Thursday, April 30, 2009

MaleMates





Finding the right word for bonding between two men, the bonding that is physical as well as emotional...not easy for me. My first partner insisted that I stop calling him my boyfriend and refer to him as my lover. My second partner and I used "partner". (That once caused a funny moment when we were introduced to a female friend's father. When we told him that, no, we were not in business together and it slowly dawned on him who he was meeting....). In conversation now, he describes himself as having been married to me, but also says of our eight year cohabitation, "When we were going out..." Not simple.

Jack Donovan and Nathan Miller are finishing a book about rites of blood brotherhood, a study of the indigenous ways men ritualize intimate connections.

I have yet to find a single word for what I intend. Friend, though true, smacks of the bowdlerized closetry of yesteryear. Friend, wink-wink. Companion is generic and Husband seems too heterosexual. Spouse, as well. Mate...well, two men cannot mate in the typical way, in the procreational way, even if they can in a soulful way. Partner seems too bloodless and Life Partner too pompous. The appellation Husbear, among Bears, reeks of cute. "My guy"? "My man"?

I have settled on three words: Men who bond with each other in a committed and intimate way seek to be friends, lovers and family to each other.

And up popped Aquinas and Cranmer. What a pair. God, my head is an intellectual garage sale waiting to happen.

Aquinas saw marriage as a unique kind of friendship. And Cranmer's beautiful vow, without much stretching, seems to contain these three meanings.

If marriage is friendship,
then With this ring I thee wed
is a declaration of friendship.
With my body I thee worship
is the declaration of a lover.

And if family is created not only by blood
but by common wealth and dwelling,
then it is incorporation in families that is meant by
And with all my worldly goods I thee endow.


I am not a huge fan of gay marriage as a civil or religious institution. But I cannot deny the similar impulse between some men, to bond themselves to each other for life, body and heart.
Friends, lovers, family.

___________________

Malesoul 25


Matching lenses

With the possible exception of one sentence, I find myself agreeing with everything Mark Levin has written in Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto. I am only on Chapter 3, but so far he is right on target as far as I am concerned. Apparently he has struck a chord, since the book is #1 on Amazon and the New York Times bestseller lists.

The dichotomy he uses in not Conservative vs Liberal, but Conservative vs Statist. Big overlap, but it makes the issue clear: the egalitarian drive of contemporary liberalism is expressed in a commitment to the dominance of the State in all areas of life. As I have opined before, a society of equal outcomes must be a virtual police state, since humans, left to their own devices, will not move in that direction.

(The "Justice and Peace" fetish of Vatican II Catholicism, for example, does not include "Liberty" in the headline. And for a very good reason. It's not important.)

I have listened to Levin on the radio in the past, when I used to drive to and from work. He has a voice not meant for radio. Not pleasant at all. And he is hardly the grand statesman in attitude. Very scrappy or worse. But his writing is a pleasure to read, not only for its ideas but for its style. Hard to hear, easy to read.

Reminds me of Gregory Baum. He is a very liberal sorta Catholic theologian, now in his 80's. His 1970 book, Man Becoming, had a big impact on me. He wrote in a self-consciously non-jargoned style and I liked the humanism of his articles and other books. Then I took a class from him. Although I don't recall that his voice was unusual for a German-speaker, he revealed himself to be a prickly, testy, short-tempered, dogmatic and self-righteous little tyrant. (Neither the first or last time I found an icon of liberalism so charactered.) Easy to read, hard to hear.

_____________________

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Paradise, lost

Many men, whether it be their fate, or fond opinion, easily perswade themselves, if God would but be pleas'd a while to withdraw his just punishments from us, and to restraine what power either the devill, or any earthly enemy hath to worke us woe, that then mans nature would find immediate rest and releasement from all evils.

But verily they who think so, if they be such as have a minde large enough to take into their thoughts a generall survey of human things, would soon prove themselves in that opinion farre deceiv'd.

For though it were granted us by divine indulgence to be exempt from all that can be harmfull to us from without, yet the perversnesse of our folly is so bent, that we should never cease hammering out of our owne hearts, as it were out of a flint, the seeds and sparkles of new misery to our selves, till all were in a blaze againe.

John Milton
The Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce
1644

Monday, April 27, 2009

Internet Uroboros



The recent exchange between Miss USA contestant Carrie Prejean and gay gossip columnist Perez Hilton has provoked some dust. And in me, disgust.

I left a rather heated comment about it this morning at GayPatriot.com. This afternoon, on Facebook, a friend of mine listed some mentions of his book, Androphilia, in some blogs lately. I went to read one of them, by a conservative Catholic Republican from Palo Alto, and found that it was a reprint of my comment at GayPatriot.

