John Cloud, Time Reporter: I Traded 'Movement Conservatism for Gay Libertarianism'
In an article honoring Dallas as "The Lavender Heart of Texas," Time writer John Cloud began with an unusually personal story of his political transformation, "trading movement conservatism for gay libertarianism." When you consider how he stereotypes conservatism as all about J.R. Ewing and an "air of profligacy," you could understand why it was easy to leave:
When I was a kid in Arkansas in the 1980s, we viewed Dallas with something approaching reverence. Mine was a fairly conservative family, aspirational. We passionately golfed and occasionally visited Neiman Marcus, the Dallas clothier that taught the South how to wear Versace and an air of profligacy. I wanted to drive a Mercedes and order bourbon and branch the way J.R. Ewing did. I wanted to go out with a Cowboys cheerleader with marcelled blond hair. The summer I was 13, Ronald Reagan was renominated in Dallas, and I signed up to be a young volunteer.
I've changed quite a bit, trading movement conservatism for gay libertarianism, and Dallas would like you to know that it has changed too. The Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau operates a website proclaiming that "Dallas truly is the most liberal city in Texas!"
A real movement conservative might take exception to the idea that being a 13-year-old volunteer for the Republican incumbent president marks you as a movement conservative. (Didn't the Arlen Specter Republicans volunteer for President Reagan's reelection?) But my first thought was "if you'd stayed a conservative, there's no way you'd have this Time gig."
As Cloud celebrated how the city's homosexuals have made the city more Democrat-friendly, you have to wonder why he would proclaim his "libertarianism" instead of "liberalism." The Democrats aren't exactly known for libertarianism. It can certainly be argued that what the gay left is pursuing -- a government-enforced regime of anti-discrimination laws -- isn't live-and-let-live libertarianism. In the most "lavender-friendly" nations, the gay-left agenda has led to crackdowns on free speech, where ministers are not allowed to say homosexuality is a sin. So much for "libertarianism."
Cloud also raved about just how gay Dallas has become: "the Dallas visitors bureau gurgles, "[Dallas] has left behind stereotypes of big-haired women and rowdy cowboys--that is, unless you count sassy drag queens and strapping gay rodeo champs." (It's not the main website, but it's one of four "Diverse Dallas" websites within, glbtdallas.org.) But Cloud's emphasis on the joys of materialism still comes through, despite the story of his grand transformation:
This is not the Texas of the American imagination. Or is it? Ensorcelled by strivers and status, Dallas has always tried hard to be sophisticated. And the city knows a mathematical equation about American city life: urban sophistication requires gay civilization.
Gays who felt insecure in small Southwestern and Southern towns like the one where I grew up have long been drawn to this city of great yearning and ostentation. It was in one of Dallas' busy gay bars, ironically called J.R.'s, that I saw a T shirt that has become popular in a not totally ironic way. KEEP DALLAS PRETENTIOUS, it said. SUPPORT YOUR OWN MATERIALISM. (It's an answer to the capital's unofficial slogan, "Keep Austin weird.")