Silence of the Lambs and Mr Craig

The “Expectation” on the part of the gay community, if Mr Kuznicki is such, is that Mr Craig is a repressed homosexual … and at the very least, the public should be informed, i.e., he should be outed, as a public service to educate the public at large. Joe Carter at Evangelical Outpost raises another interesting possibility, and as I, and I venture few others as well, haven’t sorted out the implications I thought I like to do that here. Here’s the possibility, that is, that Mr Craig is being truthful when he protests that “I’m not gay.” For details, as well as the connection for the title phrase “Silence of the Lambs” delve below the fold.

The assumption on the part of virtually everyone is that he is lying. But Mr Carter points out some research to indicate that the majority of the “tearoom” frequenters are actually in the majority with the exception of their particular tearoom activities, actually (really) heterosexual. Joe quotes a research paper:

[M]ost tearoom participants (a) communicate through non-verbal gestures and seldom speak, (b) do not associate outside the tearoom or attempt to learn one another’s identity or exchange biographical information, (c) do not use force or coercion or attempt to involve youths or children, (d) are primarily heterosexual and married…

Desroches writes in his conclusion:

The behavior of players reveals remarkable consistency over time, from community to community, and across national boundaries. Many men, the majority of them married and primarily heterosexual, continue to visit out-of-the-way public washrooms in search of fast, impersonal, and exciting sex despite the risk to family, friends, job, and reputation. Although shopping malls have usurped public parks as the favorite locale of tearoom participants, the basic rules of the game and profile of the players—as Humphreys contends—remain the same over time and place.

One of the consequences of this is that those who ‘out’ Mr Craig (and those doing similar things) are actually outing a heterosexual for being gay, that is the accusation is false.

Thomas Harris, in his sequel featuring Hannibal Lector, Silence of the Lambs (and here I refer more to to the book than the movie), I think provides insight into what he felt motivated Mr Lector. It was by taking the incredible risk. By going so far beyond the pale of acceptable behavior, by doing what would make (virtually) everyone else find and see him as an absolute monster … if caught that drove him. This risk element to sex, I venture, might as well drive some rapists as well as serial kilers to be compelled to repeat their horrific acts. How does this link to Mr Craig and the heterosexual tearoom set? The answer lies in that their libido is linked to risk, to going beyond the pale. Rape, and killing is an act, which for most of us and as well likely average tearoom participant, that is unacceptable for it is violently non-consensual. If you seek great risk, with sex, without violating consensuality, what other (hetero or homo) options remain? None come to my mind. The “tearoom” however shares the features of risk, losing all if caught, existing beyond the pale and so forth. If homosexuality was the normative mode of behavior in some hypothetical society, one would expect the same people finding some other act likely heterosexual,  but still consensual and culminating in orgasm but so far beyond the pale that being caught might cause you to lose all, and this would draw this type of person.

Homosexuals of the kind like Mr Kuznicki, campaigning for normalization of consensual relational homosexual relationships should, I’d think, be quick to not ‘out’ Mr Craig and claim him as a repressed homosexual, but it might be more worthwhile to tie him, as a heterosexual, but one whose libido is in part linked strongly to risk, like the rapist or the serial killer (and the fictional Mr Lector). They should take pains, I’d think in that case, to distance themselves not claim him (wrongly) as one of their own.

Reread these comments:

Via hilzoy, called by blog neighbor one of the “best progressive bloggers”

I have a certain sympathy for closeted gay men and lesbians. I think that being so deeply ashamed of a part of yourself that’s so fundamental, and that you can do nothing to change, must be close to unbearable; and the knowledge that coming clean would involve not only admitting that you’re gay, but also that you have lied for years to people you care about, and who trust you, would only make it that much worse. But my sympathy vanishes when it comes to people who support amending the Constitution to ban gay marriage, as Craig did. There are limits to what you get to do to protect your own secrets, and being willing to permanently destroy gay men and lesbians’ chances to marry the people they love, and with whom they have found happiness, is way, way outside them.

Given that Ms hilzoy’s objection is therefore tantamount to objecting that “my sympathy vanishes when it comes to support amending the Constitution to ban gay marriage, when they themselves are serial rapists.” The connection vanishes, the “sympathy” returns perhaps? Or might it be replaced by something else? What if the “secret” he was protecting was that he was a rapist?

Or Via Mr Schraub (who seems unaware that not just the “proposition” but the entire act takes place in the “tearoom”):

One of the things I’ve noticed about dominant social views on sexuality is that men really believe that a zone of sexual inviolability surrounds them and get really angry when it’s penetrated. They want, at all times, to be in complete control of any sexual event or happenstance that involves them–but they don’t seem to believe that women deserve the same courtesy. So when there is even the slightest risk of breaching a man’s sexual perimeters (e.g., a gay man coming on to you in the bathroom), we erect all sorts of social and legal barriers to block it. Some jurisdictions seem to allow or at least condone violent assaults by heterosexual men being hit on by a gay man at a bar. And as Senator Craig’s case shows, even something as tenuous as possibly signaling a sexual proposition of another man in a public place can get you arrested. Stacking that sort of treatment up against the yawning silence we give to the massive amount of street harassment women (especially urban women) face is mind-blowing.

