Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Catholic League’s New Poster Boy?

The Catholic League is distributing a number of “extremely graphic” images - such as the one above - that depict attendees at last month’s Folsom Street Fair.

Apparently, the League wants to shock Catholics into calling and complaining to Miller Brewing Company – one of the sponsors of the S&M fair, held annually in San Francisco.

I can’t help but think that someone at the Catholic League is seriously getting off on posting and sharing these images. As I’ve noted in a previous post, I’ve long concluded that among those who are most hostile and demeaning of gay people are folks who are gay themselves, yet who have chosen to deny and/or repress their homosexuality. But it always surfaces, of course, in one way or another. And I think it’s just surfaced big time over at the Catholic League.

But let’s allow the League itself to explain its actions:

Graphic photographs of nearly nude homosexuals strutting the streets of San Francisco under the sponsorship banner of Miller Brewing Co. are being made available to tens of thousands of Catholics in Milwaukee, the beer company’s hometown. The Catholic League said it is sending the photographs, many of them also posted online under a parental warning about graphic content, to apply pressure to the brewery to halt its sponsorship of such events. Catholic League President Bill Donohue has said he’d like Miller to rescind its sponsorship completely. But officials say the brewer has declined, and so this distribution of photographs will allow leaders, residents, and workers in the company’s hometown see the results of the company’s sponsorship.

All of which begs the question: How exactly is the Catholic League planning on distributing its “extremely graphic images” of the Folsom Street Fair? Is it planning on e-mailing these images to “leaders, residents, and workers” throughout Milwaukee? Will they be mailed to “tens of thousands” of homes and workplaces?

What a colossal waste of time and energy!

A diverse group of people - both straight and gay - participate in the Folsom Street Fair. What they share in common is a penchant for S&M. Regardless of what you may think of this type of sexual role play, the antics depicted by the Folsom Street Fair images are actually quite tame compared to what goes on at certain bars (gay and straight) every weekend around the country – not to mention other boozed-up and more public events like Spring Break on South Padre Island.

The bottom line is that gays don’t have a monopoly on certain types of behavior that objectify oneself and others. I mean, shows like Big Brother: After Dark and
Girls Gone Wild aren’t populated by gays. Yet one of the things that these forms of straight “entertainment” do have in common with events that attract gays (such as the Folsom Street Fair), is that they are sponsored by corporations.

Yet does the Catholic League target all of these corporate sponsors? Hardly. No, once again, it’s those “homosexuals” and their corporate-sponsored events that, in the blinkered view of the Catholic League, are responsible for the decline of civilization as we know it.

Yeah, well, I don’t buy it.

If the Catholic League is really concerned about the moral decline of this country then it should speak out against the illegal and immoral U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq – a debacle that has caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, the majority of them innocent Iraqi women and children.

And if the Catholic League wants to be in the business of distributing “extremely graphic images” that highlight reprehensible behavior leading to the destruction of lives and the moral bankrupting of our society, then I suggest it start with

Similarly, if the Catholic League wants my support, then it should also start speaking out against the well-documented corruption of the Bush Administration – its trampling on human rights and the U.S. Constitution.

Yet instead, the Catholic League opts to endlessly whine about perceived and actual slights against the Church, and protest things like a once-a-year S&M street parade in San Francisco, and this children’s movie!

Is it any wonder that the vast majority of people view the Catholic League as both embarrassing and irrelevant?

Image 1: A participant in this year’s Folsom Street Fair. My biggest concern is that his jockstrap was probably sweatshop produced!
Image 2: Meanwhile in Iraq: A woman and a child inspect a car with blood splattered on the door after two Christian Iraqi women were shot to death in central Karradah, Baghdad, Iraq, on Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2007. Iraqi police, and witnesses said that the men who shot them were in a convoy of four SUVs commonly used by private security companies. While there was no indication Blackwater USA was involved, the attack threatened to increase calls for limits on the security firms that mounted after the Sept. 16 shooting deaths of as many as 17 Iraqi civilians allegedly that company’s guards. (AP Photo)

See also the related Wild Reed posts:
What Is It That Ails You?
What’s a Conscientious Faggot to Do?
San Franciscophobia
“Gaydar,” “Gendermaps,” and the “Fundamentally Social Purpose” of Homosexuality


Anonymous said...

