Friday, June 29, 2007

The irony! It burns!

Here we can read a complaint by a lesbian about puritanical oppression by those nasty old gay male prudes. I wouldn't have believed it either if I hadn't read it for myself.

Thursday, June 28, 2007


The matchmaking Web site eHarmony's policy of not offering its services to gays has provoked a variety of responses. First, eHarmony is being sued under state civil-rights laws. Second, competitors have taken advantage of eHarmony's bad press by pointing out that they do offer their services to gays.

I have a few issues with using civil-rights laws. First, if a business does not want my money, I typically do not care to force that business to accept my money. Second, I am not sure that state legislators should make what is in effect a business decision, especially when they could do the same to gay-oriented Web sites. While California law on the subject may be pro-gay, other states can use, and have used, the same power to pass strongly anti-gay laws.

Also, the second option shows why we should favor economic liberty, not oppose it. A company that has to persuade me to part with my money is much more likely to take my interests seriously than an entity that can simply raise my taxes and then still deny me equal rights. When a company like eHarmony refuses to take my money, a competitor senses opportunity and fills the vacuum. Going to that competitor is a lot easier than emigrating to the Netherlands when Congress passes an anti-gay law.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

But we only want to save democracy!

As conservative arguments against giving gays the special privilege of equality keep getting shot down, conservatives keep coming up with new ones. Remember "equal rights, not special rights" as an excuse to mandate special rights, not equal rights?

This month's eternal verity is that conservatives oppose giving gays any semblance of marriage equality soley out of concern for democracy. That is, we should let the voters in the affected area, or their democratically elected representatives, decide the matter. Really?

I can hardly wait to see how the infallible dogma gets rewritten next.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Some random comments on bears

I like what the bear community used to be, but I have little patience for what it is now. If the bear community started out to celebrate men as men actually are, then turning it into yet another form of drag (something that gay men desperately need) is self-defeating.

Also, I have to roll my eyes whenever someone tells me that the bear community started in rebellion against the young-looking, skinny, smooth ideal of the early eighties. What young-looking, skinny, smooth ideal of the early eighties? I have my reasons for believing that if there had been such an ideal, I should have been among the first to notice.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Gays and Republicans

Why do so many people see gays and Republicans as polar opposites? For starters, we are.

One year, when I gave the World's Smallest Political Quiz at a Gay Pride festival, the people who took the quiz typically scored at least 70% on personal liberty but were evenly distributed on economic liberty. In other words, they formed a band between the liberal and libertarian corners of the Nolan chart.

By contrast, a defining characteristic of a Republican is opposition to personal liberty. Republicans can be anywhere on economic liberty, although I suspect that they are increasingly opposed to that as well. That is, they should form a band between the conservative and authoritarian corners of the Nolan chart.

A graphical representation of what I mean would look approximately like this:

As you can see, gays and Republicans are, for the most part, staring at each other from opposite sides of the Nolan chart.

The gay bomb

The gay bomb presents an interesting conceptual difficulty. By the time it was proposed, it was already dogma that being gay was purely a conscious choice. How, then, do you make a bomb that makes people make a certain conscious choice?

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Planning on writing a gay novel?

If you are, please take this simple quiz to determine whether you should proceed.

  1. Will the characters live beyond-fabulous lives in Manhattan, Fire Island, or both with no discernible way to pay?
  2. Will you expose the reader to intricate detail about the characters' partying and sex lives, but never tell the reader what they do for a living?
  3. Will an important scene of the book take place in a locale that you have never visited and cannot be bothered to research?
  4. Will the main character be impossibly gorgeous and universally desired?
  5. Will he be an idealized version of you?
  6. Will the book be centered on his inner life, even though he doesn't have one?
  7. Will he search for true love, find it, and toss it away without motivation?
  8. Will he basically live his entire life without motivation, like some supremely fabulous houseplant?
  9. Will you provide another major character simply as a foil for the main character's fabulousness?
  10. Will one of the characters be a devout Catholic who later commits apostasy and becomes the party boy to end all party boys?
  11. How about a crazy right-winger who turns out to be gay?
  12. How about a politically correct puritan who turns out to be a whore?
  13. Will part of the plot or exposition center on a religion with which you are familiar solely from a newspaper article about it?
  14. Will the characters engage in dialog that no one would actually say in real life, just so that you can make a point?
  15. Will everyone have HIV?
  16. Alternatively, will the book take place in a parallel universe in which, even though it is well after 1981, there is no HIV?
  17. Somewhere toward the end, will you include gratuitous praise of lesbians that will not be credible to anyone who has ever actually met a lesbian?
  18. Does "Tell; don't show" make sense to you?

