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Masculinity Is Not Just An Act

It took a woman to say it, but the presumption of bitter feminists (which therefore must be treated as the Cultural Norm) that masculine traits are a pathology, and not being in touch with our feelers is a crippling handicap is misguided and socially damaging.

Christina Hoff Summers, writing on Time.com (the online version of that current events pamphlet in your doctor’s waiting room), shatters the assumptions about manhood and masculinity that form the foundation of contemporary feminist thought. To summarize the main points briefly:

  1. Masculinity is not a mask, it’s how men are.
  2. Despite feminist desires to the contrary, it’s unnatural for men to act like women.
  3. Masculine behavior in boys is not a mental disorder; again, contrary to what feminism teaches.
  4. Men don’t need to express emotions to each other empathetically in order to be psychologically health.

The video below, linked by a commenter a few months back, illustrates the point quite well (and infuriates feminist YouTube commenters).

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From the comments: What we must acknowledge about the left

In the comments for my last post on Obamacare commenter Ignatius began his discussion of the legislation’s undesirable albeit unstated aims with the observation: “I believe that political discussions would be much easier if those on the right jettisoned this quaint idea that leftists have good intentions.”  I highlighted that sentence in a subsequent comment, and other commenters took up the theme, as well.

Commenter Eddie Swaim observed:

While reading the comments about “the left,” it suddenly occurred to me that after listening to Rush Limbaugh for 25 years, he has always been careful to separate “the left” politicians in D.C. from “the left” common everyday folk. I always agreed with him but now I’m not so sure. Most of the gay male liberals that I know fall right in line with the D.C. politicians. Anything and everything is o.k. if it hurts [conservatism] or wins them a battle against the right, whether or not their action is legal or ethical. The ends always justify the means.

Likewise, commenter Steve linked to this video of Ann Coulter discussing the tendency of liberals and the lamestream media to fall back on “racial demagoguery” to advance their agenda in cases like the Zimmerman trial.

I thought of all three comments when I came across another link to an article by John Hawkins dated March 27, 2012.  Hawkins’ article is entitled “5 Uncomfortable Truths About Liberals,” and I encourage everyone to read the whole thing.  For the moment, though, I’ve summarized his five points below.  Hawkins writes that:

1) Most liberals are hateful people.

2) Liberals do more than any other group to encourage race-based hatred.

3) Most liberals are less moral than other people.

4) Most liberals don’t care if the policies they advocate work or not.

5) Most liberals are extremely intolerant.

Now while the language in those observations is strong enough that Hawkins could be accused of engaging in hyperbole, I think a certain amount of strong language is necessary for describing leftist rhetoric and means of argumentation.  There’s no need to take my word for it, though, read the whole thing and decide for yourself.

I would say, though, that in both the Zimmerman case and in the debates (and protests) over late-term abortion restrictions in Texas, we’ve seen many of the traits Hawkins describes displayed quite openly by many leftists.

Likewise, consider this article in The Advocate which a Facebook acquaintance brought to my attention.  The article focuses on the “mighty change of heart” which many Mormons have undergone on the issues of gay rights and gay marriage.  True to what both Hawkins and our commenters noted, most gay leftists will have none of it, as is very evident from their comments on the Advocate article.  Rather than welcome the changes underway in the LDS church, they are expressing their hatred and intolerance for the Mormons in very hostile language.  Read the comments there and see for yourself.

Now while I know a number of our readers might believe that the Mormons brought the hatred on themselves through the church’s advocacy against Proposition 8 in California in 2008, I’d point out a few things that the left never will, namely: 1). Despite what the HRC and its allies would have us believe, opposition to gay marriage isn’t necessarily motivated by hate, however easy or convenient it may be to believe that, and 2). Individuals are and should be defined by more than their affiliation with some group or collective.  The gay left is always up in arms about what this group or that group said or did about some gay issue, but they never have qualms about denouncing or smearing or insulting members of that group in a similar manner.

