July 27, 2007

Identity Politics Satiety [Dan Collins]

Matthew Parris in the London Times online:

I’m coming out as a post-homosexualist. Forty years (tomorrow) after the 1967 law ending the absolute prohibition of homosexuality, 13 years after the reduction of the age of consent from 21 to 18, six years after the further reduction from 18 to 16, and two years after the arrival of civil partnerships, I have finally become bored with the whole damn thing. Bored, not with being gay, but with talking about it. I blame Tony Blair.

Do cats witter endlessly on about being cats? Do redheads drive us to distraction with their thoughts on being ginger? How many serious comment columns in the editorial pages of newspapers are devoted to the musings of straight men on what it is to be a heterosexual? No, they just get on with it – with being cats, redheads or straights. Such things are for the lifestyle sections of weekend magazines, not rubbing shoulders with the debate on global warming, housing or the terrorist threat.

Fellow-queers: stop moaning. How interesting is any of this to the rest of the world any more? Other groups out there have it worse than we do in Britain. We’ve got the political changes we asked for. Social change will take longer but it’s happening, steadily. Kidding ourselves that we inhabit some sort of a gulag is making it harder, not easier, for the next generation to relax about their sexuality. Let’s remind them that in the whole history of mankind there has been no better, luckier, time or place to be gay than Britain in 2007.

Our main persecutors now are religions – the “faith community”: Islam, Catholicism, Anglicanism, evangelicals, Judaism, Hinduism – but most of our fellow Britons don’t seriously subscribe to any of these superstitions, so why take it out on them? The brave thing now is to take the battle into the cathedrals, temples, synagogues and Rastafarian dives, not the opinion pages of The Guardian.

To the mosques, homosexualists! Post-homosexualists – to the opera! *

*Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

(h/t paul ilc at Bloody Scott)  Hmmm.  I wonder whether this might have anything to do with Jeff’s observations regarding affirmative action.

 UPDATE: Wow!  This is really counterintuitive:

Previous studies have suggested that the psychological perks of marriage depend upon marriage quality–a happy marriage gives rise to a happy couple, and vice versa.

Posted by Dan Collins @ 9:20am

Comments (23)

  1. Well, he went to type the first paragraph, sighed, and finally admitted, “This is just lame.”

    That was about it, I think. Whimpers, not bangs.

  2. Great news. I am glad he feels that way, and I know of other gay men that feel that way too. Even, here, in America.

    However, he states this: “We’ve got the political changes we asked for.” But then he goes on to say that the only persecutors that are left are the superstitious religious. Somebody not liking me, or more importantly my lifestyle, or disavowing me that has NO power over me cannot possibly begin to “persecute” me. Perhaps, I’m a bit sensitive, but I thought it odd that after telling his fellow gays to get over it and be happy they got the political changes that they had worked for (and, imo, deserved) he still claims some victimhood.

  3. That guy has it almost right. I object to his assertion that all religions are persecuting gays, and that apparently all religions are equivalent in their alleged persecution. It’s very different for a Christian to disapprove and a hardcore Islamist to disapprove, since the former may say a few words and the latter may stone you to death.

  4. Somebody not liking me, or more importantly my lifestyle, or disavowing me that has NO power over me cannot possibly begin to “persecute” me.

    Hold still and I’ll oppress you with my opinion. And if that doesn’t work, I’ll use a dirty look!

  5. People in the First World are spoiled. Oppression is now a meaningless term that encompasses everything from a genocidal dictator on his Saturday-afternoon “cleansing” to a parent taking away a child’s cell phone for sending a few hundred more text-messages than the plan allows. It becomes easy to misuse the term; given the silliness of it, using it at all seems to eschew purpose in favor or an emotive jolt. But, then, perhaps that is the point? Reason is so very difficult to use when you are wrong, and still difficult even when you are right.

  6. Hmmm. More entries for the lexicon:

    Opression: Opposing my opinion with one of your own.
    Repression: Walking into a room/forum full of people with people counter to mine where tehy “shout me down” by voicing those opinions.

    But it’ll never work. I proceed from the faulty premise that those described will ever agree that words do or should have particular meanings.

    TW: obliged right.

  7. Woah noes! The evil Christianists might express disapproval at your lifestyle! How will they ever endure the persecutions! Exclamation points!

  8. As a point of social clarification, as one of those oppressive religious types that aren’t supposed to have any opinion can I claim victim status. I mean, all those guys ambushed on that “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” show have to count for something.

    TW: “exhaust advantage”, no longer just a auto racing term

  9. As a single, post-homosexualist guy active in local committees in a very Married world, I am constantly amazed by the utility of marriage as a tactical force-mulitplier in the political sphere.

    As you can probably gather, I have found my single-self on the receiving end of this tactic many times. But, rather than just be a sore loser about it, I formulated some rules that inform my interactions with competing married couples that I thought Dan’s readers would find interesting.

    There’re only eight of them, and relational gradients figure highly in them. Any critique is welcome.

    1. A Relational Gradient is the qualitative difference between the multiple inter-personal relationships that result when distinct, operable patronage-groups intersect.

    2. The simple colocation of “uni-tarian” single-point agents with “dialectical,” dualistic ones suffices to generate relational gradients.

    3. inter-operation with “dialectics” (ex. married couples) is not necessarily problematic for external unit-arians. Where no competition exists and good-will prevails relational gradients will be small and easily absorbed with humor and grace.

    4. Whenever a sub-unit in a dialectic generates, amplifies or foments distinctions in inter-personal comportment or in information-sharing in relation to the single unit, a relational gradient will result between the unit-arian and the dialectical.

