Monday, August 28, 2006

My neighbor's dog can say "Hello", and I think she's a lesbian

Two dogs are having a conversation. One of them says to the other, "Woof!" The other replies, "Moo!" The first dog is perplexed. "Moo? Why did you say moo?" The other dog says, "I'm trying to learn a foreign language."
I was planning to eventually do another piece on homosexuality, and my opinion on what the Bible says about the prospect of "reforming" homosexuals. I was putting it off since it seems to have turned out to be much more of popular topic for my blog than I meant it to be, and I wanted to do some more stuff on comics as an art form. Then I was reading some of the archives on and came across a link and commentary on this: (Note that many of the things linked to in this post require Flash to view.)

Okay, um... There are a number of interesting current events that I like to comment on, and I'm rather fond of constructing a good metaphor to illustrate my point, as anyone who has read my stuff or talked to me in person knows. (Yes, readers, I actually talk like I write if you get me started, just with less parentheses.) I don't always know when a metaphor is particularly good, but I sure think I can spot a bad one.

Let's summarize: Colorado doesn't need domestic partnerships because DOGS DON'T GO "MOO"! Wow, you've got to hand it to them; if there were any valid points to be brought up about this issue, they were completely overshadowed by the ridiculousness of the really awful metaphor. Although the dog is pretty cute, I guess. I really do think they brought up some good points, but before you really get to them, you get loaded up with some really odd baggage. Let's walk through it, shall we?

When I first opened the site, I didn't have my headphones on, so what I saw was a dog with a line connecting to the word "sherman". That alone was quite odd, as it looked like the sort of simplified quote balloons some cartoonists use, and in fact, the very same animation uses only two seconds later with "woof". My first thought was not that this dog was supposed to be Sherman, but that the dog was calling to Sherman, and we were about to be treated to a new episode of . I expected, "Sherman! Come set the WABAC machine for 1955, when even liberals had respect for traditional family values!"

Okay, once the short animation (so short and simple that it's hard to understand why they bothered with flash at all) was over, it was clear this wasn't going to happen, but instead, we're treated with the claim: "If dogs were born to bark, why are some people trying to convince you they can moo?" Wow, I thought, who's trying to do that?

After some web searching, I discovered that they really exist, apparently. I'll get to them in a moment. For now, let me just say that I found the site rather confusing because I had no idea what they were talking about. A reference to the original mooing dog would have been quite a bit helpful in determining that while they were partaking in this nonsense, at least they weren't the originators of it. I guess they assumed that residents of Colorado would know about it, and that's what's important.

They're talking about , which apparently is an ad campaign to convince Colorado residents that homosexuality is just as normal as a dog that goes "MOO". Boy, if I wanted to convince people that gay people are weirdos, I think I'd be behind this message 100%. Which brings me to a new strange thing about the "No moo lies" site that I wasn't even thinking of when I began to write this post: If these guys are trying to be taken serious for their mooing dog, I'd think the best way to counter their message is to echo the message back and say, "Gay marriage is as natural as this dog who moos? We probably couldn't have put it better ourselves!" As I myself said in a comment to the site:
Moo? This doesn't make any sense. What does mooing have to do with sexual orientation? I don't think making Norman your spokesdog if you will is winning too many points. Some dogs hump their owner's legs, which comes closer to the concept of sexual orientation than mooing. Is this a connection you want people to make? If you're gay, you're just another person. If you're a dog that moos, you're a freak for the sideshow. C'mon, now.
A commenter back at Wonkette says (in response to the Sherman site's question "Why can't we base our behavior on what animals do?"):
Indeed. I'm off to lick my balls and take a dump on the sidewalk.
I'm not sure who that sarcasm was aimed at, as I'd originally thought it was at the anti-gay marriage site, but the link given goes to a page that is intended to point out the ridiculousness of the idea. As they say on that page, animals do a lot of stuff, including (as I said, but they refrained from, no doubt in order to be family friendly) attempting to have sex with other species. I don't think the pro-gay marriage people want to support bestiality, as that would just be begging for a slippery-slope argument that, well, nonetheless might be worth pondering.

