I’ve been very excited to see how Ezra Klein’s new startup at Vox Media develops but I have to confess to being absolutely baffled by his decision to hire Brandon Ambrosino, who is little more than a gay Uncle Tom who has made a career out of being the “good” gay guy who will back up everything the bigots say about the “bad” gay people.
A 23-year-old graduate of Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University, Ambrosino has earned his name as a journalist—and his coveted spot at Vox Media—by being the gay writer who comes to the defense of gay-rights antagonists. He most recently stirred up a storm by proclaiming, at The New Republic, that homosexuality is a choice and that he has chosen to be gay. Time magazine gave him space to call gays the realbigots for piling on Duck Dynasty‘s Phil Robertson, who had equated homosexuality with bestiality and said gays weren’t going to heaven (still, Ambrosino says he wouldn’t mind going fishing with the guy). At The Atlantic, Ambrosino threw his hat in the ring for the founder of his alma mater, who blamed September 11 on gays and accused them of trying to “recruit” children; Ambrosino says liberals like Bill Maher have slandered the Moral Majority founder and says, in Falwell’s defense, that the guy with the “big fat smile” probably wouldn’t have had him stoned to death if he’d known about Ambrosino’s sexuality. Ambrosino also defends the views of ex-gay therapists and same-sex marriage opponents, whom he says aren’t motivated by bigotry. In The Baltimore Sun, Ambrosino went after the guys in “butt-less chaps and high-heels” at gay-pride marches who earn society’s prejudice with their “hypersexual antics”: “I think there is a subversive power in living out my gay life in a way that seeks to emphasize the common ground I share with straight communities,” he wrote. “I don’t want to participate in an event that seeks to highlight how countercultural I am.” Unsurprisingly, the religious right has been thrilled to find an acolyte among the fallen.
Gay intellectuals like Andrew Sullivan or Jonathan Rauch may occasionally ruffle queer folks’ feathers for going against the grain when it comes to hate-crime laws, say, or the right of for-profit businesses to turn away gay customers. But Ambrosino should not be thought of in this mold. Whereas Sullivan’s and Rauch’s positions are thoughtfully staked out and stem from nuanced views about the role of government, Ambrosino’s iconoclasm amounts to heedless self-promotion. His gross distortions of mainstream gay views and stunning lack of fluency in the basic language of gay equality reveals him to be little but a feckless provocateur.
A gay man who defends Jerry Falwell after he included gay people in a list of bad people who caused Muslim extremists to attack us on 9/11 need not ever be taken seriously again, especially by liberals.