The Greenwalding of Gender Virtue

Did God put Glenn Greenwald in charge of gender? Or does Glenn Greenwald imagine himself the God/Goddess/Godz of Gender?

It might be James Taranto's fault, because in a total violation of the Karl Rove Rule On Glenn Greenwald, he actually linked Greenwald's thoughts on gender (which I think deserves to be titled "I'm the Gender God").

Not that I blame Taranto for succumbing to temptation. In a manner which couldn't have been calculated to have been more personally insulting, Greenwald displayed the most unflattering pictures he could find of Taranto, apparently because he believes that the pictures are themselves a sort of argument that Taranto is bad. He's an evil, male macho pig. A masculist, perhaps? (Greenwald calls him the "Arbiter of American Masculinity -- the Ridiculer of John Edwards' lack of manliness.")

Here's the picture that Greenwald sees as representing "awe-inspiring toughness and towering masculinity":


How is that to be, um, "answered" or "rebutted"? Is Taranto supposed to apologize for his appearance? As the pictures are supposed to be in retaliation for Rush Limbaugh's display of the Breck girl photoshop of Edwards? (Something Taranto didn't do, but we all know that the macho monolithic Arbeiters of American Masculinity think with one mind, don't we?) Taranto is lucky he's not me, for I'd probably upload this picture....


....and title it "Glennda Genderwald, the Wicked Witch of the Yeast" or something. And then there'd be calls for Taranto to be fired for sexism or something.

But I'm not Taranto, so I can't.

While I haven't met Taranto and don't know whether the ones Greenwald served up are bad pictures or not, the whole thing made me shudder in fear, and made me very hesitant to write this post. Imagine if Greenwald poked around looking for a picture of me. If you Google my name, the very first picture that usually comes up is the one at Frank J.'s "Peace Gallery" -- showing me holding deadly weapons wearing a "NUKE THE MOON" T-shirt!

Or he might find the picture of me holding crossed swords, and wearing the gun diversity T-shirt -- the same shirt that angry leftists believed Glenn Reynolds should have been fired for wearing. (Lefties have no sense of humor.)


Fortunately, I'm a pipsqueak by Greenwald's standards, and he'd never deign to malign my pictures as he did Taranto's.

But the fact is, if Taranto is bad, then I'm really bad!

We come to the question of gender. I think I am of the male gender, although I try not to take these things for granted, because back in the days when my brain's philosophical wiring resembled that of the sound engineer Ann Althouse discussed recently, I used to contemplate the differences between the sexes until I was convinced that there really weren't any of real, ultimate consequence, and that any that might appear to be there were only nature's way of playing sexual head games (which of course lead to the usual mammalian terrestrial politics). I thought that we were all victims of a cosmic joke that most of us failed to get, and I often still feel that way. While I cannot characterize myself as the Arbiter of American Androgyny, when I force myself to slog through the pathetic ditherings of Glenn Greenwald, I am reminded of similar ditherings on the right about the way God made man and God made woman, and I wish Greenwald would look at the bigger picture, stop being another petty gender tyrant, and just get a effing clue.

Instead, the man is obsessed by Taranto's remark about how women had been "won over by John Edwards's womanly charms." That is so unbelievably lame! Of course they were won over by his womanly charms; that's part of his androgyne appeal as a trial lawyer, and it's why he's so irresistibly cute that when I uploaded a cute picture of him in drag, even an unquestionably heterosexual retired-blogger found himself unable to avoid leaving the following comment:

Is it just me, or is that third one kind of cute?
Worry wart that I am, I tried to shush him up.

Anyway, what's wrong with the Breck girl business? Are we supposed to gasp in collective horror, and clutch the curtains as we swoon? Since we're on the subject, can anyone explain to me why pictures of Edwards in drag are worse than the pictures of Giuliani in drag?


Or do I have it all wrong? Might it be that the pictures of Giuliani in drag are worse? I suspect that to the gender-virtuous, pictures of John Edwards in drag are some sort of smear, but that the pictures of Giuliani are a worse smear -- for very different reasons. The Greenwald explanation would be that they're far worse -- a sort of "double reverse" Republican smear against the left grounded in the fact that Giuliani is an "authoritarian narcissist."

Or would it be that Giuliani is guilty of hypocrisy for allowing gay men to dress him in drag?

Does that make me a "hypocrite" too?


Anyone who would run around looking like that is probably looking for a real man:


Or do I fall into some hitherto unknown category of treason? When I found amusement and not outrage in these sorts of things, I found myself called a "sociopath" by another champion of gender virtue, Amanda Marcotte. Yet the picture of Edwards was -- and is -- undeniably cute!


Who are these gender virtue people to decide whose gender views are right, and whose are wrong?

I don't know, but I have a broader gender issue for them to consider. The picture of Edwards in drag was emailed to me along with the pictures of all the other candidates in drag.


Forgive my sexism and ageism for saying this, but I have to remark a simple truth:

John Edwards is the only candidate who could have been considered even remotely attractive in drag.

But it is evil and sociopathic of me to say that, isn't it? Why? The only "rule" that I can discern here is that attractive drag on Democrats is bad because it's Republican sexism. But unattractive drag on Democrats (Kerry) is bad because it's Republican sexism. Likewise, unattractive drag is bad on Republicans because it's Republican sexism. (They're making fun of women, or the transgendered, or something.) I'm not sure how attractive drag on Republicans fits into this equation, so I'll think about it.

