The Return Of Andrew Sullivan

Steve Sailer writes: Via Marginal Revolution, pundit Andrew Sullivan announces he is coming out of his sudden retirement to write for New York Magazine.

The most interesting article Andrew Sullivan ever wrote was a long one in the NYT Magazine in 2000 entitled “The He Hormone” about how his ongoing career comeback was due to a Performance-Enhancing Drug: prescription testosterone. Read closely, it was pretty revealing about why you should never, ever trust Sullivan’s judgment on things like, say, why invading Iraq would be a good idea:

“Because the testosterone is injected every two weeks, and it quickly leaves the bloodstream, I can actually feel its power on almost a daily basis. Within hours, and at most a day, I feel a deep surge of energy. It is less edgy than a double espresso, but just as powerful. My attention span shortens. In the two or three days after my shot, I find it harder to concentrate on writing and feel the need to exercise more. My wit is quicker, my mind faster, but my judgment is more impulsive. …

“And then after a few days, as the testosterone peaks and starts to decline, the feeling alters a little. I find myself less reserved than usual, and more garrulous. The same energy is there, but it seems less directed toward action than toward interaction, less toward pride than toward lust. …

“Then there’s anger. … I strutted home, chest puffed up, contrite beagle dragged sheepishly behind me. It wasn’t until half an hour later that I realized I had been a complete jerk and had nearly gotten into the first public brawl of my life. I vowed to inject my testosterone at night in the future.

“That was an extreme example, but other, milder ones come to mind: losing my temper in a petty argument; innumerable traffic confrontations; even the occasional slightly too prickly column or e-mail flame-out. No doubt my previous awareness of the mythology of testosterone had subtly primed me for these feelings of irritation and impatience. But when I place them in the larger context of my new testosterone-associated energy, and of what we know about what testosterone tends to do to people, then it seems plausible enough to ascribe some of this increased edginess and self-confidence to that biweekly encounter with a syringe full of manhood.”

I’ve been fascinated by the subject of Performance-Enhancing Drugs since the 1980s or perhaps the 1970s, but interest in the subject doesn’t seem to be much of a Thing. For example, I’d like to know what drugs the various presidential candidates and the people who cover them take.

Personally, I drink coffee and Diet Coke for the caffeine.


* I’d bet they take some sort of “ADHD” (eye roll) drug, like Adderall or Ritalin. I actually took Vyvanse for awhile and it was awesome–I’d put my head down to work, and when I looked up it was 8 hours later. I only stopped taking it because I’m lazy as hell–as a controlled substance, I had to get a prescription every month for it and it just got to be too much of a pain in the ass. But I’m sure these nice little regulations TPTB impose upon us little people don’t apply to them.

* I think I speak for the entire iSteve commentariat when I say we would like to find out what you’d be like on Sullivan levels of testosterone. I’m imagining a sort of literary Bruce Banner-transformation, which if not effective at least would be hilarious.

Come to think of it, I want *every* hbd-blogger on massive testosterone doses. Cochran would probably be flipping over cars in no time at all. The time for mild mannered wonkery seem to be over.

* That long Sullivan riff on the joys of testosterone is very camp.

I am reminded that I can’t bear to listen to Sullivan: his narcissism is a kind of weapon; in the way that Jorge Ramos tries to hit everyone over the head with his ethnicity.

* Adderall is probably the most popular with the smart set. Vaping is much more popular than you would think, given the stigma on smoking. But, it’s a better way to get nicotine than gum or lozenges. Nicotine is a great boost to concentration. I wonder if baseball players have not discovered this, which may explain the sudden uptick in home-runs at the led of last season. They used to use amphetamines, but testing is to tough now.

* 5] Covering Clinton, what is one thing that has surprised you about her?

Amy Chozick: Hmm. She likes to drink. We were on the campaign trail in 2008 and the press thought she was just taking shots to pander to voters in Pennsylvania. Um, no.

* Never knew AIDS-Dimensia Andy had quit—once he went full on kneeling before Obama and championing homo marriage and outlandish “Trig Palin isn’t Sarah Palin’s kid!” nonsense I didn’t pay attention to him, even through links from other writers.

He’s a mentally disordered individual in denial about his problems and about his attraction to Sarah Palin.

* Richard Goldstein writes in 2001:

Andrew Sullivan, the premier gay writer at The New York Times, was about to speak on “The Emasculation of Gay Politics.” He would take questions afterward “about any public issue,” the man who introduced him announced. The chuckling audience knew what that meant. They had come to this June 7 lecture not just because of Sullivan and his topic but because of the scandal that surrounds him.

It all began in April, when Sullivan published a mocking account of his recent visit to San Francisco. “The streets were dotted with the usual hairy-backed homos,” he had snarked. “I saw one hirsute fellow dressed from head to toe in flamingo motifs.” Wandering into a gay bar, he recoiled: “Rarely have I seen such a scary crowd. Gay life in the rest of the U.S. is increasingly suburban, mainstream, assimilable. Here in the belly of the beast, Village People look-alikes predominate, and sex is still central to the culture. . . . I’d go nuts if I had to live here full time.”

