The long history of marriage is of an institution that raises the next generation and transmits the community’s values. Arranged marriages, loveless marriages – those were marriages. But, now, this transmission is less important; indeed, in most western culture the replacement rate has dropped well below 2.1; on the other hand, surrogate mothers and test tube babies, in vitro fertilization and sperm donors – the babies we do have seem less connected to those old definitions of marriage. That many gays don’t see this as remarkable & ahistorical means they don’t really understand marriage, but, we all tend to see the world through the prism of our own time.
Ta ever so for popping in and explaining it to us, really. And here we all
thought marriage started in 1954 when they started giving it away in the bottom of cereal boxes instead of decoder rings. No wonder there's so much confusion and hostility!
But wait! There's more! Some of her best friends...don't get it either:
These thoughts have been brought on by one of those chance confluences: a letter from an old friend and a newer friend’s loan of Bruce Bawer’s book, While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam is Destroying the West from Within.
The letter arrived from a friend from freshman English, forty-four years ago; he was my closest confidante through a series of disastrous love affairs but also because we could discuss literature and character and the ethical questions Henry James posed until dawn lightened the windows. He remarked in a letter as we slowly reach out to one another after so many years apart, that he, as a gay man, can only find acceptance in an anarchic socialist world, but of course, he says, I’ve become conservative, matronly, a suburban wife and mother. He isn’t critical but rather accepts that we’ve become different people than we were. I pause at his remark and recognize its truth. On the one hand, I understand that some & some customs of the world through which I move would make him uneasy, make him feel an outsider. Still, he enjoys his quiet life, having mated and stayed with his “significant other” for well over forty years, buying a house on a quiet street. I can’t, of course, imagine him finding peace in a world that is truly anarchic; certainly, he could not find the peace he has found in American capitalism in the practices that the Muslim minorities practice (and encourage) in socialist Europe.
-screeeee- a who?
the practices that the Muslim minorities practice (and encourage) in socialist Europe.
Maybe I'm missing something here. Apparently "socialist Europe" is responsible for...um, which practices, exactly? Oh, wait, you mean the reactionary rage of the disaffected fanatic minority, channelled into vociferous hatred and oppression of women and gay folk, aided and abetted by the supposedly democratic countries' Powers That Be? Yes; thank goodness we don't have any of that here.
Anyhoo, alicublog sums up the gist of the rest pretty well with this:
The author's real point, made somewhere in the first hundred paragraphs, is that homosexuals should shut up about Bush because he protects them from Muslims. But she finds it at least as important to explain -- with endless slabs of convoluted prose as evidence -- that she is well-read and even a bit artistic. This is meant to signal that she is not a mouth-breathing faggot-hater, but someone who is tolerant -- which is to say, she tolerates both her gay friends' continued existence and her colleagues' continued discrimination against them.
This is usually the case with conservative converts of the sort described by Michael Berube with the phrase "I used to consider myself a Democrat, but thanks to 9/11, I’m outraged by Chappaquiddick." They like to think that, because they broke away (assisted by stark fear) from an old orthodoxy, they have become true free-thinkers. But when issues of discrimination come up, they find themselves compelled to defend their new wingnut friends and their bone-deep prejudices.
In reality they haven't broken free, they've just switched gangs -- and have to live by the new one's code, including the by-law about No Poofters. If they want to face their old friends, they have three options (besides sanity, of course, which is out of the question):
They can swallow whole their new friends' lunacy and bravely assert it to all comers;
They can try a it's-for-your-own-good defense, pleading the necessity to accomodate moderate Muslims or red-state voters until such time as we can afford luxuries like civil rights;
Or they can plead the ties of friendship and remind their old friends of how they used to discuss Henry James until "dawn lightened the windows."
That, and the "Christian" part of our Judeo-Christian heritage, (along with our general rootin' tootin' spunkiness) makes us better than the Europeans, who, unlike us, are in danger of falling into the Dark Ages.
--oh yeah, but just so we're clear: she's got -no problem- with the Judeo part, despite the implications of how much better the switch to New Testament values (which we all -totally- embody, especially the bit where the quirky dude in the sandals suggested that hoarding up material wealth and shunning of Those People wasn't such a hot road to the Kingdom):
It is easier to believe others tempt us than within us are desires we must (and with difficulty) control. To many, the shift from the Old Testament to the New may be theologically one of grace, but is also from the tribal to the universal, from the external to the internal. Whether this is the lesson of the Bible or of the slowly modernizing world, it is clearly one that restrains us in ways that those who see temptation in a right angle can not understand and leads to quite different understandings of guilt. The man’s lust, we believe, not the woman’s clothing, causes rape. This and so much else is the mark of a value system internalized and assumed universal. We think it is right. Sure this assumption of a certain universality may impose upon others, but it is more practical than narrow: it is also the only way that people with varying beliefs can easily live beside one another.
And thanks to Jewish psychologists, we began to find words for this internalization...
See, even though you haven't quite evolved to the universal, Christlike place that's what -really- makes this nation great, -you- tribal, Old Testament people have something to contribute, too, you smartypantses, you.
Back to the other People She Respects And Cares About, Really, you know, I'm not even sure this was self-aware/ironic:
Some of my best employees were gay
I'm sure she has lots of other friends, too.