The Uses of Canaries
(NOTE: Okay, this is sort of long, but if you are a gay person living in America at the beginning of the twenty-first century, please try to read your way all the way through it.)
From Boing Boing this week, for our wildlife in captivity file, we collect another image of our old friend, the canary in the mineshaft.
Note the party-of-the-second-part's erect penis. This is an example of what I call The Depravity Fillip -- just that extra graphical touch to make sure the target audience is sufficiently grossed out by the notion of homosexuality. In an earlier post, I linked to something from the Family Research Institute. The author of that piece takes pains to point out, at least three times, that gay men like to put their penises in other men's rectums, or have their rectums filled by the penises of other men. The author notes that "we" ignore this reality "at our intellectual peril" -- the peril being, I presume, that without the graphic anatomical references, the reader's intellect might actually be engaged. This sort of Depravity Fillip is also what Santorum is up to with his infamous "man-on-dog" shtick.
Just in case you didn't get it, the little boner in the picture above lets you know that, "Gaw, you know these homos actually like this stuff!" This is their reply to the increasing openness about -- and tolerance of -- homosexuality in the culture. The message is: "You want openness? You want out of the closet? Well, we'll give you some openness!" The justification, of course, is: "Hey, we're just telling the truth."
Yeah, okay, some homos like the act portrayed by the poster. As it happens, so do some straight people. So what?
In fact, I was going to take some text from the Family Research Institute's site regarding sex in a Christian Marriage and insert some hetero Depravity Fillips -- just to show that the Depravity Fillip works without reference to sexual orientation. Sadly, I couldn't find any text there on the subject of sex in a Christian Marriage. I hadn't noticed it before, but talk about obsessed... Almost every article on the site fearlessly confronts the dangers of homosexuality to society. Jeez. You'd think an outfit that calls itself the Family Research Institute would have some info on, you know, their notion of The Family. Something beyond "at least we're not homos", I mean. So then I was going to take some text from some other Christian Marriage site, but that didn't seem fair because they weren't engaging in the Depravity Fillip anywhere that I could see. So, I'll leave all of that as an exercise for the reader.
At first I thought Depravity Fillips were added just to make sure people remained grossed out by the notion of homosexuality, but I think now it's more than that. Note how the Depravity Fillip when used in text and pics regarding homosexuality draws the reader's/viewer's attention from what homos are (that would be: human beings) and directs it toward what they do (that would be: well, you know). Okay, good. That's us half-dehumanizing people. But why be satisfied with a job half-done?
See, I think the real intention of the Depravity Fillip is to reduce the hypothetical homo from a whole being down to the sexual acts he enjoys, down to the body parts employed in those sexual acts. Naturally, the body parts have to be the nastiest bits. The usefulness of this resides in the fact that body parts can be surgically removed.
I'm not talking about removing the nasty bits from homosexuals, of course, though I'm sure there are some who would be in favor of that. But that would be a waste of precious medical resources. Why go to all that trouble when we have reduced the homosexual, himself, to nothing more than a body part? Remove the homo -- he's just a diseased body part, after all -- and the problem is solved.
Of course there will always be those so pathologically sex-panicked that they have to rely on their Think Pieces to get their pornography fix. Not worth worrying about, generally. But when United States Senators start in with the Depravity Fillip, and the DF starts showing up in the campaign literature of various groups... well, you want to keep your eye on that sort of thing. You maybe want to start thinking about that famous canary in the mine-shaft.
"Huh. Huh. He said 'shaft'."
Weimar Germany's many moralists discerned a libertine miasma in the major cities, including visible homosexuality, prostitution and a libidinous 'new woman'. The latter meant clerks, sales assistants and typists who bobbed their hair and daydreamed about filmstars, but whose ambitions and desires were prosaic by the standards of the late twentieth century. Again, concern about 'her' was common to many European countries. Left and right may have differed in their analyses of alleged moral crises and how to solve them, but there was unanimity on the importance of the family. The Nazis latched on to the mood of panic among moralists. Typically, what may or may not have been grounds for legitimate concern, depending on one's point of view, was not seen as a temporary aberration generated by exceptionally disturbed circumstances, or as signs of greater tolerance. The alleged visibility of homosexuality and prostitution in Weimar cities was assimilated into a vision of imminent racial annihilation, or hopelessly dramatised as an 'historically unprecedented overturning of all values'. (From The Third Reich: A New History by Michael Burleigh.)
