In the mid-1990s, the Smithsonian, the self-described “nation’s attic,” worked extra hard to discredit the Enola Gay (pun not intended here), the dropping of the A-bomb, and America’s successful conclusion of World War II — perhaps the most visible element of an ongoing concerted effort to discredit the Allies’ efforts in the Second World War.
As Heather Mac Donald wrote in her 1997 essay “Revisionist Lust”:
Anyone who still doubts that the madness currently possessing American universities matters to society at large should take a stroll through today’s Smithsonian. The Institution has been transformed by a wholesale embrace of the worst elements of America’s academic culture. The staples of cutting-edge academic “research”-smirking irony, cultural relativism, celebration of putative victims, facile attacks on science-are all thriving in America’s premier museum and research complex, its showcase to itself and to the world. The changes at the Smithsonian are not unique to that institution. Museums across the country have rushed headlong into what may be called the “new museologv;’ based on a mindless parroting of academic fads. But the Smithsonian’s embrace of postmodern theory and identity politics is of greatest import, because of the Institution’s contribution to America’s public identity.
And of course, the Smithsonian was also eager to jump on the Norman Rockwell was gay bandwagon — in October, their Website ran a massive 6000-word excerpt of Solomon’s biography, which reveals far more about the mindset of its author and publishers than it does any new details of Rockwell’s life.
Outside of Liberace and Oscar Wilde, I’m sure that there have been some well-known historic figures who were gay — law of averages, and all that. But given the rush to claim that seemingly every historic figure — and seemingly every U.S. president, from George Washington to the aforementioned Lincoln to Richard Nixon — was gay, my first instinct is to assume that none of them were, unless they explicitly admitted it themselves. It’s the equivalent of those “merchants of despair” in the global warming industry shouting “We only have five years or ten years, or 90 days and 127 minutes to save the earth” — in both cases, an isolated claim will get you on the Today show, but start to look silly when quoted in bulk.
Or, see also: Jesse Walker’s recent exploration and debunking of conspiracy theories throughout the entire strata of American society:
Oh, and the flip side of all of the above is an interesting trend as well, which runs the risk that books that were thought to be grandfathered in by today’s PC police could become increasingly dangerous samizdat, including liberal WWII CBS reporter William L. Shirer’s back catalog perennial, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. Or to put it another way, “So pointing out how many Nazis were gay is now verboten?”