves along to a column by William F. Powers, where we learn about Plus Voice, a new magazine by and for those infected with the HIV virus. Writer Ann Copeland says that one of her goals is “to have the public view HIV with less fear and more calm, much as it sees diabetes.” Here’s a wonder: infectious diabetes! With no sense of irony, the same issue of Plus Voice features an interview with Clinton AIDS czarina Kristine Gebbie, who has promoted hysteria all over America via the government’s condom ad campaign, which is directed toward everyone except those actually at risk for the disease.
Finally, the article says that the magazine reflects “the appreciative sense of life these people seem to acquire after the bad news sinks in.” That genuinely poignant note is followed by a passage that deserves full quotation: “One woman who has been a heroin addict, a prostitute, and homeless—and that’s just a sample—says she wasn’t happy with herself or her life until she learned she had the disease. And William Franklin delivers an impish squib on the joys of using one’s infection as an excuse for avoiding mundane social chores: ‘Suddenly you see Aunt Sophie—and that entire species of relatives/co-workers/old acquaintances from high school—in a new refreshingly distant light. Very distant. Like from another galaxy. The word “no,” as in “No thanks. I won’t be attending your brain-dead gathering this year,” now trips off the tongue like never before.'” This in-your-face bravado would be funny except that it reveals more perhaps than its author intended: it epitomizes the sad, antifamily philosophy that has made the epidemic possible.
There is even more AIDS chic. Another magazine profiled is Diseased Pariah News, a “more wicked publication with a slant toward infected gay men.” The magazine cutely advises readers not to subscribe for more than a year, “for the future is mysterious.”
Just when you think you can finally escape the Style section and its obsession with tragic homosexual self-obsession, you glance at Doonesbury for nostalgia’s sake. And there it is in the third panel: Megaphone Mark, former campus radical, sits at the microphone in his radio job: “I’m gay,” Mark announces.
Aghast, the reader turns in desperation to a feature on families. But the “family” article includes this gem: “Homosexual households have become so commonplace that many experts now list them under the ‘nuclear family’ umbrella.” Dissenting experts are rarely interviewed by the Post, of course, or by the Los Angeles Times, where that article originated.
At this point, the reader can’t be blamed for wondering, “Is there anyone at the Washington Post Style desk (or any big daily’s ‘soft’ sections) who isn’t gay?” In After the Ball: How America Will Conquer Its Fear and Hatred of Gays in the ’90s, a remarkably candid book about how homosexuals can obtain power, authors Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen explain why it helps to talk about homosexuality in the media as often as possible: “At least at the outset, we seek desensitization and nothing more [italics in original]. You can forget about trying right up front to persuade folks that homosexuality is a good thing. But if you can get them to think it is just another thing—meriting no more than a shrug of the shoulders—then your battle for legal and social rights is virtually won.
Carefully closing the HIV-positive Style section, the rattled reader turns to the Post‘s weekly Health supplement, only to find that the gay/AIDS/liberal lobby does not intend to allow an escape to the hinterlands. The headline is “Country Music Breaks the Silence on AIDS,” and the article by Abigail Trafford is about the latest vanity from progressive country music stars: a full-blown condom misinformation campaign aimed at rural America, which has ducked the AIDS epidemic simply by being normal and keeping its pants on. The pullout quote from a “rural” AIDS expert outside of Santa Fe (“which has the same per capita incidence of AIDS as Los Angeles”) tells it all: “If anyone can reach the Bible Belt, country music can.” Now that’d be a real heartbreaker of a song.