Gay culture: Patricidal?
January 28, 2010 6:56 PM   Subscribe

Gay culture: Patricidal? A former reverend in the Church of Satan, Jack Donovan (nom de plume: Malebranche), is coauthor of an E-book on blood brotherhood and a previous book on masculinity and homosexuality. Now: Do teh Gays have a problem with manhood? Donovan thinks so. “Sexually... homosexual men venerate manliness and virility. They want their fantasy men to be uppercase MEN.... All homosexual men are aware of the fact that there will always be some straight men who, given the opportunity, would exclude them from male groups.... [T]hey love him through surrogates and kill him by rejecting what he stands for. They side with women against him to castrate him. They mock and taunt him with flamboyant, effeminate displays. They look down on his stoic, simple, grounded manliness by aligning themselves with high culture and excess. Gay culture is patricide.” Oh, snap! as they say.

Donovan is, incidentally, homosexualist and has a “compadre” of numerous years with whom he exchanged tattoos in a kind of seaman’s ritual.
posted by joeclark (109 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
Life isn't a Dennis Cooper novel.

hopefully
posted by The Whelk at 7:00 PM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I love it when somebody tells me what it is to be a man. Because there is only one right way.
posted by deliquescent at 7:00 PM on January 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


What's a homosexualist?

Also, har har "seaman's ritual"!
posted by qvantamon at 7:00 PM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Father!

Yes, son?

I WANT TO ... well, I'm kind of torn, actually.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 7:02 PM on January 28, 2010 [12 favorites]


That sounds like the title of a Racine play: L'Homosexualist.
posted by Joey Michaels at 7:02 PM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


HEY DAD! I'M IN JAIL! AND I'M LISTENING TO KIKI AND HERB! I LIKE IT HERE!
posted by The Whelk at 7:04 PM on January 28, 2010 [16 favorites]


co-author of an ebook

Now there's a rock-solid credential.
posted by eggplantplacebo at 7:05 PM on January 28, 2010 [11 favorites]




Also, when I see "a former reverend in the Church of Satan", I read "had a very long adolescence"
posted by qvantamon at 7:07 PM on January 28, 2010 [24 favorites]


Sexually... homosexual men venerate manliness and virility

FTFHim

Sorry, HIM.
posted by WolfDaddy at 7:08 PM on January 28, 2010


*yawn*
posted by crossoverman at 7:09 PM on January 28, 2010


Doris Day, The Earth Stood Still, you make my world go round.
posted by The Whelk at 7:10 PM on January 28, 2010


What's wrong with being homosexy?
posted by condour75 at 7:11 PM on January 28, 2010 [5 favorites]


Wait, I thought you could only check into the Hotel California.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:13 PM on January 28, 2010


Because one odd gay man understands and defines an entire culture of homosexuality.

This is warmed-over Freudism with a side of fennel salad.
posted by clvrmnky at 7:14 PM on January 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


fennel is too strong for a salad, I like a classic Cesar with walnuts and dried cranberry.
posted by The Whelk at 7:16 PM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


This man's opinion matters, and we should talk about it on MetaFilter.
posted by mccarty.tim at 7:16 PM on January 28, 2010 [12 favorites]


I question The Whelk's definition of classic.
posted by qvantamon at 7:17 PM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


A tattoo and semen's ritual...sounds fun.
posted by ginky at 7:18 PM on January 28, 2010


You know, posting this stuff on the blue makes that dude's views more google-able. Is that what we really want? Cuz thats what we're doing...with snark.
posted by hal_c_on at 7:20 PM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


With titles like "Patriarchy Works", this guy sounds like that person in high school who'd say things just to get you angry, and then piece his reasoning around that. (A troll, really.)
posted by zer0render at 7:20 PM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well, guess I HAVE been doin it wrong.
posted by greekphilosophy at 7:21 PM on January 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Donovan is difficult to like, admittedly, but interesting to read. One need not always agree, of course.
posted by joeclark at 7:22 PM on January 28, 2010


Donovan
posted by The Whelk at 7:24 PM on January 28, 2010


With titles like "Patriarchy Works"

Followed by slightly less successful "Matriarchy stays at home and takes care of the kids"
posted by qvantamon at 7:26 PM on January 28, 2010 [10 favorites]


What's wrong with being homosexy?

Not a damn thing.

ASL?
posted by Splunge at 7:26 PM on January 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Grandmatriarchy knows you have more important things to do, it'll just sit sit here and be alone, you go and do whatever I'll sit here all alone like an owl.
posted by The Whelk at 7:27 PM on January 28, 2010 [23 favorites]


Also, from his site:

"Interests include paleomasculinty, paleoconservatism, Yukio Mishima, hiking, fitness"

Sounds like a crypto-fascist to me. He should probably just marry Boyd Rice and get it done with.
posted by zer0render at 7:27 PM on January 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


I think he’s a paleoconservative, not a crypto-fascist. I don’t think he’s hiding anything.
posted by joeclark at 7:32 PM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think I saw a movie about this guy's brain once.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 7:36 PM on January 28, 2010


I did a blood initiation thing back in the late 70s. I was friends with a Native American who I will not name. We did a cut in between the fingers. Do the Vulcan salute and cut the membrane in between the fingers. We did it deep. I still have a scar. Then we pressed the cuts together and swore brotherhood.

