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Man Down

     
     Last week, in an incident that didn’t get much attention in the national news, a man named Tom Ball set himself on fire in front of the county courthouse in Keene, NH. He left a fifteen-page suicide note explaining his actions. He was angry at the state child protection bureaucracy and the courts after a ten-year battle over a child abuse charge that became, for him, a Kafkaesque struggle with cruel authority. The long suicide note he left was a thoughtful and disturbing indictment of the legal procedures now common across America that have had many unanticipated consequences – from breaking up families to homelessness – but it was also a grim comment on the condition of American manhood.
     A casual Martian observer hanging around any convenience store in the “fly-over” zones of this nation must be impressed with the striking way that American men present themselves to the world. Forgive me for revisiting an oft-dredged-up theme – male costuming and adornment in our time – but I wouldn’t keep bringing it up if I didn’t think it was significant. On the whole, American men present themselves as savages. I think they do it because they feel very insecure about themselves – similar to the insecurity that prompts a politician to wear a flag lapel pin. Should there be any doubt that an elected official cares about his country? Or maybe we should ask: what kind of country produces such craven, weak, pandering elected officials? What kind of culture produces men who get themselves up like chain-saw murderers?
     The same country that furnishes an endless diet of super-hero movies to pubescent males who are not expected to develop normal adult coping powers. The same country that supplies gruesome, sado-masochistic video games to occupy the idle hours of young men – and then lets them take those “skills” to some tilt-up bunker in Nevada where they sit in air-conditioned comfort and direct drone aircraft ten thousand miles away to incinerate suspected “enemies” in mud villages. (Sometimes “mistakes are made” and they blow up a wedding party or something – but the drone controllers still get to leave the bunker at the end of their shift and roll down the strip for a plastic tray full of burritos.)
     This month’s WeinerGate was another instructive incident. Up-and-coming wonderboy politician revealed to be secret sex schlemiel, undone by “social media” – which turns out to have the unanticipated consequence of undermining the impulse control of supposedly grown men. Who knew? But what interested me more than Weiner’s pitiful dishonesty was the parade of women journalists on cable TV news who all agreed that poor Weiner’s downfall was yet another conclusive demonstration of how hopeless men are – not to mention that their male colleagues on-screen, Blitzer, King, O’Donnell, sheepishly agreed with them. This ceremonial posturing for moral brownie points in an extremely moralistic and puritanical culture does tend to obscure the reality that adult male humans are sexually alert in an inconvenient way that is not identical to the experience of females. Notwithstanding the evident insanity of Dominque Strauss-Kahn jumping the hotel maid, men sometimes make passes. American women cannot forgive them for this. Lesson: perhaps American men should not make such an effort to seek forgiveness. I am waiting, personally, for some Mark Sanford type (former South Carolina governor caught in “affair” with Argentine firecracker) to go before the microphones and say to media (and the voters), “this is none of your goddam business.”
     Which brings me to the troublesome subject of gay marriage, which is lately up for debate in the legislature of New York State where I live, making it the public’s business. I have an unpopular view of it for men of my demographic (Democrat, Boomer). I’m not in favor of it. I don’t think it is a good idea. I don’t have empirical proof, but I suspect that unsettling such an age-old and fundamental social arrangement will produce strange unanticipated consequences that we are not prepared for. I don’t believe gay marriage is a genuine social justice issue. I think it is a bid for a kind of broad social approbation which does not require ritual enactment in law, and would be socially mischievous to pursue. Civil unions would cover the necessary legal issues. Otherwise, it is a case of unwarranted relativism, a Boomer weakness. Not all conditions or states of being in this world are the same. Some things are on the margins because they are marginal.
     What fascinates me in the debate is the narcissism of Boomers, males especially, who advocate so earnestly in favor of gay marriage. Is it really about the law and social relations, or is it about making yourself feel good?  Is it just more posturing for moral brownie points, for approval?  Is your job and social position or maybe even sense of yourself at stake if you have a differing view? 
     I had an interesting experience with my last two books (World Made By Hand and The Witch of Hebron), which were set in a post-oil, post economic collapse American future and depicted daily life in a way that was quite unlike the way we live right now. I received a heap of criticism from female readers – including peak oil activists – full of consternation that I did not present female characters in the kinds of dominant valorized roles that are favored today: the post-oil equivalent of CEO, news anchor, CIA-Ninja warrior, Presidential candidate. What struck me was their complete failure of imagination. They could not conceive of male / female relations that were different than today’s, even in a world that had been turned economically upside down.
     However, this was not inconsistent with the failure of American men to know how to act like men in this anxious moment of history. The choices are pretty unappetizing: be a jobless loser in a “Pray for Death” T-shirt with neck and knuckle tattoos, or a loser in a corporate cubicle, or a loser in that Nevada drone-control bunker, or a loser in the eyes of the family court, or a loser on cable TV. Tom Ball, the man who set himself on fire in Keene, New Hampshire recommended something that sounded a lot like violent revolution, though his tone was eerily measured for someone about to commit the most desperate personally public act. I hope we don’t have to go through a convulsion in this land to find out what it means to be a man.

______________________________

    My books are available at all the usual places.


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About James Howard Kunstler

View all posts by James Howard Kunstler
James Howard Kunstler is the author of many books including (non-fiction) The Geography of Nowhere, The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition, Home from Nowhere, The Long Emergency and the four-book series of World Made By Hand novels, set in a post economic crash American future. His most recent book is Living in the Long Emergency; Global Crisis, the Failure of the Futurists, and the Early Adapters Who Are Showing Us the Way Forward. Jim lives on a homestead in Washington County, New. York, where he tends his garden and communes with his chickens.

121 Responses to “Man Down” Subscribe

  1. soak June 20, 2011 at 9:50 am #

    First!

  2. horseoutside June 20, 2011 at 9:52 am #

    \second!

  3. Leibowitz Society June 20, 2011 at 9:54 am #

    Confusion about where we are and where we’re going is the real heart of the issue here. We’ve enjoyed decades of massive material wealth and stopped having to figure out what we were about. Now, we’re sinking quickly and don’t have any idea how to act, what to do, and how to live, as the nation our parents and grandparents built on quicksand is vanishing. A man setting himself on fire is just the tip of the iceberg, unfortunately.
    Visit the Leibowitz Society at http://leibowitzsociety.blogspot.com for commentary on current collapse events and trends, as well as planning for the post collapse future, especially about preserving the best of our knowledge.

  4. hillwalker June 20, 2011 at 9:58 am #

    Yup,
    Things are pretty off the rails.
    All that said, seeing how you brought up the World Made by Hand novels, when are we going to see chapter 3?
    I waited almost a year for the witch, and read it in one setting. Are there more coming?

  5. soak June 20, 2011 at 10:00 am #

    “They could not conceive of male / female relations that were different than today’s, even in a world that had been turned economically upside down.
    ———
    Will women go back to being in the kitchen? Barefoot? Pregnant? (rubbers being petroleum=based)

  6. James Howard Kunstler June 20, 2011 at 10:02 am #

    Repy to Hillwaker:
    First I have to finish a nonfiction book I owe on contract to my publisher — about wishful thinking and techno-narcissism. Sorry for the wait and thanks for the compliment.
    –JHK

  7. LaughingAsRomeWasBurningDown June 20, 2011 at 10:02 am #

    JHK, very thoughtful column this week and thanks for bringing Tom Ball to our attention, he certainly slipped under the radar.
    The choices are pretty unappetizing: be a jobless loser in a “Pray for Death” T-shirt with neck and knuckle tattoos, or a loser in a corporate cubicle, or a loser in that Nevada drone-control bunker, or a loser in the eyes of the family court, or a loser on cable TV.
    Sort of begs the question, do you see any winners? Maybe an Amish family somewhere?

  8. GAbert June 20, 2011 at 10:03 am #

    OK, OK, the American male is a really sorry animal.
    So why not acknowledge the possibility that the so-called war on terror was instigated not just to distract us from domestic problems, most notably an alarming growth in wealth disparity, but also to provide the cover under which the national security state could be expanded to protect the ruling elites, the corporate oligarchy and those loyal thereto from: THE REST OF US?
    http://www.gwabert.com/

  9. suburbanempire June 20, 2011 at 10:08 am #

    If your going to come out against gay marriage for pete’s sake come up with a reason that involves the idea that when socity breaks down generally jews and homosexuals get the brunt of the bloodlust that socity dishes out, and that gay marriage might make it worse…. but to toss out the very same reasons that are tossed out by the McHouse dwellers…. well, that pretty much puts you in a league with the McHouse dwellers on that issue.
    Gays can be fired in 28 states for being gay… and no other reason.
    Try being gay in this country for awhile…. I am gay, and went to Toronto to get married… my husband and I went to city hall and filled out the forms, the guy at the desk didn’t flinch and went to the printer and got a “marriage” licence… I started crying, it was the first time in my life that I had been treated with respect as a gay man by a civil servent, and system… and I was 38 at the time.

  10. kulturcritic* June 20, 2011 at 10:08 am #

    “Up-and-coming wonderboy politician revealed to be secret sex schlemiel, undone by “social media” – which turns out to have the unanticipated consequence of undermining the impulse control of supposedly grown men.”
    It is interesting, Jim, how social media has come to define an entire generation and then some. In our awkward and alienated individualism, we have come to depend more on the virtuality of relations, whether it be chat, comraderie, or sex. The pathos of our culture goes far deeper than just how males experience and present themselves in this world. And it will have significant impact on the coming post-oil future. See my latest post, if you will.
    http://kulturcritic.wordpress.com/posts/virtual-vacuums-the-disease-of-social-networking/

  11. Tangurena June 20, 2011 at 10:11 am #

    similar to the insecurity that prompts a politician to wear a flag lapel pin

    The lapel pins started as a sign of personal fealty to W. Over time, after vigorous attacks against those not wearing the mark of the beast, other politicians submitted to the will of the antichrist.
    As for Weiner, he was a greater advocate for Israel than he was for America, so I’m not sad to see him go.

