Andrew Sullivan Loves Hippies, Belatedly

I’ve always had a particular loathing for Andrew Sullivan, at least partly because he reminded me, with everything he said,  of all the self-hating gay Republicans (and they were shockingly and disappointingly numerous) I met and summarily dumped during my peak tart years.  I’ve heard each such drearily unthinking arguments countless times before from someone else so blinded by the careerist narcissism of my generation that they could accept homophobia, militarism, and the gutting of the middle class, because, well, hippies are so poorly dressed, or something.

Worse, just like lackluster turncoats in other minority communities, guys like Sullivan, if they played their cards right, could parley their demented but nonetheless outspoken opposition to their own claims to full citizenship into lucrative and influential spots in the burgeoning Wingnut Welfare industry, at think tanks, the Supreme Court, or somewhat less glamorously, as editors of formerly respectable magazines.  Out of nowhere, a fresh-faced upstart like Sullivan could be the toast of the town, or rather, Village, because even though he was as power-fellating and contemptuously dismissive of the concerns of ordinary people as the Washington Post editorial page, he was, well, gay. My sister and I used to joke about how cynically, say, Clarence Thomas was initially marketed to to the neoconfederate Republicans who so love him today; “a darky with a difference,” we called it, and it seems to have reached its comic apogee with Herman Cain today.

In Sullivan’s case, though, he was never very different at all.  Like most queens minted in the late 70′s or early 80′s, he was smitten by Reagan and Thatcher, dripping in elitism, and reflexively opposed to the hippies who, through their (by him) unappreciated earlier efforts, had done a whole lot to make his charmed, improbable life even possible, despite what he continues to decry as their unfortunate fashion choices.  In that sense, he’s just another bitchy queen making fun of somebody’s outfit.  Yawn.

But, unlike Clarence Thomas, he does occasionally have to look out the window, and grudgingly admit error a times when it  becomes too unseemly and discrediting not to.  There are no lifetime appointments, after all, in our increasingly pathetic and ultra-consolidated media, so Andrew (full name; so unusual for a gay man…) has had to recant his support, always much too late, for everything from George W. Bush to the Iraq war.   But now, for what I think is the first time, he had to recant his contempt for something quite central to who he is, by his own admission.  In a Daily Beast posting over the weekend, he left me gobsmacked when he wrote:

And that’s why polls have shown unusual support for the basic complaints of the hippies. The Occupy movement has, according to recent polling, significantly more general support than the Tea Party, and its specific demands are highly popular. Huge majorities agree that corporate special interests have too much clout in Washington, that inequality has gotten out of control, that taxes can and should be raised on the successful, that the gamblers of Wall Street deserve some direct comeuppance for the wreckage they have bestowed on the rest of us. Polling data do not show a salient cultural split between blue-collar whites and the countercultural drum circles in dozens of cities around America. And the facts are behind the majority position. Social and economic inequality is higher than it has been since the 1920s, and is showing no signs of declining.

Granted, he had to call the filthy rich by the approved Republican moniker, “successful,” but the fact that he didn’t call them “job creators” shows that he’s strayed off the reservation at least a little.  Still, notice the blather about drum circles and it’s clear Sullivan can’t let go of his blue-blazered past entirely, but progress is evident.  He even decries the inequality that was once his favorite thing in the whole world, next to barebacking.  He concludes:

In that respect, these goddam hippies are not as radical as they might seem. They are asking for a return to an older America that the Greatest Generation would have instantly recognized and approved of—fiscally sound, socially balanced, politically stable. Behind the patchouli and nose rings is an argument: that we have to be in this cycle of transformative, destabilizing world history together, or we will fall apart. We can achieve this civilly … or, at some point, violence, as in Greece or, worse, Libya, could unfold.

And so Obama’s promise is finally achieved without Obama—which was the point in the first place, remember? We are the ones we’ve been waiting for, as he put it. Cringe-inducing dreadlocks and all.

Please, Andy, quit talking about hair; you’re distracting your long-suffering readers on one of the rare occasions when you have a salient, and correct, point.  Too bad you’ve grown so old, fat and homely, now that you’re smarter.  In that, you remind me why I’m not too sad about being a spinster.


  1. Always remember that when Andy got arrested by a US Park Ranger on the Cape Cod National Seashore for possessing marijuana, his high-powered lawyer got the case dismissed because it would have an adverse impact on his citizenship application that had reached a critical juncture.

    Yeah, that’s why we cross-check citizenship applications against criminal records: to ensure people arrested or convicted on drug crimes on federal property aren’t granted citizenship. Of course, this doesn’t apply to House Fags who toe the establishment line on the television.

  2. cocktailhag says:

    House Fags…. I love it. I’m sure Harry Belafonte would second that emotion. I’m betting Andy had high hopes for that Park Ranger encounter before it went south. Now, she’s a born-again 99%er. Right.

  3. mikeinportc says:

    Andy seems to be a bi(political)quote whore. That way, DFHs, like Glenn, and Wingnut Welfarians, can both quote whatever part of his scribblings that appeal to them. Also, the Villagers seem to bestow greater status onthose that were wrong , and change their tune, than to those that were correctin the first place.

    • cocktailhag says:

      Yes, dating back to “premature anti-fascism,” being right when everyone else is doing the Condi song and dance, “No One Could Have Predicted,” is the kiss of political death in this country. For good reason. The dummies are always more powerful.