Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Sushi is Gay

Imagine that hot dogs are the only food normal Americans eat. However, sometimes when someone is away from home, perhaps off at college, in the big city, willing to try new things, they may have a friend who takes them to a sushi bar.

Everything is different in these sushi bars. The way the food is prepared, what the food is, how it smells, how it tastes. Sure, kids make fun of sushi on the playground growing up, but for some weird reason, many feel oddly right eating sushi later in life. They like it and swear off hot dogs forever, realizing they never really liked them and only went along with it at family cook outs.

Sushi is certainly an acquired taste, combined with the stigma associated with uncooked meat. The mental repulsion from the pre-conceived notion of sushi may be enough for most people to not even try it, or for those who try it to be unable to enjoy it, even if their tastes are such that they might like it otherwise.

People in small towns may not even see sushi as an option. Sure, you may have queers off fishing in a pond after dark in a state park somewhere, trying to get their fish fix, but for the most part, people would be eating hot dogs. Even people who didn’t like hot dogs might find themselves just eating them to fit in or due to a complete lack of variety.

Then these sushi bars start opening everywhere, and the older generation scoffs. They are set in their ways. Many of them may not even like hot dogs, but they have been broken down and are too accustomed to their old habits and tastes to try anything new.

But the young people, they try the sushi. Their elders chide them, perhaps even jealous of the joy they express at finding something they enjoy more than hot dogs. Maybe some in that older generation sneak out late at night to try a California roll or two, but they lie about where they’ve been, maybe even drink a ketchup packet to disguise the fish on their breath. These are usually the ones who vocally fear that sushi will completely replace hot dogs.

The young people don’t even care. Sure, most of them still eat hot dogs, but they don’t seem so angry about the option of sushi being available. Most don’t even try it, and plenty still mock those who do, but they are by and large more accepting than the traditionalist generation before them. Many even like hot dogs and sushi, much to the disgust of those who think you have to “pick one.”

The older generation crusades against sushi. They warn of sushi-borne disease, while ignoring the fact that hot dogs cause plenty of people to become ill. They claim sushi is not healthy, even though eating hot dogs all the time isn’t healthy either. They claim Jesus never would have eaten sushi, even though he hung out with a bunch of fishermen. Nevermind that there is no mention of Jesus ever eating a hot dog in the Bible…

But honestly, who would eat something that tasted fishy when you could stick six inches of hot meat between some buns and then shove it down your throat?

To me, this is essentially the situation we have in America when it comes to homosexuality.

I think liberals try desperately to say “sexuality is genetic” because the idea that “sexuality is a choice” is utterly wrong. However, this is a false dichotomy: it isn’t one or the other, it is something else completely. It is not consciously controlled, nor is it programmed at birth.

If homosexuality was genetic, how does one explain ancient Greece, the Japan of our scenario? Every Greek male participated in homosexual relationships in ancient Greece, with few or no documented exceptions, just as most Japanese people have tried sushi. Does that mean Greeks are genetically predisposed to being gay, or that the Japanese are genetically predisposed to liking sushi?

Sexuality is socialization, and socialization is a powerful thing. More importantly, sexuality is a matter of taste. Taste itself may be partially governed by genetics, but it is also strongly influenced by socialization, the person’s psychology, past life experiences, and a whole litany of things which may be too complex to determine.

What’s more, just as trying sushi is not an issue of morality, homosexuality has nothing to do with morality. Sure, there are ethics involved in sex, just as there are ethics involved in food (i.e. you can’t eat other people), but there is no ethical dilemma behind sexual preference among consenting adults any more than there is behind one’s preference for non-human food.

Sexual preference is too complex to be “genetic.” No one is born wanting to have sex with anything; our only innate desire is to feel better. When we get hungry, we cry and someone feeds us. When we feel shitty, we cry and someone changes us. There is no sexuality in the equation until we discover that our genitals bring us pleasure.

There was a time not that long ago when people thought masturbation was wrong, and there are even those who still believe this to be so. But then a funny thing happened: we empirically proved that masturbating isn’t bad for us and that it turns out everyone was doing it this whole time. Hence, masturbation is largely no longer seen as wrong.

Since everyone was masturbating to begin with, it’s hard to say masturbation increased once this sea change in sexuality occurred. It will be interesting to see whether acceptance of homosexuality results in a culture of largely bisexual individuals, but I have my doubts that it will. Female homosexuality is already winked at, and while many ladies “experiment” with other women, by and large they settle on heterosexual relationships.