  12. okie June 20, 2011 at 10:11 am #

    As a member and officer of an about 2/3 female Board of Directors that operates a very large farmers’ market, I will note that ignoring the leadership role women play in creating local communities, including those that provide important products like “food” is to leave oneself open to accusations that one’s reasoning is somewhat tainted by stereotype. I personally don’t care what gender a person is, who takes care of the kids or who sits on the city council as long they are behaving in a sustainable, responsible fashion to build stable relationships between each other and the land. I suggest we need to get over Both the chain saw murderer and the be-a-man gig and start behaving like responsible adults. There, I said it…

  13. lbendet June 20, 2011 at 10:15 am #

    Thanks for your post as always, JHK. As today is my birthday I consider your post to be an extra special treat today as is the weather and my mile swim I plan to take and some other surprises my guy is planning.
    On 60 minutes last night was a repeat of the setting off of the ME democracy movements–more like we just want to make a living and feed our families movement. The self immolation of Mohammed Bouazizi of Tunisia was highlighted again. He effected a movement of many in that part of the world took their cue that it was time to draw a line in the sand.
    Not so with the man in NH. I’m afraid that the US citizens suffer alone and in a vacuum with each incident isolated from all others. One loses their home to medical bills, another suffers the the loss of custody of their child. Drip by drip, each one of us faces our own agony–you know when you smile the whole world smiles with you, when you cry you cry alone–that’s the American way.
    About our hypocritical religious based denial of human nature, one of our many artificial constructs, it is a shame to watch someone like Weiner be forced out of politics. He spoke for many progressives and we certainly needed his voice in the wilderness against the onslaught of rampant privatization and austerity that will befall us all. It was a shame that in the area of emotions and or libidinal drive, he was unable to use the common sense that there was nothing private about what he was doing.
    Yes, it is none of anyone’s business unless tax-payer money is involved. Yes, if you gave me a choice of whether my politician should dabble in a sexcapade or drop spent uranium on children, I’ll take the former, thank you. Sex is far more palatable than violence and murder, but somehow it all got mixed up in this country.

  14. Neon Vincent June 20, 2011 at 10:16 am #

    Jim,
    That makes for three issues that put you out of step with many others who call themselves liberal and more in step with conservatives. First, you believe in restricting legal immigration. Second, while you aren’t an out and out goldbug, you think that a “hard currency” is inevitable. Now, you’re against marriage equality. No wonder you have a lot of conservative readers and commenters!
    As for marriage equality, you’re portraying it as an issue of Boomers. I have news for you. It’s much more an issue of Millennials, today’s teens and twenty-somethings, who are more in favor of it. Their opinion will win out over ours (I am also a Boomer) just by outliving us.
    By the way, was one of the people who objected to your protrayal of women your neighbor up on the hill, Elaine Meinel Supkis? I know she thinks you got it wrong about dogs in the “World Made by Hand” and I agree with her.
    I don’t blog about marriage equality at Crazy Eddie’s Motie News, but I do blog about the economic activity the people who would benefit from such a policy bring to an area there. I see it as a good thing.
    http://crazyeddiethemotie.blogspot.com/

  15. Neon Vincent June 20, 2011 at 10:19 am #

    No, rubbers are made of latex, which is why they’re called rubbers. Now, importing latex, that depends on petroleum, unless world trade returns to being run on wind.
    The alternative will be making them out of animal guts. Talk about a world made by hand!

  16. bubbleheadMarc June 20, 2011 at 10:19 am #

    The end of the draft has something to do with this although it’s easy to forget that the generals & admirals don’t want short term conscripts. Another benefit of the draft was that it increased anti-war sentiment and some men grew up by opposing the draft.
    On the “ceremonial posturing for moral brownie points in an extremely moralistic and puritannical culture” we did indeed get stuck with a sort of shitty radical protestant Puritan culture, and not the mellower Anglican culture of the British Commonwealth. Yes, I’m finally admitting it, but I’m a tory with a small “t”.
    My departed gay boss of six years used to laugh himself silly at the antics of his gay friends and thought that gay men were mostly incapable of fidelity. He saw this gay marriage thing as the hankering after respectability of those who aspired to dull normalcy. He thought that it was the more sophisticated stance to be skeptical of such social institutions as indeed, even heterosexual marriage is a phony institution dreamed up in the first place to shore up the established order. After all, there is a school of thought that married people are pompous asses and not to be emulated even by other heterosexuals who haven’t yet incorporated themselves as couples so that they can act superior to single people who presumably are somehow “hapless” even though they’re less likely to be weighed down by ungrateful kids and various other impedimenta of conventional society.

  17. empirestatebuilding June 20, 2011 at 10:21 am #

    If gay marriage were called Garriage it would pass in every state. If you play football with a puck, it is not football. The game needs a new name.
    When it passes and it will because it is much easier to debate this issue than ones of true difficulty, I would love to go to law school and become a gay marriage divorce lawyer. That will be a gold mine of an industry. It is sure to further clog the courts.
    It will make for a great reality TV show too. Talk about rearranging the deck chairs as the ship goes down. Let the good times roll.
    Aimlow Joe was here
    http://www.aimlow.com

  18. Barter4Booze June 20, 2011 at 10:24 am #

    Real men don’t make passes at American lasses;
    For sure when they do they end up on their asses!
    I’m all for a fate more fulfilling than Weiner’s;
    with women more foreign, more buxom and leaner!
    Where have the men gone ‘casue we need them today;
    Guys like Jack Benny, Milton Berle and Lalaine!

  19. Moondog June 20, 2011 at 10:25 am #

    An act of desperate self-immolation in Tunisia set off the revolutions across North Africa and the Middle East, as social media spread the word. I had not even heard that Tom Ball had done the same thing in New Hampshire for an eerily similar reason: rage against a broken, corrupt system. The former got the attention of MSM, i.e. 60 Minutes, while the latter got missed somehow. Makes you wonder how long we have before TLE really hits us. Unlike the American Empire, at least those two 21st century martyrs chose for themselves when to light the match.

  20. Gryphon June 20, 2011 at 10:27 am #

    JHK, I am surprised to hear that you are against gay marriage. I was always under that impression that you yourself are gay.
    What the hell do you have against freedom and equal rights under the law? You’re more whack than I thought. Get a clue, you troll.

  21. pedal pusher June 20, 2011 at 10:29 am #

    “Some things are on the margins because they are marginal.”
    How true; we’ve become a people afraid of making qualitative judgments. The fact is, some things are simply better than others; some places more livable, some experiences more gratifying, and some people more noble, caring, productive and creative.
    In our culture, mediocrity is treated as a virtue and weakness as an illness. I can’t tell you how often I’ve been chastised – sometimes publicly – for making qualitative appraisals that seem self-evident.
    Excellent post, Mr. Kunstler.
    Greg Knepp

  22. Moondog June 20, 2011 at 10:30 am #

    There is also a stark, warped contrast in the particular uses of social media in the Arab revolutions versus our weird, idiotic and hypocritical weiner-world culture, however both resulted in the downfall of politicians.

  23. Runk June 20, 2011 at 10:31 am #

    Not finding Tom Balls suicide note online, seems to have been blacked out, anyone have a link? Thanks,
    Runk

  24. Demetirus June 20, 2011 at 10:33 am #

    Jim,
    I’m long-time fan who greatly enjoys your books (fiction and non-fiction), and who finds your weekly blog-posts a Monday-morning highlight — and a breath of fresh air amid the stink of corporate-media spin and pop-culture nonsense.
    That said, I’m sad and disappointed to learn that you oppose gay marriage merely because you “suspect that unsettling such an age-old and fundamental social arrangement will produce strange unanticipated consequences that we are not prepared for …”
    Like what? For whom?
    I could argue that what we today consider “marriage” is neither age-old, nor a fundamental social arrangement, since marriage has meant many different things, at many different times, throughout history.
    Nonetheless, I am a responsible, law-abiding, tax-paying citizen who’s very active in my local community. I am also a non-Nascar-watching, non-tatoo-wearing, “masculine” gay man who’s been happily partnered for over 21 years.
    To me, the whole “gay marriage” issue isn’t about special rights or altering the social fabric. It’s about protection under the law. If I uphold my end of the bargain by living up to my responsibilities — work, pay taxes, obey the law, look after my family, etc. — why am I not entitled to the same rights as anyone else?

  25. bubbleheadMarc June 20, 2011 at 10:34 am #

    Sounds interesting. Keep the nonfiction books coming.

  26. matthewstruth June 20, 2011 at 10:37 am #

    Jim,
    Like others here I am dissapointed in your reasons for not supporting gay marriage. Very sad.
    Regarding the state of the US male—yesterday just concluded a ten day summit put on by The Shift Network entitled The Ultimate Mens Summit, 90 speakers presenting an array of views on what a healthy 21st century masculinity would look like. Even though it’s over, anyone can still register and have access to the recordings. Highly recommended from this man.
    And Jim, thank you for years worth of wit and laughs.

  27. tstreet June 20, 2011 at 10:38 am #

    Marriage is a religious artifact that is sanctioned and legalized by the state. The religious side of this equation is free, of course, to sanction or not sanction whatever it wants. The state side of this equation should butt out except to the extent that it sanctions certain rights of those who choose to couple, whether heterosexual or homosexual.
    We live in a technological society and, therefore, it is inevitable that gender roles would be different than in the pre or post oil world. The roles will change in the future based upon the need for mutual survival. In the mean time, we will just have to live with the current reality.
    As far as Weiner goes, he is just a pathetic “man” who never grew up and was probably extremely unsuccessful with women in high school. Boo hoo.

  28. lsjogren June 20, 2011 at 10:38 am #

    I look forward to the book on techno-narcissism.
    I guess I should suck it up and read Kurtzweil’s book one of these days.
    I don’t want to be one of the 98% or so who only want to read, watch, or listen to points of view they agree with.

  29. montysano June 20, 2011 at 10:39 am #

    So now we’ve added “being naughty on the internet” to the already long list of minor flaws that preclude a person from public service. As Rachel Maddow pointed out, the Democrats will come to regret this, the latest in their many cave-ins. They’ve basically told the GOP, whose primary interest is not governing but winning elections, that any public servant can be hounded out of office.
    What if… and this is a big “if”…. Weiner’s wife doesn’t give a shit what he does on the internet? Then this whole nontroversy is about precisely nothing.

  30. lbendet June 20, 2011 at 10:41 am #

    More about QE2:
    [Bernanke’s $600 billion stealth bailout revealed. US QE2 money wired offshore at the expense of the US economy.–There will be no money for us!!
    Ben Bernanke’s helicopter flew to Europe to discharge much of America’s second round of quantitative easing (QE2) funds. The idea seems to have been to protect the EuroZone from financial collapse by propping up its zombie banks with US funds. Unless the fiat money casino in Europe could be stabilized, the American casino would crash in sympathy.
    The biggest beneficiary the US Fed’s generosity during the peak of the credit crisis was Dexia (Belgium). Instead of doing everything in its power to stimulate cash accumulation at domestic US banks, which would in turn encourage lending to US borrowers, in the last seven months the and privately owned/motivated US Federal Reserve Board has been quietly rerouting $600 billion in newly created US capital from potential US borrowers to insolvent foreign financial institutions. QE2 was nothing more than a European bank rescue operation.
    Against this background, and with the EuroZone once again staring down the vortex as European banks massively reduce their exposure to Greek, Irish, Portuguese and Spanish debt in expectation of a chaotic tumble of sovereign defaults, the case for QE3 in the US appears to be a done deal.]
    PS Hillary’s next post will be the World Bank after she leaves the state dept.