It was in a bar. We were wasted.

But I always took it very seriously and so did he. He signed me up at the AICH in NYC.

I was considered an honorary member and still get newsletters to this day.

It wasn't homoerotic in any way, OTOH he wasn't my type and straight as an arrow (heh).

He eventually disappeared. Considering his proclivity for drink and a wild streak, I'm not surprised. But he's still my blood brother. And if I met him today he'd have my house as his home.

I guess this is a tangent. Sorry.

Interesting post.
posted by Splunge at 7:36 PM on January 28, 2010 [10 favorites]


One of those easy substitutions that really helps me make sense of a lot of weird-ass worldviews is remembering to substitute the first-person for any sweeping statements about a group. When Donovan talks about venerating manliness and masculinity, it's Donovan venerating manliness and masculinity. When he talks about issues with authority figures—heroes and fathers—well, I work in just about the gayest office possible right now, and the gays don't have any more problems with their dads than I do, so it seems like it makes a lot more sense to just read that as Donovan's weirdness with his dad.

But then, I also think that anyone who imagines a true conflict between men and women or gays and straights is part of the problem and not part of the solution.
posted by klangklangston at 7:36 PM on January 28, 2010 [9 favorites]


He's confusing culture with a philosophy (and a fairly broken one at that).
posted by doctor_negative at 7:49 PM on January 28, 2010


Can you actually resign from the church of satan? I mean, you might want to. But really. Unless you were just resigning from a circle jerk of people who act out a lot or something.

But I'd think that satan might have something to say about it.

Well, I've never resigned from a church and all that.

I guess I'd be more worried about resigning from Scientology. Those suckers hunt you down.

Satan, not so much.
posted by Splunge at 7:53 PM on January 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


I like a classic Cesar with walnuts and dried cranberry.

I come not to praise Cesar, but to toss his salad.
posted by crossoverman at 8:05 PM on January 28, 2010 [13 favorites]


But I'd think that satan might have something to say about it.

Believe it or not, the Church of Satan doesn't actually worship Satan. They're more militant atheists with rituals.
posted by DecemberBoy at 8:12 PM on January 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


There are people who worship an actual horned Satan, but when you say "Church of Satan", it's generally understood that you mean the organization by that name founded by Anton LaVey in 1967. That's the organization that this dude was a member of.
posted by DecemberBoy at 8:13 PM on January 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


FUn fact when you're going into museums and shit, reflect on the idea that we have a better idea of what Cesar looked like then people over a thousand years later, because of the high qaulity of roman portrait busts and how late really good representational portraiture came into the picture - also ho Roman Emperors had their head strapped onto a generic Heroic statue which is always HILARIOUS in anicent collections cause you have a the older slight double chinned face stuck on this totally mass producted Adonis body ( let your metaphors go wild here) and how I can recognize Hadrian and Antoninus from across the room cause of how many bust busts they had but people much closer to me in time are totally unrecognizable.

So. There.
posted by The Whelk at 8:17 PM on January 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think he should change his name to Emile Paglia.
posted by troybob at 8:22 PM on January 28, 2010 [7 favorites]


I think he’s a paleoconservative, not a crypto-fascist.

You say to-may-to, I say Pat-Bu-chan-an.
posted by edheil at 8:25 PM on January 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


I just wish there was some commentary about pop culture with Pagilia's passion but not her batshitinsnane paleoconservatism or crazypants shock-value media speak that misses the forest for the trees so much she might as well be in a meadow made of lovely Narcissus blooms.
posted by The Whelk at 8:29 PM on January 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


Paleomasculinity? Like, really butch mastodons?
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:51 PM on January 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


Believe it or not, the Church of Satan doesn't actually worship Satan. They're more militant atheists with rituals.

I understand that. I was just making a little joke. Very little it seems.
posted by Splunge at 9:00 PM on January 28, 2010


Well, I liked it.
posted by apis mellifera at 9:26 PM on January 28, 2010


Here is a simple litmus test. Does it sound like Dave Sim on gender? Then it isn't worth reading.
posted by poe at 9:26 PM on January 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh, snap! as they say.

As who says? Big Gay Al? Mr. Slave?
posted by blucevalo at 9:39 PM on January 28, 2010


An old friend of mine is a "disciple" of Jack Donovan's, and has become quite a close friend to him over the years. My personal take on it from listening to my friend talk is that Donovan's writings are pretty standard Randroid stuff, with an un-healthy dose of misogyny built in. From the bits of Donovan's stuff that I've read personally, there is some truth there about "gay culture" in the US (and almost none of it applies in more gay-tolerant places, it seems), but it's only truth at a very superficial level, ignoring many of the reasons the culture evolved the way it did.
posted by deadmessenger at 9:40 PM on January 28, 2010


I like that part of the night when The Whelk gets a little drunk. Or really a lot drunk. It's always fun to discover those comments the next day and grumble because I'm at work and he's probably sleeping it off.

