Essays & Images on Cities, Travel and Contemporary Culture. A web journal of James A. Clapp, Ph.D., an UrbisMedia Ltd. Production

Vol.29.1: QUEER STUDIES AND QUIRKY THINKING

© 2006 UrbisMedia

© 2006 UrbisMedia

Queer Studies?   QUEER Studies?   I guess it was only a matter of time.   DePaul University of Chicago, the largest Catholic University in America, is launching a minor in Queer Studies (Introduction to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual,   and Trans Gender Studies).   Other “minorities” have made it to this status—Black Studies, Women’s Studies, Chicano Studies, so why not homosexuals.   If you can major or minor in your race, gender, or ethnicity, then why not your sexual orientation.   What’s next, Recovering Bald, Alcoholic Wife-Beater Studies?

 

There’s lots of aspects of the development that could be discussed and debated, and, of course I am being a bit hyperbolic here.   I don’t see anything wrong with courses that explore such introspective subjects (ignorance is far worse), but I don’t think we need professionalBlacks, Gays, Lesbians and such.

 

I heard about the Queer Studies course on NPR . What really caught my ear was the answer the professor gave to the question of how, with the official position of the RC Church being what it is, could a catholic university get away with offering such a course.   You can access the exact words, but he said close to: “The homosexual orientation is objectively disordered, the homosexual act is intrinsically evil; however homosexual people are loved by God and belong in the Christian community and will be saved by God.”   (Obviously they want them at mass, especially when they take up that second collection for what is called “Peter’s Pence”)

 

  How do we get to a turn of mind that allows such mealy-mouthing?   It is not only the Church that engages in this sort of reasoning.   The most egregious manifestation of it these days is the “We love the troops, but hate the war,” that wonderful bit of mental gymnastics that we are forced into by the political rhetoric that accuses any dissent from of the administration’s policy as giving “aid and comfort to the enemy.”   I have even heard it said that opposition to the war “hurts the troops” and “saddens them.” [1]   This is the equivalent that our “sins make the heart of Jesus bleed” (Sister Ignatius). [2]   Of course, you can “love the troops,” but not enough to want to bring them home.   And if they come home in a box, then we are asked to love them in remembrance One more of those sappy bio-eulogies in the media and I’m going to puke.   Six PM News Feature Homeward the Hero :   [Fluttering flag, quick cuts of soldiers in Iraq]

 

[V.O.]   “Sergeant Purvis Suggs never got to see his young son who was born after he left for Iraq. [over shots of wife, Marvelline, eating a bucket of KFC]  

 

[V.O.]   Sgt. Suggs will never get to throw a football with his son [cut to little Richard Petty Suggs, 1-yr-old, who doesn’t resemble his father in the slightest], like he did when he was captain of his high school football team, or climb trees to rescue stranded kittens, which his mother said Purvis was always doing

 

[Cut to tree, then kitten, then pellet gun Purvis used to shoot cats with.]  

 

[V.O.]   Purvis’s Dad, Fred Suggs [cut to father repairing pick-up truck] said he was proud of his son for “keeping those Mohammadens from making my wife wear one of those blue tablecloth get-ups with holes for the eyes.   Reminds me of my KKK outfit.   My boy died protecting his country, the way he would have wanted to die, fighting for our freedom.”   [Not mentioned in the piece is that Sgt. Suggs and three other soldiers were killed by a suicide bomber while in their tent.   Suggs was playing the video game Tank Commander , at the time.]

 

Well, you get the idea.   There’s both brutal truth and devious omissions in such reports (not to mention callous media opportunism).   The first casualty of war is truth.   But you might see this as disrespect to those who have died in the Iraq conflict.   Not at all.   My disrespect is for the people who feed young men of limited opportunity bullshit about this being a real war against terrorism and protecting America, hauling them off to war without adequate equipment and support, and then when they are killed, exploiting their deaths with a complicit media to make them into “heroic martyrs” for this misguided cause.   (Isn’t this what the leaders of the suicide bombers do?)   Yes, I have perhaps picked on our country boys, but that’s the model the government and the media likes to elevate to heroic status; you know, the good, salt-of-the-earth rural types that the military has sought out as the most tractable fighters since antiquity. [3]   Think Sergeant York.   Hey, maybe our universities should start teaching courses in Faux Patriotism Studies, as well.

 

When the Republicans were out to impeach Bill Clinton it was often heard that one could “detest the president and respect the ‘office’ of the president”.   Oh yeah, well that goes triple for the guy in that office now!

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©2006, James A. Clapp (UrbisMedia Ltd. Pub. 2.2.2006)

[1] So, “We hate the war, but love the troops, and hate the sadness our unintentional aid and comfort to the enemy that out hatred of the war might engender.   Whatever.”

[2] Then don’t Bush’s sins “make the troops bleed”?

[3] Then, when the Pentagon cocks up a charade for the media’s consumption and transmission, a la Jessica Lynch, when they are found out the exploited one is likely to sink back into the hills of West Virginia.

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