Monday, March 01, 2010


I have no idea. Thomas Kuhn was the guy who wrote the book on paradigm shift. The idea is that we all have beliefs about the world (the planet is flat) but that when new evidence is found, GOOD evidence that can’t be argued away and piles up (math computations, advanced technical measurements, and photos of the planet from space say the planet is round -- but wait, more like a little squashed.), sane people have to change our beliefs.

Right now we know far more stuff about how an ovum and sperm meet to create a person, know enough more about what happens physiologically during the sexual act, and enough more about sexuality in general to challenge all, I say ALL, the gender categories we’ve believed since some reluctant adult gave us “that talk,” and then our buddies out in the back alley told us the “real truth.” Our paradigm is not shifted, it’s shafted and shattered. The old rules are off. We’ve got to figure out new ones.

“This American Life,” a thoughtful radio program, recently aired a little story called “204: 81 Words” about how the American Psychiatric Association decided in 1973 that homosexuality was no longer a mental illness. It was a true scientific paradigm shift, based on evidence, that was unfortunately not followed by a commensurate moral and social shift, though things are moving. The next paradigm shifts will have to include the meta-understanding that absolutes of all kinds, whether sexual assignment or sexual preference, are not very useful. Why fool around with A-theism when it’s so much more useful and vital to be A-Manichean? (Manicheism is a religion that developed in the same place and era as the Big Three of the Mediterranean. More than the others, Manicheism was devoted to right/wrong, in/out, virtue/sin, dark/light.)

Too many people believe that there are only two kinds of human (male/female) and that their desire has only two options (male/female) both human. Maybe they just haven’t heard enough Montana sheepherder jokes. (To some men, women are as alien as sheep.) Too many people try to pretend that sex can only be about desire, that only desire produces children, and that a man with children therefore cannot be gay. They don’t know it’s possible to inseminate a watermelon, for all the good it will do. No one expects to have a “handmade” child. These are probably the same people who believe a eunuch has no desire. (Quite putting aside the desire for power that many eunuchs have demonstrated.) Worse, they know nothing about attachment or bonding, nothing about affection, parental love, or aesthetics, nothing about reciprocity, sharing, affinity. “Desire” to these people is simply conventional lust. Stick it in the hole and stir it all around.

Institutions based on maintaining the status quo and enforcing conventional moral standards are now breaking apart under the weight of paradigm shift from the Manichean dualities to the kaleidoscope of modern possibility in relationship. Instead of concentrating on the morality of care for all children, the evil of their abuse and abandonment, and the need for new envisioning of a society that would organize itself around these principles, our religious groups and governmental social services keep trying to stuff the ferment back into the same old containers with tragic results for all concerned. All the wrong things are stigmatized.

Granted, it takes a nearly science-fiction frame of mind to imagine how to do all this stuff: communal child raising, voluntary families (as gangs form now for disreputable reasons), single pairs of older and younger, secluded communities, contracted care in open dorms, special focus schools -- whatever can be invented short of being raised by wolves or apes -- are not the sort of solutions that will be underwritten by legislators so full of their own fat-cat importance that they won’t crack down on the institutions that are draining our society. These are people who can’t maintain their own marriages and can find no more dignified venue for sex than an airport wash room. Their “morality” is really secrecy.

Granted, some of the creative solutions that are already happening are underground, secretly financed, in relationship with the underculture, and accessed through rogue individuals. If they dare try to explain what they are doing, the frightened and the threatened try to destroy them. For the surest way to suppress a paradigm shift is to suppress the evidence that will challenge the status quo. Like Kinsey discovering that over a third of American men had had sex with other men. That was exciting and notorious in the Fifties. Much ballyhooed half a century ago. Soon denied. Not enough to shift the paradigm. At the time.

I’d be interested to know how many American adults never, I say NEVER, have sex in their whole lifetime. Or maybe more important: how many have never had really satisfying love-based, trusting sex? I don’t have a copy of Kinsey anymore, or I’d look to see what he says about it -- probably nothing. How many never fall in love? How many never have a close relationship of any kind with someone else? As a former minister, I suspect far, I say FAR, more than anyone suspects or would admit. How do we shift from our obsession with sex to a focus on love?

It crosses my mind now and then that we obsess about exposing kids to pornography when it is probably middle-aged people who most need to be sheltered, because they are the ones so threatened. Maybe what we need is images of MORE people having sex: fat and old and scarred and bald and baggy -- but happy and inventive, truly affectionate. I get a lot of mail order catalogues meant for old people: shoes for diabetics and stuff to prevent tinnitus, so on. I’m amazed at the number of sex toys, most of them made of bright plastic and shaped like little animals or insects, like children’s toys. They must be selling -- they wouldn’t be in the catalogue otherwise. I hope they work better than some of the gizmos I’ve ordered: the draft blockers, the magnets to cure arthritis.

