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« Reunion, One Step Removed | Main | Political Linkage »

August 18, 2008

Fact for the Day

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

In Iraq, Al-Qaeda leaders have attempted to prevent women from buying cucumbers.


Still, there's no getting around it: A woman handling a cucumber can be a suggestive thing. My suggestion: How about we enjoy the moment and maintain a decent amount of self-control at the same time? Hey, how about we experience that combo -- arousal, humor, and dignity -- as sexily worthwhile in its own right?

Enlighten me please: What is it that fundamentalists find so threatening about contrasts, dissonances, multiple levels, ironies, paradoxes, provocations, and flirtations? I pretty much live for 'em myself.



posted by Michael at August 18, 2008


I read this and I was surprised frankly, because i thought the sexualization of 'everything' was a modern, freud induced 'disease' ...still it is odd, in India and most of the middle east, men holding hands is not even remotely thought of as 'gay'.

Posted by: malcolm on August 18, 2008 12:10 PM

Ah, but the essence of all religious fundamentalism is a witch's brew of sexual anxiety, sexual inadequacy and poorly repressed homosexual impulses. The particular flavor of the religion is irrelevant.

Posted by: Don McArthur on August 18, 2008 12:28 PM

This isn't a manifestation of "fundamentalism," but rather Islamofascism.

Posted by: beloml on August 18, 2008 12:43 PM

Fear is at the core of fundamentalism. People attracted to it are those people who are terrified by the passions, the unpredictable, the incomprehensible. Everything must be done in a certain way and everything must be understood.

I think Ned Flanders is actually a pretty good representation of a lot of the Orthodox Jews I grew up with. He's a good, genuine, warm person who happens to be terrified of reality and has consequently adopted a ready-made view of reality that is simpler and less frightening.

The crazy part is that he and his family might actually be better off for it. Maybe it's those of us who can't be satisfied by oversimplification who have the problem. :-)

Posted by: JewishAtheist on August 18, 2008 1:01 PM

Nice sum up, JA, pretty much what I was going to say. It is interesting how successful and happy a lot of fundies are within their own sphere. They just can't stand the notion of other paths to happiness, because then their tidy little worldview, with all its certainties, crumbles.

The either/or binary world of the fundies translates to the way they are repulsed/attracted to sexual impulses. In their binary brain, an impulse must either be acted upon or repressed. It can't exist in that delicious gray area of flirtation and fantasy, because their is no subsistent use for fantasy, and THAT is what it all boils down to for fundamentalists, of all stripes, be it religious, cultural, whatever. Decoration scares and confuses them.

Posted by: JV on August 18, 2008 1:25 PM

There are also IQ issues here (not JUST IQ, okay?). Thursday (I think) mentioned on his blog that the universal fundie religion of mankind--getting favours from the sky-gods--loses its appeal for those whose IQs are around 115 or higher. This is the level at which certain intellectual abilities begin to appear: hypothesis formation and testing; counterfactuals; long chains of reasoning; reductiones ad absurdum; paradoxes; multiple levels; ironies, and so on. The literal-mindedness of fundie types is (partly!) an expression of their inability to entertain the thought patterns that you listed in the post. That whole way of thinking just never occurs to them. They're just plain not smart enough.

Fundies find all that multi-level stuff threatening in the same way we find a joke threatening if we just don't get it (wait, are they laughing at me? Those bastards!). You love that stuff, Michael, because you're smart enough to get it. Fundies just ain't, and never will be.

Posted by: PatrickH on August 18, 2008 1:43 PM

Because they might lead to dancing.

Posted by: Fredosphere on August 18, 2008 2:09 PM

I disagree with you Patrick, on the IQ thing as it relates to fundies. I know some very smart people who, nonetheless, prescribe to a fairly literal type of "sky-god" religion. My aunt, for one, who taught calculus at various colleges in the Bay Area, and yet is a strict Catholic in the most old-school, literalist way. I think it boils down more to personality types than to IQ levels.

Posted by: JV on August 18, 2008 2:36 PM

JV, very well said. And this is exactly what I think of when I think about Leftists. Letists and Fundies are absolutely the same.

Posted by: Usually Lurking on August 18, 2008 2:49 PM

"getting favours from the sky-gods--loses its appeal for those whose IQs are around 115 or higher"

Patrick H, you show an 'atheist fundamentalist' lack of understanding of religion - do explain, btw much smarter than you John Polkinhorne (cambridge physicist) who is also an Anglican minister?

I have seen more willful denial of reality from atheists than i have from 'fundamentalists' which in itself is a foolish term... fundamentalism does not necessarily mean 'fanaticism'. I have seen both historically, and in person , more foolish, delusional behavior from athesits - from Marxists regimes to neocon pundits like C. Hitchens, than from 'religious' people...

Its almost laughable to see hear you guys delude yourselves....while smuggley looking down your noses at someone who believes in God. ..

Richard Dawkins, nutcase extraoridnaire is a case in point -he honestly believes there'd be no Northern Ireland, ISrael-Palestine or Indo-Pakisthan conflict without religion...
What did chesterton say, when many stops believing god, he doesnt' believe in nothing, he believes in anything....

Posted by: me on August 18, 2008 2:51 PM

Really, is this anymore fanatic than our athethisitic marxist inspired political correctness? people fired for saying 'niggardly' or using a noose knot ? or our fanatic refusal to believe races are not all equal in everything?

Posted by: malcolm on August 18, 2008 2:54 PM

I suspect that you are trying to link Islamic fundamentalists to Christian fundamentalists.

Nice try, but no cigar.

The Christian fundamentalist I know best is my oldest sister. She's a professor of nursing in Honolulu, and an ordained minister in her church. Her husband is a Japanese OB/GYN. Their children are remarkably well educated, decent and accomplished people.

Michael, go over to Roissy's house. Sex ain't working out so well in the land of the hip. When are you going to take notice of this?

Certainly, I'm not claiming that my sister and brother-in-law respresent all fundamentalists. I haven't, however, noticed that they have any difficulty at all dealing with issues of sexuality and arousal.

I know that you do this, Michael, but I think that your time would be better spent dealing with the massive breakdown of relationship and sexual satisfaction among heteros in the community in which you actually live, rather than fighting out this battle with the strawman fundamentalists.

Belief in God seems to terrify people who think that, somehow, that belief leads inevitably to a denial of sexuality. Denial of and discomfort with sexuality is not a religious issue. It's a psychological issue for the individual.

You are really off on the wrong track here, Michael. The fact that the world you live in is full of people trying to out-outrage one another... well, that doesn't mean shit in terms of whether those people are finding love and sexual satisfaction. In fact, I know from the experience of living in Woodstock and Manhattan that people who engage in overt provocation and flirtation are often incapable of sustaining any kind of relationship.

The cucumber thing is funny, I guess. But, I sure as hell wouldn't want to be involved with a woman who resorted to that for arousal.

Posted by: Shouting Thomas on August 18, 2008 2:54 PM

Wait, wait, wait: "Fundamentalist" doesn't just mean "Christian," or "Muslim," or "Christian and/or Muslim," or even "religious." An Anglican minister isn't automatically a fundamentalist. There are all kinds of fundamnetalisms, no? Including political ones, scientistic ones, economic ones, and even arty ones.

If we're going to have fun with the word "fundamentalist," let's not do so too literally, y'know what I mean?

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on August 18, 2008 3:48 PM

"JV, very well said. And this is exactly what I think of when I think about Leftists. Letists and Fundies are absolutely the same."

First off, thanks. Second off, I'll agree with you if by Leftists you mean extreme Leftists, because a fundie is a fundie is a fundie, regardless of political, religious and/or cultural stripes.

ST: what Michael said. There are plenty of religious people who are not fundamentalist, and plenty of atheists (Dawkins, for one) who are fundamentalist. I think a good definition of fundamentalism is the certainty that you are correct and that others are wrong, and the willingness to facilitate the restriction of others to express their seemingly opposing beliefs. So yeah, some extreme liberals fall into that definition, as do extreme Muslims, extreme Christians, extreme Libertarians, ad nausem.

Posted by: JV on August 18, 2008 3:56 PM

Michael, Fundamentalist doesn't mean Fanatic

It is someone who believes in the 'fundamentals' one might even argue that Al-Quada's brand is Islam is not fundmentalist but a radical departure...

But again, who are we to lecture or look down upon them? We have our hang ups - we have our taboos - question the holocaust in public in europe, say something naughty about a minority in canada and you're thrown in Jail...

So spare us the self righteousness - instead of obsessing about there problems why don't we just get the f$ck out of there and work on the suppression and taboos here - and michael they are not sexual - in fact porn is rampant while politic dissent is more and marginalized, and frankly, I see a correlation.

Posted by: malcolm on August 18, 2008 4:04 PM

"Ah, but the essence of all religious fundamentalism is a witch's brew of sexual anxiety, sexual inadequacy and poorly repressed homosexual impulses. The particular flavor of the religion is irrelevant.

