Tangent 2 by Dave Sim
Back to Tangent 1
In the second of my five "Tangents," I'd like to address what I see as the misapprehensions of those strangest of political bedfellows, the feminist-homosexualist axis.
I think it was a combination of emotional empathy for societal underdogs and short-sighted tactical blundering on the part of feminists which impelled them to champion the cause of homosexualists in tandem with their own. I think that homosexualists figure - as any thoroughly marginalized socio-political wallflower would have "Just say 'yes' to anyone who can get us out on the dance floor, girls."
If it was scarcely a match made in heaven, the two constituencies were, at least, "well met": with a shared unwillingness to perceive any reality larger than their own anecdotal prejudices, a shared tendency to deify emotions and feelings as the totems most central to their respective tribal groupings and a preternatural ability to simply ignore any view or opinion which did not reinforce those prejudices and which did not kowtow to those totems.
A certain arnount of blame for the unholy feminist-homosexualist axis (my gut instinct informs me) fairly attaches itself to Gore Vidal and his - as I discussed earlier - pioneering view that everyone is bisexual by nature and that what is perceived to be "homosexuality" or "heterosexuality" are the "luck of the draw" results of what behaviourists (good voodoo professionals all) define as "imprinting". That is (now, promise you won't laugh), that the natural instinct which impels a newly-hatched duckling to identify the first large, moving shape it sees as "mother" is the same instinct which leads us to our initial sexual experiences and, thus, leads us to believe that we are "homosexualists" or "heterosexualists".
There, but for the grace of Barbi Benton's 1969 Playboy pictorial, go I (as it were).
Now, whether this notion of "interchangability as norm" originated with the homosexualists, the feminists or (as I say) Gore Vidal, it found in the 1960s and 70s nutrient-rich soil in which to further itself as a Large Societal Misapprehension. But, whereas Mr. Vidal (I believe) fashioned said notion as a means of "tactical seduction" (pretty, weak-minded young men found "fence-sitting" could be persuaded in contradiction of their own best and most natural masculine instincts - that it is more natural to "swing both ways") ("just this once" being, I would suppose, rather more than adequately suited to Mr. Vidal's presumably...eclectic...purposes): I believe that the "interchangeability underpinning" was appropriated by the "ladies" for "doings" that were to prove a good deal "darker" in the long-term. That is, it was appropriated for the advancement of the idiosyncratic feminist view that the genders are interchangeable and that all distinctions between male and female are imposed by an evil patriarchal society which must be overthrown. Of course, like any counter-conspiracy of such magnitude, once you get started there is always something else that needs doing. You begin with the subversion of language, the eradication of gender-specific nouns and one thing just leads to another. Counter-indoctrination - the feminist/communist-style program of re-education/brainwashing - must needs assert itself in the very earliest collectivist environments: kindergarten is too late if the Workers' - er - Feminist Paradise on Earth is to be achieved in our lifetime. The feminists began to "ramp up" nursery school, pre-nursery schcol and pre-pre-nursery school. The entertainment field and the arts community needed to be co-opted, designers of androgynous fashions pressed into service.
[Long accustomed to blaming the Patriarchal boogeyman for imposing near-anorexic, near-skeletal standards of "beauty" and "fashion" upon their naturally curvaceous selves, I think the "ladies" could more fairly indict their own unholy alliance with the homosexualists and the (all exceptions duly noted) predominantly gay fashion designers. Said gay fashion designers, in their turn, are more than entitled to use the Nuremberg defence that they "were just following orders" in developing and sustaining an androgynous "look" along the pirated Vidalian political line: if we are all bisexualists by nature then, presumably, whatever "look" arouses gay fashion designers in pretty young males should (all bisexual realities being equal) be the same "look" which arouses men when they look at pretty young women. Such is not the case (if the men I know are anything to go by) but there is a certain guilty pleasure to be derived in watching women starving themselves to death in the name of their own misbegotten absolutist ideology.]
