Monday, October 31, 2011

The Kardashian Marriage

I know we shouldn't crow, but let's just say I'm very glad the Kim Kardashian / Kris Humphries marriage ended without issue. A marriage entered into so quickly and under such circumstances as negotiating TV and publicity rights to ... probably wasn't a marriage in the fullest sense, and the divorce merely makes formal what was already so.

But what it does not do -- as Mr. Sulu said in this tweet -- is prove one major claim of the gay "marriage" apologists. That, basically, gay "marriage" can't hurt the institution any more than THIS kinda farce does. Or as Takei put it.

Kim Kardashian files for divorce after 72 days. Another example of how same-sex marriage is destroying the sanctity of the very institution.

I take his point -- quick marriage and easy divorce DOES vindicate gay-marriage folks to this extent: Many (or is it "most"?) breeders HAVE utterly forgotten what marriage is. But he's actually more right than he realizes. Farces like the Kardashian marriage ARE, if not the result of gay "marriage" in the directly causal sense, the result of a society where gay "marriage" is even a question. Which is why so many non-gays support gay "marriage" (including, I am morally certain, Kim Kardashian). They can barely even remember why it is an impossible thing.

As I never tire of saying, gays are only 3% of the population. They (we?) can't screw up society without LOTS of help from others. Principally, a heterosexual society that perceives marriage, not as the permanent life-giving union unto death, but as the temporary alliance of autonomous selves seeking to have some fun or advance their interests for as long as the fun lasts or the interests get advanced. And heck ... two men CAN do those things as well as a man and a woman.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Women of Easter I

OK, it's the evening, but this is too awesome an Easter song not to share (I already linked it on my Twitter feed earlier today). Dolly Parton sings "He's Alive" -- which was also a (small) hit on the secular country charts.

One of the two friends I identified in my most-recent post below as having fallen in love with was, like Dolly, an evangelical country kid from Tennessee. Sevierville-born Dolly had a grandfather who was a Pentecostal preacher, identifies as a born-again Christian, and plays spiritual songs at her concerts to this day. Jim (not his real name) absolutely loved Dolly Parton (and such other country divas as Loretta Lynn and Patsy Cline) and one time, when we were going out somewhere, he insisted that we stay in his car until she was finished singing "He's Alive" on the cassette tape. Let's say Dolly sang "He's Alive" with as much conviction and joy as you'll ever hear on a song. Oh ... unless it's also Dolly singing "Coat of Many Colors."

We also talked a lot about Parton's TV and film work and the key to her star appeal, and it's not the two things you might be thinking of. She was *likeable* on stage and on screen, with a natural effervescence and good cheer. As she showed in "9 to 5" and "Best Little Whorehouse in Texas," she knew how to handle her obvious sex appeal without coming across as slutty or affected. She kidded it and didn't dress or act like she was trying to show it off (as in the attached photo ... typical of Classic-era Dolly). Her TV musical-variety show "Dolly" was a lot of fun and she was one of the few performers of her era who could make the comedy-music-sketch format work (though the format was obsolete, ratings-wise, and so "Dolly" only lasted a season). Thankfully, she turned down God-knows-how-much money to do what would unquestionably have been the best-selling Playboy centerfold ever.

In other words, she had the old-school class of a good Christian lady.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Farewell to a man I love

It's finally HITTING me tonight that the man who has been my best work friend and drinking buddy for more than three years has left town. Off back home to Boston for law school, thanks in part to a recommendation I wrote. The move was hastened by wedding plans set for June and his fiancee getting a lucrative job offer that requires her to move from Washington to Boston right away.

I'm gonna miss our common interests, marinated in similar working-class backgrounds and comfort with ideas. We were also completely on the same wavelength, even though he was far to my left (as is 90% of the US populace, but whatevs). With both of us in a state of inebriation, I could say things (and remember this example specifically) like the self-coined-on-the-spot term "embourgeoisification" and he would get it as if he had heard it a hundred times. He and his fiancee are both lapsed Catholics ... collateral damage from the collapse of the Church's credibility in the city at the epicenter of The Situation. He's wandered from a vague interest in Unitarianism (the only kind imaginable) to attending an Episcopal church. When he said the liturgy made him nostalgic, I told him that if coming back to the Church isn't a short term option, that's better than nothing (something I did not say about the UUC). Hopefully, time healing wounds and ECUSA's silk-stocking style and PC earnestness (to which he's not blind and we both joked about) will nudge him back home. And he listened to my woes -- I probably imposed a bit much on him -- but was clear-eyed about it. At one point when I thought I may come down HIV-positive (I had had some inconsistent tests) he made me promise to fight it and not be ashamed to file a health-insurance claim (i.e., tell people at work) for anti-HIV drugs. "I think you might deliberately not take care of it and let yourself die," he said.

Though he is by far the bigger ice hockey fan (played in college and still does rec league games, in fact), every spring he and I would follow our teams through the Stanley Cup playoffs and watch some games together. The NHL regular season has one week to go, so I'm gonna miss the ritual of following my Capitals and his hometown Bruins. And frankly my taking advantage of his better hockey knowledge. But he knew not to rub in too hard the Capitals' first-round playoff collapse last year -- up 3-1 in the 1-8 matchup against Montreal, the Caps lost three games in a row, two at home despite getting a zillion shots on suddenly untouchable Canadiens goalie Jaroslav Halak. Like everyone else in Washington, I thought last year, when the Caps had the league's best record, would be The Year. But my heartbreak didn't stop him from IM'ing me after Game 7, "I guess the H in 'Jesus H. Christ' stands for Halak." We also would follow the simultaneous basketball playoffs, a sport in which the interest is a bit greater on my part (the NFL and baseball not so much).

We went out with his fiancee and a couple of his other local friends for a farewell evening last week, after his last day at work, and he left a couple days after that. We parted on a DC street with a hug. I hugged his fiancee as well and whispered in her ear "you have a good man there."

So I guess one could say I loved him. But I was never "in love with him." As the "fiancee" bit indicates, he could not be interested in me. And while I would probably be tempted if he had ever come onto me, I am absolutely certain I did not think of him in those terms in any but the most-theoretical of senses, like when typing this sentence. I told him directly once that there wasn't the least chance I'd proposition him ("you don't crap where you eat," I assured him).

