Tag Archives: monogamy

On a more serious Weiner-related note…

OK, so I watched U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner’s tearful news conference (in which he handled the media-shark feeding frenzy pretty well, I think), and I have to admit that I have some amount of sympathy for the guy.

His tears seem genuine, not fabricated, and in any event, it’s not like beating up on Weiner is going to absolve us of our wrongdoing, so we probably can drop our stones right about now.

It’s true that Weiner showed poor judgment by, according to his own admission, having had sexually oriented electronic communications with some women even after he got married. (He claims that he never had any physical relations with these women, and I have no reason not to believe him.)

It’s also true that Weiner showed poor judgment by doing this while being a member of the U.S. House of Representatives when there are always self-aggrandizing bottom-feeders like Andrew Breitbart on patrol for sleaze to sling.

However, it’s also true that Anthony Weiner is a human being, specifically, a male human being, and male human beings sometimes become possessed by testosterone.

That in and of itself is forgiveable. It is, after all, biology.

I personally don’t give a flying fuck whether or not Weiner used any government equipment to send or receive any sexually oriented material. I mean, fuck. That would the very fucking least of our federal government’s problems, wouldn’t it? How about that interminable war in Afghanistan and that probably illegal military intervention in Libya? And the fact that Pakistan would prefer that we pack up our drones and leave already? How about that economy? Those are problems.

The larger issue in “Weinergate,” the national discussion that we should be having but for the most part aren’t, is how much an elected official’s sex life should matter. (We also could use a national discussion on whether or not monogamy really works — ’cause it really doesn’t seem to for a great many people — but my boyfriend reads my blog sometimes, so that’s all that I’ll say about that right now…)

I mean, these political sex scandals go back and forth, Repugnican and Democrat, Democrat and Repugnican, and how do they help us? We get temporarily nationally titillated — admittedly, it’s great blogging material — but are we better for it? Finding out about the infamous blue dress or seeing images of shirtless members of Congress never meant for public viewing* — does wallowing around in this mud make us better people?

As much as I wasn’t exactly devastated to see another New York U.S. representative, Christopher Lee, a Repugnican, resign in February due to the publicization of his shirtless picture (which, despite being married, he sent to a prospective female hookup on Craigslist, who recognized him as a congressman and outed him to the media), I — we — probably could do without these sex scandals, regardless of the partisanship involved. (Which is what I said when I wrote about Christopher Lee in February.)

I retract my earlier statement of today that Weiner should resign, primarily for his having lied.

The House Ethics Committee apparently is going to look into “Weinergate,” and probably will slap Weiner on the wrist, especially for having lied (and maybe for having inappropriately used government resources, if he did so).

But whether or not having lied to the public, which Weiner fully admits that he did, should end his career as a U.S. representative should be up to the voters of his district in November 2012 — not up to Andrew “Archie Bunker” Breitbart or other political enemies, not to the media, not to you (unless, of course, you live in his district), not to me.

Weiner didn’t lie about something of national importance, and it’s understandable why he lied.

He said it himself, when asked point-blank in his news conference today why he lied. He replied: “I was embarrassed. I was humiliated. [I still am] to this moment. I was trying to protect my wife, I was trying to protect myself from shame. It was a mistake. And I — and I really regret it.”

I don’t know. From what we know up to this point, Weiner seems guilty primarily of having been human while having been a U.S. representative. At this point, it seems to me, even more dog-piling upon Weiner probably is a larger statement about our collective character than his.

And it seems to me that unless Weiner is found guilty of having committed sexual harassment — which I consider to be a serious offense for anyone, but even more so for those in positions of considerable power (with that power comes commensurate responsibility) — the matter is between him and his wife and those women who presumably communicated with him voluntarily. 

And this bottom-feeding really needs to stop. We continue relish this shit and slime while the American empire continues to collapse all around us.