  31. Phutatorius June 20, 2011 at 10:43 am #

    Good post today JHK. Regarding your fictional “Made By Hand” world, I found myself wondering, even before Fukushima went down, who would be found to clean up the messes at our nuke plants once the “Made by Hand” scenario unfolded. Old people? Conscripts? And on the same subject, do you know which former American president did do clean up work following a nuclear plant accident up at Chalk River in Canada? The one who is most often derided as a mere “peanut farmer,” but who served in our nuclear navy under the formidable Hyman Rickover.
    -Phut

  32. jerry June 20, 2011 at 10:43 am #

    The messages both men and women receive from our social and political culture can be confusing, and even, upsetting. Often, intelligence, common sense, understanding are no longer thought to be virtues, or worth developing. When we have political figures, and fake political figures speaking nonsense, or misspeaking, or speaking total fabrications and believing they are correct in doing so, with little criticism, our society takes another step backwards.
    Average men today have been demoralized by an overall society that supports the belief that it is every man for themselves.
    Many fortunate men and women are given a great deal of financial and emotional support to be successful, while others have been dealt a bad hand with nowhere to go but down.
    Life can be very cruel when one is raised in a family with very little, and an inability to be nurtured or give nurturing, or offer psychological support during early developing years.
    The “messages” our culture gives both men and women continue to confuse. With fewer jobs for a society, emotional insecurities are revealed in over-compensating ways, such as, piercings, dress, tattoos, swaggers, styles, etc.
    The United States, with its one dimensional political figures, and greedy representatives, will only continue to slip further and further backwards in the name of progress.
    http://eye-on-washington.blogspot.com
    http://moontownshippa.blogspot.com

  33. Belisarius June 20, 2011 at 10:46 am #

    Let me point out that Tom Ball immolated himself in Keene not Nashua. Different county. It would have been better for him to find a more usefull way to express his obvious insight. His diagnosis of the system has substantial merit. His response and call for revolt does not. Keene Sentinel may still have his letter up for those so inclined.
    As for marriage, and personal sexual behaviour, I think it is high time that we kicked the state out of our marriage contracts and wrote them ourselves. The parties (however many and of whatever sex) to a marriage should be able to set the rules for their own contract and it should be no one elses business unless they want it to be. Disputes should be settled by mediation and/or arbitration, and the state’s role should be limited to enforcing defaulted arbitration settlements. Men are not monogamous by nature and they should hesitate to enter a contract that does not acknowledge that.

  34. gay 40-ish guy June 20, 2011 at 10:48 am #

    First and last comment ever on this site. Been following your site for about a year or so, but have in 2011 started to grow weary of your condescending, moralistic observances that often come from the windshield of a pick-up truck.
    It has finally occurred to me that you’re simply an entertainer, just like some talk radio shock jock.
    And now the anti gay marriage rant, nonsense, titillating garbage.
    You just lost a reader, man. If I want helpful social commentary, I’ll stick with the Archdruid, Nicole Foss, and Dmitry Orlov. You’ve got that white yankee with a pickup privilege thing going on.
    Some things are on the margin for a reason, indeed. I’m outta here. Peace.

  35. trippticket June 20, 2011 at 10:50 am #

    There’s a new summer pictorial at Small Batch Garden if you’re interested! The piece is called “The Delicate Sound of Wonder” and has some photos and discussion of climate, and plant health, resilience measures. I’ve made some good moves here, both with physical design and biological systems support, and want to share them with you in an effort to speed your progress toward a functional organic food system.
    http://smallbatchgarden.blogspot.com/
    Enjoy!

  36. philm June 20, 2011 at 10:51 am #

    If you call yourself a “liberal” is there a pledge you must make or a platform you have to support to wear the label? Leaving the immigration issue alone, one could support civil unions as opposed to gay marriage and one could support a sound currency,a currency that retains value and somehow be off the reservation?
    It’s another example of how these labels put us at odds with each other instead of trying to accomplis workable solutions.

  37. PRD June 20, 2011 at 10:52 am #

    I remember reading something that the late Edward Abbey (who also could cause some consternation among his liberal readers, what with his advocating throwing empty beer cans along the side of federal highways):
    He said that when he met a man, his first thought was, “Does this guy pose an immediate physical threat to me?
    When he met a woman, his initial thought was, “Would I want to have sex with her?”
    As I sometimes try to explain to my wife (as in the Weiner escapade), “it’s a guy thing.” Sometimes it’s not even a guy thing,it’s a human thing; some earlier cultures had festivals that celebrated the phallus.
    We all carry around big portions of our former (so-called “primitive”) incarnations within us. Most of us try to keep a lid on the more destructive & hurtful tendencies.

  38. Belisarius June 20, 2011 at 10:53 am #

    For those looking. This link to Tom Ball’s letter was working this morning:
    http://www.sentinelsource.com/news/local/last-statement-sent-to-sentinel-from-self-immolation-victim/article_cd181c8e-983b-11e0-a559-001cc4c03286.html

  39. Smokyjoe June 20, 2011 at 10:58 am #

    “On the whole, American men present themselves as savages. I think they do it because they feel very insecure about themselves”
    Spot on, that, as always. As the US declines, the US male, heir to the Apollo program and Cold-War dominance, finds himself just another pudgy guy in flip flops in the Wal-Mart parking lot. Getting in shape is hard work, but attitude is just a tat and a “rhino bar” in the Chevy Avalanche away. Both can be had pretty cheaply.
    As for gay marriage, I would say “why have the State involved in ANY marriage?” Other than certifying contracts between adults, so they could be hashed out in court later, the government has no business in marriage.
    Let civil unions become the norm, and then Churches will be free to have ceremonies called “weddings” for whomever they chose, but without any legal standing.

  40. Consultant June 20, 2011 at 10:59 am #

    Who are these people who rush to type “first” on a blog?
    How old are you? Eight? Ten?
    And the people who comment just so they can plug their own blog. Often repeatedly.
    I have less of bone to pick with the latter than the former. But say what you have to say and let it stand at that. If you’re comments have worth, people will find you. If not, who cares.

  41. soak June 20, 2011 at 11:02 am #

    NPR Interview on Self-Immolation (excerpt)

    SIEGEL: From your research into people who have turned to self-immolation, do you find that they suffer from depression like people who try kill themselves for other reasons, or that they’re typically mentally healthy? What,s most typical?
    Prof. BIGGS: No, they tend to be quite different. They’re mentally healthy just like perhaps suicide terrorists. I mean, they’re people who believe absolutely in this cause. And they’re not – there’s quite a sharp distinction between people who commit a so ordinary suicide for depression or psychiatric problems, and people who sacrifice themselves for a greater cause.
    SIEGEL: I was looking at the dates of some of the famous self-immolations in the United States during the Vietnam War era, and they run through the mid to late 1960s. The Vietnam War went on for several more years. It wasn,t a successful form of protest, if the measure of success is ending the policy that you’re trying to end.
    Prof. BIGGS: No, but that,s a very high bar to set any kind of protest action, to say that it has to have complete success. In the sense that Norman Morrison, the Quaker who’d set himself on fire outside the Pentagon…
    SIEGEL: This was in November 1965.
    Prof. BIGGS: Yes. I mean, he didn,t – lots of Americans even in the anti-war movement distanced themselves from the cause. But his action did have a big impact on people all over the world. And his widow received many letters from people all over the world, touched by his action. And in fact, some people in Vietnam even killed themselves and cited him as an exemplar for them. So it had an international resonance even if it didn,t work in the American domestic political system.
    SIEGEL: Michael Biggs, thank you very much for talking with us today.
    Prof. BIGGS: Thanks very much.
    SIEGEL: Mr. Biggs is a sociologist at Oxford University. He has studied self- immolation as a form of political protest.

    SOURCE:
    “Self-Immolation: A Singular Form Of Protest Grabs Attention Again.” All Things Considered 18 Jan. 2011.

  42. ChicagoRob June 20, 2011 at 11:04 am #

    Jim, you’d feel different about full marriage rights for consenting gay adults if you were, yourself, gay. But you’re not. You’re straight. Good for you, hurrah that Jim Kunstlers is straight. But the world’s not made up of people just like you.
    On this issue, you’re out of touch and it comes across as cranky-old-manism. “You gay people get off my lawn!”
    Y’know what? Gay people aren’t ON your lawn. Gay people don’t WANT to be on your lawn. Get it through your head.

  43. newworld June 20, 2011 at 11:05 am #

    Gay marriage is but the latest political stunt the left is foisting upon us so as to keep their political ponzi scheme afloat.
    Back to the Jim Jones cult thing if I may. I can understand why you harp on the white underclass Jim. If America’s elite loses the grip they have on whites with their scare words of “racist”, “anti-semite” and “homophobe” all that rural property that the self selected elite has taken to for their retreats will either have to be guarded by Blackwater types or abandoned because the New Morlock class will be pitiless in their rampage.
    Yes by all means you nice, sophisticated gay people move out to the country and insult the low lifes using the rhetoric you get from Daily Kos, that is a damn fine idea.

  44. ian807 June 20, 2011 at 11:05 am #

    Idealistically driven feminists seem to forget that equal rights and privileges for women were more or less non-existent prior to the occurrence of advanced technology. The few exceptions were in cultures where the standard of living for a few was high, due to the enthusiastic adoption of slavery.
    As wealth decreases and technology deteriorates, it’s likely that feminism and equality will decline as the need for a division of labor increases. It’s the easy answer and the one both genders are programmed for. If that wasn’t the case, the preponderance of male-dominated cultures wouldn’t exist.

  45. Norman Conquest June 20, 2011 at 11:07 am #

    Thanks James for bringing this tragedy to our attention. I found the story and Tom Ball’s writings at:
    http://freekeene.com/2011/06/16/thomas-james-ball-self-immolated-in-protest-of-the-justice-system/
    There is much more to be learned from all this.

