Hannah and Papa J

Hannah and Papa J

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Homeschoolers and gay lovers

Dear Hannah,

I heard someone express one time that a good number of Disney/Pixar films were aimed at getting children to come out of the closet.  I'm not so certain, after considering not only the number of gay people employed by Pixar, but the overwhelming theme of their films, that this person was being completely paranoid.


It's indisputable that a good portion of Disney/Pixar films, at least since the 90's, have been in some way devoted to children breaking social laws; and if not to children breaking rules, then certainly to children defying parental expectations.   Had Disney been a conservative company, and had leftists been taking a cultural beating instead of the other way around, it's possible that leftists might think Disney was using their films as a propaganda device to defend homeschoolers.  In a certain sense, especially in America, homeschoolers are to conservatives what gays are to leftists.  But in a universal sense, you might say that homeschoolers have outdone gays in terms of individuality altogether.  You can always pretend to be a gay man, and everyone (including the gay activists) will recognize the stereotype.  Nobody is entirely sure who you're pretending to be, if you do an impression of a homeschooled child. 

You might even be inclined to think that if anyone should be a poster child for a diversity movement, it would be the homeschooler; but their manners and styles vary so wildly, from the uncouth and nearly abandoned ignoramus to the well-mannered pressed-shirted genius, that it might be more difficult to find a suitable representative.  Caricatures are made, but anyone who's ever grown up in the homeschooled community knows that homeschoolers are weird -- but they're weird in such a way as to be strange to one another.  Their common bond is generally a cross between their innocence and their awkwardness, traits which are shared most commonly by Mormons and geniuses (respectively).  Everything else is in the air.  Few times do we accurately speculate that someone may have been schooled at home; lots of men, because of very specific yet broad behavioral characteristics, have others wondering whether they're secretly attracted to men. 

That there is a gay stereotype and everyone knows what it is is indicative of nothing less than that what we count and fight for as "diversity" isn't in itself quite as diverse as you might expect.  Certainly not as diverse as the races and religions; certainly not as diverse as whites are between New Jersey and south Georgia, or as various as Christians are between Rome and London -- in other words, in all the groups we wrongly consider uniform.  A television portrayal of a gay man may vary in many things, from his color to his religion; but you can nearly always count on him being effeminate.  He enjoys fashion and decorating and everything soft -- essentially all the things we now consider increasingly "gay" employments.  He's all art and no roughness, all curves and no corners -- thoroughly an epicurean.  He's far more likely to speak through his nose, flop his wrist, and have a very specific kind of accent.  He's the only man who will call a woman "honey" while shaking his hips as he walks.  Whether this is a fair description of all gay men (which it isn't) is beside the point; at least, it is beside the point if everyone recognizes the description as especially gay.

These things, of course, are a recent phenomenon.  Anyone who's ever read Plutarch's Lives knows that the most dangerous and manliest Athenians, from the righteous Aristides to the reckless Alcibiades, had boyfriends -- and in certain cases, were boyfriends to each other.  Themistocles and Aristides became lifelong rivals in youth, due to a shared (male) romantic interest.  Cleomenes the Spartan king died in an act of bloodshed -- but not before kissing his dying ex-boyfriend.  Alcibiades was hated for his especially long hair and effeminate robes, which meant that his effeminacy had nothing to do with his gayness, and his dating Socrates had nothing to do with his bad reputation.  If anything, amongst the Athenians dating Socrates made him more respectable: it was his effeminate bearing that made him despicable.  And if these examples go to prove anything, it's that the modern gay stereotype exists not because homosexuality and effeminacy go naturally hand-in-hand, but because we as Americans think they should.  Our gay men, for whatever reason, are being silently corralled into a very specific lifestyle -- or maybe we could even say that men within a certain lifestyle are being corralled into a particular sexuality -- and calling themselves diverse for being incredibly similar. 

That anyone can call this diversity proves that we have no idea what diversity means.  Diversity has little to do with who you want, particularly because there are only two genders to pick from.  It has everything to do with the idea that someone might have skipped all our state-mandated social-conditioning courses and the tyranny of peer pressure, and developed his own personality and talents in the comfort of his parents' home.  In other words, diversity means homeschoolers -- even if they are all white.

Your father,
-J

2 comments:

  1. "Diversity has little to do with who you want, particularly because there are only two genders to pick from."

    The word you mean is 'sex': humans come in sexes, not in genders.

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  2. Homeschoolers are incredibly diverse and it's somewhat surprising in a country that celebrates individualism that these brave families are rarely pointed out or studiedd. Is is that we are all so afraid of what others think that few can imagine pulling their kids from schools and taking on all the decisions themselves? As a nation--we watch celebrity culture, many of us must enjoy learning of the broken marriages and risky behavior--and we buy the tabloids and papparazzi products. So, in today's US culture, are homeschooling families even wilder iconoclasts than the bizarre characters who make it onto the big screens? We've been a homeschooling family for some time but are now trying a new chapter. I hope these rugged individualist families will provide their children the academic rigor and conscientious moral training to make an impact on a American culture that is beginning to lose its global economic competitiveness. Thank you for your words. --Brent

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