The Laughter of Hate

Prop. 8, for those of you not in California,1 is an initiative that seeks to limit legally valid marriages to those solely between a man and a woman. Gay marriage has been legal in this state since a court ruling issued in June, leading to Lieutenant Sulu’s historic snub of Captain Kirk. Or not?

Now, I happen to proudly live in a city that is literally by gays, for gays2. Gay Alley Boy’s Town West Hollywood incorporated two years after I was born. So it’s really like my gay little brother. I sleep inside my gay little brother.3 Living here most of my life as a homosexually challenged outcast, I’ve always just taken the gays for granted. Which is why the support for Prop. 8 catches me a bit off guard. Currently, polls show it is losing, but only by about 4%. There are two possible explanations for this: Either forty-five percent of Californians are willful and proud bigots, a notion I’m not thrilled about but can at least live with and even grudgingly respect:

If the people voting for Proposition 8 couldn’t stand personally in front of a married couple, tell that couple they shouldn’t be married, and say that it is their right and duty to destroy that marriage, they should not vote for Proposition 8.

- John Scalzi

Or they are being convinced by the lies of sneaky, sneaky polygamists:

Enough, Mormons! That’s enough! We tolerated you when the most harm you committed was hurting Fruit of the Loom sales with all your magic homemade underwear, but now you’ve gone too far. I don’t know why the Mormon roots, sorry, tentacles, in this piece of legislation aren’t being more widely publicized. Scientology, I might understand, but I didn’t realize the Church of Latter Day Taints4 had such a strong base in the Golden State5.

Let me see if I’ve got this straight; it’s preferable to let orphans go without parents than letting them shack up with queers? It’s fine for kids to die in the gutter just so long as it’s not the womb? I realize all organized religions are based on threats, but this is beyond the pale. “Hate gays, like god intended, or we won’t provide food and shelter for children who need them.” That doesn’t really cast you or your god in a very favorable light, does it?

This video and other apologetics of hate will try to convince you that they are simply trying to maintain the sanctity of a traditional way of life. I have some news for you guys, just because something is old doesn’t mean it’s worth keeping around6. Difficult though it may be for the members of a polyamorous mountain cult to understand, we have outgrown and cast off many traditions. We no longer senselessly mutilate our children to curry the favor of the spirits7 or sacrifice newborn lambs to a vengeful sky god8. The lesson here is simple. Antiques aren’t always worth the money.

Stemming from this reasoning is the claim that Prop. 8 is about preserving rights, not about depriving the rights of others and hate doesn’t enter into it at all. Read what more truthful ads would have sounded like, then watch this and tell me support for this proposition isn’t steeped in hate:

The Face of Proposition 8 from Theremina on Vimeo.
(via Warren Ellis)

Nasty indeed.

My thoughts on religious hate:

The candidness from “Geoff”, in the Mormon propaganda video, is to be admired: “If you stop hating the things we hate, then you’ll start hating us for hating the things you no longer hate.” Um. We know. Social ridicule is putting it lightly. After all, you’re doing much more than ridiculing gays.

Another point I keep hearing is that schools are going to teach our kids about gay marriage, which the California Superintendent of Schools has flatly denied, but let’s say there’s some truth to this. I’m pretty sure that gay marriage is not going to be encouraged or made mandatory. Are people seriously getting upset that their children’s teachers could be teaching them about a thing that exists in the physical world? Oh right.

Their obsession with what’s being taught to their children betrays their true intentions, however. The concern is not with their kids, but with the fate of the human race. They clearly see this as the last penis shaped nail in the proverbial coffin’s asshole. If Prop. 8 loses, in 2050, being gay will be as unimportant as being black today. In other words, still kind of a big deal. But by then we’ll have robosexuals to discriminate against.

Supporters of Prop. 8 want to prevent this or at least delay it for as long as possible. This is a bigoted fool’s errand.

Whether you like it or not is right. Assuming we make it past 2012, it is not a matter of if, but when. History, and more importantly, biology provides all the evidence we need.

