BetteBack: Gay Politics Comes To The Fore In The Age Of Bette Midler ~ March 16, 1973

Dover Times Reporter
Jack Paar vs. the Gays
March 16, 1973

WASHINGTON – The other night three members of the Gay Activist Alliance wiped the floor up with Jack Paar on his own television program. The three, two males and a female, were put on the air as rebuttal against the heterosexually straight Paar, who has been telling wretched anti-gay jokes on the air.

“Ballet is the fairies’ baseball” is an example of the un-funnies Paar has been attempting to entertain his national network audience with. That’s his privilege, and if some of us don’t like it we can switch over to Carson and be grossed out in a slightly less tasteless way. What was unfortunate wasn’t Paar’s one-liners, but that he was allowed to enter into debate with the Gay Activists about a serious question in our national social life.

This is no topic to be discussed on national television by an uninformed, unprepared comedian, especially one who was so obviously disturbed that he would be sandbagged into such inanities as, “It’s quite true I wouldn’t want my daughter to marry a woman. Do you find that offensive?”

To which one of the gays replied, “Offensive and I wouldn’t be surprised that she may well do it. I trust that resently
she’ll decide that for herself. Right?”

INSTEAD OF CUTTING off this absurd ad hominem argument, the helpless Paar pushed on into a short monologue which bordered on the incoherent, ending with . . . “The world didn’t begin With Adam and Adam you know.”

From there he increasingly gave his program over to the unchallenged statements of the gays. At the very end, he announced he wasn’t going to say any more and that the field was theirs. They took full advantage of it.

True, when the gays told the audience that 20 per cent of the population is homosexual, Paar tried to challenge them.
But they came back by citing the Kinsey studies as their source and the comedian didn’t know enough to point out that Kinsey’s methodology had been conclusively shot down years ago.

So, effectively, TV viewers across the nation were left with the uncontroverted assertion that one out of every five
Americans is gay, when in fact nobody knows how many people are gay. Another proposition that went by uncontested is that gays are an oppressed minority group in exactly the same sense that blacks have been.

Rather than explore this idea, the inept Paar was saying such astonishing things as: “I strongly suspect the New York Times, in the last month, of strong homosexual propaganda. Well, I do.”

While the comic was thinking accusations not even Spiro Agnew has made, nobody remarked that people are born black, but, so far as we know, homosexual activity is voluntary. A person chooses the gay life, as one of the three admitted when he said, “I was a heterosexual for many years” before taking up the gay life.

THIS IS NO IDLE QUIBBLE because the militant gays have not only come out of the closet, they’ve burst into the living
room and are stomping the streets with a righter-on than thou attitude which far exceeds a demand that their civil liberties be protected. It is one thing to see that a person isn’t arrested, fired, beaten up or evicted because of a sex life he carries on in private. It’s not the same thing, though, when gays band together in a political association and make the same demands on society as blacks.

That’s what some of the very noisy ones are doing and a lot of ninnies are buying it. (My apologies here to the gays
who simply want to go about their business and be left alone.) Not only has gay become this year’s fashion, with queenish rock groups and the cloying camp of the Bette Midler admirers, but a moral ascendancy is being attributed to it. Disregard the typhoid fever in the migratory labor camps; this year you can work out your tender feelings of guilt by joining our newest and most mellow minority group.

All sorts of people, whom one suspects of never having had a homosexual impulse in their lives, are rushing into the
closet so they can rush out of it and join what they’re addled enough to call “the movement.” Well, the Constitution
gives a person an absolute right to make a fool out of himself, but that’s no reason the rest of us should be intimidated into making social policy on other people’s folly.

Yet that’s what’s going to happen if the side of sanity is left to the likes of Jack Paar to champion. Let’s hope the next time the American Broadcasting Co. wants to televise a discussion on these issues it will find somebody who’s capable of marching the gay militants back into the closet and locking the door.

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3 thoughts on “BetteBack: Gay Politics Comes To The Fore In The Age Of Bette Midler ~ March 16, 1973

  1. Yikes! Then, as now, Nicholas von Hoffman was not the voice of quiet reason, and his slimy homophobia infuses every sentence in this story. Sadly, this story tends to reflect much of what passed for commentary in the early 1970s, and for some time to come. Then, as now, homosexuality being termed a “choice” and all who disagree are labeled foolish. The article sought to push gays back into the closet and, no doubt, for a time it succeeded. So many commentators of the time have awful pieces like this in their files. I wonder if Mr. von Hoffman ever apologized for his assholery?

    1. Thanks so much Art for your “commentary.” I just wanted to capture a little part of what was going on at the time!. Thanks again! xx

    2. Dear Bette,

      I never had the chance to thank you for my coming out. The way you talked about gays was always in a sweet way even if it was said as jokes. You made me realize that I wanted people to see who I really was, meaning more than a gorgeous face, athlete, great student, most of all, no one didn t know who I really was deep inside. At the age of 15, I realize that it was time to show everyone, family, friends, teamates, etc. who I really was inside of me. One of the best decisions I ever made and I owe it a lot to you. Thank you Bette, you were, you are, you will ever be the greatest star ever! Love always, Benoît from Montreal.

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