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WTF Friday: I Left My Gay, Alcoholic Heart in San Francisco

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Cali for life, bro
Timothy Faust
Cali for life, bro

What a week. What a week—to follow your dreams. People moving all over the place this week. People can’t sit still anymore. I blame the video games.

1) Lately we’ve been talking about the new generation of Texas GOP pols, but it seems like every time we try to, Gov. Rick Perry, the dean of the old generation, pops up and says something stupid. This week, as you’ve probably heard, the guv’s been scrambling to clean up in the aftermath of yet another successful pre-2016 campaign event.

In the middle of an extended effort to present himself as a smart, moderate-ish business-minded policy wonk, he popped off with an extended riff comparing being gay to alcoholism. In San Francisco.

“Whether or not you feel compelled to follow a particular lifestyle or not, you have the ability to decide not to do that,” Perry said. “I may have the genetic coding that I’m inclined to be an alcoholic, but I have the desire not to do that, and I look at the homosexual issue the same way.”

The large crowd gathered at the InterContinental Mark Hopkins hotel on Nob Hill included many Perry supporters. But the comment still drew a murmur of disbelief.

It’s one thing to believe it—Perry seems to—but it’s another thing to say it. It’s another thing, even more of a thing, to say it in San Francisco. Has he learned nothing? It’s unclear, though, how this will affect Perry’s ongoing campaign against Ted Cruz to become president of Texas.

2) With the surge in migrants crossing the border recently, it’s unsurprising that our sizable pro-fear caucus of conservative activists are harping on the risk of disease transmission. Hondurans, you see, are inherently filthy.

That’s depressing, so here’s a depressing punchline. The Texas GOP platform calls for an end to mandatory vaccinations that might protect Texans from those uncommon illnesses:

Immunizations: All adult citizens should have the legal right to conscientiously choose which vaccines are administered to themselves, or their minor children, without penalty for refusing a vaccine. We oppose any effort by any authority to mandate such vaccines or any medical database that would contain personal records of citizens without their consent.

And here’s your sad-trombone chaser to that depressing-punchline shot:

3) Conservatives are really, really not handling this border thing well. If you use your Facebook page to do the things normal, happy people do, you may not be familiar with Protect Texas, a group of immigration hardliners who helped to organize (successfully) against the immigration plank at the convention this month. Stakes, consider yourselves raised:

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They really think like this.

4) Gonzo tea party legislator Jonathan Stickland (R-Bedford) continued his facial-hair-assisted transformation into late-period Orson Welles this week: The soft “Walker: Texas Ranger”-esque lighting in this photo helps a lot. Congratulations on the transition, Jonathan. You do you.

By the start of the session, he’ll be cutting champagne commercials.

5) Is Rick Perry in the closet? That’s a question that’s been on everyone’s mind for years, at least in Texas. There’ve been plenty of rumors, sure. But every time he makes the journey to the other side, he’s quickly come back—so people say.

Then, astonishingly, he came out of the closet—to no less a personage than a New York Times reporter. Rick Perry’s a would-be Californian.

“Perry told me that he loves California, vacations in San Diego annually, visits the state about six times a year and might even move here in January when he’s done with his 14-year stint running Texas,” writer Mark Leibovich says in the article, which was based on comments the governor made while visiting Los Angeles.

As we’ve learned in the last few years, a lot of America’s most stridently anti-gay activists have urges of their own. You fear what you crave yet don’t want—you can’t want it. And you internalize it. It turns to self-loathing. It’s very sad, really.

All these years, Perry’s desperately tried to get California’s attention. And he comes back here and bashes it when California won’t give it. But as soon as he can, he’s picking up his tent and moving to West Hollywood. Isn’t that always the way?

BONUS: Also Perry’s Jewish, I guess? What a week.

Christopher Hooks joined the Observer in 2014. Previously, he was a freelance journalist in Austin, where he grew up. His work has appeared in Politico Magazine, Slate, and Texas Monthly, among others. He graduated from The New School in 2012 with a bachelor's degree in history.

  • 1bimbo

    progressives finally figured out a way paint perry the way right-wingers paint obama.. same brush different color.. right-wing says ‘obama is an ‘illegal closeted muslim who wants to destroy america’.. lefites say ‘perry is a jewish closeted gay who wants to move to west hollywood’

  • Barack

    Sick bunch.