The Price of Gay Marriage: The Galvanic Corrosion of Language
When was that watershed moment where advocacy of gay marriage crossed into the mainstream from the radical chic of the intellectual elite ? Gay marriage, quite apart from homosexuality per se, has only in recent years been embraced by more than just a few libertarian sophisticates. Ironically it wasn't too long ago when the progressive darlings and the beautiful people believed, to the contrary, that marriage of any kind was oppressive, a form of institutional bondage.
One of the more incomprehensible aspects of the gay marriage movement has been the spectacle of well-educated academics, plaintiff's lawyers, politicians, judges and Protestant clergymen designing tortured arguments for deconstructing natural law, human biology, the history of civilization, language and logic. On the other hand, creating a new class of civil rights amidst claims of discrimination is easy when your world view equates justice with moral equivalence, accompanied by enabling the slow corruption of language.
Joseph Campbell, mythologist, philosopher and cultural anthropologist in his "Myths to Live By" succinctly recounts three creation myths: the Hindu "Brihadaranyaka Upanishad" where the Self splits into male and female; in the Judeo-Christian account of "Genesis" where the woman is created out of the man; and, in the Greek version where the sun (men), the earth (women) and male/female together (the moon) come together and are split by Zeus and Apollo into male and female.
Surely it is not a coincidence that every creation myth by every root civilization has involved a male and a female. How else would the species replicate? How else could a civilization endure? This is the yin-yang; plus-minus; electron-proton; the digital 0s and 1s; attraction-repellant; the symmetry of left-right; expansion-contraction; matter-anti-matter; male-female.
The universe is occupied and sustained exclusively by the notion of opposites, without which sexual reproduction of humans would be impossible. But such an intuitive truth, that normally would be unremarkable even to an uneducated person, has been overturned by "scientific consensus." Indeed merely suggesting that gay marriage is an affront to intellectual honesty has been branded as hate speech seen on par with language used by racial segregationists.
Imitating literary nonsense a la Lewis Carroll, gay marriage apologetics delight co-opting and twisting commonly accepted usage imagining an alternative universe where water runs uphill, ice sinks to the bottom of the pond, and lightning has fewer volts than a lightning bug.
For the most part, average Marys and Joes have no horse in this race. They are weary of the posturing, being labeled as Neanderthals and homophobes. They just want to be left alone, and the English language left unmolested.
At the same time, average Marys and Joes have labored under the impression that gay marriage is a substantive issue about sexuality. No, it's about who can be the most provocative, ridiculous, and outrageous. To wit, the absurd -- pigtail pulling -- theatrical spectacle at the Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter Public School in South Hadley, MA of "The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told", where Biblical characters are depicted as gays and lesbians, notably Adam and Eve replaced by a gay couple "Adam and Steve".
Gay marriage as parody is one thing. It is something else to witness advocacy of gay marriage from otherwise rational and linear thinking lawyers such as Ted Olsen, conservative jurist and former Solicitor General under George W. Bush, simply denying the tautology of a definition. "Marriage" defines a union ceremonially recognized by a community between a man and woman. No more, no less. The word does not describe any other relationship between consenting adults, whether for the opposite sex or those of the same sex.
Many will complain this is a mean-spirited value judgment. No, this is a conclusion derived from facts and a definition, inasmuch it is a fact that in a black hole, as astrophysicists will attest, even light cannot escape. Although there are four judges on the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court accompanied by a Federal judge in California nearly a decade ago, who started this baroque pas-de-deux, willing to assert that black holes violate equal protection and freedom of assembly clauses of the universe by not allowing light to come and go as it pleases.
The gay marriage movement is nothing more than wholesale narcissism. But, of course, we have become a nation of narcissists, so what did you expect?
Narcissus, you will recall, unable to return the affections of the nymph Echo, was consigned to forever seek the embrace of his own reflection and be captive to an illusion. So what becomes of the illusion of gay marriage? Where does the line of sight beyond gay marriage lead? Well, to steal a reference from philosopher Antony Flew in an essay on death, who quoted the apocalyptic words of Ludwig Wittgenstein, "Outside the visual field nothing is seen, not even darkness...the world in death does not change, but ceases."
Throughout the ages, the celebration of a lifelong union between a man and a woman -- defined as a marriage -- has been a life-affirming festivity with primordial hopes of reproduction and immortality. Marriage is more profound than merely sharing the joy of a happy couple. Instead the celebration of a same-sex union, if labeled a gay marriage, is something wholly other -- intellectually dissembling, a celebration of a linguistic cul-de-sac.
Gay marriage, rather than provoking outrage, may at its core just be melancholy, an empty gesture; and one more variant in the galvanic corrosion of our language. But when the celebration of gay marriage achieves equal standing as the lexiographic equivalent of marriage, who can deny our intellect will have been turned upside down?