Love him or hate him…hell, love him and hate him, Larry Kramer is one of the most moral people I know. Not that I know him personally, but I did exchange words with him through a go-between, my good friend Dottie Rex Wockner. It was back when I lived in Chicagoland, so it would have been either late 1992 or first half of 1993.
I was at Rex’s apartment when Larry called him. I don’t recall what they were talking about, but I could tell from Rex’s expression that it was a good-natured and entertaining call. He got around to telling Larry that we had been talking about him.
Rex, to Larry: “My friend, Jeff. He’s here. He just finished reading Faggots [a novel written by Kramer].”
Then Rex, to me: “What did you think of it?”
“Loved it,” I said, feeling extraordinarily nervous, my blushing face on fire.
Rex relayed it to Larry.
“Larry says he’s glad, and thank you.”
Rex had told me plenty of stories about Larry, about his impressions of Larry as a person and a friend. Relatively new to gay life, I didn’t know much about Kramer except as him being a man that Rex liked very much, and as the author of a novel that made a huge impression. So when I see Larry now, like in his recent speech for the 20th anniversary of ACT UP—which you should go watch and listen to, and then recall (if you’re old enough) how much of the positive change in gay rights and perceptions of gay people and AIDS has occurred in large part due to the insanely brave efforts of Larry and all of ACT UP—when I see the outrage Larry has never lost, I always compare it to the Larry of my first impressions. The kind, sweet man who wrote a book that figured fundamentally into my then-emergent gay life.
It makes the outrage all that more impressive, all that more (dare I say) moral.
Then there’s Matt Sanchez, a Marine whiner closet-case gay porn “actor” facerciser “activist” Republican butt-boy who’s soon going to end up with whiplash from all the contortion he’s doing trying to keep his story (ahem) straight. It’s all such a mess that I have had serious trouble sorting through all of shit-storms swirling around his surgically-modified facercised face.
Rightly, NGLTF and the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network insist that Sanchez not be discharged from the military for being acting gay. That one’s an easy call. No one should be penalized simply for being gay. The rest? Not so easy.
Conservatives—at least the ones who previously associated with Sanchez for at least a photo-op or two are falling all over themselves to paint Sanchez’s past as a gay porn actor as a failing of morality and one that he’s well-past. Hell, Sanchez does it himself. Though one might think he’d have gotten his impressions after just one video, Sanchez stayed in it for long enough that he had two or three different noms d’pénis—my favorite being “Rod Majors”. Apparently he was playing white, too.
The Left is shouting hypocrisy! and frankly, more often than not, I’m right there with him.
This man had the gall to complain about students exercising their own rights to free speech on the Columbia campus while he was there whoring himself (yet again) for those defenders of freedom, the US Military. He finds it “ironic” that the protestors that were shouting at him were all “white”: See, they were (rightly or wrongly) accusing the military of taking advantage of minorities and implying that Sanchez (and the other two “minority” folks) with him were ignorant or stupid for espousing an organization that uses them. He said this while he was on O’Reilly’s show, just one of many tricks he turned for FOXNEWS over the last few weeks. And he doesn’t find it ironic that he’s happily sobbing his stories to a bunch of white men who say they’re pro-military but really aren’t at all pro-soldier, unless it helps their ratings to be so.
Then we have the right blogosphere calling the Progressives hypocrites because they’re/we’re apparently trying to squash the free speech of the US Military on the Columbia campus. Well, whatever happened to local politics deciding what’s right for them, Righties? Columbia, along with most universities these days, have a strict policy against those organizations which violate their own code of ethics, and often US Military recruiters are the target of such because of their anti-gay policies. The government, in turn, has often rescinded federal funding to those schools in a hissy fit.
So the Right calls the Left hypocrites because they protested or supported the protest of the US Military on Columbia’s campus. Many on the Left want Sanchez punished for his obvious inconsistencies and hypocritical hubris, and they don’t care if that means that he gets a dishonorable discharge for being gay. The Conservatives are both embracing (hips apart) Sanchez as a good guy who “made mistakes” even while they distance themselves from anything gay-related by calling it all depraved and a huge mistake and pushing it to some “distant” past.
As I said, there’ so much wrong going on that it’s hard to tackle any one aspect of it without the rest of it spinning out of control.
In better days, intellectually speaking, I would have long ago spotted the meta-consistency that umbrellas all this meshuga finger-pointing. It is simply this: Sanchez is playing off of everyone. Not consciously, because frankly he has never given me any indication that he’s smart enough to orchestrate something on this scale purposively, but rather that he’s one of those vampiric souls who drains everyone around him, often playing one set of people against another and soaking up all the free energy that bursts forth in conflict.
There’s no clear way to describe it because Sanchez himself has no clear defense of himself and his past. He obviously lies about some things (he’s clearly had plastic surgery, but claims it was merely “facercise” that has so changed his appearance), he demurs in answering the most basic of questions by asking questions of the interviewer—an obvious and pathetic attempt at avoidance. He bitches that the Columbia administration didn’t shut the protesters up even as he claimed his right to free speech on the campus.
No, Matt “horse-hung” Sanchez is climbing on the backs (no pun intended) of everyone in his path just to keep himself bathed in other people’s energy. He’s happy to just kick back and let both sides fight for him, as he says just enough, nebulously enough, to continue to sow doubt and provide fodder to others.
He’s the least moral person in the news these days, because there’s no there there behind his lifted eyebrows and forehead. He’s one of those people who is little more than the sum of his actions, a drone who hitches his wagon to whoever or whatever will help him keep distance between himself and his ever-gaining-on-him past.
While Larry Kramer can stand tall, raised higher still when he stands upon all the good he’s done for himself and for so many others, Sanchez is little more than the 11“ which got him a gig back in the day.