  46. green_achers June 20, 2011 at 11:10 am #

    The reason gay marriage is so prominent in our media culture is the same reason Jewish culture is out of proportion in the entertainment industry, so many novels have protagonists that are writers, and JHK novels take place in the Northeast. I’ll let better minds than mine ponder why the number of gays in the media are out of proportion to their numbers in general, but it is undeniable, and God (or whoever) bless them all. I have nothing against gays, and wish them nothing but fulfillment, but how this particular issue turns out really has very little to do with the big issues of our day… how we deal with energy shortages, financial collapse, cultural disorder, and the geo-political ramifications of those things.

  47. ront June 20, 2011 at 11:19 am #

    This notion of being a loser or a failure can be considered in different ways. It is good for me to remind myself that life is happening in me not to me. I found this poem in my archives this morning. See if it might. -Ron
    I’m not very good
    At this Game called Life
    For I’ve not learned to see children crying
    Without feeling pain
    For I’ve not learned to watch animals destroyed
    Without wondering why
    For I’ve not yet met a king or a celebrity
    That I would bow down to
    Or a man so insignificant
    That I would use for a stepping-stone
    For I’ve not learned to be a ‘yes man’
    To narrow minded bosses
    Who quote rules without reason
    And I’ve not learned to manipulate
    The feelings of others
    To be used for my own advantages
    Then cast aside as I see fit
    No, I’m not very good
    At this Game called Life
    And if everything goes well
    Maybe I never will be
    Javan

  48. Mr. Sunshine June 20, 2011 at 11:19 am #

    I agree with you completely on the gay marriage thing and on American manliness in general. The problem is that when you offer this opinion friends drop you–you have become a homophobe (what nonsense!). Since marriage ultimately has been heterosexual for 10,000 years because it had to do with the social legitimation of children, it stands to reason that changing that will lead to unintended and malign consequences.

  49. teddyboy46 June 20, 2011 at 11:22 am #

    JHK hits another home run. Gay marrige it is not a social justice issue. It is in the same league as marijuna users fighting for legalization. These are inexpensive social issues.
    Both issues distract from the real social justice issues. Our illegal wars in the MENA or National health.
    Dick Cheany and his boys do not like going home with empty pockets, and National Health would surely divirt our funny money from orwellian type wars. To health care for the little people.

  50. Al Klein June 20, 2011 at 11:23 am #

    JHK laments the current state of the masculine gender in the US. Well, one should ask: who are our heros? What are our societal myths (since we know that life imitates art)? For those of us who are cerebral, the answer to both of those questions is “the void.” For the rest of us, there are the sports figures, movie stars and financial wizards (translation: wall street con artists). Pitiful landscape,eh? Should there be any question why our future seems so devoid of hope?
    JHK posits the rhetorical question “Is your job and social position or maybe even sense of yourself at stake if you have a differing view?” Back in the mid-1960s I visited the Soviet Union. This was during the height of the Cold War. While there I asked a friendly Russian about what might happen if he voiced a view different from the State’s. I asked, would he be jailed? He responded, possibly, but more likely he would not be allocated a nice apartment by the State, or he would not get a promotion, or maybe even be demoted. Or, his children would not get accepted into university. In other words, he would be under an insidious form of State sanction. I understood what this Russina gent meant, of course. Just we didn’t yet have a name for this sort of population control. We do now. It’s called Political Correctness.
    To answer JHK’s question: Yes, the average American is a feckless creature. He is utterly under bond in ways more insidious and ineluctable than a peasant in a medieval feudalism. He is reminded of it regularly. Want to get a job in corporate America, even at an entry level? Better not have even the most minor felony offense on your record (such as possession of marijuana, a Class I narcotic). Better have a good credit score. Do you know your credit score?
    Over the course of the last 50 years, give or take, we have allowed our leadership to create a “system” that will eventually be widely recognized as toxic to the human spirit and incompatible with life. That’s the message Tom Ball sends to us. He’s the canary in the mine. May he rest in peace.

  51. Ad_Astra June 20, 2011 at 11:25 am #

    Looking forward, with my Kuntsler-goggles on, I imagine the up-and-comers of woman-kind getting a strong dose of reality. Perhaps we will no longer have the time or resources to pursue lawsuits of the trip and fall nature, the coffee-scalded tongues lawsuits, and other insane accoutrements of today’s legal universe.
    Not that women are soley responsible for this bullshit, but the wussies who introduced it all probably had mother’s who told them it was ok to kick and scream and behave like children long past the age of 11.
    I see how American males portrayal of themselves as savages is a weak attempt to broadcast defiance of a culture that seeks to make wussies of all of us.

  52. trippticket June 20, 2011 at 11:25 am #

    “To me, the whole “gay marriage” issue isn’t about special rights or altering the social fabric. It’s about protection under the law. If I uphold my end of the bargain by living up to my responsibilities — work, pay taxes, obey the law, look after my family, etc. — why am I not entitled to the same rights as anyone else?”
    Amen. And I just want to add to the gay-bashing discussion the fact that all biological populations engage subconsciously in population control mechanisms when their ecosystem and resource base are threatened. Homosexuality seems to me a very natural response to an overfilled human construct. I’m not gay, but I appreciate the fact that so many are, because the last thing we need right now is everyone out there making more humans, as our resource base becomes more and more seriously compromised. As a biologist I can only imagine that things like sterility and asexuality – natural or socially forced – are on the rise as well.
    I didn’t choose to live a life so counter to the establishment, it seems to have chosen me, and it’s hard to be different. I can’t imagine that anyone would actually choose to be gay in a culture that so openly and narrow-mindedly despises homosexuality. Instead I think it’s safe to assume that that life chose them. Surely if we understand the dire straits the industrial world finds itself in we would appreciate anyone who isn’t having children, for whatever reason.

  53. PRD June 20, 2011 at 11:26 am #

    Chicago Rob assumes Kunstler is not gay. How do you know? Cannot gays have a range of thinking and opinions on complex social matters?
    My town had an openly gay man for mayor for 8 years, and he was opposed to gay marriage.

  54. RickyandJulian June 20, 2011 at 11:29 am #

    The problem with World Made by Hand (which is the only JHK novel I’ve bothered with, because I got about 40 pages in and couldn’t muck through the rest) is it exhibits a completely wooden ear for dialogue, pacing, and characterization. I just don’t believe the characters, women or men or animals. Whether JHK has an unenlightened perspective on women is another question entirely.
    A gifted essayist? No question. One of the best today, a man whose essay writing represents a complex voice, a whole person. More like Edward Abbey than any other contemporary author I can think of.
    Read Wendell Berry’s novels, and then try a JHK novel. Like chasing whiskey with a shot of Capri Sun.

  55. asia June 20, 2011 at 11:33 am #

    Yes, someone here [they live in conn.?] has posted about the over representation of gays/jews in the media..
    Look at KCRW [College Radio Workshop]
    Ruth Seymore took it over, banned the college students and turned it into ‘lil israel’.
    Thats one of countless examples.

  56. soak June 20, 2011 at 11:35 am #

    “The police have a zero tolerance towards any physical contact. Things might get worse in the future is the feminist logical for this present iron fist approach to domestic relations.”
    –Tom Ball’s suicide letter
    Tom Ball slapped his daughter so hard he busted her lip and drew blood. Her offense: licking his hand and refusing to stop after “three verbal warnings”
    If Tom Ball had not used corporal punishment, he would not have had police troubles. Tom Ball sounds like a brute (21 years in the military) who regularly used violence against his own children.
    Tom Ball is not a victim of the Long Emergency, nor a bellwether for a coming revolt. He brought his troubles on himself.
    We are in a long process of changing from a patriarchy to a matriarchy. All it requires is that men love and respect their wives and children. But I guess that is too much to ask for some macho “men.”

  57. asia June 20, 2011 at 11:37 am #

    ‘ Cannot gays have a range of thinking and opinions on complex social matters’
    Sure, but will the media do a fair /good job?
    Have you read Pat Buchanan? case in point…
    The killing of Matt Shepard in Casper, Wyoming,
    and the huge media feast on that vs. the killings BY gays?

  58. Dopamine June 20, 2011 at 11:41 am #

    Welcome to the machine, you’re no longer a free living system, you’re a human resource for the state, living beneath a canopy of morality that fosters that maximum flow of energy for the good of society. Don’t let your sex or anger show, and certainly don’t harm one of the supra-human child angels or the machinery of courts and law enforcement will eat you. Of course the Id has its own underworld and is working and seeking advantage all the time. Why was Weiner crucified? Because he no longer operated beneath society’s moralistic searchlight. The Id is always there, it just happens to get nailed whenever it shows itself to the crusading superegos. They have repressed their own desires and do not participate in the same activity and simply cannot tolerate a cheater or someone who so blatantly engages in delicious but “forbidden” activity. Their repression is often associated with transcendental reward.
    There are just a few areas that you must study to understand your reality.
    1). Freud’s theory of the mind.
    2). Cellular evolution/RNA.
    3). Thermodynamics, systems, energy flow, dissipative structures.
    A complex adaptive system should do anything to survive, and often that means cooperating and behaving morally within a society. But, what if that simple minded system is hell bent on going over a cliff? Just excuse yourself politely, tell the others you hope they enjoy their journey, smile and wave goodbye.

  59. asia June 20, 2011 at 11:42 am #

    ‘Their opinion will win out over ours (I am also a Boomer) just by outliving us’
    Nothing is guaranteed, not even tomorrow.
    [the libs here are having a field morning over jimmys politically incorrect stance, even wondering if jimmy is ..is he or isnt he ‘that way’?]
    Jimmy for the record, are you or arent you
    ‘that way’?

  60. asia June 20, 2011 at 11:44 am #

    ‘I appreciate the fact that so many are, because the last thing we need right now is everyone out there making more humans’
    SHEESH BREEDER, KETTLE CALLS THE POT BLACK!!!!

  61. Jay Schiavone June 20, 2011 at 11:45 am #

    “I think it is a bid for a kind of broad social approbation which does not require ritual enactment in law, and would be socially mischievous to pursue.” Sort of like when the nigras wanted the legal right to miscegenate with normal folk. Our wacky old US Constitution keeps foisting all this bizarre social experimentation on us because certain small groups can’t be happy in their place. I read on to see if you could top yourself. You didn’t disappoint. “They could not conceive of male / female relations that were different than today’s.” Who has a failure of imagination? You dwell on a resource deprived future in which women (and, by extension, minorities) are obliged to submit to antiquated roles. If I were as prone to stereotyping as you, I would dismiss your rant as the bitter musings of a thrice-divorced bald guy. Who knows? As a bald guy who has only been divorced once, I may yet come around.

  62. asia June 20, 2011 at 11:46 am #

    “world made by hand,”
    ‘The roving gangs, which will be ubiquitous’
    YES IT WILL BE A WORLD UNMADE BY HAND!

