Michael Crowley’s piece on Swampland does indeed seem to show some major flaws with the Bachmann campaign. I tell you, if the really crazy ones keep imploding like this it’ll really sink the comedy value of the first full-on debate, dontcha think? Still….there doesn’t seem much real doubt that Michele Bachmann is half craven and half psychotic. Her husband, though, is another matter altogether….
As Crowley says, so-called “reparative therapy” is code for “praying away the gay.” Think about it: the whole idea infers that homosexuality is somehow inherently wrong, because Gwad said so. (Gwad as opposed to any saner iteration of the Divine; this is a term for which I thank Frank Zappa) It also supposes a literalist rather than open-ended view of the Bible.
What we’re fighting here is the same war that’s been going on longer than we want to remember, but we should. The likes of Falwell and Robertson turned into red meat for their flocks the idea that all gays were going to Hell along with, well, the rest of us, apparently. Their audience was transparent in what they wanted to hear because by God they were afraid of the always dangerous Other, and of course remain so today. Otherwise, the Tea Party would not exist.
You have to remember the rabidity of those “congregations” in those days. I spent far too much time watching Jim & Tammy Faye Bakker (a lot of people recall the tears first but underneath all that was some of the ballsiest public swindling I have ever seen take place on television, which is high praise considering the competition), Jimmy Swaggart (I actually saw the original sermon, conducted before an arena crowd who paid nothing to get in, where he said that the Police tune “Murder by Numbers” was composed by the devil. It was jaw-droppingly hilarious, I thought. Sting played that tune with Zappa’s incomparable 1988 band; I say again, Sting never worked with a more talented group of musicians, and never will.), even Ernest Angley who’d say “Put your hand against mine on the television set,” which didn’t seem like a good idea at all, and he’d proceed to heal you of your sins and bring you to Jesus although actually you’d die early of cancer connected to putting your hand against the fucking TV screen. John Ankerberg was different, interesting because he had academic pretensions and honestly didn’t seem like all that bad a guy although some of the guests on his show were crazy like seagulls on crack. Then, of course, there were the heavy hitters—Falwell, Robertson the most powerful (Billy Graham would’ve been had he chosen, but he used his influence more in private than in public, and that’s something for which I give the man all credit, and ardently wish his son Franklin would find a way to do the same), Oral and Richard Roberts (I think it was Jon Stewart who finally did the Oral-&-Anal joke I used to do….in class….no wonder people wanted to shoot me fucking dead. Yeah, OK. But I still meant it, and those fuckers could never get across the border, so fuck them very much), the whole thing. I even caught when I could a half-hour video screed out of St. Petersburg—where else but a very old guy talking Revelation from a studio in a town where the average age was, I don’t know, a hundred and thirty-seven. Sure as shit seemed that way when driving. Even local bus drivers drove like they just didn’t care anymore. The show was called God’s News Behind the News, and since the host looked like the fucking Cryptkeeper’s brother-in-law I doubt he’s still with us, but if not I can honestly say that fucker got it ‘way wrong. So far, anyway.
As we all know, people use God to move a lot of things, many of them grossly material. Roberts, Falwell, and Robertson all built universities, for example. They did that for individual but very specific reasons: Roberts concentrating mainly on the medical profession (imagine an ORU grad’s reaction to, say, being asked to perform an abortion), Falwell pretty much scattershotting his focus although, in typical Falwell fashion, it’s his sports teams that produce the most important “ambassadors.” I say typical only because of Falwell’s lifelong love of all things athletic; I could call that ironic considering he basically died from McDonald’s poisoning, but let’s be kind to a dead guy), and then Pat Robertson whose Regent University has produced so many defective lawyers that official Washington will never be rid of them. I can’t really decide who among them has had the most lasting impact so far, but I am absolutely certain their influence is the main factor in Marcus Bachmann’s “professional” work. Those preachers’ tenacity, fire, and absolute conviction both in the literal inerrancy of the Bible (whose translation are we even dealing with here? Depends on whose team you’re on, Jack, and that’s a true life-or-death situation for these people) and naturally their own cause, is the inspiration for the Marcus and Michele Bachmanns of our world. Billy Sunday still lives, see. He’s still baptizing people in the river down by the coal plant and a tavern in his name. Marcus Bachmann takes that inspiration and uses it to con people. I repeat that I don’t care about his personal sexuality unless and until we’re dealing with hypocrisy. If we are, honestly I think it’s tragic. It means he’d be one more closeted gay man who never needed to be but he’s afraid of something or someone, maybe God or indeed his own father. Interesting that would be since his own version of “reparative therapy” consistently returns to daddy issues. Anyway, then we’d be talking. Until then I do not care, and the only reason I would ever care about his sexuality would be on the basis of hypocrisy, nothing else.
And therein lies the sadness, if any of the rumors are true. It bothers me that homosexuality is now or ever was an issue in anyone’s life. I lived in a nuclear household with uncles who even as early teenagers were gay and knew it but refused to believe that for various lengths of time. They knew the neighborhood and wouldn’t dare come out to anyone. I happened to be there as a witness. They knew I wouldn’t say a word, because it never occurred to me that their sexuality of all things was any of my business. I just didn’t want them to go to Vietnam and get killed, that was all. One of my uncles did go, but survived. He’s buried at Arlington as he deserves.
Anyway, more than anything else I’m saddened by this story as it progresses. If it’s all nonsense and Marcus Bachmann is as he says he is, then he’s been, well, um, smeared by the media. That’s actually a dangerous weapon in the other side’s hands, something they know how to use (ahem)….And if he isn’t….
This campaign is showing so many different signs of implosion at once that it seems less a question of if but when that will finally happen. The country will be better off but in many ways I’m sad about the whole situation because of what it means. America hasn’t come very far at all in terms of once and for always doing the Christian thing and accepting LGBT into their midst because they’re already there, folks. Praying away the gay makes about as much sense as praying to wake up tomorrow twenty-five years younger and omnipotent. Ain’t happening.
Personally, I’d hate to think of the things I’d do….
Love does not mean to cancel out. Love does not mean denial. And no version thereof would even condone any act of violence or hatred. Not ever. The concepts should be clear to anyone with a fully functioning brain.
Apparently for some people, they’re not.