Sunday, 14 December 2014
Homosexuality Is Not Productive
As I watched two young men walking down Church Street holding hands, a question occurred to me.
What will all this come to?
I thought: well, this can only lead to ‘trouble, and seat wetting!’ (to quote The Rocky Horror Picture Show).
As Ian Brown notably stated — when speaking of Sasha Baron Cohen’s Bruno — “I would say there’s something inherently edgy in the ideal of male on male sex – the primacy of desire, it’s genetic futility – and anything that defrays that tension can be funny.”
Yes we find homosexuality edgy and/or funny, but it’s difficult to take it seriously. Neither two men together nor two women together can ever produce children naturally or easily. Gay couplings never will.
Do not underestimate the significance of that fact.
It’s always been essential for human beings to procreate, ever since The Bible and the endless ‘begats.’ These days it might be better if we slowed down the procreation a bit (i.e. world overpopulation) but that doesn't matter. People will always value procreation because of major cultural fears about the death of the human race.
Gay people seem to have only recently figured out the cultural significance of the fact that their unions are unproductive, and have tried their best to make themselves appear otherwise. Witness: images of gay bankers and prosperous gay men in gay advertising (are we not business leaders like other white men?) Witness: gay and lesbian obsession with the adoption of children, with the trading around of sperm and the freezing of eggs, with gay ‘families.’ And lest we forget: the endless (quite offensive) talk of the tragic deaths of the apparent masses of artistic homosexuals from AIDS. But these hastily cobbled images and obsessions are no substitute for the real thing. The truth is that homosexuals are not any more successful at business than anyone else, can only adopt children (not produce them) and just as many gay plumbers and construction workers have died of AIDS as gay artists. (However in the haste of gay leaders to make us appear productive — no one seems to want to talk about gay plumbers and construction workers. Need I point out that plumbers and construction workers are also quite productive?)
The point is that homosexuality and lesbianism — by being essentially unproductive — are simply not an effective component of a capitalist culture. The traditional family is a very important component in the capitalist system (mother stays home and has kids, dad goes out and works, kids grow up and become part of the labour force).
So, as much as gays and lesbians are hellbent on assimilating, they never will be seen by anyone as an effective cog in the machine of capitalism. I know it, you know it, and everyone knows it (though we don’t dare talk about it).
What replaces the value of productivity in queer culture? Pleasure, beauty and contemplation. People have a sense of this — they often imagine that we queers have more pleasure (I wish we did, but such fantasies about us ignore the strip clubs and the sex trade industry in straight culture ) or are more beautiful (come on, straight women are as obsessed with being pretty as gay men are) or are more thoughtful (nice fantasy, but no, gays and lesbians are generally just as dumb and thickheaded as straight people.)
No. We are not prettier or smarter than heterosexuals, and we do not have more fun than they do. Yet, pleasure, beauty and contemplation are the values that queer culture inspires, and the place where our culture inevitably directs itself.
After all, if gay men are more ‘aesthetic,’ it is about beauty and pleasure, not productivity. To quote Socrates, who was fortunate to have lived before the advent of capitalism: “therefore I decked myself out in finery that I might be among fine young men.”
The culture of capitalism has in mind for us a quite different and specific end: that we fill our lives with twinkling electronic and digital devices, soft-core porn images, expensive fashion, fancy restaurants, and budget breaking real estate purchases. And on top of this it is very important that each of us work 24 hours a day so that CEOS of the global mega corporations can amass huge profits.
And capitalism requires heterosexual families in order to function.
So where does that leave us — the queers?
Happily, forever outside.
Don’t you agree?