Now, one of the odd things that get brought up by both sites is the timely, important issue of . I wish I could have made this up, really. Born Different points to the story of two male penguins in New Zealand that have been nearly lifelong partners, choosing each others' company over that of female penguins. For some reason, they refer to them as the "unlikeliest gay couple". I don't know if that's because they have some stats on how penguins are the least gay species on the planet or something, or maybe it's because, as the article says:
"They don't actually bonk," says [bird curator Rochelle Deane]. "But they're totally out there."
You know, in college I had a roommate for three years. We were both men and we lived together, cooked food for each other, went to movies together, and spent far more of our free time with each other than with members of the opposite sex. We didn't "bonk" each other, though. Still, I suppose we may have been gay and I just missed it. No-Moo-Lies points to another same-sex penguin couple in New York, who not only kept a monogamous relationship with each other for several years, but was allowed by the zookeepers to hatch an egg and raise a daughter together. They of course point to this because of the twist ending: a female named Scrappy was introduced into the mix, and one of the "gay penguins" became "perhaps the world's first documented ex-gay penguin". You know what I like about the way the traditional-values people bring up these penguins in response? Two things. First, the way they refer to Scrappy as "a hot little bird" or "a saucy female penguin". I'm wondering if there are any sites out there that refer her as a "darling little God-fearing penguin seductress"? I guess I just did; can I copyright that? Second thing to note is that it's funny that the anti-gay marriage folks want to point to the ex-gay penguin as evidence of anything (perhaps I'm misunderstanding their intentions), because it seems like they're giving credence to the idea of gay penguins meaning something in the first place. If so, what does all of this really mean in light of the fact that the little girl penguin they raised is now apparently in a committed relationship with another female? There's some sort of gay animal soap opera happening at that zoo, I tell you.

Both sites talk a bit about sexual orientation and genetics. Born Different points out that there are identical twins that are both gay, such as Canadian musicians . (Pretty good musicans, actually, I've heard their stuff.) We are told that "[I]f one twin is born gay, there is a higher chance (52%) that the other will be gay as well. [S]ince identical twins share DNA, this tells us that genetics plays a part in sexual orientation[. T]hat means some people are born gay." While there is no citation given for the initial statistic, I'm more than willing to believe it. However, I don't buy the claims that follow. Consider replacing the word "gay" with "blond" in the first sentence. What would you expect the percentage to be? I'd expect 99%, maybe more. There may indeed be a genetic component to sexual orientation, but I don't think the stats given are showing anything of the sort, and it certainly is not proven that people are "born gay". They may be, but I know of nothing (certainly not this statistic) that would prove this. (Forget "blond" now and replace "gay" with "affluent"; genetics thus plays a role in personal net worth, right?)

Now, despite the (suggested) fact that people are not born gay, the people at No-Moo-Lies admit that "Same-sex attraction results from a combination of factors...which can begin in the earliest stages of childhood." Now, while I don't see them explicitly making a bad assumption here, it does seem to be implicit all over their site: that if you weren't "born gay" then you must have chosen it, as though those are the only two possibilities. Both my mother and I were born with blond hair. As we entered our late teens, our hair turned more of a light brown, and then eventually, in our early 30's started going rather grayish. I wasn't born gray, but I didn't choose it either. Nor do I mind, I rather like the look. Of course, I could dye my hair whatever color I want, and be an "ex-gray".