Posted by: Don McArthur "

"Someone" here...doesn't know much about or certain "fundamentalist' hindu practices (hint devdasi) . or Islam which often is very erotic and compares worship to sexual feeling....
"Someone" should stop over simplifying things...

Posted by: Malcolm on August 18, 2008 4:13 PM

JV and ST and me: Shame on you all. My comment, right or wrong, was clearly a generalization. Anecdotes don't mean anything. I know women who are taller than most men. I guess that means men aren't taller than women on average, does it?

I even went to the trouble of inserting parenthetical comments to indicate that IQ was only ONE thing to be considered as having SOME relevance to the discussion. Fat lot o' good that did me.

And none of you seems to be using the word "fundamentalism" with any knowledge of its meaning. Fundamentalism isn't simple religious belief. Where did you get that idea? And me, how can you claim John Polkinghorne as a fundamentalist with a straight face? Do you know anything about his thinking? Have you read anything he's written? (I have.) Do you even know what the word "fundamentalist" means? Not only is "fundamentalist" not a synonym for "religious", or "Christian", it's not even a synonym for "evangelical", a group often misidentified as Christian fundamentalists.

As for equating me (the Patrick me) with the "atheist fundamentalists", you simply don't know what you're talking about.

Posted by: PatrickH on August 18, 2008 4:19 PM

Wikipedia is pretty helpful on "fundamentalism." A passage I dig: "Some refer to any literal-minded philosophy with pretense of being the sole source of objective truth as fundamentalist, regardless of whether it is usually called a religion." To me it has more to do with "literal-minded" and "sole source of objective truth" than with anything else. FWIW, of course.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on August 18, 2008 4:20 PM

Patrick H - you said smart people don't believe in God... ""getting favours from the sky-gods--loses its appeal for those whose IQs are around 115 or higher""

that is 'fundamentalist' atheist rhetoric ... if i ever heard it.. and pretty stupid too.

I didn't say polkinhorne was a fundamentalist - though he is by many standards and orthodox Anglican - I simply was illustrating your simple minded generalization is, well, just that. ..

"JV and ST and me: Shame on you all. My comment, right or wrong, was clearly a generalization. Anecdotes don't mean anything"

Neither do WTF is your point ? oh, you didn't have one??

Posted by: me on August 18, 2008 4:27 PM

I know, Patrick, I almost didn't post my anecdote because anecdotal evidence is crap, but my aunt is far from the only intelligent, reasonable person I know of and/or who I've met that is very religous. Hell, St. Augustine is one of the most brilliant writers to have walked the earth, and he was obviously very religious in a pretty fundamental manner.

Basically, I don't write off religion so easily, even though I'm highly skeptical (but not certain) that it's mostly a collection of fairy tales. Same goes with religious people, even fundamentalists. I don't differentiate much between, say Richard Dawkins (at least the Dawkins of the past 10 years) and Rick Warren in their fundamentalism. And you'd be hard-pressed to call either of those people unintelligent.

Posted by: JV on August 18, 2008 4:34 PM

So maybe fundamentalism comes in (at least) two flavors: the fancier fundamentalisms of smart people, and the incapable-of-doing-better, literal-minded fundamentalisms of the not-so-smart?

Anyway: Anecdotes rock. Studies are overrated (if sometimes fun). Life is anecdotes. Keep 'em coming.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on August 18, 2008 4:37 PM


"Basically, I don't write off religion so easily, even though I'm highly skeptical (but not certain) that it's mostly a collection of fairy tales."

Should have been this:

"Basically, I don't write off religion so easily, even though I'm highly skeptical (but not certain) that it's anything more than a collection of fairy tales."

Posted by: JV on August 18, 2008 4:41 PM

But some collections of fairy tales can move and touch you, and can even leave you with the impression that you're in touch with Larger Things. No: to the extent it can be said to be possible in this life, they can indeed put you in touch with Larger Things.

What to make of this?

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on August 18, 2008 4:46 PM

Michael, that's exactly why I don't discount religion. I LOVE the stories, as much as I love any great literature or movies or even really good TV. I only part ways when people start assigning historical truths to those stories and/or discounting other stories.

Posted by: JV on August 18, 2008 5:01 PM

""Basically, I don't write off religion so easily, even though I'm highly skeptical (but not certain) that it's anything more than a collection of fairy tales.""

Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return"

That's about as 'fundamental' a truth as i have heard to those 'stories' ....polkinghorne and others remind us.. read poetry as prose and you get yourself in a lot of trouble....

Posted by: me on August 18, 2008 5:05 PM


I see religion appealing to many people, both intelligent and less so, because they get different things out of it.

I suspect that very few of the high IQ crowd REALLY believes in the Christian, Islamic, Leftist (err...oops) faith that they profess to be dedicated too. But it is still very useful to them. Imagine how an intelligent person would react to being born into a very religious society:

"Hmmm... it appears as though 99.9% of my countrymen believe XYZ, even though X and Y are demonstratably false. It also appears as though non-believers are, most optimistically, shunned from society. Should I A) renounce XYZ at considerable (and possibly ultimate) personal expense in the interest of capital-T Truth, or B) Get to work figuring out how to leverage everyone's belief in XYZ for my own personal gain."

For good or ill, most intelligent people pick option A, and if you believe yourself to be an exception for bravely renouncing your parents religious beliefs just like 90% of your peer group, ask yourself how many of your non-internet friends know that you occasionally agree with theBlowhards, Sailers and Devlin's of the world.

Posted by: Zdeno on August 18, 2008 5:12 PM


I see religion appealing to many people, both intelligent and less so, because they get different things out of it.

I suspect that very few of the high IQ crowd REALLY believes in the Christian, Islamic, Leftist (err...oops) faith that they profess to be dedicated too. But it is still very useful to them. Imagine how an intelligent person would react to being born into a very religious society:

"Hmmm... it appears as though 99.9% of my countrymen believe XYZ, even though X and Y are demonstratably false. It also appears as though non-believers are, most optimistically, shunned from society. Should I A) renounce XYZ at considerable (and possibly ultimate) personal expense in the interest of capital-T Truth, or B) Get to work figuring out how to leverage everyone's belief in XYZ for my own personal gain."

For good or ill, most intelligent people pick option A, and if you believe yourself to be an exception for bravely renouncing your parents religious beliefs just like 90% of your peer group, ask yourself how many of your non-internet friends know that you occasionally agree with the Blowhards, Sailers and Devlin's of the world.

Posted by: Zdeno on August 18, 2008 5:12 PM

Michael, the reason I disapprove of using the world "fundamentalist" in this context is that you are using it, whether intentionally or not, to link together too many different kinds of social phenomena that don't really have much in common.

Islamic fundamentalists adhere to a very different creed from Christian fundamentalists, and neither of them necessarily have anything in common with Islamic jihadists. Marxist fundamentalists differ, again, from any of these groups. Modern Christian fundamentalists do not in general have a history of violence; nor are they likely to ban the sale of cucumbers to women. Modern Islamic fundamentalists do seem more likely to become violent, but this is not universal even in Islam, and in any case, violent fundamentalist Islam is strongly mixed with political resentment of the West, a resentment I think is pointless but perhaps not wholly unjustifiable. (Yes, I'm sure that statement will bring me some flak; so be it.) Marxist fundamentalists are more likely to be found in universities these days than anywhere else, where their power to inflict anything but intellectual damange is limited. They give every sign of being content with this arrangement: I often get the impression that they don't want anyone to take their views seriously enough to try to impose them in real life.

In short, the actual content of the fundamentalist's creed is of great importance. Using the word to unite these various forms under a single umbrella-term does not greatly contribute to our understanding of how any of these particular groups is likely to behave.

Posted by: alias clio on August 18, 2008 5:22 PM

You are all quite wrong that religion is "a collection of fairy tales." I'll tell you about a simple Biblical warning that is well known, and has been ignored at incredible cost. (I should also note the incredible staying power of fairy tales. Fairy tales contain basic wisdom that remains a constant of human life.)

The Bible explicitly warns about the dangers of open homosexuality, particularly male homosexuality. The great liberation of gays from the closet was, quite clearly, the cause of the AIDS epidemic. The Bible, in this case, was passing along ancient wisdom about the results of anal sex.

God is the father. The Bible is the wisdom of the fathers passed down through the generations. There is something so incredibly juvenile about this hee-heeing over the human necessity to worship God. I don't find any of your statements intellectual. They seem to me like the dumb rebelliousness of pinhead teenagers. Intellectualism makes people so incredibly stupid.

Religious indoctrination is essential to successful child-rearing. Belief in God is essential to human psychological health. Hundreds of generations of humans have understood this. The idiots in this regard are the wiseacre juveniles who think that, in their short time on this earth, they know better than the generations of fore-fathers. This post has degenerated into the predictable dumb rebelliousness against the wisdom of the fathers and grandfathers. The collective wisdom of the generations is greater than your own limited wisdom.