Projecting their “shadow” onto Republicans and gay conservatives

As I worked on my essay answering the question “What does it mean to be gay”, I reviewed a paper on individuation I had written for a class in Jungian psychology and highlight this passage on the “shadow”(that part of one’s self of which we remain unconscious) as it is particularly relevant to an issue about which I have blogged in recent days:

In recent debates on gay marriage, we see how many gay people have projected their shadow onto Republicans and social conservatives.[1] Promoting a benefit concert for the gay group, “Freedom to Marry,” John Cameron Mitchell, an openly gay actor and writer, not merely faulted [then-]California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger for vetoing a same-sex marriage bill, but accused him of enshrining “fear and loathing in the Constitution”.  Mitchell is not the only gay activist to accuse the Governor – and other opponents of gay marriage – of hatred.  Even as they vilified the Governor for vetoing the gay marriage bill, that Republican signed four gay-friendly pieces of legislation.  That is, the anti-gay image that many projected onto him did not correspond with the reality of his record on gay issues.

Instead of understanding why this politician has a different opinion on gay marriage than they do, they define him as evil.  To be sure, gay activists are not unique in ascribing such aspects to their ideological adversaries:

It is in the nature of political bodies always to see the evil in the opposite group, just as the individual has an ineradicable tendency to get rid of everything he does not know and does not want to know about himself by foisting it off on somebody else.  (C.G. Jung, The Essential Jung, 398)

Thus, in projecting something about themselves onto Governor Schwarzenegger, gay activists are only doing what activists have done frequently throughout history.   As a gay conservative blogger, I have frequently found some of our critics projecting their shadow onto me.  Almost since the moment my blogging partner launched the blog, it has attracted regular critics who often post nasty remarks in our comments section, misrepresenting our ideas and attacking us personally.[2]

While I don’t know precisely what these individuals are projecting onto us, I note that their angry expressions are similar to those of other gay leaders – and activists.  Like John Cameron Mitchell, they vilify Republicans and those on the political right in harsh and derogatory language.  To some degree, it seems that Republicans have become a kind of collective shadow for a large number of gay people, particularly gay activists.
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Responding to the question, “What does it mean to be gay”

In honor of Gay Pride Weekend in Los Angeles, Patrick Range McDonald of the LA Weekly asked me to write an essay answering the question, “What does it mean to be gay?”  This is my response:

I can’t remember the last time I was asked — or even considered — the question, “What does it mean to be gay?” I don’t really think much about being gay any more. I just am gay. My sexuality is an essential part of who I am, but it doesn’t define my existence.

I take it for granted that others know. As a result, I am occasionally surprised when women interpret my friendly interest as a romantic (or sexual) advance. Ever hopeful that men I find attractive will find me attractive, I often forget that woman too can be drawn to me.

After all, most people in our society seek romantic/sexual attachments with members of the opposite sex. It’s only natural that then a woman would take an interest in a single man. And when one does, her interest serves to remind me of the difference created by my emotional/sexual orientation and the journey required to find myself where I now stand — taking that difference for granted.

Unlike our straight peers, gay individuals must distinguish ourselves from the social norm in order to be true to — and live out — some of our deepest feelings.

You can read the rest here.

Why Tyler Clementi Still Matters

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 3:54 pm - July 8, 2011.
Filed under: Gay America,Individuation,Integrity,Leadership

It has been nine months now since Tyler Clementi’s suicide dominated the news.  And I fear many of have forgotten that sensitive young man’s difficult transition to college life.

While it has become easier to come out America today (than it was twenty years ag0), it will always be difficult to be different, even if we do achieve the “full equality” to which many gay activists aspire.  To be sure, young gay people currently have a plethora of places to go for guidance and support.  Through the “It Gets Better” videos and other social (as well as traditional) media, they have testimony and images of older gay people who are open about and comfortable with their sexuality.

They still, however, face the challenge of being different at a period in life when many aspire to conform to their peers.

One concern I’ve had with those videos, the most enduring legacy of the suicide, is that they lack the personal contact that many young people need at difficult moments as they take their first steps on their path of adulthood.  They have just a face and voice on a screen and not a hand on their shoulder or a kind word directed to them personally.

