Plan 9 From Sweden

Obviously bored with the election campaign (and who can blame him?) Lord Saletan (seen above giving orders to his two most trusted aides) has elected to take on gay marriage by means of a discussionn of that oldest of saws the “cause” of homsexuality.

Which, needless to say, also invokes it’s “cure.”

“Last month, when the California Supreme Court declared same-sex marriage a constitutional right, it repeatedly invoked the precedent of interracial marriage. An attorney involved in the case protested, “There is no evidence to establish that a homosexual lifestyle is an immutable characteristic such as race.”
He’s wrong. There’s lots of evidence. More of it just came out this week. It’s been driving the gay-rights debate all along, away from the clutches of religion and into the clutches of science. The trend is inexorable, but its implications are about to change. The culture war over homosexuality is dying-and a chemical war is threatening to take its place.
Homosexuality used to be regarded as a lifestyle, something you freely chose or rejected. We discouraged, condemned, and punished it like any other sin.
Then along came science. “

Cue The Coasters.

Well science — or more to the point “science” — has been mouthing off about same- sexuality ever since the close of the 19th century, with all manner of “theories” as why some of us are attracted to those of our own sex, while an alleged “majority” are attracted to the opposite sex. Occasionally a word or two is belched out about those troublemakers attracted to both, but not often. Jonathan “Ned” Katz dealt with all of this blather some years back in his superb The Invention of Heterosexuality. But such sane, reasoned insight hasn’t stopped one crackpot after another from declaring that there’s an immutable “difference” in that which they quite illogically refer to as a “perference” in sexual attraction.

As Lord Saletan notes —

“Study after study found differences between gay and straight brains. Homosexuality came to be viewed less as a lifestyle and more as an orientation, too deeply rooted to be freely rejected. Gay activists embraced and trumpeted these studies. Public opinion shifted. Punishment and condemnation began to subside.
But the march of science into the gay brain hasn’t stopped. It has continued, seeking to understand not just what doesn’t cause homosexuality-playing with dolls, growing up with a strong mother, watching Will and Grace-but what does. And the more we understand these biological factors, the closer we get to being able to change them.
A new study, published Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences , hints at what’s coming. Previous gay-brain studies focused on structures or responses that might have been shaped by social interactions. To screen out social factors, authors of the new study relied on brain scans rather than behavioral responses, and they targeted structures known to form during or shortly after gestation. “That was the whole point of the study, to show parameters that differ, but which couldn’t be altered by learning or cognitive processes,” the lead author explains.”

Oh My Stars — There’s GAY BRAIN!!!!!!!

And being gay it is of course female.

Which doesn’t explain lesbians.

These “scientific” studies never do — though this one waves a hand in their direction. As for bisexuals, fugettaboutit. Yet Lord Saletan insists these wacky Swedes have found The Cause.

“The sample consisted of 25 straight men, 25 straight women, 20 gay men, and 20 lesbians. In overall symmetry and amygdala activity, the brains of gay men resembled the brains of straight women, whereas the brains of lesbians resembled the brains of straight men. Previous work has connected such differences to fear, anxiety, aggression, and verbal, spatial, and navigational ability. It’s not just a matter of preferring men or women. The broader implication, one expert argues, is that “in gay men, the brain is feminized.”
Are the differences genetic? Not likely. “As to the genetic factors, the current view is that they may play a role in male homosexuality, but they seem to be insignificant for female homosexuality,” the authors conclude. “Genetic factors, therefore, appear less probable as the major common denominator for all group differences observed here.”

Now what would it mean to have a “feminized brain”?

Take for example



“So what’s the common factor? If the study’s design rules out learned influences, and if the results in women rule out genetics, that leaves what the authors call “hormonal influences” or non-cognitive differences in the infant environment. According to the Guardian , the same research team has “begun another study to investigate brain symmetry in newborn babies, to see if it can be used to predict their future sexual orientation.” If it can, that will scratch postnatal factors off the list, and the search will narrow to hormones in the womb. Already, the authors point to evidence that homosexuality may be caused by “under-exposure to prenatal androgens” in males and “over-exposure” in females.”

Or exposure to Diane Arbus as a child

“Where science leads, technology follows. Two years ago, scientists in Oregon reported an attempt to “interfere with defeminization of adult sexual partner preferences” in sheep. Their method, as they described it, was to alter hormonal inputs in pregnant ewes “during the period of gestation when the sheep brain is maximally sensitive to the behavior-modifying effects of exogenous testosterone.” When the attempt failed, they concluded that the dosage should be increased.”

