March 29, 2013

"Most of his sexual interludes with men had been furtive; to him, gay culture meant Liberace and Paul Lynde."

One of many hard-to-believe sentences in this long NYT article about James McGreevey, the disgraced former governor of New Jersey. He's 55, not 75. He got into trouble putting his lover on the state payroll in 2004, not 1974. He's a big old fraud in my book, and his effort to cloak himself in "I am a gay American" sentimentality is disgusting.
Relentlessly excavating his heart and soul, he later went into psychotherapy and resurrected the calling he said he had felt since he was an altar boy in Carteret, N.J. Now an Episcopalian with a degree in divinity from the General Theological Seminary, he’s embracing the Lord’s work with the same fervor with which he once pursued politics. 
Look, I hope he's turned his life into service and good works, but this article is fawning — PR-style.
Until recently, Mr. McGreevey and his partner had kept their relationship private. This Thursday, however, is the debut of Alexandra Pelosi’s HBO documentary “Fall to Grace,” which explores his spiritual makeover, so he’s sharing the happily-ever-after. 
Sharing the happily-ever-after? Who talks like that?
Not, he stipulates, because he’s after another ego jolt like the sort he craved as a politico, but because he’s eager to focus attention on his work.
Oh, he stipulates? Sorry, this is just making me believe he’s after another ego jolt like the sort he craved as a politico. Did the NYT writer think that passing along this fawning PR was a joke — a nudge to make us think this is such bullshit? We're shown McGreevey's partner, an "Australian financier," 9 years his junior who — we're told is "[s]turdy and handsome in an unpolished way" and "with taste for modern art." The modern art taste is nowhere to be seen in the photograph of the pair in their "pistachio-walled conservatory with worn-leather sofas and ethnic touches that could have been conjured by Ralph Lauren."
With severely cropped hair, khakis and navy sweater pocked with moth holes (his uniform), the ex-governor has the look of a missionary. Upbeat and charismatic, he laughs easily and often exclaims, “God bless!” Mr. O’Donnell has a warier, more reserved air — at least, when he’s on the record. Wearing smart corduroys and a taupe cardigan, he keeps his phone in hand and peers at the screen through thick-rimmed glasses.
Smart corduroys? Cardigan?

ADDED: The cardigan is the main thing that pushed me over the line to finding this article bloggable, because I'd just read this question in the Gentleman Scholar advice column at Slate:
Out of nowhere, my husband of 21 years has started wearing cardigan sweaters. I can't tell you how much this turns me off—the soft, sloppy, indecisiveness of the garment, not jacket, but not fully committed to being a sweater, either. He will point to younger men wearing them and say, "See? I'm bringing them back." The thing is, I'm not going home with those younger men and I don't know why the younger men are wearing them, maybe it's ironic or something? I don't know. But when I see a man in a cardigan, all I can think is Mr. Rogers. My husband usually has excellent taste but every now and then he likes to rock something positively cringe-worthy. He doesn't like me to tell him what to wear. Do I just suck it up? Or do I draw a line in the sand? Thank you!
I mean, maybe that article was ironic or something... I don't know.

IN THE COMMENTS: Palladian said: Oh my God. That piece has to be satire. Please tell me it's the smartest satire ever written. "

I just noticed the line — in the "smart corduroys" paragraph — "Mr. O’Donnell... at least, when he’s on the record."

AND: More from Palladian: "I'm still trying to imagine how they figured out how to make pistachios work as a load-bearing structural material." 

75 comments:

robinintn said...

"moth holes"!

Palladian said...

Oh my God. That piece has to be satire. Please tell me it's the smartest satire ever written.

Balfegor said...

On the one hand, I wear courduroys and cardigans. On the other, now I'm worrying that I look like a fucking hipster.

virgil xenophon said...

LOL Palladian!

Palladian said...

I'm still trying to imagine how they figured out how to make pistachios work as a load-bearing structural material.

Rob said...

