June 20, 2010

"Time's comprehensive archives allow us to see how the magazine's discussions of homosexuality have evolved..."

"... from pathologizing and stereotyping . . . to awkward attempts to view gays humanely while continuing to refer to their sexual orientation as a disease . . . to a gradual acceptance of gays as upstanding members of society who are struggling for equal rights. Articles from 1956, 1966, 1969, 1975, and 1979 [at the link]."

93 comments:

Moose said...

*yawn*

chuck b. said...

I already discovered in college: I spent an interesting evening in the stacks with the Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature.

***

Is "*yawn*" like the cough in the theater during the overly poignant moment?

dbp said...

Over time attitudes have changed regarding homosexuality. Over time they will continue to change, either in the direction they have been going or back in the direction from which they came. I wouldn't count on the going back part any time soon, but who knows about say-a couple of centuries?

The thing is that homosexuality has not itself changed: Whatever caused it in the past, causes it now. An interesting subject to consider is why have attitudes changed? I think people who like the changes would say that we are, as a society, becoming more enlightened. I think the change is more akin to fashion. Who knows why lapels and hem-lines change?

I'm not saying we should criminalize wide ties, but when they are out of fashion they sure look stupid. We might even wonder how anybody at any time could have thought otherwise.

Jason (the commenter) said...

dbp: An interesting subject to consider is why have attitudes changed?

It was the movement to come out. What prejudice can stand against heroism like that?

rhhardin said...

It's the Time audience evolving. The magazine goes where its most reliable audience is.

knox said...

What's "Time" magazine?

dbp said...

Jason,

I don't think heroism has much to do with it: Prohibitionists, confederate soldiers, Communists, abolitionists and suffragettes all had brave fighters.

Some of them won, some lost, some won for a while and later lost, etc.

Jason (the commenter) said...

dbp: I don't think heroism has much to do with it: Prohibitionists, confederate soldiers, Communists, abolitionists and suffragettes all had brave fighters.

Your neighbors and children coming out wouldn't be influential? And if we had no brave fighters we would be nowhere. Heroism has everything to do with it.

lucid said...

Journalists know so little about what they write about. They are illusionists, pretending to an understanding that they don't possess.

AST said...

I think that the decision of the American Psychiatric Association to remove homosexuality from the DSM as a type of neurosis. It was done after lobbying by a number of homosexual psychiatrists.

Moose said...

*yawn* as in waiting for someone to trot out the blacks on the bus and he lunch counter analogies...

Quayle said...

And one would need reference points to determine if that shift were progress or decay.

And where are those reference points?

The feelings of the person themselves?

They can't be reference points because they are the data points themselves.

No one argues that people feel attractions. The question that needs to be answered is whether those attractions should be followed or resisted.

And only revealed religion, if it truly exists, can tell us that.

Ralph L said...

In 1964, LBJ's chief of staff was arrested for suckin dick at the DC YMCA.

All the expletives deleted from the transcripts of Nixon's WH tapes killed his support more than the substance among many people.

Now think of everything we Know about Rahm, which is supposed to be part of his charm.

dbp said...

Jason,

I think you are partially right: Without heroism, there would probably have been no change in attitude, or at least the change would have been more gradual.

That being said, I don't see any logical reason to believe that the change is permanent.

In fact, given the ongoing revolution in genomics, I don't think there will be many homosexuals in a couple of hundred years: Every trait will be chosen and while most people will not have any prejudice toward gays, they still won't deliberately choose to produce a homosexual child. Breeders can be pretty cold-blooded: The sexual imbalance in China and India is due to selective abortion of females.

dbp said...

Further, my question remains: Why the change? In this case, why did homosexuals suddenly become brave in the 1950's and onward? Why not sooner, or later, or never?

I suspect that they sensed society was beginning to have a critical mass of receptive people. I mean, would any sane person "come-out" in Iran? You would just get hung.

shoutingthomas said...

This is the old cyclical discussion.

The young think they discovered sex. They like to congratulate themselves on their liberalism (in fact, their liberation from original sin), and berate the generation of their parents for bearing original sin.

I'd go on about how dumb it is, but I did it when I was young, too.

I thought I'd discovered sex, and I though that I'd discovered enlightened attitudes toward homosexuals. Four decades later, I'm aware that my parents and grandparents were probably familiar with homosexuality, and probably pretty unconcerned about it.

The great repression is mostly a myth.

As another commenter said, it's only a matter of time before the references to Jim Crow start.

Kids have a need to crusade on this subject. I did, too. It's a mystery to me now why crusading on this subject ever interested me.

Ralph L said...

he lunch counter
These are found at adult book stores.

Ralph L said...

(Almost) absolute sexual freedom is the principal touchstone of the boomers.

Jason (the commenter) said...

dbp: Every trait will be chosen and while most people will not have any prejudice toward gays, they still won't deliberately choose to produce a homosexual child. Breeders can be pretty cold-blooded: The sexual imbalance in China and India is due to selective abortion of females.

I don't think that's realistic. From what we can guess, any genes for homosexuality are an adaptive advantage; relatives of homosexuals tend to be more fertile than average. Also, the treatment would cost money, so the poor wouldn't be able to afford it and it wont be universal. Considering the ups and downs of human civilizations, eliminating genes for homosexuality (assuming it's genetic) from your group would be the same as killing all your decedents.