*Frankly, I find it skeezy — and, frankly, gay**, in a closeted kind of way — that 29-year-old U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock, an Illinois Repugnican, appears on the cover of the current issue of Men’s Health:

Aaron Schock: Shirtless for Men's Health!

I picked up this issue of the softcore gay porn magazine in a store recently, and it occurred to me, as I looked closely at the cover, that maybe we don’t really need to see our elected officials’ appendectomy scars and treasure trails. (And Schock’s treasure trail and chest are meticulously manscaped, and you know how I feel about that.)

Honestly, if we are going to castigate Weiner for having had sexually charged images of himself released to the public by someone else — saying that these images of him diminish the institution of the U.S. Congress — can we say that Rep. Aaron Schock’s having posed for the cover of a softcore gay porn magazine does not also diminish the institution of the U.S. Congress? 

What’s next? U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan on the cover of Playgirl?***

**Schock allegedly is heterosexual, but judge for yourself from this photo of him that surfaced a year ago:

Really, I’m surprised he didn’t just tie his shirt like Daisy Duke:

***Well, we can hope

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Enough with the sex scandals already

Actor Christopher Lee poses on the red carpet ...

Reuters photo

Christopher Lee shirtless! No, not that one. This one:

Christopher Lee

Associated Press image (from the U.S. House of Representatives)

Don’t get me wrong; I’m happy to see any Repugnican politician bite the dust, but something feels at least somewhat wrong about the latest casualty of a sex scandal, Repugnican U.S. Rep. Christopher Lee of New York.

Lee resigned his seat in the U.S. House of Representatives today after the website Gawker revealed that he had responded to a 34-year-old woman’s personals ad on Craigslist, telling her that he is a divorced, 39-year-old lobbyist, when, in fact, he’s a 46-year-old married-with-child U.S. representative.

And, Gawker reports, he sent her these images:

Married GOP Congressman Sent Sexy Pictures to Craigslist Babe

Oops.

The woman contacted Gawker about her e-correspondence with Lee, and the rest is history.

I don’t really see, though, that Lee was guilty of much more than attempted infidelity and apparently being in the throes of a midlife crisis. I mean, lying about his age, repeatedly using “Lol” in his e-mails to his would-be mistress, posing shirtless in a mirror and flexing his biceps like a teenager — that reeks of a midlife crisis to me.

As reprehensible as he seems to be — Gawker notes that Lee’s “support for ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ and vote to reject federal abortion funding suggests a certain comfort with publicly scrutinizing others’ sex lives” while his own apparently is quite interesting* — it seems to me that the matter really is between Lee and his wife. And, dare I say, that he shouldn’t have had to resign over it.

As fun as it is to dog-pile upon an apparent Repugnican hypocrite (wait, that’s redundant…), my concern is that these sex scandals, aside from giving us perverse entertainment at the expense of others’ privacy, serve to preserve our national hangups over sexuality.

Lee’s crime here isn’t that he’s a sexual being. We all are sexual beings, and sex, when used for communion, is a wonderful thing. Lee’s crime here is that he’s a liar. He apparently lies to his wife (unless they have an open relationship, which I rather doubt) and he very apparently lied to his would-be mistress. (No, it’s not OK to lie about your stats and status, even for just a Craigslist hookup.) This makes you wonder how much Lee lies in other areas of his life.

But the embarrassment of having his private e-mails and his shirtless pic released to the entire world should be punishment enough for Lee.

Again, this was an attempted extramarital dalliance, not sexual harassment while on the job or sexual assault, which of course would justify resignation from elected office.

By focusing on the salaciously scandalous aspects of Rep. Christopher Lee’s downfall, we are missing the opportunity to have national discussions about the more important human issues, such as how we can age gracefully (and not pathetically), what we can do to change our youth-obsessed culture, and whether or not monogamy really works in the first place.

Until we do have those discussions, the sex scandals will continue.

*Gawker does not get itself off of the hook for being sensationalistic by pointing to Lee’s apparent hypocrisy. I’m perfectly OK with outing — exposing a closeted (usually Repugnican) politician whose voting record has been anti-homosexual — but this is not the same thing.

