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A Guy's Moleskine Notebook

Thoughts and reflections on works of fiction and literature. Pondering of life through pictures and words. Babbling about gay rights. Travelogues and anecdotes.

  • [1] Annie Proulx: Brokeback Mountain
  • [2] Arthur Golden: Memoirs of a Geisha
  • [3] Yu Hua: To Live
  • [4] Alan Hollinghurst: The Line of Beauty
  • [5] Colm Toibin: The Master
  • [6] Carlos Ruiz Zafon: The Shadow of the Wind
  • [7] William James: The Varieties of Religious Experience
  • [8] Charles Higham: The Civilization of Angkor
  • [9] Graham Greene: A Burnt-Out Case
  • [10] Dai Sijie: Mr. Muo's Travelling Couch
  • [11] Alan Hollinghurst: The Swimming-Pool Library
  • [12] Mikhail Bulgakov: The Master and Margarita
  • [13] Colm Toibin: The Blackwater Lightship
  • [14] Alan Hollinghurst: The Folding Star
  • [15] Ross King: Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling
  • [16] Fyodor Dostoevsky: The Brothers Karamazov
  • [17] Jonathan Franzen: The Corrections
  • [18] Colm Toibin: The Story of the Night
  • [19] John Banville: Shroud
  • [20] Leo Tolstoy: Resurrection
  • [21] Peter Hessler: River Town, Two Years on the Yangtze
  • [22] Ian McEwan: The Atonement
  • [24] Gabriel Garcia Marquez: Love in the Time of Cholera
  • [25] Ignacio Padilla: Shadow without a Name
  • [26] Umberto Eco: The Name of the Rose
  • [27] Richard Russo: Straight Man
  • [28] Fyodor Dostoevsky: Notes from Underground
  • [29] Alan Hollinghurst: The Spell
  • [30] Hermann Broch: The Death of Virgil
  • [31] James Baldwin: Giovanni's Room
  • [32] Ken Kesey: One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest
  • [33] Xingjian Gao: One Man's Bible
  • [34] C. Jay Cox: Latter Days
  • [35] Harper Lee: To Kill A Mockingbird
  • [36] William Shakespeare: The Taming of the Shrew
  • [37] Daniel A. Helminiak: What The Bible Really Says about Homosexuality
  • [38] James Baldwin: Tell Me How Long the Train's Been Gone
  • [39] Kenji Yoshino: Covering - The Hidden Assault of Civil Rights
  • [40] Italo Calvino: If, On a Winter's Night A Traveler
  • [41] Arthur Phillips: The Egyptologist
  • [42] George Orwell: 1984
  • [43] Michael Warner: The Trouble with Normal: Sex, Politics, and Ethics of Queer Life
  • [44] Andrew Sullivan: Virtually Normal
  • [45] Henry James: The Wings of the Dove
  • [46] Jose Saramago: Blindness
  • [47] Umberto Eco: The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana
  • [48] Dan Brown: Da Vinci Code
  • [49] Kazuo Ishiguro: Never Let Me Go
  • [50] Ken Follett: The Pillars of Earth
  • [51] Leo Tolstoy: War and Peace
  • [52] Michael Thomas Ford: Alec Baldwin Doesn't Like Me
  • [53] Jonathan Franzen: How To Be Alone
  • [54] Jonathan Lethem: The Fortress of Solitude
  • [55] Matthew Pearl: The Dante Club
  • [56] Zadie Smith: White Teeth
  • [57] Fyodor Dostoevsky: The Double
  • [58] Jose Saramago: The Double
  • [59] Andrew Holleran: Dancer from the Dance
  • [60] Heinrich von Kleist: The Marquise of O & Other Stories
  • [61] Andrew Holleran: In September, the Light Changes
  • [62] Tom Perrotta: Little Children
  • February 02, 2006


    "Dirty", but not wrong

    Perhaps most people will agree that picking your nose is gross and disgusting. Others might say it's dirty. But just because it's dirty , just because people find it disgusting, doe not really mean it's wrong. In some of the Chinese rural towns, people eat dogs, snails and cats. In my recent trip to Thailand, the streets are laden with foodstalls that tout some of the most curious snack - deep fried crickets and grasshoppers. I grab a small yellow-paper-bag full of these munchies seasoned with salt and spices and gobble it up in no time. These fried insects are crunchier than McDonald fries! Do they look gross? Absolutely! But they taste much better than they look.

    I digress again.

    The point is that dirty and wrong do not necessarily go hand in hand. The same uncomfortable feeling often associates with sexual matters. Descriptions like "dirty" or "gross" or "impure" still surround these sexual talks. The people who feel most uncomfortable about sex are those who fail to appreciate the difference between what is dirty and what is wrong. Most people's attitude toward homosexuality is just like that. They think it's wrong because they feel funny about it. Pressed to explain why it's wrong, a friend of mine couldn't come up with a good reason. All he does is squirm his face.

    Some bust out their religious beliefs and condemn the homosexuals. Unfortunately many of the existing arguments are merely religious, not ethical or moral. For example, the the most quoted passage from Leviticus was meant to separate the Israelites from the Gentiles in order to remain holy. The passage, known as the Holiness Code, prohibited same-sex acts because of religious considerations, not because of sexual ones. Therefore, no thought is given to whether the sex in itself is right or wrong.

    This post will agonize many - but the point is that we have to recognize the difference between the real wrong and the mere taboo. We cannot be obdurate to treat an ethical issue as if it's just a mere convention.


    Blogger Oakland Rezident said...

    A "religious" POV:
    The bliblical passage you describe is not very relevant to the New Testament Christians. Those who study Christian apologetics would probably quote 1 Corinthians 6:9 as a more accurate scripture condeming the homosexual act NOT being homosexual. The word asenokoites is the Greek, although still somewhat obsucure, refers to sexual relations between two men.

    2/03/2006 8:23 AM  
    Blogger Matt said...

    Great post Fern. My understanding is the biblical opposition to prostitution, incest, and adultery does not forbid male-female acts as such. What it opposes is the abuse of heterosexuality. On the same ground, condemnation of "arsenokoitai" does not forbid male homogenital acts as such. In first century, Greek-speaking, Kewish Christianity, arsenokoitai referred to exploitative, lewd, and wanton sex between men. To me, these exploitative acts, and not M-M sex in general, is what the term implied. I appreciate your discussing this so openly with me. Thanks my friend.

    2/03/2006 9:07 AM  

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