This was classic Sullivan, right down to the contempt for what he calls the “libidinal pathology” of gay sexual culture. He considers gay marriage the only healthy alternative to “a life of meaningless promiscuity followed by eternal damnation.” He has hectored gay men for their obsession with “manic muscle factories,” and written at length about the need for “responsibility” in the age of AIDS. But thanks to the outing squad, we now know that this gay moralist is guilty of the same sins he disses others for committing.

Using the screen name RawMuscleGlutes, Sullivan posted on a site for bare backers (the heroic term for gay men who have sex without condoms). He was seeking partners for unsafe anal and oral intercourse. Sullivan revealed that he was HIV-positive and stated his preference for men who are “poz,” but he also indicated an interest in “bi scenes,” groups, parties, orgies, and “gang bangs.” This hardly fit the gay ideal Sullivan had created in his book Virtually Normal. In fact, RawMuscleGlutes is just the sort of “pathological” creature who raises Sullivan’s wrath. Hypocrisy has always been a rationale for outing, and it’s the justification for a group of gay journalists who teamed up with the tabs to expose him.

After word of Sullivan’s online escapades lit up a gay chat room last month, David Ehrenstein, a chronicler of the Hollywood closet, passed the dish around. A judicious item appeared in Michael Musto’s Village Voice column, and the story soon spread to Page Six of the New York Post. But the main mover was Michelangelo Signorile, the self-proclaimed inventor of outing. (See sidebar, “Sexual Squealing.”) In a lengthy exposé that ran in the local gay paper LGNY, he skewered Sullivan for engaging in “a classic ‘do as I say, not as I do’ argument.” Signorile’s timing couldn’t have been better. Every June some gay shock-horror grips the tabloids in time for Pride Week. This year’s scandal is Sullivan’s sex life.

* Dan Harmon, the show runner on “Community” admitted he was abusing Adderall most of the time before NBC fired him for bizarre behavior. He was also drinking, which was likely a way to take the edge off the Adderall. He’s not alone. A surprising number of writers on your favorite shows rely on Adderall to get things done. Aaron Sorkin is/was well known for his alleged devotion to cocaine and mushrooms, and it shows.

Currently, the “smart set” writers in some of your favorite shows are micro-dosing LSD. That’s the “big thing” now. If you’re a show runner, and a couple of your writers are on LSD pitching show premises, it’s probably not so bad a thing. They’ll have a LOT of ideas. You can just pick and choose what you like. If the actual show runner is micro-dosing… god knows. I’d sure like to be in a writer’s room with some LSD added to the mix and watch the fun.

* I would be interested in the full list of iSteve’s PEDs.

Myself, I am very sensitive to coffee. I switched to decaf as a result. Decaf has up to 25% caffeine of normal coffee. If I need a bigger hit, I add a little regular coffee to the decaf.

I’ve always been a bit skeptical of knowledge-worker type PEDs. I think in general of the search for motivation in the form of a pill instead of getting off your ass and doing the work is just another form of procrastination. However, given that we do kind of use caffeine as such a PED, and it does kind of work to channel your focus when you want (but it sucks the focus from other times of your life and often you lose the ability to get a full night’s sleep, so in the end it’s like borrowing money – you need to make sure that it’s for investing in something that’s going to pay you back something rather than recreation. And the week you choose to go cold turkey… lethargy coupled with a bad case of the stupids.

I find that caffeine’s attention focus gives me a kind of tunnel vision. If I am procrastinating sometimes it just makes me procrastinate harder, e.g. by reading iSteve more. It would be interesting to hear the take of others on knowledge-worker type PEDs. Are they all that? What are the downsides? I’ve never tried them but maybe worth knowing about.

* I was a smoker. Nicotine does wonderful things for writing, it ups the heart rate and gives a touch of focus. It also allows one to give yourself a necessary break.

Now off the drug, my writing style has gotten much more terse. Stacattoco even. For my job I have to write large documents. Since quitting smoking I have little patience for writing such long things. The overall length of mine has been cut by a third.

* Yeah, one of the interesting things about Steve is he’s a conservative with a liberal’s tolerance for nuance and complexity. He can tease out complicated things like ‘these ideas have diminishing returns’ and ‘certain ideas can be useful at different times’, whereas most conservatives are stuck with harping on the same themes time after time (they may be important themes, but still). Liberals, conversely, can change much more easily, but are forbidden from saying anything bad about any group that votes Democratic, so…

* Luke Ford: I began taking modafinil in June of 2013. Around the same time, I began reading Steve Sailer for an hour or two a day, eventually finishing his archives and then mowing down all of Amren’s archives.
If you glance at the archives of my blog,, you can see how the drug affected my posting. Prior to modafinil, I was listening to a lot of 1970s pop songs and writing about my feelings. After modafinil, I went realist.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been noted in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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