By Mark Judge – BarbWire guest contributor
There’s a short story that has been published about gay fascism. It depicts a dystopian world where heterosexuality has been outlawed, and those found to be straight are operated on, brainwashed, and reeducated to be gay. The story has deep implications about gay marriage, the abuse of language, and totalitarianism.
It’s called “The Crooked Man,” and it was published in 1955.
“The Crooked Man” was written by Charles Beaumont. Beaumont (1929-1967) was an early author of horror and science fiction, contributing several stories to The Twilight Zone and writing the screenplays to several films, including The Intruder and 7 Faces of Dr. Lao. Beaumont died at age thirty-eight of what is now considered Alzheimer’s disease.
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“The Crooked Man” was first rejected by Esquire magazine, which found it too controversial, and then published by Hugh Hefner, a young man from Chicago who had recently launched a magazine called Playboy. Hefner would receive a pile of angry mail for publishing Beaumont’s story. (Before revealing the plot, a spoiler alert: anyone who wants to read “The Crooked Man” can do so in a handsome new edition).
“The Crooked Man” is really just a couple of scenes. A handsome young man named Jesse furtively ducks into a nightclub. He sits in a private booth, where he is instantly hit on by two separate men. The men have a code, fingers tapping across the stomach, to indicate that they want sex. Jesse turns them down, closes the beaded curtain around the booth, and dims the light. He is waiting for someone — a woman named Mina.
Jesse is in love with Mina, but this future love between straight couples is forbidden. Artificial insemination is the law, and the sexes are strictly segregated. Heterosexuals are considered perverts, and hunting them down is official government policy: “These sick people must be cured and made normal,” announces the platform of the majority political party. Jesse has learned to “pass” in this culture. He learns how to walk gay, and turn down sexual advances — which seem to happen constantly — with tact.
Mina shows up. She is disguised, her flowing blonde hair tucked under a wig. Yet it’s very difficult to hide the movement and expressions of a woman, and she and Jesse are found out. He is quickly removed to a government van, which will take him for surgery, re-education, the works.
Sixty years later, it’s not hard to imagine that some elements of “The Crooked Man” have come true, if not its entire dystopian world. There is a dose of fascism in the gay and trans rights movement, but for argument’s sake it’s important to elucidate exactly what those elements are. Two homosexuals wanting to spend their lives together and share expenses and taxes and visitation rights is not a threat to the republic. What is a threat is the manipulation of language, and a conscience-eradicating resentment that calls for large-scale coercion.
In his recent book Making Gay Okay: How Rationalizing Homosexual Behavior is Changing Everything, Robert Reilly argues that the drive towards totalitarianism is strong in movements and lifestyles that suffer “the rebuke of conscience.” That is, the more your conscience tells you that what you are doing – and doing over and over again, making it a vice – is wrong, the greater lengths you have to go to to rationalize that behavior. Part of the solution is to simply rewrite language or form a pact with others: if you don’t judge me, I won’t judge you. Reilly:
The power of rationalization drives the culture war, gives it its particularly revolutionary character, and makes its advocates indefatigable. It may draw its energy from desperation, but it is all the more powerful for that. Since failed rationalization means self-recrimination, it must be avoided at all costs. This is why the rationalization is animated by such a lively sense of self-righteousness and outrage…This necessarily becomes a group effort. For them to succeed in this, everyone must accede to the rationalization…Since the necessity for self-justification requires the complicity of the whole culture, holdouts cannot be tolerated, because they are potential rebukes.
This also accounts for the corruption of language that is part of the gay marriage revolution. Whereas during the civil rights revolution Martin Luther King, Jr. and other leaders relentlessly kept circling back to the actual, precise meaning of America’s creed and the letter of the Declaration of Independence, modern gay marriage advocates are evasive about words and their meaning. Traditional marriage scholar Ryan Anderson has found it difficult to get judges, politicians, journalists, and even people standing in front of him to answer the simple question: What is marriage? To answer the question would be to risk a rebuke from the rational mind, and that can’t be allowed to happen. So judges, politicians, professors, activists, and journalists push ahead to redefine something that they deny has a definition to begin with.
So are we headed for a “Crooked Man” future? Yes and no. It’s doubtful that the rationalization of the sexual revolution will ever get so extreme that heterosexuals will be arrested and operated on against their will.
Still, there is a movement to convince the public that “there’s no such thing as straight or gay.” According to this theory, everyone is bisexual and it’s just a matter of where you fall on the scale of attraction to male or female. If this scenario is allowed to take hold, we could in fact come to a day when it is decided that something has to be done about girl-chasing Johnny, who’s just too far on the hetero end of the Kinsey scale.
How ironic that sexual libertine Hugh Hefner will be recalled as the first one to publicly note the coming of this sexual devolution.
Mark Judge is the author of A Tremor of Bliss: Sex, Catholicism, and Rock ‘n’ Roll.
First published at RealClearReligion.org
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.