Andrew Sullivan

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by Bbucko, Jan 10, 2008.

  1. Bbucko

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    Although I rarely agree with his specific viewpoints, and seriously question how someone can be conservative, a devout Catholic, and openly gay all at the same time, I have to admit that his blog discusses most of the issues I find interesting and thought-provoking. I am a daily visitor.

    Full disclosure:
    I remember Andrew when he was doing some postgraduate studies at Harvard in the 80s. He was highly intelligent, eloquent and completely provocative. More than once he'd be involved in a happy-hour exchange at the local neighborhood bar in The South End that became so heated that I was amazed that fisticuffs never resulted, though several scuffles occured.

    At the time I found him incredibly sexy, witty but a completely misguided, overly-opinionated jackass.

    He defies easy analysis or pigeon-holing. If he can be maddeningly obtuse and naive at times (his ability to be shocked by the obvious makes me want to throw things at the computer screen), he can also be (occasionally) insightful and (one in a great while) spot-on, as in his essay on Barack Obama.
     
  2. D_Harry_Crax

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    True, true, true, and/but he's not incredibly sexy anymore.
     
  3. Bbucko

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    Very true...
     
  4. Meniscus

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    Several years ago he wrote an occasional column for one of the major gay magazines--maybe he still does, but I no longer read it. I've also seen him interviewed on PBS.

    I have, at times, found him very persuasive, but usually that's when I don't have a lot of knowledge about the issue in question. It usually doesn't take very long for one of his critics to poke holes in his arguments, so I think the reason I sometimes find him persuasive is because he's more knowledgable than I am, not because he's right.

    When he argues a point on a topic I actually know something about, I often find him to be frustratingly myopic. It seems that he's overlooks lots of relevant and important information. However, I suspect if I said to him, "Andrew, what about..." he'd have a counter-argument ready.

    I find that liberals frequently characterize conservatives as either stupid or heartless, or both. Sullivan is neither and, as you say, defies pigeon-holing. Whenever I've spoken with an intelligent, thoughtful, good-hearted conservatives, I realize that even if they are using the same facts that I'm using, they're interpreting those facts in entirely different ways. I think they key to that difference is that they have fundamentally different assumptions than my own. This is true of everyone; we all have assumptions (that we may not even been consciously aware of) that cannot be proven to be right or wrong, but are the basis for much of what we believe, for how we interpret the facts.

    So even if Sullivan and I could agree on the relevant facts, I suspect we'd still arrive at different conclusions because our broader and more basis premises are not the same. I don't see what's to be done about that. Even if I pointed out to him that the reason we see things differently is because of a different set of fundamental beliefs, I don't expect either of us to change our basic beliefs, so where do we go from there? Hence, I haven't read anything he's written in years, because I'm fairly convinced it's a waste of my time and energy, and an exercise in frustration.

    Also, it seems to be that Sullivan and many conservatives base many of their arguments in economics (sometimes I get the sense that they retreat to economics as a sort of defensible position). My understanding of economics is quite weak, so when Sullivan or any other conservative use economics to defend a position, I am helpless to argue against them.
     
  5. earllogjam

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    I saw Andrew Sullivan a few years back on CNN promoting gay marriage and I was impressed that a former editor of the New Republic would be so vocal about gay rights - not to mention he was a hot eloquent muscle bear in a suit. I found his blog and read it religiously during the last presidential election. I recall he was one of the first bloggers I read almost daily. I enjoy his writing style. I read his personal memoir about having AIDS, the importance of having friends and the importance of marriage as an institution. I really only check his blog occassionally now because it is a shell of what it was before. It seems his blog after it was taken over by The Atlantic has become more of a referral type information service to other websites with less substantive commentary. It's perhaps become too mainstream and you can tell his heart is not in it. I suspect he spends most of his time now on other endeavors besides blogging.

    He is, however, not without controversy and some things he touts do rub me the wrong way but I like reading different viewpoints and being a fidelity toting gay conservative practicing catholic makes him rare indeed (or is he a conundrum of hypocricy).
     
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