If the early push to equip all men with purses was a failure ("Men wear purses in Europe," one feminist interjected, a hint of desperation in her tone, when I mentioned the subject socially), still virtually all of us in my generation, men and women, were - and are - wearing jeans of one description or another. Such major victories, however, are Pyrrhic ashes in the mouths of those for whom ideology is an absolute. If "gender interchangeability" is the hypothesis then there can be no rest until all societal fashions resemble those of the various Star Trek pyjamas-as-street-wear incarnations: interchangeability must be total.
One of the earliest bastions to fall (and which is still in the hands of the People's Revolutionary Government of Gender Interchangeability) was Academe. I believe that Gore Vidal alluded to the conquest - however obliquely - in the closing paragraphs of his essay "Edmund Wilson: This Critic and This Gin and These Shoes" (New York Review of Books, September 25, 1980):
But Wilson was quite aware that "things" in themselves are not enough. Professor Edel quotes from Wilson's Princeton lecture: "no matter how thoroughly and searchingly we may have scrutinized works of literature from the historical and biographical point of view...we must be able to tell the good from the bad, the first-rate from the second-rate. We shall not otherwise write literary criticism at all."
We do not, of course, write literary criticism at all now. Academe has won the battle in which Wilson fought so fiercely on the other side. Ambitious English teachers (sic!) now invent systems that have nothing to do with literature or life but everything to do with those games that must be played in order for them to rise in the academic bureaucracy. Their works are empty indeed. But then, their works are not meant to be full. They are to be taught, not read. The long dialogue has broken down. Fortunately, as Flaubert pointed out, the worst thing about the present is the future. One day there will be no...But I have been asked not to give the game away. Meanwhile, I shall drop a single hint: Only construct! (emphasis mine)
Reading between the lines, I think, in one sense or another, after they had misappropriated his "interchangeability thesis," representatives of the mad little band of checkers-playing Ivy League tacticianettes (the "type" perhaps best exemplified by Hilary Rodham Antoinette) took it upon themselves to - somewhat gleefully, I'm sure - keep Mr. Vidal abreast of their "progress" in getting everything "all mixed up" along what they perceived - in their own addle-pated female way - to be the lines of his own ideology of interchangeability.
What heady days those must have been! Nothing but patriarchal gravestones as far as the eye could see, as easily tipped over as a sleeping cow! No feminist track record to defend! It tastes good! Other women are doing it! Who cares? (A woman's right to choose! A woman's right to choose! A woman's right to choose!)
Sincere advice or sabotage through reverse psychology? I mean, it's both. So meticulous a student of human history, so scrupulous a scholar of historical times and tides as Gore Vidal would recognize that - if the feminist inversion of society was to have the merest chance of success - it would need to be grafted onto the existing body politic and nurtured in tandem with it. With a great deal of care and a little bit of luck (well, okay, a lot of luck), the new growth would prove more suited to its environment than that which it was seeking to replace and the "old growth" would expire of its own obsolescent-by-contrast nature and accord. There are any number of examples of this in the supplanting of one form of civilisation by a successor civilisation.
Of course it was probably a matter of months rather than years after Vidal's sage advice to "Only construct!" that Feminism hobbled itself and its chance of success with a severe outbreak of deconstructionism - the political equivalent of a raging yeast infection that, left unchecked, shows every sign of becoming a teminal cancer. Attempts at remission by defining Deconstructionism as "Politically Correct" only awakened the intelligentsia to the disturbing parallels between feminism and communism, the shared jargon, the wilful disinclination to shape and re-shape an hypothesis out of the best available evidence, but to always - perversely - manufacture and pick-and-choose evidence purely on the basis of its ability to support a given hypothesis (the underlying motive, as an example, compelling women to starve themselves to death rather than accept the fact that their body type is different from that of their homosexualist "allies").
Did Vidal count on the fact that women can always be relied upon to do the opposite of what they are advised to do by a man? Was his own horror at the prospect of the Hilary Rodham Plantagenets of this world actually taking control the underlying motive in his giving them such an invaluable, irrefutable, best course of action distilled down to two words (and an exclamation point!), knowing that they would ignore him and, thus, undo their own totalitarian ambitions through their own fundamental "contrariness"?