One of the few “good” things to come out of western civilization is a philosophy of tolerance. Ostensibly, today’s women and minorities enjoy the same rights as white males. There are even those who would go so far as to claim racism has all but run its course in this country. This naiveté would be endearing if it weren’t so unfounded.

Its persistence should serve as proof that racism or tribalism is not a flaw in the design, it is the design. Which is not to say that great achievements haven’t been made in the name of equality. For Odin’s sake, despite that biker’s protests, a black man is on the verge of being elected president! We’ve done alright. But it’s important to know why.

Tempting though it may be, to romanticize the “progress” that’s taken place over the last hundred or so years, and slap ourselves on our collective backs, credit must be given where credit is due. It is our brains, not our minds that are responsible.

Case in point: The battle for civil rights in the U.S. was hard fought.

It was won, not by love, but by math. Not to discount the work of many courageous individuals, but they had inevitability on their side. It simply becomes impractical to hate the people that cook your food, do your laundry, and take care of your children while you’re at work. More to the point, that hatred becomes even harder to pass along to those very children. It’s just not within our biological programming to hate things we have grown up with all our lives. We hate what we don’t understand, the “other”, the tribe down the river, but never our own tribe. How long could such a tribe survive?

This all brings up a very important and unintended question. Do we want our children to be our betters? Or do we want them to carry on with the same hang-ups and miseries that have plagued us our entire lives? Do we tell them we want them to succeed where we have failed, all the while secretly plotting to keep them down here in the muck with us? Should our children believe exactly what we believe about all matters? Or should they grow and adapt and take flight? Should they surpass us?

The final battle for gay rights will end not with a bang (!), but with a whisper, in the ears of our youth. When the average twelve-year-old doesn’t find it at all unusual that some men are lucky enough to not need women to have sex and some ladies are addicted to the taste of pussy, the world will be a better, more respectable place.

Which is why I was, at first quite happy, and then just morbidly embarrassed to see this:

(via videogum)

I came of age only a few years after this particular “gay” usage stormed the nation, so I consider myself somewhat of an expert. As such, it is with little reservation that I proclaim this to be, the gayest thing I have ever seen.

Not to get bogged down in semantics, Hillary Duff, but gay does not mean “bad”. “Lame” is close, but still off the mark. I don’t send a steak back, telling the waiter it was “a little gay.” If you drop a television on your foot or your stupid cousin barges in on you rubbing one out while you’re staying with your stupid aunt in stupid Narragansett, you don’t blurt out “gay!” Unless your cousin stuck around. Getting your home foreclosed on is not gay. Let’s review what is.

I’m not saying it’s right, in fact I’m all for a more thoughtful use of language in everyday discourse, but the fact remains, getting upset over people misusing a word is gay.

It is gay to care.

That’s what Lizzy McGuire doesn’t seem to get. “Gay” is the motto of the age of irony, not intolerance.

Which brings us to why I was originally impressed with this ad. For about five seconds I thought this was a genius bit of cultural engineering, reclaiming the word. I thought they had reappropriated “gay” to mean “awesome.”

Girl 1: “That dress looks super gay on you!”
Girl 2: “I know and can you believe it’s on sale!”

Little kid: “This fudgesicle is so gay it hurts.

Woman (having heterosexual sex): Gayer! Gayer! Gayer!

I’m sure this perversion of the word originated with connotations of femininity or perceived weakness, and that aspect persists, but as words do, it has grown too big for it’s brightly colored britches. I think it’s time we embrace this fact.

So that’s exactly what I propose we do.

  1. The two web crawler bots that view this site from Denmark. []
  2. And elderly Russian Jews, but that doesn’t scan quite as well. []
  3. Sure, I’ll repeat that into the mic officer. []
  4. Gay porn industry, the balls are in your court, run with them! []
  5. They’re literally off the reservation. []
  6. I’m looking at you, John the Senator. []
  7. Unless our names end in -stein. []
  8. Except for maybe in Alaska. []