Without endorsing paraphilia, one can take a look at the guy in a jock strap almost anywhere, not just on Folsom Street's former Miracle Mile. Not much less than a Speedo swimsuit, for that matter.

Is it because human nudes are objectionable, or is it because the flesh is hostile to God, or is it because those repressed sexually by religious institutions "act-out" in a deviant manner? Flagellation, I'll remind the C/L, was born out of medieval monasteries and efforts to discipline the desires of the flesh. The Marquis de Sade simply took the Church's discipline to its illogical and extreme measure.

The majority of individuals who turn to paraphilias are those psychosexually repressed, or those whose libido cannot be satisfied with personal intimacy, that they cross wires and confuse pleasure and pain, intimacy and networks, fetish and person. If repression, or licentiousness, both extremes, were obviated, so would the paraphilias be.

But, if the C/L is so concerned about the morals of our youth, why have more than 4,000 priests been guilty of pedophilia, in which bishops have hid them and paid off their losses with parishioner's contributions? Any institution that forbids gay love and the use of prophylactics (even to contain HIV), while accommodating pedophiles, is hardly morally relevant to today.

For heaven's sake, the Church still uses "Natural Law Theory" which is so false, bogus, and confused as to render its views incoherent. No one believes penises and vaginas are each other's "final end."

Our kids can access torture porn on the Internet, indulge in sex and drugs without impediment, and compared to Folsom Street's exhibitionism, participate in America's obsession with sexual commodification in reaction to prior repression and rebellious licentiousness.

As long as the natural sexual impulse is perverted by strange teachings like the Natural Law, or made into a commodity, more sexually inept and dysfunctional folk will follow. The C/L certainly has no moral standing to address those facts -- as it is part and parcel part of the problem, not a solution.

Anonymous said...

Life is short - eternity is forever.

The Catholic League has every right to protest an event that it deems despicable. Just as those opposed to the Catholic League have every right to protest it.

I take it then that you endorse public displays of sex, as well as an add that mocks the last supper - along with various sex toys displayed on the table.

The Catholic League has not gone after the individuals involved - as it is probably hopeless for those involved in this event to even understand that certain people would be offended - instead - the CL is going after Miller. We have a right to protest and voice an opinion in the public arena.

Those who read this post have had a prayer said for them.

Anonymous said...

No one disputes C/L's right to be hypocritical, rather of what interest is this event to the C/L? The D'Vinci painting of the Last Supper it imitates was painted by a gay man, Leonardo. The street on which the event occurs is rich with restaurants, many of which serve Miller Beer. So what is C/L's beef? That gays cannot obtain sponsors that promote beer? Gays cannot use one of their pioneer artists as an imitation? That 13 guys at Table is obscene (but the Last Supper would be too)?

The issue is not about "rights," but "relevance." And in a free country people are welcome to use open-access media for their own use, not be restrained by some twerp upset that his revered painting was by a gay artist.

Relevance also includes the sexual repression that C/L and its church promote, that begot S&M, and its responsibility for the outcome. But like the pedophile situation, no moral indignation. Just pay-off the litigants. Didn't Jesus say something about throwing stones?

Anonymous said...

Your arguments are simply not honest.

The issue is not gay sex - the issue is gay sex in the public street in a depraved manner. The issue is gay sex mocking Christian symbols. The Catholic League would have had the SAME protest if it was a bunch of heterosexuals doing the same thing - and if the C/L had NOT protested that - that that would have been hypocritical.

It is irrelevant if the Last Supper was painted by a gay man or not.

Your view that C/L and the Catholic Church promotes sexual repression is only your view - which you are certainly entitled to.

If you are going to start quoting Jesus "about throwing stones" your argument flies in the face of all scripture - you have taken it out of context to the point that you arrive at the insane conclusion that all behavior (as guided by the single individual) is perfectly acceptable and no other person can point out that it is not. Please - give me a break.

