Blast from the Past | Vox Pop | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Blast from the Past

Stone Age politics dredge up cultural dinosaurs

How absurd is it that Rick Santorum holds a rally to promote a constitutional amendment outlawing gay marriage and he has Pat Boone beside him? And the press release promoting the rally says that Boone was "the second most popular singer in the United States in the 1950s." Could there possibly be a more salient metaphor for the conservative obsession with turning back the clock? 


Who else stood by Senator Ricky's side? Actor Dean Jones, star of such Disney films as Herbie the Love Bug. I guess Arthur Godfrey wasn't available. Come to think of it, he's dead, just like Santorum's amendment.


It is fitting that the civil rights struggle for gays is being combated with icons of bygone eras, including some who predate the 1960s civil rights movement. Similarly, we'll look back at this period as the time in which conservative white guys just didn't get it, and others were too confused or apathetic to give a damn.


We don't have Osama, Homeland Security lunkhead Tom Ridge says Osama's cronies are likely going to kill some of us soon, and what is Rick Santorum's obsession? Whether the gay couple next door has a piece of paper in a dresser drawer that says one can get the other's Social Security benefits in the event of death.


Allow me to state the obvious: Heterosexual marriages will NOT be threatened by homosexual marriage. Heterosexual marriage is already threatened and has been for generations. Men are pigs. More women have learned how to be pigs in recent decades, so they cheat too. People get bored with one another. One person grows, literally or figuratively, alienating the other person. Dad becomes a drug addict. Mom becomes a drunk. Tragedies befall families and they can't take the pressure. Financial disasters destroy the good life and two people part ways. I've got news for the good Senator: Marriage is already a disaster and married homos living next door couldn't possibly be more irrelevant. Even the '50s weren't really the '50s; Leave it to Beaver wasn't reality. There was plenty of cheating and beating back in the day.


But homosexuals make people feel uncomfortable. People can wrap it up in fancy arguments all they want, but the truth is, gays make people's skin crawl. And so did interracial kissing not so long ago. And so did the presence of minorities or women as equal partners, business or otherwise, not so long ago. Come to think if it, I think "not so long ago" was back when Pat Boone was at the top of the charts and Dean Jones had star power.


Here in modern-day America, conservatives are up to their old tricks. They have to blame somebody. They've blamed Hollywood. They've blamed Larry Flynt. Mostly they've blamed Bill Clinton. Now they're blaming homosexuals. The threat to marriage couldn't possibly be the pressures of modern life or human nature rearing its ugly head. No sir. Must be them damned homos.


So what's really up tricky Ricky's butt? (Insert obvious joke here). Someone called a radio talk show on which I was a guest, claiming to be a liberal lesbian who was once a Santorum intern. She said she never told Rick of her orientation, and all in all he was a nice guy and she learned a lot about government.


Indeed, though in an interview last year he famously foolishly equated homosexuality with bestiality, bigamy and incest, Senator Rick would appear to be a sincere man on this issue, as opposed to evil-to-the-core folks like, say, Rep. Tom DeLay. If you listen to Santorum's friends, they'll tell you he is a sincere man who truly believes his own bullshit.


Senator Arlen Specter said of his commonwealth colleague, "even those who disagree with the conclusion often respect deeply held views."


But if Rick's right about the effect of homosexuality on marriage, one day you'll walk by his house and find that he's gone berserk and thrown his wife and kids naked out into the snow, all because a gay married couple moved in next door.


I can live with that.

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