  63. asia June 20, 2011 at 11:48 am #

    THANKS!

  64. david in SF June 20, 2011 at 11:49 am #

    Speaking as a partnered gay man in San Francisco, I agree with Jim about marriage. I think civil unions take care of the legal issues, and pursuing marriage is a wasteful distraction.
    Imagine if all that energy had been spent on something else, anything else.
    And thank you, Jim, for abandoning the language you once used to describe gays, “gender confusion.”
    I’m not confused about anything. I know what I am, and what I want.

  65. watcher June 20, 2011 at 11:52 am #

    Your experiences as a gay man brought to mind a recent one of my own. I recently ordered a gay erotic novel on Amazon.com, and the bookstore, located in South Bend, Ind. substituted a book on the Christian Rapture by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins for my order. I have yet to receive my book or a refund.
    I consider this almost an infringement on my civil rights and at the very least poor business judgement. To make matters worse, I’m a Jew and not the least interested in their Rapture. I should be able to order and read what I wish without censure.

  66. Joshua June 20, 2011 at 11:52 am #

    Jim, you have presented a lot of data without drawing some, to me, obvious conclusions. Many women today expect to be acknowledged by men as dominant, and expect men to be subservient and infantilized. The exceptions are the men with enough money and power to have become accustomed to young women still operating off of the evolutionary program to offer up sex; actually, the men are no longer secure even in this role, so they indulge in ever riskier behavior to master their anxiety.
    The real establishment has used the feminist movement to unman the men. Another sort of culmination occurred this past week, with women all over Europe and some American cities celebrating their sluthood, dresswise. That women have a perfect right to keep young men sexually aroused by visual partial display of their erotic regions, while maintaining the right to be wildly indignant at unwanted male sexual attention, no longer strikes Western men as counter to millions of years of evolution, and as unlikely to lead to stable social structure. In short, as batshit crazy.
    What is unseemly, Jim, is not the marriage of gay men and women; if their sexual orientation is genetically determined, the empire will not fall if they get married. And seven percent of the population is not a “marginal” number. What is unseemly is the reversal and confusion of heterosexual gender roles. Male fantasy life is a result, not a cause, of our situation.

  67. steve June 20, 2011 at 11:53 am #

    To the reader who asked if Kuntsler’s ideas mean that women will have to go back to the kitchen with the kids, of course it does. Just like it means that men will have to go back to the fields and forests. That’s what this blog is all about, isn’t it – pointing out what is going to happen when we reach the end of American affluence. Nature will once again assert itself – hopefully, within reason – but now with the possibility of some violence and recrimination since we’ve pushed the envelope as far as “gay marriage”.
    As a sociologist, let me assure you that the arrangement of sex relations is at the very heart of social organization. Unless those relationships are rational and workable within the constraints of human nature, they will not persist. The breakdown of our order, full of distortions in human relationships which cannot be sustained, will probably not be very pretty. God help us – what have we done in the name of “tolerance” and “sensitivity”. I think those were some of the unintended consequences that Kuntsler is talking about.

  68. trippticket June 20, 2011 at 11:54 am #

    “I don’t have empirical proof, but I suspect that unsettling such an age-old and fundamental social arrangement will produce strange unanticipated consequences that we are not prepared for.”
    You mean like fidelity? That would be strange. What’s the hetero-marriage divorce rate now? 55, 60%? What is it exactly that we heteros are afraid of? That a bunch of moes will make us look bad?
    Jim, your views of male-female relationships are barbaric. And worse, they are all based on 10,000 years of male-dominated growth culture. I would think you of all people would understand that. Contraction isn’t going to be anything like growth, physically and biologically it doesn’t behave the same way at all, so I can almost assume women will be far more respected in a contractionary world than they are now.
    Stick to what you’re best at, scaring the shit out of people. That’s actually a service we need.

  69. Buck Stud June 20, 2011 at 11:57 am #

    Happy Birthday, Ibendet! I would have never taken you for a June 20th type. You seem far too measured. I sense no reflection of billowing morning clouds erupting into the tumultuous afternoon thunderstorm in your spirit. Only the sun shining while silvery water droplets tune the magic of a late June evening like an Aeolian harp. Our day is a stormy world and there is no pot-o-gold at the end of the rainbow. Just the occasional shaft of middle ground light sandwiched between the darkening fore and distant…impregnating hilly greens of grass into shimmering arrays of ochre courtesy of Father Color Wheel above.

  70. Cash June 20, 2011 at 11:58 am #

    That said, I’m sad and disappointed to learn that you oppose gay marriage merely because you “suspect that unsettling such an age-old and fundamental social arrangement will produce strange unanticipated consequences that we are not prepared for …”
    Like what? For whom? – D
    Never mind unanticipated consequences. There are some that you can anticipate. Like polygamy.
    If I was a hard line Muslim the first thing I would have done with the passage of laws guaranteeing gay marriage rights is to get up on a soapbox and say that if you can respect the rights of gays what about the rights of Muslims?
    Islam permits polygamy. Polygamy is an age old, time tested arrangement that pre-dates Islam, which Islam sought to limit and regulate for reasons of fairness and practicality. So why not polygamy among consenting adults? Why do gays get respect but not Muslims?
    Are we not multi-cultural? So why can’t we respect and give legal force to marital arrangements of various cultures?
    You say very few Muslims are involved in polygamous marriage so what is the urgency? So what, there aren’t that many gays either. This isn’t a question of numbers, relative or absolute, this is a question of rights. We live in a system where individual rights and freedoms are paramount. You don’t get to limit the rights of Black people because they’re only ten percent of the population.
    What about a Muslim man that immigrates that has more than one wife in the old country? Polygamous marriages are legal in dozens of countries. Is one or more of the wives barred from following her husband?
    Are Muslims not equal citizens here? Why is there an automatic assumption that recognizing polygamous marriages will harm the rights and interests of women? Is that not just rank bigotry?

  71. ChicagoRob June 20, 2011 at 11:59 am #

    In reply to my assertion that James Kunstler is straight, a commenter asked “How do you know James is not gay?”
    Okay, fair enough. I have assumed that James is against gay rights because he’s not gay. I may be wrong.
    So — James, are you gay or straight? It does seem relevant to your takedown of gay rights this morning. I would assume that somebody who was against gay rights couldn’t possibly be gay.
    But I may be wrong. Are you gay?

  72. helen highwater June 20, 2011 at 12:00 pm #

    And speaking of savages, has anybody seen the footage of the riot in Vancouver following the Stanley Cup hockey game that the Canucks lost? Big screen TVs had been set up in the downtown area for outdoor viewing of the game, and an estimated 100,000 people showed up. Golly, who could ever have anticipated that hundreds of young people, mostly males, pumped up on alcohol, testosterone, and adrenaline, would overturn and burn cars, loot stores, fight with each other, and generally act like complete idiots while a big crowd stood around taking picture with their cell phones? Most of the perps now have their reprehensible behaviour available for public viewing on Youtube. And now the mob mentality has moved from the streets to the social media sites where people angry with the rioters are using “vigilante retribution” to punish them. The hatred and vitriol, even death threats, being spewed out online against the rioters is almost worse than the riot was. I really don’t have much hope that people are going to behave like mature, responsible adults when the shit hits the fan.

  73. Jerry McManus June 20, 2011 at 12:08 pm #

    Corporate cubicle loser, and loving it! Sure beats broke and homeless…

  74. noel bodie June 20, 2011 at 12:08 pm #

    We Just got civil unions in Illinois and this summer my wife and I will be attending our first local “gay marriage”. That is what it is for all intents and purpose, but w/o the language baggage. it is really all about legal protections: contracts, pension, health insurance, right to visit hospital, poa, estate tax, etc. Whether marriage or union, just remember when you get into bed on that first night of bliss it is really a menage- a – trois as the state is now in bed with you.

  75. trippticket June 20, 2011 at 12:09 pm #

    “SHEESH BREEDER, KETTLE CALLS THE POT BLACK!!!!”
    Indeed, but when your life is dedicated to achieving a carbon negative end, and helping other people make their way toward that goal, a couple of youngsters who will grow up with that lifestyle as simply a normal part of their existence can go a long way toward helping reach that goal. I maintain that humans outside of the Cartesian dualistic system are just as normal and natural a part of nature as gray squirrels and oak trees. Animal consumers are just as natural a part of the cycle as plant producers and fungal recyclers. A robust ecology relies on the participation of all types.
    Fossil fuel is what makes us so damaging, not the mere fact that we’re human. Humans lived sustainably with their environment for the vast majority of their existence. If homosexuals are working toward carbon neutrality and a divergence from the dualistic system, then by all means adopt a child or two and teach them to live that way too.
    But your opinion is valid for the bulk of industrial humans, I agree. I did say we don’t need everyone out there making more humans. I didn’t say we don’t need any more humans. None of this matters one iota if there aren’t any humans around to help lead the world in a different direction or enjoy the place we find in the valley below.

  76. lpat June 20, 2011 at 12:12 pm #

    The (African-American) Civil Rights Movement began largely as an attempt to gain the same legal standing, power, wealth and recognition accorded to the middle class members of other ethnic groups in America. The Womens Rights and Gay Rights movements are largely also efforts by middle class folk to achieve the same rights and benefits as other middle class citizens.
    The left, folks like “us” (demo/boomers), however, have gotten all tangled up over the issues of minority rights.
    Demagogues thrive on hate and divisiveness. It’s their bread and butter, and they have really honed their skills over the last few decades, peeling genuinely socially conservative working and lower middle class folk away from “liberal” causes that have focused increasingly on identity politics and less on the general, across the board screwing of the American public.
    It is awful that you have to go to Canada to get respect from a civil servant as a gay person. Marriage generally, however, is really a middle class issue. Not many of us have property to dispose of properly on our demise.
    It’s awful that there’s a glass ceiling in corporate America for women. But women and kids get beat all to shit every day on the street. Women regularly get disappeared in the most “advanced” of countries, regardless of the political climate, right or left.
    The drug laws in this country–and, therefore, the rest of the world–are completely insane. A self-financing disaster of corruption that’s been a wonderful excuse to bury thousands upon thousands of people of color into prison.
    If Mr. K. is at all correct about what’s coming, we’re going to be at one anothers’ throats. Chances are the bosses are going to be howling with laughter.

  77. lbendet June 20, 2011 at 12:13 pm #

    Oh, Buck
    A truly beautiful post, which I have copied–a very nice birthday surprise, indeed.
    Now I have to get my swim in!!