I wish people would be a little more protective of their sensitive parts, the way I assume we used to be before we discovered that a rectum could be a receptacle and a penis could be a candy cane. Some people have managed to sterilize themselves in that ironic way that infections can sterilize people, in the sense of de-germing them since the root of “germ” is germination, quickening of seeds -- and humans also are seeded unless their contraceptives work or infection has ended the means. Then we use the most extraordinary and expensive measures to restore fertility and birth. And criticize same sex relationships because they don’t produce babies.

I asked Tim for the following. I never know what he will say and I have no control over him, so if you’re easily shocked, just stop reading. I didn’t edit at all.


Tim Barrus

Gay men and women are an intrinsic part of the system now.

Without them, your lives would all be radically different. Even if you can't see it. What people can see or cannot see is germane to nothing. They're there.

They want to be there in the open.

I can see the value in that but it's not my battle and it's not my war.

The upper-middle-class gay men would hang me from my balls as quick as any of their straight counterparts would if they could. First, you have to find me.

Their values are not all that different from mainstream American values. Kidscargaragejobgoodschoolsuburbanites. They love the military. Just stick a M16 up my ass. John Wayne is dead.

Many gay men are suits. They are desperate to have the golden apple. They will have it. They're privileged and quite used to getting what they want. They are some of the movers and shakers of the system even if you do not know them.

I would like to burn that system to the ground. But I'm a little old for the revolution now. Getting out of Dodge on a moment's notice becomes harder and harder each time you crawl out the window and hit the ground running. I'm carrying my cowboy boots (which you can't run in anyway) and I'm in my underwear and barefoot at the edge of town. Miss Kitty waves from the balcony.

The revolution has been bought and paid for. Alyson book publishing, the only gay publisher of gay books left, is as arrogant and mean if not more so than Random House. You don't believe me. Go ahead, call them up and listen to the cats spit. I have never met such snotty queens.

Then, there are always the throwaways.

In the gay community, these are the boys who are not educated. They sell ass. They're everywhere. They won't be participating in the upper-middle-class revolutions involving children and marriage and the right to ape Leave it to Beaver.

They live in the shadows. Longevity is ephemeral here.

I live with them -- I am an advocate for them, partly because it pisses people off, and partly because I can't bring myself to throw them away, and partly because there's still a small part of me left that can't accept the idea of people being disposable -- but I am a contradiction because I like dramatizing it. I used to believe that if we wrote about it, if we exposed the animal for what it is, things could change.

I was an idiot. A real fool complete with clown suit.

It will not change. I don't care what you write, film, scream, paint. Us whores aren't going to be invited to the party.

Now, I have written it for so long, it's just what I do. No illusions.

The nice gay men would hang me in the middle of Dodge if they could find me. They want to adopt but they don't want anything to do with the boys who haunt the edges of their culture. Gotta cigarette. Gotta light.

They wouldn't know an edge if they fell over one into the abyss. They're educated, pampered, and they have power.

I have never met one who could bond. Anywhere. And I have been around.

That is NOT to even insinuate that straight men bond.

Perish that thought.

MEN are not exactly good at bonding.

When people go after me, and they do, gay writers hate my guts (I shrug), I tell them: I'm teaching these boys art. This does stop some people. However, it doesn't slow other people down one bit.

It's a lie.

I'm teaching these boys how to bond.

We're getting better at it. It's a rush a lot like heroin. Bonding.

I did not say sex. I said bonding.

They do have sex. I've watched them have sex. They're sexual human beings. The difference is that now they're bonding, too.

What does bonding mean.

Simple. Go for the bottom line.

Bonding means I would die for this one over here. I would give up my life for him.

That's bonding.

Soldiers know. Gay soldiers know all too well.

I do not support their cause. America can rot in hell. I know this: bonding is power.

When individuals are coming at you, hoping to gun you down outside the saloon, you can pick them off one at a time. But when the cattle come at you as a herd, get out of the way.

Gay groups will influence elections. They know how to do that now. And the boomers are getting older. Older can mean more dangerous. Not less.

I don't believe in the current crop of sexualities anyway. I believe that the human animal is inherently bisexual and that bisexuality is a product of survival and evolution. Scientists who have studied sexuality know this. It's not a secret.

Anymore than the boys I deal with don't understand (they do understand) that they can't really take their bonding out of the shadows and into the light.

You would destroy them and the gay community would help you destroy them.

What scares you about such boys is that they have this ability to bond. It's what you suspect them of. Like beauty.

That means they won't be sharing your values. Suburbia is what kicked many of them out in the first fucking place.

I don't have to burn the culture down with matches and gasoline.

I have them


If you’re really into this question of how to rearrange society’s present sad sack sexual arrangements, you might look at: where the question is “what is an alpha male?” The discussion has not touched on gay men, but it has discussed sociopathy. One commenter claims that’s the source of his alphaness, which he assumes is a matter of domination.

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