Tuesday, March 02, 2004

le parcours des blogueurs (général)

Brief one this evening... I'm working on a translation project for the Wednesday Anything Goes blog (a Christian leaflet, in case you're wondering).

Top billing goes to the Maximum Leader, who caught Keith Burgess-Jackson's attention by remarking that Christopher Hitchens calls everyone names, and that women can flaunt their bodies for a cause if they like (at least provisionally... and since when has the ML been "troubled by pornography"?? That sounds more like something Bill Bennett would say!). The ML managed to slip in a professed love of meat-eating, too. Ouch, KBJ, that's gotta hurt.

Also check out two posts re: Leni Riefenstahl at Naked Villainy.

The ML leans pretty strongly rightward, but he also hosts a few left-leaning bloggers as well, along with megafreaks who don't quite fit the whole left/right paradigm. The resultant mix of opinions is very Tacitus-like. Check out Naked Villainy and make it your second home. Buy some Maximum Leader products while you're at it.

People who saw my Gweilo Diaries tittie link may have noticed a slight change: I had to correct an embarrassing misspelling: the tittie link originally read "Gweilo Diairies." I think the picture may have caused me to combine "diary" with "dairy." Sorry 'bout that, Conrad. Boy, I'm milking this...

Peking Duck has the roundup about the pro-independence human chain in Taiwan that may have been composed of as many as 1-2 million people. Some say this is the next looming crisis. I say China's displeasure is evidence of longstanding imperialism-- the vintage kind, before people began to reunderstand "imperialism" as "only what America does, whatever it may be doing right now and always." One of the blogs to which Richard links, A Better Tomorrow, is more than a little circumspect about the pro-independence event and the "Taiwan yes! China no!" rhetoric. Check out the post and the ensuing comments.

Go read Ryan's looong post on gay marriage (that's how he describes it), and here again, be sure to look over the comments thread.

Bravo Romeo Delta of Anticipatory Retaliation thinks out loud. Also of note is an interesting exchange on AR about the merits of brutality. Start with this post by CVE and work your way forward in time, up the blog. Along the way, you'll encounter an essay on gay marriage that I think will be worth your while.

Annika tells her fellows whom to vote for and presents a very thoughtful review of "The Passion of the Christ."

Keith Burgess-Jackson offers an example of an English class writing assignment gone wrong. I laughed my ass off, mainly because I've done tandem writing before, years ago and on a lark-- and this looked awfully familiar. Trust me, ladies: in tandem writing, a guy will try to "lead" as if he's dancing with you. If you introduce new characters or situations he finds uninteresting, he'll be sure to undo your entire storyline when it's his turn. Why? Because as Howard Dean can attest, men are dicks. KBJ also posts a list of amazing anagrams.

But the reason I'm not always keen on KBJ is that he also posts silliness like this:

Marriage always has been, is, and always will be a childrearing institution. It is too important to be monkeyed with. Most Americans, thank goodness, understand that.

This is an essentialist position I've watched KBJ formulate on his blog. His larger argument isn't the most empirically-based one, either, which immediately loses it my sympathy. The above contention comes from history, but with little acknowledgement of the perfectly empirical fact that times change, and no phenomenon remains static. As I've contended on this blog a gazillion times, marriage is a term applied to a reality in flux. KBJ can ignore what's happening in society if he wants to; the changes will occur with or without his consent because, well, reality moves.

If people need a refresher on my own position, which has evolved somewhat thanks to the blogs I read at KBJ and elsewhere, my sidebar has plenty of links to essays on pluralism, gay marriage, and Buddhist process ontology. Such an ontology, coupled with the nondualistic position laid out in my "right and wrong" post, makes KBJ's assertions about the "definition" of marriage untenable to me. Marriage isn't a reality graven in the universe; it's what we make of it, and it's how we practice it.

So in terms of KBJ's statement above: I agree that marriage "has been, is, and always will be" about children, because that, at least, conforms to empirical and biological fact. But what KBJ conveniently ignores here is the simple question being asked these days: is this all marriage is? i.e., Is this all marriage has to be? And here again, homosexual marriages are already being performed at many liberal churches (temples, etc.), so the term is being redefined, slowly but surely, on a religious level. Since religions are incarnated in people, then as this meme spreads through people's religious consciousness, it will manifest itself as political will-- as we see already happening.

Given this wider context, KBJ's protests about what marriage "has been, is and will be" make little sense. There's more going on here. Blink and you'll miss it.

So some crotchety folks cry, "Where does it all stop, then? Will people be marrying their dogs and sisters and cacti next?" To which my nondualist answer is: let's deal with these questions calmly as they become relevant to the national consciousness, and let's stop pretending we can set absolutes into a reality that moves.

[For those who at this point think I'm advocating some sort of anarchy or the willful ignoring of rules/laws, I again refer you to numerous essays on my sidebar that lay out where I stand on the subject of rules, laws, absolutes, and all the rest. Cf. especially the "right and wrong" essay. If you still don't get where I'm coming from, please email me.]

Think about this: the field of bioethics is way behind actual technology. Sexuality is already a highly complex phenomenon, not neatly described by the hetero/homo dichotomy. No fixed typologies of human sexuality are possible given not only this complexity, but the constantly evolving character of the phenomenon. Technology may very well move human sexuality into wildly unexpected directions. Donald Sensing's own essays bemoan the divorcing of the sexual act from its natural consequences (while rightfully acknowledging that this is only going to continue), but Sensing's hinting at the tip of the iceberg: in a century or two, there will be radically new and different sexual mores, sexual subcultures-- and in a few centuries after that, who knows? Perhaps even different biological sexes as humans get inventive and impatient (yes, it's only speculation; calm down).

Will all this spell doom for humanity? I doubt it. Will it mean the dissolution of old paradigms? Well, of course. And while all this is happening, human societies will find their own answers to the questions posed by rapidly mutating (bio- and nano-) technology and culture-- no one's going to wait around for pronouncements from stodgy academe. South Koreans apparently didn't wait around to start cloning humans, and it's a sure bet that private interests are working on their own bioengineering projects.

There's a kong-an for the evening: what will sex look like in 300 years? Anyone got a camera?


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