Friday, August 13, 2010

What feeds the rumor that Markos Moulitsas is gay?

Kos (MAMZ) apparently wearing red lipstick.

I've always wondered how rumors seemingly credible and well-known get started. There seem to be a few key points, based strictly on my own observation:
  • The target of the rumor is well-know or becomes well-known within a given culture or sub-culture as the rumor spreads.
  • The rumor seems to explain other well-known facts that are otherwise inexplicable.
  • The people spreading the rumor (if its perceived as negative) are people who never liked the target of the rumor in the first place.
  • It is virtually impossible to stop the spread of the rumor, if only because the public target's denial of the purported or strongly suspected facts would tend to spread the rumor further, and get more of the public involved in the quest for the truth, which might well confirm the rumor.
  • Rumors must be "sticky" in the sense that they capture suspicions and the imagination of the public, which makes individuals want to pass on the information to others.  "Making a site sticky means that you are giving your readers what they want, and giving them a reason to stay on the site.
In the case of Markos C. Alberto Moulitsas Zúñiga (MAMZ), the rumor is that he is a closeted gay homophobe.  This rumor is perceived as credible by many who Google MAMZ because:
  • MAMZ seems somewhat effeminate to many people; 
  • He admittedly joined the army in an effort to be become and be perceived as a "real man"; 

  • at least one photograph of him seems to show him wearing bright red lipstick; 

  • MAMZ himself brought his own sexuality into question and amplified the public doubts when he wrote a letter to his college newspaper in which he said he felt "inherently uncomfortable" around gays because they might be looking at his "underpants," and he said he would feel uncomfortable undressing in front of a woman".

  • In an autobiographical article that MAMZ wrote for the American Prospect, dated April 16, 2006, MAMZ said of his participation in the US Army:
    But basic training was the best thing to ever happen to me. They say they break you down in basic training so they can rebuild you into a real man. I was already broken when I arrived at Fort Sill. For me, it was all building.
    Why did MAMZ feel like he was not a "real man" and how likely is it that those feelings were thoroughly extinguished by changing his "underwear" in front of other men for two or three months?

    Rather than confirm his sense of manhood, his participation in the Army seems to have left him feeling more insecure.  In a letter to his the student newspaper at his alma mater, Northern Illinois University, MAMZ, after he left the Army, MAMZ said:
    Worrying about whether the known homosexual sleeping next to you is watching as you change your underwear may seem trivial as you read this, but to the soldier who’s short-tempered after three weeks in the field and four hours of daily sleep, it becomes a matter of great importance to his pride and sensibilities. And in any case, there aren’t many people who would change clothes in a group of co-workers if members of the opposite sex were in the same room watching. There is something inherently uncomfortable about it. Such fears would go a long way in disrupting efficiency and morale in a unit. 
    Undecided Freshman
    One particular aspect of that letter seems especially curious and troubling.  MAMZ said:
    . . . in any case, there aren’t many people who would change clothes in a group of co-workers if members of the opposite sex were in the same room watching.
    For many men, being naked in front of a women "of the opposite sex" has only positive associations, since undressing with a woman present is a necessary and desirable part of having sex with her.  I believe many "real men" feel this way.  Being afraid to be naked in front of a woman seems sexually immature and profoundly un-masculine.  MAMZ seems to conflate and be unable to perceive any difference between undressing in front of gay men and undressing in front of members of the "opposite sex."   

    One has to wonder, ïndeed, why MAMZ conflates being naked in front of gay men with being naked in front of women.  Is that really the same thing?  Maybe it is, if you secretly sexually desire naked men as much or more than you sexually desire women.

    Many in the blogosphere have wondered what the word "undecided" meant to MAMZ in the letter to the student newspaper, and in the context of a letter about fear of gay men?  It seems reasonable to wonder precisely what MAMZ was "undecided" about, and whether he was ever able completely resolve his indecision.  Certainly the term "undecided" can be understood in ways in this context. 

    People constantly Google "gay" and "Kos" and then find their way to this blog. Ironically, the nickname that Kos' associates gave him in the Army is also the name of a notoriously gay mecca resort island of the coast of Greece.  One has to wonder if the nickname was entirely coincidental or was suggestive of some part of MAMZ personality that was perceived and "named" by his Army co-workers.

    I believe that much of the speculation about MAMZ`s sexuality comes from gays and lesbians who would like to publicly claim MAMZ as one of their own, but who cannot do so unless and until MAMZ "comes out of the closet," if indeed that's where he is now.


    nikogriego said...

    I find the constant repetitive posts about whether Moulitsas is gay to be offensive. Does the author have a problem with gay people? I have read these same ideas and speculations for months now. The latest concerns the Greek island of Kos. Kos is just another Greek island, not particularly gay (there are gay people everywhere in Europe). If you want a Greek island famous for its "gayness", think Mykonos. I would suggest the Moulitsas' nickname came from the last three letters of his first name, not the island. It would seem to me the author is projecting his own issues re: homosexuality.

    Francis Holland said...

    Nikogriego, neither of us knows whether MAMZ's nickname is related to the island of Kos or not. It might be just a coincidece.

    Frankly, I couldn't care less whether MAMZ is gay or not, but since people who Google MAMZ so often do so to find out whether he is gay, I would like to use that strange fact to publicize the fact that he has also said he is connected to the CIA.

    If people come to my blog to find out about MAMZ's sexuality and they don't, but they serendipitously learn that he trained for two years at the CIA while starting DailyKos, then I think that is all to the good.

    As for whether the island of Kos is associated with gay people, I know that it is because my Site Meter tells me that many of the people who visit the blog are from Europe (where they probably don't care whether MAMZ is gay or not) and they have found this blog by Googling the phrase "gay kos," where they find 3,490,000 relevant pages.