I find loathsome McGreevey and his "I am a gay American" smokescreen for having placed his boyfriend on the state payroll. However, in an effort to find something redemptive in him, let us note that he and his partner have four German shepherds, two of whom are seen in the NYT photograph. And very nice doggies they are. So he isn't all bad.

edutcher said...

He's a Democrat and this gives the patina of "Will and Grace", rather than a Gay Pride parade to homosexuality, so the Gray Lady goes all in.

At the time, he humiliated his wife, his family, his administration, and his state.

And converting to Episcopalianism only means he went someplace where he could do what he wanted and wouldn't have to answer for it.

Palladian said...

And converting to Episcopalianism only means he went someplace where he could do what he wanted and wouldn't have to answer for it.

It was either there or the Vatican.

Palladian said...

"Taupe" is the French word for mole.

virgil xenophon said...

PS: I caught the good ex-Gov's smug, superior- than-thou-world-weary-look-at-the-(unjust)-price-I've-paid, sickeningly sanctimonious act on MSNBC this am. What an utter pantload!

Inga said...

"And converting to Episcopalianism only means he went someplace where he could do what he wanted and wouldn't have to answer for it."
----------------
"It was either there or the Vatican."

3/29/13, 10:16 AM

Ooooo naughty evil funny.

Steve said...

$1.4 Million dollar house? Plenty of money in being a disgraced ex-governor.

Moose said...

Well, now that relentless promotion of all things Gay is in full swing, we can safely rehabilitate all those people that committed crimes while being gay.
Being gay gives them all "do-overs".

Palladian said...

The thing is, I'm not going home with those younger men...

She soon will be, it sounds like.

virgil xenophon said...

PPS: He's now "come to terms" with it all, you understand...so now we're supposed to take his expert guidance...Right..

Moose said...

So I should order "chicken taupe" at a Mexican restaurant?

Susan Stewart Rich said...

LOL with all the cardigan talk.

purplepenquin said...

"Sharing the happily-ever-after? Who talks like that?"

Well...uhm...err...I often sign wedding cards with "may you live happily ever after".

But I'm kind of a sappy geek like that.

SteveR said...

My only interest is that I thought his ex-wife was cute, far more important to me than coruption in NJ.

edutcher said...

Palladian said...

And converting to Episcopalianism only means he went someplace where he could do what he wanted and wouldn't have to answer for it.

It was either there or the Vatican.


1/2 of 1% of all priests. Homosexuals should be so pure.

Inga said...

Ooooo naughty evil funny.

Stick it up your pet wussy.

Chuck said...

What a promo for Alexandra Pelosi's film. Better than a Frank Rich movie review. Nancy Pelosi will be sooooooo grateful to the The Times. I'm sure that she'll return the favor. Somehow. She'll find some way. Ya know?

Paul Zrimsek said...

Lady, when he gets even older and adds one of those hound's-tooth-checked berets, you'll look back longingly on the days when it was just a cardigan.

Basta! said...

Colonel Mustard in the pistachio conservatory with the ethnic dagger

john said...

With his path to redemption cleared by Gene ("Aren't we all just victims here?") Robinson, this is a very appropriate Easter story.

And as with Robinson, very little concern about family wreckage.

virgil xenophon said...

@Paul Zrimesk/

Don't forget the mustache and the turtle-neck..

Baron Zemo said...

See the gays have a place to get married. Go be Episcopalian.

So can you leave the rest of us alone?

Ann Althouse said...

"However, in an effort to find something redemptive in him, let us note that he and his partner have four German shepherds, two of whom are seen in the NYT photograph. And very nice doggies they are. So he isn't all bad."

The German shepherds are bullshit. And one of them is being used as a lap blanket, making it harder for me to be as fully judgmental about what "sturdy" means as a description of the physique of the unpolished Mr. O'Donnell.

ErnieG said...