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‘HoBos’ in HELL

In his syndicated column for which he presumedly actually is paid, wingnut Jonah Goldberg — perhaps best known for having penned this lovely little tome:

(Ha ha ha! Comparing liberals to Adolf Hitler is funny! And original!) — makes the “argument” that because liberals* finally repealed “don’t ask, don’t tell,” it must mean that militarism is a great thing.

Wow. This “ironic progressive victory,” as Goldberg calls it, sounds like the kind of bullshit “logic” that Goldberg was roundly criticized for employing in his book with the Hitlerized smiley face on the cover.

Goldberg does in his column make some statements of fact, such as that the gay community very largely has been co-opted by the dominant, corporate-dominated American culture. (That he makes some statements of fact among all of his distortions and lies apparently is his tactic; many people, I surmise, believe that if they read one sentence that they recognize as truth, then all of the sentences that they read must be truthful.)

But Jonah Goldberg is no historian. In his column he bizarrely actually asserts:

Two decades ago, the gay left wanted to smash the bourgeois prisons of monogamy, capitalistic enterprise and patriotic values and bask in the warm sun of bohemian “free love.” And avant-garde values. In this, they were simply picking up the torch from the straight left of the 1960s and 1970s, who had sought to throw off the sexual hang-ups of their parents’ generation along with their gray flannel suits.

Really?

There are leftists who are gay, but I’ve never known, in my 42 years on the planet, of a strong “gay left.”

“Two decades ago,” by my math, was the early 1990s, and I recall the 1990s being more of the same from the 1980s: unbridled materialism and consumerism among all Americans, gay or straight, male or female, white, black, brown, red or yellow. I don’t recall the 1990s as having been some sort of a repeat of the 1960s, as much as many of us might have wished that that had been the case.

The baby boomers, including gay baby boomers, of course, had some rebelliousness to them, but from the late 1960s to at least the early 1980s they largely were about partying. And — consequently… — from the early 1980s until the mid-1990s, it was combating AIDS, not combating capitalism, that the gay community was most concerned about, if my memory serves.

I just don’t remember that Big Gay Anti-Capitalism Era that Goldberg posits existed in our history (“two decades ago,” to be exact), and as far as is concerned that “bohemian ‘free love'” thing that the gay community wanted two decades ago, according to Goldberg, well, I can tell you that ever since about 1983 or 1984, when the AIDS epidemic started to decimate the gay male population, I, for one, have been quite careful not to become infected with HIV, which pretty much fucking precludes “free love.”** Two decades ago, in the early 1990s, when gay men were still kicking off from AIDS (until the protease inhibitors came along in the mid-1990s), “free love” was the last thing on this faggot’s mind.

But the wingnuts are still fighting the culture wars of the late 1960s and the 1970s, so Goldberg just reaches into his rectum and scrawls that my generation of gay men (Generation X) were copycats of the party-hardy gay baby boomers when no, we were not and we are not.

And Goldberg also stupidly asserts that the “gay left” “simply [picked] up the torch from the straight left of the 1960s and 1970s” as though no gay people were a part of the sociocultural movements of the 1960s and 1970s when, in fact, the gay rights movement was a large part of those two decades, and of course many individuals in the other movements of the 1960s and the 1970s, such as the women’s rights movement, the civil rights movement and anti-war movement, happened to be non-heterosexual. Fucking duh.

And presumedly Goldberg’s sloppy assertion that the “gay left” “wanted to smash the bourgeois [prison] of … patriotic values” means that perpetual fucking warfare, a value of the right, is a “patriotic value,” so that if you don’t support perpetual warfare, then you are unpatriotic. (Nice try, Jonah. While you were at it, why didn’t you just write that members of the “gay left” wanted to “smash” puppies and kittens, too?)

