Comments: Still Rant Hunting

One night I was at dinner with a good friend/co-worker and (egads) a customer. After a few drinks the customer brought up something about homosexuality, which, I don't even recall what it was. What I DO remember is the look upon my friend's face when, after letting rip with a rant very similar to that of your friend, I turned to the customer and said "I don't get it. It would be like my friend describing herself, not as a daughter, a friend, a salesperson, or a blonde, but as her sexual preference alone."

"It would be like her (my friend) introducing herself to everyone as 'Hi. I'm Lisa doggie-style!'"

Damn. I still get a giggle out of that one.

posted by jmflynny on November 29, 2004 10:56 PM

Lisa's a doggie-style? Excellent! She always had that, you know, look about her.

BTW, who's Lisa?

posted by Velociman on November 29, 2004 11:19 PM

How would you know if someone were gay if they didn't tell you? If you're not actively looking, the only gay people that you'd notice would be the over-the-top ones (just as--if heterosexuality weren't the standard assumption and if it weren't for the more subtle evidence of children--the only straight people you'd notice would be those being flamboyantly so at bars).

Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, most of the gay folks I know are incredibly low-key about it (after all, if someone around here screamed that they were gay, they'd generally get shrugs).

I'd have to go with your cousin on this. I generally tend to prefer an "as long as you don't do things in the street and frighten the horses, it's none of the law's business" approach. In this case, though, Boyd County went somewhat beyond the pale. The chronology goes something like this: some Boyd students attempted to form a GSA. They were repeatedly refused. They went to the ACLU for legal help. The ACLU pointed out to them that refusing to allow a GSA while allowing many other clubs violates the Equal Access Act. Rather than back down and allow the GSA to form, Boyd proceeded to ban all clubs.

It was in the face of that history that the ACLU won its case. That doesn't strike me as terribly surprising.

posted by The Polite Liberal on November 30, 2004 12:21 AM

I once worked with a very open lesbian who said: "Why should I be defined by something that I am lucky to do for an hour maybe once a month?"
Why, indeed! Unless you are a full time nympho with a smorgasboard of willing flesh, sex is Not what we spend most of our time doing (unfortunately) so why is it blown up into such a defining quality?
Perhaps it is because we spend so much time thinking about it, plotting it, wanting it, that it seems far more prevalent than it is; or am I just missing something? (No, not again!)

Werbinox

posted by werbinox on November 30, 2004 01:19 AM

For a moment I thought I was in real trouble... :D

You know how it is; you start ranting and pretty soon stuff from kindergarten is coming up and you know you've lost the thread of the whole deal... ;)

posted by pam on November 30, 2004 07:41 AM

lol, Pam, that's why it's called a rant!

For my polite lib, I must be more specific in that I certainly am not against the existence of a GSA, but I do have a problem with the force-feeding of their educational materials to 100% of the student body as a campus requirement! (I sorta skipped that part, but Pam covered it.)

To my other commenters, I must thank you for your thoughts on being defined sexually (:D); I think there may be another post there...

posted by Key on November 30, 2004 07:53 AM

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the inclusion of that material in the curriculum was part of a settlement, not a court order. Isn't Boyd County playing fast and loose with the terms of their agreement if they then make it optional?

Students are forced to do everything in high school, in the sense that if you (for example) refuse to attend a class, you're marked truant and might have to serve detention. Why is it unreasonable to insist that Boyd county adhere to the terms of a settlement that they agreed to? Why should this material be treated differently from (for example) the science lessons you mentioned?

posted by The Polite Liberal on November 30, 2004 12:52 PM

I resented those Science lessons!

We pay for our education; why can't we CHOOSE our curriculum?

There should be Creation-based Science offered AND Evolution-based Science offered.(After all, they are BOTH theories, right?) How many classes of each? Let the demand govern that. This is freedom, no? Capitalism, freedom...all that good stuff.

Students should never walk away from their education experience RESENTING something that was involuntarily crammed down their throat. That is wrong.

Just as we have the freedom to govern what is downloaded onto our computers, we should have the right to filter what is forced into our heads.

posted by Key on November 30, 2004 02:31 PM

Creation-based theories are explicitly NOT science; that's the entire problem.

The entire idea of science is that you agree to disregard theories that--while they certainly might be true--are nonfalsifiable. For example (to take a typical philosophical point) it's possible that everything was created a few seconds ago, and we were provided by our Creator with memories that appear to stretch back beyond the point of creation. There's nothing implausible about this, but since there's absolutely no way to prove otherwise, when you're doing science you agree not to pursue it.

The theory of natural-selection driven evolution _is_ in principle disprovable, precisely becuase it makes any number of predictions that can be compared against reality. This makes it a useful framework as well--you can use it to try to understand the emergence of drug-resistant germs, or of pesticide-resistant insects.

By constrast, from the point of view of science (as opposed to religion, or philosophy) creation-based theores are neither disprovable or useful. They make no predictions that can be tested against reality.