Talk of cardigans and corduroy reminded me of this book review by Henry Raddick, crafter of hilarious Amazon.com book reviews:

Bigotry (Issues in Focus)
by Kathlyn Gay
Edition: Library Binding

With my Uncle Sandy's intemperate public outbursts becoming more and more needlessly graphic, I bought this book to help him address his homophobia. But it's a sad day when a supposedly intelligent 74 year old man dismisses a book as worthless solely on the strength of the author's name. I told him not to judge a book from its cover, but that's hardly an argument to persuade a man who to this day refuses even to shake hands with a man if he is wearing corduroy.

The Drill SGT said...

No offense intended Palladian, but I found the whole writing style to be soo over the top gay as to be a parody. Does the NYT Style always write like that when they are fawning about the good people?

Ann Althouse said...

"Well...uhm...err...I often sign wedding cards with "may you live happily ever after". Cut I'm kind of a sappy geek like that."

You used "happily ever after" as adverb.

Would you use it as a noun, as it was used in the article? My point is, I believe this article is full of nudges telling us to regard the whole thing as bullshit.

Including the hilarious photograph!

Baron Zemo said...

This guy was just a crook. No different than Wayne Hayes. He put his girlfriend on the payroll.

Just because he is gay doesn't make him any less of a crook.

Except for the New York Times.

Big Mike said...

I skimmed the article wondering whether it would mention his political affiliation. You have to go to wikipedia to learn that he's a Democrat.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

FWIW if he had put a female lover on the state payroll it would have been just as bad. Apparently we're supposed to do the wink-wink nudge-nudge since he's gay and put a same-sex lover on the payroll.

virgil xenophon said...

@john/

Is there a smarmier super-smug more patronizingly I'm- -intellectually-superior-than-thou weasel alive today on TV than Robinson?

Pat Moffitt said...

I left office because I'm gay sounds a lot better than I left office because I'm corrupt and the Feds were closing in on me.
McGreevy was under a Federal investigation for shaking down landowners for cash. While McGreevy avoided a jail sentence his bag men were not so lucky. Paying his lover with taxpayer dollars was just one of the many "sins" committed by the ex-governor.

Ann Althouse said...

"What a promo for Alexandra Pelosi's film."

I think A. Pelosi tipped off the NYT to write it up like this... that is, to signal to the hip people that this couple is a joke.

This comes in a week when we're being so respectful to the interests of ordinary gay couples, so I'm enjoying the contrast.

McGreevey has long tried to get empathy he doesn't deserve by trading on his status as a gay man, which he never used until he was cornered. This guy married 2 women and also cheated the people of his state. He's a big fraud. I presume anything he does after that is a fraud.

That he's wrapped himself in religion doesn't make me less suspicious.

Pat Moffitt said...

I left office because I'm gay sounds a lot better than I left office because I'm corrupt and the Feds were closing in on me.
McGreevy was under a Federal investigation for shaking down landowners for cash. While McGreevy avoided a jail sentence his bag men were not so lucky. Paying his lover with taxpayer dollars was just one of the many "sins" committed by the ex-governor.

Ann Althouse said...

I'll watch the Pelosi documentary very soon and get back to you about these characters.

traditionalguy said...

Cardigan sweaters and dog hairs is an old man's outfit. All he needs to add to that look is reading glasses on a chain hanging from his neck.

Amy said...

Fawning is the operative word here. And why does almost every NYT article have a gushing home-decor element?

I don't use this word often, but that article was very ANNOYING.

virgil xenophon said...

Amy, the NYT does that because the sort of people the NYT finds interesting are superior people of superior tastes, dontcha know, i.e., those whose life styles and accouterments are important to note for the record--otherwise the NYT wouldn't be writing about them, right?

john said...

Is there a smarmier super-smug more patronizingly I'm- -intellectually-superior-than-thou weasel alive today on TV than Robinson?

The fact that Gene found home in the Episcopal church suggests not.

chrisnavin.com said...

All the news that's fit to print

BDNYC said...

