December 10, 2003


THE GREAT GOATEE DEBATE: Does having a goatee make you look conservative, or just gay? That's been the subject of a bizarre cross-blog debate over the last few couple weeks.
It all started in a recent issue of GQ, when a writer named David Kamp went off on a couple of goateed conservatives (not online):

Maybe you've even taken notice of photo-bylined neoconservative commentators like Andrew Sullivan and Rod Dreher, for whom a goatee signifies a cool-daddy engagement with the poptastic modern world of Wi-Fi technology, reality television and boutique California garage wines, a world they find compatible with their rigorous, showboaty churchgoing and unapologetic hawkishness, which therefore gives the lie to the stereotype of conservatives as jowly, out-of-touch old guys, because -- look -- there's this groundswell of goateed young, self-congratulatory moralist offalheads who represent the true direction in which America is headed

Dreher, who has said that he is working on a book about "granola conservatives" (supposedly righties who practice such generally hippie-associated customs as vegetarianism, nature hikes, and organic living) that seems to prove Kamp's point, fired back on National Review's "The Corner" blog, stating that he's had his goatee for almost a decade, it has nothing to with his politics, his dog, Checkers (ha!) loves it, and besides, he doesn't even know what Wi-Fi technology is.
Soon after John Derbyshire, NR's resident fag-basher, fired back at Dreher that "the goatee is an abomination, and engenders a cloud of suspicion about the wearer's sexual orientation." This of course led to the obligatory denunciation from America's leading gay conservative, who- contrary to the original piece- has a full beard and not a goatee. Andrew writes:

I'm not defending the goatee. And I understand he's trying to make a jocular comment. But, even in the context of jest, this is a simple, bald declaration that someone's orientation alone - their involuntary identity, not anything they might or might not do - is "suspicious." Again, imagine if someone had written that he despised beards because they "engender a cloud of suspicion about the wearer's possible Jewishness?"

Just for the record, I had a goatee a few times in high school and college- when I was much more liberal than I am now- and I've never been gay, goatee or not.
The last word, of course, goes to the goatee-free VodkaPundit, who digitally grafts a goatee onto Derb.

Posted by Stephen Silver at December 10, 2003 01:01 PM
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