Nature is way more cold-blooded than people.

Think about the Chinese and Indians who kill off their daughters. They may not have any descendants, even though they have sons, because there are a lack of women. On the other hand, people with daughters in these societies have a much better chance of having descendants, since there are plenty of extra males.

It's the people who aren't messing with their children who will have descendants!

sunsong said...

I think it’s obvious that Americans have, over time, become more conscious of the value of difference and the basic dignity of being human. When the Constitution was written it was perfectly acceptable to hold slaves and *own* women. White men’s *rights* were acknowledged but there was not yet an understanding that blacks, Indians, women, Chinese, immigrants or gays etc have the same *rights*.

There has been much progress. It is now rare to run across blatant bigotry toward blacks and women are becoming more and more powerful in our society. Soon gays will be much more accepted and enough people will *understand* that they have the same *rights* as everyone else. Not everyone will *get it* - you just have to read far right sites to get a sense of how far they need to come :-)

The way I would paraphrase what they is like this:

I hate gays. I think they are disgusting and deviant and therefore I cannot abide the thought of them being considered *normal* in any way or equal to me. So, cleverly, I claim this is about voting – I want to *vote* on what rights these abominable gays have. I will never recognize that they have the right to live as they choose. They must live by my beliefs – not theirs.

Ted Olsen and David Boise are more than likely to win in California against Prop8. Olsen was head and shoulders above Cooper in his presence and arguments this week. The anti-gay folks will freak out. That is a given :-) But whether marriage equality happens over a longer or shorter period of time. The anti-gays will die off and gays will be accepted.

The anti-gay crowd argues that marriage has always been this way and that marriage is about procreation. Olsen answered that to say it has always been this way is to say because I said so and that is not an argument :-) He also said that heterosexuals will continue to have sex – even if gays marry – so procreation will continue :-)

Those arguments aren’t going to hold up. Gay marriage is inevitable.

Jason (the commenter) said...

dbp: In this case, why did homosexuals suddenly become brave in the 1950's and onward? Why not sooner, or later, or never?

You can't ask that just about gays, it's part of the civil rights movement; you have to ask it about blacks and other groups, as well. Perhaps the roots are in the anti-colonialism of Gandhi. Perhaps it's something we brought from the war, seeing the results of genocide in Germany. Perhaps it is the end result of the individualism that the West prides itself in.

Quayle said...

But whether marriage equality happens over a longer or shorter period of time. The anti-gays will die off and gays will be accepted.

You seriously underestimate the staying power of the world views you are talking about. They will not die off.

The historical record is certainly clear on that one.

And comparisons to slavery are very weak.

Slavery was generally disfavored in the Old Testament, with the Mosaic law requirement that slaves be released every 50th jubilee year.

Slavery was a huge issue of concern and opposition during the founding of America.

But the same can't be accurately said about homosexuality, which was condemned even as far back as the old testament and was certainly not supported by anyone during the founding.

It has only come into favor in the last 20 or 30 years after the sexual revolution.

So how come suddenly its OK for society now?

ricpic said...

It is the peculiar directive of our age that one must celebrate diversity and perversity. But of course one can't. One can fake it...for a while. After that only coercion will keep benighted normals from recoiling against that which is naturally repugnant to us. In the meantime -- Zieg Heil Homos!!

Old Dad said...

sunsong,

The "value of difference" is a ridiculous notion. The Gulf of Mexico is much more polluted today than it was in March. That's different. What's the value?

Same with people. Hitler was different. Mao was different. Idi Amin was different. Everybody is different for Christ's sake.

The key isn't difference; it's value.

Synova said...

"White men’s *rights* were acknowledged but there was not yet an understanding that blacks, Indians, women, Chinese, immigrants or gays etc have the same *rights*."

I don't think this is right. The group "white men" is inaccurate. It's simplistic, not to mention over-broad. Because there is no way whatsoever to support the notion that all one had to be was a "white man". But framing it that way makes all things so much less... complicated.

Paul Zrimsek said...

When you post about how much you're looking forward to your political opponents dying, always put a smiley face at the end so they know they're not allowed to get mad at you.

Ken Pidcock said...

Calls this to mind.

edutcher said...

I'll say it again: the only reason for this 'acceptance' is because homosexuals bloc vote for the right (Left) party. Moreover, most people are coerced from voicing their true thoughts on the matter through hate speech laws and ACORN style tactics.

To paraphrase Gen. George Crook, "The American homosexual inspires respect for his rights only so long as he inspires terror for his vote".

William said...

How Time has evolved. Homosexuality used to be the touchstone of evil. Now it is opposition to gay marriage....They have a stereotype of evil and different entities are chopped to fit that Procustean bed.

Jason (the commenter) said...

edutcher: To paraphrase Gen. George Crook, "The American homosexual inspires respect for his rights only so long as he inspires terror for his vote".

We live in a democracy (federal republic) politicians should live in fear of their constituents.

chr1 said...

I remember visiting the Lincoln memorial about 10 years back. It was a nice, summer afternoon, and there was a kind of hippie-ish looking woman sitting on the floor with a child on her lap.

She was explaining the address for him (not letting him think for himself enough to my satisfaction) and went on to say how everyone, was essentially equal.

