Sorry to tell you this – but so are we all. Gayness is just a matter of degree.
Of course, most Americans don’t like to think in this wishy-washy way – either you are -- or you aren’t. And, unfortunately, when I say “most Americans” that also includes gay people, who are just as prone as anybody else to think in black and white terms—and prefer to think that sexual – in fact, all forms of personal ambiguity just doesn’t really exist. We love consistency -- which means we love our labels. Gay or Straight. Liberal or Republican. Christian or Atheist. Most Americans are in fact in the “middle” – but they can’t see their own ambivalence for the labels they assign themselves.
How interesting that "Rightists" – particularly Christian conservatives – the most sexually ambiguous of all people – are not just reactively homophobic: they really dislike straights too – they are erophobic and subscribe to a narrow definition of “normal sexuality” – which is somewhat less fun that celibacy, which at least allows you go focus on other things. Erophobes are obsessed with sex. No birth control for us. Let’s be virgins forever! Such people pretend to be open-minded – at least, to have a ‘wide stance’-- but sexual pleasure is just for public toilets – it’s grossly functional. And ironically they have a lot of sex.
I have fantasies of Ann Coulter and Michelle Bachman getting together for really, really dirty stuff with dildos and whips and nipple clamps.
But I digress.
Back to Putin -- who (according to people like Coulter and Bachman) must be “gay” because a.) he is Russian (yes, one of them!) b.) he supports the kind of antigay legislation American conservative salivate for. He’s also a “bully” and a “thug”— the kind of guy that conservatives usually love.
The logic is tortured – naturally -- isn't torture what the Republican Right is into?
Come to think of it -- the "Liberal Media"like to jump on too.
We are told: Putin is a murderous dictator (remember he is one of them) who ignores the will of the people, almost as much as most American presidents. Paradoxically, also a craven panderer to the 75% of Russians who think that being gay is repugnant – following the anti-gay moralism of a resurgent Russian Orthodox Church. OK, so Putin is just another politician, and probably much less homophobic than his constituents.
Americans live in such big glass houses. Hypocrisy is the American Way. Gay marriage may be "in". And we love Elton, just as much as Putin does. But 77% of American evangelical Christians still believe being gay is morally wrong. I might add, that glass houses are expensive and really only for exhibitionists.
If this sounds WTF complicated – well, being human is a kind of mental disorder. That's why we have either-or labels -- which allow us to deny reality and simplify things -- and avoid the Big Questions -- such as whether Michelle Bachman has anal sex with her husband.
American rightwing homophobia is a symptom-- not the disease -- along with all those other phobias --such as their fear of black people, brown people, women with rights, education, intelligence, justice and democracy.
Yes, we are all gay. And if that assertion bothers you—it more or less proves my point. Why should it matter/ Yes, that's for you -- Ted Nugent.
If we are all gay --it follows that all forms of social persuasion--propaganda, public relations, public diplomacy, marketing, advertising and so on –are --if not "gay" --pansexual. Sex is not just the collision of private parts – it is any kind of physical pleasure as a result of any kind of intimacy.
Western industrial society and Judeo Christian Islamic societies are male-dominated and "patrist” societies -- run by “homosocial” male groups – such as the Old Boys Club in government the military , the police , business, education , education (fraternities), religion and sports.
Yes, there are women in all these groups – in the more “progressive” and “westernized’ societies -- but, like Margaret Thatcher and The Hillary—they have to have more balls than the guys and observe the male code. It’s a bit like ancient Athens – where women were virtually without rights, on the same level as foreigners and slaves – except for companion-courtesans – the hetairai –who were fixtures of the male world and had to exemplify male virtues –for the Greeks: beauty, intelligence and learning. Phryne for President! Imagine Hillary Clinton bearing her breasts. Come to think of it – don’t. Yuch!
Male homosocial groups in ancient Greece were pansexual. Young men were initiated into such groups – really, into society itself, through mentoring relationships with older men which included sex. The Hetairai also provided sexual pleasure – but they were not prostitutes – rather, companions and advisors – and sometimes both wealthy and powerful. Their relationships were on the basis of some measure of equality -- but also highly exclusive.
