06 December 2006

The Pleasure Seekers (Part Two)

In his apparent zeal to interpret recent Gay history through a "queer" lens, the aforementioned anthropologist makes numerous bizarre and misleading statements:

The issues that have mobilized the Gay Rights movement have included equality in criminal, civil and labor laws, sex education, housing, Social Security, pensions and taxes . . . the more radical aims of the 1960s, such as the abolition of sexual and gender dichotomies, were soon forgotten.

Considering that such radicalism in the modern Gay Rights movement dates no earlier than the late '60s, when the Stonewall riots took place, this statement skews historical fact. Overall, homosexual activism had a fairly conservative thrust in that decade!

The token Gay (sic) in the Straight world or the token Black (sic) in the Gay world are sometimes welcomed as expressions of political correctness.

Were you aware that the reality of Lesbians and Gay men living in a predominantly heterosexual society constituted tokenism? Neither was I! It's also news to me that you can't be Black and Gay at the same time! What the over-used term "political correctness" means in this context is anybody's guess.

. . . society remains largely defined by heterosexuality and excludes or marginalizes other choices; it is for this reason that the queer (sic) movement has wanted to defy hetero-normativity and create a "queer public culture."

"Hetero-normativity"? Yipe! What a mouthful! I wonder how many reputable dictionaries you'd have to consult before you could find a definition for that word? This passage isn't footnoted, so the reader is left to wonder what group of people the anthropologist is applying the label "queer movement" to, and what in the world a "queer public culture" could be. BTW, did you notice his description of gender-specific attraction as a "choice"?

While the Straight world (in the 1970s) saw a growing dichotomy between singles and couples, the Gay world found many ways to bridge the rift . . . most homosexuals (sic) felt able to separate love and sex . . . they no longer believed in monogamy, but in experiencing love and sex in a whole range of different relationships. (Author) Edmund White has sung the praises of this vibrant world in his writing, while (historian) Patrick Moore has suggested reviving it.

This is a gross generalization of how Gay relationships operated thirty years ago, as well as an idealization of promiscuity among Gay and Pansexual males. What's more, this assessment of "the Gay world" barely applies to how Lesbians and Bisexual women experienced the 1970s!

For some, the rise of same-sex marriages and monogamy denies a rich Gay culture, in which love and sex were both combined and successfully kept apart.

Sounds a lot like what heterosexual folk do, doesn't it? So much for "queer" innovations in human sexuality!

Sex Panic, a radical queer (sic) group in New York, lost its struggle against the "cleaning-up" of Times Square and against the city's zoning policy, which forced most sex venues to close down. An Amsterdam group was more successful, keeping a local park (a popular cruising ground) available for homosexuals (sic).

Note the subtle way he implies that reserving venues for illegal sexual activity is a goal of the Gay Rights movement. This entire passage would fit nicely inside a Focus On The Family propaganda pamphlet, wouldn't it?

. . . some (Gay) journalists have defined new aims that contradict the desires of many: No drag, inter-generational sex, or flaunting of S & M (sado-masochism), no public cruising or promiscuity . . . there are . . . urban queers (sic) who need space for sexual experimentation . . . and queers (sic) who like public sex and need recreational venues . . . some men like Gay sex but would rather have love affairs with women. These . . . exclusions create conflicts over the aims of the movement.

I suppose they do, if you think the Gay Rights movement has ever included among its goals forcing mainstream society to affirm erotic fetishes, sexual activity in public, and adulterous relationships! Note how the topic of pedophilia again rears its ugly head in this passage!

"Queer", once an insult, became a popular word in the 1990s, for some indicating rage and a radical struggle against Straight norms and Gay conservatism, for others suggesting a way to remain closeted . . . the success of ACT-UP led to the establishment of Queer Nation, a group that wanted to re-energize the Gay movement by making queerness (sic) visible in the Straight world, and by queering hetero-normative society . . . Queer Nation, which operated mainly in the United States, espoused Queer Theory, which emphasized that concepts of identity and community were unstable."

My, my! Language fascism can be so useful when pushing a fringe social agenda! Despite much evidence to the contrary, the anthropologist casually informs us that the term "queer" is no longer derogatory. He states that the term can apply to either radical Gay activism or closeted behavior, which I suspect would be news to people even on the extreme political Left! Worst of all, he wears the term thinner than a crackhouse carpet by using it in adjective, noun and verb form, all in the same sentence!

Exactly what is "queer" supposed to mean when brandished with such grammatical fluidity? Is he selectively using the word in both its traditional and (allegedly) revised senses, as suggested by the phrase "queering hetero-normative society?" Maybe he intended the confusing nature of this passage to tantalize readers with curiosity, prompting them to buy the two books on "Queer Theory" he lists in a footnote reference. No sale here, sugar! Don't need any of what you're selling.

Anybody familiar with the cavalier way Left Wing ideologues toss "queer" around already knows that the word in its so-called reclaimed sense is undefinable. The anthropologist says as much himself later on. "In English-speaking countries," he writes, "the term (queer) has become outdated, and no new terminology has yet taken its place." So if he knows this usage has lost its currency in much of the world, why does he lean so heavily on it? Maybe using words with lots of shock value is a hard habit for him to break?

"The Pleasure Seekers" concludes with Part Three.