Why were you forced to learn these things in high school? I can think of two obvious reasons. First, one of the basic philosophies of K-12 education is that you should not spend the rest of your life trapped by decisions that you made when you were 15. That's why I had to sit through (as I saw it then) "useless" English classes (I later got a job writing for a magazine, and appreciated the classes!) Secondly, to make sure that you can make informed decisions about public policy questions (for example, about immunization programs).

As to the more general point of why you were forced to attend classes you weren't interested in, when you were "paying for it"--you weren't (at least not individually). Schools are financed by general taxes, levied on everyone--not just on parents. I've been paying for schools for the ten years since I left college, and my son won't use them for another three. If you want to have total choice, you're of course welcome to pay for a private school--then you would be paying the total cost yourself. If you want to use the publicly subsidized system, then you're giving up a certain freedom of choice.

From the sounds of things, you did a fine job of filtering what went into your head. It's the school's responsibility to present you with the information; what you choose to do with it is your own lookout.

posted by The Polite Liberal on November 30, 2004 04:08 PM

Tolerance is paramount in discussions of homosexuality, however even Darwinians should admit that total embrace of homosexuality leads to the extermination of a species, by the very nature of the absence, or diminishing, of procreation. This makes it an anti-evolutionary construct, and against the laws of what we call, for lack of a better word, nature. In nature, the gay bird does not evolve. It dies off. Our tolerance of gays speaks to tolerance, for sure, but it is a very anti-Darwinian, anti-evolutionary tolerance.

posted by Velociman on November 30, 2004 10:38 PM

Velociman, several problems with that post:

First of all, evolutionary theory is a construct designed to explain a broad array of facts about current species. It certainly isn't meant to be a guide to human behavior (despite the nineteenth-century rantings of the Social Darwinists).

Secondly, whether homosexuality is dangerous to the survival of a species depends on (a) its prevelance and (b) whether heterosexual couples have enough children to compensate for non-breeding humans. Since homosexuality seems to be relatively rare (even the highest estimates don't clear 10%) and since the population of the world has cleared 6 billion, I don't think we need worry overmuch over our survival. (I mean, I've never had the slightest inclination towards homosexuality, and I imagine most other people haven't either. It's not as though every single person on earth would suddenly abandon heterosexuality if homosexuality were suddenly made completely acceptable!)

Your comment that "In nature, a gay bird does not evolve" is silly; species evolve, not individual members of that species. In nature, a gay bird produces no further generations, leaving more resources for the chicks of non-gay birds of the same species!

I simply don't understand the supposed threat of homosexuality.

posted by The Polite Liberal on December 1, 2004 06:29 PM

I merely meant that embrasure, as opposed to tolerance, of gay culture (not merely gays)is antithetical to survival of a species. A significant cohort of gays dismiss straights as "breeders", and eschew parenthood in general and children in particular. The nurturing of children is negligible in the gay male culture, therefore that is a dangerous culture to mainstream. It's an academic discussion, anyway. The 1.2 birthrate among western Europeans is in itself enough to kill them off. Perhaps they don't like to be called breeders. But in 40 or 50 years, when sharia is introduced, no one will be discussing the tolerance versus embrasure argument, anyway. The lopping of heads of gays will see to that.

posted by Velociman on December 1, 2004 08:28 PM

I'll admit I sort of wonder about the people who have to cover themselves in rainbows and pink triangles and make sure everyone in the whole bloody world knows they're gay. But as for specifying it as part of who you are--being straight is as much a part of who you are as being gay is. But you never have to specify it (unless you've wandered past the lavendar line on Bourbon Street, in which case the standard has changed for a few blocks), because it's the default. Unless you're really flaming, it's assumed you're straight. So why bother mentioning it?

However, if you're homosexual, and you don't flame (especially if you're a lesbian with long hair who wears skirts and jewelry), then no one will know. Which is fine most of the time, if not preferable. But how are you going to meet someone of like inclination if no one else knows?

I sort of have a problem with fitting into stereotypes. Pagan. Personal Chef. Long-hair, skirt-wearing, jewelry-wearing, conservationsist without being environmentalist, vampire-liking without wearing tons of black, libertarian...and lesbian. I've actually been accused of jamming people's gay-dar (which I don't think exists, but that's a different point). So I was given this cute little pendant, which is two female symbols linked together. I don't wear it to work (I cook for people. All they need to know about me is my name, that I can cook what they want so well they won't want anything else, and where to send the check). Actually, I don't wear it much at all, unless I'm going out somewhere that I think I might meet someone compatible, and I don't want said someone to not bother thinking of me that way because they assume I'm straight.

But then, unlike some of the people who seem to feel the need to constantly declare their sexuality, I'm not looking for sex. I'm looking for a partner. Which means someone who is of a compatible sexuality, but more importantly, someone who is many other things as well.

posted by Samira on December 3, 2004 05:34 PM
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