  78. trippticket June 20, 2011 at 12:17 pm #

    I’m glad I don’t have such a negative view of myself in Nature. I feel for you, sir.

  79. Qshtik June 20, 2011 at 12:18 pm #

    and read it in one setting.
    ==============
    I know I’ve plowed this ground before but the word is sitting.
    Do you* ever read over what you’ve written, look at the actual words used and think about their meaning. It’s much like what I used to do as a financial analyst … namely, give a little thought to some set of numbers as a “sanity-check” before I publish them and possibly make an ass out of myself.
    *When I say “you,” Hill, my remark is not actually personal. I only mean “you” in the generic plural sense – the entirety of the CFN commentariate (sp?). You just happen to be the first guy out of the blocks today. Rest assured, there will be more.

  80. Malagodi June 20, 2011 at 12:21 pm #

    Here’s my take: We’ve evolved our cities from chimpanzees and our desires from bonobos. The result is civilization.
    Human men will fuck anything with a hole in it. So what?
    If gay men want to marry, so what? The ‘institution’ of marriage is a social construct enabling us to live together in large groups while affording some measure of stability and protection to children, which happen to have a really long developmental period. Given the fact that 75% of children in the U.S. grow up in single parent (read female) households, we can see that this structure doesn’t work very well any more. If gay men and women want to have the same imprint of social acceptability that is supposedly conferred with marriage, so what? It’s all illusion anyway.
    It is the illusion of identity. Just as basing one’s self-identity on nationality, religion, occupation, race or gender is illusory; it is a construct.
    So what? In the end, all illusions turn out to be just that, novels with an ending.

  81. Steve M. June 20, 2011 at 12:21 pm #

    A young man who did in Tunisia what Tom Ball did in New Hampshire staerted the pan-Arabic revolutions. “60 Minutes” just replayed that story last night. I’m surprised Ball didn’t set off a chain of events here. Far less extreme is what Bill Maher proposed. When Charlie Sheen got heckled in Detroit and responded by saying, “I’ve already got your money, dude,” an audience member yelled, “This is bull**** and I want my money back!” Maher has suggested that we demand our money and our country back from the Koch brothers and other Bush-tax-cut beneficiaries who already have our money, dudes. We will, once we man up!

  82. Qshtik June 20, 2011 at 12:24 pm #

    Repy to Hillwaker
    ===========
    See Hill, that didn’t take long did it? Jim has misspelled your name.
    Maybe I better keep my mouth shut.

  83. whitehunter June 20, 2011 at 12:26 pm #

    Initially I was surprised that JHK, who is a self defined progressive, would take such a conservative view of gay marriage. But then, upon reflection, it came to me that it is a typical progressive impulse to trump a civil liberty with concerns for a “social arrangement.” JHK is merely applying progressivism differently, with regard to this issue, than his peers. It is still about the decision being based on the social ramifications rather than allowing free people to determine their own destinies.
    Having stated that, I do look forward to JHK’s posts every Monday and find today’s post, along with the commentary (both pro and con), to be exceptional.

  84. Robin June 20, 2011 at 12:28 pm #

    There’s absolutely NO reason gays should be ALLOWED to ESCAPE the MISERY
    and MONOTONY of matrimony, and the TRAUMA of divorce and AGONY of alimony.
    Hook them all up.
    (The one that complains the most gets to be the wife.)
    And besides, gay marriage will save the economy.
    See short video proof:
    http://tinyurl.com/5qj7sz

  85. budizwiser June 20, 2011 at 12:30 pm #

    Most – of Jim writes about are the trappings of wealth and leisure.
    Everything about one’s existence in the US is to be displayed without measure as symbolic references to social standing.
    How different is the jack-ass with gold chains and tats from the dick-brain in a gold-orange tan and $500 “i’m a pimp” ties holding court on the House floor?
    It is these absolutely useless displays of leisure and waste which will need to be reconsidered with a future where more energy is being used for things we need instead of things we want.
    So far the rich and powerful are managing an end-game where the common people will receive little of either. But somehow few people have found a way to sound a warning.
    JK, time is running short – and you no longer have the time to engage in leisurely exposition.
    Get back to work and write something the world needs.

  86. metuselah June 20, 2011 at 12:31 pm #

    ..in a culture that so openly and narrow-mindedly despises homosexuality..
    ==
    You’re living in lala land. This culture openly promotes homosexuality in every possible way. This culture being a time delayed construct of Hollywood propaganda.
    Open homosexuality is a symptom of a society that knows no limits or restrain. Such a society is a society on the fast path to death.

  87. San Jose Mom 51 June 20, 2011 at 12:36 pm #

    I disagree with JHK’s views on marriage. Anything that supports fidelity is good in my book. I hope that the Supreme Court will resolve the issue once and for all and allow same-sex marriage.
    That being said, I must admit that my marriage (25-years this summer) has turned traditional.
    My husband comes home from work to a home-cooked, hot meal and isn’t expected to help with housework. Heck, I’m home all day, and he’s dealing with crazy workaholic bosses. When I worked, business travel made me extremely anxious. I hated leaving the kids, even knowing that they were being cared for by a wonderful, loving nanny.
    The nanny consumed a large chunk of my paycheck–she had vacation pay and everything–so when she was on vacation I payed double for child care.
    Some of my friends who stay home expect their husbands to come home and do dishes and stuff. Not fair, in my opinion.
    SJmom

  88. Eric Brasure June 20, 2011 at 12:36 pm #

    I find it deeply hilarious that it took an Archbishop Dolan-style rant on marriage equality to make some people realize that Kunstler has never been what we could call a deep thinker.

  89. Cash June 20, 2011 at 12:37 pm #

    Jim, your views of male-female relationships are barbaric. – Tripp
    You’re probably right Tripp. But on the other hand…
    I have a close female relative whose hubby cheated with a female co-worker. Believe me when the truth came out the shit hit the fan. The woman he cheated with was also married. And this woman’s husband hit the roof also.
    So as a result of this affair, there were two divorces. Four kids altogether involved in the debacle, two of which became extremely depressed as a result of the family breakups, one of which twice tried to commit suicide.
    What I’m saying is that there are volcanic emotional pressures underlying the humdrum of everyday home life. Rationality and clear thinking are thin veneers. When the basic assumption underpinning marriage – sexual and emotional faithfulness – are violated, hell breaks loose.
    Another thing, the family is the kid’s life support system. When the basic relationship that undergirds the life support system – the mom-dad relationship – cracks up, the kid gets extremely upset. Kids seem to be hard wired by evolution to go nuts when this happens. And with good reason. The kid’s life gets turned upside down, suddenly there’s a “stepmom” or a “stepdad” that often see the kid as an impediment to their own general happiness and sexual gratification.
    Male lions taking over a pride of female lions right away kill the existing cubs ie the offspring of vanquished male lions. Humans may be somewhat more restrained but the lives of ex-hubby’s kids often get shitty real fast when new hubby comes on the scene.
    Maybe women will be respected. But maybe not. In Fascist Italy, where there were multitudes of impoverished, uneducated peasants (like my parents) women were not respected. Far from it. Some of my older female relatives practically lived in purdah in this country when they immigrated with their parents.
    Will our post contractionary society resemble the peasant societies of the world? I don’t know. But from what I’ve heard there are wide swathes of the world that resemble that peasant world of my parents’ early life. It wasn’t an abberation.
    So maybe Jimmy’s view of make-female relations are barbaric but, from what I’ve seen…

  90. digbycookies June 20, 2011 at 12:38 pm #

    There is, of course, the highly possible and maybe even probable explanation that Jim is a closet case. Case closed. Personally I don’t give a fuck. Same with Muslims or Mormans. You want six, eight, twelve wives and can support ’em? Go for it, my man! Prefer Henry to Henrietta? He’s all yours! Heck, straight men should be able to see the logic in this. More gay men equals LESS competition for the babes! And how many of you “straight” guys out there don’t get your jollys watching two young, nubile, girls gone wild go at it. A bit of hypocracy (and the usual dose of stupidity – no?)
    As for gay marriage – if you can figure out a way to tax these fuckers – the same way you do “straights” – is that not a win-win? I would think lawyers would be drooling over a passage of Gay Marriage. I don’t even kid myself that their divorce rate wouldn’t be as high or higher than straights. A money maker all around!

  91. deni June 20, 2011 at 12:42 pm #

    Power to the Penis! Hard On!

  92. HankFox June 20, 2011 at 12:42 pm #

    James Howard Kunstler
    June 20, 2011
    First timer here.
    JHK, I liked reading this piece. It was thoughtful in a way you don’t often see these days. I too have noticed the unintended consequences of social movements, and I think often of how much of what goes on in society looks completely frivolous, even random. It’s like the whole world is run by children – not only are most people unable to grasp long-term consequences of broad social movements, they aren’t even interested in them. I keep waiting for the grownups to show up.
    Something funny I realized about human intelligence sometime back is that our view of it is based entirely on bias, and a comparison effect. We’re seeing our intelligence from the inside, so we have to assume we’re smart, but we’re also brighter than anything else around us, and so we MUST be the intelligent ones.
    But in my armchair estimation, humans are only about half as bright as they need to be to survive, and it might even be worse. None of the social trends I see look especially positive. Every human mistake was forgivable in the smaller world of thousands of years ago, possibly even that of a hundred or so years ago, but in the world of today, when there’s no more frontier, no more “slack” in world resources, possibly even limits to our own adaptability … well, it looks to me like we only have to drop one ball and the entire circus will come crashing down. Worse, that ball may have been dropped 50 years ago or more, and we’re living IN the ongoing crash. We’re not seeing it because 1) the speed of it is just slower than most of us are able to notice, and 2) we are adaptable as hell, and have managed so far simply to adjust to accept lowered standards.
    I do think I have to disagree with you, at least in part, on this issue. I definitely support the fairness/equality argument, but in addition to that, I think gay marriage is simply an idea worth trying.
    Looking at civil rights in the US, after so many years of anguish at race and ethnicity, I THINK I’m seeing hints of an approaching post-racial society, a period in which race finally becomes a non-issue. I see that period as one in which jobs and social limiters finally vanish, not so much because we beat the problems into submission, but because they slip out of the public consciousness. The silly focus on skin color – and all the spurious arguments that spin off from it – will give way to an understanding of shared humanness. We’ll still see the colors, but that’s all they’ll be.
    Oddly, I think the culturally-recent insistence on “black” and “white” identifiers stands in that way of that, and I hope someone will one day make the point that there aren’t any black people, or white people, and that everybody will go “Oh, hey, he’s right” and the meme will just die a quiet death and ebb from the public mind.
    But … there were things that had to happen to get to that post-racial society, and some of us calling ourselves “black” may have been one of those things.
    I feel something of the same sort of thing about the gay issue. If we survive long enough, I expect we’ll eventually reach a post-gay culture in which society itself won’t care about the distinction because individual sexuality is, in the end, a private matter. We’ve already passed many of the landmarks along the way to reaching that point, but there are still a number that have to be reached and crossed. “Gay marriage” definitely seems to be one of them.
    The problem is so easily defined and understood to be one of equality, and so difficult to argue against – notice that you haven’t actually argued against it here, other than vague warnings of unintended consequences – that it’s probably inevitable.
    Like racial equality, this looks to me like one of those battles which is already won in the cultural script. The only thing left is for the players to walk out on stage, one after the other, and deliver their lines – “Gay marriage will destroy us!!” and “We shall never falter from our desire for equal rights!!” – and for the thing to play out to its conclusion.
    It seems fairly harmless to me, and I sort of look forward to seeing where it goes.
    [ On a side note, I would very much like to meet you. I live in Glenville, just down the road from you, and I also write books. Give me a shout at hankfox1(at)gmail(dot)com or Hank Fox on Facebook. ]

