Larry Kramer’s (Or His Publisher’s) Brilliant Idea

Jon Rowe

Jon Rowe is a full Professor of Business at Mercer County Community College, where he teaches business, law, and legal issues relating to politics. Of course, his views do not necessarily represent those of his employer.

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32 Responses

  1. zic says:

    In late August, coastal fog would be a norm dawn and dusk due to transpiration, and anyone familiar with conditions in a specific area could pretty accurately predict fog in advance. Sailors and smugglers and farmers and hunters rely on such local knowledge.Report

  2. James K says:

    Wow, a near miss with a smooth-bore firearm and some fog in a fog-prone area. That’s pretty miraculous all right.

    I think God’s getting old. In the Old Testament he laid waste to cities and humbled empires. Even in the New Testament he managed to feed multitudes and raise the dead. Why if I didn’t know better, I’d say that the frontier of miracles was retreating away from our capacity to verify them.Report

  3. LeeEsq says:

    Lots of Americans always seen American history from colonization to the present as part of the Protestant project. Its why I think that the decision to separate religion and state was one of the most radical acts of the Constitution. Not only was it kind of unprecedented in human history that the government would have nothing to do with religion but it went against how a plurality or even majority of Americans saw things more than any other clause in the Constitution.Report

  4. notme says:

    Why is it every so often one of these books is published trying to convince folks that some famous person was gay? It is intersting to see this book apply current sexual standards and mores to folks that lived a ways back when things were different. Besides we all know who else really was gay.Report

    • Morat20 in reply to notme says:

      I find it of interest mostly because, well, some of them were. Who? Don’t know in lots of cases. Very speculative, and somewhat of a time waster I admit.

      I like seeing the details behind historical figures. Humanizes them, rather than just some mythos built up over the years.

      In the end, dead famous person X was just as human as anyone living today, as prone to mistakes or greatness as any other human. Right person, right spot for sure. Memorable accomplishments? Obviously, if we’re talking about them.

      But, I dunno — too many historical figures get polished up by the passage of time, turned from interesting people to learn from into….almost fictional beings.Report

      • notme in reply to Morat20 says:

        I’m sure some historical figures were gay. I read the link and some of the reasoning that Kramer, whom I don’t believe is a historian, uses to declare them gay is weak. You can’t apply todays standards to other eras but that is what he does. I think knowing more details about historical figures makes them more interesting if accurate.Report

        • Morat20 in reply to notme says:

          Weak evidence makes a weak case. *shrug*. If it’s a weak case, it’s a weak case. I don’t actually care if Washington was gay (I sort of doubt it, actually, as nothing seemed even remotely convincing) and frankly it seems like someone’s just trying to sell a book.

          Now Buchanan, on the other hand…Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Morat20 says:


        I get that Notme’s complaints come from pure abhorence at the idea that some of the Founding Fathers were homosexual. However a lot of people do go looking at evidence of stuff that would not be considered homoerotic back in the day but has taken on those connotations. The Civil War era allowed for much more physical contact between men than our times but this was not because they were more bi-curious or homosexual leaning.Report

        • notme in reply to Saul Degraw says:


          You don’t get anything. You are purposely misstating were my complaints come from. They come from the lack of any real evidence presented to support the argument that Washington and Lincoln were gay. Read the daily mail linked article, it is laughable. Kramer says that Washington designed uniforms so therefore he was a big queen. I don’t care if Washington was gay but that reasoning is pathetic and smacks of an agenda to find Washington to be gay. What is even sadder is that you seem to agree with my statement that Kramer is judging 18th/19th century mores by today’s standards. If you are going to criticize me at least do it intelligently.Report

        • Morat20 in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          If people are projecting modern attitudes on 200 year old dead men, that’s bad history and bad scholarship.Report

          • Tod Kelly in reply to Morat20 says:


            The people I know who get the most irritated about modern writers who project modern attitudes (and semantics) backwards to lead them to the conclusion that they’ve discovered something new and juicy about historical figures aren’t actually social conservatives. They’re historians.Report

  5. Mike Schilling says:

    It’s an interesting bit of English usage: a near miss is a shot that missed but came close to striking, while a shot that nearly missed did in fact strike, if barely so.Report

  6. Burt Likko says:

    I suppose it would be interesting if it turned out Washington have been game. But I don’t think it would change my opinion of him very much.Report

  7. Saul Degraw says:

    There is a certain strain of Christianist thought that declares that the U.S. Revolution was not a product of the Enlightenment but a counter-Enlightenment Revolution instead.

    This is obviously incorrect. Washington and Jefferson were not atheists in the modern sense of the world but they were deists and both supported toleration of non-Christian religions. Washington demonstrated this in his famous letter to the Tuoro Synagogue in Rhode Island. Jefferson said he was glad that the United States was welcoming to the Jews.

    The very idea of religious tolerance and freedom is at the heart of the Enlightenment.Report

    • It may be incorrect, but less “obviously” so than might at first appear. There were many reasons and factions at play in support for the Revolution. The slaveowners who participated probably didn’t look too kindly on the Enlightenment’s view of the dignity of all humans.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Gabriel Conroy says:


        That is a fair point but I don’t think that is quite what the current Christian Revisionists mean on their views. They are looking to go against the specific enlightenment aspects of the Revolution. This includes Jefferson’s most (but obviously hypocritical) enlightenment views which led to the Bill of Rights among other documents.Report

  8. North says:

    Well at least it’s published as fiction. That takes the teeth out of any outrage.Report

  9. Will H. says:

    I find this post fascinating.
    Not in the least because I myself have authored a great scholarly work of imminent historic insight based on years of research (mostly over cocktails), finding that the giant stone heads on Easter Island are, in fact, gay as a hummingbird.
    My editor told me to publish this masterpiece as a supposed work of “fiction,” over my own lengthy protests (go figure . . . ), in order to keep the lawyers happy (though I don’t see how this could be considering the possibilities for litigation otherwise . . . ).Report