I was in my early twenties, and just kind of observed, thinking through how that wasn't really what it said, and how much it left out, despite it's kernel of truth.

So, here we are ten years later.

Stephanie said...

So Time magazine's evolved, but older americans and rural americans and anyone else who hasn't evolved quite as quickly are forced to adapt?

Why did Time get to evolve and the rest of the population is forced to adapt? Who set the timetable for gay acceptance to require that the rest of society must evolve at that same pace or be shunned? Maybe Time were slow evolvers and should have adapted much quicker, or maybe the rest of society should be allowed to evolve and not be forced into the arbitrary "Time's accepted it so everyone not yet so evolved must be a homo hating luddite Christer" timeline, either.

Society can either change by evolution or forced adaption, a combination of the two is messy... and unamerican.

Synova said...

It's not that sex is about procreation, it's that sex *is* procreation and paternity has always been a mater of speculation and it's inevitable that "repressive" rules about sexuality result. The whore is never respected.

But hey, we have reliable, painless contraception now, right? Contraception has never been an adequate counter to the problem of having babies but now is different, right? It's reliable now and we can all have free-sex and just do whatever we feel with whomever we feel, right? Used to be untimely babies would be exposed to die or grow up in wrenching poverty to die of disease and predation when old methods of contraception failed. Or else women would injure themselves through attempts to abort.

It makes sense that people would favor strict rules about sexual morality and the identification and responsibility of paternity and care very little at all about what people *feel* like doing. That's the logical result of human compassion when faced with the reality of what sexual license means.

Now, saying that homosexuals don't reproduce and therefore the rules don't apply misses that social pressure only really works when it's not publicly flaunted. At the very least young fertile persons ought to be shown a united front while matrons with a lover are discrete.

But things are different now. Right?

Someone mentioned China and the selective aborting of female fetuses. And then there is the argument that the super modern birth control isn't good enough and we have to publicly sanction abortions of convenience. There are the other social costs of sexual license and the creed of honoring feelings and love which are children, so very many, growing up in broken homes or with single mothers, and the poverty is still there.

Opinion may change again about how "free" heterosexuals get to be about their love and with it will go how much we respect romantic and sexual love as justification for any choices made, no matter who else is involved.

Heterosexuals will keep having sex and babies will keep being born, but unless homosexuals are living apart from the rest of society when the rules do change, they will change for everyone. *If* we get disgusted enough at the cheapness of marriage and the lack of care of children and the destruction of the unwanted, then the rules will change again.

Never back quite to what they were, time only goes forward. But I see no real reason to think that the reasons for the very complex social rules about who and when anyone is allowed a sexual relationship have irrevocably changed. We still need to know who the father is, and we still find the solutions to an untimely pregnancy barbaric.

Jason (the commenter) said...

Stepheanie: Society can either change by evolution or forced adaption, a combination of the two is messy... and unamerican.

There is no difference between evolution and forced adaptation, life is messy, and America is a an experiment that was forced on many people (loyalists, for instance).

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

That's the logical result of human compassion when faced with the reality of what sexual license means.

Oh brother. Here goes Synova on yet another bizarre and tangled tangent, this time to argue that compassion is about squelching the the expression of the most fulfilling of passions - because she deems them misdirected.

Why do I bother?

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Used to be untimely babies would be exposed to die or grow up in wrenching poverty to die of disease and predation when old methods of contraception failed.

Well, at least until such pagans took to reading Jewish texts and decided to abandon that practice.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

The whore is never respected.

Speak for yourself.

I don't mind a woman consciously choosing not to make sex the centerpiece of her relationships, or lack thereof, as long as it doesn't make her a passionless bore once she finally goes for it.

The problem lies in the fact that, at least for American women, sex seems to be an inherently political act. What a shame. What a way to make something so pleasant, life-affirming and potentially affectionate so terribly unenjoyable.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

BTW, the media is saying that changes in attitudes toward marriage seem to be at least as much a function of female earning power as anything else.

I don't know that I care or have an opinion either way.

Synova said...

"Why do I bother?"

I have no idea.

But you do sort of prove that those engaging in Proper Thought really don't give a shit about anything else. Which lends credence to those who claim that the goal is destroying families.

Physical love is the most fulfilling passion? Well! Lets not get in the way of that, shall we. Let your dick lead you where ever because nothing should be allowed to get in the way of the most fulfilling passion. It is the height of human expression, the totality of transcendent love.

And the greeks (we always like bringing up greeks when it comes to sex, although it might have been the romans) would classify you as mentally unstable and to be pitied for losing your mind.

Synova said...

I'm quite serious... love is a modern invention, at least the concept of being *in* love. It's entirely a modern invention.

People from other ages would find us extremely... odd.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Synova, when I use the term "passion" I am referring to something specific, and intense.

I pity someone whose dullness of emotion prevents them from realizing that.

If sex with someone you're in love with is not more intense than serving soup at a homeless shelter, then I suspect you're doing something wrong.

I could care less what ancient civilizations - no matter how great - had to say just before they disappeared into obscurity for centuries. The ideas that matter were the ones were revived, and survived.

Synova said...

I don't know that you think of "passion" as profound, because what you say is always so floral and also empty.

Do you have a profound experience with your lovers, full of passion and wonder and... where are they now?

