Frank Rich Hub

NYT Columnist Frank Rich Moves to 'New York' Magazine

Sunday NYT staple Frank Rich is moving to New York magazine, they report:

Rich Rich will be an essayist for the magazine, writing monthly on politics and culture, and will serve as an editor-at-large, editing a special monthly section anchored by his essay. He will also be a commentator on, engaging in regular dialogues on the news of the week.

“Frank Rich is a giant — a powerhouse critic of politics and culture, a rigorous thinker, a glorious stylist, a skeptic and optimist at the same time. There is just no one like him in American journalism,” said New York editor-in-chief Adam Moss. “He is also a friend. I have had the privilege to work with him for almost 25 years. Since the day I came to New York, I have hoped I could persuade him to join us here. I'm ecstatic that he will now be bringing his wisdom to our growing audience. This is a very big day for New York.”

Towleroad in Brief: 5 Questions for Frank Rich [tr]

Frank Rich Bashes The Smithsonian Over Censorship

In a piece titled "Gay Bashing at the Smithsonian," Frank Rich writes about the institution's censorship of David Wojnarowicz' piece "A Fire in My Belly," which was quickly (and baffingly) yanked from an exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery a few weeks ago:

Like many of its antecedents, the war over Wojnarowicz is a completely manufactured piece of theater. What triggered the abrupt uproar was an incendiary Nov. 29 post on a conservative Web site. The post was immediately and opportunistically seized upon by William Donohue, of the so-called Catholic League, a right-wing publicity mill with no official or financial connection to the Catholic Church.

W Donohue is best known for defending Mel Gibson’s anti-Semitism by declaring that “Hollywood is controlled by Jews who hate Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular.” A perennial critic of all news media except Fox, he has also accused The Times of anti-Catholicism because it investigated the church pedophilia scandal. Donohue maintains the church doesn’t have a “pedophilia crisis” but a “homosexual crisis.” Such is the bully that the Smithsonian surrendered to without a fight.

Donohue’s tactic was to label the 11-second ants-and-crucifix sequence as “anti-Christian” hate speech. “The irony,” wrote the Washington Post art critic, Blake Gopnik, is that the video is merely a tepid variation on the centuries-old tradition of artists using images of Christ, many of them “hideously grisly,” to speak of mankind’s suffering. Those images are staples of all museums — even in Washington, where gory 17th-century sculptures of Christ were featured in a recent show of Spanish sacred art at the National Gallery.

But of course Donohue was just using his “religious” objections as a perfunctory cover for the homophobia actually driving his complaint. The truth popped out of the closet as Donohue expanded his indictment to “pornographic images of gay men.” His Republican Congressional allies got into the act. Eric Cantor called for the entire exhibit to be shut down and threatened to maim the Smithsonian’s taxpayer funding come January. (The exhibit was entirely funded by private donors, but such facts don’t matter in culture wars.) Jack Kingston, of the House Appropriations Committee, rattled off his own list of exaggerated gay outrages in “Hide/Seek,” from “Ellen DeGeneres grabbing her breasts” to “naked brothers kissing.”

It took only hours after Donohue’s initial battle cry for the video to be yanked. “The decision wasn’t caving in,” the museum’s director, Martin E. Sullivan, told reporters. Of course it was. The Smithsonian, in its own official statement, rationalized its censorship by saying that Wojnarowicz’s video “generated a strong response from the public.” That’s nonsense. There wasn’t a strong response from the public — there was no response. As the museum’s own publicist told the press, the National Portrait Gallery hadn’t received a single complaint about “A Fire in the Belly” from the exhibit’s opening day, Oct. 30, until a full month later, when a “public” that hadn’t seen the exhibit was mobilized by Donohue to blast the museum by phone and e-mail.

In response to th Smithsonian's outrageous censhorship, several museums and galleries across the United States have decided to showcase Wojnarowicz' video, including as the New Museum in NYC and CB1 Gallery in Los Angeles.

NYT, Frank Rich on the Latest in the Prop 8 Case

The NYT hit Prop 8 hard yesterday. First, an article summing up the major points in the case and its potential trip to the Supreme Court, touching on whether or not Prop 8 proponents have standing as defendant-intervenors:

Prop8That said, the conservatives on the current Supreme Court — considered to be in the majority — “have always been the most restrictive about standing,” Mr. Chemerinsky said.

“And that then makes it hard for these conservative justices, however much they disagree with Judge Walker, to find standing,” he said.

He added, “The irony here is that a doctrine that the conservatives have developed over decades restricting standing in federal cases could now be used to end the debate over Prop 8.”

Judge Walker himself addressed the issue of standing in his opinion on Thursday when he denied a request from the Proposition 8 proponents for a stay of his initial decision, issued on Aug. 4, that found the ban unconstitutional. While saying that the proponents had “organized the successful campaign for Proposition 8,” he countered that it was not their job to enforce it.

“They are not (and cannot be) responsible for the application or regulation of California marriage law,” he wrote.

But Vikram Amar, a professor of law at the University of California, Davis, said the proponents had made more compelling arguments in recent court filings than they had in a two-week trial in January and in their closing arguments in June. In particular, Mr. Amar said, the defendant-interveners had done a good job in arguing that allowing same-sex marriages to proceed during appeals of Judge Walker’s decision could lead to confusion about their validity.

