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Sunday, December 19, 2010

One Consequence of DADT Debate

One of the things about the discussion of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law, and the larger issue of homosexual marriage, is that we are now in a phase in our culture where we are asking if many or all same-sex relations are about sexual activity.  I first thought of this while we were discussing author Willa Cather's longer short story, "Tom Oatland's Story".  The question was raised by one of my fellow students as to if the two prime characters were having a homosexual relationship, up on the mesa all winter long, while they were doing exploring and cataloging at a previously lost early American Indian site.  I never would have thought of it.  My experience tells me no, and I found nothing in the story to suggest otherwise.  But, then I read this analysis of the charter of Captain Louis Renault and wondered if now we might see the relationship between the bar owner, Rick Blaine and Captain Renault as being more "intimate" than otherwise thought.  I would think not, but each generation gets to interpret past events and previous works of art as it sees fit, or maybe even as it feels necessary.  But, then, that means I get to have my own view, however out of step it might be with contemporary views.

UPDATE:  Over at The New York Times Columnist Maureen Dowd speculates about a "Gay Commander-in-Chief", now that DADT has been voted out.  Do I now have to wonder about Ms Dowd's "orientation" or can I still think of her as I have, as part of the majority, just not married?  (I was tempted to type "great majority", but she is still alive and kicking, so she is not in that group.)

Regards  —  Cliff

  The Great Books Foundation Short Story Omnibus. Selected and Edited by Daniel Born, Judith McCue and Donald H Whitfield. (Chicago: The Great Books Foundation, 2009).


lance said...

Two thoughts:

It doesn't matter what her sexual persuasion is now does it! Isn't that the message of the abhorrence with DADT, that we confuse sexual preference (and not necessarily activity, since in the end it is is inappropriate sexual activity, heterosexual or homosexual that is the problem) with the ability to perform our professions (like confusing color, or status, or ...)?

We still have to cope with the Defense of Marriage Act and how that will work for DOD.

C R Krieger said...

I don't think the confusion is of sexual preference with ability to perform the mission.  I think that is pretty well accepted.

I think it goes to other details surround how we act appropriately.  As a weak analogy, these days folks are less likely to say Merry Christmas, even though what they mean is "Merry Christmas".  Could we see the same kind of adjustments being made in this area?

Regards  —  Cliff