The way I see it, there are at least three target audiences for our little friend, the messenger canary.
Canary Audience #1: The Mine Owners.
You want some way to know when you are going too far in empowering yourself and your aristocratic friends. You want to know how much the American people will put up with. Answer: you use picking on the homos as your canary in the cage. You keep picking at them and picking at them and as long as the American people don't get fed up with it and tell you to cut it out, you know you've got their inattention. You can keep on with your Social Security "reform", and your getting rid of the Paris Hilton Inheritance Tax, and all the rest of it.
Canary Audience #2: The Drudges.
You've got your job to keep, your kids to put through college, your house and your car and your gas to pay for. You don't have time to pay any attention to living in a genuine democracy where there is "liberty and justice for all", fer chrissake. As long as they don't start in on you in any meaningful way, you're happy to just mind your own damned business. But, you do want some sort of "early warning system" to let you know when they might be getting ready to come after you and your quality of life. Say, I know! Let them pick on the homos! You might get a bit worried if they start carting fags off to Re-education Camps in Nevada or something, you might want to take a little time out of your busy day then to start pushing back. But, hell, until then, who has the time or energy? They're only homos, after all.
Canary Audience #3: The Canary Hisself.
Dude, if you are looking in the mirror and seeing feathers, it's already too late. Show some initiative here. Ain't nobody going to be your canary but you. Your problem, of course, is actually seeing those feathers in the mirror. You got a job, you got your friends, you got your life, fer chrissake. You can't be thinking about what sort of danger you might be in. Who thinks about stuff like that? Nothing's going to happen. It's annoying, but come on... nothing's going to happen.
You know, as an American citizen, I never thought I'd ever be thinking about stuff like this, but... lately I've kind of been considering how one might go about stashing money overseas. You know, all legit and everything. I'll fill out all the forms, do everything by the numbers, but the thing is...
The lesson taught by the experience of Jews in 1930s Germany is that you want to be prudent. You don't want to panic. You don't want to get hysterical. But you don't want to be a fool, either. The problem is, when you are the canary, it's kind of hard to know when to start taking all these funny smells seriously. As the experience of the German Jews teaches us, by the time you have become convinced the funny smells have to be taken seriously, it is probably way too late. Everything's over except your final plummet to the newspaper at the bottom of your cage. If they don't have your money already, they've got the right to take it. If they haven't got your travel papers already, they've got the right to confiscate them. And in the end, if they've got your money and they've got your travel documents, they've got you.
Here's the deal. If you don't have friends or family overseas, you might want to start cultivating some long-distance friendships. If you ever have to emigrate in a hurry, you might want to have some money already waiting for you in your new country of residence. You might want to establish a travel pattern of going to various countries such that if the heat gets turned up and they are watching for homos who might be trying to get out, you can say to them, "No, look, I'm just visiting a friend. I go there and come back all the time." Here you want to grin stupidly, like the idiot you are trying to convince them you are. They might look at you funny, but they might let you go anyway. You want to lay the groundwork for getting out without it looking to them like you are getting the hell out for good.
Again: If you look around and find yourself in that cage, my feathered friend, it's already too late. Starting now, keep your eyes peeled. Don't panic, but don't be a fool either. If worse comes to worse, there will be a great many decent and loving straight Americans who will be willing to help you -- if they can.
That's the thing. You can't rely on anybody being able to save you. If you have to save yourself, you will have to be able to do it yourself. That's why they call it "saving yourself".
As a goy, I used to naively think that the famous phrase of the Jewish People "Never Again" was a plea to All Mankind to take care that the atrocities of the Holocaust never happen again. Heh. Not bloody likely.
No, I get it now. What it really means is: "Never again will they find me without some way to save myself."
Dude, be prepared. Be that Boy Scout they won't let you be anymore.