...um... not that I'm stalking The Whelk or anything... fuck.
posted by muddgirl at 9:45 PM on January 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


I had the misfortune of having to read his ridiculous manifesto, Androphilia, in excruciating detail, at the urging of my then-primary-squeeze, a cranky libertarian with the customary anti-gay leanings of someone who has been bound by career to run in primarily gay circles. We had a lot of fun arguments, but the more I read from Malebranche/Donovan/whateverthefuck his arch little secret identity is calling itself today, the more absurd and silly it all became.

Gay identity? Artifice.

Femininity? Artifice.

Masculinity? Arti-fucking-fice—as constructed, adopted, and massaged as the "unnatural" made-up identities he so shrilly decries. You wanna put on big boy work boots and stomp around like an ape? Fine. That's why there's The Eagle in practically every city. Put on a wig and stuff a bra? Same dif. There's just this ludicrous world-weariness that comes from being a big urban queer that seems to eventually push people down this route of self-disgust and whole-cloth invention.

Yeah, Jack. You've just invented yet another idiotic manifesto-driven "revolution." Why do people not seem to get that writing a manifesto is pretty much the end of your ability to actually be a real, living human being? Has any real, lasting positive change in the way humans live ever started with some crank writing a manifesto?

"Androphile" or "homosexualist" or whatever the hell he's hawking now is going to end up in the linguistic dung heap where you'll find "Uranians" and "Urnings." Remember them? No? Earnest, overwrought dreamers came up with a tortured, complicated way of explaining something that's really pretty simple, and it ended up forgotten, as a footnote to a complex history of understanding sexuality.

I've been thinking a lot recently about how many of these little fetishes and hangups that plague those of us who cross over taboo lines for the occasional fuck, and it's really easy to get discouraged and think that maybe the Christian Taliban in this country has a point...except we just forget, and it's easy to forget. Gay identity, or queer, or homosexualist, or freaky, or whatever you want to call being a dude who's into dick or lady who likes the ladies, as we understand it today is less than a hundred years old. No wonder it's a mess. This identity is still fresh, still shaking itself out, and the ongoing history is accelerated, complicated, and reflexive.

I think about what Mr. Jack would say about me. I'm a grease-under-my-nails car freak gearhead who can turn around and make my own clothes on my sewing machine, a carpenter who's been rebuilding a cabin in the woods for years and who loves to dance like a little girl to cutesy-pie shibuya-kei music, too. Am I supposed to give up a whole swath of what gives me succor and bliss because I'm somehow betraying my "masculinity" by coming home from a day of rebuilding the clunky old steam system traps at my job to make a video of myself lip-syncing to Betty Hutton? Fuck that.

The real world's just too unbounded and amazing for manifestos. If you're a dude who likes dick, why on earth should that have to do with anything more than, you know, your sex life? This guy defines a nice, manageable, and small little world, where everything's easy because he just disciplines the grey areas away. How sad for him. Gay identity, whatever it is, really is a chaotic mess, but it's a mess in progress. We won't say "gay" in another hundred years, unless we're living in a religious idiot dystopia—we'll probably just be whoever we are, independent of masculinity, patricide, and the rest of that nonsense.
posted by sonascope at 9:58 PM on January 28, 2010 [31 favorites]


the fuck now?
posted by The Whelk at 10:01 PM on January 28, 2010


Note I am not *disagreeing* with Sonascope here, just this issue is way too close to my LISTEN TO ME YELL FOR AN HOUR button to be able to talk about in a reasonable way. God Man Drag makes me angry. Leather and Levis is SO BORING.


hi Muddgirl! how's SA? I am still jealous of your brewery. I've never had beer so fresh before.
posted by The Whelk at 10:07 PM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]




Jack Malebranche's work makes me want to punch a puppy.
posted by crataegus at 12:47 AM on January 29, 2010


@The Whelk: if you use something as a counter-point to the fennel, it works well. We use mandarines -- both the fruit and the juice -- to complete the fennel. A little vinegar and salt and your done.
posted by clvrmnky at 6:12 AM on January 29, 2010


Actually, Sonascope, if you can quit showing off for a minute, you might find that you and Donovan are in violent agreement over this sentence of yours: “If you’re a dude who likes dick, why on earth should that have to do with anything more than, you know, your sex life?”
posted by joeclark at 6:12 AM on January 29, 2010


s/your/you're/

It's too early for grammar.
posted by clvrmnky at 6:13 AM on January 29, 2010


@The Whelk: if you use something as a counter-point to the fennel, it works well. We use mandarines -- both the fruit and the juice -- to complete the fennel. A little vinegar and salt and your done.
posted by clvrmnky at 9:12 AM on January 29


Toss your salads somewhere else, guys.

Where do we stand on croutons?
posted by Pastabagel at 6:51 AM on January 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


pastabagel: the crouton has to be over the age of consent and want it. really want it.
posted by rmd1023 at 7:15 AM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sounds like another quasi-closeted, self-hating fag, to me. At least he isn't joining some straight buddies for some fun fag bashing with tire irons and baseball bats, as far as we know. Why give his odious hateful views airtime?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:38 AM on January 29, 2010


Actually, Sonascope, if you can quit showing off for a minute, you might find that you and Donovan are in violent agreement over this sentence of yours: “If you’re a dude who likes dick, why on earth should that have to do with anything more than, you know, your sex life?”

