"Visceral Surface Revulsion"
Mickey goes for broke today in his campaign against Brokeback Mountain (now $100 million in global take). I should say that I'm not interchangeable with Frank Rich in this respect. I'm perfectly aware of the visceral resistance to gayness that many straight men feel, as I have spent my entire life around it (which is a little tougher than living fifty-odd years with a couple of moments of discomfort or, in Mickey's words, a "visceral surface revulsion"). I think that assuming a huge, overnight shift in sentiment toward gay men is foolhardy. At the same time, the pace of change these past couple of decades is astonishing. And can I really be blamed for being heartened by the way in which so many people, including many straight men, now seem able to deal with the idea of gay love? That's what Brokeback is about; and it's what the marriage campaign is about: putting love at the core of gay identity, rather than merely sex (while not being anti-sex at the same time).
I guess I'm saying that Mickey's own homophobia is not as widespread as he thinks it is, while not as rare as Frank Rich hopes. We're in a period of cultural transition. (By the way, Mickey would do well to study how many people, back in the 1960s, described their feelings about inter-racial sex. Many more were opposed to interracial marriage in 1967 than are now against marriage for a gay couple. They all described their feelings as "visceral surface revulsion.") Still, there are benefits to the increasingly deep hole (no pun intended) that Mickey has dug for himself. You get to see him rant about anal sex and germs while brandishing a toy moose, for example. You don't see that on Fox. And he even gets to concede that I was a "very good editor" of The New Republic. If true, one reason was my getting Mickey to write every other week. I liked his compelling honesty, and still do. Even when he embarrasses himself in the process.