Thursday, January 07, 2016


Little boy blue.

Oh, okay.  I get it.  Somewhere in every baby boy is a little switch and before birth it’s set either to “gay” or “not gay” and that’s it.  But how does that account for women who love same-sex partners?  (I suppose women can love anybody as a prerequisite for raising children.)

Or people who go back and forth.  
Or people who turn out neither genetically nor anatomically male or female?  Yes, it happens.

So is gay about gender or not?  I’m going to try a little category smashing.  Iconoclasm.  All male.

What KIND of gay are we talking about?

The frail and effete little man?  
The cultural aesthete snob?  
The great big scary leatherman?  
Bears, more hairy than scary?
The naked rainbow parade guy?
The friendly kinda neutral guy who likes to hang out with women
    for friendship and chitchat but doesn’t want to have sex with
The political “class president” whose "class" is “gay guys”?
The heroin addict dying behind the dumpster?
The Republican Southern state candidate with good hair? 
The lovable campy black man who has found his niche as a nurse?
The twelve-year-old who has just figured out what he’s feeling?  
The beautiful tall black man in an impeccable Tom Ford tuxedo?    
The elegant Oscar Wilde-type wit?  
The needy cowboy?
The premier danseur whose body is closely toned and developed, 
    but whose relations with women are not.
The quite respectable and dignified “walker” who escorts rich
     women because high status husbands are too busy to do that.
The doctor who is full of energy and stories — like Oliver Sacks.
Metrosexuals in the city, with all the latest accouterments.
The ferocious social critic who uses totally repulsive images?

Pier Paulo Pasolini
Was he gay?  I dunno.
Let’s imagine some more.  

An ancient barefoot man who lives a solitary life in a shack in a distant and primitive country because his family has died or left and he never married.  He asks nothing, has nothing, gives nothing.  He is peaceful.

An oddball great-uncle whose life is respectable but modest.  He wears three-piece suits of some antiquity, unless he is working on the yard when he wears bib overalls.  He whittles little figures and keeps perfect order in his workshop where he does not welcome visitors except one old buddy.

The perennial bachelor whose relationships never seem to quite gel.  He was so good to his mother, but then she died.  By then it was too late.

The man in a medieval oppressive country whose early fascination with other men has now grown —partly in defiance of authority — into a full-blown obsession for sexual union with another man, even knowing that it could mean a death penalty.

A rural family man who was sentenced to prison, did have sex imposed on him, and was so shocked but aroused that maybe once a year he secretly goes to some city big and old enough to have a skid row and tries to duplicate the experience.  His wife has no idea.

The movies have already picked up on the grandiose narcissist who wants to fuck God as his only worthy lover and erotically punishes himself with whipping, hair shirts, or whatever you call that pronged chain around the thigh.

The solitary old man who is not sexual anymore and wishes to simply observe and ponder.  This suggests to me the Cassowary rite in New Guinea which lets an old man go build a little “booth” in the jungle and live there except for the annual dance ceremony in which he wears a mask and dances holding the hand of another old man.  They have no concept of homosexuality.

It’s very hard to accomplish solitaryness in our society, though bad hygiene and scowling can help keep people at arm’s length.  Our society does not like nor respect solitude because this is a marketing society and that means it’s dependent on creating a group demography that can be convinced to consume en masse what is for sale.  It worked for Hefner, it worked for Disney, it works for J.J. Abrams.  And it works for gay.

But somehow it’s very hard to identify a demographic that responds to what needs to be done for others, the reforms and tolerances and investments that can’t promise a return on venture capital the way that government elections can provide rewards to those who invest in the winners.  I suppose it’s because money is the reward they want and for it to come sooner.  No long term investment in stuff like education or housing until the present system stops returning a profit.

There are several ways that end it: one is to confuse sex and violence with money and status until suddenly you’re Missoula and Krakauer is exposing you.  

Another way to stop is to load up universities and hospitals and "social" internet with so much cost and profit churning that they are immobilized — pot-bound, top-heavy — and people suddenly realize they could — well — read books, stop smoking, write letters all by themselves.   We’re almost there. today posted an autodidact’s bibliography.  If you read these books carefully, you’d have far more useful knowledge than if you went to a university and majored in “gross-out.”  Blowhards are not stuffy old guys who have no fun.  Their blog is for the initiated.  Why torture yourself in lecture halls for something that no longer has value.  Diplomas mean very little now.  It’s connections that count.  One goes to college to connect, but you could connect other places.

Writing the most fabulous book ever, something that would change society for the better, may be happening somewhere.  Then they would need a resourceful agent (who used to be employed by a publisher as an editor until they cut back) who can persuade a significant publisher to risk it, but that worthy won’t do it unless the owner (the venture capitalist) likes the idea.  This means that what you see in print is determined by some fat cat in a megacity, possibly in Europe or Qatar, whose experience of the world is very limited and hardly typical of anyone.  The good side is that by joining a demographic like "gay," the connections are much easier to make.  The audience can be defined.

Then comes the Internet and a whole row of Humptys are fallen from the wall.  (There’s still a wall.)  Surprisingly, among the survivors are gay guys of all kinds.  They were always there.  But they are not the only kind of people in the world and they are not even all alike.  They’ve been assigned to “homosexuality,” a category only invented decades ago and elaborated with both fantasy and honest testimony ever since.  Once the money is wrung out of it — weddings are getting close to being turnip juice — things will settle down and we can go back to being unique and think about things other than sex, like enough housing.

Peter Clothier
We COULD think about sex in a more elevated way.
"The Pilgrim's Staff"

For instance, what arrangements in the world will be best for us all?  The writing I’m seeing in liberal places is beginning to turn attention to things like “how did being so logical and rational and analytical end up damaging us all and hiding so much valuable information about who we are?”  Violence, disease, and starvation are going to catastrophically reduce the human carry-load of this planet unless we do something NOW.  Survival.  Individually.  Species-wide.  Very popular movie subject.  Often using the lived experience of surviving gays.


PeterAtLarge said...

Hmmmm... Thanks for the mention. But I'm not sure whether you approve. Best to you, PC

Mary Strachan Scriver said...

I'm always impressed by people who keep track of mentions of them and respond. Some turn into longtime friendships! The truth is that I was looking for an image of a gay man or a man who reflected about the many roles of men in our so-called culture. Google Images gave me a ton of young guys who clearly work out a lot, but your image showed up with a shirt on and looking intelligent. The fact that you had written books on male life ways intrigued me, so I've ordered the "Scepter" book but not read it yet. I would recommend any seriously reflective book.

I read about sex quite a bit because it is morphing so quickly and drastically, sending seismic waves everywhere. I write about men because I love men. I'm not homosexual because I'm CIS female. I don't participate in all the commotion because I'm 76. More when I've read the book.

Prairie Mary

Prairie Mary

Mary Strachan Scriver said...

I see that in memory I converted "staff" into "scepter." I should check things before instead of after.

But the image in my mind is a hooded monk walking over near-wastelands with a staff in his hand. It seems to combine both some Asian and some European tropes of seeking.

Prairie Mary