Gone?

Some staying power that passion has, huh.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
edutcher said...

Jason (the commenter) said...

edutcher: To paraphrase Gen. George Crook, "The American homosexual inspires respect for his rights only so long as he inspires terror for his vote".

We live in a democracy (federal republic) politicians should live in fear of their constituents.


I was also thinking of theologians, academicians, and media types, but the analogy works there, too.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

None of my former lovers, to my knowledge, are dead.

Perhaps while we were having sex they thought they died and went to heaven, but that is different.

I suspect you promote this allegedly human inability to reconcile passion with anything worth preserving as a foil for your own fears, suspicions, or lack of capacity to feel your own desires.

Pity. Especially in the age of such bullshit as Eat, Love, Pray and such.

Stop projecting this obvious failing onto others, let alone advocate it.

Synova said...

And the other things you say... about women who are boring. You want creativity and wit.

Bravo.

And passion and the most bestest expression of love, something that we're supposed to see as definitive and guiding and against which nothing, no consideration, can stand.

We "fall in love" and excuse the pain and harm we cause because nothing must stand in the way of love. Not my fault! I fell in love.

We tolerate this *now* in our society because (as someone pointed out) we believe we are the first to discover it.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

If love is an invention, it's surely a better one that whatever desire gives itself license to compel people to suppress the expression of emotions in others.

It's also a more compassionate one.

Most suppression comes from people who fear what they've suppressed in themselves.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

At 10:48 you seem to equate a tolerance, respect for and/or encouragement of love with using it as an excuse for ignoring all other considerations.

Why do you do this, Synova? Any reason in particular?

Synova said...

And yet you say it is passing and get on my case for suggesting that something of true value ought not be transient.

Either way, how does that work as a justification for the fact that we simply *must* respect that passionate love, that undeniable consuming fire, by promoting marriage? How does that follow?

I'm so often surprised, though I shouldn't be, on how often there is no substance in the advocacy of Right Thought. Which is sad, because it might well be right and good and true, but efficacy of any argument is destroyed when the argument rests on air.

We used to measure a man, not on how his desires ruled him but on how he ruled his desires.

Palladian said...

We were loving each other and fucking each other back when you all hated us and killed us. We are loving each other and fucking each other now that some of you don't hate us and don't kill us. We'll be loving each other and fucking each other the next time you decide to hate us and kill us again.

In other words, whether you "accept" us into the cradling embrace of your "evolved discussions" or whether you hate us and call us perverts, my response is:

*yawn*

Palladian said...

That, and "fuck you".

Adam said...

I think Synova has restated the question in a useful way-the issue is sexual mores in general, not homosexuality per se. It seems plausible to me that the heterosexual revolution of the post-Pill era undermined the distinction between heterosexuality as fundamentally procreative and homosexuality as fundamentally about physical pleasure. If the primary difference between straights and gays is their choice of orifice, then it becomes more difficult to argue for the moral superiority of one over the other and easier to argue from a position of (a)moral equivalence.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

You might want to post a more coherent comment before waxing on about substance.

Anyway, you go on and keep destroying those desires. You let them know who's in charge, Synova!

In the meantime, I'll go watch the trailer to Eat, Love, Pray and try to do more research on this phenomenon of American women (or men) who have seem to have no emotional substance in their lives, yet long for it anyway.

Kill those emotions! Show 'em who's boss! Make them go away! Bad! Bad!

In the meantime, I'm sure Julia Roberts will make a small fortune for starring in a role that puts her at odds with your strange prescription.

I don't envy either side (repression or mindless adventures of immersion in less repressed cultures) for how they've chosen to resolve the predicament that you've chosen to keep us all in.

But you enjoy your tamed beast! (Assuming you haven't killed it off altogether).

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Glenn Beck saying "empathy is bad"=Synova saying "love is bad/passion is bad"?

Oh Glenn!

Synova said...

"At 10:48 you seem to equate a tolerance, respect for and/or encouragement of love with using it as an excuse for ignoring all other considerations.

Why do you do this, Synova? Any reason in particular?
"

Because I actually live in the world, Ritmo. And I pay attention. I pay attention to my divorcing friends and acquaintances. I also listen. I listen every time someone says so wisely, "You can't chose who to fall in love with." I listen every time someone looks at a couple who cheated with each other, at every celebrity affair, and they sigh and croon... "They are sooo in loooove. How romantic!" I pay attention to every time someone gets all romantic and wistful about their "one true love". I always wonder... how can someone unfaithful be "true?" How can people have "true" anything while following a paradigm of helplessness?

Maybe it's that "free will" thing.

No one wants to act like we have free will. They want to be helpless and thus off the hook for any results. Someone who stays together and in love then is "lucky". "You got lucky" is so much better than "I screwed up."

And to support that lack of free will and lack of responsibility it's necessary to insist that the worst possible sin ever on the face of the earth is to fail to act as if it's entirely true that love, the one single true love of the one single person meant to be your true love, can not be denied. The inhumanity of doing so is intolerable.

It's bullshit.

It supports the further disintegration of families and abandonment of children.

Which maybe the saddest part of it.

But it's also sad that this ridiculous fantasy is presented as the most important element of our tolerant attitudes toward homosexuality. It's building on sand when there is perfectly good and stable ground to build on.