How to score: If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, I recommend that you not write your gay novel.


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Intellectual Unilateral Disarmament

We have heard considerable discussion as to the alleged intellectual ascendancy of social conservatism and the supposed lack of ideas among those opposing it. Even now, after a mid-term election in which any Democratic Party ideas beyond "We're not Bush" were essentially beside the point, many people view both the new Congress and the upcoming presidential election with a sense of "So now what?" The problem, however, is not that the left lacks ideas, but that it has the wrong ideas. That is, those opposing the right have committed the intellectual equivalent of unilateral disarmament.

For instance, during the golden age of political correctness, those who considered themselves progressives exalted collective rights over individual rights and characterized individual rights as retrograde and even racist. The fundamental unit of society was the identity group, as though the individual were simply an arbitrary division thereof. The right had no difficulty appropriating that position and now presses for collective rights over individual rights, asserting that the fundamental unit of society is the family or the community -- again, something other than the individual. The right has pressed that position on areas ranging from same-sex marriage to reproductive autonomy to whether a Muslim member of Congress should take the oath of office on the Bible or the Qur'an.

The politically correct crowd has taken collective rights a step further by preaching the gospel of bigger government. Never mind that larger, more intrusive government has been our enemy far more often than our friend. The left has implicitly, and sometimes even explicitly, sided with the right against our right to make choices over our own bodies and minds in areas ranging from First Amendment rights to whether the government should permit (not fund, merely permit) the sale of home HIV test kits. Before Lawrence v. Texas, I was shocked to hear how often politically correct activists downplayed sodomy laws as an issue; after all, sodomy reform would empower us, but it would unequivocally mean smaller government.

That leads me, of course, to the shockingly reactionary prudery that so often characterizes the "progressive" left, with its attitude of "Since I am the measure of all things, whatever is not my cup of tea is ipso facto objectively immoral." Did anyone honestly not see how that would play into the hands of the right? I have too often seen the Falwellian right gleefully quote the Falwellian left to support their positions.

Another example is science. Postmodernists insist that science (unlike, say, deconstructionism) is irrelevant to our daily lives and that it is even the privileging of one social class's world view over another. Different identity groups have different narratives about the world around them, and none of them are more true than any others, right? What quarrel, then, could postmodernists possibly have with those who would teach "intelligent design" in public schools? Advocates of "intelligent design" see evolution as an elite view that has been privileged over their own and demand that schools "teach the controversy," as opposed to teaching that one side might be objectively right and the other, wrong. Indeed, postmodernists and young-earth creationists see eye-to-eye on science: They approve of it when they want medical advances, improved crop yields, or faster computing, but denounce it as a lie from the pit of hell the rest of the time. They also see as dangerous any scientific advance that calls into question their dogmas. Since science under-girds so many issues that affect our lives, from HIV to the origins of
homosexuality, we can ill afford to grant the right an unearned and unnecessary victory.

Yet another is the insistence on unquestioning acceptance of certain authorities. Progressives often treat their chosen authorities as infallible, even outside of their areas of expertise. Ironically, those authorities are often dead white males such as Freud or Derrida. How big a leap is it to "My church said it; I believe it; that settles it"?

The fundamental connection, however, and the root cause of all of the above, is that the politically correct left and the socially conservative right have the same view of the role of reason versus emotion, in political discourse and in everything else. Namely, both sides believe that since they are the elect, their emotions are an infallible oracle of Truth with a capital T, and the rest of us are powerless to use logic and fact to show otherwise. Their only difference is in the question of who are the elect.