Newt Gingrich, former House Speaker and current failed presidential candidate, made the following comment about gay marriage.
“I believe that marriage is between a man and woman,” Gingrich said, the Des Moines Register reports. “It has been for all of recorded history and I think this is a temporary aberration that will dissipate. I think that it is just fundamentally goes against everything we know.”
Sometimes I think the true “temporary aberration” is the United States itself, which produces bigots as if they are the country’s chief export.
Gingrich is not the only GOP presidential candidate to appeal to “recorded history” regarding gay marriage. Let’s check in with everyone’s favorite Congressional representative and mental patient Michele Bachmann, who said in 2004:
“You have a teacher talking about his gayness. (The elementary school student) goes home then and says “Mom! What’s gayness? We had a teacher talking about this today.” The mother says “Well, that’s when a man likes other men, and they don’t like girls.” The boy’s eight. He’s thinking, “Hmm. I don’t like girls. I like boys. Maybe I’m gay.” And you think, “Oh, that’s, that’s way out there. The kid isn’t gonna think that.” Are you kidding? That happens all the time. You don’t think that this is intentional, the message that’s being given to these kids? That’s child abuse.”
Sorry, this quote doesn’t directly reference gay marriage. It’s just dumb. Sure, the 8-year-old boy is now a committed homosexual (just as I was a committed ninja at that age) until his female classmate shows up one day with breasts. If a boy can pass the breast test, then he deserves his gay honor badge, but hearing that his teacher is gay is not going to make him gay. Gayness is not spread through auditory contact. If that was the case, then everyone who listened to “Livin’ la Vida Loca” in 1999 would be gay.
Anyway, a more relevant quote from Bachmann during a recent appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
“The family is foundational and marriage between a man and a woman is what the law has been for years..”
Got that? So, gays can’t marry because that’s been the law for years and we can’t change the law because gays have historically not been able to marry.
That’s probably why it took so long for the self-proclaimed-but-rarely-in-actuality “land of the free” to end its “peculiar institution.” “We can’t free negroes because they are slaves and slavery has existed for centuries and is the foundation of our economy.”
There’s the other rub — end slavery and some lazy white people might have to work. What would happen to Scarlett’s hands if she had to wash her own gowns? Gays marrying has no impact on the economic health of the U.S. Empire. So, the anti-gay marriage position does not even have the virtue of selfishness.
Also, put a powdered wig on Gingrich — though I think that’s what he’s already wearing — and he could be arguing against female suffrage: “I believe that only men can vote because I say so with no facts to back it up. I believe the suffrage movement is a temporary aberration that will dissipate. It goes against everything we’ve ever known.”
Gay marriage has probably existed throughout recorded history, even if not legally recognized as such. The attempt by people like Gingrich and Bachmann is to legislate homosexuality out of existence — the legal equivalent of putting their hands over their ears and shouting, “La, La, La, I can’t hear gay people being gay around me.” They also simultaneously promote family values while denying that gays can have families, so homosexuality remains on the margins of society. This is how you ensure they remain second-class citizens. And “converting” to heterosexuality won’t help. It’s similar to the Jews and Muslims who converted under pressure to Roman Catholicism in Portugal. They were dubbed “New Christians” as a means of distinguishing them from the “Old Christians.” And they were always under suspicion.
Gingrich has already expressed his concerns:
“I think there is a gay and secular fascism in this country that wants to impose its will on the rest of us, is prepared to use violence, to use harassment. I think it is prepared to use the government if it can get control of it. I think that it is a very dangerous threat to anybody who believes in traditional religion.”
But Bachmann is more sympathetic — if not sort of sinisterly condescending — of the “New Heterosexuals“:
“And again, don’t misunderstand. I am not here bashing people who are homosexuals, who are lesbians, who are bisexual, who are transgendered. We need to have profound compassion for the people who are dealing with the very real issue of sexual dysfunction in their life, and sexual identity disorders. This is a very real issue. It’s not funny, it’s sad.”
Berlin and Munich have history, Amsterdam has my short-term memory, but Budapest has old world charm. I have longed to visit Hungary since my childhood fascination with Countess Elizabeth Bathory. The Countess is considered the first vampire because at some point, she struck one of her servants so hard she drew blood. Apparently, the guy she had who normally handled her bitch-slapping was on holiday. When she looked at her blood-stained hand, she noticed that it seemed younger than it had before. Rather than examining her life and determining that she was crazy, she began killing young women and bathing in their blood to preserve her youth. There were laws about this sort of thing, even when you’re doing it to poor people. She was believed to have murdered more than 600 women but was only convicted of about 80, which was still a dozen or so above the legal limit for royalty, so she was bricked up in a set of rooms until her death four years later. Attendance at her funeral was only slightly better than the “Lestat” musical.
I did not drink any blood while in Budapest, despite my hotel being on Barnabas street. The hotel had a great view of the Danube river, which divides the Buda and Pest districts. Well, it did if you left your room altogether and walked two blocks to the river. The hotel was the type of place that charged you for everything. The rooms had Internet access but the cost was similar to what Stephen I, King of Hungary, might have paid to have noblewomen come to his rooms and perform pornographic acts while delivering a right-wing screed that wasn’t backed up in fact.
I took a river cruise one night, where I had the “pleasure” (those are irony quotation marks) of meeting the most obnoxious woman in the world, so yes, she was from New Jersey. Her eyebrows appeared to have been trimmed at the Vulcan Salon and Spa in Teaneck. She was visiting Budapest for the weekend but currently working in Prague. She spent a good deal of time complaining about how Czechs were not friendly to her, which I viewed as an example of both their good taste and evidence that even Prague does not have enough beer to make her desirable. It greatly bothered her that they wouldn’t make sandwiches the way she wanted (it’s a Czech restaurant not Subway) or remember to put the sauces on the side per her request (again, it’s a Czech dish, not what Woody Allen called “boiled chicken” run “through the deflavorizing machine.”).
I should clarify that I had nothing to do with her suddenly and accidentally falling into the Danube and drowning. I actually wasn’t even on that river cruise. It was another cruise entirely. I only heard about this woman from a drifter, who is probably the one responsible.
Hungarian women themselves are far more appealing than T’Pring from Jersey (I’m even including the Countess), though tour guide Rick Steves makes a point of warning visitors about the “konzumlany” — gorgeous “cosmopolitan” girls who drag you to an expensive club where you buy them a small fortune in drinks and they go home with the bartender. Men who spent any part of their 20s in Manhattan will recognize this as “Saturday night,” and we wouldn’t have had it any other way.
Breakfast in Budapest consists of beer and cigarettes. Lunch is goulash, which is a tasty stew of meat and potatoes, seasoned with paprika. The broth is thinner and more like soup than in other countries, particularly Prague, where you could eat it with a knife and fork.
I only had a couple days to spend in Budapest, but I had to try the thermal baths. The city has 123 natural springs and two dozen thermal baths (“furdo”). There are gender-segregated nude baths; however, two weeks in Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic with their schnitzels and strudels had taken its toll and I was in no condition to be seen without my swimsuit.
The pools have a range of temperatures: 30 degrees Celsius (bath water), 36 degrees (hot tub), and 42 degrees (lava). I am a lava man and spent a very pleasant Sunday afternoon relishing what some religious people spend their Sunday mornings hoping to avoid.
I did see a Canadian woman mess around and dive into the lava section — not even the toe-in-the-water test but a full-on cannonball. Her screams were heard in Toronto. No worries: I added some paprika to the stew and enjoyed some Canadian goulash.
Posted by Stephen Robinson on September 29, 2011 in Social Commentary
Tags: Budapest, Hungary, T'Pring