It's sand.

And eventually attitudes will shift, because they must and they always do.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Because I actually live in the world, Ritmo. And I pay attention. I pay attention to my divorcing friends and acquaintances.

You live in, where exactly? Arizona? You're from Minnesota originally? Go read last week's Newsweek on divorce/marriage. The state with the highest number of people on their third marriage? Texas.

In other news, methamphetamine usage seems to be flourishing in "the heartland."

The conservative ability to deny the social dysfunction that their ideas breed is baffling.

It may in fact be that the "institution" of marriage is failing. Did you ever think that in an era where lifespans routinely rise above 30 years of age, this might be a function of biology, rather than "society"?

Of course you didn't. You're a conservative. You don't think to consider such things.

Did you ever consider that the lower rate of mortality in childbirth might have something to do with it, either?

Ditto. Hence, my response. It needs no re-introduction.

Why not go study something about nature before trying to believe you can get it to conform to your conservative conception of it, based on what "society" supposedly "demands" of it...?

jayne_cobb said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
reader_iam said...

I think there are a lot of factors, a number of which have already been mentioned and so I won't repeat those.*** Among those I've not seen specifically touched upon yet here are (in a simple list, in no particular order, and I'm just going to throw out the list here without much amplifying):

1) The rise and expansion of non-print media, particularly television, but not confined to that (think early online, at least within and across university systems)

2) The last gasp of the Hollywood studio system and its control of image

3) The increased pool of lawyers and new, or at least newly expanded and invigorated, areas of law practice

4) The effects of indie music (defined rather broadly and loosely, in this case) over time

5) The mainstreaming of psychological language and discussions, certainly not limited to but including self-help

6) The AIDS/HIV epidemic--not just its existence, but many of discussions that arose from it and its acknowledgment, sometimes in then-surprising (and perhaps counter-intuitive) ways

7) The explosion of divorce, single-parenthood and unmarried motherhood, even among groups previously accepted, or at least known, as social arbiters

8) The rise of photography as art and its wider accessibility in society, and, to a lesser extent maybe/maybe-not, indie film and documentary films

9) A move away from--**in some key areas**--hagiography to biography

10) [Since I got to #9, and we like lists of #10, I guess I'll throw in this:] A significant number of sick and tired people got sick and tired enough--and here I'm not referring only to just gay people themselves
---

***My lack of repetition in no way indicates my opinion of the already mentioned factors. Hell, my no-doubt incomplete list is simply a list of things I perceive as factors. Weighing them out is a different thing entirely, of course.

themightypuck said...

Romantic love isn't new. Shakespeare had it down and I'm sure some classicist can find something interesting from the Greeks. What about the Indians? My hypothesis is that being in love has been around for a very long time and like many deep and important things has occasionally taken a back seat to pragmatic concerns.

Bruce Hayden said...

I think that we have two issues here.

First, Time, over time, has shifted left. Back in the 1950s, it was pretty mainstream. No longer. Just look at the covers, and how they treated George W. Bush versus Barack Obama. Throw in who they select as person of the year, and I think this leftwards movement is fairly obvious.

But the other part of this is that homosexuality really is much better accepted today than it was back then. Back in the 1960s, I can remember the football players going out to roll some fags. Great fun on Friday or Saturday night, and safer than the Mexicans, who tended to have knives and tended to have a lot of friends around. Any more, that sort of thing would likely land them in prison. Plus, when you have the (Republican) VP of this country openly supporting his daughter's decision to have a baby with her partner, you know how far things have come.

The other facet though is that open homosexuality is a luxury. When a couple would have to have a large number of children just to have 2 or so survive to breed themselves, civilization could not really afford that many non-breeders. Now? ZPG is not very much above 2 kids per couple. We can afford homosexuals and heterosexuals who don't breed.

Note that in ages past, male pederasty has been well accepted in different cultures. Plato's Symposium discusses different types of love, and inherent in that discussion is the acceptance of male homosexuality, including pederasty. Yet, it was also expected that the men go back to their wives and raise families. Homosexuality was something that men could engage in, as long as they did their marital duty to their wives and country.

And, indeed, I think we have seen a somewhat similar dynamic with some parts of the Muslim culture, where there are times where at least pederasty (and even bestiality, as we have found with our Predator drones in Afghanistan) is acceptable for men. What is culturally unacceptable is for them to engage in these behaviors instead of heterosexual relations with their wives (no matter how temporary the marriage).

Finally, I remain unconvinced that any homosexual genes will survive. For one thing, more homosexuals are not breeding. But, even if their close relatives are more fertile, that is likely of less importance today, when average family size is between two and three kids. I would think it would have been more effective as a genetic survival characteristic when that extra fertility took the number of kids from 8 to 10, than now when it may move it from 2.3 to 2.35, or some such thing.

Of course, that implies that homosexuality is genetic, or at least has a significant genetic component. I remain unconvinced. For example, there was that one study of late WWII war babies where the incidence of male homosexuals was notably increased, and the hypothesis was that part of the cause was maternal in utero stress on the male fetuses. We shall see.

themightypuck said...

lolcatamites.

sunsong said...