    I didn't create the connection between "Kos's" nickname and the gay-renowned Greek island of Kos, just as I did not cause him to be born on September 11.

    For so long as people continue to wonder whether MAMZ is gay, particularly in light of his letter opposing ALL gay service in the US military, I will continue to write about what what MAMZ has said about his relationship with gay people and what gay people say about him.

    As you will see by reading the letter MAMZ wrote opposing ALL gay service in the US military, it was MAMZ himself who first addressed the "inherently uncomfortable" threat that gay people posed to MAMZ's "sensibilities."

    I don't have a problem with gay people. Half of the readers of this blog come here to find out whether MAMZ is gay or not, and I welcome them here, to learn all about MAMZ, with his connection to the CIA being far more important than his sexuality.

    nikogriego said...

    You haven't really addressed the issue. I understand the underlying advantage in educating people who have come to your site about Markos' hidden agenda, if that is what it is, but I think his gayness is not relevant. You may be alienating many people by your constant attacks on his possible sexual orientation. And the island of Kos is not a "gay mecca". There are gay people everywhere in Greece, particularly during the summer months, and those who google "gay" and "kos" do so most likely to find gay connections on the island for when they choose to visit. It is a lovely island with many beautiful beaches. I was there many years ago, and am Greek myself. There are plenty of straight people on Kos as well.

    I believe that Markos is a "left wing gatekeeper", and may indeed work for the CIA. His absolute revulsion to any mention of the events of 9-11-01, and his ridicule of those who try and bring the subject into discussions, makes me think he has ulterior motives. However, I have seen this conduct from may other liberal news media-The Nation, Huffington Post, Mother Jones, and many many others-which all refuse to deal with the evidence of government complicity in 9-11, and will not even allow comments about that day to remain on their sites. I have attempted many times to educate others about 9-11 on those sites, but it has been extremely difficult.
    I thank you for your in-depth research on Markos, but my opinion is that your harping on his sexuality is counter-productive and makes you and your site seem to be homophobic.

    Francis Holland said...


    I am not afraid that my site will be perceived as homophobic. After all, it was I who did the research to unearth and publicize the letter in which MAMZ opposed ALL gay participation in the US military.

    I think it's ironic that MAMZ outed a publicly homophobic gay journalist a few years ago after writing what he did in his college newspaper.

    As my Site Meter shows, people want to know if Markos Moulitsas is gay. It doesn't matter to me one way or the other, except to the extent that it would show that, like Congressman Larry Craig, MAMZ vehemently opposed gays in the military while being gay himself. This would not be a new phenomena for gays, and that--and his letter--help to explain why there is so much interest in his sexuality.

    When people stop in the United States stop googling 'Moulitsas Gay," I will no longer see a need to post about the information I have, including the fact that there is great interest in his sexuality and the fact that he has expressed doubts about his sexuality in the past.

    It is not homophobic to point out that a public figure has expressed strange feelings about his sexuality. Indeed, it shows a willingness to explore the ambiguity inherent in cases like that of Ken Melman, the gay assistant to President Bush's gay-bashing.

    In any case, you will also find that I constantly post about MAMZ's connections to the CIA, and I constantly posted about ending the 43-term white male monopoly of the presidency, leading up to the election of President Barack Obama. Diligence is an asset.

    Francis Holland said...


    I never said that MAMZ had any "gayness" as you put it. I have repeatedly said that I don't know whether he is gay or not, but that some of his Larry Craig behavior is consistent with his being a homophobic homosexual.

    When you're in politics, which MAMZ has called "a contact sport" everything you say and are is relevant to whether you should be allowed to "crash the gates" of the Democratic Party.

    I also think it would be a shot in the arm to the gay community if MAMZ would announce that he is gay, so that gays would know that being gay need not prevent you from getting two years of training from the CIA and participating in the Republican Party. Gays have just as much right to be wrong as anyone else does, and this is a right that Republican gays like MAMZ seemed to exercise to the full extent of their abilities.

    If MAMZ was an anti-gay homosexual Republican, like Mark Melman, then that's a big story in the America of today. If you think it's a little story, just let a couple of MAMZ's hypothetical sex partners come forward and tell their stories.

    Arguably some of MAMZ's hatred for Hillary Clinton resulted from her and her husband's attempt to let gays serve freely in the military, since he openly ridiculed them for that in his letter opposing ALL gay service in the military.

    I'm sorry that you are offended by the scrutiny of his anti-gay letter opposing ALL service by gays in the military, but if he had not written that letter then I would not be writing about that letter either.

    Also, a few years ago MAMZ outed a homophobic gay journalist in Washington and caused him to lose his job. If MAMZ could do that to (another?) gay person, certainly MAMZ own sexuality is at least as relevant to us as that journalist's sexuality was to MAMZ a couple of years ago.

    You could also say that you don't think MAMZ having only four percent Black participants (according to Quantcom) at his blog and less than one percent Latinos is relevant. After all, what difference does it make if he hates Blacks, Latinos and gays and carefully monitors his blog to prevent these groups from participating there?

    Francis Holland said...

    Nikogriego, I'll make a bet with you. If you can tell me and prove to me what the 'C' in Markos C. Alberto Moulitsas Zúñiga (MAMZ) stands for, then I'll use that "C" as the basis for my future research and I'll stop speculating about what MAMZ's homophobia means about his own sexuality.

    Here's a link to a post at another blog that has over seventy comments about whether men who hate gays are more likely to be sexually aroused by homoerotic movies.

    Anonymous said...

    In a word, what feeds the rumor about KOS being gay is..."KOS."

    If he is NOT gay then I really need to have my GAYDAR recalibrated.