Sunday, October 01, 2006

a change in emphasis

Since the fall TV schedule is now well and truly under way, I was planning a post about the new season. You know, what shows I like and dislike, which "critical favorites" actually suck monkey nuts, that sort of thing. Not today. No, not today.

Rep. Mark Foley pretty much put paid to the idea. Actually, Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) and Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) put paid to it. The incipient predatory sex scandal is such a succinct summation of the last six years that it's almost hermetic in its perfection.

Homosexuality plays a part in this affair. Even people who try to be fair about the place of gay people in society may experience a physical discomfort with the actual notion of gay sex. That's not homophobic; it's human nature to be uncomfortable with something that is foreign to us. Still, it seems to me that many anti-gay sentiments are almost comical in their shrillness. I go to church with a guy who constantly gets worked up about what "the queers" are doing to the country. His long tirades about how disgusted he is at the thought of "them doin' it" worry me. See, I don't think about gay people doin' it. I don't think about the straight people I know doin' it, because if I did conjure a mental picture of some of the couples I know engaged in sweaty sexual congress, I would be forced to heat a barbecue fork until it glowed cherry-red and then gouge out my own eyes. Hey, I don't even want to picture what I look like doin' it. I just wanna do it.

I worked for years at a bookstore. One of the assistant managers was gay. We closed the store many nights. At no time did I think he was peeking over the counter to check me out as I restocked the magazines. That's not the way it works. I may have many beliefs about homosexuality, but I'm pretty sure that the average gay man does not try to recruit straights. It occurs to me that many of the most extreme partisans on either side of the issue end up agreeing. Another gay employee at the bookstore held the firm belief that everyone is gay and that heteros just haven't discovered it yet. Right-wing culture bloviators have waxed eloquent at length that if we don't fight tooth and nail for heterosexuality, we will all turn gay because, I guess, the gay is irresistible. See, more unites us than divides us.

Finally, the Foley scandal isn't even really about homosexuality. It's about hypocrisy, predation and hubris. Foley isn't a hypocrite because he's gay; he and his fellow Republicans are hypocrites because they made their bones demonizing gay Americans. It's about predation not because F0ley is gay, but because he used his position of power to make sexual advances to those over whom he exercised that power. It's about hubris because these fat bastards thought they could get away with it.

Update: They might get away with it. The mighty evangelical "values" team seems to have suddenly discovered the right to privacy and the idea of personal, rather than collective morality.

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