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Old 01-11-2005, 11:20 AM   #1
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Lincoln: America's Greatest President; also, Totally Gay!

if anyone saw the cover of The Weekly Standard this week, they'll know what i mean. a book has hit big time -- The Intimate World of Abraham Lincoln, by C.A. Tripp -- and everyone's reacting to it. at least everyone in Washington.


i'll post a bit of Andrew Sullivan's review from The National Review:

How gay was Abraham Lincoln? By asking the question that way, it's perhaps possible to avoid the historically futile, binary question of "gay" versus "straight." Futile, because we are talking about a man who lived well over a century ago, at a time when the very concepts of gay and straight did not exist. And C.A. Tripp, author of The Intimate World of Abraham Lincoln was, despite the crude assertions of some reviewers, a Kinseyite who believed in a continuum between gay and straight. If completely heterosexual is a Kinsey zero and completely homosexual is a Kinsey six, Tripp puts Lincoln at five. Reading his engrossing, if uneven, book, I'd say you could make a case that Lincoln was, in fact, a four. It's going to be a subjective judgment, and I'm no Lincoln scholar. In any particular piece of evidence that Tripp discovers, I'd say it's easy to dismiss his theory. But when you review all the many pieces of the Lincoln emotional-sexual puzzle, the homosexual dimension gets harder and harder to ignore. As conservative writer Richard Brookhiser has noted, all we can say with complete confidence is that "on the evidence before us, Lincoln loved men, at least some of whom loved him back." That's a pretty good definition of the core truth of homosexuality.

[...]

Here's what I'd say are the most persuasive facts. Lincoln never developed deep emotional relations with any women, including his wife. Even the few snippets we have of early romances or his deeply strained courtship of Mary Todd suggest a painful attempt to live up to social norms, not a regular heterosexual life. His marriage was a disaster, by all accounts. Why? Well, ask Brookhiser, who tries to exonerate Todd from charges of being cruel and psychopathic as well as corrupt: "Explosive, imperious, profligate, she may well have been mad. But in fairness to her, Lincoln was maddening--remote and unavailable, when he was not physically absent." Hmmm. Remote, emotionally unavailable, running away to hang with men whenever he could. Ring a bell? Not in Brookhiser's mind.

Or take this wonderful passage about one of Lincoln's early crushes, Billy Greene, who subsequently remarked that Lincoln's "thighs were as perfect as a human being could be." Brookhiser remarks: "Everyone saw that Lincoln was tall and strong, but this seems rather gushing." Gushing? I'd say. When you also realize that a common form of gay sex back then was "inter-femoral," i.e. ejaculating by humping between the thighs, you might get a slightly different idea of what Lincoln's intimate was talking about. And, yes, they slept together--in a cot-bed. Remember that Lincoln was well over 6 feet tall. It was a tight fit. As Greene said himself, "when one turned over the other had to do likewise." So just picture the actual scene: two young men inseparable each night in bed. Gay? Whatever would give you that idea?


i'll leave it at that. discuss.
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Old 01-11-2005, 11:35 AM   #2
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I'd heard this before. Makes sense to me In what way are they reacting to it in Washington? Sounds like a good read.
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Old 01-11-2005, 11:37 AM   #3
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it's just a book that peolpe in washington might find interesting, but i can't imagine it being a best seller. that's all -- one of those "inside the Beltway" things.
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Old 01-11-2005, 11:39 AM   #4
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But how could he be gay? I thought it was just a late 20th century disease that arose out of MTV or something.
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Old 01-11-2005, 11:43 AM   #5
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not only that, but he was a brave leader! masculine! strong jawline!

it just doesn't make sense.
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Old 01-11-2005, 11:45 AM   #6
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Wait 150 years and a historian can make anyone out to be gay. Who really cares?
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Old 01-11-2005, 12:29 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by drhark
Wait 150 years and a historian can make anyone out to be gay. Who really cares?
You couldn't say that under your real username?
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Old 01-11-2005, 01:04 PM   #8
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real username: drhark
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Old 01-11-2005, 02:55 PM   #9
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I just read about Tripps book. Here's another review.
Interesting interpretation. I bet Falwell would swallow his tongue reading it.
http://www.tnr.com/doc.mhtml?i=express&s=sullivan011105
...

How gay was Abraham Lincoln? By asking the question that way, it's perhaps possible to avoid the historically futile, binary question of "gay" versus "straight." Futile, because we are talking about a man who lived well over a century ago, at a time when the very concepts of gay and straight did not exist. And C.A. Tripp, author of The Intimate World of Abraham Lincoln was, despite the crude assertions of some reviewers, a Kinseyite who believed in a continuum between gay and straight. If completely heterosexual is a Kinsey zero and completely homosexual is a Kinsey six, Tripp puts Lincoln at five. Reading his engrossing, if uneven, book, I'd say you could make a case that Lincoln was, in fact, a four. It's going to be a subjective judgment, and I'm no Lincoln scholar. In any particular piece of evidence that Tripp discovers, I'd say it's easy to dismiss his theory. But when you review all the many pieces of the Lincoln emotional-sexual puzzle, the homosexual dimension gets harder and harder to ignore. As conservative writer Richard Brookhiser has noted, all we can say with complete confidence is that "on the evidence before us, Lincoln loved men, at least some of whom loved him back." That's a pretty good definition of the core truth of homosexuality.
...
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Old 01-11-2005, 02:58 PM   #10
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Wasn't the stovepipe hat a dead giveaway?

If that's true, I think it's cool we had a gay President
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Old 01-11-2005, 03:02 PM   #11
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who cares about the former president of them damn yankee states?


just kidding.

whether he was gay or not i doubt we'll ever know.
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Old 01-11-2005, 03:03 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by drhark
Wait 150 years and a historian can make anyone out to be gay. Who really cares?
We can only "make" someone gay if it's true. If Anyone X was not gay we can't fabricate and claim that he or she was gay. I don't know much about Lincoln, to be perfectly honest. I specialized in medieval European history in school--as specialized as an undergrad can be, that is--and I know more about twentieth century than I do nineteenth century Presidents at that. I have read snippets that his marriage was difficult, and they usually blame Mary for being unstable and such. I'm not sure, but didn't Victorian era moralists always blame the woman if there was a problem with the marriage? At any rate, the concept of homosexuality was not understood, it didn't exist. I do not know when the word "homosexual" was coined. At any rate, if you're going to prove either that Lincoln was gay or that he was not gay you have to prove it. You can't just say he was gay because you feel like it.
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Old 01-11-2005, 03:15 PM   #13
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Originally posted by drhark
real username: drhark
Only 8 posts since 2002? Oh well, I don't care, I was just busting your chops.

Anyway, back on topic, I think it's significant if in fact Abe was gay. Gays are still treated as second class citizens today and here was one of our greatest leaders, our greatest president, allegedly a gay man.
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Old 01-11-2005, 03:47 PM   #14
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i was wondering when the first gay thread of the year would appear and i didn't expect it to be about Honest Abe!
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Old 01-11-2005, 03:50 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by Doozer61
i was wondering when the first gay thread of the year would appear and i didn't expect it to be about Honest Abe!
And apparently it's left FYM nearly speechless, lol, although since we haven't read the book it's hard to have a discussion I guess.
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