This is why I think that the Islamists will ultimately win. We now have more nihilists and wiseacres than a society can support. This cycle of a society descending into self-destruction is not a new thing. It's happened over and over again, and if you read the text of any of the world's great religions, you'll find that history in the great sacred texts.

Read Dostoevsky and Solzhenitzyn. They explain what I'm talking about in ferocious stories.

Posted by: Shouting Thomas on August 18, 2008 6:03 PM

Humor and irony work by seeing the world from multiple contrasting perspectives, while fundamentalism - much like stage magic - only seems plausible from one. This is why Shaftesbury said somewhere that the test of truth lies in its ability to withstand "raillery".

Carry on.

Posted by: Brian on August 18, 2008 6:35 PM

ST, there is much power and wisdom in fairy tales. I just can't dig the literal interpretation of them, it doesn't ring true to me. Maybe it will someday, who knows? As always, though, I object to my skepticism being called juvenile. It is the result of much soul-searching and, yes, thinking. I know, we shouldn't think, but I couldn't help it.

Anyway, I hope I'm wrong in the end, as do most agnostics and atheists. Although I can do without a God who requires us to pick the right story in order to be saved. You can have that one.

Posted by: JV on August 18, 2008 7:11 PM

I should add, I didn't mean to suggest that religious people aren't thinking, or that agnostics and atheists inherently are.

Posted by: JV on August 18, 2008 7:14 PM

Sorry, one more thing. ST, do you think it's possible to have a philosophy that is just as powerful and wise and useful as you believe the Bible to be, and yet not require or even proscribe the belief in a supreme being? I do and am currently working to put it into everyday practice in my life. I think many people feel the same, and can take the lessons of the Bible or whatever teachings they choose, and leave the supernatural stuff alone.

Posted by: JV on August 18, 2008 7:19 PM

You, me, you, me, you:

I mentioned getting favours from sky-gods as the essence of fundie religion. Read the frickin’ comment. Your meaningless response was to bloviate about Polkinghorne, as if you’d somehow refuted my point. Patrick: Fundies = not too bright. Your follow-up: Polkinghorne = bright, as in brighter than Patrick (as you put it, in a childish, sulky, sneaky little ad hominem tantrum). Take responsibility for your words: I didn’t make you, me, use Polkinghorne as a pseudo counter-example to my point, and I didn’t make you, me, reveal the shallows of your nasty little soul with the gratuitous and incompetent little shiv-slip you waved in the direction of my lower ribs. Only you did that, me. That was all you, me.

As for your irrelevant statement, me, that you’ve seen more denial of reality from atheist fundamentalists, so what? I mentioned nothing about denial of reality. I mentioned the POSSIBILITY that the absence of certain cognitive processes might underlie fundamentalists’ inability to tolerate multiple levels of meaning. Why are you whingeing on about denial of reality, me?

And where do you, me, get off telling me, Patrick, I’m an atheist? I’m not an atheist, you dogmatic, adolescent-minded fart, me. Not only do you, me, have no idea what you’re talking about, me, you have no idea, me, what I’m talking about, you. Read the comment, and stop eructating your bizarre line readings into what I wrote.

As for your preposterous claim about generalizations having no value…really? How on earth can anyone make any claim about any general phenomenon at all without making generalizations? Didn’t you, me, you yourself me, do so in your comments? Generalizations are the essence of adult, risk-taking thought. Anecdotal evidence is the coward’s way out, the sign of someone who’s got nothing to say. Everyone has his little stories, everyone can sit back on his immature pudgy mental behind and lob little-boy spitballs at people who try to make an effort to cast some light on an issue under discussion. Everyone in this case being you, me. You, me. No one else. Just you, me.

You, me, strike me as young, immature, ignorant, an inept reader, a lousy writer, and an intellectual coward. For contrast, consider JV, whose measured response showed an adult recognition of the limitations of anecdotes as refutations of generalizations.

Your nick is revealing, “me”. That’s all you know about, me. And it’s all you reveal in your comments, me, your “contributions” to this discussion being the lowest-quality, least-valuable comments I have read on this blog in some time.

Enjoy your evening, you, me, or whoever you’re trying to be today. And while you’re at it, you, grow up.

Posted by: PatrickH on August 18, 2008 7:29 PM

"We now have more nihilists and wiseacres than a society can support." "Intellectualism makes people so incredibly stupid."

ST - Is seems like your anti-modernist belief system is full of fire and brimstone against anyone who doesn't worship your particular lord.

Your dismissal of anyone who doesn't agree with you as a nihilist wiseacre hipster intellectual and Devil (in my case) bespeaks a fear and loathing of all who don't bow down in terror to your lord.

Your condemnation of gays highlights your prejudice and ignorance. 76% of young people in Africa who are HIV positive are female.

Finally, just to continue to function as the Devil here, let me say, sincerely: Long Live Anal Sex!

Posted by: Sister Wolf on August 18, 2008 8:08 PM

As to the question of IQ and belief in religious fundamentals: we could start with the old Marist Brother who taught my brother maths...then go on to the Marist Brother (and Cambridge Phd) who taught me Greek and Latin. Both these gentlemen had energy and a relentless focus that were enhanced by their strict religious regime. No doubt they were repressing all kinds of stuff, but repression, for them, was not a mortal sin as it is for, dare we say, certain socio-pyschological fundamentalists.

As to the inter-twining of religious and sensual, listing convincing examples is like shooting fish in a barrel. Let's cut straight to the chase, let's go straight to Counter-Reformation headquarters, to the arch-ascetic and arch-sensualist:

Posted by: Robert Townshend on August 18, 2008 8:17 PM

[Insert sound here of thousands of suddenly-interested blogsurfers trying to figure out how to contact Sister Wolf and propose a quick get-together ...]

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on August 18, 2008 9:54 PM

My parish priest in a church of my youth was the great Jesuit theologian Bernard Lonergan. My best teachers were Jesuit priests at a boy's school, St. Paul's in Winnipeg. They were all religious men, intensely so.

Not one was a fundamentalist.

Why, oh why, can't some of the bright people commenting on this thread get this simple point? Holy Moly! I believe that it is possible for a Catholic to be a fundamentalist, but only by failing to understand his own religion. A single quick read of the new Catechism would put paid to that. Then go to the Catholic Encyclopedia online. A fundamentalist would be unable to understand most of the non-biographical entries there. That's from early last century!

Religion isn't fundamentalism. Fundamentalism isn't religion. It's not a stand-in for conservative religion either. It isn't a code for people who read the Bible. It's the name of a mentality, at least as the word appeared to be OBVIOUSLY used in the post.

I don't get it! What's the frickin' problem? The example used Al-Qaeda. Not even Islam in general. Why are people getting all pissy about defending Christianity? Jeez!

Posted by: PatrickH on August 18, 2008 10:11 PM

Dear Sister, my Melpomene of the Commode:

I have given and received the Greek way from those of my gender, and found the experience, ah, broadening, so to speak. I have never administered that Way of Love to one of the Fair Sex.

I believe you understand the subtext here, my darling. I await your response. If that response involves the word "pegging", I am open to that possibility as well.


P.S. I must tell you one day, sweet one, the story of how my praise of the benefits of the deep massage technique called Rolfing was mistaken by a listener to be instead an attempt to sell my audience on the benefits of f*lching. You'd be surprised how long she was able to sustain the misintrepretation.

Posted by: PatrickH on August 18, 2008 10:19 PM

I didn't condemn gays, Sister Wolf.

If you actually want to know what I think, I'll tell you.

We were better off, both gays and straights, when gays were in the closet. There is no reason for gays to live their sex lives in public.

A whole hell of a lot of them would still be alive if they had stayed in the closet. I don't know about Africa, but in the U.S. you get AIDS from very bad behavior... promiscuous anal sex and/or intravenous drug use.

JV, I didn't say the Bible was a philosophy. It is, in fact, the story of the tradition of our fathers. The Ten Commandments is the basic philosophy of Christianity.

And, Sister Wolf, I don't have an anti-modernist philosophy. I work in one of the most advanced technical fields. The philosophy of rebellion and wisecracking foolishness that you've adopted isn't modernism. It's stupidity... an invention of Madison Avenue admen. Your stance of teenage rebellion as an adult is a sign of a woman with serious problems. I've spent my life in the music biz in Chicago, San Francisco, New York City and elsewhere. You've got to be a complete idiot to think that that childish crap can shock me. It just makes me wonder whether you are all there.

Posted by: Shouting Thomas on August 18, 2008 10:30 PM

ST, I don't have a stance, it is you who've assigned me one. And of course you condemn gays, why bother to deny that?

I thought the ten commandments were given to my fathers, the Jews. But you are welcome to live by them.

You have no idea of who I am. The internet is funny like that, you know.

If you prefer to pass up anal sex, go ahead, it's still a free country!

Posted by: Sister Wolf on August 19, 2008 1:05 AM

"JV, I didn't say the Bible was a philosophy. It is, in fact, the story of the tradition of our fathers. The Ten Commandments is the basic philosophy of Christianity."

