Oh, Those Pesky Ten Percenters
by Judson Hammond
13 October 2004
[From Instauration, November 1998]
The movie "Goldfinger" debuted in 1964 when I was 14. Given the times, the relatively racy nature of the material and my tender years, the film was something of an eye-opener. I remember a school buddy commenting that the female pilots in Pussy Galore's flying circus were obviously lesbians. I nodded understandingly but couldn't bring myself to be so naive as to ask, "What's a lesbian?"
I don't think too many teenagers today would have that problem. They may not know the capital of North Dakota, how to diagram a sentence or who represents them in Congress, but they do know what a lesbian is.
This acknowledgement of homosexuality, if not always the embrace of it, is one of the key social changes of the second half of the 20th century. Love it or loathe it, you cannot ignore it.
This is the gist of The Homosexuality of America, a work by queer sociologist/activist Dennis Altman (Beacon Press, Boston, 1982). That the book is 16 years old gives it a more prophetic tone than a contemporary work. The author predicted that the election of Ronald Reagan -- supposedly a harbinger of a return to traditional family values -- would have no effect on the spread of homosexuality. He was right. Even AIDS, which the author didn't forsee, didn't turn back the tide of permissiveness and tolerance.
Sidestepping the agitprop the author occasionally serves up, the reader garners that homosexuality is an inevitable corollary of the breakdown of sexual roles. He is also told that acceptance of homosexuality cannot be derailed because all forms of sexuality have become more accepted over the last 30 years or so. What the author implies by the title of his book is that America -- and other Western societies -- are "becoming homosexualized in the sense that more people are behaving in the way traditionally ascribed to homosexuals" (p. 224). By this, he means something more than straight males wearing earrings. Consider the bulge in the number of single people, the appearance of shamelessly decadent resorts (e.g., Hedonism II in Jamaica), and the popularity of short-term, serial relationships, legal or otherwise. Look at the fortunes spent at gentleman's clubs (or adult cabarets, if you prefer) and on adult videotapes. Sex-oriented magazines have long been a staple of male entertainment, but now, judging by the covers of the women's magazines at the supermarket checkout counter, it would appear we have spawned a generation of courtesans-in-training. Underlying all these phenomena is an attitude towards sexuality that slips farther and farther away from procreation and inches closer and closer to the purely recreational sex that homos have always enjoyed.
You don't have to be doddering or drooling to remember when things were different. I sometimes comment to my younger office colleagues, many of whom are the products of divorced parents, that when I was growing up, I never heard the term stepmother except in fairy tales. Back then, the broken home was an exception. Indeed the very term "broken home" has fallen into disuse, perhaps because it carries too much of a stigma. We do, however, hear "blended family" to describe present-day households. Certainly sounds warm and fuzzy, doesn't it? The reality, however, is often the opposite.
As late as the 60s, divorce was not taken lightly. How well I remember the summer of 1963 when I went to New England with my parents. My father was attending a technical conference in New Hampshire. Since a number of the conferees had brought their families, I had ample opportunity to socialize with other kids my own age. One such lad was attending the conference with his divorced father. I remember the pity my parents felt for the boy, the sort of pity that today would be reserved for a kid with leukemia. His parents divorced! His life ruined! What a cruel trick of fate! Turns out the kid was just ahead of his time. Stop to think about it and you can probably come up with a number of flashpoint incidents that demonstrates how the river of "mainstream" sexual behavior changed its course.
You can't get more mainstream than Jay Leno. Yet in the wake of Viagra, we have been treated to an endless litany of erection jokes. The Lewinsky affair brought fellatio humor out of the locker room and into the living room. We can argue whether all this is good or bad, but no one can dispute that mores haven't drastically shifted. Can you imagine Johnny Carson lacing his monologues with such cloacal stuff? A decade ago the double entendre was the most one could expect on network TV.