My immortal prose here:
After 30+ years of being out and mostly very proud, my sense of connection to “the gay community” over the last several years has been thinning to the point where –to my utter amazement– I don’t like to refer to myself using the G word that much anymore.

Lord knows my sexual orientation is as happily focussed on Humans Living With Testosterone as it ever was. Even more, if that’s possible! But the antics of the “LGBT” leadership and media and the herdlike ways of the tribe have worn me out. Jack Malebranche’s spot-on manifesto “Androphilia” really ripped a Titanical hole in my social identity when he ranted on, very articulately, about the unholy trinity of anti-male feminism, leftwing politics and group victimism that now shapes the gay worldview.

Then this…flesh-creeping troll, Perez Hilton…an eerie part-boy, mostly drag-queen in PMS creature…whom I had barely heard of before…shreds this poor woman for having the audacity to hold a view of marriage universally assumed in the West for two millennia. And he uses really vile language in public. The whole scene disgusts me, both for narcissism and for rank cowardice.

If she had been black, you know for sure that Miss Thing –a stupid gay phrase that in PH’s case really fits– would not have been making videos with the B and the C words in it.

Why would I want to be part of a group that has such human trash in it…and, unless I’ve missed it…let’s him go on his merry way unchallenged!

If the scenario were reversed and some beauty queen in favor of gay marriage was trashed by a conservative judge like that, she’d the the Queen of Martyrs by lunchtime and we’d be hearing the calls to man the barricades against the imminent concentration camps of the “bigots” and “haters”.

The gay community is full to the brim with bigots and haters. I am almost out of patience and am wondering where I send in my Q Identity card for a refund.
I was peeved.

Miss Prejean was interviewed civilly by veteran gay journalist Rex Wockner. She was clear but polite once more and asked pointedly why she should be treated so vilely when her position was the same as President Barack Obama's. Good damn question. If that homely faggot Hilton can call her a bitch and a cunt for her point of view, why is the Beloved O not a nigger or a coon for his quite similar position?

On the way home from the laundry this afternoon, I spied a byline in The SF Bay Times, another of the LGBT papers here. Something about "Another Beauty Queen Goes Awry." Checking the online version, I find this editorial by owner and publisher Kim Corsaro. Don't feel the need to read the whole thing. The message? It's just fine to publicly call a woman a bitch and a cunt if she fails to espouse the correct line on gay marriage. By stating, rather politely if not superarticulately, that the bimillenial idea of marriage as between a man and a woman (astonishing!) is her preference, she "hurt the feelings" of LGBTs, especially the young, and even contributed to the atmosphere that brings about violence and suicide. She should come in for re-education sessions.

Like dirty kaffirs in Muslim societies, whose very existence hurts the feelings of the believers and who must therefore be humiliated and marginalized, those who do not kowtow to the utter obviousness of gay marriage are now not only wrong, but hatefully violent. Their evil thoughts lead magically to death. The rule: you can't disagree with me because it hurts my feelings and that makes you a criminal.

The American ideal of free speech has never seemed to me a natural ideal. A splendid, really splendid one, but as we can see from the responses of these victimized tyrant Americans, not a value worth keeping when compared with our hurt feelings.

And to think that men have died to protect people like that.

__________________

More faux blogging

In appreciation of Humans Living With Testosterone.

Just came across this fella's pictures this morning, half-consciously cyberlinking. As far as physical attributes go, I could not ask for more. A 5'9" furry mesomorph. His stage name, Cole Ryder.

Had a funny set of internal discussions with myself about this. I was going to post his picture because he embodied, literally, pretty well everything I most like in the male physique. But the shot which best shows him off has an at least partly erect penis in it. I suddenly felt an attack of modesty. If that --the penis, not the modesty--is going to offend you, don't scroll down to the bottom of the post. If that is likely to offend you, though, my guess is that you don't ever read this blog.

Then, linking around some more, I discovered that he had died last summer. His real name was Mike and he was only 36. Friends who have put up tributes to him, some of whom were at home with him when he passed away, have been at pains to deny that he had HIV or was taken by a staph infection. And they are equally clear that he was a very loveable, good-natured and decent guy. A dog-lover, which is usually a sign of good character.





Always sad when the young are taken before their time.

But, his own website is still up and this is an act of appreciation for me, not a pornographic event, So, here he is, as he was in life. A beautiful man on the outside for sure and, as his friends relate, on the inside, too. Rest in peace.