    5. When a single operable unit is in cooperation with a dialectical one, the sudden promotion or appearance of a relational gradient indicates the cooperation is temporary, waning or shallow.

    6. When a single operable unit is in conflict or competition with a dialectic, expect its sub-units (spouses) to magnify their dialectic force by generating and exploiting relational gradients.

    7. The larger this gradient is, the greater the energy released at the time of equalization.

    8. A functional patronage-dialectic will always equalize its own internal gradients at the expense of the external uni-tarian one.

    Just so you know. some of my best friends are married. And every one of them, husbands and wives, has agreed with these eight rules.

    I’ve got my rules. Now I just need the wife!

  10. “Transgender President to head the San Fransisco Police Commission”

    – ‘Fraid with all good intention, you’re swimming against thee tide on this one Dan. In this day and age, when the MSM and identity group activists have formed a cottage industry out of a “controversy symbionic coallition”, we’re not likely to see less, but more, of all of these topics, increasingly shoved in our faces.

    – The moral, and legal justification of course, is that ignoring these issues, is a subtle form of denial of freedom of speech, an ad hoc oppression, using the more familiar terms of the closet Marxists.

    – In a way, I suppose, it may well be that this process is for the better, since it illuminates things that should have been settled long ago, but its generally apparent that no one from the activist ranks really wants the issues settled, which might lead to the worst of all possibilities from a Secular Progressive standpoint; Political obscurity.

    – One possible growing condition, that might give the general public cercease from the clamor, is the fact that the level of the collective din, mounting by the day as everyone not aware discovers the power of sound bytes, and face time, grows and grows, it just might start to wane. It’s a media jungle out there. Still, hoping for a lessening of the “Chrash headlines”, or the usual tactful comments from embattled Dem Congress criters, is probably wishful thinking.

    TW: land conspiracy” …Why yes, of course. It should be obvious that home ownership is just another way of suppressing the “Other”…

  11. Do we Catholic persecutors get to wear a costume similar to the ones they wore in the “No One Expects the Spanish Inquisition” Monty Python sketch? Because, really, I do look bitchin’ in red.

    The brave thing now is to take the battle into the cathedrals, temples, blah blah blah…

    To which the bored parishioners would turn from the service and say, “Oh, grow up, Nancy.”

  12. True, and as you know, Percy, I’m RC as well. Still, it’s heartening to know that some of them are getting so sick of the carping that they’re willing to publish about it.

  13. Can someone translate what steveaz just wrote?

  14. steveaz:

    I didn’t understand a damned one of those 8 rules. Us back of the classroom folks (to use happyfeet’s phrase) require more simple to understand concepts. Single syllable words help. For example, the first two rules for a gunfight:

    1. Bring a gun.

    2. Bring all your friends with their guns.

  15. Rightwing, and Yokel,
    You guys don’t get it because it was barely literate. My bad!

    I was attempting to define in a scientific manner the mechanism by which marriage acts as a force-multiplier for individual spouses’ efforts – from a single-guy’s perspective.

    Sorry for the syntactic licence I took. It’s still in “draft” form. And I need to add a ninth rule to the list: “Just get Married!”

    Hope that helps.

  16. Just bustin’ on ya, steveaz.

    You might want to consider that the force multiplier for an individual spousal unit is always uni-directional, eg:
    Wife: “Isn’t that right, Honey?”
    Husband (not paying any attention): “Whatever you say, Sweetheart.”

  17. An attempt to translate:

    Married people work together. If the single dude gets into a fight with one of the couple, the other person in the couple will generally side with the couple. Generally, your buddy won’t side with you over his wife. The more ire between you and one half the couple, the bigger the fight will be.

    Or something. I think. Except I had to slow down, read each word in context, and spend time decoding it. I’m still not sure I got it right.

    Who needs encryption when you’ve got jargon?

  18. If the single dude gets into a fight with one of the couple, the other person in the couple will generally side with the couple.

    I’ll never forget the occasion, less than a year into my marriage, when my wife told me of overhearing a previously-congenial acquaintance of hers bad-mouthing me. The venom in my wife’s voice as she talked about this woman was quite a surprise to someone who’d never before been the object of such loyalty.

    Of course, twelve years later, she’s calmed down considerably.

  19. Dan, if I find a good dry cleaner who can maintain those well-tailored Inquisition outfits, you’ll be the first one I tell.

    And once again, the “Simpsons” leads us to the truth:

    A gay pride parade passes the Simpsons house. Some lads on a float call out, “We’re here! We’re queer! Get used to it!”

    To which Lisa Simpson, smiling and waving, says “We ARE used to it. You come by here every year!”

    The lads are thoroughly nonplussed.

  20. Translation: now that the only target left is radical Muslims, I think it’s time to quit this militant activism and get back to aggressive hedonism.

  21. to slackjawed: I think the rules of gunfighting are to bring long guns if you can.

  22. Daryl – the VERY first rule of a gunfight is to be somewhere else when it happens.

    Everything else is just advice.

  23. Sometimes we revisit comments we’ve written years before to ponder them anew only to find ourselves surprised by the poor quality of them.

    I stand by my list (at the time I wrote it I had just faced down a tart husband/wife team on our POA board who used Goodcop/Badcop underwritten with copious “he-said,she-said” expertly to stall my appointment to the board) but must take a hit for misusing the “dialectic.”

    For some reason I thought it meant “binary” at the time. Doh!

    Live and Learn!