I have less frequently run afoul of homosexualist disapprobation than I have that of feminists but on one notable occasion, when I had written that I was "sickened" by the thought of male homosexual acts, I received a letter from a very famous and very talented gay graphic novelist (so far as I know there is only one gay graphic novelist so the first two guesses don't count) asking me something along the lines of "how dare (I) find what he and his lover do together sickening?"
This is what I mean by the anecdotal prejudices of the feminist-homosexualist axis, their frame of reference narrowed to the limits of their own idiosyncratic and tiny societal reality.
It was not a matter that I had consciously chosen at some point to sit down and persuade myself, "You know, I really must develop within myself a profound physical aversion to what famous-talented-gay-graphic-novelist and his boyfriend do in bed with each other." The aversion was there, is there, as it is (so far as I know) with most, if not all, heterosexual men having nothing whatsoever to do with famous-talented-gay-graphic-novelist or his boyfriend as human beings. Had I been inclined to respond, I could very easily have said, "How dare you presume to dictate to another person what is or is not an appropriate, natural physical reaction within that person?"
It seems to me that it is typical of the "ists" - communists, feminists and homosexualists - that they genuinely see "re-education" as viable and not a violation, tolerant and not totalitarian and that they have always failed to see - whether it is in their communist or feminist-homosexualist incarnation - that "politically correct" is an oxymoron. It is only the totalitarian who sees the goal of politics to be the determination of the One Right Way to Think and it is only the totalitarian who fails to recognize that politics is the vital give-and-take, parry-and-thrust - the on-going give-and-take and parry-and-thrust - implied by the existence of contending viewpoints. As an example, I firmly believe that feminism is a misguided attempt to raise women above their place, which I firmly believe is secondary to that of men. I firmly believe that homosexuality - not homosexualists themselves - belongs at the margins of society and behind closed doors. I firmly believe that it must be tolerated just as firmly believe it should not be publicly celebrated. "In your face" celebrated, I mean.
But I do not envision a world - nor would I endorse a world - where the feminist and the homosexualist needed to be "re-educated" or "have their consciousness raised" (or whatever feminist-homosexualist euphemism you prefer for brainwashing, indoctrination and sloganeering) so as to compel them to make their beliefs conform to my beliefs. Nor do I become indignant when my beliefs are challenged. I am more than willing to sharpen and clarify distinctions between my own views and the views of others (as I am doing at considerable length here) and I am always more than content to "agree to disagree," but I confess that it does trouble me a great deal when political arrivistes like the homosexualists and the feminists think that what engenders a natural visceral reaction in another human being should - or even could - be modified to suit their prejudices as to what that reaction their view - should be.
I like to avoid "Nazi analogies" (totalitarian seems preferable to me as a less pejorative term), but when someone appears to imply that my reactions, my visceral reactions, my own thoughts, my own interior repercussive awarenesses need to be managed or modified or obliterated, I do, I confess, hear the heavy tread of the jackboot in the back stairwell of my psyche.
Where I most particularly take issue with the feminist-homosexualist axis is with what I see as their monomaniacal haste to blur all distinctions between "tolerance" and "celebration" of "alternative" lifestyles. While feminists, in my experience, tend to view themselves as being very much unshockable "been there, done that" veterans of jaded sexual world-weariness, I beg to differ. When placed alongside the multiplicity of hues which make up the full spectrum of sexual "orientations," the "rainbow" of your average feminists' sexual experiences will (I can practically guarantee) prove positively monochromatic by contrast.
As a civilized person, I am more than willing to tolerate the algolagnist in his or her proper place at the margins of society and behind closed doors. An Algolagnist Pride Parade is another thing entirely.
I am not sure how widespread irrumation and self-irrumation are but I am sure that its devotees are very fond of it. However, my tolerance of their preference does not extend to public demonstrations of it in the food court of my local shopping mall and, no, I do not consider my intransigence on the subject to originate from either bigotry or intolerance.