Cranmer, appalled



As far as I know, it was Cranmer's 16th century Book of Common Prayer which first framed the marriage vows to include this:
With this ring I thee wed,
with my body I thee worship,
with all my worldly goods I thee endow.
Aside from his beautiful language, I am no fan of the old Prot. But this language is starkly beautiful, really quite extraordinary, simple, direct, poetic, stunning.

"With my body I thee worship."

His Grace would not be happy with my reflections today.

Worship comes in many forms. In my Catholic background, the catechism taught three distinct kinds: latreia, dulia and hyperdulia. Latreia is the worship owed only to the Trinitarian God: the Father, the incarnate Christ, the Holy Spirit; to give it to any creature was idolatry. Dulia is reverence and honor, given to saints, God's special creations of grace. Hyperdulia is the strong reverence and honor given to the Virgin Mary, the most completely deified creature.

I am sure that Cranmer, of all people, was not asking his marrying couples to worship each other idolatrously, but that he was so frank about the sacred physicality of marriage balances some of his other theological obsessions for me.

In Catholic theology, too, the marriage sacrament is incomplete until the couple have intercourse. Without that sexual act to fulfill what took place before the altar, annulment is possible. People do not often make the connection: one of the seven sacraments instituted by Christ requires sexual intercourse. If I can make a limping analogy with the Eucharist. The consecration of the bread and wine by the priest at the Mass makes the Eucharist real. But only when it is eaten and drunk by the congregation is it really complete, achieving its purpose. With marriage, however, the bond created by the marriage partners in the vow rite requires that they physically enact it in sexual intercourse.

I am by nature a religious man. Not pious, really. And certainly not spiritual. But the world is full of God to me, sometimes full of gods. And in the meeting of two bodies, with carnal knowledge, I can feel that call to worship.

We have different religions. In the sexual realm, my religion is not The Woman but The Man. And as my symphonic capacities grow richer with age and I am able, quite naturally, to inhabit realms of sheer sensuality and epiphanic soulfulness at the same time, I am aware of the worshipful dimension of sex with my own kind for me. Like all worship, it is mixed with ego and desire. And for this worshipper, even when I feel the draw most powerfully, I know by instinct that it is not merely the human in my arms who draws me, but something soul-stirring in him that is larger than he is, vast and ancient, enveloping and untamed, within which we both "live and move and have our being."

And like divine worship, what appears to be humble reverence, the exaltation of the other at the expense of the self, is in fact the most dignifying and ennobling of actions. To offer reverence and honor and awe to another is not to humilate the self, but to humble it, to let it know the truth of its value, its wonderful value.

Certainly not all sex has this religious dimension. Regardless of the genders of the participants, it can be empty, or worse. And this worshipful experience between people who will not be partners for life, though real, remains, in a sense, unconsummated by intention and time. With the "wedding" of souls through the body, so much more is actualized and possiblie. But the divine spark is there, if welcomed. The experience is there.

My Catholic soul knows without question that overwhelming sensual experience and worshipful contact with the Divine is not only possible but the most natural of things. Looking back on my life, I realize that when I was a child, I saw more unveiled male flesh in the art of the local parish church than I saw in all the rest of my young life put together. Whether it be through a solemn High Mass or the contending of man with man in a private sanctuary of desire and affection...worship, awe, gratitude, power, timestopping bliss, peace, the sinking of souls one into the other.

I know that the Great Church does not have the ways and means to sanction this or let itself understand it. And my comparison is, on the surface, blasphemous for many. Not my intention. I am no iconoclast and have no agenda, at least today. Today I simply say what I have experienced. I have some sense of what those beautiful old words mean:

"With my body I thee worship."
_________________

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Pisscopals



Former Episcopal minister Ann Reddings, who converted to Islam and maintained she was still a Christian, was deposed from her orders in early April. Yet she apparently took part in the vesting ceremony for new Episcopal deacons in Seattle.

I am watching The Tudors these days. The Prior of the Carthusian monastery in London was hung, drawn and quartered by order of Henry VIII simply for refusing to accept him as head of the Church. Now a Muslim ex-priestess gets to vest deacons. Quite the evolution for Henry's Church.

One of the commenters on this story, reflecting on the 21 month period of discussion and discernment that preceded the defrocking, had a humorous thought:

In the Catholic Church the period of discernment would have been shortened to a period of about 10 seconds which would have given the priest time to formulate an answer to the Bishop’s question “Are you nuts?”

________________________

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Faux blogging




Actor Chris Bruno.

On TV now, playing Beowulf in a bad production of Grendel. With that mug, and a full short-cropped beard, all is forgiven.

