Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The New York Times vs the Faggy Dissident

The New York Times is running an odd homophobic puff piece about Glenn Greenwald.

RIO DE JANEIRO — On approaching Glenn Greenwald’s home office high in the jungle-encrusted mountains above Rio de Janeiro, all is tranquil, bucolic even. A gurgling stream at the entrance frames the idyll.

And then the dogs notice the incursion. They bark, yap and yowl, and while it’s less “Heart of Darkness” than “101 Dalmatians,” the sheer volume is mind-erasing.

Should we be surprised that the house of Mr. Greenwald, the legendarily combative privacy and national security reporter, is surrounded by loud, barking defenders — or that they are actually pussycats once you get to know them, as is their rescuer?

People on Twitter are mocking the focus on Glenn Greenwald's dogs. But inside of this story's posture of levity in the face of serious business is a subtle character assassination.

In 2009, writing about school bullying Judith Warner looked at what calling a person gay means:

Being called a “fag,” you see, actually has almost nothing to do with being gay.

It’s really about showing any perceived weakness or femininity – by being emotional, seeming incompetent, caring too much about clothing, liking to dance or even having an interest in literature.

 In addition to implying he's a "pussycat" the story clearly supports this idea:

On television and in print, he comes across as the ultimate alpha, ferocious and unbending, but here the dogs refuse to obey him, looking for guidance from his husband, David, instead. The guy who issues face-melting rebukes on cable and Twitter is also the softy who keeps a pack of hot dogs in his car’s glove box to throw to the dogs wandering the favelas.

Of course, you might say an offhand comment or two is a gentle poke. But seeing dissidents as ironic threats has always been both a way to gloat and highlight them as threats.

The story picks up several paragraphs later, happy to trope on his poor technical skills by painting him as a dangerous virus engaging in immature, childish pleasure:

“I went to Google and typed in ‘create a pie chart’ and I ended up with an online pie-chart maker probably intended for first graders,” he said.

True to his intent, Mr. Greenwald’s first-grade pie charts entered the bloodstream of the web, coursing around Twitter and various blogs. Nothing — other than yet another dog rescue — pleases Mr. Greenwald more than lobbing in something from a great distance and watching it detonate. He was doing that long before he ever wrote for The Intercept, the name of the site that he works with at First Look.

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