“We are poor little lambs that have lost out way,

“Would hormonal intervention work in humans? Should we try it? Some thinkers are intrigued. Last year, Rev. Albert Mohler Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, wrote: “If a biological basis is found, and if a prenatal test is then developed, and if a successful treatment to reverse the sexual orientation to heterosexual is ever developed, we would support its use.” Mohler told the Associated Press that morally, this would be no different from curing fetal blindness or any other “medical problem .” Rev. Joseph Fessio, editor of the press that publishes the Pope’s work, agreed: “Same-sex activity is considered disordered. If there are ways of detecting diseases or disorders of children in the womb … that respected the dignity of the child and mother, it would be a wonderful advancement of science.”

And deprive the Pope of a boyfriend?

How rude!

“If the idea of chemically suppressing homosexuality in the womb horrifies you, I have bad news: You won’t be in the room when it happens.”

We’re not in the room for the Iraq War either.

“Parents control medical decisions, and surveys indicate that the vast majority of them would be upset to learn that their child was gay. Already, millions are screening embryos and fetuses to eliminate those of the “wrong” sex . Do you think they won’t screen for the “wrong” sexual orientation, too?
Liberals are slow to see what’s coming. They’re still fighting the culture war. The Toronto Star, like other papers, finds a neuroscientist who thinks the new study “should erode the moral judgments often made against homosexual preferences and rebut any argument that it is a mere a lifestyle choice.” Well, yes. But then what? The reduction of homosexuality to neurobiology doesn’t mean your sexual orientation can’t be controlled. It just means the person controlling it won’t be you.”

That’s because, Lord Saletan, we know full well who WILL be doing the controlling — Eros from Plan 9 !

Can’t you see him now explaining it all to us? Why is this happening, O Visitors From Another World?

“Because of death. Because all you of Earth are idiots! You see! You see! Your stupid female brains! Stupid! Stupid!”

And now a final word from one of my favorite female brains, Oscar Hammerstein II

“I’m a girl, and by me that’s only great!
I am proud that my silhouette is curvy,
That I walk with a sweet and girlish gait
With my hips kind of swivelly and swervy.

I adore being dressed in something frilly
When my date comes to get me at my place.
Out I go with my Joe or John or Billy,
Like a filly who is ready for the race!

When I have a brand new hairdo
With my eyelashes all in curl,
I float as the clouds on air do,
I enjoy being a girl!

When men say I’m cute and funny
And my teeth aren’t teeth, but pearl,
I just lap it up like honey
I enjoy being a girl!

I flip when a fellow sends me flowers,
I drool over dresses made of lace,
I talk on the telephone for hours
With a pound and a half of cream upon my face!

I’m strictly a female female
And my future I hope will be
In the home of a brave and free male
Who’ll enjoy being a guy having a girl… like… me.

When men say I’m sweet as candy
As around in a dance we whirl,
It goes to my head like brandy,
I enjoy being a girl!

When someone with eyes that smoulder
Says he loves ev’ry silken curl
That falls on my iv’ry shoulder,
I enjoy being a girl!

When I hear the compliment’ry whistle
That greets my bikini by the sea,
I turn and I glower and I bristle,
But I happy to know the whistle’s meant for me!

I’m strictly a female female
And my future I hope will be
In the home of a brave and free male
Who’ll enjoy being a guy having a girl… like… me.”


  1. chris June 19, 2008 10:56 am 

    Perhaps the best response to Lord S. is another phrase from Hammerstein:

    “The Gentleman Is A Dope!”

  2. Gary M June 19, 2008 9:10 pm 

    Excellent post. Any excuse for those Plan 9 stills would do, but you picked an unusually good angle of attack.

    My teenage daughter watched the Tonys with us and was amused by the obvious ironic subtext of “There is Nothing Like a Dame”, for the same transparent reasons the Hollywood Gay Men’s Chorus used to sing the number 25-30 years ago. Ehrenstein’s got whole books on this sort of thing! Look on the shelf right over there….

    BTW, what’s the official DE line on the Human Rights Campaign? as an entity, an organization. Even so-and-so at The Atlantic seems to hate them.

  3. David E June 20, 2008 7:33 am 

    Well then the “Principle of the Stopped Clock” must be cited. The HRC is a disaster — a Money-Suck designed to give its officers Beltway cache. And nothing more.

    Orgs like the HRC underscore the class divisions that have hobbled the gay rights movement over the past three decades. Gay Rights came from the streets — not the suites. There have been tumultuous changes since Stonewall but the pushy presumptuousness of the upper middle-class remain the same.

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