review: ken burns’ “the roosevelts”

Standard

via The Huffington Post:

And what happened to any discussion of career diplomat Sumner Welles, FDR’s right-hand man and Under Secretary of State, considered one of the most influential global strategists of the 20th century? He was FDR’s school chum — and page boy at Eleanor and FDR’s wedding — and he was also bisexual and quite sexually active, something about which FDR apparently looked the other way. Eventually, though, Roosevelt reluctantly accepted his resignation in 1943 after one of Welles’s rivals in the state department seized upon information that Welles had sex with two black men, Pullman porters on the same train that carried the president from the House Speaker’s funeral in Alabama, and threatened to provide the details to a GOP Senate enemy unless Roosevelt dumped him. Surely, this downfall of a close aide and lifelong friend, and the reasons why he fell, should have a place in something described as “an intimate history.”

It’s long been discussed that Eleanor Roosevelt had a close and deep relationship with the Associated Press reporter, Lorena Hickok, with whom she went on a road trip, alone, across the country, and who even had a room in the White House for a time — and those facts are included in the series. Also included is the fact that Eleanor had friends and colleagues with whom she organized on women’s issues who were lesbians, some of them in deeply committed relationships.

But the way Burns treats all of this is to discuss Eleanor and Hickok as close and intimate “friends” — he has Doris Kearns Goodwin telling us Hickok was “in love” with Eleanor, almost as if it was one-sided — but never using the “L” word, or even raising the possibility of sex, seeming to view that as sleazy.

by Michelangelo Signorile

(via @amdial)

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s