I saw in the news earlier this week that amidst all the kerfuffle over the American elections two states, Maryland and Maine, have very sensibly voted to add their names to the small list of states that allow same sex marriages. Why this isn’t a no brainer in this, the 21st century, is beyond me, as is the ridiculous position taken by the inhabitants of the other 40 odd states which don’t recognise or allow same sex marriages, who presumably think that what two consenting adults do with their matching pair of willies or front bottoms is somehow their business, or that of some almost certainly mythical (but if not mythical supremely out of touch) God.
Let’s be honest, gay people have been playing with and delighting in each other’s bits and bobs ever since Genus Homo first got Erectus, and before that there were almost certainly gay monkeys who were getting up, if you’ll excuse the pun, to the same sort of thing – behaviours they, and many other species of animals, have continued to enjoy right up to the present day. That I have never fancied a person equipped with the same genital architecture as me and find the idea of engaging in a sexual act with one unappealing is neither here nor there; I would have to be a complete moron to wilfully ignore all of the evidence demonstrating that it is a perfectly natural inclination for many.
Looking back through history, the Greeks and the Romans – two ancient cultures most revered for their contributions to art and the humanities – were far more sensible in their attitudes towards homosexuality than we seem to be today. Gay love among Greek soldiers, for example, was considered a positive thing; the relationship between lovers perceived as far more binding and powerful than relationships based on mere friendship or social familiarity. As Plutarch put it: “men of the same tribe little value one another when dangers press; but a band cemented by friendship grounded upon love is never to be broken.”…
The Romans took a slightly different view, being a bit more rigid (fnar fnar) and judgemental in their thinking regarding the social status and value of, erm, “giver” and “receiver” (guest and host?), but in general terms it was pretty much anything goes, and not considered unmanly or unusual in the slightest. Sadly, there’s not so much information about the habits of ladies back then, and given the patriarchal nature of Roman society there’s a good chance the girls didn’t enjoy quite the same kind of freedoms that the boys did, but that would be to the Roman’s shame, not their credit. Given their love of all things Greek, though, it wouldn’t have escaped their attention that Sappho and many of her lady friends on Lesbos took great delight in exploring one another’s intimate regions, and I suspect the thought of that was as arousing for red blooded hetero and bi males then as it is for us today. Nudge nudge, wink wink…
Then along came God to bugger everything up. Well, not bugger, obviously, but you get my point.
Of course, we can’t, whether he exists or not, blame God for all the nastiness committed in his name down the centuries, because he’s actually pretty quiet on the topic of homosexuality and pretty much everything else too. That he has been attributed with opinions is something of a moot point – he has also been attributed, for example, with whispering into the ears of mass murderers and telling them to commit their atrocities for “Him”, so you have to take these kind of anecdotal second-hand assertions with a pinch of salt. And yes, I do know it’s supposed to be “His” words in the book, but let’s face it that still leaves a mile of room for human error and misinterpretation, especially when you consider all the editorial staff and translators involved in getting it to press and the psychological make-up of many of the people reading and promoting it…
Anyhoo, the long and short of it is that the enlightened people of Maryland and Maine have decided that if two people of the same sex love each other and want to declare that love in the same way that other couples are able to they should be free to do so. There are also strong indications that other states, including Washington (who may well have done so by the time this gets to press), are likely to follow their lead, and this may well lead to a federal ruling. About bloody time, eh?
In the same news report it was announced that the states of Washington and Colorado have legalised the recreational use of marijuana, which again shows a remarkable degree of common sense not generally associated with the good ol’ US of A. Daft, isn’t it? You would have thought they’d have learned their lesson back in the 20’s with prohibition, but they still don’t seem to have fully grasped that you can’t stop people from doing stuff simply by passing laws to make doing it illegal, and you can’t effectively enforce such laws when huge numbers of people are either determined to do it, or are largely unconcerned about other people doing it.
All indications are that tax revenue generated by a fully regulated, legalised pot industry could run into hundreds of millions of dollars a year, which has got to be a good thing for the state economy in these difficult times. Let’s hope too that they spend some of that money on tackling the terrible social issues surrounding the drug trade and the organised criminals currently controlling it, and that lessons learned from the decriminalisation of pot can lead to more enlightened action on the control and distribution of other illegal substances. They might not be able to win the war on drugs, but there are certainly far better ways of caring for and protecting the casualties of that war, with decriminalisation definitely representing a step in the right direction.
Given our own current economic position and the potential revenue from legalised cannabis sales perhaps the idiots running our country will follow suit. It makes good sense, but we’ll have to ensure that it’s not made available through outlets like Amazon or sold alongside the muffins and sarnies in Starbucks or we’ll not see a fecking penny. Wake up, you tossers at the tax office, and start plugging some of the loopholes these multinational corporate bastards keep using to exploit us, because the piss-taking is just getting embarrassing now!
IN OTHER NEWS:
Earlier this week I was asked by a friend to publicly acknowledge the shameful period between the mid eighties and early nineties when I succumbed to peer pressure and social expectation to briefly embrace a somewhat less socially conscious lifestyle than the one I have generally endorsed throughout the rest of my adult life. Not liking to disappoint, and having few qualms about putting my hand up and admitting my own levels of wankiness and hypocrisy I would like to take this opportunity to come clean about my adventures in property speculation and renovation, the regular dinner parties (sometimes involving fondue sets, banoffi pies and after dinner games of trivial pursuit and Pictionary) and the ownership of a pine wine rack – the late eighties equivalent of designer cupcakes and onion relish labelled as marmalade – stocked with Fine Wines bought from our very exclusive micro-entrepreneur personal vintner.
In my defence I would add that while certainly fitting the profile of a Champagne Socialist in some respects I never really lost sight of the bigger picture, or bought into the yuppie consumerist dream and Maggie’s vision of society-less society. I just got a bit greedy for a brief period and lost sight of how lucky and privileged I was.
And for what it’s worth I don’t have any issue with anyone who’s lucky and/or privileged enough to have a few quid in the bank, a nice home and a ready supply of disposable income: my sin wasn’t that I lived that way, it was the sense of entitlement and “I’m alright, Jack’ I almost bought into along with it.