Wednesday, August 4, 2010

More on the Link Between Some Classic Sci-Fi Works and Homphobia

Some of my best insights flash into my mind as I watch mindless, entertaining t.v. shows while treading on my treadmill for daily exercise.  As I watched a “Big Bang Theory” rerun yesterday, it suddenly hit me: at least one of the reasons some strands of sci-fi carry that disconcerting trait of homophobia about which I blogged a while back.  It has to do with how science fiction (and the world of techno-game playing it has spawned) substitute for a coherent theological, eschatologically oriented worldview in an increasingly secular culture.  

Science fiction and its spawns are a new meta-language for us, akin to the old meta-language of myth and religious belief and practice.  It’s no secret that at the height of modernity, science became a quasi-religious way of understanding the world for many folks.  And at the same time, science got defined as a largely male discipline, though many of the men attracted to science have felt pressured to affirm their masculinity, since the culture at large has tagged men with a scientific bent as nerds.

And so while the world of religious belief and practice was increasingly feminized in the modern period (even as fiercely resistant male hierarchies in many world religions resist this development), the contemporary world of sci-fi games has come to be strongly male dominated.

And that’s to say it’s in a direct line of continuity with the strand of homophobia I picked up in those classic science fiction novels about which I blogged some weeks ago.  Science fiction, and, in particular, the techno games it has produced, are the preserve of men who happen to be nerds (like me!).

But who do not want their nerdiness to be interpreted as a manifestation of femininity.  So many of those engaged in the world of sci-fi techno games are men intent on asserting and affirming their heterosexuality in a culture that tends to question the masculinity of nerdy men.  And classic sci-fi novels, at least some of them, have laid the a foundation for this scientific-nerds-as-real-men meme.