He has a lil bro actor, Dylan. Quite the gene pool the Brunos swim in.




_______________________

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Manning up



"Man up." "Grow a pair."

Invitations to a male to take responsibility, face the issue and address it courageously. Put more colorfully.

I can't think of a parallel appeal for females. If true, telling.

I live in a "community" where atypical gender behavior is the norm. Regardless of style, most of the folks in my neighborhood are interested in hooking with fellow members of their gender. That in itself is atypical. And then the styles of presentation are all over the map. I know I do not live in a normal environment.

So one of the things that fascinates me is the way that men handle realms that are often normally the province of women. In male couples, especially. I was talking to a guy the other day about his partner. After several years together, he still found it very difficult to be directly affectionate outside of sex or to speak how he felt outside of some very standard phrases, despite knowing how crucial his mate had been to his surviving and thriving. Laudable though that may be (Saying "I love you" to another man's face is quite a task for some of us), it seemed to me that it was time long overdue for him to be clear about his appreciation for his man, who deserved to hear what he was worth. I found myself saying, "Be a man about it. Stop being such a pussy and tell the guy the truth to his face, for God's sake."

Interesting, even to me, that I put it that way. Most often we understand the expression of feeling through words as a feminine undertaking. Or the work of poets (who are often* feminized males, regardless of sexual interest). Guys are gruff and mute. And often that's just fine. But here it seemed to me that it was not a question of anything other than the respect one man is due from another, and especially when they have cast their lot in life together. My appeal was not to his feminine side, but precisely to his masculinity, his sense of honor and justice.

My own experience of this has changed, too, as I get older. I remember the first time I tried to tell a man I loved him. Well, we were both 18, hardly more than boys. I could not say the words, hard as I tried. Since then, I have said them shyly, with hesitation, with trepidation.

The man I say those words to these days, I say directly and with feeling. Often, when the context drives me to it. It makes me feel strong when I say them. Not always, though. There are times when I feel I have given away the store. Sometimes he responds with the same words, sometimes not. Sometimes he even says it on his own. And today I framed them in a way that I suspect rarely happens between men and women. It felt much like guy-love to me...passionate, erotic, close, as true as I know how to be, and from the heart. Something like this:

"I love you. God, I do. But you are such a fucking asshole. Really." We both laughed.

I think it is a special gift of men that we can express affection for each other by insult, and the more exaggerated the insult, the deeper the affection. Now you don't have to include vulgarity and a put-down to "masculinize" the exchange, but I guess what I am claiming here is that there are naturally male ways, ways you don't have to learn from Oprah, of being open-heartedly direct about love between men.

Speaking for myself, I find that if something I say or do feels natural to me and naturally good to me, feels like it's just me being myself, then there's a good chance it's what shrinks call "integrated." Without a doubt there is a tenderness, a gentleness, an awe-struck reverence, a breath-taking sweetness in the kind of love I can have for a man. But if it ever felt feminine, it has not felt that way for a long time. On the contrary, it comes from the same place and lives in the same heart that can look a much-beloved mug right in the eye and say to the buttheaded moron who makes the world light up for me, "I love you. Fuck, I do."

_______________________

*A clarification, lest Jack Donovan, author of Androphilia, correct me. Masculinity includes the creation of high culture. I confess a definite affection for certain kinds of traditional American blue-collar maleness, --the most convincing local variety, frankly-- but I am very well aware that it is men who make culture. Only certain kinds of poets fit the bill I am talking about.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Attractive opposites



Reading through a book called Dynamic Duos, by Keith Swain. He uses evolutionary psychology and a survey to make the case that gay men mate most successfully when there is an Alpha & Beta coupling: the alpha being the more traditionally masculine and the beta with a higher dose of the feminine. His advice is to conform to this pattern rather than to try to resist it. Not finished yet --it is strangely and, to me, poorly laid out-- but it covers territory from a social science point of view that I have seen elsewhere from archetypal and a psychoanalytical ones. He uses the figures of the Hero and the Sidekick to illustrate the point.

Heroes and Sidekicks, from Gilgamesh and Enkidu to Holmes and Watson, to Batman and Robin, are a fascinating study in male love, even where the pairing is not sexual. Jesus had his Peter, Buddha his Ananda. It is a natural and necessary part of the larger male soul for some to serve others. How else could an army be maintained? Alphas and Betas need each other, precisely as men.

The Canadian Jungian analyst Graham Jackson wrote two books in the early 90's in which he makes the case for two basic kinds of male coupling which somewhat echo the masculine/feminine polarity. Whether the dyad is on the brother-brother model or the father-son model, Jackson saw in both fiction and his cases an attraction between sun-identified thinking types and earth-focussed feeling types, on the one hand, and dominant fact-oriented hierarchical men of duty and submissive intuitive artistic men of passion. The Yellow Man with the Green Man, the Blue Man with the Red Man.