Purely on an aesthetic level and with a wincing eye on the rapidly aging Baby Boom population, I think the place for gerontophilia is very much "out of sight" and very much "out of mind".
Scopophilia is, I rather suppose, more universal than not, both in its legal and illegal forms. To the extent that (in the former instance) it has a nearly insatiable need for volunteers on both sides of the equation, I do not think that - in a civilized world - handing out application forms on street corners or soliciting by telephone would be any great improvement on its present place in society.
if my argument here seems insufficient, then let me as quickly and discretely as possible (if discretion is even possible under the circumstances) raise the spectre of pre-mortem consent relative to necrophilia: undoubtedly the vilest imaginable form of "estate planning," a genuine test of libertarian absolutism...
...and just one of the many malignant vistas which open before the eyes of the strategically-minded when the tactically-limited begin to advocate and to practice the public celebration - rather than the tolerance - of "alternative" lifestyles and cultural "diversity".
The very adjective, "alternative," and the very noun, "diversity," are both dangerously open-ended, pregnant with hidden significance and subject to very broad and disastrous future extrapolations that the tactically-limited feminist-homosexualist axis chooses, persistently, to ignore.
A case presently before the Supreme Court of Canada seems relevant, concerned as it is with whether or not possession of child pornography is a crime. Doubtless much taxpayer money will be expended as the Justices wrestle their way through to the conclusion that - while possession of photographs or filmic records (8 mm., videotape) of actual children in states of undress acting or posing in sexual situations with each other or with adults constitutes evidence of the commission of a crime (corruption of the morals of a minor) and that, consequently, said photographs and filmic records are disqualified as private property - the same cannot be said of drawings of or stories about entirely fictitious children with other fictinous children and/or fictitous adults.
Repulsive? To be sure. No question about it.
But I think that a close examination of the laws governing the civilized world in our present day will show that any attempt to ban any kind of creative work ultimately and absolutely fails because our civilized laws dating back to 1066 require that there be a demonstrable danger of physical harm before the law can take my action. Certainly, the near universal repulsion that heterosexual men experience in considering the existence of male homosexual pornography has done little to stem the tide of public displays and celebrations of work that would have been universally deemed - even a mere fifty years ago - as depraved: many of Robert Mapplethorpe's more explicit photographs as an example. Feminists relish heterosexual male discomfiture in these situations. They simply revel in it. But, I suspect their empathic emotions are going to take an awful beating when efforts to suppress imagination-based child pornography ultimately fail on the same basis which permits the dissemination and posession of homosexual pornography. (The feminist-led Supreme Court handed down its ruling in January of this year while I was doing corrections on "Tangent." If anyone is interested in reading my opinion of that ruling, write in. I think the Justices made several fundamental errors that will come back to bite them on their collective feminist asses.)
The point missed by the feminists, I think, is that the slope between tolerance and celebration is a slippery one, indeed. if there exists a clearly demarcated line - which can be legally drawn - between allowing public celebrations of those sexual oeientations of which feminists approve and disallowing public celebrations of those sexual orientations of which feminists disapprove, I would certainly be eager to read it in iron-clad and unassailable legalese. But I am reasonably certain that that line does not exist and can't possibly be made to exist despite the frantic efforts that feminists will, I am sure, bring - much too little, much too late - to the proceedings when the time does come.
Allowing Gay Pride Parades is the "thin end of the wedge" and I think myself safe in saying that creeping incrementalism is the inevitable result of the - however well-intentioned - blundering of short-sighted "logic of the next step" tacticians and tacticianettes.
This danger posed by creeping incrementalism is, so far as I can see, the rationale behind the sensible (and, I daresay, masculine) solution of "Don't ask, don't tell," the Clinton Administiution's policy on gays in the U.S. military, much belittled (no big surprise) by the feminist-homosexualist axis.