  93. ian807 June 20, 2011 at 12:44 pm #

    metuselah,
    With all due respect, your comments on homosexuality are hogwash.
    Both the Greek and Roman civilizations had open homosexuality all the way through as did the Egyptians. The Romans didn’t even have a *word* for it. That’s how normal it was to them. All of the aforementioned civilizations lasted considerably longer than the USA.
    Homosexuality, FYI, is also common in animals, who presumably are not greatly concerned with culture. It’s just the way they’re wired, due to reproduction genetics (i.e. exaggerated secondary sexual behaviors and characteristics that are adaptive in one gender occasionally wind up in the other). It’s just random genetic mechanics. Nothing more.

  94. Qshtik June 20, 2011 at 12:44 pm #

    when socity breaks down generally jews and homosexuals get the brunt of the bloodlust that socity dishes out
    =============
    The first time it’s called a typo. The second time means you’re lazy and just don’t care.
    But anyway, on to the meat of your post. That civil servant who did not flinch in issuing you and your partner a license is like the morgue employee who does not flinch as he ties on yet another toe tag. Things can get routine rather quickly. I wouldn’t assume the clerk was giving a personal imprimatur.

  95. digbycookies June 20, 2011 at 12:45 pm #

    Add to the above rant an additional plus…Gays can’t reproduce! If they want kids they have to jump through a myriad of hoops (social worker visits, psychiatric evaluations – egads! More EMPLOYMENT!) Add to this a home with loving parents to a child rotting away in foster care or in an orphanage (forget about being adopted if you’re over 8, most straight couples want an infant – and especially if you’re not white – the odds just ain’t good. Unless, of course, you stumble upon Demi Moore or Madonna).

  96. Jim in DC June 20, 2011 at 12:46 pm #

    I am utterly speechless by today’s latest rant. I, too, have always assumed Kunstler was gay. When you look the pictures on his bio page of him in dandy hats and holding cocktails he looks no different from Quentin Crisp.
    Go back in the archive of Kunstler Casts and there is a video of him sitting outside on lawn chairs being interviewed by a young woman. In that interview he makes the most sexists overtures to her that one would be left with the distinct impression that he was a misogynists. In fact, after that interview the young woman wrote what a pig she found him to be.
    Do a search for the word sadomasochism in his blogs and you will find he works it in almost every entry.
    Kunstler is a bitter old queen obsessed with the sex he isn’t getting and pretending to be so indignant and self-righteous. It doesn’t matter a bit if he is sleeps with men or women. He is a dandy either way.

  97. SB in Virginia June 20, 2011 at 12:50 pm #

    I’m amused by the sequeway from Wienergate to gay marriage, only because Mr Wiener was, in my opinion, behaving like a gay man, and (being a gay man) I was not scandalized by his behavior — just amused by his lack of discretion.
    And I’m inclined to agree with Jim about gay marriage. In my case, it is not the institution that’s desired, but recognition of equality in other ways — like the tax code, testamentary laws, medical decisions, civil rights and the like. All can be repaired, in time, with well-written legislation.
    No thank you to the ceremony and the cake with two men on top — creeps me out — though my sisters took delight in the prospect, reinforcing my conviction that marriage is solely for the comfort of women. Isn’t marriage more about their security and confirming the legitimacy of their offspring, whether the husband is the father or not?

  98. bubbleheadMarc June 20, 2011 at 12:53 pm #

    Vis a vis the “formidable” Admiral Hyman Rickover, and I have a “Rickover Club” patch on my subvets vest: any officer who desired entry to the nuclear engineering program, essential for command at sea in submarines, since in a reversal of British navy tradition in which engineers had purple borders on their gilt stripes and couldn’t command vessels as mere staff officers, only engineer officers can command American submarines, one had to run the gauntlet of the notorious Rickover interview. Standing watch in the control room of an SSBN one day underway the officer of the deck and myself the QMOW were talking about the much vaunted Rickover interview and I asked this short timer lieutenant who was getting out what personal questions Rickover had posed to him and he replied: “the admiral wanted to know if I had ever had sexual relations with a goat.” Again, this is simply too absurd to make up. Rickover was also noted for his hatred of uniforms and his habit of inspecting submarines in a civilian suit, even when accompanied by president Carter.

  99. MarlinFive54 June 20, 2011 at 12:54 pm #

    Very apropo, Jim, when you consider the fact, here in CT, last year our Governor’s 1st four appointments to his staff were Gay Activists, men ‘married’ to other men. Now one of them is negotiating for the Governor with the states public sector unions for some cuts, whose leaders are also Gay.
    Its one big Circle Jerk, an inside joke!
    Happy Birthday, Ibendet. Very interesting post as usual.
    -Marlin

  100. digbycookies June 20, 2011 at 1:02 pm #

    You DO realize that in supporting civil unions over gay marriage, you are leaving out a lot of folks who could be EMPLOYED as caterers, dress makers (for the fem lesbians, of course! :)) Add to that djs, rehearsal dinners, dear god, the gravy train never ends! Why should we allow gays the ability to escape the $$$$ whole the rest of us have to sink into when we wed? Incidentally, the cake thing with two men/women kinda creeps me out – no sure why ;).

  101. metuselah June 20, 2011 at 1:02 pm #

    Both the Greek and Roman civilizations had open homosexuality all the way through as did the Egyptians.
    ==
    Thanks for making my point for me.

  102. PRD June 20, 2011 at 1:03 pm #

    Okay, I’ll post just ONE more. This is a record for me. But the mention of Bill Maher made me think of a joke he made.
    He said we already have same sex marriage… you get married, and then you have the SAME SEX, week after week, year after year!

  103. LiveDeadCat June 20, 2011 at 1:03 pm #

    It was brave of you, JHK, to stake out your position against gay marriage in such a forthright and unequivocal manner. It seems reasonable to expect that comments posted here range all over the landscape. I agree in part with several of them, and disagree with others.
    From my perspective, the root issue is arbitrary discrimination, as is also the case with racism, sexism, ageism… the panoply of –isms. As I would prefer not be discriminated against because I was born in California, I would expect everyone else also prefers not to experience discrimination for some other reason of classification (except for the wealthiest among us, who are clearly of a superior class).
    If we can agree that discrimination against gay persons has no rational basis, then we can move forward to discuss the notion of “marriage.” Unfortunately, two sanctified bodies claim ownership of this word. To the State, it is a legal contract, while to the Church, it is defined in religious terms. And there’s the rub.
    The State is pledged to equal protection under law, so the law may not discriminate in its definition of marriage. Given a reasonable Supreme Court, I am confident the law will eventually sort things out this way. The Church is not similarly bound, except that if all are “equal in the eyes of god,” religious prohibitions against certain types of unions may be perceived as hypocritical. And, by the way, who dares to speak for god?
    For myself, as a formerly married person I know that my marriage was not threatened by the sexual orientation of other married persons, but was brought down by profound misunderstandings arising out of culture and upbringing.
    So, should gay couples be allowed to marry? I can’t think of any good reason why not. Let them have a go at the real obstacles to marriage, like I and so many others have tried. Bon chance!

  104. wagelaborer June 20, 2011 at 1:03 pm #

    Maybe I missed some of the media circus (well, I wouldn’t say I missed it, Jim), but as I heard it, Anthony Weiner, a liberal congresman, sent pictures of his well-endowed, but covered, penis to women who apparently were not displeased about getting them, because it was a male who started the media circus. The circus continued until the liberal congressman was set upon by his own party, unlike Republicans, who are allowed to pontificate about the sanctity of marriage AND lick cocaine off the bellies of teen-aged boys, and still stay in office.
    And somehow most of the men here self-righteously attack WOMEN for being uptight and intolerant!
    Personally, I see nothing wrong with what he did, except for that he was married. Which is a problem for his wife. But at least he didn’t give her the clap.
    It is extremely weird to read all this gnashing of teeth about horrible American men the day after Father’s Day.
    Facebook was full of people giving tribute to their fathers.
    I called my Dad and had a nice conversation with one of the greatest men who has ever lived.
    Our kids all called their Dad, who is also a great father.
    I’m sorry that all you men and everyone you know sucks, but there are fantastic men out there.

  105. metuselah June 20, 2011 at 1:03 pm #

    Homosexuality, FYI, is also common in animals, who presumably are not greatly concerned with culture.
    ==
    Again, thanks for making my point for me.

  106. digbycookies June 20, 2011 at 1:08 pm #

    And as mentioned above, I shed no tears for a man who smacks his 4 year old daughter so hard she suffers a split lip for licking him. Wish I could have added some kersosene to that little fire.

  107. digbycookies June 20, 2011 at 1:10 pm #

    You might want to put your smugness on hold. The SECOND group the Nazis came for after the Jews were the homos.

  108. soak June 20, 2011 at 1:12 pm #

    Qshtik said: “I know I’ve plowed this ground before…”
    ————–
    Plough is the correct and preferred spelling. You are using the alternate, shortened American version, an offense to the English language.

