Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Where Teh Gay Originates

So I'm teaching this class, the Lit of Diverse Cultures class, and we've just read Churchill's Cloud 9, an interesting and bizarre text, and we had an interesting session on it.

Among other things, I pointed out to the class how much violence was in the text -- and found they had not even noticed that. "Huh," one student said. "You know, I saw all the sex. And now I can see all the violence. But until you mentioned it, I didn't even notice the violence." So then I got to spin out on that for a bit, about how violence in our culture is so normalized that we don't even see it, that it's fine for us to see people being beaten up and people's heads blown off and people being burned alive, but oh, show a tit on TV, and yikes, Western Civilization is going to Fall!

And I talked to them about the roots of the word obscene, how it's from the Greek for off-stage, how for the Greeks violence was the thing that was obscene: how the Greeks never allowed violence to take place on-stage. It was obscene: it always took place off-stage. But sex? That was fine. Sex could happen, and did happen, giant phallus, humping, naked men and women, that could be on-stage all you liked, and did. Sex was good. Violence was risky.

And what do we communicate to our children, with our different rules -- that sex is obscene, that violence is a fine thing to show?

But what I started out to post about is another thing. This is, after all, the Gay Lit part of the class. In one bit of the play, Harry, a guy who's meant to be gay, has sex with a little boy. One of my smartest students, who's also a conservative, put forth the theory that this event is what makes that little boy gay.

Teh gay, she says, is caused by little boys being molested by adult men.

I explained that no, it was not. I assured her that being sexually molested as a child will make a child more likely to have mental issues when the child grows up, but it is not what makes the kid a gay kid.

She gives me a cool, superior look. She didn't argue. But she knows better.

I didn't argue either. I moved on.

I'm not sure what I should have done. This is one of my smartest students. But she's also rigidly conservative -- I'm not sure I could have said anything that would have made her listen. She knows that being gay is a dysfunction. She's not about to listen to anything I say that says anything different.

I wish I could have thought of something, though.

5 comments:

zelda1 said...

You could have told her about my two gay cats. They were not molested and they were males and never had an interest in female cats. They groomed each other, slept together, and did the bumpity bump together. Yep, saw it several times in my growing up years. I also had gay guppies, there were female guppies but the males gonapodims only wanted other gonapodims. I eventually bought another male so that my lone females could reproduce. So, the theory of gays in the animal, and I include humans, kingdom coming from some kind of trauma, no way. It's inside of them, like being heterosexual is inside of some, like being asexual is inside of others. It's not from molestation or what would that make me, having been raped so young by a man. Would that make me like having raping sex with older men. No, did not happen. Oh well, there are these people who just want to focus on proving their point and that is homosexuals are mentally ill, shit, what jerks. She should read Petronius. I think she might not be so quick to judge same sex unions. Or maybe she would, who knows. Everyone thought my son would be gay because he was raised by me, no man involved. He carried a purse until he was in the second grade, in his purse were hotwheels cars, plastic tools, and other boy things. It made sense for him to put his things in a purse, my daughter had her things in a purse, and I had my things in a purse. He isn't gay, but I would love him the same no matter what. Geeze people are so weird.

Clint Sharp said...

Tolerance of homosexuality will come about gradually just as racial tolerance has. Over the years, more and more people who become parents will come in contact with homosexuals they loved prior to knowing they were gay, and they will pass down tolerance to their children. For the ones who've already been imbued with hatred and intolerance, I'm afraid there's not much that can be done, save them finding out a best friend or loved one is gay.

Anonymous said...

If having adult men molesting boy children makes a child want to have sex with men when they grow up, then ask her to explain the equally conservative logic that says molested girls grow up to be man hating lesbians who refuse to have sex with a man. (Of course, when confronted with this explaination of lesbianism, I always respond that there would be a hellova lot more lesbians if this was actually the case...)

Grub the Raper said...

I think you may erroneously blame her rigidity on her conservatism, when it seems more likely that it is a religious conviction at the root of this.

Tell me that you do not equate the two... unless you are prepared to also tell me that the blacks are great dancers.

M. Simon said...

You have some really nasty spam on this post.