It can’t be true…can it?

Apparently I’m not the gift to women that, well, nobody really imagined me to be anyway:

“Men with “front vowels” in their names — sounds formed at the front of the mouth like the “a” in Matt — were considered sexier than men with “back vowel” sounds like the “au” in Paul, she concluded”

What makes it hurt even more is that I’m sitting opposite someone called Matt.

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Politician and Logician

Barak Obama, the Democratic candidate for Senate in Illinois, has become something of a star following his speech at the Democratic convention. Presumably this is why the Republican’s have picked Alan Keyes to oppose him. There are many negative things that could be said about Keyes, but one compliment that I think is justified is that he is a master of building complex arguments from the raw materials of rhetoric and logic. Unfortunately he doesn’t bother with foundations first. Here’s an example, his views on homosexuality.

It’s a bit long winded, and so involved that it’s hard to quote illustrative pieces without copying the entire thing, so I’ll try to summarize.

1. Racism is wrong because people of color don’t choose to be non-white.
2. Homosexuals choose to be gay.
3. The standard argument is that they don’t have a choice, that they can’t help themselves.
4. If they can’t resist their urges, they are no better than children.
5. We stop children from engaging in marriage and sexual acts.
6. Therefore we must stop homosexual marriage. If we don’t…
(I’ll admit the next bit of logic eludes me slightly here, so I’m going to use a device often seen on Slashdot to summarize)
7. ???
8. The downfall of civilization

Masterful don’t you think? An impressive leap from conclusion to conclusion, so carefully reasoned and flamboyantly worded that you can almost miss the big assumption that he wants you to ignore. It should sit right around step 4, and goes something like this:

3.5 They may not have a choice, but that’s because they are weak – they could be straight if they really wanted to be.

It illustrates quite nicely one of the central conflicts between the opposing camps (ha, I used the word camp in a discussion of homosexuality) on the gay marriage issue. Many of those in opposition assume that homosexuals choose their homosexuality, either actively (“Hmm, I think I’ll be gay today”) or passively (“Oh, I can’t be bothered to fight it, the gay beams are too strong”). It’s an interesting idea, and as a committed and practising heterosexual I can understand that any other choice is puzzling, but most homosexuals don’t choose to be gay any more than I chose to be straight.

Here’s my attempt to explore this idea of choice in more detail. I’m afraid it’s not very convincing, but that probably stems from my lack of real comprehension of the anti-gay viewpoint.

Reasons not to be gay

  • People will beat you up
  • People will discriminate against you
  • You’ll burn in hell forever (possibly)
  • You will miss out on hundreds of benefits accorded to ‘proper’ married couples
  • It’s harder to have kids (though that could go either way)
  • The most obvious sexual act is not available to you, at least without specialized equipment or modification
  • Your heightened taste in interior design will cost you thousands extra during your lifetime

Reasons to be gay

  • Erm, you love people of the same gender?

Here’s the thing; it’s really easy to come up with reasons not to, and the only reason I can find for being gay (unless you enjoy being beaten up etc.) is that you love people with the same undercarriage as you. And that is, speaking as a straight person, such an unappealing option that it seems unlikely that you’d choose to be gay unless, well, unless you were.

There you have it, my attempt to fight logic with logic. I learned something even if you didn’t. Oh, and if anyone has suggestions for alternatives to ‘homosexual’ (too clinical) or ‘gay’ (too devalued) I’m listening.

{sparked by Bérubé}

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