The Ten Commandments is in the Bible, no?

Posted by: JV on August 19, 2008 1:48 AM

Ah, Sister, you do indeed have a stance. On a commode, no less. Unlike the lamentable Senator Larry Craig, who had a "wide stance" when he was similarly disposed, yours is fetchingly narrow, with a charming extension of one of your shapely legs, an impertinent, saucy foot enticingly attached foreground. It's almost as if you are giving today's bluenoses your own podiatric version of the universal salute: So Mr Woodstock of the Bible Stories and the Incipient Ulcer, take that: The Toe!

A word of caution from one who loves you: Sister, ma louve, you need to be more aware of the way you come across to others. You probably caused heart attacks, incidents of fainting even with Obama nowhere near, and (I hope) some gastric bleeding in the Shouter's stomach, with your paean to the joys of Love From Behind. Remember, O Imp of the Perversions, anal sex has health consequences. Even when you just talk about it.

As always, awaiting the tiniest indication that you take me more seriously than a smitten thirteen year old boy,

P.S. I want to give you a shiny red apple. Would you like one?

Posted by: PatrickH on August 19, 2008 10:26 AM

The ten commandments are most definitely not the core of Christianity. Jesus had two commandments, and he regularly broke the sabbath rules.

As far as the jews taking credit for them, you should read the Old Testament. There weren't just ten! The fist ten are followed by about a hundred more. In fact, that's basically judaism in a nutshell--law draped over law draped over law. The New Testament is quite different from that. So take credit for the rest of that junk too. And the Talmud. Yuck!

Fundamentalism equals worshipping the rites and the hierarchy of the Church. Real Christianity is about how you treat others outside of church. That's the difference.

Posted by: L on August 19, 2008 1:08 PM

Sister Wolf, bigotry did not kill all those gay men in the 70s and 80s. No, they "condemned" themselves through their own behavior.

Nice try. You are truly a venemous spider. Those men who are taking the bait from you are complete fools.

I had a great Filipina wife. I go home to a great Filipina girlfriend. This makes me impervious to your tactics. That's got to eat at you. You'll have to make those fools miserable. They're not quite as alluring a target as I am, are they? I'm on to the game. Seen it a million times. There's something infuriating about that for your kind. Making chumps out of the fools gets boring, doesn't it?

The great lie of the left is that good sex is only available from the "liberated" women who look at sex as "fun". This is a preposterous lie. Try the scam on one of those other fools, Sister. I left you behind a long time ago, and good riddance.

I chose to be happy over impressing dimwit liberal "friends." I ain't going back.

Posted by: Shouting Thomas on August 19, 2008 2:13 PM

Strictly speaking, isn't it more accurate to say that AIDS was caused not by gay-lib but by loads of promiscuous anal sex being had without sensible precautions being taken? Plus too many drugs beating down people's immune systems? That kind of behavior doesn't autmatically follow from gay lib. it was dumb and destructive, but it was as much a consequence of the '60s and '70s (and drugs and general overdone idiocy) as it was of gays coming out of the closet, no?

Anyway, AIDS seems to me a practical question, and a topic somewhat independent of whether or not gay lib was a good thing. Which is a good topic in its own right, of course. And I say this as someone who's often a fan of a little judiciously-applied repression ...

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on August 19, 2008 3:27 PM

ST, How can I not love you?? You are so deluded about so much!

In the hope of putting an end to your comparing me to a filipina, I am married to a MEXICAN! In Mexico, men are trained from early on to behave like men! They know their place, ie, Head of Household, patriarch, bread-winner! They don't badmouth liberals! They have soul and can play La Bamba on guitar! They are passionate lovers! Olé!

Patrick, I would like that apple now.

Posted by: Sister Wolf on August 19, 2008 3:40 PM

There's a lot of sense to what you say, Michael.

I tend to look at it slightly differently. I understand the need for gay men to find love and sexual satisfaction. We all need that.

There's something about man to man sexuality that takes off all the brakes. I think that the only thing that does apply the brakes, and prevents gay men from flying off into self-destruction is some good old fashioned hypocrisy.

The old fashioned public demand that gay men keep it to themselves put restraints on their behavior in the past. That doesn't mean that that behavior didn't exist, but less of it existed out of fear of public censure.

I do think that AIDS and gay lib are inextricably intertwined. Women put limits on sexuality in their relationships with men. Without those limits, gay men are wont to engage in hellishly destructive behavior. Men and women are different, and the PC ideology seeks always to obscure that. Lesbian sexual behavior presents none of the public health hazards so common to male gay sexual behavior.

That's why I think that gay men were/are better off in the closet. This puts some limits on their behavior, keeps them alive and gives them a better chance to find happiness.

Just my opinion. I don't make it my business to run anybody's life.

Posted by: Shouting Thomas on August 19, 2008 3:56 PM

The Shouter in the Void: Those men who are taking the bait from you are complete fools.

Mmmmm...and what tasty bait it is. Time to start reeling me in, Sister.

I remain Charlie the Lonesome Tuna waiting for you to make me happily Sunkist,


Posted by: PatrickH on August 19, 2008 4:33 PM

As for AIDS and gayness, it sickens me that in a day when we understand far better how HIV is transmitted, that someone would use AIDS as a stick (cucumber?) with which to attack gay men for being gay. Journalists like Michael Fumento, a brave contrarian indeed, earned the wrath of both gays and fundamentalist Xtians by describing how AIDS spreads, and why there would be no heterosexual breakout in North America (and why there would be in gay-unfriendly sub-Saharan Africa). Other journalists also did the hard work of paying attention to the science, not the book of Leviticus and other vile Bible Tales to Scare the Young, and also pointed out how HIV is passed from one to another. They too were pilloried.

But there's no excuse for that any more. Gayness as such no more deserves the condemnation of ulcer-breeders like the increasingly unhinged Screaming Tom the Woodstock Hippy Hater, than it does the blanket defenses of AIDS activists with their accusations of drug company conspiracies, or of the Big Lie sermonizing of the Jeremiad Wrongs with their Afro-paranoid blatherings about the CIA.

We've got the science. We know what's going on with AIDS. We know how to prevent it from being spread. Now if only we could find a way to shut the Shouter up...or at least get him to lower his fracking voice. God, what a pair of hog caller pipes he's pumping! I don't know what's worse, the ringing in my ears...or the sick feeling in my stomach. Man, his spritz has got me reeling!

Posted by: PatrickH on August 19, 2008 4:46 PM

PatrickH, I'm mystified. Fumento basically says that heterosexual vaginal intercourse does not transmit the HIV virus efficiently. He adds that anal intercourse does; and he says that in Africa, first, homosexual anal intercourse is far more common than researchers ever quite understood; that heterosexual anal intercourse is probably responsible for some cases of AIDS; and that many cases are transmitted by needle-sharing within families and re-use of needles by medical practitioners.

Here's a passage from one of his articles:
A determined renegade group of three scientists has fought for years with little success to get out the message that no more than a third of HIV transmission in Africa is from sexual intercourse and most of that is anal. By ignoring the real vectors, they say, we're sacrificing literally millions of people.
Note: the part explaining about needle use customs comes later in the article.

Exactly how does this contradict Shouting Thomas's assertion that (homosexual) anal intercourse is dangerous, and that societal represssion was better for gay men's health? Yes, anal intercourse is dangerous for heterosexuals as well, but it's less common among them, because, you know, they already have access to an orifice designed for the purpose.

Do these assertions necessarily indicate either a moral abhorrence of homosexuality or a wish to harm or injure gay men?

Posted by: alias clio on August 19, 2008 5:58 PM

FWIW, I once did a lot of poking around the AIDS story/issue. I liked Fumento too, but my fave book was Gabriel Rotello's "Sexual Ecology."

And not *just* because of the word "ecology" in the title ...

Anyway, if anyone's interested, the material on the book's Amazon page will pass along some of the basics of what Rotello had to say. It's very practical, down-to-earth stuff, explaining what the conditions were that made the sudden spread of AIDS possible. Much more straightforward and upfront than most accounts you've seen, I can guarantee that!

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on August 19, 2008 7:40 PM

Clio, I stated that "Journalists like Michael Fumento, a brave contrarian indeed, earned the wrath of both gays and fundamentalist Xtians by describing how AIDS spreads..." [my emphasis]

He correctly identified homosexual anal intercourse (esp. receptive) as a major (the major in North Am) vector for the transmission of HIV. He earned the wrath of both gays and fundies by denying that there would be any AIDS breakout amongst North American heterosexuals because penis/vaginal intercourse is not a good vector for HIV transmission, and het North Americans weren't too big on sharing their IV drug non-habit needles with one another. I made no claim about what he stated were the vectors for HIV transmission, only that he described those vectors accurately.