Jackson had himself been inspired by the little known psychoanalyst Paul Rosenfels, who investigated the psychological mating between assertive and yielding males. Roselfels puts this in stark terms:

True psychological mating is not only possible between individuals of the same sex, it is actually the rule in human interactions (whether sexual or not). How can two men, biologically alike, find a true difference between them through which mating can occur? The answer is simple but profound in its implications: through character specialization. What this book says in effect is that character specialization is dominant over biological identity, and that therefore two men (or two women) can have a masculine-feminine interaction which can lay the basis for a true romantic union, pregnant with possibilities for creative self-development.

The complex ebb and flow of "masculine" and "feminine" energies in a same-sex couple is fascinating. My own experience suggests that it can alter both with time and with the character of the partner. And it can express itself surprisingly in both integrated and unintegrated ways and with varying degrees of intensity.

_________________




Sunday, April 19, 2009

The decline of the North

In Canada now, part of being a "right-wing doorknob" is also being called a "free speecher".

A "free speecher".

__________________

Friday, April 17, 2009

Monday, April 13, 2009

An inquiring reader

Asks himself, when this blog "grows quiet":

"Has ExCathedra finally resign'd himself to accepting incoming tide of Islam, affirming the prevailing version of blue state "liberalism," and celebrating the gay culture decree that a male with a homosexual orientation is neither a man, really, nor capable of gravitas in his personal manner or in understanding human nature?
Hmmm.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday 2009


Some of the most telling elements of Christianity come not only from its great and fundamental doctrines but from its folklore and legend.

In this Slovak image of the crucifixion, there is a skull at the bottom. It is a frequent theme in extra-canonical texts that the hill of Calvary where Jesus was crucified is identical with the ancient hill where Adam was buried. In the image here, the blood of the Second Adam, Christ, drops down onto the skull of the First Adam and brings him to life again.

In the great dogmatic narrative, on Easter the divine Father brings his dead Son to life; and in this minor and popular narrative, the Son, in dying, brings life to his long-dead human Father.

________________________

Friday, April 03, 2009

Male nature and the kiss

"Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth."
Song of Songs
Opening line





A friend gave me one of the Mary Renault novels this past year.
A lot of male-male erotics, but all within a societal assumption
about male honor and dishonor.
A classical notion liberal society finds laughable,
living now only in the military, I suspect.

I provoked a lot of on-line yelling this week
by going to an "independent" gay site
and asking rather combatively
why transgenderism is now included canonically
in the LGBT community.
What has same-sex desire got to do
with wanting to be chemically and surgically
altered into your contra-corporal gender?

The least hysterical and non-tactical answer
was that LGBTs all transgress normative
gender behavior expectations. By sexual object
choice or gender identity, LGBTs break the
norms of male/female gender rules.

When I asked if hetero males who get a
thrill from cross-dressing should be included,
I got a loud Yes.

So it appears that the larger ideology is about
gender, not about sexual desire.

And the underlying Evil Dominator was,
of course, masculinity, aka, patriarchy.
Surprise!

More than ever I cannot identify anymore
with LGBT thing.

Although I am aware of the challenge involved,
and the prima facie unlikelihood of cocksucking
and buttfucking as vehicles for this,
it seems to me that my experience of male-male
eros has mostly always been a celebration precisely of
masculinity.

And symbolically dense as those two
items on the erotic menu may be,
my own sense of where the center of gravity
lies in male-male eros is
the kiss.

To me, everything else is already there
there.

This is the alchemical gesture.
Once the mutual recognition,
invitation, exploration,
challenge, intimacy
is established there,
then all the apparently more
explosive symbolic sex acts
and the whole rhythm of
physical and emotional power exchange
between two males
is set in its right archetypal context,

be it the love of the father and the son
or the love of comrade brothers.

____________________

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Male nature



Continuing my random thoughts about the finality of sexual acts...Seems to me that if anyone is or were interested in developing a purpose-driven (!) theory of homosexual sex, they'd have to separate male-male sex from female-female sex. What you often have in traditional circles is a theory of male-female sex and then another one about non-heterosexual sex.

But the specificity of the gender, which is crucial to heterosexual theorizing, is no less important for homosexuality. Maleness, the engagement of a male with a male in sex. Same thing for women with women. They are not interchangeable.

So what goes on, specifically, in the sexual dynamic between two men?

___________________
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