Mind you, it has happened. Twice in my life, I've fallen in love with a male friend, sub rosa. Not only did neither ever become physical but I never so much as broached Topic H, except in the context of political discussion of related topics. In those cases, I probably was too terrified; now, I'm probably just past the point of caring who knows, at least in private and personal circles. I told him fairly early on and, having gotten over the surprise (I apparently don't register on men's gaydars at all), it was no big deal. Probably because it couldn't be, what with all the sports talk and beer and jokes about his shacking up with his old lady and whatnot. I realize how frivolous this may appear, but precisely because sex between us was not on the table, what it was in both our lives (good or ill) was aboveboard and freely discussable -- the subject had been neutered, as it were.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

What I've been taught about condoms

Well, I guess the cat is out of the bag. The Church doesn't teach that any and every use of condoms is itself a sin.

But I have to say I'm amused by the recent caterwauling over Pope Benedict stating what strikes me -- a same-sex-attracted man who has not lived a perfect life regarding chastity and has more than once reasonably feared coming down HIV-positive -- as fairly obvious, if obscure and of limited applicability.

As others, such as Jimmy Akin and Janet Smith, have pointed out, the whole context is essential, and Pope Benedict does not (CANNOT) alter the Church teaching on contraception. But here's the nub from his interview book "Light of the World" (emphasis is mine):
As a matter of fact, you know, people can get condoms when they want them anyway. But this just goes to show that condoms alone do not resolve the question itself. More needs to happen. Meanwhile, the secular realm itself has developed the so-called ABC Theory: Abstinence-Be Faithful-Condom, where the condom is understood only as a last resort, when the other two points fail to work. This means that the sheer fixation on the condom implies a banalization of sexuality, which, after all, is precisely the dangerous source of the attitude of no longer seeing sexuality as the expression of love, but only a sort of drug that people administer to themselves. This is why the fight against the banalization of sexuality is also a part of the struggle to ensure that sexuality is treated as a positive value and to enable it to have a positive effect on the whole of man’s being.
There may be a basis in the case of some individuals, as perhaps when a male prostitute uses a condom, where this can be a first step in the direction of a moralization, a first assumption of responsibility, on the way toward recovering an awareness that not everything is allowed and that one cannot do whatever one wants. But it is not really the way to deal with the evil of HIV infection. That can really lie only in a humanization of sexuality.
Are you saying, then, that the Catholic Church is actually not opposed in principle to the use of condoms?
She of course does not regard it as a real or moral solution, but, in this or that case, there can be nonetheless, in the intention of reducing the risk of infection, a first step in a movement toward a different way, a more human way, of living sexuality.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

They ruined the word "gay"

Now this story is just frickin' funny, but I think there is a serious point about the totalitarianism of the gay-lifestyle movement behind it. Apparently, an Australian music teacher changed the words of a popular children's song so the pupils wouldn't giggle over the word "gay."
Principal Garry Martin of Le Page Primary School in Melbourne said he instructed students to substitute the line "Fun your life must be" for the original "Gay your life must be" when singing "Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree." ...

Martin said he was playing a recording of the song for the students about a month ago when the line "gay your life must be" produced a flurry of giggles throughout the classroom.
Some of the students use the word "gay" as a schoolyard taunt, he said, but don’t understand its true meaning.

Homo Castro

The other day, Cuban communist dictator Fidel Castro created a dilemma for the left, even while playing a sick game of Keeping Up With The Joneses. He gave an interview with the Mexican newspaper La Jornada, in which he said (too simply and/or absurdly) that, while it was ultimately his fault, he was too busy with other matters to stop putting gays and HIV-positive men in gulags. But he was somehow not too busy to actually, y'know, put them there, as if there was some deadly holdover from the Batista regime that just kept on keepin on.
[Castro] said he was not prejudiced against gays, but "if anyone is responsible (for the persecution), it's me."
"I'm not going to place the blame on others," he said.
Castro, 84, said he was busy in those days fending off threats from the United States, including attempts on his life, and trying to maintain the revolution that put him in power in 1959.
"We had so many and such terrible problems, problems of life or death," Castro said.
"In those moments I was not able to deal with that matter (of homosexuals). I found myself immersed, principally, in the Crisis of October (Cuban Missile Crisis), in the war, in policy questions," he said.
Frankly, Castro is trying to rewrite history, and based on pure contemporary expediency. Now being pro-gay is chic, and being anti-gay will cost you support from leftists -- a commodity Castro always has relied on. So he has to give an atonement interview. (See some of the reaction here at Gay Patriot, where some leftist trolls are comparing Castro favorably with Ken Mehlman, as if marriage amendments were remotely comparable to the Cuban Gulag.)

If it weren't too easily accessible to call a "secret," one of the Left's dirty little secrets is that it was as guilty of homophobia, if not more so, than the political right for most of the 20th century. Hard as it may be to believe now, Topic H really has only prompted live-wire public issues at all for the last 40 years or so and only been a litmus test for right-left sympathies for about the last 25.

Castro, very unremarkably for Marxists and leftists of his era, saw homosexuality as the behavior of decadent aristocrats and bourgeois dandies. And given the historical facts about homosexuality and the historical construction of gay identity, this was a reasonable claim -- at the time, homosexuality WAS largely (entirely, in terms of cultural impact) the province of the upper class, which had the leisure and freedom-from-want to agonize over their sexuality, their personality, their Romantic self-identity, and to use sex for purposes other than marriage and/or reproduction (indeed, a non-Communist Marxist claim can be made that the spread of homosexuality in the rich West is the result of the democratization of leisure and wealth). But Castro always persecuted homosexuality as anti-social, never as a sin against God ("what 'god'? ... we are Marxist-Leninists"). And this Wikipedia article (which also casts doubts on the narrative, swallowed whole in the Reuters article above, that it all ended around 1980) makes the rationale quite explicit (with citations of Castro's own words):
Castro's admiring description of rural life in Cuba ("in the country, there are no homosexuals") reflected the idea of homosexuality as bourgeois decadence, and he denounced "maricones" (faggots) as "agents of imperialism." Castro explained his reasoning in a 1965 interview:
"We would never come to believe that a homosexual could embody the conditions and requirements of conduct that would enable us to consider him a true Revolutionary, a true Communist militant. A deviation of that nature clashes with the concept we have of what a militant Communist must be."

None of this was atypical. Hard as it may seem to believe now, with Bohemia rather than class defining the right-left cleavage, Communists idealized the traditional family as the producer of new workers and were sternly moralistic. Homosexuality was a retreat from social responsibility and a wallow in non-productive selfishness. Indeed, many of the great homosexual artists of the 19th and early-20th centuries were forthright enemies of egalitarianism -- Oscar Wilde, Tennessee Williams, early Genet -- and hated as such by the Marxists and socialists of the period.