"Yeah, why should being gay give me any sort of insight into, you know, the fact that masculinity and femininity are cultural constructs?"
posted by muddgirl at 7:42 AM on January 29, 2010


klangklangston : One of those easy substitutions that really helps me make sense of a lot of weird-ass worldviews is remembering to substitute the first-person for any sweeping statements about a group. When Donovan talks about venerating manliness and masculinity, it's Donovan venerating manliness and masculinity.

Very astute, and a neat trick. This is one man with issues generalizing from himself to a large group; the generalization is groundless, even if his issues might be shared by some other men. There's really nothing more interesting to say about it than that.

(Incidentally, I forget who suggested it in the first, place, but I still read your name as 'Klangk Langston'!)
posted by Drexen at 7:42 AM on January 29, 2010


I like a classic Cesar with walnuts and dried cranberry.

I come not to praise Cesar, but to toss his salad.
posted by crossoverman at 11:05 PM on January 28

*DIES*

well played crossoverman, well played
posted by liza at 8:01 AM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Masculinity and femininity are neurological and hormonal first, “cultural” second. If they’re purely cultural, then one can in turn respond to them in purely æsthetic terms, viz “Faggy gays are a travesty.” Is that what you want, Muddgirl?

Also, Blazecock, Jack Donovan is in no way “closeted,” and if he has any relationship with the self it’s one of self-regard, even adoration, not “hating.”

Now, to reiterate, Donovan is hard to like. He offers one of those package-deal scenarios in which a conservative male smokes, drinks, is gung-ho for war, etc. Surely People of MetaFilter are much more evolved than that and prefer their gays to choose from among a smorgåsbord of available cultural allegiances. (Sort of like Sonascope.)

But if you set aside anything you dislike about Donovan for a moment, even the business about once having been a go-go dancer, and focus on the cultural role of effeminate gay men (his subject in the quote in my post), then what are your observations? In U.S. popular culture right now, I’m not sure I could point to even one masculine gay character. I’d say there actually is something to talk about there.
posted by joeclark at 8:54 AM on January 29, 2010


Sexually... homosexual men venerate manliness and virility. They want their fantasy men to be uppercase MEN.... All homosexual men are aware of the fact that there will always be some straight men who, given the opportunity, would exclude them from male groups.... [T]hey love him through surrogates and kill him by rejecting what he stands for. They side with women against him to castrate him. They mock and taunt him with flamboyant, effeminate displays. They look down on his stoic, simple, grounded manliness by aligning themselves with high culture and excess. Gay culture is patricide.

I think this is emblematic of the cognitive gap that heterosexual homophobes routinely demonstrate:

IT'S NOT ABOUT YOU.

Sheesh.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 9:04 AM on January 29, 2010


Erm...I guess I missed the part where Donovan self-identifies as homosexual. Well well well, look who's wishing for a 3 minute edit window now :)
posted by Salvor Hardin at 9:07 AM on January 29, 2010


If they’re purely cultural, then one can in turn respond to them in purely æsthetic terms, viz “Faggy gays are a travesty.”

If masculinity and femininity are purely cultural, then there's no such thing as a "faggy gay" outside of ridiculous and borderline-bigoted cultural stereotypes.

Now, if you want to talk about gender performance and how that relates to the ways that gay and straight people are taught to signal sexual orientation, that's a more interesting subject.
posted by muddgirl at 9:10 AM on January 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


Or how much more shit "faggy gays" get in terms of harassment just by virtue of existing? It's "I hate hysterical women of either gender" all over again and I. Loathe. It.
posted by The Whelk at 9:14 AM on January 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


These broad generalizations - whether from within the queer community or from without - are terribly passe.

This is not 1994, with Jack McFarland and Ellen standing proudly (if alone) on stage exemplifying the entirety of gay culture. If you can't find masculine gay characters in pop culture, you're not paying attention.
posted by greekphilosophy at 9:16 AM on January 29, 2010


Hell just read the nail-biting vitrol directed at Valentino during his hey day - or straight guys who aren't "boot-stomping apes" and the absurd bonsais people are expected to mold to - gah- I gotta stop now or I'll give myself an rage coma.
posted by The Whelk at 9:16 AM on January 29, 2010


Jack Donovan is in no way “closeted,” and if he has any relationship with the self it’s one of self-regard, even adoration, not “hating.”

I think he is self-hating and closeted in the sense that obviously he refuses to acknowledge that a gay man could legitimately express any kind of "femininity" — defined perhaps too broadly as any behavior that doesn't involve stomping someone else into the ground.

So he denies his inner fag by lashing out at other fags (and, less directly, at women, the archetypes of femininity), equating masculinity with a romanticized or fetishized soup of conservatism, nationalism and violence.

