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Dear Gay Studies professor

By Bernard Chapin
web posted November 27, 2006

Today I discovered a recently written article in The Journal of American Culture entitled "'In My Day It Used to Be Called a Limp Wrist': Flip-Floppers, Nelly Boys, and Homophobic Rhetoric in the 2004 US Presidential Campaign." I am very sorry to say that I cannot link you to it for free, but if you send me an email I'll explain. W.C. Harris, the author of this essay along with others such as "Broke(n)back Faggots: Hollywood Offers Queers a Hobson's Choice," and "Queer Eye on the Prize: The Stereotypical Sodomites of Summer," sets his deconstructive eyes on many conservative works—including one by this commentator. The writer, who is a professor of English and Gay Studies at Shippenberg University, made two factual errors (along with a host of weak arguments) in his essay so I decided to email this PC scholar and his Editor to press for a retraction and an apology. I'll keep readers posted as to whether I hear anything back from them or not.

11/20/06

Dear Mr. Harris and Editor Kathy Merlock Jackson,

I would like to first express my gratitude for mentioning my name in your September issue of The Journal of American Culture. I realize that our worldviews are contrasting, but, regardless of theoretical disagreement, I respect your diversity nonetheless. That my work was critiqued negatively is perfectly acceptable as you have a right to your opinion about all things, but I did want to call to your attention two errors of fact for which I would like a retraction and an apology.

1. Mr. Harris's statement:

The fact that by the time of Chapin's article Saddam Hussein's capability
of launching a surprise nuclear attack on the United States at a moment's
notice had been thoroughly disproved seems to have little impact on Chapin's
logic. Quick, unconsidered action is good, period, no matter the reality or
level of threat.

Never once in that article, nor in any other, have I ever advocated for "quick, unconsidered action." That would be ridiculous. I would never recommend such a practice. In a crisis, one must take into account all the available evidence and options before making a decision. One should act quickly, efficiently, but also survey all the information and intelligence available. When the country is at risk we need leaders who act, not those who ruminate like Hamlet. Your description of my position was a blatant misrepresentation.

2. Mr. Harris's statement: "Because Chapin equates logic and reason with emotion all of which are bad (though in characterizing stoics as impulsive Chapin reveals another facet of his ignorance)," is totally inaccurate. Never once in my entire life have I ever, in any context, equated reason with emotion. Logos is what makes us distinctly human. It is the major human characteristic which enabled our civilization to be built. I would no sooner denigrate logic than I would Winston Churchill. No one who has ever met me or read me would think otherwise. Equating reason with emotion is something I simply would never do—not here, not in an article, not in daily speech, or even in my dreams. It would not be much of an exaggeration to say that my entire intellectual life has been built the distinction. Furthermore, I have never once advocated for impulsivity being of benefit to leaders. This is a gross fabrication. I believe that a leader should act forcefully when his or her country is endangered, but they should never act impulsively. As far as my ignorance is concerned, the truly ignorant person is one who has absolutely no respect for his opposition, and this is far truer of Mr. Harris than it is of me. Mr. Harris must think that his ideological enemies spend all their time swinging from branches and never take the time to read. He is mistaken, but that can be the only explanation for his making claims totally rooted in fantasy.

Editor Jackson, despite you disdain for my positions, I think you should juxtapose my article with his characterization of it. When you do, you'll see that I am right.

Additionally, for the sake of argument, I would like to refute three other parts of the essay:

1. Sentences from my piece are chosen and recited in one open grouping with the justifications intentionally cloven away. This is not unethical, but I do think it is rather pusillanimous. The only possible reason for citing these sentences in such a fashion is to deny them their power and context. With the justifications for the conclusions deleted, it then becomes far easier for an author to propagandize. In my day, we used to call those who were afraid of honest resuscitation…cowards.

2. In the notes the following is stated,

Bernard Chapin's characterization of feminism is similarly overblown,
though infinitely more tasteless and clinically paranoid: "Once again we
see that radical feminism is little different from Nazism in that you
substitute 'Jew' for 'white male' and get the same evil product" (par. 1).
Rarely has the odious subtext of the "Feminazi" slur been so vividly realized.

Dubbing my argument "odious" fails to refute it. Radical feminism is totalitarian, socialist, and Manichean—just like Nazism. Female supremacy is intrinsic to their view of the world. Like many other politically correct, pseudo-academic endeavors, radical feminism eschews all nuance. The male is the cause of war, rape, and murder along with all the world's suffering. The female is the source of love, empathy, nurturance, fidelity, and a bunch of other things both present and absent in individual humans, but which are never decided by genitalia alone. The radical feminist, unlike the equity feminist, views man as her sworn enemy. They seek to disadvantage him at every turn. Their attitude towards men is that they are inferior by birth which is the same attitude Hitler had toward the Jews.

3. As far as my being a "low level" conservative, that point is conceded. As far as my being a conservative "hack," that point is untrue. I have never been the pawn of any party. In fact, since 2003, I stopped considering myself a Republican due to our president's failure to support immigration restriction, lust for statism, and affirmation of affirmative action. I remain a conservative, but will vote Libertarian until the Republican Party again becomes the party of conservatives.

Therefore, for the above reasons I believe the journal and Mr. Harris owe me an apology and partial retraction. Mr. Harris, regardless of sexual orientation, apologizing is the manly thing for you to do. Ms. Jackson, if you'd like to use my letter for any reason you have my express written permission, and if you'd like a more thorough response or debate in the future then I am at your service.

Sincerely,

Bernard Chapin
Oppressed White Male ESR

Bernard Chapin is a writer living in Chicago and the author of Escape from Gangsta Island. He is currently at work on a book concerning women. He can be contacted at veritaseducation@gmail.com.


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