I honestly thought perhaps I’d seen it all. I doubted anything could be dumber, more preposterous and more inane than what has transpired lately in our crazy cultural wars. (A war that is largely being fought by one side—the left).
I stand corrected.
Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg and his husband Chasten were recently featured on the cover of TIME magazine. If one is of a progressive bent, one might well be expected to approve of the picture, even take…PRIDE!... in it. There could be two “first gentlemen” in the White House for the first time ever! YAY!! Right?
Greta LaFleur, a Yale University assistant professor of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies recently made the following comments on the Los Angeles Review of Books website, as reported by The College Fix: “At first glance, one sees the anonymity of Norman Rockwell’s mid-century America: the house-unparticular porch, the timelessness of the couple form. Take another look and the pillars supporting the unseen roof of the porch start to resemble the Ionic columns of the White House, the background becoming a gesture or a promise of possibility. You begin to see the image in the aggregate, and the couple, girded by a backdrop literally overwhelmed by the household, becomes the timelessness of the entire image. This photo also tells a profound story about whiteness, above and beyond the fact that almost everything in this photo is, itself, white. It’s such an all-consuming aesthetic, here, that it practically resists interpretation; like the generically familiar (to me, a white person) porch, the cover photo claims that there’s nothing to see, because we already know what it is. We have seen this image, we know this couple, ‘we’ should be comfortable.”
That is one hell of an interpretative statement by someone who claims the image of which she speaks…and speaks…and speaks, “practically resists interpretation.”
Ms. LaFleur (the flower!) then averred that “whiteness can be—and regularly is—weaponized by white people.” How? Am I “weaponizing my whiteness” by going to Olive Garden for a “Never Ending Pasta Bowl?” If so, aren’t black folks “weaponizing their blackness” by going to IHOP for All-You-Can-Eat pancakes?
But, happily, she still wasn’t done. She went on to say: “If certain forms of structural power such as whiteness have become detachable from white people, perhaps this is true of other forms of structural power as well. This is not to make a ‘like race’ argument (although this is of course such a problematic staple of so much theorizing in sexuality studies) so much as it is to make a ‘like power’ argument; and the argument I am making, of course, is that this photo is about a lot of things, but one of its defining features is its heterosexuality. It’s offering us the promise that our first gay first family might actually be a straight one. Queer theorists and queer communities have coined terms like homonormativity to describe this effect, but this recent Time cover left me wondering: is this homonormativity? Or just heterosexuality? If straight people can be queer — as so many of them seem so impatient to explain to me — can’t gay people also be straight?”
Wait a minute, if whiteness is detachable from white people, is it possible for a person of color to be whiter than a white person? And she thinks one of the “defining features” of the photo of two openly gay men is its heterosexuality? “Our first gay first family might actually be a straight one?” This is all so confusing. Has it come to this: two gay men, fully clothed, standing outside a garden variety home in the Heartland aren’t sufficiently queer? A few short years ago gay marriage was universally illegal, and now its blasé? Not nearly outré enough for the times?
Buttigieg is a name that fairly begs for some good natured pun-play,
butt but I almost feel too sorry for him to engage in
the exercise. At the rate things are progressing, he may not stand a chance to
be elected if, say, a bisexual, mulatto pans-gendered communist joins the fray.
(President Trump even said he’s fine with Buttigieg’s sexuality. In fact, he said: “it’s great!” If the media and Democrats reacted the same way to this as they have to everything else Trump has ever said, thought, or believed, they would now be denouncing homosexuality in over-the-top terms).