Fags like him, Yukio Mishima and Ernst Rohm hated themselves so much that they embraced a culture of nationalist fascism, using hatred of others (women, non-Japanese, Jews, resp. and etc.) as a means to release the tensions of their pent-up self-loathing.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:39 AM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thinking about it some more, "artifice" is the right word. He has invented an idealized and artificial view of masculinity, very likely informed by his political views, that makes no allowance of femininity. When he fails his own idealization, perhaps by expressing some "feminine" feeling for another human being, instead of taking a moment to reflect upon whether his idealization is garbage, he lashes out at his own self-identity, through hatred of others who do not meet his idealized view of the world. That's my theory, anyway.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:07 AM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


In U.S. popular culture right now, I’m not sure I could point to even one masculine gay character. I’d say there actually is something to talk about there.

Well, again, this is getting into your definition of "masculine" and how you apply it. In Will & Grace (a series which I sort of loathe), Will is pretty much a masculine character. I mean, he's not "queening it up" with his friend Jack, he wears male clothing, he has a traditionally male profession... Granted, Jack is the real focus of Teh Queer in the show, which makes Will sort of fade by comparison, but I think that was partially by design. There are also the characters from Brokeback Mountain who were pretty traditionally masculine, even if that movie does involve a faggot being beaten to death.

Above all else, I'd say the gay couple on The Sarah Silverman Show is the most realistic depiction of a male gay couple who just happen to be guys I've seen yet on TV. They are so obviously not playing for the stereotype, but they're also not playing directly AGAINST the stereotype. They're just a couple of guys in a love relationship, and many times their awkward geekiness makes their relationship even more tender. (Well, as tender as anything depicted in that show could be, I suppose.)

Does the US have a problem with accurate depictions of gay characters of either gender? Oh, you bet. But this isn't really news, is it?
posted by hippybear at 11:01 AM on January 29, 2010


The gay couple on Modern Family are pretty well-developed-for-a-sit-com, and you know, are parents.

Wasn't there a super-butch couple on "Rescue Me" or some such?
posted by The Whelk at 11:05 AM on January 29, 2010


Will and Grace has long since come and gone. The two gay dads on the atrocious Modern Family are effeminate gay dads.

Again: You can’t point to an American pop-culture phenomenon happening right now that features a gay male who isn’t effeminate. And I say this as someone who really rather quite likes Kurt on Glee.
posted by joeclark at 12:12 PM on January 29, 2010


fennel is too strong for a salad, I like a classic Cesar with walnuts and dried cranberry.

Be a man!
posted by coolguymichael at 12:14 PM on January 29, 2010


Maculinity may be “artifice,” Blazecock, but people accept it exists and some people, including some gays, like it. Unless you’re trying to suggest the natural state of the homosexualist male is an effeminate one and any masculine “presentation” is artificial.

Frankly, based on experience, masculine straight guys never think about it for so much as two seconds. For them it’s natural, not artificial. Maybe you don’t spend a lot of time among straight guys. Separately and in merely a related observation, I know that a lot of gay males do not; they don’t know how to relate to straight guys, which creates a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Really: Where’s the Mike Rowe who’s actually gay, not just a former opera singer?
posted by joeclark at 12:17 PM on January 29, 2010


This argument goes back to Isherwood moaning about how even the "butch" guys in Berlin in the 1920s weren't as "effortlessly masculine" as the working-class guys - which makes me think it's all just fetishism.
posted by The Whelk at 12:19 PM on January 29, 2010


It is a fetishism for some, but not for all. And whether its how you naturally are or how you present, who the fuck cares as long as you leave every body else to also do their thing?


Really, are we still having this argument? I'm feeling like I live such a sheltered existence right now.

posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:31 PM on January 29, 2010


I'm more then happy to go back to discussing soft-core gay gladiator shows.
posted by The Whelk at 12:32 PM on January 29, 2010


It's true that homos don't get played in the mass media as natural characters, but JD's critiques in general go much deeper than that. He really doesn't make the point that homos are united solely by the interest in matching genitalia, though this is all articulated with a lot more clarity in Androphilia than in the article (so I'll cotton to the fact that I'm expanding the critique a bit). He's real fan of the "no true Scotsman" fallacy, and essentially uses tautologies and hazy absolutes to keep himself in a state of self-authenticated purity by invalidating criticism based on his suppositions about the source. In JD's arguments, someone who doesn't embrace inarguable stereotypes as truth doesn't get to play, because they just don't "get it," or worse, because they've been ritually contaminated by symbolism he considers unworthy.

He's right, in a roundabout way, to criticize the way in which elements of a politically-driven gay lobbying establishment appoint themselves the sole and authentic guardians of all GLBTQWTF identity, but lapses into his very own version of the same thing, saying "all homosexuals" and "gay culture" does this, "gay culture" does that, as if there's such a thing as gay culture. This is where the Animal Farm revolution goes wrong, where all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others, and so on, indefinitely.

His fetishy reverence for Mishima makes that so clear. He says he can't stand the arch, rehearsed, and ultimately mannered way of what he considers the gay archetype, but he'll go on and on about a pretentious fascist prick who rehearsed his suicide (on film) with the overwrought frippery of a fading Hollywood movie star. So...liking Judy Garland is offensively gay and marks you as a victim of gay "culture," but waxing romantic about a guy who was such a whiny little bitch that he had to kill himself in a showy, ritualistic huff because his great and noble balcony manifesto got giggles instead of legions falling at his feet is somehow noble and glorious? C'mon--really?