It’s important that we always remember that for as much good as those videos may accomplish, we must also always pay attention to the personal.  We may feel good about recording our experiences for such a video, but we do better when we take the time to listen and respond to a young person in need.

If my experience as an uncle has taught me anything, it’s that an older adult’s encouragement of and interest in a child, adolescent or young adult can help give them the strength to weather life’s storms.  And this applies most particularly to those who differ from the social norm.

RELATED: On Tyler Clementi & the Importance of Mentors

Seeing gay people as individual human beings rather than defining us by group stereotypes

In a post on ice skater’s Johnny Weir’s comment in coming out as a gay man about “pressure” being “the last thing that would make me want to ‘join’ a community“, Ann Althouse gets at something that many, particularly gay activists, in conversations on coming out:

Some people think of themselves as, above all, individuals, and when others think the most important thing is their membership in a particular group, they resist. They don’t want to be defined by a single quality, especially when it’s a quality that makes other people see them in terms of the group stereotype, and not personal uniqueness. 

There is a lot in which this diva says, so I recommend you both read her post and ponder these words.

It often seems that the gay rights’ movement pursues the notion of group rights rather than individual ones.  That is is why I believe we need develop a conservative message on gays, independent to that developed by the left-leaning gay groups, organizations which are helmed by men and women who with a background in Democratic politics and liberal ideologies seem beholden to statist theories of rights.

Hopefully more on this anon, much more in the coming year.

Well said, Ann. (H/t: Reader Leah)

DADT Repeal May Usher In A Colorblind Society

One of the best arguments I’ve heard against the repeal of DADT (which, as we say in the business is now OBE) is that it will lead to a new level of mamby-pambyness vis-a-vis gay troops demanding they be treated “fairly”. Often as we’ve noticed, when any “rights” group is looking for “fairness” it’s often simply code for “special rights”.

For the majority (based on my experience) of gay troops, our lives will likely not change much on a day-to-day basis. I, for one, am not planning to “come out” to anybody save a few close friends where I work. I’m expecting, in fact, that they likely know about me anyway. (After all, such a devilishly handsome man with so much going for him my age not married? He must be gay! Har har, but anyway…) Inasmuch, I don’t expect most gay troops will be demanding anything much more than simply not getting kicked out if we forget to use the gender-neutral pronouns when speaking of our dates.

This is not to say there won’t be a few (which will likely seem like much more than a few) flamboyantly unprofessional troops whose conduct will surely be seen as unbecoming and hopefully will be counseled right away. That will be a touchy subject I’ll save for another post.

For now let’s talk about “special rights”.

Many have argued this is a stepping-stone to a larger “gay rights” agenda. I’ve never seen it as such, and I regret that there will definitely be many gay “rights” champions who will misuse this to further their own agenda (much as those opposed to gay “rights” will also use it to further their agenda). They have no concern necessarily about the defense of the Nation nor about the military. We are a tool for them to use and they should be ashamed, if they knew any such thing as shame in the first place.

There’s another thing that I think might come of this which would be a good sign. Check out this quote from the DoD’s report on the repeal of DADT:

We do not recommend that sexual orientation be placed alongside race, color, religion, sex, and national origin, as a class eligible for various diversity programs, tracking initiatives, and complaint resolution processes under the Military Equal Opportunity Program. We believe that doing so could produce a sense, rightly or wrongly, that gay men and lesbians are being elevated to a special status as a “protected class” and will receive special treatment. In a new environment in which gay and lesbian Service members can be open about their sexual orientation, we believe they will be accepted more readily if the military community understands that they are simply being permitted equal footing with everyone else.

(emphasis added)

This is a sentiment I (as most libertarian conservatives) have long espoused: Equal treatment, not special treatment. Which leads to the next logical question: Why should “race, color, religion, sex, and national origin” be the basis for special treatment either? If gays and lesbians “will be accepted more readily” if not treated differently, wouldn’t that also be the same for members of these other groups? What an interesting outcome of this whole episode if the entire concept of “special” categories of troops went by the way-side?