The Left allows him to get away with it, however, because it helps their agenda to portray him as a victim of homophobia. So much reporting on him continues to express half-truths like, "McGreevey was forced to resign after it was revealed he had an adulterous gay affair."

edutcher said...

chrisnavin.com said...

All the news that's fit to print

All the news that fits, we print.

Broomhandle said...

Thank our gracious Lord that this slimy bobo poser is not straight.

sydney said...

More proof that we continue to laugh and dance our way to the precipice. Although, it is the Styles section of the New York Times, which has always been silly.

Ann Althouse said...

"Amy, the NYT does that because the sort of people the NYT finds interesting are superior people of superior tastes, dontcha know, i.e., those whose life styles and accouterments are important to note for the record--otherwise the NYT wouldn't be writing about them, right."

1. This piece is in the "Fashion and Style" section, which suggests that the stuff about the house and the fashions are central. The first sentence of the article is: "Cloaked in ivy, the Wedgwood-blue Georgian Revival in Plainfield, N.J., has the air of an upper-crust fortress."

2. Did you look at that furniture in the picture?! There is no way that "superior people of superior tastes" are going to look at it with admiration and envy. The inclusion of the rocker in the photo is a huge nudge.

Ann Althouse said...

A German shepherd is not a fashionable dog breed.

Here's the most fashionable breed. You can work down from there.

Lucien said...

I'm actually partial to warm, bulky, shawl collar cardigans that serve the function of actually keeping one warm.

THe skinny hipster stuff one can see on the Sartorialist -- meh.

Lucien said...

I'm actually partial to warm, bulky, shawl collar cardigans that serve the function of actually keeping one warm.

THe skinny hipster stuff one can see on the Sartorialist -- meh.

sonicfrog said...

Palladian... Yer on FIRE!!!! :-)

Eric said...

I believe that newspapers nominate stories that demonstrate their greatness for Pulitzers. If so, there should be another prize where newspapers nominate stories that demonstrate their mediocrity (or worse). I'm serious about the self-nomination; they should at least demonstrate that they can tell when they should be ashamed.

sonicfrog said...

I do wonder if i would get the same glowing treatment from the NYT if they wrote an article about me, a gay man who voted for George W Bush in 2000, and didn't vote for Obama in either of the last two elections.....

Doubt it. I'm not the right kind of "gay".

David Davenport said...

I think A. Pelosi tipped off the NYT to write it up like this... that is, to signal to the hip people that this couple is a joke.

This comes in a week when we're being so respectful to the interests of ordinary gay couples, so I'm enjoying the contrast.


That "we" includes nearly all other pieces published in the NY Times. In general, the NY Times is very gay friendly. It's inconsistent for the Times to make fun of a homosexual couple.

Assuming NY Times editors, including Style section kommissars, are "hip people," how did this puff piece get published?

... Unless the NY Times Style people actually liked the interior decor and wardrobes and didn't get the joke, whether or not the joke was intentional or unintentional.

Trashhauler said...

My first thought was, "Does that horse in the background serve some function?"

My second thought was, "I wonder how many children they have?"

MadisonMan said...

(he recently made braised beef spare ribs, soy glazed salmon and molten chocolate cakes for 12)

The writer glorifies this as if it were difficult to do.

Treacle tart served up as an article. Oy.

bgates said...

Most of his sexual interludes with men had been furtive; to him, gay culture meant Liberace and Paul Lynde.

I thought this was a Gatsby sentence until I hit "Liberace".

Until recently, Mr. McGreevey and his partner had kept their relationship private.

He was on the state payroll, though.

Is this one of those "public-private partnerships" Obama likes to talk about?

Freeman Hunt said...

What is this slander against the cardigan?

hombre said...

McGreevey will make a fine Episcopalian!

hombre said...

Is there a smarmier super-smug more patronizingly I'm- -intellectually-superior-than-thou weasel alive today on TV than Robinson?

