Friday, March 16, 2012
Virginia writer introduces interesting terminology in studying gay anthropology; LGBT and women's issues merge; Ravi convicted in NJ
The Washington DC Metro Weekly has been carrying Falls Church Va. writer Nicholas F. Benton’s “Gay Science” column (as an “advertisement”), and Part 75, here introduces an interesting concept, “species love”. He says “same-sex erotic attraction is not a variant of the heterosexual reproductive impulse or ‘template’ at all. Instead, it is a manifestation of ‘species love’.” Or maybe call it “species worship”. (I don't think there's any relation to Nietzche's famous book, from what a graduate student friend back in Minnesota had said about it.)
Conservative writer George Gilder had invented a distant synonym back in the 1980s, “upward affiliation”.
Benton here describes homophobia as a manifestation of fear that male domination of the nuclear family and social capital will be eroded. Perhaps, it might be seen as a desire, when a male is dominant, to feel “superior” to potential competitors and demonstrate such. (A gay prosecuting district attorney in the Midwest wrote that once.)
“Species love” could extend to broad altruism, as Benton suggests, or perhaps it could be interpreted as a way of excluding those who are far less than perfect – the whole “rejection” problem we all known. Social conservatives, especially Santorum, preach about a supposed unwillingness in modern culture to love the less able. Yet these same conservatives force their own contradictions. If “I” need to maintain dominance to justify my own sexual discipline (maintaining interest in a long-standing marriage with the duty or initiative), then “I” need to have those who can’t do so to bow down to me and do what “I” say, and then I’ll protect them like a man. That seems to me the logical endpoint of Santorum-Vatican type of thinking.
Follow through with the comparison to animal models (like lions and social carnivores). Alpha males keep dominance by preventing any other male from competing for females. But they also try to eliminate “non rivals’ who could still compete for food. It’s always struck me as ironic that men who aren’t competition to be romantic or reproductive rivals wind up being a “bigger threat”, competing for jobs and resources when having fewer responsibilities. The “disposable income” argument was common in the 90s.
Benton doesn’t mention the Polarity Theory, which could well tie same-sex love back to more conventional motives.
Then try the article on p. 32 by Richard Rosendall, “Ballot-box Solidarity: You may not be a woman but you should vote as if you are.” She mentions a frivolous “Every Sperm Is Sacred” amendment (to “personhood” bills) being tossed around in Virginia and Oklahoma, as if any non-procreative sex were an attack against a future person who doesn’t get to be conceived (that doesn’t wash with biology or physics at all). Maybe Monty Python had it right, link.
There is Breaking News. In New Jersey, Dharun Ravi has been convicted in the Tyler Clementi case, MSNBC link here. Really, what were Ravi’s motives? To feel superior? That’s what my own prosecutor friend would say.