Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Same-sex marriage, crotch-grabbing, and Glenn Beck

I heard about Glenn Beck caving on the issue of same-sex marriage at the very moment that I was pondering a news report saying that, at his recent concerts, Justin Bieber had begun to grab his crotch. I began to wonder if this was entirely a coincidence and, after a moment's reflection, decided that it was not.

Beck's change of position on same-sex marriage is the political equivalent of grabbing your crotch: It has immediate news appeal, it gives the impression that you are culturally relevant, and it communicates to your admirers that you have moved on from something--in Justin's case, boyish innocence; in Beck's case, conservatism.

Now I admit that the mental image of Glenn Beck grabbing his crotch is not a pleasant one. But it is necessary in order to fully comprehend the imbecility of his change of position.

I should first point out that the words "Glenn" and "Beck," in close conjunction, have been banned on this blog until this post--and after I finish it, the ban will go back into effect. I have never been able to watch the man. Not even for a moment.

Once, a couple of years ago, I was waiting to see a legislator in a Republican office at the State Capitol and they had Fox News on the office monitor and I had to sit there and listen to him for about half an hour. I was tempted to just get up and leave before I went into some kind of convulsions. It would have been bad if the legislator I was waiting to see came out and found me in the fetal position, quivering and in a cold sweat, right there in the waiting room, Beck's voice blaring from the monitor.

Anyway, what I was originally going to say about Justin--before my son sent me the link for the Beck story-- was that when my boys were young and they danced around holding their crotch, we would tell them to stop holding their crotch and go use the bathroom. And that I hoped Justin's mom would just suddenly show up at one of his concerts, walk out onstage in mid-crotch grab, and yell, for all the crowd to hear: "Stop holding your crotch and go use the bathroom!"

Beck is, at this very moment, in mid-political crotch grab. Where's his mom? 


KyCobb said...


Though I appreciate attitude about Glenn Beck, you are beating a dead horse. Same-sex marriage isn't going away, and if the GOP nominates a Rick Santorum to campaign on the issue, he will lose even worse than Romney did. Perhaps you should consider the possibility that in as diverse a nation as the U.S., some people are going to do things you don't approve of, but as long as they aren't hurting anyone else, you should just mind your own business.

Andrew said...

What an amazingly loaded sequence. Let me play with the assumptions and implications and see what comes up:

Same sex marriage isn't going away. Resistance is futile. Therefore you must adapt and acknowledge its justice or at least not express your belief that it is wrong. When an activity becomes integrated into the DNA of a society, it is foolish to try to resist or change it.

If a politician disagrees with the general public, he will lose the election. Therefore if the general public has made its decision, the politicians should go along at risk of losing their power. They should be especially careful to align with those who have the most far-reaching moral insight and are able to make it clear in story form: the makers of sitcoms.

Furthermore, since we have allowed for every manner of sexual diversity, it is foolish to suggest that a person can do something sexually wrong, unless, for now, it involves sexually abusing someone under 18.

And since people don't have a soul, sexual activities cannot harm them. Therefore, unless a person is physically harmed by another you can't tell that other to stop what he is doing.

Religious people, on the other hand, have caused endless pain to the human race so they should not be allowed to repress sane people.

After all, what we need most is freedom from religion, without which we cannot be a free people.

So mind your own business. That means that you need a government to guide you in fulfilling your role as your brother's keeper, making sure your brother (ie you) is always cared for because the world is too big and dangerous for you to to take care of yourself. Meanwhile, you must not suggest that engaging in what many consider sexually immoral acts could be wrong because you have nothing to say about what your brother does in that area.

Until, about 30 years from now, when the state run health care system is bankrupted by STD's and people over react and put the people who spread them in concentration camps.

Oops. I got carried away at the end there. Stupid logic.

KyCobb said...


The evidence suggests that tsk-tsking from people like you doesn't keep other people from having sex. So there's no reason to think that there is going to be a lot more unprotected sex in the future. But I guess you have to justify why the GOP should keep tsk-tsking like a dotty maiden aunt.

Martin Cothran said...


How much sex people have is irrelevant. It seems to me the more important consideration is what kind of moral universe now exists (with Christianity on the wane as a cultural force) in which something like sex can have any meaning at all.

If you have no moral context in which to view sex, then it becomes just another biological function with no more significance than eating or sneezing--or defecating.

I like how secularists are always talking about Christianity as if it has a low view of sex, when, in fact, it is only within a religious context that it has any significance at all.

KyCobb said...


That's completely false. Sex was deeply meaningful to people in love with each other for hundreds of thousands of years before christianity was invented. We couldn't have evolved to the point where we were born with still growing brains and needing full-time care for years without a powerful bonding between couples ensuring the child would receive adequate nutrition and protection. Religion just glommed its own meaning onto already existing human relationships.

Martin Cothran said...


Sex was deeply meaningful to people in love with each other for hundreds of thousands of years before christianity was invented.

I didn't say Christianity was the only thing that could give sex meaning. I just said it was the basis for the particular religious context within which sex had meaning in Western culture. So your criticism is based on a poor reading of what I said.

And therefore your point about sex having meaning for people before Christianity came along is entirely irrelevant. Of course it had meaning for people before Christianity came along. It had meaning because people had other religions which gave it meaning. All civilizations have had a religion or mythos that provided this--all except our own.

They may have been false religions; they may have given sex false meaning, but they still had a metaphysical context into which everything fit.

The question is how, under the scientific rationalism that characterizes our secular worldview, sex or anything else can have any meaning. Meaning is, after all, inherently metaphysical.

I appreciate your naive articulation of the evolutionary myth. It's very charming. But how can secularism provide any context for meaning? That's the question.

Singring said...

'They may have been false religions; they may have given sex false meaning, but they still had a metaphysical context into which everything fit. '

So, having a false meaning is better than having no meaning at all? For example, if there was a religion in which sex was seen as the physical imposition of the metaphysical dominance of man over woman - a religion in which rape would therefore be celebrated - is better than a situation in which atheists, who see no metaphysical meaning in sex, have consensual, non-violent sex?

'But how can secularism provide any context for meaning? That's the question.'

Why does t have to?


I understand that you have an insatiable craving for metaphysical meaning, but as a logician by trade, you must be perfectly aware that this is not sufficient to show that such metaphysical meaning exists?

Also, what makes you believe that atheists cherish, value, enjoy sex any more or less than Christians do, for example?

Thomas M. Cothran said...

"When an activity becomes integrated into the DNA of a society it is foolish to try to resist or change it."

Like racism?

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