John Shelby Spong, also an Episcopal bishop, but he is only rarely on tv.

n.n said...

It is dissociation of risk which causes corruption. It is dreams of material, physical, and ego instant (or immediate) gratification which motivates its progress.

Stephen A. Meigs said...

I love cardigans. Their extra complexity (compared to pullovers) looks mathematical somehow. The thing is that nowadays it is very hard to find a cardigan in an attractive color pattern or material. I spent an hour or so before christmas trying to pick one out to recommend someone get me, and I just couldn't find one I really liked better than adequate. Also, here in the south I find wool doesn't last as long as it did when I lived up north (moths I guess), and so I stipulate cotton, which further limits my choices.

Fr Martin Fox said...

This sort of story amazes me: the story of how someone suffered so terribly, yet struggled through and is now back in the light...all amidst conspicuous consumption and comfort.

Does the article have a reference to "finally landing on his feet" or something along those lines? I can't bear to read the whole thing.

Rob said...

Never mind the slander against cardigans, what is this slander by the proprietress against noble and sweet German shepherds? Very breedist, I reckon.

The least credible fact reported in the NYT article (apart from McGreevey's being so allegedly admirable) is that you can get a 17-room house on 1.7 Olmsted-landscaped acres in Plainfield for only $1.4 million. Something there doesn't compute.

lemondog said...

Just looked at the photo.

They like dogs.

'Nuff said.

SGT Ted said...

He is only getting cred and puff pieces (poof pieces?)for coming out Gay because he is a Democrat.

bagoh20 said...

Hitler loved dogs... German dogs.

lemondog said...

Hitler loved dogs... German dogs

He also was a vegetarian.

So am I.

Freeman Hunt said...

How did they get permission to attach their sunroom to that old straight couple's living room?

Joe Dokes said...

Exactly right. The way they're dressed...they way they decorated...they're quite straight.

ken in sc said...

Hitler had a German Sheppard. He loved it. The British started calling them Alsatians during WW II because they did not want to give the Germans any credit for anything.

BTW, I am wearing a cardigan right now.

SteveR said...

What is this slander against the cardigan? Its that old Charge of the Light Brigade thing. They shouldn't have named a sweater after him. Bad Karma, into the valley of death, yours is to do or die, etc,

Pat Moffitt said...

That McGreevy was gay was no surprise to most in NJ. That McGreevy would continue to lie about why he left office is also no surprise to people in NJ.

McGreevy served as governor for three years and his administration found itself embroiled in 4 separate criminal investigations.
McGreevy's biggest problem was being caught on a federal wiretap where according to investigators he used the code word Machiavelli to signal acceptance of cash for political favor.
At about the same time McGreevy’s commerce secretary resigned under suspicion of diverting state funds to his own accounts. McGreevy's political mentor Sen. Lynch was also about to be indicted on unrelated Federal charges. McGreevy also hired his lover at an exhorbitant salary to head the State’s Department of Homeland Security- a job for which he had no qualifications requiring McGreevy to lie. His lover was eventually removed from the job because his lack of citizenship and other irregularities prevented him from getting the required Federal security clearance. Did this stop Jimbo? No he simply assigned him as an aide with no specified duties. Oh, did I forget the fundraiser- call girl scandal?
It was not that McGreevy Administration was corrupt but rather he was getting caught that gave the Democratic Party pause and so the whole I’m gay and therefore I’m leaving office was created to distract the Public from the growing scandals linked to the Party. The NY-NJ Press was more than happy to oblige.

Unknown said...

So what is McGreevy's wife doing these days?

lemondog said...

SteveR said...
What is this slander against the cardigan? Its that old Charge of the Light Brigade thing. They shouldn't have named a sweater after him. Bad Karma, into the valley of death, yours is to do or die, etc,

Reading this blog one can learn the most obscure facts. :-))

Was compelled to Wiki Cardigan for 'him' (the 7th Earl of Cardigan) and the Light Brigade context.