The tragedy, in my mind, of JD's work is that he does have some very good and very interesting points, but they get lost in his schlocky posturing. Why should the HRC be able to speak for me? Why is it seemingly impossible for a single mediaworld writer to get a same-sex-humping character to the screen that doesn't make us roll our eyes? He's got some ideas, but they get lost as soon as he surrenders to his baser, better-than-thou instincts. In the end, he'd rather say "emasculated" over and over than take his points and make something of them.

That's where it falls apart. I can only speak for myself, as a masculine sissyman of a sort. Am I emasculated because I think women and men are functionally equivalent? Hmmm, lemme get my hand down to...nope, they're still there. Am I emasculated because I look at his idealized and lushly-sentimental Purely Patriarchal™ societies and find them right where progress left 'em, back in ancient history? I dunno. The point always seems to come back to a kind of Promise Keepers romance for reclaiming a time that never existed.

He's out on his balcony, spouting his manifesto, and it's just too hard not to laugh. Maybe I'm not being fair. Hell, I can't help but laugh at the fact that he's aware enough of any nearby camera lens to make sure he's never, ever smiling in a photo. Maybe it's because he's too tough to smile. Maybe it's because he's not very happy. I can't say which--I'm not him, though that doesn't stop him from projecting his notions on all homos, or at least the impure ones.

Interesting guy, interesting points, but ultimately, unsatisfying.

Pretty soon we'll be stealing Erno's nose.
posted by sonascope at 1:16 PM on January 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


Maculinity may be “artifice,” Blazecock, but people accept it exists and some people, including some gays, like it.

A fantasy seems all well and good up until the point it becomes an ideology, ala Rohm and Mishima, where innocent people trying to live out their own lives in peace get hurt because they don't meet up to the artificial standards set in these individuals' fantasies.

Donovan is free to live in his fantasy land of tough guys banging other tough guys, living in a treehouse with a "girls are gross" sign hanging out front, but it also seems to me that his fantasies about self-actualization involve a lot of denying the humanity of people unlike himself — or perhaps too much like himself. That seems like a big flashing warning sign, to me, or a cry for help, maybe.

Maybe you don’t spend a lot of time among straight guys.

It's true, but I don't spend much time around people, in general. As grating as I am on Metafilter, I'm even worse in person.

Separately and in merely a related observation, I know that a lot of gay males do not; they don’t know how to relate to straight guys, which creates a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Society seems to set up a lot of artificial roles for people to play, and many people, gay or straight, fall into those lines and find it difficult to communicate between barriers, or even live up to the roles they are expected to play.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:20 PM on January 29, 2010


I'm more then happy to go back to discussing soft-core gay gladiator shows.

We are all Spartacus.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:21 PM on January 29, 2010



We are all Spartacus.


Hello there.
posted by The Whelk at 1:24 PM on January 29, 2010


Well, not all of us. I could probably use a few laps around the stadium.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:33 PM on January 29, 2010


I choose to read that as an unspeakably filthily euphemism.
posted by The Whelk at 1:34 PM on January 29, 2010 [4 favorites]


You can’t point to an American pop-culture phenomenon happening right now that features a gay male who isn’t effeminate.

Did you even read what I wrote about the couple on Sarah Silverman's program?
posted by hippybear at 1:41 PM on January 29, 2010


I choose to laugh uncontrollably.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:41 PM on January 29, 2010


I don't know that straight guys are really that natural in their masculinity. There's so much backlash built into their "natural" masculinity that pushes them to overreact to every instance of accidental intimacy, and just because it's become a reflex gesture doesn't mean it's not an artificial thing. The straight guy arm-blocking hug, the weird exaggerated rambunctiousness, and the indignation at the assumptions of possible violations in the manly-man code ("no homo").

What seems natural is so often indoctrinated in. Watch any mixed group of family and how they relate to the kids at a family gathering. Those lessons get taught, a little bit at a time, to be sure, but kids are supercharged learning machines. It doesn't take much.

In my family, I'm the homo, and my little bro is straight. Still, we act a lot alike, have the same gestures, the same approach to manifesting our masculinity, and pretty similar tastes and aesthetics. Neither of us give a shit about sports (thanks, Dad), both of us love raucous rock and roll music, and we laugh at the same things and get upset by the same things. My brother is comfortable in his skin, and comfortable with ambiguity and progress. Is that masculine, or effeminate? He's aware, too, that it's largely presentation, whether overtly, by measured choice, or motivated by the subconscious drives of a socialized being.

Despite my inherent murderous patricidal urges (what with being a fag and all), I got along fine with my dad, and learned to embrace both my masculinity and my femininity. The thing was, my father was pretty much about as natural a man as you'd meet, but it wasn't that kind of guarded, suspicious, exclusive "masculinity" that JD loves to celebrate, and what seems to be the created norm these days. The man was productive, and he made things, and fixed things, and appreciated beautiful things, and was emotionally open, direct, and honest, which are not within the realm of JD's puritan manliness. I think that's a loss for so-called capital-letter MEN, whether or not they can understand it or feel the loss.