But it's OK to say that the Republicans have uptight macho sexual issues, and that's because the Democrats don't!

Understand now?

Good, because I don't.

Taranto is lucky he's not me, because if I were Taranto, I'd hire a professional make-up crew to see what they could accomplish. That would really give the witches of Gender Virtue something to stew over.

MORE: My thanks to Glenn Reynolds for the link, and welcome all!

Wish I had more answers to all these "gender issues" than I do, but I just don't. (If you want answers, you'll have to ask the humorless people who have figured it all out for everyone else.)

UPDATE: Via Glenn Reynolds comes a clear sign of hope, in the form of this new campaign pledge by John Edwards: eliminate all unpleasant, disagreeable, or otherwise bad things from all aspects of American life by the end of his second year in office.
I'm hoping that the plan includes ending the Gender War by simply eliminating all gender.

posted by Eric on 07.15.07 at 09:57 AM


I have to admit Edward's attractiveness in drag is quite remote.

He looks much cuter when he just tries to be himself.

Some one forgot Fred Thompson BTW. He is probably really ugly in drag.

Maybe they could all get together and do a Cockettes type review to take some of the edge off politics.

Never happen.

M. Simon   ·  July 15, 2007 12:40 PM

Re: Men and women.

About 3% of men are interested in highly fetishized sex. About 1% of women have similar interests.

That would tend to indicate that they are less than 1/2 standard deviation apart in their interest in sex.

You can do the calculations here:

M. Simon   ·  July 15, 2007 12:54 PM

Waitasecond. A lecture. On manhood. From Glenn Greenwald.

Let those flavors roll over your tongue. (Or not.)

j.d.   ·  July 15, 2007 9:22 PM

Gotta say, I admire your guts publishing that silly picture of yourself with the swords.

Electro-Magnetic Midget Launcher   ·  July 15, 2007 10:04 PM


That picture of you with the swords is great. All you need now is a youtube video with shirt and swords doing fake jedi-dual-light-saber fighting like nobody's watching.

Seriously, you made me laugh. Thanks.

El Gabo

ElGaboGringo   ·  July 15, 2007 10:12 PM

At first glance, I thought that one of Bush was Cindy Sheehan.

eye for beauty   ·  July 15, 2007 10:54 PM

Well, aside from Green Glenwald being an authortarian a**hole of Stalinist proportions, as well as a sock puppeteer of renowned fame, why would anyone pay any attention to him anyway? (Aside from him being an NYT bestselling author and cited on the floor of the Senate, I mean.)

I seldom read his tripe, but when I do, I long for the days of yore, when in high school he would be pantsed and given a swirly on a daily basis.

JorgXMcKie   ·  July 15, 2007 11:02 PM


Frank J.   ·  July 16, 2007 12:25 AM

Hey, you're kinda hawt.

Achillea   ·  July 16, 2007 1:13 AM
I left Germany in 1970 and although I loathe to sound like an arbiter isn't "arbeiter" German for "worker?"
tom scott   ·  July 16, 2007 1:25 AM

Short version... Edwards' cuteness is a deliberate appeal to the anti-macho side of politics and so it gets comment.


No one questions Bugs Bunny's masculinity, and he dresses in drag all the time.

Synova   ·  July 16, 2007 1:30 AM

James Taranto has great hair, dark eyes, long lashes and a charming smile. If he ever lost weight, he'd be hot.

VinoFan   ·  July 16, 2007 8:31 AM

I didn't even know that Keith and Charlie were gay until "Some Girls" was released! (Mick, I wondered about)

Ross   ·  July 16, 2007 11:59 AM


After seeing those pictures.

I think I'd rather be gay than date any of them.

memomachine   ·  July 16, 2007 2:50 PM

Glenn Greenwald + Witches Garb = Bob Dylan?!?

Ross   ·  July 16, 2007 6:47 PM

No one questions Bugs Bunny's masculinity, and he dresses in drag all the time.

Plus when you give him carrots, he doesn't make sexual remarks about onion rings.

Eric Scheie   ·  July 16, 2007 7:05 PM

I don't know any women who think Edwards is cute. All the women I know think he's icky. We like chest hair and such.

Yehudit   ·  July 16, 2007 7:59 PM

"Who are these gender virtue people to decide whose gender views are right, and whose are wrong?"

They're the vanguard, dummy. They speak for the trees.

Knemon   ·  July 17, 2007 4:18 PM

"John Edwards is the only candidate who could have been considered even remotely attractive in drag."

Yeah but Kerry, you know, puts out. Big time.

Mister Snitch!   ·  July 18, 2007 3:21 PM

Can't find a pic but don't forget a woman, Amy Poehler of SNL - in drag as Dennis Kucinich. She actually makes a better Kucinich than Kucinich does!

AT   ·  July 18, 2007 4:11 PM

And who just attacked Hillary's feminista bona fides?

Ironically, it was Edwards's wife.

"[Hillary's] just not as vocal a women's advocate as I want to see. John is...I think one of the things that make me so completely comfortable with this is that keeping that door open to women is actually more a policy of John's than Hillary's... I'm not convinced she'd be as good an advocate for women. She needs a rationale greater for her campaign than I've heard.
Sometimes you feel you have to behave as a man and not talk about women's issues. I'm sympathetic - she wants to be commander in chief."

At least she didn't call her butch!

edh   ·  July 18, 2007 5:12 PM

We're screwed. Make way and bow to the Lizard Queen, folks. Off to the IZ.

JSH   ·  July 18, 2007 8:18 PM

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