To speak just of movies, it was common well into the 1980s to see European directors such as Italy's Bernardo Bertolucci, Greece's Theo Angelopoulos or Italy's Luchino Visconti (all members of their respective national communist parties, and Visconti even gay himself) portray homosexuality as the harbingers and/or the symbols of sybaritic fascism and selfish vice. To cite just two examples: a dance scene in Angelopoulos's WW2-set "The Travelling Players" has the male communist guerrillas get all the woman in the town to dance with them, while the fascist male supporters of the collaborationist Greek regime dance with one another; and Visconti's "The Damned" basically portrays the Nazi Party prior to the Night of the Long Knives as a San Francisco bath-house group.

All this by way of saying ... if you have a memory or knowledge of politics that goes before about 1970, you know that, just as with the Democratic Party and blacks, the Left has been the enemy of homosexual persons as often as their friend. Castro will always remind us of that, regardless of his pathetic attempts at revisionism.

Monday, July 05, 2010

And now, on a lighter note ...

Forget the effect on children, direct or indirect. Who cares about reinforcing the contraceptive mentality. To heck with the death of religious freedom. Here is the ultimate argument. If this is gay "marriage," all sane people should be against it.

The headline at the Daily Mirror says it all: "Gay couple banned from having giant models of The Simpsons as guests of honour at wedding." (Though you'd think the Sun wooda-dunn better, "I Do-hhhh" or something wittier.)

I guess it is appropriate though -- imaginary fictional witnesses for an imaginary fictional wedding.

I don't mean that as completely sarcastically as it might sound (obviously, breeders have been known to be tacky too). But it's pretty clear after years of practice (I am generalizing, I realize) that homosexuals don't want a marriage, they want a wedding; that they have no sense of solemnity and don't see monogamy as important. Heck, if a wedding is all about you and your fabulousness, why not have cartoon-character dummies as guests of honor?

And this couple seems ... well, how to put it delicately ... Psychological Case Study One supporting the "homosexuality as arrested development" theory.
Glyn and Roy will get over the snub to their cartoon heroes by not going on honeymoon ... and watching DVDs of the Simpsons instead.
I love "The Simpsons" as much as the next guy but ... does one laugh or cry? Shouldn't the honeymoon be about ... y'know ... lots of gettin nekkid and makin' out and sex'n'stuff. (I looked this up a few years ago ... I think it's supposed to involve that but I could be getting this part wrong.) You almost feel sorry for the Cardiff city council spokesflak stating the so-obvious-it's-passe in these Very Interesting Times:
A Cardiff city council spokeswoman said: “Guidance from the Registrar General states that the Registrar should always insist upon the seemly behaviour of the parties and their witnesses.
“All ceremonies – marriages and civil partnerships – should therefore be solemn and dignified.
“It is Cardiff Council’s view that this request was outside that definition and could not be permitted.”

New links

Some people have said for years I dwell too much on Topic H, and, while that's the premise of the site, I can't deny that it makes me seem more of a gloomy killjoy than I am. I don't think I'm being immodest when I say that people who know me in the flesh know that I can be as funny and witty as ... ahem ... Oscar Wilde. And obviously I have secular interests -- I'm a huge fan of both sports and politics and beer (only "chicks" are left out -- durnit). And like most guys with my issues, I was a pop-culture junkie as a boy. As a result of all this, "blending in" among straight guys has never been hard for me.

So, partly to present a more-balanced view of who I am and maybe come across as a more attractive human being, and partly to make regular blogging psychologically easier -- I've decided to let myself write about other topics.

I've removed some dead or radically changed sites from my link list at the right. And I've also added a new category -- "homocons," a couple of whom I've come to enjoy reading and interacting some with on Twitter. It should go without saying that these are sites of people who practice the lifestyle and/or identify as gay (which is why they're in a different category than Catholic and Same-Sex-Attraction sites. They're not pornographic but the morality of the homosexual act and derivative conclusions are assumed and/or argued for. The over-scrupulous should consider that your warning).

Easter rebirths

I began a recent Easter Saturday in the depths. I was in a Washington DC hotel room late in the morning, wrestling a 240-pound bodybuilder -- voluntarily and knowing that beforehand of course. The results were predictable, and not undesired.

About a half-hour after it was over, I was sitting in the hotel's bar, sipping a soda, picking half-heartedly at the savory party-mix bowl the bartender had put out. I was sore all over, though not really hurt; and my face had some markings, though nothing major or permanent. And like St. Augustine under the fig tree, I was weeping bitterly (though silently, because I was in a public place).

I texted a buddy, to whom I've never come "out," that I was in a lot of pain, not specifying the kind. And telling him that I was "dead to the sin that has torn at me all my life" (as explicit as I wanted to be with him), and asked him point blank "tell me why I should go to the Easter Vigil."

He responded: "read St. Augustine's Confessions, book 8, chapter 12." I was pretty sure what passage that was -- I've read the whole of the book at least three times, including once as late-night bedside reading. But I was able, thanks to the miracle of smart phones and Internet access, to look it up and yeah ... it was St. Augustine recounting his conversion, weeping under the fig tree.

Here is St. Augustine, the whole chapter after the jump (this post does get back to me, but I want St. Augustine's whole chapter in front of everybody)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

All the boys love Alice*

"Drinking beer is easy. Trashing your hotel room is easy. But being a Christian, that’s a tough call. That’s real rebellion!"
— Alice Cooper

I can't say I am a huge fan of Alice Cooper -- it's just not my style of music (and not because I'm a particularly prudish man about artistic subject matter; I just don't care especially for heavy metal). But nobody who has been in high school since 1972 hasn't rocked out and sung along to "School's Out."

But I saw this quote on my Twitter feed the other day (via Catholic Travel) and gave Cooper (nee Vince Furnier) another fist pump worthy of "schooooooooool's out ... for ever." Apparently it came from a 2001 interview with the Times of London. I had known in vague terms that Cooper was a born-again Christian after having hit rock bottom with alcohol and his wife threatening to leave him. But this was the first time I had ever seen this quote, and my reaction was "hell, yeah."

I did some sniffing around and saw that Cooper had given several interviews over the last few years on religion, a subject he apparently was reluctant to speak about for a long time, in part because he didn't want to be identified as a "celebrity Christian."