  109. wagelaborer June 20, 2011 at 1:14 pm #

    As for gay marriage, it is two different things.
    To the state, it is a legal contract. There are rights and responsiblities and property involved. Maybe the state shouldn’t be involved in such things, but that is a different subject. The state is involved, so why should gays be discriminated against?
    My co-worker has been with his partner for 40 years. His partner doesn’t work. He stays home, like SF mom and cooks and cleans.
    When he became very ill (with a tick-borne disease, it turned out, Prog), he ran up a very big hospital bill, but, since he was not legally married to my co-worker, he was not covered by his insurance.
    My co-worker tried to take FMLA to take care of him, but since they aren’t married, the hospital refused him the leave.
    But guess what? The hospital sure as hell considers them a couple when it comes time to pay the bill!
    Religion, on the other hand, is a different story. Unitarians and United Church of Christ people can already get married in their churches.
    But it’s not a legal contract.
    It seems to me a no-brainer that the state should allow legal contracts between any two consenting adults, and churches can do whatever the hell they want to.
    But, seeing all these anti-gay marriage people here, I guess it’s not a no-brainer. Or is it?

  110. Julian_Apostate June 20, 2011 at 1:16 pm #

    Check out this post from Scott Adams.. “Pegs and Holes”
    http://dilbert.com/blog/entry/pegs_and_holes/
    “Long term, I think science will come up with a drug that keeps men chemically castrated for as long as they are on it. It sounds bad, but I suspect that if a man loses his urge for sex, he also doesn’t miss it. Men and women would also need a second drug that increases oxytocin levels in couples who want to bond. Copulation will become extinct. Men who want to reproduce will stop taking the castration drug for a week, fill a few jars with sperm for artificial insemination, and go back on the castration pill.”

  111. Bridget June 20, 2011 at 1:16 pm #

    Very disappointed you don’t favor gay marriage. Since you’re not gay, why do you care? It should have no impact on you whatsoever. It bothers me when people who are not impacted by something directly want to deny others a right. Another good example would be the abortion issue. How many men are made insane by abortion rights? They can’t get pregnant, so why the hell should they care about rights given to others that don’t deny them anything? As always, the deeper reasons are where we’ll find answers. People against gay rights, etc., do not want to see society change in ways that will make straight males less privileged and important. I can’t see any way around this glaring conclusion.
    I know you probably don’t watch the tv show Glee, but if you had, and you had seen the wedding scene, and the incredible joy it demonstrated, you would have gotten a nice lesson in Why People Like to Get Married. It’s a culmination of the romantic journey, the peak, and there’s no earthly reason why it should be denied to two gay people who are in love and want the ultimate in commitment ceremonies.
    Progressives shouldn’t be about denying rights (and joy) to other living human beings when they themselves have those rights. Ugh.

  112. Grouchy Old Girl June 20, 2011 at 1:18 pm #

    Quite the pot stirring this week. It’s not easy to piss off both gays and women in the same column, bu JHK has done it.
    I’m a straight female, and have never quite got the push by gays for legal marriage. I tried it once and that was enough for me. It’s just another aspect of forced conformity and the need for respectability from a group long treated with contempt. I understand why, but sadly, gay married folks will find out marriage doesn’t offer any guarantee of either respect or permanency. Just another empty ritual to soothe the spirit.
    Having real trouble with the idea of women being pushed back to the kitchen, but if we cook, does that mean we can’t think too? Are those functions mutually exclusive? I like to think I can do both, at the same time even! Guess that makes me one of those arrogant feminists some men hate so much, but too bad.
    I suppose it is biology after all, but it seems to me that the reason women have been held down by men for so long is simply because men are stronger and use violence to control us. That is at the root of it all, and the more insecure a man is, the more he uses the threat of violence to keep his woman in line.
    We are primitive animals no matter how technologically advanced we are at the moment. The hardest trick we will ever pull off will be overcoming those urges to dominate and learning to work together. Women have an important role to play in teaching men how to do this, since we are much more adept at co-operation and compromise. Certainly men will always be stronger physically and will always carry the burden of excess testosterone, but that doesn’t mean they can’t modify their behaviour. Women just need to recognise that our role as nurturers is vitally important and worthy of great respect; a characteristic we should nurture in ourselves and celebrate.
    Amen. Good work today, Jim.

  113. katnip kid June 20, 2011 at 1:18 pm #

    Folks, forget your stereotypes of Gays. You already know lots of us, and you always have known us. You just were not aware of this because we did not tell you that we are Gay. We come in all shapes and sizes, and puh-lenty of us are as macho as the day is long, even being married. You are not in our personal lives 24/7, so you didn’t know about our attraction to the same sex. So, forget this notion we are all latte-swilling yuppies with office jobs, who are not or cannot marry the opposite sex. As for wives knowing, sometimes they do, and sometimes they don’t. Personally, I would want my partner to be honest with me regarding that, as you surely do.
    As for Gay rights not being an important social issue, I suggest you find out just badly we were treated until only recently. Pals only just older than me remember when Gay bars were raided and the patrons arrested SIMPLY FOR BEING GAY AND ASSCOCIATING IN A BAR, not engaging in sex acts. What about this do you not understand? In one job interview I had some 20 years ago, I was told that it was perfectly legal for them to say they didn’t want to hire me based on my being Gay alone. For the record, you wouldn’t know I was Gay unless I told you so. Read our history about how we have been tortured and imprisoned for long periods of time simply for even casual homosexual contact, such as mutual masturbation. In some places in the world today Gay men can still be executed or imprisoned.
    I am surprised that JHK takes the stance he does on this issue. His choice, but still. As for the Boomer generation recognizing Gay rights, gosh, ya think maybe it is because they see the injustice we have been through, and want to see a better world for us as well, maybe allow us some bit of respect? Could that have something to do with it?
    To the Straight folks out there who are not homophobes, let me just give you a great big THANK YOU!!!!
    PS..Hey, JHK, there are even Gay Nascar fans and video game dudes…but you can sleep easier, because there are also Gay folk well aware of Peak Oil. I discussed PO in my presentation of new and alternative food sources for a changing world. That was done by a bonafide Gay guy, me.
    And a final word regarding the military. For Goddess sake, lots and lots and lots of Gays in every branch of the military. We always have been there.When I shared my fears and regret about not having joined the US Navy with pals who were in the Navy, they laughed and laughed, and told me how wrong I had been. My partner of 17 years was an officer in the US Army.

  114. MarlinFive54 June 20, 2011 at 1:20 pm #

    Hey, DigbyC, the Nazis themselves were Homos, the whole top leadership, including each member of the Liebstandarte SS, Hitlers first body guard. Heydrich, Rohm, Himmler … all homos. What the hell do you think those snappy black uniforms, with the tight fitting boots, were all about? Who the hell else would wear something like that?
    -Marlin

  115. metuselah June 20, 2011 at 1:22 pm #

    LOL! That would have meant going after the top nazi political hierarchy, ’cause they were all gay.

  116. third_martini_banter June 20, 2011 at 1:22 pm #

    Once again the most provocative & funny writing/ commentary I’ve run across — thanks again Herr Kunstler for knocking down my Monday-morning billables.
    As for the gay marriage issue, I have friends here in SF who would not speak to me if I expressed your position. On the one hand, I completely get the fact that gay people endure an unimaginable degree of ridicule, rejection, and outright violence in our culture. But for those who manage to transplant themselves to sanctuaries like NYC and SF, I’ve never been quite sure what the big deal is between civil unions vs. marriage. If it comes down to important practical issues like being able to visit sick friends/ lovers / companions in the hospital, or pay taxes jointly, or have community property, surely all those and more can be taken care of by legal changes that address those issues. So, whether you call it marriage or a civil union seems like a distinction without a difference as long as gay people enjoy the same rights as married people.
    Can you point me to a gay writer who argues this? Obviously such a person is far from the gay mainstream, and there are probably not many, if any.
    As for the hets, I nominate the following for the “sentence of the week award”: “This ceremonial posturing for moral brownie points in an extremely moralistic and puritanical culture does tend to obscure the reality that adult male humans are sexually alert in an inconvenient way that is not identical to the experience of females.”
    Again, can you Jim, or anyone here, point me to any good writers who expound in an entertaining & sensible way on this subject? Sure, there are apostate male feminists like Warren Farrell out there, but I’m thinking of something a little more acerbic, and less Esalen.

  117. digbycookies June 20, 2011 at 1:22 pm #

    On Weiner (sorry, couldn’t resist), I just have to say one thing. From the age of about 2 or 3, little boys become FASCINATED about this little thing dangling between their legs. It continues to amuse/mystify them for the rest of their natural lives. And as if that weren’t enough, they truly believe that EVERYBODY is just as interest in their weiners as they are (as in, my, look how it looks when I shift it this way in my tidy whities. Or, I wonder what my weiner’s thinking right now! Or, wow! There’s a pretty girl (boy as the case may be) better SALUTE! LOL! I wonder if it ever occurs to them that roughly HALF of the world’s population has the EXACT same thing between THEIR legs (more or less, of course ;D.

  118. trippticket June 20, 2011 at 1:23 pm #

    Guys, guys, regarding a woman’s place in contraction, I’m referring to an adaptive gender relationship for a contractionary future. You guys are throwing out all these examples of horrible societal reactions to collapse that have strong chances of not leading to success in the future. If that’s the model you wish to hold up before you, then have at it, but don’t expect a different result than you see in Haiti, or Somalia, or wherever. And don’t feel like you have to include me in it. I’m not all that interested in chaotic failure.

  119. digbycookies June 20, 2011 at 1:27 pm #

    Can’t argue with ya there, Met! I think it was a case of, do as I say, not as I do!

  120. Inquiring Mind June 20, 2011 at 1:27 pm #

    Homosexuality and lesbianism are perversions. Totally unnatural. A total human aberration. A penis goes into a vagina… for a reason. It doesn’t go into a man’s mouth or rectum. That is a perversion. The human animal is superior to all other animals on this planet because it has a developed brain/mind and is controlled (hopefully) by a spiritual being. That being can be a bit whacky and can start to disturb or pervert the natural order of life and organisms just for the sense of achieving sensation or for some other aberrative reason (homosexuality is one of those disturbances). Homosexuals can justify their behaviour forever with all sorts of history and reasons. It is still a justification. Note that in one of the posts above defending homosexuality the person referred to all the empires where it existed? Yeah, please note that all of those civilizations are now gone. Violence, low morality, sexual perversion, etc. are all indicators that a society is on its way out. That homosexuality as a perversion has to be explained to adult individuals is just further proof as to how out of whack the human mind can go. Each individual has their own personal past traumas, confusions, false data, etc. that then manifests in a perverted behaviour such as homosexuality.
    Kunstler may or may not be a queen. But he sure wallows in negativism, carping criticism, judgement, and the like. He hasn’t evolved to the point of realization that one gets more of what they think about and put their attention on. Ignoring the aberrations and concentrating on the positive and solutions would be a far better approach to life. But then he wouldn’t have as large a blog reading public as he does now. Stewing in the negative is not the answer folks.

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