Gay Genes

I’ve been so busy attending to other things, that my blogging here has gone by the wayside. Philosophy is an activity meant for those with spare time.

Besides philosophy, genetics is an interest of mine. An article I was reading, Genetics may explain up to 25% of same-sex behavior, giant analysis reveals, prompted me to react and respond. This article by the Economist came out ,too.

As the article states, there is no one gene, and we can’t even predict ‘gayness’ based on some configuration of genes. That humans’ knowledge of genetics is so nascent is one reason, and over-imagining the impact of genes on behaviours may be a problem. Just because you want to find a relationship doesn’t mean one exists.

My take is that genetics establish a predisposition. Genes may limit your height to 180 cm, but environmental factors may not allow you to reach this limit, and anything short of genetic modification will not allow you to surpass this limit.

I don’t see a reason for sexual orientation to be different. One may have a propensity to same sex attraction, let’s say 70%, but if environmental factors fail to catalyse this predilection, it may never manifest. Even this is too simplistic.

Being ‘gay’ is an identity marker. Just because a person has same-sex relationships does not mean the person identifies as gay. Moreover, one can be ‘virginal’ or celibate and otherwise have had unexpressed same-sex tendencies. More-moreover, ‘gay’ is not about activity; it’s an emotional attraction. A ‘gay’ person might have sex outside of their identity orientation for myriad reasons, for example, access to a partner of the preferred orientation (say, prisoners) or for survival (say, prostitutes).

On balance, I’d argue that this is a quixotic venture into finding the underpinning of a human social construct. Once again, humans obsessed with categorisation, as if finding a category provides special meaning to the thing in it.

Baby, it’s cold outside

Nothing could underscore Barthes‘ proposition—adopted by Derrida—that the author is dead than Baby, It’s Cold Outside.

This Christmas/holiday season, a social media row rages in the shadows of the #MeToo movement, and a holiday classic penned in 1944 is reinterpreted for #today. The central claim is that the content stems directly from a rape culture in the United States. I am not going to argue whether the US have a rape culture or are forged from and tempered by violence—they do; they are.

My contention is about the reinterpretation of language, vilifying an author who is quite literally dead, deceased, demised, expired, no more—unable to defend himself.

The song is about a man and a woman playing a courting game. In my interpretation, she is being coy so as not to be slut-shamed, seeking plausible deniability as she worries about what her mother and father, the neighbours, her brother and sister, and even her aunt, might think.

The kicker for the revisionists is ‘Say, what’s in this drink’ as if it’s been spiked; she’s been roofied; he’s plying her with some date rate drug. This interpretation is preferred to the more period-probable scenario that she’s conveying a signal that she’s feeling a bit tipsy and giving him the go-ahead with a wink and a nod. The decorum of the day suggests that she ‘ought to say no, no, no’, but she wants to say yes and stretches the encounter with another cigarette.

Frank Loesser is dead. Perhaps this is merciful.