As it becomes clear that there are any number of behaviours going on behind closed doors that any number of people find or would find personally abhorrent, it seems only sensible to restore privacy and confidentiality to sexual matters. Which, of course, matters of sexuality already had until feminists and the voodoo profession ("let it all hang out") got hold of It. Although virtually all feminists are notoriously curious about other people's private lives, notoriously inclined to discuss private matters with others and notoriously inclined to import this singularly female vice into the workplace (into which the unfairer sex have arrived en masse in the last thirty years), gossip-mongering, in my view, serves no good purpose. I'm not sure how one would argue against the proposition that society will proceed quite nicely and with a minimum amount of friction and abrasion if we all (All) remain wholly and completely unaware of the exact percentages of the population who participate in sexual activity A or sexual activity B and which of our friends and acquaintances do likewise.
Put another way, if we were to discover irrefutable evidence that a hitherto undetected majority of the population shares in the deviant sexual behaviour Ernest Hemingway confessed to enjoying with his pet cat, Boise, I fail to see any material benefit for society in having those individuals, collectively, make themselves known to us ("We're Here! We're Bestialists! And We're Not Going Away!") or what good might result from a Bestialists Pride Parade. I don't believe I - or anyone else - needs to have our Bestiality Consciousness Raised and I don't believe that either a Government- or Privately-Funded Study on Bestiality is worthwhile in any way.
In our society, whether we are consciously aware of it or not, if we have a name for "it", then we tolerate "it", whatever "it" is: at the margins of society and behind closed doors.
It seems to me that the next logical step is for everyone to agree not to talk about their own little precious "it" unless they are reasonably certain that they are in the company of like-minded devotees.
[While I was finishing "Tangent II," Comics Journal 228 arrived In the mail with a review by a Miss or Mrs. Ruthie Penmark entitled "Dori Seda: Chwnpagne Pissing Dog Fucker or First Great Woman Artist?" which begins, "I do not fuck my dog."
No further questions, your honour.]
Although I flrmly believe, for the reasons stated, that the place for homosexuality - again homosexuality, not those who practice it - is at the margins of society and behind closed doors, I do not believe that homosexuality is necessarily a sin.
According to Luke's Gospel (17:21) when Jesus was asked by the Pharisees "when the kingdome of God should come," Jesus is quoted as saying in reply,
Two women shall be grinding together: the one shall be taken and the other left. (17:35)
I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed: the one shal be taken and the other shall be left. (17:34)
Two women shall be grinding together: the one shall be taken and the other left. (17:35)
I think it stretches credulity to the breaking point to suggest that there might be some other reason for two men to be in a bed. Women, sure. Just a sleep-over. Women are like that.
I don't think so.
Juxtaposed with the "two women...grinding together"...
Whichever of the disciples it was (they were all, presumably, nice orthodox Jewish boys) who recounted Jesus' reply to Luke, I would doubt that he or they knew what the reply meant, but I would assume that Luke - a Greek physician - knew exactly what the reply meant.
These two verses are followed, in the Authorized Version of the Bible, by 17:36:
Two men shall be in the field: the one shall be taken and the other left
which, I suspect, was added by a later hand (whose owner also knew exactly what the reply meant and thought that what the reply meant ought to be changed). The marginal note in my King James 1611 facsimile rather dryly remarks:
This 36. uerse is wanting in the most of the Greek copies.
"No doubt," I remember thinking to myself.
Aside from my ambivalence about the Synoptic Jesus which I have voiced elsewhere, it seems to me an open question (whose answer, like the answers to so many questions, is known only to God) as to what these two verses mean, specifically: whether they refer to a specific male homosexual and a specific lesbian who will be saved on the Last Day (too literal an interpretation in my view), whether half of all male homosexuals and half of all lesbians will be saved on the Last Day (less literal, but perhaps still too literal an interpretation) or if it means, in the more general sense, that according to the Jesus of Luke's Gospel, homosexuality per se doesn't automatically disqualify a soul from being saved and that homosexuality exists somewhere on the "sin spectrum" between munder and (let's say) bad hygiene - at a position closer to the latter than the former.
Or (perhaps) at the very least, closer to bad hygiene than murder than the entrenched custodians of the Law of Moses, the Scribes and the Pharisees, would have held in the 1st century of the Common Era.