North Western Winds

Contemplating it all from the great Pacific Northwest

Peeling an Onion

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C.S. Lewis, from the blog of Sebastian Holsclaw:

Of all the passions the passion for the Inner Ring is most skilful in making a man who is not yet a very bad man do very bad things…The torture allotted to the Danaids in the classical underworld, that of attempting to fill sieves with water, is the symbol not of one vice but of all vices. It is the very mark of a perverse desire that it seeks what is not to be had. The desire to be inside the invisible line illustrates this rule. As long as you are governed by that desire you will never get what you want. You are trying to peel an onion: if you succeed there will be nothing left. Until you conquer the fear of being an outsider, an outsider you will remain.

That is from a commencement speech given by Lewis in 1944. The Inner Ring he is talking about is something like a power clique. It is a little long, but a good read. I want to tie this idea around something unexpected, however.

From today’s National Post:

The Liberals’ disregard for public debate is not only angering Catholic bishops and other conservative minded gay marriage opponents, it also ignores the silent majority of gay men and women who have little interest in marriage.

Unless you’re gay, you can’t fathom how embarrassing and frustrating it is to constantly witness your public image being represented by the same tiresome clique of activist martyrs and malcontents.

Most Canadians believe we should be able to pursue any brand of consensual sex we like, and form whatever relationships make us happy. And by equal measure, most secure gays and lesbians have no problem conceding that heterosexuality is and will always be the human norm. This is a perfectly civilized contract. I strongly reject the activist mantra that we must go further – that our dignity and our relationships are somehow devalued unless the state codifies same sex marriage.

For most outwardly gay men the essence of gay life is, and will always be, party, pageant and parade. Despite the impression you get from the media, marriage barely shows up on our community’s radar screen. SSM nuptials are media events, not gay events. Most cool gays and lesbians just roll their eyes and pray for a power failure.

Views such as writer John McKellar’s, who is gay himself, are seldom heard from in the media and in the debate surrounding SSM. There’s no conspiracy at work here, just a design flaw in the nature of the media. Given a choice between McKellar’s “nothing to see here, move along” and a tearful wedding, the media will run with the tearful wedding every time. This is especially true of the television news. Local news tonight showed a couple of smokestacks being torn down, despite the fact that is happened in another country and had no relevance or context. It’s all about the visuals, as they say.

There probably are gays who do think SSM is a good idea. It’s not like this is a uniform group of people. When I see political unionists speak about “ordinary Canadians” I get an inkling of what McKellar is talking about. Those people, despite what they say, do not speak for me. The same can be said of feminists claiming to speak on behalf of “women.” Really? Who voted for that? What kind of mandate do you have? And why do the media allow claims like that to go unchallenged more often than not? Why not insist that the spokesgroup speaks for itself and itself alone?

Gays in favour of SSM are in some sense clambouring for the Inner Ring that Lewis mentions and possibly undermining their own sense of self worth by seeking it elsewhere. But the better match to what Lewis describes is the mainstream liberal culture. McKellar quotes Camille Paglia: “If you don’t swing with the sodomites, you’re nowhere on the A-List.” I don’t buy into that but I see it around me more and more. I see it as a symptom of a culture that no longer believes in itself. A win won’t cure it; there will be another rainbow to chase after that.

Kind of gives a new swing to the debate, doesn’t it? How fitting that our belly crawling PM is leading the charge.


Written by Curt

February 15, 2005 at 8:24 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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