Here are some excerpts from the above-linked interviews:
That being said, I'm not a very good Christian. I mean, none of us are ever 'good' Christians. That's not the point. When you're a Christian, it doesn't mean you're gonna be good, it means you've got a harder road to pull. ...
I think Marilyn [Manson] had a really bad Christian experience when he was younger. My guess is he got involved with some less-than-Christian-Christians and that really, forgive the expression, nailed him. You know, he's one of the greatest button pushers I've ever met. And I know that game because I invented that game. ...
I've had a couple of people that were friends of mine that I've talked to that have vocally said they have [accepted Christ]. I have talked to some big stars about this, some really horrific characters ... and you'd be surprised. The ones that you would think are the furthest gone are the ones that are more apt to listen.
But to get back to the opening quote. What Cooper is saying is that hedonism and the life of the flesh is the easy path in life. To say "no" to a temptation that there is no earthly barrier to your indulging -- and there are effectively no more barriers to homosexuality in the rich West -- is the radical, countercultural act today. This is not the Gay 90s world of Oscar Wilde, when going to bed with another man could ruin your life. Even AIDS (syphillis in Wilde's time) isn't what it once was. When I was in college, at the height of the PC/canon wars in the years around 1990, a professor told me, "you wanna stand out, you wanna be different? Read Chaucer and Shakespeare." At the time, it was the height of conformity to read Rigoberta Menchu and other temporally-'relevant' junk.

The same holds with what it means to be exceptional in the field of sexuality. "We," meaning homosexual persons, are probably about 3% of the population. And when I mentioned that stat, one of the other chapter members replied, "and we," (meaning those who try to resist the temptation in God's name) "are at best 3% of that 3%." To resist the sexual revolution is what makes you your own man today. Like being one of the world's biggest rock stars and not getting drunk and trashing your hotel room.

I think some Christians may be reluctant to say this kind of thing, believing it smacks of spiritual grandiloquence. It has that danger, sure -- to count oneself as exceptional. But it's not a danger not always already inherent in the notion of salvation and calling: "many are called, few are chosen" and that stuff about the narrow and wide paths, etc. The goal has to be, as Cooper says elsewhere, "on Christ and not on Alice Cooper." But a kind of "calling to a higher, tougher goal in life" is a feeling that men, particularly, need to feel about their vocations -- whether it's the Marines or the Pope's Marines. That a vocation calls a man to be more than himself and to a thing (or Person) worth striving for.
* Mad props to the first person who can identify that (slightly altered) reference.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

"My film was the Queerest"

In the category of "will any part of life ever be left untouched by the wonder that is the gay lifestyle" -- the Cannes Film Festival, which starts later this month, will have a "best gay film" award -- the Queer Palm.
"Cannes is getting its first (unofficial) GLBT award. Following on awards such as the Teddy at Berlin and the Queer Lion at Venice, an independent group is establishing the Queer Palm. The first Queer Palm, recognising a film for its contribution to lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender themes, will be handed out May 22. The films will be drawn from all Cannes sections: Official Selection, Un Certain Regard, Critics’ Week, and Director’s Fortnight. French directors Olivier Ducastel and Jacques Martineau are patrons of the award."

As the excerpt notes, it's an unofficial award. However, it's being done quite up front with an official jury and website, and so has to have some cooperation from the world's most famous and glamorous film festival. If the Powers That Be on the Cote d'Azur wanted to squelch this, they well could. Something also tells me the award will not go to any film that might suggest, or be construed as suggesting, anything less than the complete fabulosity of All Things Gay.

But most importantly -- Queer Palm is really uninventive and humorlessly straight ... ahem ... as a title. Couldn't they have called the award the Palme de Lavande or Golden Judy or Condom d'Or or Palme de [whatever is French for "gold lamé"]. Personally, my preference for gay films and criticism is ... Blaine and Antoine.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Free at last, free at last, thank Obama Almighty...

This is a guest post from a former gay-activist friend who wishes to maintain some discretion for partner-related reasons.

My current topic is President Obama's recent order on same sex partners and hospitals, which the MSM and other media have seized upon as the equivalent of President Lincoln emancipating the slaves and American soldiers liberating Dachau all rolled into one. A Martian or even merely a bewildered Pole wandering into the media reports could be forgiven for assuming that all American hospitals demanded genetic proof or legal documents certifying blood relationships to screen their patient's visitors and make sure no same-sex loved ones snuck in. And of course there have been the isolated tragedies where, as in the case I most hear reported, the same-sex partner of a woman in Florida was barred from her bedside as she lay dying. There are no words to describe how awful that was and, seeing as the woman barred had the necessary legal documents (medical power of attorney etc.) to have brought her into the room, she has every right to sue and should sue.

But as in the old saying hard cases make bad law, such cases are hardly the norm and my partner's and my experience bears this out.

We live in a state which has hardly been considered a gay haven. It is not Massachusetts, California or even Vermont and has generally been among the most scarlet of the red states. Yet in our four or five visits to the hospital or emergency room over of our more-than-25-year friendship (all but the first seven of it chaste and accord to the teaching of the Church), we have never been accorded anything less than the most sincere respect, consideration and consultation. At those times when either one of us has had to be in hospital overnight, hospital staff have been solicitous about not kicking us out of the room when visiting hours finally ended and no one has murmured when the sick one of us has asked the other be present during consultation or even treatment. It has simply been a non-issue.

This, I believe, is how the topic has been going for some time, admittedly state to state and in an inefficient patchwork, but ultimately, I believe, in a healthier way as people gradually come to understand that love, not legality, is what makes up a person's most authentic family, the family one really wants and need to see when they heal from an accident or illness.

I view the President's move as essentially cynical politics. He has been under fire from an interest group which has been vocal in supporting him because he wisely discerned that caving in their demands would paralyze his administration and almost certainly limit him to one term. This move cost him little political capital and is almost attack-proof. Who after all, even among the most callous of gay-rights opponents, will stand up and argue that long-term same-sex partners not be allowed in to see their loved ones? Sure, there are undoubtedly some, but they are likely of the sort that Administration can only wish would rise up to decry the move.

But it was a move he didn't need to make and I fear it might, in the end, wind up actually hurting some of the very people it ostensibly seeks to protect by furthering and fostering the impression that the acceptance of same-sex relationships is not and cannot develop normally and naturally and instead can only be brought in on the wings of a federal mandate -- something which I do not believe to be the case.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Accidental outing

Though I can console myself that it was a self-inflicted wound under the best of circumstances. What happened was the 2nd-biggest fear men like myself have -- outing himself via a slip of the tongue in an otherwise innocent situation.

I was having dinner with a fairly well-known conservative blogger (whom I'll call "K"). By the time the subject rolled around to Andrew Sullivan and his infinite wickedness, we were both on our third beer, and I mused aloud, "the guy makes me ashamed to be gay and Catholic."

Ooopsie ...

My face went red, though I will go to my grave uncertain whether K immediately caught it and registered it. Perhaps if I had not drawn attention by my reaction, it would have passed in one ear and out the other, like the lyrics to a pop song you've heard a thousand times.

All I said was "oh, man."

