The following is an e-mail that I recently received from a person who wishes to remain anonymous. In bold text are my remarks.
I was trawling through the Web and came across your article (actually, I was trying to find something by Paglia!).
I had a couple of questions, the first regarding some statistics you used, and some comments.
Quote: "Plausibly the same-sex sex of upperclass Greeks was ninetenths pederastic and onetenth androphile, while that of modern Americans seems to be ninetenths androphile and onetenth pederastic."
While that doesn't seem unreasonable to me, I wondered what you're basing that on anything specific.
See the book Biological Exburance and a forthcoming publication by Bruce Rind. Today intergenerational sex is so dangerous that only the most intrepid or those who can't help it do it as homosex was in Nazi Germany.
Most of the gay Marxists I've known have tried to talk of a homosexual Shangri-la in Ancient Greece, it's true. But some others argue that, given the nature of capitalism (as they describe it) and the eclipse of the Church (at least in countries like Australia), you have to look at the function of homophobia and its use to serve political (i.e. ruling class) ends.
Most "good gays" now disown pederasts, prostitutes, pornographers, etc.
Do you think it necessarily downplays the role of the Church in the origins of homophobia to look at capitalism and the perpetuation of homophobia? (If they're guilty of anything, I'd say Marxists try to pretend that capitalism re-invented a meaner homophobia, rather than inherited it, because they can't conceive that there's been some progression under capitalism, but that's my 2 cents)
Marx and most of his followers--virtually all Communists persecuted homos more than capitalists have recently.
When you say "the belief system could not suppress the cultural traditions (and biological forces) underlying it" – can you expand on what you mean? Do you think homosexual desire was a biological force that couldn't be suppressed or sexual desire in general? In other words, are you saying that homosexuality (androphilic or otherwise) is a specific biological urge looking for cultural expression?
Finally, in your closing paragraphs, you say that gay marriage might be an appropriate response "in these days of AIDS".
I meant for some so inclined, especially lesbians.
Personally, as an atheist and a homosexual, I have no desire to get married, whether the institution is based on (modern) Christianity, state secularism or Boswell's fantasies about brotherhoods.
Marriage doesn't seem to be a defense against the spread of HIV in Africa or India, for example. If anything, marriage has compounded shame and ignorance.
Why would gay marriage be any different? It seems to me that defense against AIDS through lifelong monogomy based on the power of a ceremony (definately not based on actual human behaviour) is just as fantastic as praying the AIDS away.
A really interesting essay, though. Thanks for putting the time into your site and sharing it.
PS I'm not an academic, or even a studying history. Just curious, that's all.xpression?