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Old 01-12-2005, 04:01 PM   #76
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As someone who's a descendant of Lincoln through the Todd family, I find this whole thread troubling for a couple of reasons.

First -- it's well known that Lincoln was intensely introverted, as well as deeply emotionally troubled. It made him a frustrating president to interact with, as well as an emotionally-distant husband and father. He carried serious polital burdens at an unprecedented time in American history, grieved deeply for the men who died on the battlefield, and felt much sorrow and pain, with no comfort found in a marriage to a deeply-disturbed woman with her own issues. I think these are much more likely causes for his emotional distance than any purported homosexuality.

Second -- I find it interesting that the basis for his purported homosexuality are "intimate letters". These days, any guy who is uncomfortable with his emotions is seen as a dullard, a dimwit, or an anachronism; but when a man shares his feelings with another man, he's suddenly seen as gay. Isn't using emotional letters (has anyone here actually read them?) to claim Lincoln as gay a weird way of giving in to the same biases that straight culture has? Doesn't it also sexualize emotional connections, thereby reducing emotional connection to simple sexual attraction? See also the way in which Eleanor Roosevelt has been claimed as at least bisexual, if not downright gay, based solely on letters she wrote to a close friend. (Again, letters written during wartime, which seems to distance Presidents and their First Ladies in a unique way -- LBJ wrote frankly about the pressure he was under as he debated sending more soldiers into Vietnam, and his wife talked about how he almost shut down emotionally.) (And again, has anyone actually READ those infamous Roosevelt letters?)

Third -- it's interesting to chart now how even emotional connections are used as a sign of homosexuality. Isn't it possible that there are friendships that run deeper than sexual attraction? Men who have fought in wartime talk about a connection forged in fire that is not easily broken -- men who would die for one another not because of sexual love, but because of deeper love that comes from a completely different place. C.S. Lewis talks about this in great detail in his book "The Four Loves." To reduce everything to erotic love does a great disservice to Love itself.

Fourth -- it's interesting how a lack of evidence is used now as evidence that something is true -- the classic rhetoric of conspiracy theorists.
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Old 01-12-2005, 04:37 PM   #77
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Well said
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Old 01-12-2005, 04:47 PM   #78
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Hmm. . .this is interesting.


Weekly Standard, Jan. 17
Philip Nobile calls C.A. Tripp's The Intimate World of Abraham Lincoln "a hoax and a fraud: a historical hoax, because the inaccurate parts are all shaded toward a predetermined conclusion, and a literary fraud, because significant portions of the accurate parts are plagiarized—from me, as it happens." Nobile was a co-author on the book, but left when Tripp refused to acquiesce to Nobile's complaints that Tripp was intentionally shading the book to convince readers of Lincoln's homosexuality: "Tripp had Lincoln boinking four bosom buddies during his prairie years, but there was not a whiff of this supposed hanky-panky anywhere in the record."

Discuss...
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Old 01-12-2005, 04:53 PM   #79
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Who have you come up with?
Well, the best out there for the time period I am teaching is Deborah Samson or Sampson depending on the spelling. SHe grew up here in the area of Plymouth County. The house she was born in still stands, and there are a few historic sites in the area in the town she was born in, the town she grew up in, and the town she settled in after the revolutionary war.

A tremendously well written book, not appropriate for children, but great for history lovers, was just published in the past year. The author does an INCREDIBLE job, presenting the social dynamics of 1700 Plymouth County Massachusetts. I have been able to incorporate a good deal of the information from the book into my lessons.

Keep in mind I am teaching 3-4th graders, so I do have to edit some out. Scholatic books puts out a good biography on here that my entire class reads. the book is really well done for 3rd/4th grade reading level. The problem I have with it, is that it is based on her autobiography, which is known to have many fabrications in it. She did a great job at getting her story out after the revolution, selling her book, and tourning the Northeast region of the new country.

Short of her, we are left, in my school anyways, with Presidents wives. That is why I enjoy showing the kids a woman who was not made famous because she was the Presidents wife.
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Old 01-12-2005, 05:08 PM   #80
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Wow, thanks Dread. I'm going to check her out.
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Old 01-12-2005, 06:39 PM   #81
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Originally posted by nathan1977


Fourth -- it's interesting how a lack of evidence is used now as evidence that something is true -- the classic rhetoric of conspiracy theorists.

i think you make some good points, and no one knows to know for sure about this, but i do encourage you to read all of andrew sullivan's review of the book on The New Republic website (should be free ... if there's sufficient interest, i can post the whole thing, but it is pretty long).

however, your fourth point is pretty much the basis of Queer Theory. remember, it is "the love that dare not speak it's name." as most gay people will tell you, what you omit is as important as what you say, since until recently it hasn't been acceptable to live "out" as a homosexual, and all things considered -- Lincoln is still very recent history and subject to many of the same norms that we are today.

also ... Lincoln had a troubled marriage well before the Civil War, so i don't think your first point holds much water.

your second and third points are well taken in a holistic sense, but there's much more in the excerpts that i've read of Lincoln's letters. since i haven't read the book, i'll just post an important part of Sullivan's review:

"He slept with his first major love, Joshua Speed, for four years. True, this was not as odd as it might seem today. But sleeping with him the very day they met? And doing so for four more years--when an aspiring young lawyer could easily have found lodgings of his own? No one denies that their friendship was intense, that they were often inseparable, and that when Speed finally left town, Lincoln had a complete nervous breakdown. (This last, vital fact is omitted from Brookhiser's review.) Speed's and Lincoln's letters detailing their approach to marriage are redolent of white-knuckled panic. Any gay man who has experienced the agony of a lover being propelled by social pressure to marry a woman will recognize the emotional power of this moment in Lincoln's life. (Speed couldn't actually consummate his own marriage.) Yes, the panic could have been because Lincoln's fitful, reluctant engagement to Mary Todd had fallen through. But he had never shown that much interest in her, and had been distant and ambivalent in the courtship. He and Speed, however, were inseparable. "Yours forever," Abe's letters to Speed always ended. And when Speed left him, Lincoln wrote: "I am now the most miserable man living ... whether I shall ever be better I can not tell; I awfully forbode I shall not. To remain as I am is impossible; I must die or be better, it appears to me." In fact, of course, Lincoln suffered from acute bouts of depression for his entire life. It seems loopy to ignore the possibility that this was related to his being denied a real or meaningful love life. But then if you're heterosexual and have never experienced such emotional desolation, why would you look in the first place?"

and i have to post this part, just because:

" The usual suspects have weighed in aggressively to counter these facts. The Weekly Standard, from its sophomoric cover-image of a simpering gay caricature of Lincoln, to its hiring of a crank to denounce the book as a "hoax" and "fraud," is a useful exhibit in the degeneration of conservative discourse. But what's interesting to me is that even if you gloss all Lincoln's male relationships as homosocial or homoerotic rather than homosexual, they still paint a picture that would offend today's Republican establishment. Whatever Lincoln was, he was very at ease expressing love, intimacy, and affection for other men. The last thing he was was sexually prudish. His early doggerel poem about the progeny that results from anal sex with another man--he has the two men married no less!--would be regarded by today's conservatives as worthy of protest to the FCC."
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Old 01-12-2005, 06:44 PM   #82
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Quote:
Originally posted by coemgen
Hmm. . .this is interesting.


Weekly Standard, Jan. 17
Philip Nobile calls C.A. Tripp's The Intimate World of Abraham Lincoln "a hoax and a fraud: a historical hoax, because the inaccurate parts are all shaded toward a predetermined conclusion, and a literary fraud, because significant portions of the accurate parts are plagiarized—from me, as it happens." Nobile was a co-author on the book, but left when Tripp refused to acquiesce to Nobile's complaints that Tripp was intentionally shading the book to convince readers of Lincoln's homosexuality: "Tripp had Lincoln boinking four bosom buddies during his prairie years, but there was not a whiff of this supposed hanky-panky anywhere in the record."

Discuss...

the Weekly Standard is one of the most conservative magazines out there, and if you look at this week's cover, with Lincoln lounging in a chair wearing eye make-up and an earring, just a tad homophobic.

however Nobile wrote about Lincoln before, in 2001, and you can read the article here: http://hnn.us/articles/97.html

an excerpt: "I am neither gay nor an advocate of Lincoln's homosexuality. But I do believe that bisexuality (he was bisexual by definition) is the best explanation for Lincoln's sex life."
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Old 01-12-2005, 06:45 PM   #83
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Originally posted by FizzingWhizzbees


ah, trainspotting. both the book and the film are amazing. i still occassionally lapse into a scottish accent when writing, all thanks to mr welsh.

agreed. i wrote my senior thesis on _trianspotting_.
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Old 01-12-2005, 09:24 PM   #84
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nathan1977 - I don't think any of us expected to see a perspective from a decendant of Lincoln, glad to see it.
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Old 01-13-2005, 08:35 AM   #85
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i'm totally not making this up: there's a movie in pre-production on Abraham Lincoln (no, not a movie about this book, no clue if there will be any gayness to speak of), and Liam Neeson is said to be cast as honest Abe.

and right after Kinsey, too.
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Old 01-13-2005, 08:48 AM   #86
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I just found it interesting that Nobile called Tripp's work a historical hoax with inaccuracies shadded toward a predetermined conclusion to convince readers of Lincoln's homosexuality. He makes it seem like it wasn't such a big deal. Plus, Irvine, the magazine it was in doesn't make a difference. The pic on the cover wasn't created by Nobile — his comments were and they could've ran in any liberal magazine and said the same thing (If they would've included them, which is doubtful.) And even if Nobile said Lincoln was at best bisexual, and then went on to say Tripp's work was crap, then the title of this thread is a bit misleading. However, on the same hand, I could care less if Lincoln was gay. It changes nothing for me.
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Old 01-13-2005, 08:51 AM   #87
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Interesting points Nathan

Maybe Abe was simply one of the early men who was from Venus and not Mars

We'll never know the truth, but I think it's still worth discussing and thinking about
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Old 01-13-2005, 09:14 AM   #88
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Originally posted by Macfistowannabe
nathan1977 - I don't think any of us expected to see a perspective from a decendant of Lincoln, glad to see it.
I was very surprised as a kid to learn about the connection myself (surprised and excited, since the Civil War is one of my favorite periods in history), but it's one my grandmother is very proud of.
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Old 01-13-2005, 10:08 AM   #89
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Originally posted by nathan1977
As someone who's a descendant of Lincoln through the Todd family, I find this whole thread troubling for a couple of reasons.
You can't be a descendant of his through his wife's family, he'd just be an in-law. Unless one of your ancestors was Abe and Mary's only surviving son, Robert Lincoln, you are not a descendant. I, however, may be loosely related to Lincoln. One of my ancestors was a cousin of Nancy Hanks, Lincoln's mother. But as I said in my other post, I am no fan of Lincoln's, but gay or straight makes no difference at all.
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Old 01-13-2005, 11:47 AM   #90
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I think it's easy to believe Kinsey's assumption that 5% are solely homosexual, 5% are solely heterosexual, and that the other 90% are somewhere in between (bi-sexual). Therefore, was Lincoln a gay man?---I don't know; but was he bi-sexual?---it's very likely...as it would be for every person who has walked the Earth.
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