Does genetics make something right to do, or wrong to deny? I knew a guy in school who strangled his girlfriend to death. His older brother did, too, a few years later. It was later found out that their father (who had not raised them, and therefore only influenced them through his genetics) was in prison for strangling his own girlfriend to death. It seems like this family carries a genetic disposition towards girlfriend-strangling. Does that make it right? Of course not. Is homosexuality the moral equivalent of girlfriend-strangling? Let me be crystal-clear that I don't want to imply that at all! I only point out that genetic inclination doesn't imply a moral high ground. It seems that some gays can change. (And I assume that not everyone who has a desire to kill their significant other acts out that desire.) Maybe all can, who knows? Maybe it's all an illusion, and as some people have claimed, "ex-gays" are really reoriented bisexuals. I don't know. No-Moo-Lies doesn't really address the issues of homosexuals who failed to be changed by the therapy, and Born Different doesn't address the few successes as far as I can find. One report linked to states:
To date, there are no scientifically rigorous outcome studies to determine either the actual efficacy or harm of "reparative" treatments. There is sparse scientific data about selection criteria, risks versus benefits of the treatment, and long-term outcomes of "reparative" therapies. The literature consists of anecdotal reports of individuals who have claimed to change, people who claim that attempts to change were harmful to them, and others who claimed to have changed and then later recanted those claims.
In other words, we all seem to have opinions, but nobody seems to have conclusive hard data. In lack of such data, where is a Christian to turn to? Maybe this is a place where the Bible gives some insight, at least if you're of the theological stripe to recognize the Bible as the Word of God. From :
Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
Gee, harsh words. Some people love to trot out this verse to condemn homosexuals, probably because it's one of the very few that actually mentions homosexuality. But note that "homosexual offenders" is only one of ten different types of people that are mentioned. I think there are few people who won't find themselves on this list somewhere, if not in more than one of the items. I know most of them would have been appropriate labels for me at some point in the past. So where's the hope? Did we forget to finish out the paragraph? Next verse:
And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
A good lesson not to take a verse out of context is here. If you are a Christian, and you believe that God will not change some aspect of you because there is nothing wrong with it, then that's a moral position that may be defensible. If you are going to claim that God cannot change you, you're making a theological statement about the power of God. Maybe God thinks being gay is alright. Maybe not. I do think it's quite likely that God would rather see us spending time and energy on things other than mooing dogs and .

Oh crap, and I just wrote my longest post ever on the subject, too.


marauder said...

I'm really confused now, after reading your post. Are you saying that it's OK to be gay because you and your roommate weren't saucy penguins? (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)

Brucker said...

I resent the insinuation that I am not a saucy penguin.

Brucker said...

On neither a positive nor negative note, I recently came up top ranked on somebody's search for "bestiality sex archives".

breakerslion said...

Two obese penguins, spicy sauce, Leviticus, Cleese, pizzles, Onans, on sexy meat buns?

"Sorry." - John Belushi in Animal House

Brucker said...

Did it take you two weeks to come up with that, or is that off the top of your head?

Brucker said...

Just out of my own curiosity, I decided to see if Wikipedia had info on gay penguins. Apparently on the main penguin page, there used to be a section, but it was removed for being of questionable informational value.

Brucker said...

Okay, the Internet and wikipedia in particular truly have no limit. The wikipedia article on animal sexuality has, among other things, the description of a male duck who was observed having sex for over an hour with the corpse of another male duck.

I don't care what's natural, that's just plain wrong.

gregpeters said...

Apparently there was enough evidence that "reparative" treatments are harmful that California passed a law banning them for teens:

ABC News post on 10/1/2012: "Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation that makes California the first state to ban a controversial form of psychotherapy that's aimed at making gay teenagers straight."

gregpeters said...

If Colorado is intent on using animal sexual behavior as a guide for humans, they might reconsider after reading about bonobos, who by the way are genetically closer to humans than dogs or penguins. Here's a paragraph from Wikipedia:
Sexual intercourse plays a major role in bonobo society observed in captivity, being used as what some scientists perceive as a greeting, a means of forming social bonds, a means of conflict resolution, and postconflict reconciliation.[33] Bonobos are the only nonhuman animal to have been observed engaging in all of the following sexual activities: face-to-face genital sex (although a pair of western gorillas has been photographed performing face-to-face genital sex,[34]) tongue kissing, and oral sex.[35] In scientific literature, the female–female behavior of touching genitals together is often referred to as GG rubbing or genital–genital rubbing. The sexual activity happens within the immediate community and sometimes outside of it. Bonobos do not form permanent monogamous sexual relationships with individual partners. They also do not seem to discriminate in their sexual behavior by sex or age, with the possible exception of abstaining from sexual intercourse between mothers and their adult sons. When bonobos come upon a new food source or feeding ground, the increased excitement will usually lead to communal sexual activity, presumably decreasing tension and encouraging peaceful feeding.