You are all for the idea that each individual can do perfectly as he pleases in society - until it affects you personally. A perfect example of this is San Francisco's recent ban on homeless in the streets. It seems that you are perfectly happy to argue that people have a right to sleep anywhere they please - until at some point you get tired of walking over human excrement in the streets - so now the "tolerant" San Fran's are now cracking down.

Society dictates certain standards - and the behavior at the Folsom Street Fair is an example of individuals that are completely outside the pale of decency and morality - and I am not talking about their sexual preference.

Anonymous said...

Paul, to the best of my knowledge (entirely from hearsay), no public sex occurs. Yes, flagilation, B&D scenes acted out, lots of flesh is seen.

I suppose the fact that Leonardo was gay, that a segment of his community chose the Table motif to promote brotherhood, would not offend cherished or venerable "symbols," if anything, it should allow the fact that the salvific power of god is not limited to the interiors of buildings - but in communion with one another at supper. And the restaurant factor plays a more important role that you are willing to allow. South of Market has very few leather bars left, overtaken by restaurants and dance clubs. Since the event is identified as the "Folsom Street" Fair, not the B&D/S&M Fair, I actually believe the Last Supper imagery was not only creative, insightful, and thoughtful.

As far as most gay men are concerned, a religious institution and its ultramontane leaders that preposterously claim same-sex affection and love is by disposition "intrinsically disordered" is hardly bothered if the adaptation of a venerable image offends the C/L or Catholics. Not only is Ratzinger's "intrinsic disorder" bad theology, bad anthropology, but false biology, since homoerotic romantic love is biologically normal according to E. O. Wilson of Harvard's Department of Biology. Before the Church and its members react to visual assaults on their conscience, hadn't it better get it's facts right, and deal with its own abuses -- like 4,000+ pedophile priests?

Catholic friends of mine were of mixed emotions about the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence -- "the drag nuns," many of whom happen to have been Jewish. In this case, I find the Sisters a little tasteless, if only for the fact that those who serve in religious life without bringing shame should not be pilloried. What if gay camp dressed in Hitler garb, appeared as Holocaust Survivors, and bombarded synagogues? Double standards? A fair complaint.

Finally, the "leather garb" to butch up appearance and psycho-sexual paraphilia are not synonymous. Think of cross-dressing drag and leather-drag or Brooks Brothers drag is various species of the same genus. What needs reminding is how sexual repression, whether in the hands of priests, nuns, rabbis, psychoanalysts, etc., often lies centrally to these deviant behaviors. If one's natural urges are contrary to the purported "orthodoxy" -- whosoever -- for nearly twenty years, if not longer, they share in the blame and shame of creating such deviance. Homoeroticism itself is again biologically normal, but paraphilias clearly are not. Yet, if one's naturally homoerotic urges are condemned a priori with tales of death, destruction, and perdition for twenty years, it's not surprising that such individuals fail to integrate homoerotic intimacy and choose transgressive behavior.

From a non-Catholic's perspective, the papal edict to ban the use of prophylactics to retard the lethal HIV pandemic -- based on an archaic, erroneous, and misconstrual of Aristotelian physics and his instrumental decision-making by medieval friar Thomas Aquinas in his irrational Natural Law Theory, is morally obscene and witness to the cult of death.

"Don't abort babies," "don't use contraceptives," preaches the church, don't love a member of your same sex, but go ahead and get pregnant and/or spread AIDS, and because the church through its insane Natural Law has determined it is morally superior to promote human death, familial deprivation, and human over-population, rather than support human's expression of their naturally sex and erotic drives?

That makes less sense than Yahweh's command to stone to death rebellious sons for disobedience to parents (Dt 21:18 ff), but it otherwise fits Yahweh's bloodthirsty wrath and hate of the human race. Death, not Life, is the central theme of Hebrew and Christian scriptures. Yahweh's abnegation of life through brutal deaths begin in the Eden myth, reach an apex in the crucifixion, and continued with the Christian martyrs. The ban on contraceptives and promoting the spread of AIDS fits your god of death -- Thanatos/Yahweh.