Nor did I say anything about his description of how HIV is transmitted in Africa, only that he was accurate in that description. He correctly pointed out that the absence of an efficient vector of transmission among North American hets meant there would be no breakout here. He correctly stated that the reasons that such a breakout occurred and would spread in Africa included (underreported) incidents of homosexual anal sex. It was this kind of statement that earned him the hatred of gay AIDS activists. He also pointed out, correctly, that the figures bruited about (at that time) for heterosexual transmission in North America were considerably inflated because no real attempt was made to determine if the self reports of AIDS sufferers as completely heterosexual were even true. Again, more hatred from gay AIDS activists.

None of this is in any way incompatible with my comment. Nothing to be mystified about, as far as I can tell.

As for ST's comments: I stated that "gayness as such" does not deserve blanket condemnation from such as ST. I did not express any disagreement with his claim that "societal repression" was better for gay men's health, since the statement is unfalsifiable. Had homosexuality been out of the closet earlier, before the countercultural revolution, homsexuals might very well have had to confront the reality of the relation of promiscuous sex and STI transmission before AIDS even appeared. Fewer might well have died in the long run. The point isn't that I have any evidence for this claim, it's that claims like that are vacuous.

You may swallow ST's self-description that his desire for gays not to live their "sex lives in public" is because he wants them to be "better off", there in the closet. If you do believe that, then you are hopelessly naive. "Sex lives in public" is code for homosexuals making any appearance of any kind in public as homosexuals. Not as frenzied ass-pumpers banging one another's behinds out there on the street, exchanging bodily fluids and trasmitting AIDS the way heterosexuals shake hands--just as homosexuals, period. It's the existence of gays as a public reality that he wants to repress.

AIDS isn't transmitted by anybody practicing their "sex lives in public". ST's desire to stomp out gay "sex lives in public" has nothing to do with concern about AIDS. Why on earth do you think it does? Because he says so?

Posted by: PatrickH on August 19, 2008 9:12 PM

Besides, no one f*cks with my beloved Sister Wolf. Except me, of course. And I don't f*ck with her, exactly. If you catch my drift.

Posted by: PatrickH on August 19, 2008 9:15 PM

Not that I am claiming any actual, ah, congress with my beloved! Not at all! Not even of the back door kind!

After all, gentlemen never tell. And neither do I!

Posted by: PatrickH on August 19, 2008 9:18 PM

Does this mean that God wanted gay men to be satisfied by giving and receiving oral sex? Since He chose not to make that act deadly, could we deduce that God loves oral sex but not anal?

Posted by: Sister Wolf on August 19, 2008 9:34 PM

Let's hear it for prolonged discussions of anal sex on a cultureblog! We could focus a bit more on the kinky-pleasure side of the topic as far as I'm concerned, but ...

Playing fact-checker here for a sec ... Let's remember that the vector of transmission for AIDS in the U.S. wasn't just largely homosexual anal sex, it wss *unprotected* anal sex compounded by massive promiscuity. Had all those naughty '70s gayboyz been bagging it during their play at the bathhouse, we'd have had no massive AIDS outbreak in the first place. Had they been bagging it since the way AIDS works has been figured out, the AIDS scourge would by and large be over for everyone by now.

Massive promiscuity crossed with tons of anal sex multiplied times not-bagging-it ... That combo (plus the fact that the immune systems of many of these guys were already weak, tks to above-mentioned massive promiscuity, tons of anal sex, and not-bagging-it) is what created an "ecology" (to use Rotello's word) that the HIV virus was able to leap into and take fast advantage of.

In other words, there's nothing that automatically leads to AIDS about promiscuity; about anal sex; or even about un-bagged sex. The HIV virus needs all those things tossed together before it can really take off.

And didn't Fumento point out that the reason AIDS would never get far in the U.S. hetero population was that U.S. heteros simply don't have enough aprtners for the virus to make any progress? A few people here and there would contract the virus, but generally speaking everywhere it turned the virus would run up against the fact that there was no one it was gonna be passed along to.

And, FWIW, according to some things I've heard and read, anal sex in fact wasn't a big part of male homosexual activity prior to the '60s. It happened, sure, but not on a massive scale. Anal sex got promoted as part of the whole '60s liberation thing, and came to be identified with gay sex generally.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on August 19, 2008 9:49 PM

Yikes. First of all, I am not attacking Sister Wolf in any way, unless criticism of anal sex is a de facto attack against her, which I find hard to believe. She thinks it is acceptable, I don't. How is that a personal attack on her?

Second, the reason your message puzzled me, PatrickH, was that you appeared to be convinced that Fumento had said something that let anal sex off the hook as a means of transmitting AIDS. I'd heard of Fumento before but hadn't read him. When I went to look up articles to see what he had to say, I was surprised to discover that in fact his work supported the anal sex as vector of transmission theory. I did read your comment several times to be certain I understood it before I went to look up Fumento, and I got the same inference every time. That's why I was confused.

Third, I don't know that what Shouting Thomas wants is to condemn any and all public rights for homosexuality. ST has a bee in his bonnet about the omnipresence of gay men in the media, and it may be that he's hostile to gay men in general, but his comments on them in this thread were mainly restricted to the health risks they have faced since the worst of the social restrictions against them were removed. Gay male sex had no built-in brakes, as it were, the way heterosexual or lesbian sex do.

As for your suggestion that if gay rights had been establihed before the "counter-cultural revolution", the tragedy of AIDS might have been prevented, I suspect that ONLY a counter-cultural revolution could have brought about a successful gay rights movement.

It's perfectly possible that he's right that hostility to (male) homosexuality in ancient religious tradition has its roots in the health risks it imposes on sexually active gay men. I believe, in fact, that he's mistaken about this, but (leaving God out of it for the moment) it seems plausible from an anthropological point of view. You know, like the ancient taboos against incest.

And Sister Wolf, no, we can't deduce anything of the kind about God. There are many activities that are wrong and (I believe) injurious to human beings - lying, adultery, and fornication come to mind - but that don't have a drastic impact on one's health.

The irreligious have the odd notion that believers think there is some kind of direct connection between evil and misfortune. There isn't, and the Bible, in fact, is quite clear about that, especially in the New Testament. But even Ecclesiastes says "I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all." The rain (i.e. misfortune) falls on the just and the unjust, in this fallen world. I think even ST knows that.

Posted by: alias clio on August 19, 2008 10:25 PM

Clio, I hope that my follow-up comment on Fumento has removed your mystification.

"I don't know that what Shouting Thomas wants is to condemn any and all public rights for homosexuality." Then you didn't pay any attention to my pointing out his use of the phrase "sex lives in public". That wasn't a miswrite, Clio. He meant every word of that.

And there's his equally revealing lead up, "We were better off, both gays and straights when gays were in the closet." [My emphasis].

How does his clearly expressed desire to return to gays being in the closet for the benefit of straight people square with your "not knowing" that ST wants to deny "any and all public rights for homosexuality"? What on earth does "any and all" have to do with this? He wants them back in the closet. There's no any and all. He. Wants. Gays. Back. In. The. Closet.

And what on earth do you mean by "public rights"? ST is a bloviating semi-maniac as far as I'm concerned, but he's not shy about stating his positions. It's right there! In English! He wants gays back in the closet! Not because of AIDS, but to benefit straight people.

You can focus, as you have chosen to do, on whether or not the Shouter believes this or that about AIDS and gays. You can focus so hard you don't even "know" what he's saying outside of your laser-tight beam of attention. But if you pull back just a tad, look at the phrases, oh maybe a sentence or two apart from your cherry picks, you'll "know" where he stands.

Now, I'm going to calm down. I admire you too much to get into any real harshness with you about this subject. It just saddens me that it's you, Clio, who's shown the testicular formations that the Wild Man of Woodstock hasn' bothering to respond.

So how about it, big boy? Hey Shouty! You capable of answering any of my objections? Or do you prefer to get your jollies by calling Sister Wolf ugly stupid names while somehow managing to ignore everything I write? Stop hiding behind the skirts of your betters, you disgusting homophobic coward. Shove some of your barf in my direction...and observe what eventuates.

C'mon hero. C'mon Shouty. Let's party. I dare you, coward. Come on out and play with the boys for a change.


Posted by: PatrickH on August 19, 2008 11:34 PM

First, what is the difference between fornication and adultery? Second, what are the built-in brakes that Lesbians and Heterosexuals have? I'm not trying to be stupid; these are sincere questions.

ST does indeed have a strong bias against gay men, and one doesn't need to look for subtext or read between the lines to draw this conclusion. To say that gays are okay with him as long as they stay in the closet is like saying Jews are okay as long as they don't join your country club...only much worse, of course.

Patrick, I applaud your eloquence.

Michael Blowhard: A few years ago, at a 'social network' I was active in, I complained about a British guy who gave me his unsolicited opinion that American men are obsessed with anal sex. From this complaint (and my assessment that he was just a big baby,) an unending string of comments ensued. Both women and men declared their enthusiasm for anal sex! It was even shocking to me (the Devil Herself!)

I don't think that this kind of frankness is going to happen here, due to the tender sensibilities of ST and his ilk.