For all the talk (and legitimate, I might add) of “unintended consequences” surrounding the repeal of DADT, what a happy accident it would be if, by virtue of this new policy change, we had to rethink how we treated everybody. Because if there’s no good reason to treat gays and lesbians as “diversity programs” (and there isn’t), then why do we need them in the first place? This could be a whole new chapter in respecting each other as individuals and as part of a larger team rather than the social balkanization the Left so often loves to use to drive us apart.

-Nick (ColoradoPatriot, from TML)

A Note on the “It Gets Better” Video

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 4:35 pm - October 8, 2010.
Filed under: Gay America,Individuation,Integrity

Well before I posted last night on the “It Gets Better” video, I had received e-mails from several readers alerting me to Dan Savage’s project, each with an almost identical recommendation, “Even though Savage is a partisan jerk,” they said is in so many words, “this is a good idea.”

I write today, fearing some might misconstrue that prior post on the project.  I’m not calling it a bad idea, merely questioning its effectiveness (as I believe Sady Doyle was also doing).

Simply put, I don’t know how effective this project will be.  To be sure, it does no harm  – and has the potential to do some good.  It sets exactly the right tone — an optimistic, upbeat one, that instead of gnashing their teeth and bewailing their fate, young gay people can look forward to a brighter future.

That’s not the only good thing about the video.  It doesn’t dwell on the evil of our oppressors (as do so many of the missives and ministrations of the various gay organizations), but on promoting a forward-looking attitude.

All that said, what teens need most is nurturing human contact.  And we must never lose sight of that.

Can a (web) video make it better for gay teens?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 1:10 am - October 8, 2010.
Filed under: Gay America,Individuation,Integrity

If Sady Doyle had not decided to use a word other than “queer” to describe gay youth at the end of her essay addressing the question, “Does [the Web Video] ‘It Gets Better’ Make Life Better for Gay Teens?“, I would highly recommend her piece.   Semantics aside, it remains a thoughtful contribution to the conversation on what to do in the wake of the suicides of Tyler Clementi and other young gay people.

So, let me just recommend the piece, wondering at the same time if the use of the term, “queer”, to describe people like us, increases the sense of marginalization that young people in our situation feel when they start coming to terms with their difference.

In considering the benefits of the video, Doyle gets at the issue which has been at the top of my mind since I first read of Clementi’s suicide:

However, if we keep telling suicidal people that their situation will “get better” without actually taking any steps to improve it—if we don’t provide support and medical care for people with depression; if we don’t help people who are being abused to find a safe place; if we don’t make sure that the systematic, community-wide abuse of GLBT youth is eliminated—then belief alone can wear thin. And this seems to be one of the main contentions of Savage’s critics.

“There is actually no path to change in this vision,” alleges blogger Zoe Melisa, in a post from her personal blog which was re-published at Queerwatch. “Promoting the illusion that things just ‘get better,’ enables privileged folks to do nothing and just rely on the imaginary mechanics of the American Dream to fix the world.”

Now, much as as I’d like to see the disappearance “the systematic, community-wide abuse of GLBT youth”, I don’t know that we can ever eliminate it.  More on this anon.

That said, I particularly like her focus on providing support to young people in need.  I believe that if such young people find a place where they belong and mentors and friends who can help them find their own inner strength, they will be better situated to deal with their difference, even in a hostile environment.

Her left-wing class rhetoric notwithstanding, Melisa is also onto something.  Is promoting this video merely a feel-good project for well-being people?  It is nice to tell a kid that it’ll get better; it’s better to help him find the means to make it so, that is, to take the time to listen to troubled teens. (more…)

On Tyler Clementi & the Importance of Mentors

Perhaps I’m wrong and it wouldn’t have made a difference if Tyler Clementi had had an older gay friend or mentor to whom he could turn in his moment of mental anguish.

To be sure, it’s not just this story that makes me think of mentoring.  The issue of mentoring has been much on my mind since I first started wrestling with my sexuality.  The first gay “role model” I had was perhaps one of the most negative influences on my life and on my family as well.  And I always wondered if my coming out would have been any smoother had I met an older gay man capable of showing any compassion for my particular situation.

