“I would like to begin with a fact. A simple, yet shocking fact. It is this: A floodtide of filth is engulfing our country in the form of newsstand obscenity. It is threatening to pervert an entire generation of our American children. And we know that once a person is perverted, it is practically impossible for that person to adjust to normal attitudes in regards to sex.”
This video (part two here), while a little bit later than the period that Barry D. Adam talks about in his chapter, “The Homophiles Start Over,” and a little bit late to be really considered directly connected to McCarthyism, displays the same kind of logic that allowed McCarthy, HUAC and conservatives of the time connect Communism to deviation from heteronormativity. It’s also a pretty good laugh.
McCarthy and his ideological kin did not see Communism as an economic ideology posited against Capitalism, but rather, as a system of values posited against what they would call “The American Way of Life”—a broad term that represented the status quo. To them,
I think that this logic is actually distinct from the Nazi rhetoric that saw childbirth as a form of national production (of Aryans), and thus saw gay men and “antisocial women” as betrayers of the reproductive duty of citizens. Rather, it saw each child (implicitly male, white child) as a potential businessman, politician or other type of ‘great American’ who the gay male threatened to “convert.” As Putnam states to the backdrop of a model in a ‘physique magazine’, “…look here at the young face and bright smile which could be the hope of the world, but in the other half of the picture is revealed the seduction of the innocent.”
This type of thinking typified American attitudes towards Communism during the Cold War. It is a good thing we don’t think this way any more. If we do, then perhaps the terrorists have already won.