But K's reaction is what I want to share with others -- partly because it gives the lie to the "homophobe" narrative, both in the Christian religion and political conservatism. The fact is that very few conservatives, even those of a religious sort, really care what someone does in the bedroom as long as, as they say, we don't do anything to frighten the horses. (The public issues that surround homosexuality are ... well, public issues.) And I have never personally been treated badly by a religious or conservative person who knew about my homosexual attractions or behaviors (though I have seen the anti-gay hate in online or otherwise impersonal situations).

K was raised Southern Baptist and still hews to that ol' time religion (he's always been suspicious of my ties to the Beast of Rome). But his dominant reaction was to feel sorry for my embarrassment at that moment. He immediately referred to the lesbianism of one of his favorite link-buddies, whom I knew about, and said "we went back and forth on this and it never affected anything." He assured me it didn't matter and he didn't care, though he professed some surprise. When I asked K whether I tripped his gaydar, he said "no, but my wife did ask me" after one of the several occasions we met. "And I said, 'no, he's Catholic and just a celibate'," K told me.

However, in an unrelated context a long time ago, K had once told me that women had better gaydars than men. I asked him how he knew that, and he said that his 16-year-old daughter had surmised upon a single meeting that an adult friend of K's was gay (and not because the subject came up). K said his wife backed the daughter up, saying that the friend tipped them both off via his eyes. He was not scoping them out, not checking them out as eye candy. The wife said K's friend also apparently gave no detectable hint of interest in his interactions with other women to which she was witness. Women are so used to being visually assessed by men that they can spot it right away when it's not happening, K told me back then. It's much easier to fool a man, I guess, with overt behavior. I'm pretty masculine acting and have no difficulty "picking up" (if that's the right term) drinking buddies and single-serving friends.

So if we wanna stay closeted, guys, we gotta have to practice at scoping out the chicks. Otherwise we're only fooling half the human race. Here's a photo of Kim Kardashian for practice.

Things I don't understand

A couple of nights ago, a bit after 11 pm, I was at a bar where I'm a regular and the bartender let out a couple of yawns a couple of minutes apart. I asked Todd when he'd been up since, and he said, a two-hour nap aside, since 4 am. He elaborated that "newborns will do that to you." I remembered that he had mentioned months ago that his girlfriend was expecting.

I "demanded" to see pictures of the baby, and he handed me his phone to show his daughter, and I handed him my iPhone to show the picture of Elizabeth (this being 2010 and not the "I Love Lucy" 1950s with the Ricardos and Applebys). He joked about having fallen asleep that afternoon with his four-day old daughter cradled in his arms and how he was glad he didn't have any weird or vivid dreams.

I then jokingly asked Todd, "so when are you gonna go legit?" And I got an answer that I still cannot comprehend. He told me, "We're not. We're gonna share custody."

Now, there are a lot of immoral or inadvisable things that I perfectly well "understand" or can "get." I can understand not waiting for the wedding night. I can understand shacking up if you plan to marry. I can even understand finding oneself in an unwanted pregnancy and, even if only for the fleeting instant Sarah Palin once mentioned, going to the clinic to have it "taken care of." And sometimes marriages don't work well or become impracticable and, in such a situation, it's easy to believe (and in some cases it is the case) that joint custody might be the least bad state of affairs.

But even after all that bending-over-backwards (my skull and heel are now neighbors) -- i still don't get this. What kind of person or couple will aspire merely to joint custody right at the start? Without even making a go at marriage or living together (and maybe marrying later)? How little love can there be between the two of them that even a child can't awaken any sense of duty or aspiration? And it's not as if Todd (at least in his public persona) is particularly a "playa" or "party animal." Indeed, he told me once in an unrelated conversation that he goes to Mass every week, taking along his grandmother.

I know Todd well enough to bust his chops bartender/customer-style about "going legit," but not so well that I could appropriately ask him "what the hell are you thinking?" But frankly -- that was my reaction. And I don't even want to think about what's gonna happen when the mother acquires some (but not too much) sense and realizes she needs a concrete guarantee, beyond his mere word, of support for their daughter. A co-worker to whom I told this said it sounded to her as if the two had broken up and had breakup sex, or maybe thought about reconciling and decided to celebrate right away, and ... ooops.

I remember seeing an episode of some shout-gab show about 20 years ago, on which some libertine, a woman, was defending shacking up and was asked by a religious-right woman "what happens when you have four kids and he walks out on you, legally untied to you?" And the libertine responded, "oh, I'd have a legal tie to him before I even had one child." Remember back in the 80s when sexual revolutionaries were smarter than now (thanks to 20 fewer years of the sexual revolution)?

I can only reflect on how screwed-up sex makes us, how irrationally we can behave under its spell. And pray that God can enlighten a better path for Todd and his girlfriend, toward a marital love that will bless the child with whom they've been gifted.

UPDATE, 6 MAY: Well, a couple of nights ago, it was almost 2am and I was at the same bar and had a conversation with Todd that was ... something less than encouraging. In fact, if it was serious, it was profoundly discouraging. He walked up to where I was, after he had served on another floor of the same bar. Here is the conversation, best I can recall (keep in mind, he doesn't know about Topic H, otherwise I would not have started this conversation as I did).

HIM: What are you doing up so late? Isn't it past your bedtime?
ME: Is that an invitation?
HIM: I don't think so.
ME: That wasn't what your wife said last night.
HIM: I don't have a wife.
(At this point, I'm mentally kicking myself for blowing the joke "I knew that.")
ME: OK, your girlfriend.
HIM: She's not my girlfriend.
ME: OK, your baby mamma, whatever you wanna call the chick.
HIM: Hey, fine with me. You wanna take her you're welcome to her and take the kid off my hands as well -- great.

I said nothing more after that and chuckled a bit. And obviously, "take my wife, please" jokes go back far before even Henny Youngman. And obviously this was ball-busting bar banter.

But ... nevertheless ... there was something about Todd's insistence that she wasn't even a girlfriend to him and the precise way he said the last line that told me "he's not really joking." Or if he is joking, he's doing so to ironize and minimize some ugly truth about himself in order to make it tolerable (like how WC Fields played a souse while being a bona-fide alcoholic). Easier to joke about something rather than stare into the reality that you have a child you don't want by a woman you don't love. (A temptation I'm prone to myself, I hasten to add.)

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Christmas with the Prices

Dale Price mentions my coming to the abode of himself and the fair Heather for Christmas this year, just a month after visiting Detroit for the baptism of my god-daughter Elizabeth.

One thing I learned with the Price kids this year is that presents matter, not so much for what they are as for their very existence (and by this I don't exactly mean "it's the thought that counts"). Dale mentions the Dec. 27 death of his cat Molly, including that the final collapse began Christmas morning. When I arrived at their home late Christmas morning, all three of the kids were wiping away tears and sobs. Heather told me that they had just been told that Molly, who is older than any of them and even than their parents' marriage, was dying and not likely to make it through the day.