Posted by: Sister Wolf on August 20, 2008 12:13 AM

Adultery is sex between a married person and someone not his spouse.

Fornication is sex between two unmarried people (including widows).

Brakes: male humans are genetically programmed (at least some of them, and probably most) to want sex as often as possible, with as many partners as possible. This is a strategy that can maximize potential offspring for a male. (There are other strategies.)

Female humans are programmed to want sex with a partner who will provide support: high-status, or at least attentive. This strategy can maximize potential offspring for a female. Multiple partners doesn't - it risks infertility and abandonment.

So males who want women have to slow it down, pretty much.

NOTE: these are not conscious strategies! They are behavior patterns selected by evolutionary pressure.

Also note that homosexuality is relatively rare: 1%-2% of the population. In that handful of people whose sexuality is deformed by some genetic or environmental mishap, the target of sexual desire changes, but not its magnitude or quality.

What you get among male homosexuals is what happens "when nobody says no".

Posted by: Rich Rostrom on August 20, 2008 1:54 AM

All right, I'm going to post two separate responses here, to avoid confusion.

Sister Wolf, the built-in brakes heterosexuals have are pregnancy and women's choosiness about the men with whom they are willing to have sex. One gay friend (former friend) of mine once told me that when he went to what he called a "sauna", he felt cheated if he had less than ten sexual encounters. There are no venues where a hetero man can go to find women willing to have sexual relations in that fashion without demanding payment.

As for lesbians, the exchange of "bodily fluids" is not so significant a part of sex for them, so that's one set of "built-in brakes", where disease transmission is concerned. Another is the fact that again, women are simply not interested in engaging in the kinds of orgiastic sex that some gay men enjoy.

I realise that this habit isn't universal among gay men, but if even a minority engage in it often, and a somewhat larger minority are occasional participants, it would put a great number of other gay men at risk who were not celibate or absolutely monogamous.

I see Rich Rostrum has said something rather similar, but as he speaks in the language of evolutionary psychology, which you may find distasteful, I'll leave my response as it is.

Posted by: alias clio on August 20, 2008 6:27 AM

I'm a bit baffled that my response to PatrickH's comments drew as much ire as they appear to have done. In fact, I'm a little surprised that he reacted so strongly to Shouting Thomas's bellowings in the first place. It's not as if ST is known for a moderate, temperate approach to self-expression. For that matter, neither is PatrickH, but I would expect that someone who is so quick to object to "political correctness" in others would display less of it himself.

Patrick, I'm defending Shouting Thomas in part as a response to your comments on Leviticus and Bible tales to scare the young, etc. You see, I'm a believing Catholic who accepts that gay sex is a sin. I have grave doubts about the wisdom of permitting gay marriage, and even graver doubts about gay parenthood via any means other than heterosexual sex. (That is, no artificial insemination or surrogate parenthood.) I don't really believe in gay adoption, but then I don't believe in single parent adoption either, except in special circumstances. Though I think both can work, I don't think they work as a general rule.

To some people, all this makes me a homophobic bigot by definition. It's odd, though. Until same-sex marriage became part of the gay rights agenda, I was generally thought to be extremely gay-positive by friends. Yet I don't wish to see gay men or lesbians go back to the closet. I don't hate gay men. I don't eschew the company of gay people of either sex. I don't wish them any harm.

I do resent the fact that Catholic social and adoption services in both Canada and the United States are increasingly faced with the choice of having to comply regarding gay adoption, or go out of business altogether. I resent the way that the courts are overriding legislatures across North America and compelled the legal acceptance of gay marriage. I resent the fact that any expression of these views, in Canada, risks the possibility of being charged with a hate crime. I assume that when Shouting Thomas bloviates on the subject, he feels a similar resentment. None of this resentment leads me to hate people who are same-sex attracted, but it leaves me feeling exasperated, and concerned for the future.

Sigh. I often feel as if there's no place for me anywhere in the world. Many of my Catholic readers don't quite approve of my blog or my views either, for opposite reasons, and have de-linked me. What's a girl to do?

Posted by: alias clio on August 20, 2008 7:01 AM

The incredible, bizarre stupidity of PatrickH is almost inspirational. How, indeed, do you get that stupid? Why do you get that stupid?

The reasons that cultures have traditionally demanded that homosexuals stay in the closet are (1) encouraging procreative sex is in the best interest of any society, and (2) promiscuous male homosexuality is a public health threat. (2) cannot be disputed. I still believe that (1) is a good idea too. An argument can be made that massive wealth and substantial population have changed the game.

Gay activists and loonies like PatrickH have tried to make the case that society's prohibitions against homosexuality are the same as racism. This is utter, stupid nonsense... hardly even worth a reply. This gambit worked, because it called on people's guilt reflexes. Hell, it worked for women, too... and that was equally absurd.

What accounts for the loony hysteria PatrickH displays? Why the heaving and panting?

The answer is that he's deluded himself into believing that an endless campaign for sexual "liberation" will result in more widespread sexual happiness and gratification. Perhaps (I don't know), he's convinced that this will also be true for him. So, since he believes so firmly that some sort of public political battle is the answer to personal sexual happiness, he gets himself in this absolute frenzy over any public statement that seems to threaten this great progressive march toward the political ideal.

I regard this belief as so much crap. First, I tend to believe that the traditional societal mores and roles exist for a reason, not just because of bigoted bastards. Second, I am quite convined that sexual happiness is an individual responsibility. The real baseline requirement for sexual happiness is the ability to get along with another person. Often people transmute their inability to do this into a general bitch against society.

I work in an industry dominated by gays, and I get along quite well with them. It may surprise you to know that there is a substantial minority of gays who are vocally hateful and intolerant of straights. For those who believe in "progressive" solutions to things, any criticism of gays, or in fact, any realistic statements about gays are seen as a form of bigory. In the same way the racism hysterics view any critical statement about blacks as off-limits. clio, the gays I work with are relentless in mocking, parodying and ridiculing straight men? Why do you think it should be off limits for me to respond in kind?

I am self-interested, and I don't give a damn whether you like that or not. In fact, what my opponents are heatedly arguing is that gays have a right to be self-interested and to not give a damn about the general outcome of their actions on other people. I have the same right. So, when I state that gays were better off in the closet, I am partly doing so because I prefer a world in which that is the social arrangement. I'm not here on their earth to "progressively" advance the cause of anybody except for me and my children. I also think that societies work better when superficial obedience to religious authority and tradition is demanded of every person, including non-belivers.

So, one of the reasons that gays should stay in the closet is that this creates a better social environment for straights. Children should receive a religious indoctrination and be protected from gay sexual behavior until they are adults. The wild promiscuity of gays should be discouraged. The general attitude of society should be to encourage procreative sexuality and modesty in the public realm. A society that functions in this manner does not really inflict any remarkable damage on gays.

Now, remember, PatrickH... before you blow a gasket... I'm not running the world.

Posted by: Shouting Thomas on August 20, 2008 7:19 AM

Clio, I have no disagreement with anything in your latest comment. Or rather, there's nothing in it that I feel the need to respond to. My ire was directed at you insofar as you a) read far more into my Fumento quote than I put there, or in the conclusions I drew from it; and b) "defended" ST by arguing for one statement he made, while my criticisms focused on something else entirely.

Some other minor points, made in an irenic spirit (I hope). I did not "assert" anything about what would have happened if gays had come out of the closet before the 60s. I explicitly stated that I threw out a rival "hypothesis" to demonstrate that that sort of point is "vacuous" (my word).

" would expect that someone who is so quick to object to "political correctness" in others would display less of it himself." Clio, this is just meaningless. I made my arguments, summoned such facts as I thought were relevant, quoted and criticized such statements as I felt needed criticism. I no more displayed "political correctness" than I did Nazism. I made specific points, which you managed to avoid answering. And which you are still not answering. You defended ST, and would NOT respond to my pointing to his overtly stated desire to put gays back in the closet. I hope that does not indicate you share his views. But I will be darned to heck if ST's repellent position is going to go unidentified and unchallenged.

As for your claim that I responded to ST because of his immoderate tone, that is also avoiding the issue. ST has bloviated, bellowed, postured and insulted his way around this blog since I started reading it. I responded to his position that gays and straights would be better off if gays were back in the closet. His manner of expressing was, if anything, sly and underhanded, not up front or excessive at all. It was his position, not his way of expressing, that made my gorge rise.

Nonetheless, I refuse to allow myself to be angry with you. I like you and admire you too much to let that happen. You have your own opinions about a variety of things, which you have thought and reasoned and read and brooded and examined and analyzed and synthesized your way to. I will not allow my contempt for Shouting Thomas to in any way infect what I hope and believe will be a fruitful and pleasurable intellectual relationship with you. I am disappointed you would spend so much effort "defending" the likes of ST, but that is not my decision to make, is it?

