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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

"New Biography: Young Obama ‘Considered Gayness’"

A friend, Ed, just forwarded this article from The Daily Caller:

President Barack Obama considered being homosexual as a young man, according to a forthcoming biography of the president.

The biography by David Garrow, "Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama," is set to come out on May 9. Garrow wrote a Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of Martin Luther King Jr., and is a regular contributor to The New York Times and The Washington Post.

In a chapter about the former president’s two years at Occidental College, Garrow reveals a close relationship Obama had with an openly gay assistant professor named Lawrence Goldyn.

“Goldyn made a huge impact on Barry Obama,” Garrow wrote in the book. “Almost a quarter century later, asked about his understanding of gay issues, Obama enthusiastically said, ‘my favorite professor my first year in college was one of the first openly gay people that I knew…He was a terrific guy' with whom Obama developed a ‘friendship beyond the classroom.'”

The biographer added, “Goldyn years later would remember that Obama ‘was not fearful of being associated with me’ in terms of ‘talking socially’ and ‘learning from me’ after as well as in class.”

“Three years later, Obama wrote somewhat elusively to his first intimate girlfriend that he had thought about and considered gayness, but ultimately had decided that a same-sex relationship would be less challenging and demanding than developing one with the opposite sex,” Garrow wrote. “But there is no doubting that Goldyn gave eighteen-year-old Barry a vastly more positive and uplifting image of gay identity and self-confidence than he had known in Honolulu.”

Garrow recently spoke about his book on The Jamie Weinstein Show. When asked about Obama experimenting with homosexuality, Garrow paused and replied, “I think anyone and everyone, no matter what their role in life deserves a certain basic degree of privacy, in that context.”

You may consider having apple pie for dessert. You may consider buying a new car. You may consider moving to Tallahassee. 

But you don't "consider" homosexuality, any more than you "consider" heterosexuality. Those are things you either are or aren't. 

This is actually one of the central tenets of the gay liberation movement: that they can't be blamed for something they have absolutely no choice about. In fact, gays generally despise those clueless conservatives who term being gay "a lifestyle choice." 

Yet Garrow, who writes for both the NY Times and the Washington Post, is now apparently accepting that Religious Right view of homosexuality. 

According to Garrow, Barack Obama evidently came to this fork in the road of his life, and then, based primarily on intellectual considerations, decided to become a heterosexual.

Note Obama's "reason" for deciding to become heterosexual: "that a same-sex relationship would be less challenging and demanding than developing one with the opposite sex."

Yep, that really rings true. After all, isn't that what all young men want from a romantic relationship: more challenges and demands? (Some of us managed to find those things, but that doesn't mean we were looking for them.)

To swallow that line, one's bullshit detector has to be turned completely off.

And with regard to his answer about whether or not Obama had ever "experimented," could Garrow's evasiveness -- and the real answer -- possibly have been any clearer?

It seems fairly apparent that Obama has never stopped "experimenting."


Mark Caplan said...

I was about to leave this comment in the "Queer Theory" post, but it's more appropriate here. I was talking to a gay man who lives in a gay part of Chicago. He name-dropped that he and Obama used to get their nails done at the same nail salon. Is visiting nail salons an activity peculiar to gays, or do straight upper-class males also frequent nail salons?

John Craig said...

Mark --
I don't think I've never known any man, gay or straight, who gets his nails done, so I can't really answer that question.

Anonymous said...

To me, the most thought-provoking thing about this issue is what it says about democracy, elected politicians and the quote-unquote "real powers that be".

At the risk of sounding like a conspiracy theorist, it does give grist for the mill to the argument that the Real Rulers always always always have something on elected officials. Indeed, they have something on them before it is even decided to promote them as the "next big thing."

The reason I am mentioning this in the context of Obama's possible gayness and what that may mean about his being a kind of Manchurian Candidate / President, is that with Trump's apparent about-face on certain key issues of his campaign -- non-interventionism, building the wall, kicking out Dreamers, trade policy, etc. -- the question is raised as to whether they now have something on Trump, whether he is essentially being blackmailed.

This is a theory floating around some of the more hard-core Alt Right sites like Daily Stormer.

Personally, I think there are potentially other more parsimonious explanations in the case of Trump: For example, he is a skillful negotiator, and one technique is to give ground on some things only to fight back harder later. There is also the possibility (speaking of sociopathy), that Trump doesn't care all that much: he did what he needed to do to win, and no he will do what he needs to do to govern. (Interestingly, since John Craig mentioned Norman Vincent Peale, Trump was highly influenced by him and actually sat in his pews as a child.).

But maybe the web of the unseen power structure is such that they have something on everyone: Obama's gayness, and who knows what on Trump.

John Craig said...