Goldberg writes that “the sweeping embrace of bourgeois lifestyles by the gay community has been stunning” (he calls the “homosexual bourgeoisie” “HoBos,” borrowing from the book Bobos in Paradise), and this has been stunning, but this does not mean, as he asserts, “that such bourgeois values — monogamy, hard work, etc. — are the best guarantors of success and happiness.”

“Hard work” is what the filthy rich who don’t work claim to value, and those who are poor, the filthy rich lie, are poor because they “hate hard work.” It’s not exploitation of the poor by the rich, you see; it’s that if you’re poor, you’re lazy, and if you’re filthy rich, you’re industrious — even though you are filthy rich only because of the hard work of others. (The right wing loves “hard work,” all right — hard work performed by others from whom they obscenely profit.)

And we all know how well monogamy is doing among the heterosexuals in the U.S. these days.

Goldberg essentially asserts (as far as I can tell from his inartful prose) that gay men and lesbians (and other non-heterosexuals) want same-sex marriage because marriage inherently is (and monogamy, by extension, inherently is) wonderful — and that they wanted “don’t ask, don’t tell” repealed because militarism is so fucking great.

I, however, long have found it beyond unfortunate that instead of creating something new, so many non-heterosexuals have only wanted to mimic their heterosexual counterparts (yawn). Yes, as Goldberg points out, gay men and lesbians and other non-heterosexuals have been co-opted, but this is not testament to the greatness of capitalism or militarism or monogamy or any other of Goldberg’s wingnutty fetishes. This is testament to, among other things, the degree to which the plutocrats and corporatocrats have been able to zombify the American masses over several decades, regardless of their sexual orientation or race.

And, with virtually nothing else widely modeled for them, what else can we really expect of so many same-sex couples other than that they (desire to) mimic their heterosexual counterparts, and in a nation that doesn’t want to educate its college-age citizens and doesn’t want to provide them with decent careers or even living-wage jobs, can we blame financially and occupationally desperate non-heterosexual young people for wanting to join the U.S. military when so many heterosexual young people are in the same boat?

It also is a failure of imagination, as well as it is intellectual laziness, political apathy, materialism, self-centeredness and zombification by the corporate media (which want Americans to be obedient to the corporatocrats, not to be informed and to be free) — and it is not a testament to the inherent greatness of the wingnutty values that Goldberg and his ilk espouse (such as capitalism and militarism) — that accounts for why so many non-heterosexuals want to mimic their heterosexual counterparts.    

Further, there is much more about the ongoing push for same-sex marriage and the successful push for the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” than great love for the institution of marriage or love for the institution of the military.

I, for one, have great reservations about monogamy and marriage. Scientists are coming to the conclusion that just as monogamy is not normal or natural for our closest living relatives, the chimpanzees, monogamy is not normal or natural for most human beings, either — thus the high rates of infidelity and breakups and divorce. (Google it.) I’ll take science over religious/hocus-pocus moralizing any time.

However, for me the issue of same-sex marriage is not that the institution of marriage or that monogamy is so fucking great the issue is fucking fairness. You allow all consenting adults to marry each other, regardless of race or biological sex, or you allow no one to marry.

While I have reservations about marriage myself, I can’t see myself telling any other consenting adults who wish to marry each other that they can’t. The wingnuts, however, have no problem whatsoever depriving others of the freedoms that the wingnuts claim to be all about.

“So now openly gay soldiers get to fight and die in neocon-imperialist wars too?” Goldberg snarkily begins his column.

Um, yes, they do, but no, that they do doesn’t mean that those wars for the war profiteers and corporatocrats and other assorted traitors are now just wars. That so many non-heterosexuals want to be able to serve in the U.S. military is just testament to the shitty national economy, with its lack of decent-paying jobs, and to the zombification of Americans, heterosexual and non-heterosexual, who believe, stupidly, that the U.S. military actually exists primarily to defend and protect the nation when, in fact, the U.S. military exists primarily for the obscene profits of the war profiteers and the corporate expansionists.