It is perhaps due in large part to his (negative) influence that I was so drawn to the goddess Athene when I read, re-read and listened to the Odyssey in the years after college and in the course of my graduate studies in Mythology.  Her gentle guidance stood in stark contrast to his arrogant indifference.  She both helps the hero’s son Telemachus find his first (male) friend — and facilitates his reconciliation with his own father.  It’s as if Homer knew that we human beings need divine guidance to navigate the treacherous waters when we first leave home and find our way in the world.

This story has stirred up so much with so many of us, in large part because we see ourselves in this young man, recalling the awkwardness of our freshman year in college, our first year away from home, when our aspirations often (unbeknownst to us at the time) conflicted with one another, finding our way in the world while seeking to belong in a new (and often) foreign environment.

Perhaps, the mentor issue comes to my mind because of my own experiences.  And other things surely must come to mind to other individuals, gay and straight alike.

The bottom question we need to ask is what can we do to make that journey less treacherous for young men and young women who differ from the social norm.   (more…)

Victims of our own imagination?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:36 pm - July 28, 2010.
Filed under: Identity Politics,Individuation,Random Thoughts

Have you ever met someone at a social event or in the course of your professional endeavors, started chatting with that individual, gotten to like (or dislike) him (or her) before learning his name and then upon learning his full name, saying, “Oh, so, you’re so and so!”  You’d heard all about him from someone else.  But, the impression you get on meeting him is the exact opposite of the image you had created of him.

This thought comes to mind (and not for the first time) for a variety of reasons, first, speculating about meeting one of our critics at a non-political event where we talk movies or history or whatever before finding out that we sit on opposite side of the political fence and second, thinking that there must be a movie which addresses this topic.

As I thought about this, I realized, the idea is much bigger than just a question of how we often create images of other people in our minds (based upon what others have said about them — or our own impressions of people in a group to which they belong — or who hold the creed they do).  And then, there are the times, when, we fret over what we wear or what we say, fearing we offended somebody in some way.  It’s not that we offended them, it’s that we fear we offended them.

(Or that if we do this or that thing, you know, like jumping in the pool less than an hour after eating, it will cause this or that adverse result.)

It’s all inside our heads.

There is more to this notion than this and I may to build upon it in a future post, but want to keep this one brief to get you thinking.  Sometimes we do become victims of our imagination, seeing things as far different (and perhaps far worse) than things actually are entirely because of how we imagine them to be.

Thoughts on the George Alan Rekers Kerfuffle & “Ex-gays”

Due to the work I needed complete on my dissertation before I set off on my journey, I was unable to devote as much time to the George Rekers story as I would have liked.  Earlier this week, he “resigned from the board of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH)”.

Because NARTH promotes the idea of “reparative therapy,” the idea that through treatment, we can overcome our same-sex attraction, this notion is once again in the news.  And Rekers’ recent behavior, like ex-gay activist John Paulk’s 2000 visit to a Washington, D.C.-gay bar, suggest that their “best” efforts notwithstanding, many “ex-gays’” (or social conservatives obsessed with homosexuality) longing for intimacy, emotional, sexual, sensual or otherwise, with men does not always disappear through therapy.

Now, I have occasionally met some men who acknowledge having had (sexual) relationships with other men in their high school, college and early post-college years and then find themselves dating women in their mid to late 20s.  That suggests that for some people, their sexuality is less fixed than it is for others.  So, I wonder if when the ex-gay groups (like NARTH) tout their “success” rate, they are merely citing those men (and women) who found their sexual attraction shifting naturally, or, find that while they’re bisexually inclined, when it comes time to choosing a life-partner, they want someone of the opposite sex.

After studying the ancient Greeks, who were remarkably tolerant of male homosexual behavior, I am aware that only rarely do they talk about homosexual relationships as being on the same plane as traditional (yes, even back then) marriage.  We do get that in the Symposium, with the relationship of Pausanias and Agathon and Aristophanes’s speech.  Otherwise, they accept that married men will, from time to time, seek sexual relationships with other (usually younger) men.  Or, that some men, like Alexander for example, often had relationships with both men and women.