Samuel --
I've heard that theory about both men, and it actually seems easier to believe that Trump is somehow being blackmailed, simply because Obama's "secret" is so obvious, and a lot of people have guessed it already. Sometimes it seems as if most of the people in the alt-right know Obama is gay already anyway, so what would be the point exposing him. The Dems might even love him more if they found out. Plus, Obama never really changed his tune while in office; it was obvious from the summer of '08 that he was far more of a hard leftist than he was campaigning as, and he never changed those stripes.

Trump, on the other hand, has done a complete about-face on all the things you mention, plus Syria. And his administration is only 100 days old. And given that we know the previous administration was spying him, and given that the NSA has leeway to pretty much do as they please, they must have something.

Plus if the Deep State was blackmailing both Trump and Obama, they would have had a huge change of heart when the new administration came in, given that Obama was never really a friend to Israel, and Trump has move din a neocon direction. Obama even negotiated that treaty with Iran, to Israel's great displeasure, whereas Trump's about face has included going after Syria, to Israel's great pleasure. So which is it that the Deep State wants?

I've said before that I don't think Trump is a sociopath, though I suppose I could be wrong about that. So far it certainly doesn't appear as if some of those campaign promises were deeply held convictions.

Anyway, it's easy to be paranoid, and I've had some of the same thoughts you've had, but the different directions in which Obama and Trump turned would be an argument against those thoughts.

By the way, thank you for bringing the Daily Caller article to my attention, I just mentioned Ed because he was first.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Obama wouldn't care, but it would have been too soon for a Gay President. In Obama's case, maybe it was something the Powers That Be actually needed to keep secret: "Guys, we have this awesome mixed race, bland as butter, reasonably articulate Cultural Marxist, Harvard-educated, CIA-connected guy who would be the perfect Multicultural Back Savior candidate. Problem is: He's gay. But it's not a big deal, we just have to knock off a couple of Chicago down-low bruthas who nobody will miss. What do you think?" Them: "Let's do it."

As for Trump, I'm not throwing in the towel on him yet. Neither the "He was always lying his teeth off" or the "He's being blackmailed" explanations pass muster with me yet. I don't see how someone could fake being that good a populist. When I think back on the best debate moments (against the Republicans), his best speeches, etc., I simply cannot accept that it was all an act. And if you look back at Trump's history: 1. he has been anti-free trade for decades; 2. he has been a kind of civic nationalist for a long time. As for the blackmail, I just think it is too cut-and-dried, and too soon to make that judgment.

Trump is a maverick: he confused a lot of people during the campaign, and I think he is confusing a lot of people now. He may have a grand strategy for dealing with detractors and opponents now that he actually has to negotiate through the different branches of government. During the election, he could say what he wanted because no judge, legislator or bureaucrat can stop a citizen from casting his vote. Now that he is actually in office, there are a lot of roadblocks that are much tougher to deal with. I hope that his various about-faces are essentially head-fakes to get people off his back. We'll see. I plan to give him at least a year before I stop giving him the benefit of the doubt.

No problem on not mentioning me. I've been pretty quiet of late!!

John Craig said...

Samuel --
Ha, perfect description of Obama's ascension (maybe).

I'm not giving up on Trump yet either; I suspect he is a populist, and he seems to WANT to do most of the things he advocated during his campaign. Syria was an about-face, and I don't believe that seeing the pictures of the dead children were enough to make him want to shift global alliances so abruptly. And I wish he WOULD ally with Putin, against ISIS, and then wash his hands of further involvement in the Middle East. And you're right, his populist act was too good to have been complete fakery.

We do have to remember, he used to be a Democrat. And that's actually one of the things I like about him, that he picked populist elements of both parties. (He's not a huge fan of Wall Street in principle, despite picking several key Cabinet members from there, he doesn't really care about stopping abortion, despite the lip service he paid to that, and he doesn't care about rolling back gay marriage).

Anonymous said...

A couple of thoughts on what's going on with Trump.

An intelligent friend of mine thinks that Trump is just not all that bright. And, for example, on health care - never really understood all the issues, and the likely outcome of the Ryan health plan. My own opinion is that the Ryan plan would have been - to use one of Trump's favorite words - a disaster. Costs would have continued to rise, and little else would be solved. The Freedom Caucus saved Trump; yet Trump attacked and threatened them. Republicans have had eight years to come up with a real solution to health insurance in the US; all the while screaming about the horrors of Obamacare. And when the time came, they served up a big 'nothing-burger'.

Re Syria: with all the trust issues between Trump and the intelligence community - is it also a bit odd that Trump immediately accepted the intelligence community assessment, and acted militarily - before a broader investigation of the incident could be conducted? Zero Hedge ran two articles by Theodore A. Postol, professor emeritus of science, technology, and national security policy at MIT. The articles debunk the story that Assad conducted these attacks. (personally I suspect a false flag, but am not in a position to be sure from the evidence)

Trump has been disappointing on a number of his critical campaign positions, which is disheartening.

Short of instigating WWIII ( whether through N Korea, or head to head war with Russia / Syria / Iran) it won't take much for Trump to be a better president than Hillary. Unfortunately Trump just might get us into WWIII.

