Sunday, November 20, 2005

Is Michael Scanlon Gay? NYT Skirts Question

I got around this afternoon to reading Anne E. Kornblut's profile of Michael Scanlon in Saturday's New York Times and felt she used much code to raise the possibility, to my queer mind, that Scanlon, who's been charged with conspiracy because of his work with disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, may also be gay.

From the opening sentence, my gaydar was picking up clues.

>Even among the ambitious Republican aides driving the Clinton impeachment case in 1998, Michael Scanlon stood out.

Out. Such a loaded word for gays and he might have stood out to many gay men on Capitol Hill.

>He was 28, preppy, athletic.

Nothing wrong with any of that, and lots of straight men are preppy and engage in sports. Still, I am reminded of online gay personal ads.

>Hired as a spokesman for Representative Tom DeLay of Texas, Mr. Scanlon charmed reporters with his easy manner and willingness to trade gossip.

Preppy, athletic and likes to trade gossip? Interesting.

>But in private, Mr. Scanlon was ruthless.

Hmmm, the Times is delving into his private political life, and so high up in the story too, that it's odd other parts of his private life, like, does he have _any_ romantic entanglements or is he married, are not broached.

>Except for one silent appearance before the Senate in 2004 - during which Republican members excoriated him for his treatment of Indian tribes and his refusal to testify - Mr. Scanlon has all but vanished from public view over the last year, retreating to Rehoboth Beach, Del., a summer resort several hours from here.

Yes, it's accurate to describe the famous gay beach resort in terms of how far it is from Washington, but it doesn't begin to convey what really makes Rehoboth unique--it's a relaxing and accepting gathering spot for the gay tribe. And what's with this vanishing from public view phrasing? Sounds a bit like he went back into a closet.

> Documents, e-mail messages and interviews with his former colleagues suggest that Mr. Scanlon had an appeal similar to the title character in the film "The Talented Mr. Ripley" who drew people to his money-making schemes.

The gorgeous and hunk-o-lious Matt Damon, who's both openly heterosexual and supportive of gay rights, played Mr. Ripley as he was written: gay, but not exactly out and proudly waving the rainbow flag.

> Mr. Scanlon, more than Mr. Abramoff, was flamboyant with his earnings.

Maybe I'm showing my age here, but I remember when the Times wouldn't use the word gay when writing about homosexual males, who were often referenced as either flamboyant or avowed, so just seeing the word flamboyant used by the Times in what I believe is a story "inning" Scanlon, vividly registers on my gaydar. Did he perform fan dances with his millions? Of course, in my circle, flamboyant = fab-u-lous!

> A friend in Rehoboth was drawn into the Abramoff-Scanlon lobbying effort. David Grosh, a former lifeguard, was paid $2,500 to head a supposed research organization in Rehoboth and funneled large sums from Indian tribes back to Mr. Abramoff and his law firm.

Sure, on the surface there's nothing wrong with a surfer dude, whose sexual orientation is not publicly known, becoming ensnared in one of Scanlon's scams, but he's not just any lifeguard. He was the Lifeguard of the Year for 1997!

Looking at web photos of Scanlon and Grosh, my gaydar detects attractive younger men who could easily pass for gay in San Francisco and each man gives off vibes of overt metrosexuality.

Kornblut's profile of Scanlon in the Times, if only in a sentence or two, should have said something about his sexual orientation or romantic inclinations, regardless of whether he's gay or straight or swings both ways.

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