All I am saying here is that while for many of us, our attraction seems fixed in one direction, for some it is not. (more…)

The Loneliness of George Alan Rekers

If I were no so deep in dissertation mode right now, I would devote more attention to the George Rekers story because there is far more to it than the bloggers covering it have considered.  First and foremost, the story reminds us of the pseudo-science behind much of the “scholarship” folks like Rekers use to address the causes and supposed “cures” of homosexuality.

It’s unfortunate that all too many of those who have written about it have been determined to focus on the tawdry aspects of the relationship.  And unfortunate that gay bloggers have taken it upon themselves to track down the young escort, make public his profession and torment him with their questions.  They should have left him out of this — or at the very least not made public his name.

The (very) young man is caught in the crossfire, so to speak, while Rekers acts out one of the oldest pathologies in the book, seeking solace with a younger companion to fill the emptiness in his own life.

The real story here is not just the contrast between Rekers’ public life and his private passions.  It’s too easy (though, in this case, not entirely inaccurate) to call him “self-loathing” (as at least one person has done) or to dwell on his hypocrisy.  The real story is what human beings do to address their loneliness, to feel connected with our fellows.

George Rekers is, by all evidence, a very lonely man.

As I have been reading about his European travels with a young escort, I am reminded of a passage describing such loneliness John Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley.   (more…)

On Sarah Palin and Independence

Posted by ColoradoPatriot at 2:18 pm - July 8, 2009.
Filed under: Individuation,Sarah Palin

John Fund has an interesting piece on WSJ this morning about the reasons for Sarah Palin’s abdication of the Governor’s Mansion in Juneau last week. Part of his theory goes that she was fed up with all the negative attention, and, lacking the naked and cut-throat desire for power and influence, she simply hung it up.

Of course, her decision has drawn criticism from all sides. Those who have believed in her find it a disappointment that she’s left politics. Many who supported her are scratching their heads, wondering if the ‘ploy’ will pay off for 2012 (or maybe 2016). Of course, many of her detractors are filled with glee that they’ve sent her running for the North Shore (among them, few who could fathom that she is being sincere–after all, who in her right mind wouldn’t want to run for high office? Here’s a hint: There are people who don’t think like you.)

Anyway, this kind of hit me when a friend mentioned to me today that he wished we could find a “hero” in politics these days, lamenting the feet of clay even the vaunted seem to have. This got me to thinking…

I wish more people would find themselves to be heroes rather than hoping for one (least of all from the government) in somebody else. Perhaps that’s what the problem is these days: Instead of being fully-functional and independent individuals, we’ve become accustomed to expecting someone else to help lift us up, whether literally with our lot in life or simply lifting our spirits.

Bailouts, take-overs, ‘universal healthcare’, etc. These are symptoms of a society wherein too few take responsibility for themselves.

Frankly, I’d be satisfied with a leader who says, “Enough is enough! Start taking care of yourselves and your families!”

Not that I’m foreswearing all heroes, and certainly I’m not suggesting we shouldn’t look up to those who have done great things. But perhaps Sarah Palin can (if this is what she chooses to do) serve as an example of someone who shows Americans that they can be the ones to make the “Changes” that they want to see, and that they can do so without being (or depending on) a member of the government. In turn, those “Hoping” for “Change” won’t feel the need to elect those who will bring it about (and thus subject us all to their whims), but can do it themselves.

Kind of like a “community organizer” without delusions of grandeur.

What do y’all think?

-Nick (ColoradoPatriot), From Southern Command.

The Cultural Moment of Michael Jackson’s Passing

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 11:34 pm - June 25, 2009.
Filed under: Individuation,Movies/Film & TV,Music,Pop Culture

When Anna Nicole Smith died, a friend of mine, not himself a fan of the professional celebrity, said he burst out crying.  He “couldn’t help” feeling sad.  And so I felt earlier today, upoing learning of the passing of Michael Jackson.  I did not cry, but felt a certain unfathomable sadness.