- Ed

John Craig said...

Ed --
I agree with your friend; in fact I think I said so somewhere on this blog, maybe in response to a comment. That's Trump's dirty little secret, that he's not nearly as smart as he thinks. He seems to measure his IQ by his bank account, but if it was measured on a standard IQ test it wouldn't be nearly what he seems to think. And his ADHD is also a handicap; it prevents him from reading, or even listening, for any length of time. He has common sense, but his world view is informed by a series of fleeting impressions.

A President doesn't have to be a detail-oriented guy -- Carter was, and he wasn't a successful President -- but he ought to have more of a sense of detail than Trump does.

Anonymous said...

'You may consider having an apple pie for dessert. You may consider buying a new car. You may consider moving to Tallahassee.

But you don't "consider" homosexuality, any more than you "consider" heterosexuality. Those are things you either are or aren't. '

Succinctly put. The question is: 'Can one actually be truthful when one is holding public office? Look at Trump from marketing his brand of 'hanging it all out' to increasing becoming a covert operator.


John Craig said...

Sherie --
I agree, Trump's been a disappointment so far. I don't mind that he was unable to get Obamacare repealed, at least he tried to do what he aid he was gong to do there. And ditto for the wall, he still wants to build that (though I doubt he'll be able to with Congressional resistance). But he flip flopped on Syria, with that flimsy excuse of having seen children killed (the US kills children all the time with our bombing), he flip flopped on calling China a currency manipulator, and our relations with Russia are at a low point. None of this is what his voters had hoped for.

Anonymous said...

Woah, Kal Penn is gay?


John Craig said...

Ga --

Anonymous said...

I checked, no wife, girlfriends, divorce, or children. No information about personal life revealed.
Either he is autistic like me and straight, or just gay.
I'm going with gay

John Craig said...

Ga --
If you take a look at the post I linked in this post ("Is Obama gay?") in the second to last paragraph, I think it's pretty obvious Obama is gay.

Anonymous said...

I meant Kal Penn, but its true too for Barack I guess.


John Craig said...

Ga --
Okay, gotcha, sorry, I hadn't realized your 1:23AM moment was a continuation of the previous two comment. Yes, an absence of much of a "personal life" in that section of a Wiki bio usually means the person is gay.

Mark Caplan said...

Way back in 2010, Reed [College] Magazine profiled "Obama's Gay Mentor," Lawrence Goldyn. Goldyn was a class of '73 graduate of Reed College. Goldyn was denied tenure at Occidental after teaching there only two years. He went on to become a physician, specializing in HIV.

Mark Caplan said...

David Garrow said his 1,472-tome Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama covers Obama's life up to 2008 when he became president. The presidency itself is dispensed with briefly in the epilogue. I suppose that was part of the deal Garrow made with Obama so as not to tread on Obama's reported $65 million book deal with Penguin Random House to write about his eight years in the White House. The publisher of Garrow's book is a subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.

Garrow wrote a Pulitzer-Prize-winning biography of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In Garrow's Jamie Weinstein interview that you linked to, Garrow says the difference between King Jr and Obama II is that King said what he believed regardless of the political repercussions, whereas Obama was pure political calculation. Dreams from My Father isn't to be taken as factual (as one might reasonably infer from Dreams in the title). Everything else Obama said or wrote should likewise be taken with a grain of salt.

Obama did break new ground as our first Hawaiian president. He expanded the role of government in health care. He can readily flash a wide, Satchmo-size smile (a talent learned at OcciDENTAL College?). Other than that, he was a big nothing, a rising flameout, a bore. Who is eagerly awaiting to curl up with these bios of an empty, immaculately well-tailored suit?

John Craig said...

Mark --
You just said something that really resonated: Obama really is a bore, isn't he? I'd never thought of him that way before; I'd always seen him as an incredibly annoying, narcissistic con man who wasn't nearly as smart as he seemed to think. But given the utter predictability of everything the came out of his mouth, given his consistent dishonesty about practically everything, given the hard left viewpoint he never budged from, given the way he always seemed to be high on himself for having achieved the Presidency, he really ended up being nothing but a bore. Thank you for crystallizing my thoughts that way.

Mark Caplan said...

I do like the title of Garrow's book on Obama, even though I doubt he was consciously referring to the Star of Bethlehem, which heralded the coming of the Messiah.

Anonymous said...

Actually, bisexuals can choose homosexuality. I've known one person who is actually bi but only dates men because of bad experiences with women.

- Gethin

John Craig said...

Gethin --
I've heard from gay men that bisexuality (for men) is mostly a big lie, a more socially acceptable way of saying you're gay. Basically, it means a gay guy has managed to make love to a woman once or twice, so he calls himself bisexual, when really he's mostly just attracted to men.

One of the few things Freud was right about was when he said that women have a "more polymorphous sexuality" than men do. In other words, a woman's sexuality is more fluid, whereas men tend to fixate on very specific triggers.