And guys everywhere thank them, because we all know women are settling for second best by deciding to pair with men.

My only question now is: why the stigma against male homosexuality? Doesn’t that just mean more women for the rest of us “straight” guys?


  1. But how do you explain the structural differences in the brain, then? (See: Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008 Jul 8; 105(27): 9403-8. Epub 2008 Jun 16) or the images from the article on my blog. Do the differences arise because of social pressures and choices? Like I took too much Ecstasy and I damaged my brain?

    I do get what you're saying but I know an awful lot of people who have tried desperately to NOT be gay, because it cost them so much socially, and/or severed family bonds. I just don't see that as a choice they made.

  2. Can you try not to like sushi? Can you convince yourself you like hot dogs when you do not? I think you missed the point if you think I argued that homosexuality is some kind of "choice."

    I think you'll find these physiological differences are not rules by any means. If there are people who are gay and lack these features, or people who have these features and lack homosexual urges, then it's clearly not so cut and dry. There is plenty of evidence that a person can "be heterosexual" for decades and then decide they're "homosexual," and it's not like their genetics changed, nor were they "wrong" or against their urges when they were "heterosexual."

    And again, I don't care if someone is gay, it makes no difference to me. I cannot even fathom why someone would desperately try not to be gay unless they're trying to appease someone besides themselves. Like I said, it's not a conscious choice. The "problem" is not in homosexuality, it is in those who treat homosexuals differently.

    How do you explain an entire culture who had same-sex relationships, as the ancient Greeks did? Did they all have these genetic differences? Doesn't saying "it's genetic" just make it seem like some sort of defect or genetic disease? I just don't see why liberals cling so emotionally to this flimsy and frankly dehumanizing argument.

  3. Ginx, I'm sort of playing the devil's advocate on this one in that I think there is a difference between exploration of sexuality (which is sort of what you're implying in Ancient Greece) and biologically mediated desire. I've known a number of people who were living as heterosexuals for many years in large part not because they were exploring it, but because they felt the had to. I've got one such friend at present who existed in a sexless marriage (she says snidely that she was a nosexual) and didn't come out until her mother died. We all know people who have done that, and the degree to which they did or didn't have sex and whether they enjoyed it or not is really not easily perceived.

    As I've said on my blog many times, is having blue eyes instead of brown eyes a disease? People who have blue eyes probably had a defect in their melanin production genes so they made less melanin, long, long ago. Was that a disease? If we looked at it when it first occurred maybe we would have said so. If they were in Africa, their more light-sensitive eyes would have boded trouble. But when they migrated to Scandinavia, that increased light sensitivity would have been a big plus in winter.

    I'm a scientist, and a pragmatist about genetic diversity, which perhaps is a big mistake on my part because a lot of people will simply exploit the concepts involved and yes, make it sound like a disease. But to me, there are animals that exhibit homosexual behavior, and humans are among them. It's what can be called simply a normal variation. Sometimes things that start out as a disease actually have biological functionality in the end, and thus they can be attributed toward success of a species or of a population subset within that species. Kind of like people who have sickle cell trait but not the disease itself being more resistant to malaria. Is that a disease? Not really. It's a trait, possessing the single gene might make you more successful because you live longer and reproduce. Now of course we wouldn't expect homosexuals to reproduce but but obviously they do and have. For all we know, societal pressures for gays to marry and "pretend" has been successful in the sense that they have reproduced and spread their genome. The irony being that perhaps it has the capacity to slow population growth on this planet, which would be a very apt thing at this particular juncture as we're wrecking it and it certainly could do with a slow down in population growth.

    So I guess my point is that I don't think that the distinction was fully conveyed. I don't think that because someone lives in Key West that they're more likely to be gay because they live there. They might be more likely to move there because it's gay friendly. A person living there who was open to trying gay sex might be more likely to do so there than in Peoria because of better, and safer, opportunities to do so. But that person might be better described as bisexual (or to quote another friend, "pleasantly open-minded") than gay. I think if you're really gay that it's probably hardwired. I'm sure there are people out there who are opportunistically gay, but I'm betting that it's not the majority of gay people.

    Does that make sense or at least better explain what I meant than my previous tossed off comment?

  4. Since you're a scientist, maybe you're familiar with the medical history of the very creation of the words "heterosexual" and "homosexual." Homosexuality was a diagnosed disease, and many Christians still see it this way. The very idea of "the gay gene" was first researched by people who sought to eradicate it.