He was, quite simply, one of the (if not the) most gifted musical peformers of our time.  He was born with a talent that individuals spend a fortune in money and countless hours of their own time to acquire, only never to distinguish themselves in any memorable manner.  This is not say that Jackson did not work hard; there is abundant that he did.

Indeed, the strenuous rehearsals for his upcoming London comeback shows may have caused the cardiac arrest which took his life.  We know from stories of his childhood that he spent so much time rehearsing, recording and performing with the Jackson 5 that he could not do what most children did, hang out with their friends and play with their toys, living in a world of their imaginations.

He didn’t have time to dream, performing as he did in a successful band and dealing with the fame brought about by its success.

That ban was successful large part due to his own talents which his father recognized early on–and pushed him to develop.  Joe Jackson dominated young Michael’s life until, in his early adulthood, he set out on his own.  In a matter of months, Michael experienced a transformation that takes years, if not decades, for most of us, from being in thrall to his parents to being in control of a vast entertainment empire.  And just as he was achieving success on his own, music videos, the perefect medium for communicating his talent to mass audiences, were coming to the fore. (more…)

The Mother Complexes of Republican-Haters?

This morning while reading Robert Johnson’s Lying with the Heavenly Woman: Understanding and Integrating the Feminine Archetypes in Men’s Lives, for my dissertation, I chanced upon this passage:

Many men in our culture are permanently stuck in this contamination, and they are constantly fighting a mother.  What a variety of forms there are!  A man’s own mother only begins the long list.  The poor waitress in the restaurant who elicits a man’s rage because she brought the wrong order, the woman office manager, the woman traffic officer, the Republican Party, and the mother in a thousand other disguises incur the wrath of the man who has not made this differentiation between the inner complex and the outer form.

Emphasis added.

It is interesting that he included the Republican Party on the individuals or institutions who elicit certain men’s rage.  Must be that a lot of this psychologist’s clients vent against the GOP.  (I’m sure that some extreme social conservatives with similar psychoses frequently mention “homosexuals”.)

It just all goes to my point about the psychological basis of such animosity.  It’s not the object so much that they hate, but the demon they’re trying to exorcize.

On bad advice & good mentors

Today, I realized yet again that I must one day write my memoir, even if no one will ever read it.  Given my fascinatingly strange coming out story, I believe I have something to offer about the gay coming out experience as a metaphor for self-discovery, individuation.

I fear, however, that some who might otherwise warm to my story would reject it because of one element, the political aspect of my journey.  But, that is only one ingredient in the strange mix of my experiences.

The real strangeness of my own experience has nothing to do with my politics, but instead that my coming out story, like many good movies, has a villain who seems drawn from central casting, an arrogant man in perfectly tailored suits who, in the guise of helping me, gave me nothing but bad advice.  And he happened to be gay.

My thought today was on the importance of mentors in our lives which is of course related to the subject of my doctoral dissertation, how the goddess Athena serves as a mentor to nearly all the Greek heroes who achieve success in their endeavors.

She reminds us of the importance of good guidance as we strive, struggle even, to realize our goals.  Perhaps, more on this anon.  My own story shows that bad advice often delays the realization of those goals.

Of Anger & Electoral Loss

As an emotional guy with a short temper, I can clearly relate to those gay activists who angrily demonstrated in cities across the country yesterday as they had all across California in the immediate aftermath of the passage of Proposition 8.

Like those protesters, I too have had to contend with some difficult feelings in the wake of electoral disappointment.  Of course, in my case, it was Democratic victories across the nation.  I’m sure many others on the right experienced similar emotions.

It is easy to give into our emotions.  And sometimes giving in helps us deal with difficult situations.  But, it’s not always productive.  Indeed, more often than not it can be quite destructive.

When I reflect on the times I let my anger get the best of me in the past twelve days, moments when I snapped at or ignored friends, I wish I had exercised greater self-control, as do many who sometimes say or do something based on a momentary impulse.  Yet, the activists who protested yesterday turned their anger into a mass movement as manifested by the myriad rallies yesterday.

