December 3, 2004

But godammit, doesn't anyone care about Huckapoo ‽

I'm deeply appreciative of the blogosphere response to my article about Judith Reisman. A number of big shots have weighed in, but my favorite response so far is from Live Journalist Eruthros.

Okay, now, I remember being recruited by the Marine Corps, and I can tell you one thing for sure: I never had my own personal homosexual recruiter who called my home and chatted with me about the amazing opportunities available to gay people.

No one sent fancy brochures to my house explaining the wonderful historic and courageous tradition of gay people, with a little sidebar about how I, too, could take part in history.

No one ever told me they'd pay for my college education for just four years of commitment as a practicing gay person and ten years of inactive duty with possible recall to gayness should the situation warrant.

To be just a little bit more fair than perhaps I was to Reisman, since a number of people have gotten a good laugh out of the brutal self-abuse line, I should point out that while no one other than Reisman believes it killed him, Kinsey wasn't just jacking off the way you or I do (or at least not the way I do). He was known to get a little, well, brutal. For example, according to biographer James Jones, Kinsey once tied a rope around Little Prok, tied a rock to the other end, and threw it over a pipe. Jones believes this led to an infection that briefly hospitalized him, and this is what prompted Reisman to leap to her conclusion (Jones' more modest theory is plausible, but even it requires quite a bit of speculation; Gaithorne-Hardy doesn't embrace it).

Not that I was at all misrepresenting how nutty Reisman is. If anything, my hardest task was narrowing down the plethora of crazy shit she's said to the best two or three examples. Pick any of her "white papers" or articles at random and you'll find lots of entertaining jibberish. Or rather, it would be entertaining if it weren't for the fact that, as Tom Tomorrow points out, "she's the sort of crank to whom our Republican overlords give face time."

Posted by Daniel Radosh


"Little Prok?" I'm guessing this was Kinsey's nickname for his member? Or am I missing something?

Prok was Kinsey's nickname (from Professor K). I extrapolated the rest.

This comment exemplifies what a good journalist strives for:

"Not that I was at all misrepresenting how nutty Reisman is. If anything, my hardest task was narrowing down the plethora of crazy shit she's said to the best two or three examples."

Open-mindedness, balance, a desire to treat all sources with respect.

Good work, Radosh! I really feel like we can trust someone like you to give Ms. Reisman a fair shake.

And to think that some folks call the media liberal. They are smoking some good shit, that's for sure.

I write opinionated magazine articles, so I see no reason to pretend I don't have opinons. What a good opinion journalist strives for is not he-said, she-said "balance," but truth and accuracy. Since Reisman thanked me for representing her properly and continues to email me with her latest news, I take that as a sign that I did indeed give her a fair shake -- and she just shook out badly in most readers' eyes.

I do go into stories with an open mind, but sometimes I come out of them having made judgments and wanting to persuade readers of their correctness. As long as I don't mislead anyone, I'm comfortable.

Fair enough. And while I actually think Kinsey should be no one's hero, I don't really feel like defending someone like Reisman.

It's just that I'm a reporter and I hate it when other reporters have this condescending I'm-so-smart-and-my-sources-are-fucking-idiots-who-I-exploit-for-personal-gain kind of feel for them.

It annoys me how my newsroom is always ridiculing people who don't accept their viewpoints. All of which are far, far, far, far to the left end of the political spectrum.

Fair enough. Sounds like you're a newspaper reporter, something I'd be bad at -- or at least wouldn't enjoy -- because I think the standard you set is correct for that particular line of journalism.

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