    I don't think you can account for complex human emotional responses through genes. Genes are certainly a factor, but it is a gross oversimplification and a dangerous road to tread if one begins believing our genes define us. The memes we are exposed to are arguably more important than the chromosomes inside the nucleus of each one of our cells.

    I am also familiar with the very real problem of people being repressed by intergender relational stress and come to terms with their preferences very late in life, but there are also people who are homosexual for decades and one day up and decide they want a heterosexual relationship, maybe even if the traditional perk such relations bring (child-rearing) is not on the table.

    This happens because of one simple fact: there is no such condition as "homosexual" or "heterosexual." They are made up terms, distinctions we decided to place on a natural process that occurs all throughout nature.

    There isn't a species that has been observed which I am aware of that has zero incidence of "homosexuality." Only human beings seem to be capable of such discrimination. We are probably also one of the only species that will maintain a relationship that has no potential for reproduction, be it with someone of the same gender or if either partner is knowingly sterile or unwilling to have children.

    In any case, I think the best we could ever hope for is a world that placed no judgment on any relationship, and that terms like "homosexual" and "heterosexual" lose all meaning. I don't think either exists, because all human beings are ambisexual by default, we just pretend to narrow it down as we go along (or society tries to narrow it for us).

  5. Well, I think that to say homosexual and heterosexual are made up terms is kind of like saying any word is a made up term, frankly. There were no words or names for things until we, as a species, made them up, right? It's simply designating which gender you gravitate toward for sexual preference, same or other, right? Is homogenous a denigratory term as opposed to heterogeneous? I guess what you're saying is that homosexual, rather than being a term that denoted who you tended to feel attracted to, was made into a slur, or a word that denigrated someone or spuriously appeared to "diagnose" them, with some sort of defect? Kind of like saying someone was black was a bad thing in another, less enlightened era? I mean, it certainly might have described, in one way or another, an aspect of a person's genetics, but it didn't mean there was anything wrong with them or they were any less a person, right?

    Now, what I wholly agree with you on is that to a greater or lesser extent, probably everyone has the capacity to be attracted to members of their same gender. But I think the preponderance of attraction may be toward one end or the other end of the genetic spectrum when it comes to talking about sexual attraction devoid of the emotional aspects of a relationship. I mean, I really think that if I was in love with a woman I would likely start to have sexual feelings for that woman and wouldn't care about whether the person was a woman or a man. But that's me, and though I've been pretty much exclusively heterosexual (sorry if the term grates on you) my entire 49 years, I'd like to think I'm fairly open-minded.

    What I can also fully agree on is I would like to arrive at the day when who you love and have sex with is wholly unimportant. Especially in comparison to one's capacity to love, do good and lead a meaningful and productive life. Who you're doing that with really shouldn't matter at all.

  6. Oops... I meant GENDER spectrum in that attraction bit. That one may lean toward one end or the other in terms of attraction on the gender spectrum of same <---------->opposite.

  7. I just see it all as kind of like how I see race: as completely unimportant and counter-productive to focus on. I doubt we would put any significance on the matter if religious doctrines had not placed sodomy among the great crimes.

    People are welcome to call themselves whatever they please, and more power to them if they are so sure they know what they want. I certainly wouldn't say it's offensive, just so utterly meaningless.

    In what meaningful way does being straight or gay make any difference? Other than for the purposes of exploitation, discrimination, or some other scary -ation words (oh yeah, I know you can think of a couple!), for what possible use could these terms be used?

  8. I can see it being important for health reasons, for instance. I mean, by your argument, why ask about gender or race? There are definitely health reasons that make it important to define your gender, your race, and your sexual orientation. You may be prone to different illnesses, for instance.

  9. I am of the belief that, if you are open minded enough, you can get off with anyone. I mean, the act of orgasm is accomplished by repeated actions that can be performed by either gender, whether that means same sex or not. However, I do believe what distinguishes a homosexual and a heterosexual is what they prefer to emotionally bond with for a meaningful relationship. Do you want to spend the rest of your life emotionally attached to a boy or a girl? Where do you feel the happiest? Where does it feel right?

  10. Tink, there's a lot to be said for just that... Where are you happiest? Why people wouldn't want you to be happy with someone who makes you happy if it's legal and consensual, I just don't understand.

  11. That is just it.... Sex is just sex. If a person can only get off with a toy, does that make them only in a relationship with a toy? No, most certainly not..... I really do not get what the big deal is either. Even the slaves could get married. There was a point in my youth where I questioned if I was gay or not... I am not. Because, I really have no desire to have any type of long lasting, emotionally invested type of thing with any girl.


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