Were we better off in the fifties, with fear-based self-enforcement of our gender norms? Don't stand out, don't be different, don't expose your weaknesses. I don't think so, because close male intimacy was summarily cut off after adolescence in that culture. Are we better off when our version of masculinity comes from a beer commercial, or from what our idiot fundamentalist movement tells us, or when it's based on a piece of fiction? It's worth pondering.

A funny aside is due here. I'm a scooter freak (2-stroke or die!) and scooter freaks are not, by and large, queer, so there's always this odd sensation I get when I'm around other scooter freaks. There's a real sort of exaggeration of male assholeness (to use the sociological term) in groups of Vespa/Lambretta dudes that is kind of invisible to them, and it seems to be really motivated by the insecurity that we have sometimes, buzzing along on 150cc thumpers while the motorcycles storm on by, like a gearhead Napoleon complex. I don't know that I've ever seen a biker drink as much as a scooterist at a meet, or work so hard on all the signs and symbols of masculinity. In the end, it's pretty silly. A Vespa is as much of a motorcycle as a Harley--it's just slower and more zen, but people really feel like they have to constantly make sure everyone knows that they're just as bad-ass as the rest of the pack. So the dudes all race around like wild dogs, fucking up their cowls and grenading their crankshafts, and it's all to save face from a fiction. Odd.
posted by sonascope at 2:25 PM on January 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


also, going super-fast on your scooter sounds really fuckin' fun. (while wasted, not so much).
posted by The Whelk at 2:29 PM on January 29, 2010


then again, this also looks fuckin fun.

(Two-toned beard! - So much Maintenance!)
posted by The Whelk at 2:31 PM on January 29, 2010


@Whelk - Believe it or not, the white tips are 100% all-natural (the topiary is the unnatural part), though the white's getting a little higher every damn day. The hooks took a bit of wax to keep them from being too shaggy, but I clipped 'em off when I started the new job to be a bit more low-key. Oddly, my predecessor in the job was Baltimore's number one drag king, so arch facial hair was to be expected.
posted by sonascope at 2:58 PM on January 29, 2010


I can barely keep my Viking Bush under control to look halfway presentable. Really pale skin and dark-red beard means if I'm not careful I'll turn into a mini Alan Moore.
posted by The Whelk at 3:05 PM on January 29, 2010


wow. my (gay, electrician) brother had a moustache like that for years, but not nearly so awesome at the ends. i am having moustache appreciation right now.
posted by rmd1023 at 3:25 PM on January 29, 2010


Really pale skin and dark-red beard means if I'm not careful I'll turn into a mini Alan Moore.

We've already talked about the effect this kind of talk has on me. Stop it. I've run out of ways to internet stalk you, and I can't afford airfare to come do it in real life.
posted by hippybear at 3:25 PM on January 29, 2010


For me, masculinity is back hair and flatulence and I am effortlessly natural at it..
posted by srboisvert at 4:24 PM on January 29, 2010


"Frankly, based on experience, masculine straight guys never think about it for so much as two seconds. For them it’s natural, not artificial. Maybe you don’t spend a lot of time among straight guys. Separately and in merely a related observation, I know that a lot of gay males do not; they don’t know how to relate to straight guys, which creates a self-fulfilling prophecy."

That's horseshit, and a fantasy of straight life seen from the outside.

I'm a straight guy, the majority of my friends are straight guys, and nearly everyone I work with is gay. We talk about this all the time, and it's a common misconception from the gay guys that straight guys don't have to think about sexuality and gender presentation.

It's there all the time—what clothes you wear, what vocal cadences you use, what you admit to liking and what you profess to hate, and both other men and other women will constantly police you for it. I remember getting told again and again that I couldn't like synth pop and be straight, or that doing theater was gay, or whatever. And sure, there are some guys who don't think about it, but they're people who are unreflective in general.

I am a masculine straight guy, and I've had this discussion a couple times with other mefites at meetups, including one where a guy pointed out how lucky I was to be beefy and bearded. It is a privilege, no doubt, because whatever I do is then automatically coded by people who see it as "something a masculine straight dude is doing." Hell, I have an elaborately choreographed dance to Soft Cell's Tainted Love (get me real drunk sometime and you might see it), but I don't worry about that being seen as gay because one, there's nothing wrong with being gay, and two, I'm not gay. I am definitely conscious of policing about it, but it's something I chose to ignore. It's similar in discussions of feminism—because I'm a manly man, I find I have more rhetorical clout in conversations because of my projected gender identity.

But a big part of homophobia is that constant policing, and that pervasive sense that if you're not the informer to the Hetero Stasi, you must be gay or effeminate yourself. It's a real insecurity for a huge number of men, a huge number of straight ostensibly masculine guys. I mean, you wanna talk about regular portrayals of gays in the media, invert your question—when's the last time there was a really effeminate straight guy? But for guys who are interested in "gay" stuff, there's a constant sense of the need to prove yourself, which does make hanging out with gay dudes uncomfortable, because it forces you to confront that there's no one to inform to without making it clear that you think being gay is bad.

