"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Old Gay Lady

It is considered very postmodern to do a movie about a movie. Yet it is considered almost plagiaristic to do an article about an article. Where is the justice? I, for one, see this as a form of prejudice against what I like to call homojournalism.

To fight this discrimination, let us examine an important article in last Thursday’s New York Times. A remarkable piece that straddled the social, the cultural, the political and the economic. It covered a topic that will no doubt engage social scientists for generations to come. Namely, do gay people have affinities for different motor vehicles than other citizens?

The author, fearlessly taking on this live-wire issue, informs us that some gays believe gays have preferences in cars which reflect their sexual proclivities. In support of this view they cite the existence of websites such as Gaywheels dedicated to automotive transportation for gays. Other gays contend this is a) baloney and b) “homophobia plain and simple”. (The notion of plainness and simplicity entering this conversation in any context itself provides amusement aplenty.)

The first set would like to see more car ads in gay magazines, presumably fine-tuned to the unique tastes of their readers. The second group would find it offensive if particular cars were deemed to draw gays’ gaze.

Had the date of publication been April 1, we could have issued a collective chuckle at the April Fools Day gag. Instead it comes on the eve of tax day on April 17, a time when no one is kidding anymore. Which means they’re serious. Oy!

The obvious comment, after the incredulous groans, is that this premise is in any case irrelevant to car advertising or sales. If they are right that gay males like more feminine cars and gay females like more masculine cars, and we are always told that men and women are gay in equal proportions, then the same amount of masculine cars are sold whether they are being bought by female homosexuals or male heterosexuals – and vice versa. Your male-directed advertisements will attract the gay females and your female-directed advertisements will attract the gay males, why create new gay-directed ads?

In truth, this whole thing is steeped in the same baloney that is retailed in discussions about homosexual issues. They speak of male homosexuals as being one particular type; the same for females. But when you meet real-life homosexual couples you find that one plays the man and one plays the woman. Often the differences are more exaggerated than in heterosexual couples. Then all your gay car-choosing stats become skewed, because now you have masculine and feminine types in both groups.

Hollywood acknowledges this. They allow themselves to depict limp-wristed lisping types as homosexuals, although if a Jerry Falwell type points this out, they act shocked. But you will notice they never put two of these together as lovers. This is because that type of effeminate affectation is the signal of the homosexual who wants to play the feminine role in their imitation of marriage. This is widely acknowledged in cultural portrayals but can never be alluded to in journalism.

Why is that? Because it gives the lie to the contention that homosexuality is genetic. If gay partners are actually opposite personality types it becomes absurd to say they are the product of one particular gene. And to postulate two separate genes diverging from the heterosexual reproductive construct is the height of lunacy. Thus, male homosexuals have to be spoken of in pseudo-scientific articles as one (yes, homogeneous) monolithic group, in direct negation of the life experience of people living in the real world.

All of this presupposes a fact which is itself not in evidence, namely that men and women buy radically different cars to begin with. Certain predilections may exist, and here or there you might identify a car that is bought on a 60-40 ratio between the genders. Still, plenty of heterosexual men like sleek little cars and tons of heterosexual women, especially married women, prefer massive blocky cars and trucks for the security they provide. So all in all, the whole business is a crock.

Fifty years ago, the journalism was also baloney. It portrayed everyone as presumptive heterosexuals and gave no clue that Rock Hudson or Gertrude Stein were anything but single people longing for a nice wedding someday. At least that pretense created a vision of family life that promoted marriage and children. The new baloney, hailed originally as a beneficial openness, builds lies on top of presumptions on top of unsubstantiated claims and creates a grotesque caricature of reality.

2 comments:

Jonathan said...

"But when you meet real-life homosexual couples you find that one plays the man and one plays the woman."

Sorry Jay, but this is bullshit. Yes, maybe you can find some couples where this is true. But with a typical gay couple -- not reality.

Many reasons could be put forth to show you why this is twaddle; here is a scientific one:

If you were right, AIDS would have never impacted the gay community as bad as it did. One reason why anal sex among heterosexuals (in terms of raw numbers, arguably more heterosexuals have anal sex than homosexuals) didn't spread AIDS as fast or severely as it did with homosexual men who practice that behavior is because the virus is transmitted, for the most part, through passive anal sex (it's very hard for the giver of either anal or vaginal sex to catch the disease; not so hard for the receiver of anal or vaginal sex to catch it). An HIV infected man is far more likely to give the virus to a woman through unprotected anal or vagina sex than vice versa. Similarly, an HIV positive "top" is far more likely to transmit the virus to a "bottom" than vice versa.

If gay men truly did segregate themselves into those who play the "men" and those who play the "women," then the virus would have never spread like the wildfire it did in the late 70s and 80s. Only because gay couples tend to be "versatile," -- each man in a typical gay male couple tends to be a mixture of both masculine and feminine and enjoys acting both parts -- did the virus spread as fast as it did.

Jay D. Homnick said...

Thanks, Jonathan, very interesting.

I will say this. Of the gay couples I knew where one got AIDS, the other never got it, and I always wondered why. Also, in every feature I have ever read (and, trust me, in the 80s and 90s there was a constant stream of these) about a gay couple dealing with AIDS, it was always about the one partner having it and the other helping. Rock Hudson, for example, had it and the lover didn't. I do not recall a single case where they both had it and were helping each other.

So while I accept that there are couples that switch roles, I think that very many, if not most, have one as the husband and one as the wife.

Also, the Lesbian couples I have known, as well as the ones that have been in the public eye, call each other husband and wife. The singer who got the Oscar and thanked her wife, would the other girl also call her a wife? I think not. Often, they dress the parts too.

While you have a point, it does not rise to the level of calling mine BS.