Jon Stewart takes on homophobic presidential candidate Michelle (“Gays are a part of Satan”) Bachmann’s equally homophobic husband, Marcus Bachmann, who runs a “clinic” to help “pray the gay away” but leaves the impression that he protests a little too much. It is a pattern that is familiar enough by now: closeted men on the Christian right who repress their sexuality, which then manifests as hostility toward openly gay people — including efforts to “cure” them through Bible-based “reparation therapy.”
In a nice meta-comical turn, Stewart recruits Jerry Seinfeld to counsel him on how to repress his urges to make jokes about a man who may be repressing urges of his own.
Gay activist and author Dan Savage provides some perspective:
Straight people haven’t just gotten used to gay people—to openly gay people—they’ve come to the realization that they prefer openly gay people to lying closet cases. They would rather have a beer with an honest Cam than a glass of champagne with a lying Liberace. And that’s why Marcus Bachmann is being ridiculed: it’s not because he’s perceived to be gay—it’s not because he pings on everyone’s gaydar save Michele’s—it’s because he’s perceived to be dishonest. He appears to be a lying closet case, a lying closet case who’s made convincing other gay people to join him in the closet his life’s work. And straight people don’t like being lied to.
The reason for the links above relating to the implications of homophobia, by the way, is that the response on the right has been to dismiss all of this as stereotyping. However, home truths about homophobia turn out to have both a public record and a scientific basis.
I saw The Tree of Life last night, and it is a remarkable film. I loved all 14 billion years of it. (Yes, it does stretch back to the creation of the universe, but with emphasis on the last 60 years.)
There are two explicit references to the Book of Job, beginning with the opening title card, which refers to God’s confrontation with Job where God asks in the midst of Job’s terrible suffering what he knows about the origins of creation: “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth. . .when the morning stars sang together?” (38:4,7). The entire movie is keyed to this reference, which even then may not fully penetrate the mood of mystery whose motifs seem to be never-ending rounds of love and loss.
Frye, of course, wrote extensively about the Book of Job — about this climactic confrontation between God and Job especially — and, not surprisingly, offers clarification. From The Great Code:
The fact that God’s speech is thrown into a series of rhetorical questions to which “no” is the only answer seems to give it a bullying and hectoring quality, and certainly there is no “answer” to Job’s problem. But did we ever seriously think that so great a poem would turn out to be a problem with an answer? To answer a question. . .is to accept the assumptions in it, and thereby to neutralize the question by consolidating the mental level on which the question was asked. Real questions are stages in formulating better questions; answers cheat us out of the chance to do this. So even if we are dissatisfied with God’s performance, a God who was glibly ready to explain it all would be more contemptible than the most reactionary of divine bullies.
We remember that Job himself was groping toward a realization that no causal explanation of his alienated plight was possible. In a sense God is speaking out of Job’s own consciousness here: any causal explanation takes us back to a First Cause, that is the creation. The rhetorical questions really mean, then, in this context: don’t look along the line of causes to the creation: there is no answer there, and no help there. How Job got into his position is less important than how he is to get out of it; and it is only because he was not a participant in creation that he can be liberated from the chaos and darkness within it. (CW, 217-18)