I also remember a time when college psychology textbooks categorized homosexuality as a perversion, a definition that needless to say won't fly any more if the academic takes his tenured professorship seriously. In fact, the whole notion of "perversion" seems to have been put into mothballs. When was the last time you heard anyone -- even the most repulsive sociopath or out-and-out pedophile -- characterized as a pervert? Can't use that term any more. It's a value judgment!
Clearly, as the 21st century approached, our values were hopelessly warped. In 1993 a gay man brought a "date" to the office Christmas party. Not that I hadn't seen gay employees at such parties before. In years past, they had always gone stag. In the old days, bringing a male friend to the Christmas party would have given rise to loud guffaws. By 1993, if anyone was scandalized, nobody said anything. Anyone who laughed did it in private.
As a more recent sign of the times, I offer the hosts of a local radio show who have taken to playing spin the bottle. This game is not played the way most of my friends remembered it. If the bottle points to someone of the same sex, you must go ahead and plant a kiss on that person's lips. That the show has no problem finding contestants to go along with such ground rules may be just as alarming as the game itself. On the same radio show, the hosts frequently ask female callers if they've ever been with women. The number of callers who answer in the affirmative is mind-boggling.
I asked someone who has been in show business all his life if there are more lesbians around today, or are they just more open about it? He believes there are more of them.
Sometimes it seems that lesbianism is the last growth industry in America. Lesbian chic has made it acceptable for a whole generation of young women to indulge in sapphism. Whereas before they might have said, "Oh, gross," now it's "oh, cool!" Such behavior provides a clue as to why females were subject to more control in days of yore. Given her freedom, the modern American female makes some incredibly stupid choices -- not just concerning tattoos and body piercing.
For years homos in America have hammered us with the notion that they represent 10% of the population. Like the six million Holocausted Jews, the figure is accepted by the mainstream media, no matter how much research is done to dispel the myth. A recent exhaustive study of fairy behavior in America concluded that they were 2% to 2.5% of the population, about the same percentage as the Jews. Nevertheless the homos persist in their sacrosanct 10% figure.
A small well-heeled minority, as little as 2% of the population, can work its will on the majority. That doesn't mean there isn't strength in numbers or, more to the point, legitimacy in numbers. If you can convince people that there are more more of you than there are, you have a better chance at being "mainstreamed." This is true of any form of deviant behavior. The more alcoholics, bulimics, drug addicts or whatever, the more accceptable they become. "There's one in every family" they say.
Homos keep the numbers game working overtime as they spread tales about celebrities or historical figures being queers. In Dallas there has long been a persistent rumor that Cowboy quarterback Troy Aikman is gay. Why isn't he married? Why don't we see him out on the town with dates? Well, if you had his income, you'd probably be wary of marriage. Aikman is just the type the homos love, radiating as he does that youthful beach-boy look. While in a public restroom at Union Staton in Dallas, I was amazed to note the amount of graffiti pertaining to what local homos would like to do to Troy. It becomes obvious that if you're the kind of guy gays go gaga over, they eventually assume you're one of them. On a national level, teen heartthrob Leonardo DiCaprio has the same problem.
The oft-asked question of is-he, is-he-ain't a homo is frequently followed by another question. What difference does it make? Well, it does make a difference. If it didn't, the homos wouldn't be thumping their chests about the great homos of history.
The attempts to paint a number of great Western artists (check out Shakespeare's gender-bending in The Twelfth Night, or Michelangelo's muscular male nudes) as homosexuals strikes mea s the equivalent of blacks asserting that ancient Egyptians were Negroid. It's grasping after respectability. The artists aren't around to defend themselves, so their seuxality is fodder for speculation. What cannot be denied, however -- and what Altman points out in his book -- is that today's homosexual artists have a defined gay audience. Both the artist and his audience are out of the closet. In generations past the pansy writer was read because he had something of interest to say to straight audiences. He wasn't on a soapbox. One can read, for example, the poetry of Hart Crane or the fiction of W. Somerset Maugham without the subject of queers coming up.