God is Love. Or more correctly:
Love is God

Love is not lust. Lust is lust. Love is beyond what can be defined – yet is such things as: caring, giving, responding, respecting, knowing, trusting, rejoicing in the presence of, giving freedom to, reducing the fear of loss, providing security, pleasure, vulnerability, trust, knowing and on and on…

Enough individuals and society – sometimes kicking and screaming – move toward greater love and greater freedom. That means less hatred, less cruelty, less prejudice, less control, less domination - and more kindness, more compassion, more forgiveness, more understanding, more awareness etc etc

There are exceptions :-)
Free will, freedom of choice are real.

In times of change and crisis and chaos – which we are in now – some want to retreat into the past (a past which never was). But enough move forward.

It’s not about one group dominating another. “Either I control or I am controlled is a false understanding.” “Live and let live” sums it up more closely. It is easy to become fearful in times like this. And fearful people can be vicious, not to mention miserable. Diversity can be a basis of strength, expansion and depth. It’s not about trying to get everyone to agree and have the same philosophy. It is about respecting difference. Not necessarily agreeing – but learning to respect those who have other beliefs and see things differently than you do. It is about wanting to understand others rather than wanting to control or punish or denigrate them.

"It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.” - Henry David Thoreau

Jason (the commenter) said...

Bruce Hayden: First, Time, over time, has shifted left. Back in the 1950s, it was pretty mainstream. No longer.

That doesn't seem to fit the facts. Time's anti-Bush and pro-Obama stances were very mainstream when they took them. On the other hand, its coverage of gays in the past seems to have been to the left.

But, even if their close relatives are more fertile, that is likely of less importance today, when average family size is between two and three kids.

You're not understanding the math. If people without the genes have 2 children and people with the genes have three, the genes will spread. It's not the average fertility that's important.

Think about this: If homosexuality is genetic, then the trait was so useful that it spread to every human population on the Earth.

Jason (the commenter) said...

themightypuck: Romantic love isn't new.

Actually, it is new. The evidence seems to indicate that it was something only the rich and well to do felt.

Jason (the commenter) said...

Synova: People from other ages would find us extremely... odd.

Yes and they would find your stance on children very odd. They used to wrap their babies up like a mummy (swaddling clothing) so they couldn't move, hang them from a nail in the wall, and then go off to work.

Maybe they'd come home and find their baby eaten by the pig. No sweat.

Or, more recently, they'd send their babies off to the countryside to be nursed by strangers. Most of the time the "nurse" would give the baby nothing but pap, a flour and water mixture, and often the baby would die. Again, no sweat.

Sure, bashing your kid's brains out on a rock was considered bad, but death by neglect was perfectly acceptable.

HDHouse said...

"Some recent misleading propaganda alleges that homosexuality is an incurable, hereditary condition..."

oh my

michael farris said...

"I remain unconvinced that any homosexual genes will survive. For one thing..."

You're making this too hard. Homosexuality is basically the co-occurence of two behaviors that almost all people have (though they don't occur simultaneously for most people most of the time):

a) enjoyment of recreational sex*

b) ability to emotionally bond with members of one's own sex.

Why would either of those disappear? Unless one or both do though (and it's hard to imagine how or why that could happen) the behaviors will co-occur for some small percentage in any primarily heterosexual community.

*in the same way that most heterosexual relations are recreational since most heterosexual activity doesn't in fact lead to reproduction. In terms of the ratio of sexual activity to reproduction we're a _very_ low fertility species.

philwynk said...

Michael Farris wrote:

Homosexuality is basically the co-occurence of two behaviors...:

a) enjoyment of recreational sex*

b) ability to emotionally bond with members of one's own sex.


Actual research examining homosexual behavior suggests that this should be modified to read:

a) pathological, addict-like dependence on sex for fulfillment, leading to promiscuity;

b) a complete inability to bond normally with anybody.

The average homosexual engages in anonymous, random sex on a regular basis; if I recall correctly, the statistic is that more than 40% of gay men have had more than 500 sex partners. There are heterosexuals who engage in that level of promiscuity, but it's a much, much lower proportion of them, and they're generally recognized as pathological. Furthermore, drug and alchohol addiction, depression and suicide, and relational dysfunction occur among homosexuals at rates similar to other social pathologies, and homosexual relationships are famously brief when compared to heterosexual relationships; permanent fidelity, practiced by 75% of heterosexual couples, is virtually unheard-of among homosexuals. And I've barely even begun discussing the medical implications of "normal" homosexual behaviors.

What's really alarming about Time's evolution is how carefully it follows the deliberate PR goals of gay activists (like Michael Farris, here, does), and how thoroughly it ignores the actual research on the subject.

Roger J. said...

This seems to me to a blinding flash of the obvious. IMO homosexuality is a fact, and from what can gather from the historical record, a long standing fact. I also believe homosexuality probably (but not certainly) has a basis in the human genome.

Attitudes toward homosexuality reflect social values, and to that extend, the sequence of times articles confirms that. And social values I think tend to be independent of the biological facts. Which is why I felt the time chronology was a blinding flash of the obvious.

KV said...

I agree with Moose.
I wouldn't read a Time if it was the only rag left on earth...

Quayle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Quayle said...