I had left my presents under the tree the previous night (and this year managed to traipse from my car to the home without slipping, falling, and leaving bows all over the Price yard). But apparently Dale and Heather had told the kids not to open them until I got there. So when I arrived, that meant they had more presents to open, something good to think about and do other than the dying cat -- two presents each (one video and one nonvideo) and two more for all of them collectively (a candy box and a Wii game program). The tears were gone pretty quick, and stayed away for the rest of the day. Which matters more than whether D3 actually liked the Lone Ranger episode set or whatever else they got.

I also took all the kids, along with Heather, to see "The Princess and the Frog." Rachel is very *into* princesses, so I volunteered to take the girls and at least invite D3 (unsure whether he'd be interested). But Heather brought along the whole brood, including two-month-old Elizabeth. I liked the film, with its blend of New Orleans jazz and cajun music, magical voodoo, and old-school cel animation like "Beauty & the Beast" and "The Little Mermaid." Though the minute I saw that a major character was named Stella, my heart kinda sank at what a New Orleans-set work of art would HAVE to do. (Yes, I know ... Tennessee Williams and all ... but I'm still tired of other works stealing Marlon Brando's glory.) And when that inevitable moment came, Heather smiled and cheered at me from the other end of the row. Though the kids were overall well-behaved, Heather also told me later that, as she knew, the film's length proved too taxing for 2-year-old Louis. But she added that every time the movie would burst into music or song (some of the best sequences by the way, particularly the fantasy montage to "I'm Almost There"), Louis would get off his seat and start dancing, boogieing on down on the row's floor as only a 2-year-old white boy can. (Here's the film's soundtrack, where you can sample all the major cuts.)

Speaking of entertainment choices though, I think the Warren County Department of Family and Children's Services may need a call. Rachel was, as always, fascinated by my iPhone and the revelation that it could play music, using iTunes. I haven't loaded my purchases from my computer, but I told Rachel I could play at least 30 seconds from any song in the world (the browse and listen function at the iTunes store). And Rachel and/or Madeleine asked whether I could play Joan Jett. My ears popped out of their eye sockets ... appalled that these young impressionable girls are being schooled by their parents in the biker-slut-in-hot-leather-pants look. I asked the girls what Joan Jett songs they knew, and it was "I Love Rock N'Roll," ... it was ALL I could do not to show the girls this video of Joan Jett at her role-model-for-young-girls finest

... don't you just love Joan Jett as a flasher??

Anyhoo ... I regretted having to leave Detroit on early morning of Dec. 26, which made my visit a bit short, but work required it. Thanks to Dale and Heather for having me and Madeleine, Dale, Rachel, Louis and especially Elizabeth (whom I was able to get to go to sleep a couple of times) for making the holiday.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Bradley Effect on gay "marriage"?

The public discourse surrounding gay "marriage" has been so dissatisfactory that it may have contributed to the surprise defeats in the last two big referendums. The gay groups' idea of an argument is "BIGOT!!!" (or more-nuanced claims such as "you hate me" or the supremely sophisticated "this argument is by definition bigoted").

Yet, the last two states to hold referendums on the issue were the solidly-blue states of California (in November 2008) and Maine (in November 2009). In both cases, polls were mixed or favored gay marriage slightly in the final days (here is a Maine preview; here is a California rundown) only for the poll that took place on Election Day to come out significantly different. In Maine, the repeal of state legislation won by 5 1/2 points; in California, a constitutional amendment to reverse a state high-court ruling won by 4 1/2 points.

The lead art on this item shows how stunned the pro-gay folks in Maine were by their defeat. Indeed, a report at Politico (where you can see the ghosts of earlier-filed stories) said everything went right for the pro-gay folks, and the various excuses they've given for their spectacular losing streak did not hold -- they were not outspent (can't blame that flood of Mormon and Vatican money); turnout was high (nor the few who are passionate about their bigotry); they were in a liberal state most of whose neighbors have gay marriage (nor their whole cultural narrative of opposing antedivulian knuckle-draggers ignorant of how awesome gay marriage is)
As voters went to the polls on Tuesday, gay marriage advocates were emboldened by what appeared to be higher than expected turnout in Maine. Even before polls opened on Tuesday roughly one-tenth of the state’s registered voters submitted mail-in ballots or voted early.
And in an interview late Tuesday night on MSNBC, Maine Democratic Gov. John Baldacci said that at polling places it looked like “the presidential election all over again.”
“A lot of young people were showing up, a lot of first-time voters were showing up,” Baldacci said. “I was encouraged by that.”
Supporters also hoped money would make a difference in the outcome. The main group working to keep the state’s marriage law on the books, Protect Maine Equality, outraised the leading opposition group, Stand for Marriage, by more than $1 million.

Which led me that very night to think that opposition to gay marriage must "underpoll," meaning "does less well in surveys than on Election Day," for some systemic reason. Pollster Nate Silver looked at the Maine results and also broached the possibility of a "Bradley effect," named after Tom Bradley, the black mayor of Los Angeles who surprisingly lost a California governor's race he had been leading in the polls.¹
As for the polling, I think we have to seriously consider whether there is some sort of a Bradley Effect in the polling on gay rights issues
The "Bradley effect" posits that people will tell a pollster that they back the black guy while voting for the white one in a voting booth. I should add that even if black candidates suffer from some general "Bradley effect,"² that doesn't mean nefarious racism is the motive. Just as plausible, at face value anyway, as "phew ... I'm free to express my bigotry in the privacy of the voting booth" is that voters are unwilling to dismiss to a pollster (i.e., in a social situation) an underqualified minority or a minority whom they'd never support, for sound ideological reason, from fear of being thought racist.

This latter dynamic, I think, has more to do with gay issues. It is now a fact, that somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 percent of the US population has convinced itself that opposition to gay marriage is, in itself and necessarily, a mere expression of bigotry and prejudice. And that ~30 percent (or whatever exact number) dominate the instruments of culture and information and constitute nearly 100 percent of the experience of most open gays. Indeed, the 8 Maps and the enthusiasm that they and other forms of public menace generated among gays in California in the wake of their defeat indicate that many think "the time for reason is past." Folks are now fearing that a California judge may be preparing a show trial.

