Here is the sticky, irresistible question, hovering like some sort of perky rainbow-colored cloud over anyone who reads the news or pays attention to the scandals or the nifty bathroom hand signals or the various semen stains covering the pages of the Official GOP Handbook like some sort of wretched, skanky Kandinsky painting:
Really, just how many closeted, self-hating, violently repressed "I-am-not-gay" totally gay hypocrites are there in the Republican Party? Or for that matter, in your average born-again Christian megachurch? Or in the U.S. military? Or in (your morally righteous group's name here)? Ten percent of them? Fifty? A hundred and four?
Because baby, it just keeps popping up, scandal after scandal, homophobic lawmaker after anti-gay preacher after gay marriage attacker after hooker-loving "family values" adulterer, Bob Allen to Ted Haggard to Jim West to Glenn Murphy Jr. to David "Diaperman" Vitter, so many examples of a militant loudmouthed Christian Republican suddenly caught with his pants down around his boyfriend's ankles that, after so many headlines, the notion that these cases might be rare or exceptional simply vanishes and you are left only with the undeniable fact that, oh my God, the American right is simply teeming with so much murky, pressure-cooked homoeroticism it might as well be a Young Republicans kegger at Mark Foley's pink Miami Beach condo.
Not exactly a revelation, I admit. As you already know and as any D.C. therapist or male prostitute or honest historian will happily remind you, this is the way it's always been; incidents like Idaho Sen. Larry Craig's toe-tapping in the tearoom merely reinforce the great Rule of Conservative Hypocrisy -- the louder and more self-righteous the indignation over a given "moral" issue, the more sure you can be that the screamer in question is simply oozing with repressed fantasy/lust regarding that very issue -- and what's more, is very likely acting on it, right now, in a fetish dungeon, brothel or bathroom stall near you.
Same as it ever was? Absolutely.
Maybe this, then, is the more interesting question: How far back does it go? How deep can you trace it? To the very roots of humanity itself? Indeed, you need no microscope, no copy of "The Agony and the Ecstasy" to see the ocean of homoerotic sexual repression surrounding the very foundations of the conservative fundamentalist worldview, or the church itself, hearkening back to all those early, nasty popes (secretly married, secret adulterers, secret flocks of nubile boys at their disposal).
You need no "Da Vinci Code" to tell you of the religious right's eternal repression of the feminine divine, its deep fear of sex, its eternal fascination with the supple flesh of young males. Hell, show me a vociferous anti-sex fundamentalist of any religious or political bent -- be he Muslim, Christian, Jew, Mormon, Republican or other -- and I'll show you a slideshow of his secret nighttime fantasies so kinky and dark it would make Jenna Jameson shudder. And not in a good way.
In this light, Larry Craig is merely carrying on a proud, rather disgusting tradition among the morally rigid and the sexually turgid. He is but one in a long, long line of dangerous, duplicitous cretins who stab madly at the world and work like fervent demons to demean others because they cannot stand their own repulsive reflection in the mirror.
It's as if all the pedophilic priests and all the gay evangelists and the hooker-loving, cocaine-snorting family values GOP crusaders really want us to know that there exists no bastion of stiff, sanctimonious "moral" values that is not, at its core, corrupt and messy and wrongheaded as the Taliban at a nudist colony.
Not our military, a massively warped organization apparently far more terrified of gays than of dropping its entrance barrier so dangerously low it makes good soldiers nervous, not the seminary with the pitter-patter of young men's feet from bunk to bunk after light's out, not the megachurches with their deep, eternal, fetishistic fascination with all things anal and perverted and hookeriffic and yummy.
And for the record, no, liberals and Dems are far from immune to this timeless rule (though the self-hating hypocrisy part is largely muted, by default). It's equally true for any hardcore PETA activist or Earth Firster. The more intolerant you become and the more fixed your ideas of how it's all supposed to work, the more likely the universe will simply laugh, and smack you upside the head, and secretly take your picture licking your new leather boots or applauding the bombing of Afghanistan or eating that endangered baby seal burger. In your Hummer. With a rifle. On top of Bill O'Reilly. (Shudder.)
But one vital aspect of this otherwise rather typical gay-Republican scandal must be repeated, merely for the record: Truly, no one would give much of a damn that Craig's as gay as a three-dollar bill and probably has been for oh, about 40 years now -- in fact, it might have even been applauded, had he come out with anything resembling dignity or honesty -- were the man not a raging, deceitful, duplicitous fraud, one who's intentionally and maliciously damaged lives, restricted sexual progress and, with his fellow homophobes in Congress, taken a rusty, serrated knife the very fabric of human love. Oh yes he has.
After all, this is the same sniveling Larry Craig who snickered that Bill Clinton was a "bad, nasty, naughty boy" during Lewinskygate, the same Craig who helped to enact the military's brutal, failed "don't ask, don't tell" policy (which, as Slate's William Saletan points out, is a complete and degrading sham -- if you don't tell, they make you tell), the same senator who voted for the Defense of Marriage Act and against adding sexual orientation to the list of punishable hate crimes.
In fact, Craig's classic case of GOP hypocrisy, of the chasm between his homophobic public persona and his homosexual personal lusts is simply so blatant, so undeniably grotesque, he becomes a bizarre case study, a cultural curio, a deeply fascinating -- albeit largely nauseating -- archetype, full of obvious but still mandatory lessons for us all.
But let us look, just for now, at the biggest one of all. This particular lesson comes straight from the universe itself. It flows and ebbs and floods over all of time, it reeks of blood and sex and huge explosions of exotic flowers, tells tales of history and warped leaders and sexual mayhem going back millennia. In other words, this lesson, as they say, has seen it all.
It goes something like this:
Dear eternally baffled, terminally horny humans: You can only poison your own soul for so long. You can only lie to yourself, your wife, your children, the nation, your own miserable and intolerant genitalia before the backlash, the recoil, the nasty acid reflux comes right back up to bite your ass in the cold, cold bathroom stall of life. Do you understand? Do you not yet see?
Do not, at the peril of your very spirit, at the risk of all that is beautiful and good and fluid and sexual and wet and sticky and right, hold so tightly, so violently to your narrow views of sex and love and human behavior that, when you are caught naked and shivering and salivating on your bed of nails doing exactly the thing your beliefs profess to hate, that your very soul explodes, the flowers wilt, the gods laugh and you are handed a tiny yellow ticket guaranteeing your return in the next life as a small, black, cancerous lesion on the underbelly of a hyena. OK?
Thus endeth the lesson.
Thoughts for the author? E-mail him. Mark Morford's Notes & Errata column appears every Wednesday and Friday on SFGate and in the Datebook section of the San Francisco Chronicle.
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