So I did not want to see “don’t ask, don’t tell” repealed because I think that the U.S. military is so fucking great. I generally believe that no one with two brain cells to rub together would join the U.S. military when the U.S. military hasn’t fought a just war since World War II. (Again, I do, of course, cut at least some slack to those who join the U.S. military because, unfortunately, they see no other career option than to make themselves cannon fodder for evil rich men who cavalierly send them off to bogus wars for their war profiteering and for their corporateering.***)

But, if you’re going to allow heterosexual dumbfucks and the heterosexual financially and occupationally desperate to join the U.S. military, then out of fairness, you have to allow non-heterosexual dumbfucks and the non-heterosexual financially and occupationally desperate to join the U.S. military, too.

It’s about fairness and equality, something that Jonah Goldberg and his wingnutty ilk wouldn’t know about, and while I understand that Goldberg is desperate because his dinosaurian values are in their death throes, I am one faggot who’s not going to allow him to actually Orwellianly attempt to twist the cause of equal human and civil rights for non-heterosexuals into being some sort of “proof” that his sick and twisted beliefs and values are OK.

Goldberg concludes his sick and twisted column: “And given that open homosexuality is simply a fact of life, the rise of the HoBos — the homosexual bourgeoisie — strikes me as good news.”

Yes, homosexuality is simply a fact of life (referring to it as “open homosexuality,” however, curiously sounds like Goldberg would prefer that all non-heterosexuals pose and pass as heterosexuals), but “the rise of the HoBos” is not “good news.”

The co-option of heterosexuals or non-heterosexuals (or whites or non-whites or…) by the toxic, militaristic, materialistic, consumeristic, capitalistic, jingoistic, ultimately soul-crushing system that Goldberg so slavishly supports is fucking tragic.

We’re not talking about “HoBos” in paradise — we’re talking about “HoBos” in hell.

P.S. Goldberg also writes in his column:

Personally, I have always felt that gay marriage was an inevitability, for good or ill (most likely both). I do not think that the arguments against gay marriage are all grounded in bigotry, and I find some of the arguments persuasive. But I also find it cruel and absurd to tell gays that living the free-love lifestyle is abominable while at the same time telling them that their committed relationships are illegitimate too.

Goldberg sounds like he’s trying to please all sides.

I don’t find him to be an ally simply because he states, correctly, that same-sex marriage in all 50 states is inevitable. (I’m sure that many supporters of slavery saw its eventual demise, too. That doesn’t mean that they were anti-slavery — just that they were realistic about the current of events.)

If he’s going to assert that same-sex marriage is an inevitability for “ill,” then Goldberg should tell us how it would be for “ill,” and in his column he curiously doesn’t fucking bother to share any of the arguments against same-sex marriage that he says aren’t “grounded in bigotry” and/or that are “persuasive.”

And the only two possibilities that Goldberg apparently offers to us non-heterosexuals are the “free-love lifestyle” (you know, with its diseases and death and sinfulness and such) or the strictly monogamous married lifestyle that so many heterosexuals find to be stifling and soul-eroding.

But he’s happy to grudgingly allow us non-hets to take part in the misery that is monogamous marriage.

Gee, thanks, Jonah.

While Goldberg asserts in his column that “there isn’t” “some grand alternative” to these two miserable choices, I wholeheartedly disagree with him. Maybe heterosexuals’ biggest concern about allowing same-sex marriage has been that once non-heterosexuals got marriage, they would be able to transform it in a way that heterosexuals never have been able to do. 

*I prefer “progressives,” not because I’m ashamed of being a leftist, but because so many so-called “liberals” actually are milquetoast Clintonistas with whom I don’t want to be associated. (After all, it was the “liberal” Bill Clinton who is responsible for “don’t ask, don’t tell” in the first fucking place!)

**The AIDS epidemic first hit when I was still a freshman or sophomore in high school, and I saw the images of dying AIDS-stricken gay men (looking like concentration camp victims) before I seriously thought of having sex with another male, and to this day HIV transmission is a significant concern of mine, so this “free love” thing that Goldberg claims my generation perpetuated did not, in my experience, ever fucking exist.