The one point gay-"marriage" folks have pounded on the table over and over is "BIGOT!!!" And a "Bradley effect" is the fruit this strategy has borne. Nobody wants to be thought of as a bigot, but yet you cannot persuade someone that he is one. The charge "BIGOT!!!" is not a bid to persuade but an attempt to anathematize. Thus, all it can do is intimidate, which can have an effect in a social situation like talking to a pollster but not a voting booth. This also might explain why legislators, at least in liberal states like Vermont and Maine, can be bent to oppose the popular will -- their votes aren't really secret. The more gay-"marriage" backers yell "BIGOT!!!" the more pronounced this Bradley effect is likely to become.
¹ Yes, I know that politics scholars and pollsters debate whether there is indeed a "Bradley Effect," and some of the most skeptical are those who were involved the race itself. Whether there is, isn't or once was such an race-based effect doesn't change that the term is a good form of shorthand for a similar phenomenon re gay marriage.
² Though there's so many obvious exceptions that it's near impossible to believe in the Bradley effect as a general rule. It may be possible, nevertheless, to believe it holds in some cases or types of contests.
³ Nor should my willingness to use the term "Bradley effect" in re gay issues be taken to mean that I buy the "sexuality = race" narrative and all it implies.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Hate speech

Read this self-identified "gaytheist" ... and keep in mind, this person is talking about Dignity.

Rarely will you see, without the use of profanity, such utterly unhinged ignorance and hate.All Christians see reason as the anti-Christ?' the very existence of any Catholics oppresses her; and ... well .... here are the choicest quotes.
"helping the church to oppress gay people simply through the idea that it’s okay to be Catholic."

"The Catholics, like all Christians, see rational thinking as the anti-Christ and work to vilify it as much as possible."

"The whole Catholic church is gayer than the Metropolitan Community Church. Come on, the men dress up in dresses and funny little hats and hang around altar boys all the time. The act of communion is essentially kneeling down with your mouth open in front of a man in a dress, how can you say that it is not gay?"

"The one thing about being Catholic in general (not just a gay or straight issue) is that to be a Catholic, you immediately have to hate everything that is essentially human about yourself."

"LGBT Christians are confusing but LGBT Catholics are just mentally ill."
Words fail. Remember this because the cultural narrative about us Catholics and the gays is ... we hate them, we hate them, we hate them ...

Sunday, January 03, 2010

CPAC fight

I don't have any particular stake in the Conservative Political Action Conference, an annual February event in Washington, this year running Feb. 18-20. I'm not much of a joiner and so have never gone, even as [my real name]. And for the same reason and others, I have never had any interest in the various gay-Republican groups, the latest of which is GOProud. They and other groups like Log Cabin Republicans and the Republican Unity Coalition have all generally supported the gay political agenda, which I emphatically do not, on public issues like marriage and military service (see 4 and 7 here for GOProud). 

All this by way of saying "I ain't got no dog in this fight." 

But although I'm a political conservative by any rational definition, nothing brings out my inner gay activist more than some of the pro-family groups on the right, as is now happening over this year's CPAC. One of the about 70 sponsoring groups this year is the newly-founded GOProud, and that has a lot of people unhappy. Americans for Truth, Liberty Counsel and Jerry Falwell Jr., Focus on the Family, the Alliance Defense Fund and the American Family Association all have denounced GOProud's involvement and/or threatened a boycott. 

Rumblings got so bad that David Keene and Lisa DiPasquale both have issued public defenses of GOProud's involvement -- Keene to Texas radio host Adam McManus and DiPasquale to popular conservative blog Hot Air. Keene said GOProud's "interest is in demonstrating that not all gays are liberals rather than promoting their life style ... we find it difficult to exclude groups because of disagreements on one or two issues no matter how important many of us believe those issues to be," citing disagreements on the Bush administration's wars and immigration. DiPasquale told Hot Air's Ed Morrissey she was "satisfied that they do not represent a 'radical leftist agenda,' as some have stated, and should not be rejected as a CPAC cosponsor."

There's also more at conservative blog Gay Patriot on the issue of whether (as Keene can be read as having said in his e-mail) GOProud will be muzzled at CPAC, which the gay group denies, saying, among other things, that the speakers haven't been picked yet.

We'll see if this goes farther than this (it hasn't broken into the mainstream media, best I can tell). Of the 10 items on GOProud's Legislative Agenda, eight are solidly conservative, while the other two are not. And while I generally favor broad coalitions that include 80-percenters over narrow purist ones -- they're more likely to win, in a democracy -- the political question isn't exactly what makes me ashamed of many social conservatives. No ... it's because reading some of this stuff really makes it harder to believe that social conservative really believe in "love the sinner and reject the sin."

To start with, there's an unseemly interest in reductive and disgusting descriptions of gay sex from the likes of Matt Barber, the kind one expects from cranks like the Catholic Caveman, but not someone who leads a group that aims from respectability. Here is Americans for Truth's rant statement which approvingly quotes the "inimitable" Barber:
It boils down to this: there is nothing "conservative" about — as Barber inimitably puts it — "one man violently cramming his penis into another man’s lower intestine and calling it 'love'." 
... which hardly merits a response (though here is one; starting with "His second point ...")

But more directly -- OK, so GOProud is wrong about marriage and military service. Why does that make *their* participation in CPAC so wrong? More wrong than any of the hundreds of pro-gay-marriage libertarians at CPAC? Or more wrong than the corporate involvement of such libertarian-leaning or -inclusive CPAC-sponsoring groups as the Competitive Enterprise Institute or the Manhattan Institute? And it is a moral certainty that CPAC-sponsoring groups with specific-issue focuses other than pro-family ones (like Americans for Tax Reform or the National Rifle Association, say) include gay-marriage supporters? 

This kind of nonsense does nothing but make a prophet of the Andrew Sullivans of the world and gives credibility to their lies about the Church denying gay people's personhood per se. The issue isn't ... "are (misguided) supporters of gay-marriage et al gonna be at CPAC?" They will -- whether GOProud is there or not. Particularly given those previous comments, it's hard to avoid the conclusion that what these pro-family groups object to is the corporate personhood of GOProud. In other words, the objectionable point is a group of gay people. After all, social conservatives have no problem breaking bread with straight libertarians or bohemian neocons or others who back gay marriage. Social-conservative groups **who involve themselves in politics** have to ... well ... grow up. Get used to the presence of open gays in politics. We don't have gay coodies. Social conservatives might even find that some of "us" are also some of "them."

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Backing down (?) ... or not (?)

In a post last year, I made the simple point "if you make a threat, you MUST carry it out." The context there was the Church and Britain's adoption law, which requires private groups to let gays adopt. Now, it's coming up again in my back yard, over D.C.'s gay "marriage" law, and at least prominent gay site is already claiming the Church has pussed out.