"Enough individuals and society – sometimes kicking and screaming – move toward greater love and greater freedom. That means less hatred, less cruelty, less prejudice, less control, less domination - and more kindness, more compassion, more forgiveness, more understanding, more awareness etc etc"

Except many people believe that the issues of marriage family are foundational to an optimal society, and that it would be unloving to not take great care and get them right.

How many building foundations do you celebrate for their diversity? Rather, we celebrate (and love, so to speak) foundations for their stability and cohesion.

Would anyone in New York's government let 2000 people move in to a high-rise building put on a kind of foundation that's never been used or proven, but that is "diverse" with all kinds of new materials - say plastic, skittles, some stew, and maybe a large amount of oatmeal?

Would you ever read this is the NYT? "The architect eschewed and condemned her peer's bigotry for cement and steel reinforcement, and proudly proclaimed her openness and acceptance of all kinds of substances for her foundations."

Look, I'm all for being accepting, and I try to be loving, but I am not for acceptance that gets expanded and pushed to an extreme that is unhealthy to the body politic.

I mean, the AIDS virus make bodies absolutely and totally accepting of all kinds of things. Is that acceptance good? Is that change in the body caused by AIDS property deemed progress?

If someone introduced ideas and modes to society that were ultimately harmful, it would be unloving to not say they were harmful.

And if we disagree on what is harmful, then let's have a respectful conversation.

dbp said...

philwynk,

I don't think promiscuity is intrinsic to male homosexuals. It is more due to the fact that most guys are easy. If women put-out as easily as guys do, then heterosexual males would have just as many conquests as gay men do.

Salamandyr said...

On balance, I'm all for the growing acceptance of homosexuality. Like someone mentioned earlier, to a certain extent, it's about accepting the basic dignity of all human beings, no matter their practices. We can argue over whether it's a good idea to grant equal status between homosexual relationships and marriage, but the basic idea that homosexual relationships are perfectly valid is a good one. The idea that people are free to live their lives, as they choose, as long as they don't harm others is a good one.

MadisonMan said...

I've not read the links at the Time site, but why do I suspect that they focus mainly on male homosexuals?

(American) society has always, in my opinion, mostly ignored lesbians. I wonder why that is? Are they somehow less threatening?

Synova said...

"You live in, where exactly? Arizona? You're from Minnesota originally? Go read last week's Newsweek on divorce/marriage. The state with the highest number of people on their third marriage? Texas.

In other news, methamphetamine usage seems to be flourishing in "the heartland."

The conservative ability to deny the social dysfunction that their ideas breed is baffling.
"

At what point, in this thread, have I expressed *conservative* ideas? What part of what I said was conservative?

I've listened to Christians talking about how God has "one true love" lined up for you. It's not scriptural, it's a cultural acquisition. There are groups that advocate courting now, as opposed to dating, looking for a more rational assessment of long term love and compatibility than momentary burning infatuation, but they are radical not conservative.

Conservatives (like liberals and everyone else) generally accept the mysticism attached to "falling in love" and the helplessness and the lack of responsibility involved.

I can't even imagine how you figured I was saying that conservatives get this right.

lyssalovelyredhead said...

MadMan, I think that's probably true, although I'm not sure why. But now I want to speculate:

1) Generally speaking, men are the ones threatened by homosexuality- women tend to be less concerned (not sure why, but it appears common enough that I'd guess it's based on innate charactoristics- women tend to be more accepting of differences in general, probably due to the child nuturing qualities). Since men are more threatened by male homosexuality than female, it's less of an issue.

2) Add the male titilation factors to the above. Males don't have as much of a desire to condem that which they want to watch.

3) Males are protective of their lovers (jealous) because of their lineage (they don't want to raise another man's child), but females are more protective of their mate's devotion and provider-status. Lesbianism is not a threat to males because spit doesn't make babies, but male homosexuality is a threat to the family because it could cut into the devotion and wish to provide for the family.

4) Bible doesn't specifically condem lesbianism (IIRC, all of the references are to males not laying with males and so forth)

5) In modern times, you could argue that the disease factor plays a role- lesbians don't really get/transfer diseases in the same way that male gays do. (Obviously, that doesn't explain anything before very recent history, though.)

6) Women have always been more communal- banding together more intimately, raising children in a more communal manner. Adding lesbianism to that seems less threatening because is less extreme.(?)

7) As someone pointed out above, males are "easier" and have more interest in sex without limitations. Put two males together without the moderating interest of a female, you get something a lot bigger and more "in your face" than lesbianism or hetrosexual relationships.

8) The male way of doing things is just kind of icky. (If that's what floats your boat, hey, have fun; it's not like it involves me or anything.) We have a natural adversion towards fecal matter (for evolutionary reasons, as it tends to carry disease), so we are a little grossed out by it being involved in a sexual practice. (Not that that stops hetros from doing it sometimes, but as the main method, I guess it seems worse).

Pure speculation based on all of my anthropology and psychology classes combined and broad generalizations based on observations. I make no representations or arguments based on them.

- Lyssa

Freeman Hunt said...

The average homosexual engages in anonymous, random sex on a regular basis; if I recall correctly, the statistic is that more than 40% of gay men have had more than 500 sex partners

Do you have a cite for that? I've had and have many gay friends, and I find that extraordinarily hard to believe. I'm sure my friends don't share everything about their personal lives with me, but 500 people is a LOT of people, and it seems like one would have some inkling that that was going on.

