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A thought experiment...

Discussion in 'The Pub' started by mattb, Apr 27, 2013.

  1. #1 mattb, Apr 27, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2013
    ...or rather a short film playing with a reversal, where homosexual is normal and heterosexual is perverse. Quite a powerful short film (18 minutes). A collage of real experiences.

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  2. @mattb are you hetero??
  3. Shouldn't that question be in the "what do you ride" thread?
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  4. I suppose there are no children in this new world?
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  5. #5 mattb, Apr 27, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2013
    If I say yes, will you hate on me for it?

    As the priest said, heterosexual sex is a sin "outside of the breeding season". This might mean that the plot requires a seemingly weird and unnatural practice to make sense, but it does the job (and its remeniscent of Plato's Republic, so hardly outside the scope of an imaginable alternative reality).
  6. Did that answer the question?
  7. Yes.
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  8. I was thinking "50 Shades of Sparta" rather than Plato's republic, but I guess its much the same thing...:)

    Seriously though, as an exercise in dramatic didacticism, I thought it communicated the social alienation experienced by many homosexuals pretty powerfully. Yes, it is laid on thick, but it's obviously targeted at changing attitudes in the US mid-west, and it probably contributes toward this aim as well as anything is going to.

    I did find it interesting that in order to carry the satire through during the scenes at home, they had to have both of the protagonist's mothers acting in conformity to recognisably hetronormative roles. This observation isn't intended to stake a claim against tolerance toward, and equal rights for, lesbians and gays, but I'm not convinced the normative weight of hetrosexuality can ever totally be overcome. (Perhaps this is partly what Lilley was gesturing toward?) It does, however, have implications for the current debate about gay-marriage.

    Not all opposition to gay-marriage is rooted in mindless prejudice and the inertia of religiously inspired norms in a secular, pluralistic and increasingly post-religious society. Such prejudice does exist. But, even from an irreligious point of view, the question of nihilism (i.e. the validity and integrity of the broader network of social significations), which is broached by opening the institution of marriage to homosexuals, remains.

    This is less about the substantive rights -- such as legal access and power of attorney in event of a spouse's being incapacitated, or inheritance rights in the absence of a will; things that (IMO) gays and lesbians have a legitimate right to demand, but which can be achieved by civil partnerships as an institution parallel to marriage -- so much as the system of gender-based significations that have coalesced around marriage, and which seem to me irresolvable without dissolving the institution of marriage itself*.

    (*Which is perhaps not a bad suggestion, unless you like the idea of reducing the person you love most to the status of a chattel; which, shorn of its romantic ideology, is what, historically, the institution of marriage boils down to: exclusive property rights.)

    If identity politics is about recognition, and it is ethically self-defeating to compel recognition through force (including the force of law), then the campaign to legalise gay-marriage cannot claim the sort of validity it seeks while significant social opposition remains. Compromise positions more palatable to that opposition do exist however. And, that much of the opposition to gay-marriage IS founded on irrational prejudice doesn't mitigate the fact that some of it isn't.

    The problem is that both sides of the debate tend to succumb to identity-based intransigence. But I guess that's the difficulty here: there can be no ethics without ethos -- a community's idealised self-image -- and so we really are, here, in the realm of politics proper.

    Sorry, for another long post, but as a thought experiment it was a good provocation to thought...
  9. I have a short attention span
    What minute of the video are there boobs ?
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  10. Love it. Sorry Mick, no boobs, but it's worth a watch anyway.
  11. Righteo
    I'm currently running off two hours sleep since 5am yesterday so I will check t out tomorrow cheers fella
  12. I agree completely that the state should have no interest in the act of a marriage. Why not use this current putsch from the left to wind back the role of government in our lives? ie reduce the tentacles of the state so that it doesn't matter if you are married or not.
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  13. If the state plays no part in marriage, then who? The church? Religion has no place in politics/law or schools imo.

    In Australia the law doesn't distinguish between married and de-facto relationships in terms of the rights of the parties.

    Gay marriage doesn't mean the "dissolving the institution of marriage itself" either, the wording just needs to be changed from "Man and Woman" to "between two people". I had this discussion with a friend of mine who said that gay marriage would devalue his marriage and that he'd been married in a church. I couldn't understand exactly how his marriage could've been devalued by this and the church has nothing to do with marriage anymore except for ceremonial purposes.
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  14. Two consenting adults.
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  15. A contract? Pre-nups are contracts and have been proven to not be worth the paper they are written on, especially if one party has the money to spend on fighting it.

    I agree the current system is not ideal, having to wait a minimum of 1 year before filing for a divorce is ridiculous, but we do need some basic laws around marriage to protect people in terms of property/children imo.
  16. :) Oh, dearie me, having to wait a whole year before you can get a divorce....
  17. #17 ogden, Apr 28, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2013
    If it seems this simple to you, its because your concept of marriage is simplistic. It is simplistic because you're not acknowledging the profound changes the institution has undergone since the Protestant Reformation, each of which has manifested as a subtraction of value from the institution as historically received. What was originally a bond irresolvable-until-death became subject to divorce. Whether you see this innovation as positive or not, it does represent the subtraction of a value. (The fact that this value may not have been culturally universal is immaterial.)

    However, the exclusivity of marriage to hetrosexual unions is (or was, until very recently) a cultural universal. Even in those parts of India where younger brothers are not permitted to get married until their older brother(s) had been, and older brothers without prospective partners were often married to trees, so that their younger siblings could be permitted to marry, the trees were (symbolically) coded as female.

    By permitting gay-marriage in the same terms as heterosexual marriage, the institution of marriage is re-valued. This re-valuation is a de-valuation from its original value (i.e. it set of historically received meanings). In re-valuing it thus, it is changed from one thing into something other. If the value that has been subtracted was fundamental to its meaning, then marriage-as-it-stood has been dissolved. The new institution is not an altered continuation of the preceding form, but a new institution that has displaced the other.

    I don't know what your mate argued, but, sorry, the logic here is sound.

    If you are going to permit same-sex marriage, then why make sex a factor at all? Why not let good friends get married? Why presume that they should even live together? Why should the acquisition of a foreign passport or permanent residency status be seen as an invalid motive? (With our without bodily intimacy, it seems a perfectly reasonable transaction to me. ;) ) Why enact it in legislation? Why police it at all?

    In perusing universal equality by extending it to same-sex marriage, why not extend it in the above ways? Why are they not equally acceptable? Why bring the sordid business of fornication into it at all? At what point can you legitimately say, enough? If universal equality is your motive, where will it end? I'll tell you: it will end with the upholding as necessary another value, which is, when all is said an done, equally arbitrary.

    Universalism and nihilism, here, are locked in a dialectic. If marriage is to be arbitrary and (potentially) temporary, why do we put up with it at all? Especially when its 'sanctity' is so often flouted? What is its true meaning? Why accept one historically-received set of values associated with it (romantic love - itself a modern invention, and an utterly irrational one at that) and not another?
  18. I think you have missed my point or perhaps I haven't explained it very well. I am not talking about whether the State should be able to control or dictate whether people are allowed to marry, however, I think it is idealistic to think that the State will never be involved. The State is always going to be involved, they are not going to allow a situation where someone can marry a 9 year old for example.

    I am saying that there should be basic laws in place to ensure that couples, whether married or defacto, have rights in respect of their spouses and children during and after a marriage.
  19. #19 mattb, Apr 28, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2013
    Argh, something's gone haywire with the quotes - the second paragraph is my response.

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