In November, the Archdiocese of Washington issued a statement saying that a gay-marriage bill, which by that point looked inevitable, needed a religious-exemption. Otherwise the Church's social missions, which frequently involved partnership with the city, could be hampered. This was interpreted, thanks to ham-handed headline-writing at The Washington Post, into a threat to abandon city social services. (A couple of degrees of the Internet equivalent of the "Telephone" game made things even worse.)

Then the day D.C. created gay "marriage," the Archdiocese issued the following statement:
Today the District of Columbia joined a handful of states where legislatures or courts have redefined marriage to include persons of the same sex. Since this legislation was first introduced in October, the Archdiocese of Washington opposed the redefinition of marriage based on the core teaching of the Catholic Church that the complementarity of man and woman is intrinsic to the definition of marriage. However, understanding the City Council was committed to legalizing same sex marriages, the archdiocese advocated for a bill that would balance the Council’s interest in redefining marriage with the need to protect religious freedom. Regrettably, the bill did not strike that balance.

The Archdiocese of Washington and Catholic Charities are deeply committed to serving those in need, regardless of race, creed, gender, ethnic origin or sexual orientation. This commitment is integral to our Catholic faith and will remain unchanged into the future.

Religious organizations have long been eligible to provide social services in our nation’s capital and have not been excluded simply because of their religious character. This is because the choice of provider has focused on the ability to deliver services effectively and efficiently. We are committed to serving the needs of the poor and look forward to working in partnership with the District of Columbia consistent with the mission of the Catholic Church.
Now this contained no threat. And that had Jim Burroway at Box Office Turtle a-crowing:
Remember when the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington threatened to shut down its homeless shelters, food services and other community services if the D.C. city council approved same-sex marriage? Well now they’re saying “never mind.” ... This is the opposite of what they said before the same-sex marriage bill passed. At that time, they said they would be “unable” to continue those services if same-sex marriage became legal.
I know how this got jumbled. If you are looking for clear statements of principle, of whatever kind, Archbishop Donald Wuerl is not your man. The one thing he is, according to everybody I know who deals with him, is a smoothie. He is very reluctant to commit to anything concrete and pinning him down on something is the proverbial "Jell-O to the wall" experience.

Read the December statement carefully. Nowhere does it say the Church will abide by the D.C. law and treat same-sex "marriages" solemnized by the city as marriages. Nor does it say it won't. Keep in mind, the scenario the Church claimed (despite the Washington Post's dramatic headline and lead) was not "if there's gay marriage, we're pulling out of the city." Nor even "if a poor person is in a same-sex 'marriage,' we won't serve him." Rather it is "if the city requires us under non-discrimination law to recognize same-sex 'marriages' in our ordinary business (like providing spousal benefits for, say, a school librarian) as a condition of eligibility for city contracts, then we will not be eligible for them." Pro-gay-marriage blogger E.D. Kain explains here these distinctions, based on the November statement. At Box Turtle, a commenter noted that the Church had issued a clarification in the wake of the Post report.

And the D.C. city government hasn't issued any threats nor actually "married" anyone yet (the law can't take effect for a while because of the waiting period required to give Congress a chance to veto most DC laws; which won't happen here, but nevertheless ...). Nor has D.C. issued or not issued any social-service contracts. Nor has any gay person working in the Church has tried to claim spousal benefits. Until the rubber hits the road, there's nothing to do but wait.

In other words, both in November and December, the Archdiocese of Washington did not carve out a clear position. Even saying "we just won't be eligible for city contracts" isn't really a position. And here is the rubber-road meetings will take place:

(1) What will the Archdiocese do when Adam, husband of Steve, demands spousal benefits?
(2) What will the Archdiocese do when Adam and Steve, having been denied, take a discrimination claim to Caesar, in the form of a city panel or a federal court, and win?
(3) What will the Archdiocese do if, having said no to Adam and Steve, the city then pulls any or all contracts with it on the grounds that the Church is a discriminatory organization?
(4) What will the Archdiocese do if it sues the city for religious discrimination under scenario (3), but loses the case and Caesar orders the Church to choose between providing social services and maintaining its "discriminatory" policies?

Those are the real questions in this case ... and neither statement really addresses them, one way or the other.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Paging Dr. Freud

I'm curious about, and would like to hear from others¹, whether sexuality or "issues" about sex have anything to do with how one learned about that subject.

I'm aware of course that boys and girls have always "played doctor" and picked up a certain amount of "knowledge" from the schoolyard rumor mill. And some of that will always be the case, I suspect. But I can't help but think that an ambivalence towards the sex act itself can't (ahem) bend a vulnerable branch away from normal sexuality.

To say that I'm ambivalent about sex is an understatement. My father never had a self-conscious The Talk. When I had my first emission, it was my mother who cleaned up the sheets I thought I had peed. My father said it was nothing to be ashamed of, just an accident that happens when you grow up. Which isn't exactly wrong, and I accepted that and moved on without giving it another thought. I knew babies had something to do with sex but never connected it to those weird muscle cramps between my legs until I learned the mechanics of the sex act when I was about 17, by looking it up in the encyclopedia. (In this case, it was the Teen Intellectuals equivalent of sneaking a peek at National Geographic.) My lack of interest in girls was chalked up by others to my being a bookworm. When a high-school friend asked me if I'd like to go on a double date (us and two girls, that is), I said "no" so vigorously that he told me later "you acted like you were offended by the very invite." Understand as well, that any identification as gay or pursuit of same-sex sex was even farther from my mind than dating girls. I simply was not interested in the genital areas at all. To this day, I cannot even imagine my mother and father in bed together, even though I am quite aware it happened (at least twice; probably more often)

Now don't get me wrong ... I am not now and never was a prude in any overt way. I can tell an off-color or even downright-filthy joke with the best of them. I watch R and NC-17 movies without a qualm, and am rarely offended, except by its use for titillation. And even blunt depiction and frank discussion of homosexuality do not per se offend me. (Pornography does make me wince, but only when I have my, so to speak, social clothes on.)

But what I'm suggesting, from my own experience, is that to speak of "sex as an act of love" is simply speaking a foreign language. Maybe that's not the right metaphor -- perhaps speaking a language one knows the grammar and syntax perfectly but not the meanings of the words. Oh, I've read Christopher West and all -- I know how the words fit together. I can even talk about it intellectually in a persuasive way -- I had a strange encounter with a waitress at a sports bar a couple of months ago I may describe soon. But at some level, it simply isn't something within my experience.² And perhaps that is why so many same-sex-attracted men, even those who identify as gay and maintain their satisfaction with that, have so little difficulty with overtly loveless promiscuity (I have had sex with more than 40 men -- only one under any impression that I loved him.)
¹ If anyone is still reading...
² Which makes it a *good* thing that I've never believed that one's own experience creates either morality or truth.