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I'm Wasingerelemontic

GRUN-BLINGS

By Michael R. Grunwald

ALL HAIL HARVARD'S new expert on homosexuality. His name is Robert K. Wasinger '93, and while he admits he doesn't know any gays at Harvard personally, he says a couple of his high school friends from Kansas have been "pushed into homosexuality or whatever" since leaving for college. "I don't see why homosexuals at Harvard should be any different than homosexuals anywhere else," Wasinger told me. So you can see that he knows what he's talking about.

You probably had never heard of Wasinger, the vice president of the Association Against Learning in the Absence of Religion and Morality (AALARM) and a "guardian" of Peninsula, until you read his enlightening letter about Coming Out Day in The Crimson last month.

In just two paragraphs, Wasinger managed to argue that:

a. Homosexual intercourse is "reprehensible" and "morally repugnant." (He didn't say why.) b. Homosexuals "have no regard for the family." (He didn't say how he knew.) c. The family is "the basic building block ... of legitimate government." (He didn't mention which part of Locke's First Treatise on Government was therefore incorrect.) d. Copulation is the "most base of all human instincts." (He didn't say why.) e. Homosexuals' definition of self is "irrevocably linked" to that instinct. (He didn't say how he knew.) f. This irrevocable linkage notwithstanding, the Bisexual Gay and Lesbian Students Association is "just another extracurricular activity." (He didn't say how he knew.) g. AALARM's actions, on the other hand, "represent our lives." (God bless America.)

Whew. Our resident psychoanalyst offered a few more theories in last week's 56-page Peninsula megaissue on the various evils of homosexuality. Wasinger explained that homosexuals are "mal-identified neurotics," adding that "when I look at homosexuals, it is obvious to me that they are not truly happy, no matter what facade they might display."

Isn't that amazing? All this time, we've been living with gays, hanging out with gays, talking with gays, not suspecting a thing. And JUST BY LOOKING, this mind-reader could tell that they were all OBVIOUSLY hiding their unhappiness behind clever facades.

I couldn't resist asking him how he could be so sure of his facts without knowing any gay people at Harvard. "How can they be happy?" he asked. "They're always talking about how they're victimized and oppressed." He added that gays were racked by "misery and internal torment" rooted in "the way they define themselves."

Funny, I said. My roommate is gay. And he's very happy.

Pretty soon, Wasinger backed off. "If he says he really is happy, then I believe him, and I'm happy for him."

I read him back the same happiness quote from his article. Sure enough, he flip-flopped again. "Look, homosexuals just can't be happy. They're living a lie." He explained that this lie was the belief, derided in his Peninsula article, that "it is just as natural for sperm to swim into feces as it is to swim into eggs."

We argued a bit more, and he contradicted himself a bit more, but we really didn't get anywhere close to an agreement on anything. Clearly, this guy--like his cohorts on AALARM and Peninsula--needs to get to know some gay people. He'd find that not all of them "constantly perceive themselves as the victims of a cruel, oppressive and 'homophobic' world." He'd find that not all of them "believe that their most important trait is their libidinal attraction to members of the same sex."

He'd find they are no more unhappy, mal-identified or self-deluded than anyone else. Including Robert K. Wasinger '93.

***

More About My Favorite Magazine: In just 56 pages, those clever Peninsula writers managed to compare homosexuality to slaveholding (pp. 4-5), drunk driving (p. 13), nail-biting (pp. 22-24, 48-53!), having blue eyes (p. 38) and alcoholism (p. 40). There are also oblique comparisons between the gay movement and Naziism (p. 13), between homosexuality and murder (p. 49).

The juiciest comparisons, however, came in Christopher Brown's illuminating article on classical views of homosexuality. Aristotle, Brown wrote, provided "the most interesting ancient discussion of homosexual behavior." This discussion included analogies between homosexuality and cannibalism, incest, eating earth, autophagy and "compulsively plucking out one's hair." From this discussion, Brown concludes that "homosexual acts are unworthy of a human being," that "pity is the only appropriate response" to homosexuality.

Aristotle was a great thinker. But I'm not sure his ideas about homosexuality are particularly relevant to modern American society. They're certainly no more relevant than his ideas about slavery: "A slave is a particular species of property..." (The Politics, Chapter VIII) Or his ideas about women: "the male is by nature superior to the female..." (The Politics, Chapter XII)

You know, if Aristotle ever read Peninsula's spin on his philosophy, he'd probably eat earth or pluck out his hair, too.

***

If They Just Don't Get It, Slap 'Em: In the recent issue of Lighthouse, Yvette C. Alt '92 wrote an interesting article about the violent aspects of Thelma and Louise. Alt speculated that her strong distaste for the felonies perpetrated by the movie's protagonists had something to do with her own summer job at the Illinois Department of Criminal Justice.

All of which makes Alt's description of her reaction to a National Public Radio talk show rather confusing.

"One of the callers, a young-sounding woman, was waxing eloquent about the ennobling capacity of crime in Thelma and Louise," Alt recalled. "I considered how lucky that caller was that only her voice was in my office, instead of her face, which I felt like slapping" (emphasis mine).

Now, now. Hitting people is not a very nice thing to do. I don't think it's particularly legal in Illinois.

As Alt says herself one long paragraph later, "the result of escalating crime--female or otherwise--is always negative; it is always increased violence, and there can be nothing positive about this."

***

You Can't Spell KnUCkleheads...: As promised, Undergraduate Council chair David A. Aronberg '93 has appointed a public relations officer to help improve the UC's image. (In an editorial last month filled with parenthetical phrases like this, I poked a bit of fun at this idea, and at the entire council. I apologize abjectly to the selfless UC members who took offense.)

Anyway, congratulations to the UC's new publicity chair, Jacinda T. Townsend '92. Townsend's claim to publicity fame: She pissed off the entire campus by hanging a swastika from her window last spring to protest Confederate flags hung by Bridget Kerrigan '91 and Timothy McCormack '92. (McCormack now chairs the UC's adhoc committee on ROTC.)

As UC flak, Townsend will organize responses to UC-bashers like me.

"It's not a big deal," Aronberg said. "She was very eager. She wanted to do it very badly. I'm sure she'll do a great job. She's no stranger to the campus press, right?"

I have nothing further to say about this matter.

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