Masculinity as we know it is defined in a homosocial environment designed to promote male bonding and reduce internecine violence.
For this homosocial environment to exist, exclusion of others (women, non-white men, homosexuals) must occur.(From: MS Kimmel’s work on homosociality and masculinity in American society).
While American homosocial groups are ostensibly monosexual and homogenous– and define their membership in terms of exclusions, America is upheld as an “inclusive” society – and such “exclusivity” is a contradiction that must be hidden or rationalized – which means that in recent years token blacks and women and gays are allowed in – as long as they toe the line.
“You’re just like us”(gay, female, or black) does not signify an acceptance of difference or diversity – rather, it is a demand for compliance and conformity -- it's like the Republican “Big Tent” which accepts all kinds of people but only so long as they wear blue blazers and power ties.
The bottom line is support for Macho America, with its reverence for power, violence, and wealth – and the “rightness” of inequality. Might is Right.... Indeed: all power comes from the barrel of a gun, as Mao is reputed to have said. And, yes, America stands out in its unique worship of guns..
Greek culture, while more accepting of pansexuality, was still patriarchal. Men were men… and women were slaves -- except for the hetairai and temple priestesses, who were honorary men. Are we really different? It was all about power.
Repression, suppression and selective expression of homosexual and pansexual impulses allow for same sex bonding in American homosocial groups, which approximate those of our slightly more intelligent relatives -- chimpanzees. Now chimpanzees form male groups – dominated by a single “Alpha” who nominally controls all the females, as well. Chimpanzees are violent -- murder and mayhem are among the currencies of control. Males who don’t “fit in” are often killed in group attacks. So, for a male to survive in this system he must bond with other males --which also provides necessary counterbalance to the power of the Patriarch. Since chimps don't have fraternities, football or the Army, bonding is accomplished simply enough by grooming and petting – including mutual masturbation and genital play.
Of course, chimpanzees are in some ways superior creatures -- they have no concept of “masculine”. Nor are they in anyway homophobic: they do not categorize other chimps as “gay” or ‘tran” – just very simply as “other” or “female” or “above” or “below”.
In football teams, fraternities, the military you see a lot of homophobia and exclusionary behavior in general – but also stereotypical chimpy behavior –petting and grooming including back slapping, hugging, and ass patting, not to mention, sexual sharing in the form of sex parties and group rape of both men and women. "Gay", "tran" and so on are labels -- un-chimpy abstractions -- but ultimately basic and primal exclusions : "other" and "above" or 'below". And just like chimps, human males in patriarchal societies must give allegiance to the "buddy bond".
The “buddy” bond is seen as permanent --equal to or surpassing marriage. The “team” is a higher calling, if only because it is the collective expression of genetic male needs for competition and dominance -- and survival. And if “your woman” doesn’t get that, find another. She’s a commodity. Buddies are for life. That's why Friday night is for guys and Saturday -- the hangover day -- is for the "old lady".
Yup, the “team" thing - -gay, gay, gay.
A note of reassurance -- you wont’ bugger your “bro” – good old Fred --- you both want to be Top Men – but to be a Top Man you need a Bottom Man to abuse. Working together, you and Fred get power, which is a rush – ultimately ever so sexual, just as the Mad Marquis (de Sade) always said. You and Fred need to bugger some wimp to deal with your underlying fear of not being powerful an in control -- not being Alphas. .
I digress...happily. Gay? Not you and Fred. (Funny how Frats are all Greeks.). Buggery -- it turns out -- is very much a "straight" thing.
Keeping in mind that this pattern of patriarchal male homosociaity does not exist in all cultures, it is unsurprising that female homosociality is its mirror image.
In (another) study of 1,277 heterosexually identified college students, only 26 percent of women and 12 percent of men reported same-sex attraction. Curiously, in the same study, 37 percent of women and 15 percent of men reported having had a sexual encounter with someone of the same gender.
It works out that about one third of nominally “straight” people have same sex experiences—and far more women have homosexual experiences – even while saying they are not attracted to the same sex. “Me? I’m straight. But…..
As Dr. House says, everyone lies.
Next time: Part Two.