MadisonMan said...

Freeman, I don't know for sure, but it sounds like the Bell and Weinberg study, in which the homosexuals questioned were not randomly sampled, but were chosen from men in bars, bath houses and sex clubs, or their friends. Those were well over half the respondents, and I think that would skew the results.

Pogo said...

"The answer to the original question very likely lies within the realm of sociobiology. If we consider lesbianism to be a sexualized variant of the mother-daughter relationship and male homosexuality a sexualized variant of the bonding that occurs within the hunting band, things start coming into focus. A sexualized relationship based on the mother-daughter model is unlikely to hurt anybody, and in some circumstances might even be beneficial. But romantic relationships within the hunting band, with the accompanying jealousy, conflicts, sulking, and bitterness, are something else altogether. If such distractions arose while the band was supposed to be out bagging protein, or even warfighting, the survival of the tribe itself could come under threat. (An interesting if not quite enthralling Japanese film, Gohatto [Taboo], dealt with precisely such a case. A very pretty and very disturbed teenage boy is recruited to a 19th-century samurai outfit and generates absolute chaos to the point that the commanders see no alternative to giving him the chop.) So while male homosexuality elicits serious hostility, the female variety often arouses only a shrug."
from American Thinker, May 18, 2010

Gabriel Hanna said...

@dpb:

The thing is that homosexuality has not itself changed: Whatever caused it in the past, causes it now.

I don't see how you can possibly say that. WE talk about gay/straight/bi but in other cultures or other times these categories don't make any sense.

Ancient Greece for example--were they all pedophiles? Were they genetically different from us? Why did the homosexual relationship end when the boy got facial hair? Why was it supposed to be non-penetrative? Why did all these "gay" men and boys also have wives and children?

Clearly the norm for sexual behavior was very different in those days. There were "perverts" among the Greeks, but the meaning of "perversion" was very different for them. Can this all be chalked up to being "born that way"? If so, then it seems the vast majority of the population must be very flexible--when heterosexuality is the norm 95% of us do it, and when it's not, we don't.

Synova said...

The free will blogging heads at 10:50...

And then try 18:00...

Synova said...

And then try 19:10 for the mention of modern fiction departing from what proves to be true.

Apparently I'm not the only one who pays attention.

Synova said...

And 20:50.

Synova said...

Gosh, and now they're talking about the bad behavior that results when someone doesn't think they have free will.

I hadn't listened to this when I said that our insistence that we are helpless about falling in love leads to bad behavior.

c3 said...

From my superficial reading I was struck by the "intellectual" explanations of the "enlightened/correct" position.

It would be easy to conclude that this is simply another manifestation of the relentless forward progress in our society. Interesting how we pick and choose when to apply that worldview (i.e. true for civil right/society; not (necessarily) true for technology [as in deep water drilling or nuclear technology])

As a physician, I'm intrigued by the social influences upon medical science's convictions of what is "normal" "normal variant", "abnormal" and "abnormal and needing treatment".

Finally, as always M. Python hits the nail on the humorous head. Thanks Ken

sunsong said...

And if we disagree on what is harmful, then let's have a respectful conversation.

We do :-)

I think it is harmful to deny equal rights to all :-) In fact, I think bigotry itself is harmful.

I think the foundation of our country is the Constitution.

I do not believe the Bible is true, or Divinely inspired or even properly translated.

My view of this is that gays are being denied liberties that others enjoy. The correction of that is to grant them the same liberties as everyone else. I realize that some folks feel strongly that that would oppose their religious beliefs – but they are not being asked to marry someone of the same sex :-)

In other words – equality allows both groups to enjoy liberty without denying anyone. You may think you are denied something if you can’t discriminate against gays. But I don’t agree with that :-).

jayne_cobb said...

"My view of this is that gays are being denied liberties that others enjoy. The correction of that is to grant them the same liberties as everyone else."


Their response would be that gay people have already been granted the same liberties as others (1 man+1 woman+no blood relation=marriage), and that gays are no more denied their right to marry than a polygamist is. They would likely ask why society can limit marriage to 2 people but it can't require that they be of different genders?



As to the "inevitability" argument people often make, I actually have to disagree with this assumption. The demographic situation in the West is such that while gays may make gains in the near future, it does not appear that the long term trend is all that positive.

The only points of growth seem to be amongst groups which are hostile to gay marriage; and unless their children's opinions are going to diverge greatly from their parents' that is likely only going to strengthen the opposition.

Palladian said...

Fuck the opposition.

Titus said...

I am a fag.

I just want to summer in places where I won't get the shit beat out of me and where my Indian and UK husband and I won't feel weird for asking for a one bed, very expensive and fab, room.

People around here don't care much but then again money talks.

Also, most people know a fag now which probably has something to do with it. You know they are fucking everywhere-they even have a slogan to prove it.

Titus said...

My Indian UK husband told me that Sikhs in India generally believe that there are no mos in India. Didn't Dinner Jacket say the same thing?

But in India they don't discuss anything sexual. My husband told me they actually censure movies with strong sexual content.

Titus said...

Lastly it is the media's fault.

I blame David Geffen.

Jeff said...

"Think about this: If homosexuality is genetic, then the trait was so useful that it spread to every human population on the Earth."

So did Down's syndrome.