With an olive branch at least partly extended,

P.S. I did, of course, characterize the Shouter as a coward and a homophobe. This was immoderate of me, but as his last gas-burst demonstrated, a coward is exactly what he is. Both intellectual and moral.

And so to...

Posted by: PatrickH on August 20, 2008 11:06 AM

Perhaps I should add to my last post that, in case anyone is inclined to think otherwise, I believe that the view that gay sex is sinful is a religious one and does not have any place in public policy. My objections to gay marriage and surrogacy/adoption are based on the belief that these are bad public policy, and are not religious in origin. I know that many defenders of gay rights do not, cannot, will not believe this, and I suppose that is another issue that separates us.

Posted by: alias clio on August 20, 2008 11:14 AM

Shouter, you are not worth “blowing a gasket” for. My only regret in calling you out as the gay-obsessed hater you are is that Clio was in any way caught in the crossfire.

You ask how I got this stupid? I’ll just respond with a paraphrase of one my heroes, McManus from the Usual Suspects:

Cop interrogating M: [Question, question, question, blah], hey fucko?
McManus: Fucko? Brrrrrrr.

The Shouter: How, indeed, do you get that stupid? Why do you get that stupid?
Patrick: Stupid? Brrrrrr.

As for your, ah, points, I’ve made no attempt to equate “society’s” prohibitions against homosexuality with racism. I have not even attempted to compare you to a racist. I, on the other hand, am a racist. So I’m not going to be praising you more than you’re worth by giving you that title of honour now, am I? It is your specific position that I am attacking, and insisting that you do hold that position, not because of any concern over gays, but because you find the presence of gays as gays in public life repellent.

“Promiscuous male homosexuality is a public health threat.” Smokescreen. You have stated that gays “sex lives in public” is what you want to end. I have no idea what you think you mean by that, but the specific practices associated with the transmission of AIDS (Michael identified the trifecta above…read the comment!) are the public health threat, not gays having a public identity as gays.

I haven’t deluded myself into thinking that the “endless campaign for sexual ‘liberation’ will result in more widespread sexual happiness and gratification”. I think you’re a gay-hater who wants to put gays back in the closet. I despise that position, and I despise your dishonesty and cowardice by masking your hatred of gays with some utterly phony concern about public health.

“I am self-interested, and I don't give a damn whether you like that or not.” Whaaaaat? You’re self-interested? Why, uh, wow! Never heard of that happening with anyone else! ST, I don’t like you, I think there’s something wrong with you inside your head and your heart and your soul. But I don’t feel that way about you because you’re self-interested. It’s because you hate gays and want them back in the closet. Among other things.

“What my opponents are heatedly arguing is that gays have a right to be self-interested and to not give a damn about the general outcome of their actions on other people.” What this opponent is arguing is that you want gays back in the closet. The only outcome of their actions, aka making their existence known publicly, that you are concerned about is the effect that public existence has on you.

“When I state that gays were better off in the closet, I am partly doing so because I prefer a world in which that is the social arrangement.” Other than the word “partly”, I think you’ve described yourself pretty accurately there, Thomas.

“One of the reasons that gays should stay in the closet is that this creates a better social environment for straights. Children should receive a religious indoctrination and be protected from gay sexual behavior until they are adults.” I agree that this is your position. I disagree with it, but it somehow seems less nauseating when it isn’t gussied up with frills and flourishes of faux-concern about public health issues. Perhaps you’re not such a coward after all.

“Now, remember, PatrickH... before you blow a gasket... I'm not running the world.” And thank God Almighty for that!

So…I withdraw my accusations of cowardice, and apologize for that inaccurate characterization of you as a person. I see no reason to continue this discussion, however, because you have now stated your position outright. That may be a wrong position, but it is no longer an evasive or cowardly one.

At least somewhat more respectfully,

Posted by: PatrickH on August 20, 2008 11:51 AM

Take a sedative now, PatrickH.

Or perhaps a suppository would work better.

Posted by: Shouting Thomas on August 20, 2008 3:21 PM

"I'm not here on their earth to "progressively" advance the cause of anybody except for me and my children."

What a tragic, and even chilling statement.

I think this is contrary to the teachings of Jesus, but I see that bible thumpers only thump them selectively.

Posted by: Sister Wolf on August 20, 2008 3:59 PM

PatrickH, I "evaded" your points regarding Shouting Thomas, and took the approach I did in responding to you, because I think you are inclined to regard as bigotry any denial of the panoply of rights requested by the gay rights movement. I suppose the real issue here turns on precisely what you mean by "in the closet", as I'll try to explain.

ST made two points about gay men: 1) that gay men were better off, for the sake of their physical and emotional health, when they were "in the closet"; and 2) that society was better off when they were in the closet.

Re #1: You thought the first point was no better than prevarication, a cover for ST's loathing of gay men. While you may be right about Shouting Thomas, I don't think it's necessary to hate gay men to hold this view. It's not one that I share, but it depends, as I said, on what "in the closet" means to you. Re #2: You thought the second point, that gay men should remain closeted for the sake of straights, was so outrageous that it spurred you to a kind of explosion the like of which I haven't seen from you for some time. While I don't think I would go so far as ST, much depends, again, on how you choose to define "in the closet".

I'll try to bring up certain examples here to make my point clearer: I don't believe that schoolchildren under the age of puberty should be compelled to sit through tracts like the infamous "Heather Has Two Mommies" in order to teach them correct attitudes towards homosexuality. If they ask for definitions, they should be given simple ones, like "gay or homosexual means someone who falls in love with a person of their own sex." On the other hand, if they insist on using the word "gay" as an epithet to insult a fellow-pupil or his/her parents, they should be told that it's rude and be reprimanded in the same way as for any other form of rudeness.

I do not think that younger children should be compelled to cope with transgendered or merely transvestite teachers appearing before them as one sex for six months, and then in the clothes and manners of the other sex. (Yes, I realise these aren't issues specific to gay men, but they are part of the revolution in sexual manners and I think belong here.) I do not think that young children who themselves show a propensity for cross-dressing should be permitted to do so in school. This has actually happened; it led to some appalling bullying, which I deplore - but it is impossible to protect children in every circumstance (the walk home from school is esp. dangerous), and I think the parent who permitted this was madly irresponsible. Nor do I think it is possible to "normalize" every instance of unusual behaviour, even by relentless sermonizing.

Even adolescents should, I think, be spared too much talk in sex ed. classes about how it's normal to experiment, or that everyone is really bisexual. I think young adults face enough sexual confusion today without trying to assimilate this information.

Then there's the matter of gay marriage, surrogate parenthood for gay (and straight) parents, sperm-donor parenthood, and gay adoption.

To some gay activists, any attempt to restrict these are also equivalent to demanding the closet for gay people. And perhaps you, too, will conclude that I'm a bigoted homophobe. So be it. On the other hand (it's my fav. expression), I have no trouble dealing with gay people, or couples, who are "out" in adult workplaces. I do not wish homosexual acts to be made illegal once again (that's the real closet, as far as I'm concerned). I don't want to insult, harass or abuse gay people. Most of the religious believers I know (ST is a rather tenuous believer; I'm not sure I would include him in this category) feel much as I do.

That brings me to my last point, concerning your objection to my remarks on your "political correctness". You are more than willing to justify, excuse, or tolerate some fairly outrageous statements about male behaviour, and some severe criticisms of female behaviour, on the grounds that it is rooted in evolutionary psychology.

Yet you do not seem able to imagine that perhaps strictures against male homosexuality, in particular, might originate either in human evolutionary psychology, or in the social and sexual anthropology of the ancient world, born out of social necessity. What I mean in referring to evo-psych here is that there is a loss of male status in being "mounted" by other males, that, even if it falls short of a completed sex act, appears to enrage alpha male animals. I think it is at least possible that some men's fear of homosexuality is connected to this kind of instinctive reaction.

I apologise for the length of this comment, but am not sure how to make it shorter.

Posted by: alias clio on August 20, 2008 4:31 PM

And in response to Clio--Just because alpha males are instictively frightened of gay men, this fear should not justify any infringement of a gay man's civil rights. Epileptics were once feared and thought to be possessed by the devil or 'idiots.' But no one would advocate that epileptics hide their real natures.

Plenty of recent studies are establishing the fact that homosexuality is genetic and begins in utero. It is not a "lifestyle choice." If it's a sin to be gay, is it also a sin to be autistic or left handed?

Posted by: Sister Wolf on August 20, 2008 8:25 PM

Sister Wolf, I didn't say that the possibility that evolutionary psychology had some influence on men's attitudes to homosexuality justified the abuse of homosexuals. Not at all. I was trying to suggest that the origins of the hostility might lie in something other than religion.

As for the notion that it's a sin to be homosexual, I said no such thing, nor do I believe it. The Catholic teaching is that it's a sin to act on homosexual impulses. People may have many "hard-wired" genetic preferences - men, for example, are always said to have hard-wired preference for casual sexual liaisons over monogamy - but that does not give them a moral right to act upon this preference. See your own comment about the "instinctive fears" of alpha males, which you say they have no right to act upon either.