“I do think that if there’s marriages that are entered into and then he’s overturned, I think those marriages are vulnerable,” said Mr. Amar, who opposes Proposition 8.

And Frank Rich takes on Prop 8 in his column: Rich  

There has already been an attempt to discredit Walker, who has never publicly discussed his sexual orientation but has been widely reported to be gay. The notion that a judge’s sexuality, gay or not, might disqualify him from ruling on marriage is as absurd as saying Clarence Thomas can’t rule on cases involving African-Americans. By this standard, the only qualified judge to rule on marital rights would be a eunuch. No less ridiculous has been the attempt to dismiss Walker as a liberal “activist judge.” Walker was another Reagan nominee to the federal bench, recommended by his attorney general, Edwin Meese (an opponent of same-sex marriage and, now, of Walker), in a December 1987 memo residing at the Reagan library. It took nearly two years and a renomination by the first President George Bush for Walker to gain Senate approval over opposition from Teddy Kennedy, the N.A.A.C.P., La Raza, the National Organization for Women and the many gay groups who deemed his record in private practice too conservative.

The attacks on Walker have fizzled fast. With rare exceptions from the hysterical fringe — Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich — most political leaders have either remained silent about the Prop 8 decision (the Republican National Committee) or punted (the Obama White House). Over at Fox News, Ted Olson silenced the states’-rights argument in favor of Prop 8 last weekend by asking Chris Wallace: “Would you like Fox’s right to a free press put up to a vote and say, well, if five states have approved it, let’s wait till the other 45 states do?” (No answer was forthcoming.)

Ted Olson and David Boies filed a motion on Friday night with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, arguing that Prop 8 proponents motion for a stay does not have a chance of winning on appeal. California AG Jerry Brown once again urged the court to let same-sex marriages proceed.

The appellate court has until 5pm Wednesday to decide whether to put another stay on Walker's decision.

Frank Rich: Prop 8 Expert 'Unqualified'

In his column in the NY Times today, Frank Rich makes note about David Blankenhorn, a so-called marriage expert, called to the stand by Prop 8 supporters in the federal case in California. Blankenhorn is president of the Institute for American Values, a wingnut organization "devoted to contributing intellectually to the renewal of marriage."

Writes Rich: 

DBlankenhorn holds no degree in such seemingly relevant fields as psychology, psychiatry or sociology. But his pretrial research did include reading a specious treatise by George Rekers, the antigay evangelist now notorious for his recent 10-day European trip with a young male companion procured from And Blankenhorn’s testimony relies on the same sweeping generalization as Rekers — that children raised by two biological parents are so advantaged that all alternatives should be shunned.

What was the unqualified Blankenhorn doing at the Prop 8 trial? Like Rekers, who had a lucrative history of testifying for pay in legal cases attacking gay civil rights, he also profits from his propaganda. Public documents, including tax returns, reveal that Blankenhorn’s institute, financed by such right-wing stalwarts as the Bradley and Scaife foundations, paid him $247,500 in base salary in 2008, the most recent year for which data is available, and another $70,000 to his wife. Not a bad payday for a self-professed arbiter of American marital values who under oath described his sole peer-reviewed academic paper (from the University of Warwick) as “a study of two cabinetmakers’ unions in 19th-century Britain.” That the Prop 8 proponents employed him as their star witness suggests that no actual experts could be found (or rented) to match his disparagement of gay parents.

Closing arguments for the trial on Prop 8 will take place on Wednesday. Judge Vaughn Walker, who is presiding, has requested that lawyers on both sides answer 39 questions he has produced before then.

Watch: More From the Informed Palin Fanbase


New Left Media rounds up another group of Palin morons at a book-signing in Columbus, Ohio.

My favorite quote: "I'm an American. We don't have czars in America."

Frank Rich made some excellent points in his column on Palin over the weekend:

"The fact-checking siege of 'Going Rogue' — by the media, Democrats and aggrieved McCain campaign operatives alike — is another fruitless sideshow. Palin’s political appeal has never had anything to do with facts — or coherent policy positions. The more she is attacked for not being in possession of pointy-headed erudition, the more powerful she becomes as an avatar of the anti-elite cause."


Continue reading "Watch: More From the Informed Palin Fanbase" »

Frank Rich on the Cultural Shift Forward on Gay Rights

Another excellent column from Frank Rich from this Sunday's New York Times:

Rich "Obama has long been, as he says, a fierce advocate for gay equality. The Windy City Times has reported that he initially endorsed legalizing same-sex marriage when running for the Illinois State Senate in 1996. The most common rationale for his current passivity is that his plate is too full. But the president has so far shown an impressive inclination both to multitask and to argue passionately for bedrock American principles when he wants to. Relegating fundamental constitutional rights to the bottom of the pile until some to-be-determined future seems like a shell game."

La Cage Aux Democrats [nyt]

If you missed our recent interview with Frank Rich, I've re-posted it, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Frank Rich on the Cultural Shift Forward on Gay Rights" »


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