But taking the high ground isn't the only strategy for American homos. In America, pop culture sets the tone. This is why the Ellen TV show is so insidious. What could be more mainstream than a good old American sitcom? If a lesbo can have her very own sitcom, how could anything be wrong with it? In TV and movies, we are seeing more and more queer characters that are not warped, twisted or villainous. They are nice young men, though perhaps a tad too sensitive for this brutal world, like the Greg Kinnear character in "As Good As It Gets.
One of the more noxious "mainstream" movies of recent years was "In and Out," in which semi-Semite Kevin Kline played a small-town high school teacher "outed" by a former student on national television. The amusing premise was set up as a farce involving a straight, albeit somewhat prissy, man who has to prove that he's not a homo -- a rather daunting task. But halfway through the movie, the teacher decides he really is "that way" and the second half of the film is pro-homo propaganda. What else can you expect when the writer of the screen play is an out-of-the-closet Jew, one Paul Rudnick?
If you've been to a bookstore lately, you can't help but notice the growth in homo/lesbo titles. A local Barnes & Noble store even features lesbian literature discussion clubs. Are homos that much more literate than heteros or do they just have more leisure time for reading and writing? The idea that they are more creative is a canard that should be put to sleep. I don't doubt the married-with-children crowd represents a wealth of untapped creative talent. What they don't have is leisure time. The demands of daily living are the greatest censors of the creative impulse.
The straight artist must overcome the "disgust factor" when building his career. What goes through the mind of a religious young man with an interest in the theater when he discovers that Jews and homosexuals rule the roost? What does the talented painter or musician think when confronted with the reality of the Chosen controlling the art and music world, when he is confronted with Jewish agencies, the original ten percenters? (Now some want 15 percent.) The hetero artist can, of course, donate his time or work for AIDS benefits, the United Negro College Fund or march on Washington with some supposedly beleaguered group to store up brownie and brown-nosing points. He can go along to get along. More than likely, however, at some point, watching the sodomites and minorityites praised to the skies for their filth, he simply gives up in disgust.
Dr. Paul Cameron of the Family Research Institute determined that 62% of boys who recounted homosexual rape as their first sexual experience became bisexual or homosexual. He also found that homos were three to four times more likely to have been reared in an urban environment, where gay culture is pervasive. Indeed, if you live in a large city, a weekly homo fishwrap is probably as close as your nearest bookstore, museum or restaurant. It is highly instructive to pick up such publications, though you might want to look raound to make sure no one you know sees you, and jump through the looking glass into a world that bears some similarities to your world but has some surprising and often disturbing features. Like a conventional publication held up to a fun house mirror, it is familiar but distorted. There is queer jargon, such as GLBT (no, not a sandwich, an acronym for gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgendered). Not surprisingly conservative Christians and family-oriented groups are diabolized. Life insurance ads feature two middle-aged men. Other ads feature leather boys and musclemen. Major advertisers are not loath to advertise in such publications, which may be another reason why queerdom will not go away. Its members have been identified as a profitable market! As the old advertising adage goes, before you can sell 'em, you've got to tell 'em who they are. Gay identity and culture have become more and more focused. But as Altman points out, one is not born into gay culture. It is not absorbed from the environment by the infant's sponge-like mind or learned at mother's knee or handed down like an ethnic tradition. It must, in effect, attract newcomers to perpetuate itself. Most homos would probably reject the notion that they are recruiters. Suffice it to say that they are always looking for a few good men who fit their own qualifications.
Strangely, while the bugaboo of homophobia (like racism or sexism) is a familiar refrain lamented from the mountain tops, it is far less stringent than in generations past. But this is the price we pay for living in a tolerant society. If social change has taught us anything, it is that the more aberrant behavior we are willing to tolerate, the more aberrant behavior we will have to tolerate.
Numbers aside, there is one nagging flaw in the homo trend towards mainstreaming. The main business of any society is survival, providing for the continuity of the race, the nation, the species. Society could go on forever without homosexuals, but we cannot survive without fathers. By definition, homosexuals are excluded, though some strive mightily to become adoptive parents. Like it or not, the big top will always be a heterosexual arena, while homos will always be relegated to the sideshow.