***Goldberg snarkily remarks that “the folks who used ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ as an excuse to keep the military from recruiting on campuses just saw their argument go up in flames.” Ha ha ha!

Well, the primary argument against allowing military recruiters to recruit fresh cannon fodder on our high school or college campuses is that so many young people have no fucking idea what the U.S. military is really all about and so they are easily duped. And so many young people notoriously believe that they are immortal, a mistaken belief that the deliberately mispresentative, “Top Gun”-like military recruitment ads, which never show maimed or killed soldiers, perpetuate.

Our young should not be fed to the meat grinder that is the military-industrial complex, regardless of their sexual orientation. I invite Jonah and his ilk to go fight the wars that they claim are all about patriotism and actual national defense and leave our children the fuck alone.

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In defense of non-monogamy

South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford tearfully admitted to having ...

Associated Press photo

A teary-eyed South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (top) and a teary-eyed Jimmy Swaggart. These wingnuts are assbites, to be sure, but could it be that monogamy is a tall order for most men — and that it isn’t their fault?

As much as I love to see the downfall of any Repugnican hypocrite (that’s pretty much redundant, Repugnican hypocrite…), I can’t say that I have been relishing (much) the latest Repugnican infidelity scandal, that of South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford.

The biggest problem that I have with Sanford, whom I know of only because he jumped upon the “Obama’s economic stimulus plan = (gasp!) socialism!” bandwagon, is that he didn’t decide to remain in Argentina with his mistress.

But seriously, to me the larger question — seriously — is whether or not the human male, straight or gay, is meant to be monogamous.

My understanding of primatology, or at least of mammalogy, is that it’s biologically advantageous, and thus more or less innate, for a testosterone-driven male to spread his seed, so to speak, as widely as possible, while it is the estrogren-driven female who desires the stability of monogamy, since she is the primary caretaker of the offspring, if for no other reason than that it is the female who lactates.

(Yes, with non-heterosexual and transgendered individuals things can be different, but most gay men I know seem to be at least as sexually adventurous as are straight males. What gay and straight men do have in common is testosterone, and even though gay men cannot reproduce, of course, as Harvey Milk is quoted [accurately or not] as having said in the film “Milk,” we sure keep trying!)

Why do we human beings think that we are exempt from biology? Many if not most Americans will even argue that humans aren’t animals, they’re humans, although any biologist or zoologist will tell you that yes, of course humans are animals as they define the term “animal.”

So while I’m perfectly ready and willing to condemn Sanford for having raked Bill Clinton over the coals for Clinton’s infidelity when Sanford was a U.S. representative, I don’t know that I’m ready to condemn Sanford for his own infidelity when I surmise that monogamy is not natural to many if not most human males.

If monogamy were innate, why, then, does it fail so often?

Monogamy, I surmise, is a societal creation, not a biological reality for many if not most human males (and perhaps not for many human females, either), and to shame and condemn anyone for something that is biological, for something that is innate — like homosexuality — is potentially to make someone feel awful about himself or herself about something that is beyond his or her control.

So yes, let’s criticize the Repugnicans for their idiocy and their hypocrisy and for their frequently treasonous behavior, but we need to examine this monogamy thing more closely before we condemn any male who finds monogamy to be challenging if not impossible.

My boyfriend, of course, wholly disagrees with me on this…

P.S. An Associated Press piece titled “Analysis: Why Do Politicians Cheat?” — credited to all-female writers — typically wholly overlooks the biological aspects of infidelity/non-monogamy.

My guess is that most people take social conventions as givens, as reality, and don’t even question them. A great number of people are too afraid (and/or lazy), I think, to reconsider, much more to actively challenge, the worldview that they’ve been spoon-fed, including the societal belief that a man should be happy with one mate until death does him part, and that if this doesn’t work for him, then he is defective and/or sinful.

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