Donovan thinks he's found an out, by being the most macho guy he can imagine, but it's still a mistake because it assumes that there's something bad about being a woman, or being effeminate, or that there's something good about the patriarchy.
posted by klangklangston at 6:24 PM on January 29, 2010 [7 favorites]


"I have an elaborately choreographed dance to Soft Cell's Tainted Love "

I would like to see this dance
posted by The Whelk at 6:34 PM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, thanks to klangklangston for expressing what I was thinking in an actual coherent way rather than in foamy rage ("It's like the Nobel Savage or something! argh!)
posted by The Whelk at 8:07 PM on January 29, 2010


Interesting. I'll casually mention that I've met Jack a few times, some years back when he was more into painting and less into writing, and he's a nice enough guy. I own a copy of Androphilia (which is fully titled 'A Manifesto,' which puts it right out what it is) but haven't looked at it since I first bought it and gave it an initial read-through. (That probably says something.)

Mostly, what I took away from it is what sonatoscope did - this is late because I made sure I at least did a skim again. (especially skimming over his 'women are the cause of effeminacy in men' bit, which blamed and then didn't blame and was generally inconsistent throughout) I also feel that he is rebelling/manifestoing against the modern American 'four-gender model'. This is the model that says gay men are feminine (and in a pairing one of them is 'the wife' - cf right wing cartoonists) and gay women are masculine, and bisexuals don't exist. It's an older construction of gender that stills holds sway in the bulk of the media, as those of you who have noted a lack of dimension in characters in movies/tv. There is a good point to 'being gay doesn't mean you have to do the gay pride thing', but mostly for younger men trying to figure out their identity. I also think it's at least somewhat less pronounced now than when he was coming of age (speaking as a bisexual younger than him) and he is speaking as if the same subculture exists.

Now, given that this thought still exists, it's not entirely bad that someone wrote something about it. However, it is, and says, that it is a 'manifesto'. It's not an academic work. (He even states that within the book.) It's a knee-jerk reaction in some ways and while it makes some good points, it suffers from lack of perspective in others. It will not convince people who still believe in the four-gender model. Only action will - and that means actual, personal experience to divorce the roles of 'gender' and 'sexuality'.

That being said, his connection with the CoS is a bit peripheral to this, except that some of the libertarian/paleoconservative elements are strong there. I'm not a huge fan of it, and I'm also not a huge fan of the being classed as a 'prolonged adolescent', but, like I said, I think it's peripheral to the core article here and kind of shock-value unnecessary to what could be framed in a 'interesting constructions of masculinity from X perspectives' post instead.
posted by Weighted Companion Cube at 8:40 PM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm also not a huge fan of the being classed as a 'prolonged adolescent'

You really must have met some different CoS people than I did, then. That's entirely what turned me off, that and the weird Nazi/Stalin fetishism.
posted by DecemberBoy at 9:04 PM on January 29, 2010


Klang Klang Klang Went the Trolley, you and your straight colleague talk about “it” all the time because you’re hopelessly outnumbered and are taking on the argot of your captors.
posted by joeclark at 9:21 PM on January 29, 2010


DecemberBoy*, it really, really depends on who and in what context you meet them.

Some of us 'pass' in normal society. I'm in a field where it would be detrimental to show it off. Others make their money off the related sub-cultures and keep it up 24/7. It's a large enough cross-section, with relatively few required belief elements, that you can get people who also believe in cyrogenics or cigars/whiskey or just being a really good actuary.

*eponysterical?
posted by Weighted Companion Cube at 9:51 AM on January 30, 2010


"Klang Klang Klang Went the Trolley, you and your straight colleague talk about “it” all the time because you’re hopelessly outnumbered and are taking on the argot of your captors."

What the hell are you even on about? Hopelessly outnumbered by gay guys, I've been captured and forced to talk about "it" all the time? Do you have some sort of mental image of me tied up and stripped by the nasty effeminate homos, bravely fending them off until the last vestiges of my straight masculinity collapse? I'm just trying to figure out where you're going with this, but I think that movie's been made before.
posted by klangklangston at 9:52 AM on January 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Since perhaps the couple from The Sarah Silverman Show isn't familiar to many...

Brian and Steve Take Bong-loads With God

Interview with Brian Posehn and Steve Agee
posted by hippybear at 9:58 AM on January 30, 2010


I am gay and I have a beard. Just... ya know... didn't want to be left out of the Bearded Gay Mefite Census.
posted by greekphilosophy at 12:03 AM on January 31, 2010


That's what this thread is, right?
posted by greekphilosophy at 12:04 AM on January 31, 2010


Indeed it is, greekphilosophy. I guess I should come out as well. I, too, have a beard. Normally, I keep it trimmed, but occasionally I let it grow until someone calls me "Grizzly Adams."
posted by crataegus at 1:09 AM on January 31, 2010


I'm gay and I have a beard. Her name is Katie.
posted by The Whelk at 8:10 AM on January 31, 2010 [3 favorites]


Isn't this article basically a gay dude saying, "Most fags like macho men but can't live up to it themselves. I, on the other hand, overdo it. I take it ALL-TOO-SERIOUSLY, folks, now where's my fucking cookie."?
posted by gorgor_balabala at 11:36 AM on January 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


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