Tuesday, 20 February 2007

Phylogenetic, ontogenetic... As long as our mothers love us

Berlusconi totty, Mara Carfagna, ex showgirl transformed into member of parliament for the capo's 'political' party,Forza Italia, announced a couple of days ago that gay couples couldn't be considered families because they were 'constitutionally sterile'. Tell that to a broody lesbian with a turkey baster.

More to the point, as a national legislator (Zeus help us!) she appears to be saying that all childless couples should be denied legal recognition. This would exclude all women after menopause from the joys of holy wedlock, not to speak of those born sterile, soldiers and otherwise whose balls have been blown off in Iraq, bearers of defective genes who choose not to reproduce, etc.

It's a curiously dumbed-down version of biological determinism dressed up as 'natural order.' It certainly doesn't seem to have much to do with spirituality. But, of course, this isn't what she means. Sterility isn't the issue. Gayness is.

And her homophobia was echoed
in yesterday's Repubblica by Vittorio Mathieu--historian and philosopher we're informed by the paper--who announced that he's writing a paper about homosexuality. Before you get too excited, let me give you a foretaste. Apparently, homosexuality can't be phylogenetic, because 'the species would die out.' Well, not necessarily, old chum. As this book says:

... more and more detailed studies of animals in their natural environments made it increasingly difficult to discount all sexual interactions in animals among members of the same sex as exceptions, as idiosyncrasies, or as pathologies. Slowly, but steadily, a quite different picture emerged. A recent encyclopaedic volume by Bruce Bagemihl (1999) on animal homosexual behaviour provides evidence that hundreds of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fishes, insects, spiders and other invertebrates engage in same-sex sexual activity. Clearly, what was once thought to be an aberration appears to be a behavioural pattern that is broadly, albeit unevenly, distributed across the animal kingdom (see also Dagg, 1984; Sommer, 1990; Vasey, 1995). Indeed, within a select number of species, homosexual activity is widespread and occurs at levels that approach or sometimes even surpass heterosexual activity.
But for university professor Vittorio Mathieu, Opus Dei acolyte and contributor to neocon mouthpiece Studi Cattolici, homosexuality must be ontogenetic, i.e. 'a regression to a certain stage of development or the state of remaining in that stage'. In other words, we haven't grown up properly. We're stuck in some early pubescent dick-sucking time-warp. It's an oddly Freudian position for a Catholic to adopt but, as the saying goes, the enemies of my enemies are my friends. Next thing you know he'll be saying our mothers made us. Well, he's certainly giving us the wool.

Guess what! My spell-checker doesn't recognise neocon. It suggests coconut as a valid alternative...

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