How to regard these comments, when we note Mr Craig is not homosexual, but a heterosexual with a (admittedly slightly tamer) variant of the disorder that affects some rapists or serial killers. Would Ms hilzoy or Mr Schraub glibly defend using airport and other bathrooms and attempt to normalize behavior, which if normalized must seek other venues because the non-normative, life-threatening risky part of the behavior is inherent in the behavior. If it was normalized, it would seem that the act wouldn’t be done, or it more likely would push itself further into the public sphere to recapture the denatured risk. One wonders if Mr Schraub, who seems to wish to legalize “coming on to you” in bathrooms, will feel the same when he starts visiting such bathrooms with his 4 y/o son.

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  1. Homosexuals of the kind like Mr Kuznicki, campaigning for normalization of consensual relational homosexual relationships should, I’d think, be quick to not ‘out’ Mr Craig and claim him as a repressed homosexual

    I think you’re right on this. Sexual orientation actually includes a number of different elements, and these don’t always line up with one another. For example, there are the following:

    –Sexual behavior: This is what someone actually does. Only physical acts count here (although the anonymity or level of familiarity with sexual partners is yet another dimension, of course, and you are probably right that the aspect of risk becomes more important in some sense than the gender of the partner involved).

    –Sexual ideation: What a person fantasizes about, regardless of whom they’re with.

    –Sexual self-identity: What a person sees himself as. (Craig’s “I am not gay” is determinative here, I think.)

    –Sexual aspiration: What a person wishes to be or hopes to be. Many ex-gays are implicated here, since they often claim that their sexual ideation or behavior is not yet in line with their aspirations.

    People who identify as gay or straight usually have all four of these in conformity with one another. Not always, but usually.

    One wonders if Mr Schraub, who seems to wish to legalize “coming on to you” in bathrooms, will feel the same when he starts visiting such bathrooms with his 4 y/o son.

    The chances are that a four-year-old is not going to understand what tapping one’s foot under a restroom stall means. And if he’s there with a parent (which should be the case anyway), then the parent is more than able to deal with this, no? I don’t think that people should be having sex in the restrooms, but I also think that the threat to children is far less than everyone seems to believe.

  2. Mark says:

    I think the point I gleaned from the study is that the homosexual aspect of many such as Mr Craig (hetero-sexual tearoom frequenters) is that the homosexuality is a non-essential aspect as you admit. If that is the case, then it is quite possible Mr Craig is heterosexual on all four levels you list, behavior, ideation, self-identity, and aspiration.

    If you check back, my question for you is then, if Mr Craig is heterosexual, how do you support the notion of “outing” him as gay? Why do it?

  3. I seriously doubt Jason’s captialism serves as lens for biological FACT. He’s as far off as Mark.

    Harvard BIOLOGIST E. O. Wilson, in his Pulitzer Prize Winning work, “ON HUMAN NATURE,” insists homosexuality is biologically normal. While Wilson states unequivocally that Judo-Christian dominance, especially through the Psyche Tribe, has done more damage to homophiles, acknowledges that “homo-sexual” is a biological impossibility, you two can argue about what is “normal”

    Nature has normal variants, including men who have erotic experiences with other men (since “sex” is ONLY between male/female members of a species). Homoerotic love is not only biologically normal, but it was also socially normative in Greek Antiquity — until Judaism infected Western Civilization with its homophobia.

    While you two diagnose what neither have a clue to, let gay men alone to love in peace. That fact that Jason uses “sexual” dozens of times, when NO SEX is involved, speaks to both your naivete. Fear not, nominalism allows the use of “sex” in this distorted use, but not essentialism. You both prove you’re BOTH TRIBAL members.

    Bicycle for Jesus. It may get your sheepish a** past Saint Peter and Saint Paul. But “goats,” unlike sheep, are not lead to the slaughter. Only dumb sheep follow a shepherd, because they’re too stupid to be goats.

  4. […] do I believe Craig’s sexual orientation to be “heterosexual” in the sense that Mark Olson and Joe Carter […]

  5. Mark says:

    I’ll take your remarks, although they seem a little difficult to parse your meaning, as mostly rhetorical.

    I do wonder, however, exactly whats wrong with being “tribal”. If joining or aligning with groups is tribal, we all are. It’s a human thing. It reads as if you mean that as a term of opprobrium. I’m a bit confused by that.