Thursday, July 3, 2014

Droppings from the Catholic Birdcage: "The Vast Majority of the Great Artistic and Literary Figures of the Past Have Left Copious Testimony of Their Profound Attractions to Women"

Suppose someone gave you the following excerpt from an online discussion thread, and asked you to guess what kind of journal or blog would foster discussion of this sort re: gay people and their contributions over the course of history:

The vast majority of the great artistic and literary figures of the past have left copious testimony of their profound attractions to women.

A statement preceded by this astonishing assertion:

It is true that the lower echelons of hospital personnel and film and stage crews seem to have an over-representation of homosexual men, but this is offset by a relative dearth of them among the major talent. The medical profession, like the hard sciences, is overwhelmingly peopled by plain, ordinary men married to plain, ordinary women and vice versa. It is likely that the over-representation simply reflects the importance of personal connections in non-unionized industries, as well as a stereotypical distaste for sweat, labor and dirt. 

When you professed yourself stumped as to what sort of online discussion site would foster (and, yes, permit) this kind of comment in its discussion threads discussing gay human beings and their contributions to history, what would you think when your friend told you that the journal sponsoring such a discussion happens to be a leading "liberal" American Catholic journal, one that has taken a stand for the human rights of gay folks?

But which, nonetheless, obstinately permits contributors to its discussion threads to make wildly counterfactual claims about gay people and their role in history, statements that masquerade as dispassionate analysis of "fact" but are actually slurs, lies designed to stigmatize those who are gay . . . . Whereas that same journal would never dream of allowing contributors to its discussion threads to write, 

Well, you know how the dirty Jews are, always out to grab as much money as they can, while they steal Christian children and slaughter them at Passover time. They also spread disease all through every culture in which they live, because they're morally lax and susceptible to sexually transmitted infections.


Those African Americans — just can't get ahead, because, as history and science demonstrate, they don't have the same intellectual ability that Caucasians have. And it goes without saying that one study after another shows that they have no work ethic — hence their culture of endemic poverty.

Just as, don't you know, gay people (and especially gay men) have a stereotypical distaste for sweat, labor and dirt. And so that's why they're confined to the "lower echelons" of the few professions that tolerate them.

We all know this, right? And so why try to mince words and pretend that it's not the case, any more than we should pretend that Jews aren't money-grubbers and black people aren't lazy dimwits?

Would you be surprised to learn, too, that the person making the preceding comments about the place of gay folks in history and in American professional life today, who enjoys free rein to make toxic comments like these masquerading as dispassionate "reporting" about gay life, has repeatedly told people in discussion threads at the journal at which she holds forth that she has a Ph.D.? And that she's simply mouthing the Catholic line, and those who don't like the Catholic line might prefer to leave the Catholic church?

Since she speaks only Catholic truth . . . . 

The kind of Catholic truth she was permitted to share several months ago when this very same Catholic journal allowed her to inform its readers that claims of sexual assault had skyrocketed in the military after openly gay people were permitted to serve in the military, and, she announced, the vast majority of these claims involve claims of gay men assaulting other men . . . . 

The point, of course, is not in the least that people don't have a right to think and say what they think about various issues. The point is that people can disguise destructive, hate-centered agendas about other people as "reporting" when the last thing they're doing is reporting.

Instead, they're attacking. They're slandering and demeaning, and using lies about targeted minorities to accomplish their toxic goals. And when this is what is going on with people who contribute to discussions of contemporary ethical problems at journals that expect to be taken seriously for their commentary about these issues, their behavior deserves serious scrutiny.

When a publication (with an online presence) that prioritizes discovering the truth through interactive discussion of contemporary moral issues allows someone with a well-documented history of spreading malicious lies about a targeted minority group to keep on spreading those lies with impunity, that publication becomes complicit in what this constant contributor to its online dialogues is doing. Anyone with a doctorate, who works in an academic setting, as this contributor to National Catholic Reporter discussions who calls herself Purgatrix Ineptiae, the "scourge" of the stupid, has said she does, knows full well that "the vast majority of the great artistic and literary figures of the past" were not only men, but included women.

And so the claim that "the vast majority of the great artistic and literary figures of the past" "left copious testimony of their profound attractions to women" already disguises and distorts clearly ascertainable historical facts, unless we're talking here about people like Alice B. Toklas and Gertrude Stein, Marguerite Yourcenar, Mary Renault, George Sand, Edna St. Vincent Millay, or, well, we could go on and on compiling this kind of list, couldn't we? 

And anyone with a doctorate, who works in an academic setting, is also likely to know about Shakespeare and the love sonnets he wrote to his male lover. Or Michelangelo. Or Caravaggio. Or Walt Whitman. Or W.H. Auden. Or Plato or Tchaikovsky or Thomas Eakins or John Henry Newman or Gerard Manley Hopkins, or . . . .

Or, well, again, we could go on and, couldn't we, since most anyone with even a modicum of education today knows that it's simply absurd to claim that "the vast majority of the great artistic and literary figures of the past have left copious testimony of their profound attractions to women." 

Which makes any religious journal that claims to be about fostering informed, productive discussion of contemporary ethical problems, but which permits someone free rein to keep making such wildly ill-informed (but deliberately ill-informed, since they proceed from an agenda of spreading malicious lies about a minority group she despises) look more than a little absurd, too, don't you think?

(And has this woman who claims to have a scientific background, but who thinks that gay folks can't possibly make it in the hard sciences because they have a "stereotypical distaste for sweat, labor and dirt," really never heard of Alan Turing, Sir Francis Bacon, Leonardo da Vinci, Sara Josephine Baker, Louise Pierce, or Bruce Voeller?)

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