Anthony Esolen is a literature professor at Providence College, a Catholic school in Rhode Island. He’s joined NOM as “the latest addition to the Ruth Institute Circle of Experts” and, well, he’s not off to a good start.
His first contribution is a long, meandering complaint that lust is bad and dominating our culture, while romantic love is good but on the wane. Esolen goes on and on, writing sentence after sentence, each more vague, transcendent, and floppy than the last, until finally you wonder if he’s an actual English professor or just a fictional creation meant to parody one. Here’s a sample:
Beasts copulate; but men and women are meant to marry. They perform the marital act; they know, when they unite in that act, that it is, or it ought to be, the seal of a love that, to quote another of Shakespeare’s sonnets, “bears it out even to the edge of doom.” We are the creatures aware of time, and oriented toward eternity. We know that the act of marriage brings into the bond of love the past generations, whose history we bear in our loins, and the present, and the future, in the child that may be born of the act. We cannot copulate! We cannot forget, when we unite, that we are doing what our parents did…
And I had to stop there because it’s just too funny. It’s a mark of how bad Anthony Esolen’s writing is, this unintended statement that whenever he has sex he can’t stop thinking about his parents (wasn’t there a Friendsepisode about that?). And, of course, the exclamation point in “We cannot copulate!”
He gives us nearly 1500 words of this, but the very beginning is what really sets me off:
Several weeks ago, Saint Valentine’s Day at my school came and went. There was no dance. There was no concert. There was no ice cream social. There was no party for trading little gifts. There was no showing of She Wore a Yellow Ribbon or Marty or Goodbye, Mr. Chips or Casablanca. There were no foolish and innocent flirtations on the way to class.
I can believe — though I heartily doubt — Esolen went to the trouble of confirming there was no dance, no concert, no ice cream social, no special screening. I do have to wonder how he determined no one threw a party to trade little gifts (though between that and the ice cream social, it sounds like he’s confusing young adults celebrating their love with second-graders in homeroom).
I draw the line, however, at believing there was nobody flirted with anybody on their way to class. That’s when I realized: Anthony Esolen has nothing to say. He’s just sitting at his desk, making crap up. Perhaps he meant this as a poetic flourish or hyperbole, but if so it’s bad poetic flourish and lame hyperbole.
I guess this is trivial, but it’s also symptomatic of a bigger problem: The anti-gay movement in general has nothing left to say. They’re left with meaningless rhetoric or outright lies — as when their attorney at the Supreme Court argued DOMA wasn’t borne out of anti-gay animus, but simply a desire to standardize marriage law across states, or just the other day when NOM falsely claimed once again that the Regnerus and Sirota studies were about same-sex parenting.
If I’ve grown more snarky lately (and I have) it’s because our opponents have stopped giving us red meat to chew over. It’s all cotton candy from them now. Just wave your hand through it and you’re left with nothing but a stickly, sickly mess.
I hope this video will convince people once and for all that same-sex couple have no right to “marry,” because their unions do not satisfy a compelling State interest. And then we can stop this whole silly debate.
I’ll have to push today’s video for the National Marriage Organization to tomorrow. Unlike my allies, Brian Brown and Thomas Peters of NOM, I don’t get paid to do this, and thus have other work to complete.
Speaking of Thomas Peters, could you all help me out? Thomas made me sad the other day when he tweeted this:
most gay activists who attack me have less than 10 followers. They don’t even have the courage to say mean things with their real account!
Actually, it wasn’t Thomas Peters who made me sad, but the gay activists who mocked him for this tweet. See, apparently Thomas’ very big brain is so very strained with his many main arguments against same-sex marriage that he has forgotten about his very sensible policy of blocking gay activists who address him with their real accounts.
I mean, he did that to me, and I totally deserved it. What kind of decent person would ambush the Communications Director of an organization by calling him at work to ask about one of the organization’s communications?
But I also realized — now that I’m blocked I have no way of telling Thomas I’ve switched to his side! Since I don’t have a video to post today, would you mind taking those 60 seconds to tweet one or more of my videos to Thomas? And also to NOM?
I’d surely appreciate it. I feel confident in saying my little videos completely capture the spirit and depth of their organization.
We’re having trouble keeping to the schedule and had to rush this one through production (who’d have thought creating sound arguments against gay marriage would be so hard?). Hopefully the editors got everything right.
I’ve given up the battle for so-called marriage equality. In fact, I’ve started an organization to promote traditional marriage. For each of the next five days, I’ll post a Public Service Announcement promoting my new cause. Here’s the first. There’s timid or mild about it. Nothing but the truth.
It’s been a long day. A long and scary day. But before I get to that…
You may have noticed that I don’t much write about what is said and done by conservative Christians or the religious right anymore. For quite a long time I’ve referred to our most vocal opponents instead.
That’s because I’ve been schooled by Will’s family, especially his parents. They’re conservative Christians, beyond a doubt. And after a long period of not really wanting to meet his boyfriends, they suddenly changed their mind. There was no big announcement. Four and a half years ago, when our first Christmas rolled around, Will’s mom simply called and asked what time of the day we were coming over. And since then they’ve treated me like family.
Our house is in my name. A year after Will moved in we remodeled the kitchen. Will’s family, led by his dad, came down for the demolition. And it was a crowd, because Will (at that time) had 8 nieces and nephews — it’s up to 10 now. The cutest memory is his 3-year-old nephew grabbing a fist-size piece of floor tile and running to throw it in the enormous trash bin. Meanwhile, Will’s brothers and parents (including his mom) were taking sledgehammers and pickaxes to our flooring and walls. We took that mother down to its studs and saved about three grand doing it. Then Will’s brother Gordon, an electrical contractor, ran the kitchen wiring.
Back to the point: This was pulled together by Will’s conservative Christian father, for a house that wasn’t in his son’s name. And he did it not in spite of but because of his conservative Christian family values. And I think you can date the change in my vernacular to about that time, though I don’t think I was aware of it as it happened.
So, today. Today we got word that one of Will’s nephews had been in a serious accident. He’d been choppered from his home an hour away to a Children’s Hospital close to our house, and he’d been placed in a medically-induced coma.
He’s out of it now. Looks like everything’s going to be fine. But Will’s whole family descended on our house tonight and I told them the entire place was at their disposal. I mean, come on. They’ve treated me like family for years now. Obviously I’m going to do the same.
Mostly I was happy that Will and I happened to live so close to the facility. My thoughts were chiefly with young Jonathan, but I’d spent a whole week spent reading about how angry our opponents were about the Supreme Court proceedings (angry that their lawyers hadn’t put forth a moral case against homosexuality); as the clan enveloped this house that they helped build, I couldn’t help but remember those awful commentators. I couldn’t help but declare: GO TO HELL.
Go to hell, and go there forever. I’ve never said go to hell with such a sense of moral authority as when saying it to these fools who think that there is something wrong, something immoral, something unnatural, about the safe haven built by this whole family of people who suddenly find it available in their moment of need.
Yeah, go to hell. All I know is that the conservative Christians who were with me today won’t be there to greet you.
And now I have to go tend to the little ones who are too young for visiting hours.