We all have to learn to understand our emotions and learn to contain them when they prevent us from moving ahead in life.  That appeals to political movements as it applies to individuals.  I might be more sympathetic to the rallies had they been held before the election in order to persuade people to vote, “No.”

(That said, some of the protesters’ antics might have had the opposite effect.)

The issue should be channeling that activity into a productive endeavor.  Take a gander at the current discourse on the right.  The subhead, for example, of Karl Rove’s piece in Newsweek applies to gay marriage advocates as much as it applies to the conservatives he is addressing:  “We’ve been walloped in consecutive elections*, but we can’t just dwell on the past. The future is already here.

As the future is already here, we need be forward-looking to face it.  And the demographics look good for the repeal of Proposition 8.  Just as they look good for holding the line on federal spending and containing (if not constricting) the size of the federal government.

The goal must be to develop strategies to effect those changes, not to wallow in our misery.

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*The consecutive elections for gay marriage advocate would be the passage of every intiative seeking codify the definition marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

On Solitude, Loneliness & Angry E-mails

Very often on Saturday mornings — and sometimes even Sundays — I will rise from my bed grateful I have nothing planned for the day.  I delight, as I did this morning, at the quiet of my apartment.  I won’t turn on the TV or check the web.  Instead, I’ll sit quietly at my desk reading a book, scribbling some notes or just pausing, listening to the rustle of the leaves as the wind moves through the tree outside my window.

Even if a close friend or beloved relative calls, I will regret the interruption.  I’d rather have this time to myself.

I’ve often wondered if we all need such moments.   Perhaps my observation of my fellows is limited, but sometimes it seems all too many can’t bear such quiet.  They constantly seek activity or human presence.to fill the void.

Sometimes when I get angry e-mails from readers, those insulting me, calling me self-hating or a hyper-partisan or whatever slur they can come up with I wonder if this is their means of filling the void.  Why, I wonder, do they so regularly check this blog, which they claim, so offends them?

It’s almost as if they have inverted George Eliot’s maxim:  “The first condition of human goodness is something to love; the second, something to reverence.”*  They seem to have decided the way to deal with their loneliness is by finding someone to revile and someone to demonize.

Expressing these hateful emotions help connect them to a community where criticism of Republicans is the defining idea.  Fearful of feeling isolated, they need show their commitment to the cause by manifesting the depth of their malice, like the zeal of a convert.  (Yes, we see this on the right as well, particularly in the ill-will of some extreme social conservatives toward gays.  Note the frequency with which certain anti-gay zealots frequent gay sites or attend their conferences.)

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Why It Matters to Come Out as a Gay Republican

For the past year or so, I have been pondering writing a memoir, not necessarily because my life has been particularly interesting, but because, I believe, lessons I’ve learned, largely by taking the wrong path, may well have some universal significance.

Perhaps the most significant of those lessons is to remain true to yourself, even if you risk the opprobrium of your peers.  As I’ve expressed several times on this blog (here and here for example), when I moved to LA in 1999, I decided (by and large) to hide my conservative politics, that is, to borrow an expression, I went back into the political closet.

I did so, largely because the few conservatives I knew who were familiar with the entertainment industry said it would be career suicide to identify oneself as a Republican.  I learned later it was even a challenge in some segments of the industry for Democrats to be open about their support for Hillary Clinton during the Democratic primaries.

In this town, one does indeed face ostracism for coming out conservative.  As I reported last month, David Zucker said Republican was the “new gay” in Hollywood.

But, just as we gay people find a community where there are others like ourselves when we come out, so too do we gay Republicans, even those of us in Hollywood find a community when we come out of our closets.

When I started coming out to my gay and industry friends in 2004, I learned that being open about my politics offered a window in the character of my friends and acquaintances.  Those who dismissed me because of my politics revealed their narrow-mindedness.  They put ideological conformity ahead of emotional compatibility and much else.

Those who might be surprised by my politics, but considered the relationship unchanged by the revelation proved themselves worthy friends.  They would not let a slight difference get in the way of their affection, admiration and even respect.

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