Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Gay character Will Horton on "Days" shows how homosexuality can actually improve a "tribe's" Darwinian advantage: Anthropology 101
It strikes me that the “Will and Sonny” subplot in “Days of our Lives” says something about “nature” and male homosexuality that, in the grand scheme of things, makes sense to an alien anthropologist.
Will Horton, supposedly about 19 (Chandler Massey) is turning out to be the alpha male, almost like one in a lion pride. He had a quick fling with ex-girl friend Gabi anyway, resulting in her pregnancy, after “ex-con” Nick Fallon (character whom the show has ruined, played by Blake Berris) fell in love with her and announced marriage. It got complicated, but Will also won back the loyalty of his boyfriend Sonny (Freddie Smith), one of the few “sane” or “steady” characters in the show.
So here Will spreads his own genes, to be around a few billion years from now when mankind has to move to Mars, Europa, or Titan because the Sun becomes a Red Giant. And he can enlist two other men besides himself (Sonny and Nick) to help support his daughter and give his own “genes” a competitive advantage in the millennia to follow him. The daughter could have three daddies (although Nickie may well be headed back to jail, given his behavior). What a beautiful strategy for giving your own progeny a competitive advantage. Get another man to feel attracted to you and help you raise your kids, when he won’t have his own.
Will has shown the ability to dominate others before, such as when he went head-to-head and tried to blackmail EJ. Will also might become a chess master. (He needs to play better against the Dragon Sicilian, and maybe the Sveshnikov.)
The bisexual character Nolan Ross in ABC's "Revenge" also offers interesting perspectives on how nature really works. And I guess "Modern Family" gives us some lessons about hidden nature, if we think about it.
Think about it, Most social mammals have “alpha males” and in many species, not all males reproduce. Lions, wolves, and some primates prefer that only a few "fit" males reproduce and carry genes forward. The idea of “alpha male” even crosses species. (In “The Life of Pi”, a teenage boy convinces a tiger to obey him because the tiger figures out he has a better chance of surviving and reproducing himself if he takes orders from the boy when they are at sea.) The boy can make tools and catch fish to feed them both; the big cat cannot.
Nobody can say this is idea for morality, politics, or sociology. But it is certainly natural and happens all the time in the animal world. In human society, left unchecked, it could encourage authoritarianism eventually.
We all know that when we feel “attracted” to someone and that attraction is ratified, it seems like an existential matter, of real importance. The moral problem comes from the need to make a relationship permanent, at least long enough for children to be raised, and now, for parents to be taken care of. It can be a challenge to retain that passion, not only as the partners age, but when misfortune befalls one of them.
Angelina Jolie’s recent decision illustrates that point in the heterosexual world. It’s more likely to be an issue today than it was a half century ago because people live longer and medicine can catch problems and prevent death in people who have the emotional support to accept invasive procedures and changes to their looks. I had a little preview of this back in 1978 myself.
The "equality" debate used to be not so much about same-sex couples, as it was the tension between the "unmarried" and "childless" (higher taxes, often, but more disposable income) and "families with children" (without the marriage penalty). That was the spin in the 90s. Should the childless set themselves aside to raise OPC, other people's children? It often happens in families after tragedies (the "Raising Helen" problem of raising a sibling's children -- also in the ABC TV series "Summerland"). But it can also happen within same-sex couples.