That, of course, still leaves open the question about how homosexuals are to be integrated into a modern secular state. I'm opposed to same-sex marriage because I believe that same-sex marriage completely severs marriage from its connection to human reproduction and makes it only into the celebration of an emotional bond between adults, which historically was only one of its functions.

The reason I believe this severance to be bad for society is that the main social (as opposed to personal) reason for the existence of marriage is to attach men to their children.

This is actually quite a difficult thing for a society to accomplish. Marriage is already under siege now, with men complaining that no-fault divorce and the burdens it places on them make marriage a very unattractive deal for them, and women complaining that men don't want to commit themselves to marriage. It's worse at the margins of society, where the consequences of fatherlessness for male and female children are more severe.

How do you convince, say, a teenage boy to take the prospect of fatherhood seriously when he also learns in social studies classes or sex ed. classes that he must cheer lesbian couples who seek artificial insemination to bear a family of deliberately fatherless children, or be labelled a bigot? How do you convince him of its importance if you simultaneously say that a woman who chooses to bring up children outside of marriage is striking a blow for women's independence, rather than doing something morally questionable? How do you convince him that marriage is important when it is turned into no more than a sappy "celebration of our love", with no connection to any biological reality? Women might still value marriage and motherhood under such a scheme, but a great many straight men won't. Oh, they won't dismiss it altogether and they'll probably say "bully for them", but they won't think it worthy of their own time or effort.


p.s. You really should try reading Roissy's blog, if you want to see my descriptions/predictions in action.

Posted by: alias clio on August 20, 2008 9:09 PM

Shouter, you really seem to have difficulty reading the emotional level of comments, don't you? Your recommendation of a sedative comes in response to a comment far more moderate in tone than the previous, and which ended with a withdrawal of an accusation of cowardice, and an apology. And yet in your latest bowel movement, you recommend I take a sedative, or suppository. Another Shitting Tom special: graceless, charmless, surly, sulky, devoid of wit, style, panache, insight, and of no value or interest to anybody anywhere. But there's that brilliant stroke of suggesting I take a...suppository! Oh, that was clever, that last bit. Not only the perfect insult, but le mot juste. You might want to consider submitting that one for publication somewhere, Shitling. It's that good.

Here's a precis of the thought processes in what the Shat Box chooses to call his mind that led to this latest episode of S(exually) T(ransmitted) infection:

That stupid Patrick guy is all like gay and lefty and stupid and really stupid and how did he get so stupid anyway and you know you take suppositories in your behind don't you and he's all like on about anal sex and gays so telling him to take a suppository kind of like you know reminds people of gay ass anal f*cking and f*elching and you know what with all the like putting things up the poop chute and ass and bum and sex hot pumping and sticking things all up there where they don't belong in the right world nosirree not since nineteen sixty three and see isn't that guy all stupid and and gay and why is he stupid and his ass is gay and tight and hot and round and his mother wears army boots and my brother's bigger than his brother and my cock is bigger and harder and he's so gay so take that suppository and shove it up your ass hahahahaha you stupid Patrick gay ass anal rights gay guy gay gay gay gay gay.

You're a special guy, Shouty. I believe I will take a suppository now, of Anusol to be exact. Something about you makes my rectum itch. And as I insert that little package of relief up my hot, oily butt, I will be thinking of you with each and every shove of my finger. Welcome home Squelching Tom! In the fetid hollows of your dank and soiled soul you know that deep, deep inside a man's tight butt is exactly where you most want to be. So settle in Shitling Tom. You're home at last.


Posted by: PatrickH on August 21, 2008 12:30 AM

Oh god, don't make me go to the Roissy blog! I believe that for me, it would be like visiting a house full of Mississippi Klansmen talking about niggers. I don't think I could stand it.

About "sin," I was actually speaking to ST, who cites the bible when he rails against gays.

About teaching boys how to live: All I can do, and have done, is to teach them to respect women as equals.

About parents and adoption: I am getting to the point where I wish that all potential parents had to be licensed to care for children. The horrible stories of abuse that I see every day fills me with horror at how our society fails to protect them.

Posted by: Sister Wolf on August 21, 2008 1:03 AM

Oh my! Patrick, it's okay, everyone knows he's ridiculous.

Very powerful writing though.

Posted by: Sister Wolf on August 21, 2008 4:15 AM

And all this off a short posting about women and cucumbers! Talk about a lively set of visitors ...

BTW, Clio's on to something about Roissy's blog. He's a smart and funny writer who's having a spectacular stretch of blogging. But a lot of what I get out of visiting is just learning about what the sex and gals-'n'-guyz thing is like for young people, or at least some young people. "Wow, have things changed this much? In this way?" was -- and continues to be -- my main response to his blog.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on August 21, 2008 10:47 AM

Thanks for the offer, PatrickH, but I'll skip the guided tour of your rectum. The gay fantasies are entirely your own. You seem quite possessed with them.

You really are an exceptionally troubled woman, Sister Wolf. Don't pull that feminist guilt trip on your sons. That is a form of sinister, sadistic abuse. My intial impression of you was right on the mark.

This fight against bigotry that you've made the centerpiece of your life is idiocy. There is absolutely nothing going on in your mind, except for juvenile rebellion. You should read a book by Alan Watts: "The Taboo Against Knowing Who You are." You haven't got a clue.

What you need to worry about right now is that awful abusive game you are playing with your sons. Shame on you.

Posted by: Shouting Thomas on August 21, 2008 11:40 AM

Wow, much much goodness to ponder from Clio. And La Wolf touched on something that I've been brooding about for a while. Societal concern about marriage (licensing it, making it hard to dissolve, at least in olden days) was not because "society" gave a damn about ratifying or supporting pair-bonds...except insofar as they led to the creation of a family and the management of a household in which the children of that family could grow to adulthood--the central task of any society. Marriage was a matter of grave concern because it has been the way we have traditionally built the foundation for the hardest of all tasks: raising the young to take our place and perpetuate our society.

So Clio's point that gay marriage is another reduction of marriage to a special kind of pair-bond is right on. I am just blue skying here, but perhaps marriage as a governmentally validated union should be more explicitly moved toward something like an alliance of two people for the purposes of raising a family. Radical proposal!

And all that just the tip of the cucumber, so to speak. Michael, you really must pick your vegetables more carefully in future posts.

Clio, I reread your comments carefully, and I apologize for missing the clear distinctions between you and the partly human suppository I've got parked up in my duodenum right now, absorbing toxins from my bloodstream. You introduced many points worth thinking about and responding to. Maybe Michael could do another post, this time about, oh, zucchini? Michael?

Sister, I thank you for your praise of the power of my writing. I do not take the Sh*tling seriously, except as an aid to elimination. As always, I worship your body (from a safe, legally defined distance) and lust for your mind.

As for the Little Package, he's due to be ejected from his snug new home as part of a new type of colon cancer screening test I'm about to do for the first time. I extrude three boluses and put them in an envelope to be examined by the appropriate medical people for any signs of colon cancer (no worries: just part of a years long discipline that includes colonoscopies to prevent me from developing undetected the most easily preventable of cancers, but which has unfortunately, had a run in my family. It stops with me!). So before too long, I'll be doing my business, and there they will be, ready for mailing: bolus 1, bolus 2, and the Sh*tling himself! But...I can't imagine him not setting off alarms when the doctors get a look at his slimy bulbous and all-around yucky form, I'll admit. He is quite the polyp, isn't he? And he's definitely malignant. So they'll probably think, OH NO LOOK AT THE THING HE'S HAD UP HIS ASS HES GOING TO DIE SOON OH NO GOD WHAT IS THAT THING

Hmmm...maybe I'd better drop out a fourth bolus (I love that word, and borborygmy too...I'm so anal!) and use it instead. The Sh*tling is going to have go back down the toilet tubes, I'm afraid. Oh well, at least it won't be a place he's never been before. The culture shock should be minimal.

So get ready, Tom! Here. You. Go.


Posted by: PatrickH on August 21, 2008 12:06 PM

Oh, Clio, you wrote: "I often feel as if there's no place for me anywhere in the world." Dear Muse, you break my heart. I hope that that is not true. I feel both respect and affection for you. Please ignore my own over-the-topness and keep coming here. There's a place for you here (Michael?) and I hope to convince you that you have a place in my thoughts. I really like you, you know.


Posted by: PatrickH on August 21, 2008 12:11 PM

Ah, I just got rid of something small and unpleasant. Plop!

Relief thy name is spelled: I WILL NEVER HAVE TO READ OR RESPOND TO SH*TLING THOMAS AGAIN. Oh, the blessed contractive power of the lower intestine.

Colonically irrigated and loving it!

Posted by: PatrickH on August 21, 2008 12:14 PM

Rectums and plopping ... Gaak. It's all getting a little too graphic even for me. Let's take it to another posting. Comments now closed on this one.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on August 21, 2008 12:32 PM

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