Penises and Proselytes

July 30, 2008 | By | 1 Reply More

The chamber, flickering by massed candle light, is stuffy and just a bit noisy from all the shfting fabric and heavy breathing, muttered comments and borborigmi. The couple in the opulent bed seem annoyed, but they’re forcing themselves to play along and be jolly. He manages—he’s been through this before, of course—but she is having difficulty with the idea of being unclothed before an audience.

“We must do this quickly and have done,” says he, “then they will leave us to our bliss.”

She eyes him suspiciously, then nods curtly, hikes up what little she has around her hips, scoots down, and spreads her legs.

Ponderously, he rolls atop her.

A minister, a member of Parliament, two servants, and a Duke move closer to observe.

“A little to your left, Highness,” says the Duke.

Everything slides home. The woman winces visibly (it doesn’t really hurt, but there is the expectation of virgin ritual to fulfill).

“It is done,” the minister says, whereupon the Master of the Chamber begins shooing everyone out of the room to leave the newlyweds alone.

Macabre? Loosely, we’ve just witnessed the wedding night of Henry the VIII and…well, one of the six. It was a State Affair, the First Time, and required witnesses. The realm must be assured that the king’s thing shot home into the queen’s vagina. All is well, the security of the state is assured.

This obsession with where penises go—or whether they go somewhere at all—has, you may rightly agree, no place in a democracy where the provenance of royal spoor has no bearing on state matters (unless one is unfortunate enough to stain a dress with it). In Henry’s day, however, the royals had far less privacy in the matter than the commoners. You would think we’d have learned by now that, really, where what part fits when and with whom is totally irrelevant to anything, well, National…

Not so. California has legalized Gay Marriage and some of its citizens are Up In Arms about it. So much so that they are trying to enact an amendment to ban it. Of course, they’re a bit embarrassed about it as they are now suing to remove the current wording from their Proposition 8, which is one of the more truthful and straightforward such ballots I’ve seen. It states currently that by voting for Proposition 8, the right to marry and be married will be removed from homosexuals—who currently enjoy that right in California. The proponents of Prop 8 call the wording “inflammatory” and want it changed. The problem is, that is exactly what Prop 8 will do.

So why the fuss? Well, they’re afraid such wording will cause people to reject it. It’s too rough, you see.

Personally, though, I think they are also just a bit embarrassed, because underlying this desire to strip gays of the right to marry is this same old pesky problem of where all those penises are going. We can’t crowd into the bedrooms of all these folks—especially since it looks like domestic surveillance might be curtailed again under the next president and Alberto Gonzales is no longer in the Justice Department to make sure our search for terrorists can also be used eventually to root out, you know, perverts—so the next best thing is to try to make sure what Those People are doing is in no way protected by law.

A stretch? Well, take a look at this from Osron Scott Card. I pick on this because Card is an excellent fiction writer who seems to have the ability to empathize (in his fiction) with those he does not agree with. In fact, a read of his novel Songmaster would lead one to expect a profound level of tolerance for alternative perspectives. And yet, compartmentally, he seems incapable of extending such tolerance to, well, reality.

But it is his claim that such legalization of gay marriage is a threat to democracy that I think is interesting. This is another in the long conservative argument over Legislation from the Bench—which they hate when liberals do it, but then they do it themselves all the time in the guise of Strict Constructionism. So this would be great for them—enact a constitutional amendment which would bypass legislative bodies and allow a conservative court to strike down majority mandates based on constitutional law that can be construed as Founding Intent.

It is such a tortuous road, though, for such a silly prejudice. Do people really concern themselves with what other people do with their parts? Does it matter where someone else’s penis goes as long as such use conforms to laws that apply to everyone (statutory rape, forcible rape, etc)?

Maybe it is does. I know it concerns me where mine goes. But I always thought that was a strictly private matter. Maybe I’m wrong.

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Category: American Culture, Bigotry, Civil Rights, Culture, Current Events, Law, Politics, Sex, Whimsy

About the Author ()

Mark is a writer and musician living in the St. Louis area. He hit puberty at the peak of the Sixties and came of age just as it was all coming to a close with the end of the Vietnam War. He was annoyed when bellbottoms went out of style, but he got over it.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The thing that struck me most about the O.S. Card article wasn't homophobia or lack of empathy – he seemed to be rather more empathic than most anti-gay-marriage types actually, didn't talk about sin or "homosexuality is a choice" or anything – it was his obvious prejudices about women. It's not surprising that he would think that way, considering he's a Mormon, but it was a little bit disheartening nonetheless. Misogyny simply dripped: single mothers hold contempt for marriage, but unmarried fathers are to be excused because they're following their natural instincts; and those fathers are victims, and the mothers victimizers, because they force the father to help pay for the children without also guaranteeing that their bodies will be available to the man for the rest of their foreseeable lives (since no fault divorce is unacceptable to Mr. Card). Never mind that those single mothers are both working and parenting full time, usually for a lower salary than the father. Though I found it interesting that Mr Card seemed to indicate that it would have been better if they had aborted rather than being single parents – I wonder what he would say if you asked him?

    Not that I don't think his arguments against gay marriage are ridiculous, but one tends to notice what applies to oneself, hey?

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