Monday, February 23, 2004
Better lock up those seditious historians!
It's a pity that history isn't taught better in school. Perhaps I've been somewhat fortunate in my schooling that I learned that not everything was Mom, apple pie and blue skies above in US history, but never did I realize just how wild our history has been. While it's a known triva fact that President James Buchanan was the only bachelor President of the US, there may have been a very good reason why he was a bachelor.
Of course his term in the Oval Office was spent in a near futile attempt to keep the peace between the North and South, and thus endorsed slavery in as much to keep the States balanced. So I suppose that if he was gay, the Gay Community have to take the good (one of their own as the Chief Executive of the United States, and a Democrat no less!) with the bad (one of their own condonded slavery, thus leaving the freeing of slaves to a Republican).
Okay, I guess that's why it's not taught that well.
But those historians … they just keep at it. For instance, historian Gary Leupp's Open Letter to Massachusetts Govornor Mitt Romney:
But this is just not true, Governor. You invoke “History” as though it's some source of authority, but you really don't know much about it, do you? “No investigation, no right to speak,” I always say, and if you want to talk about homosexual unions in recorded history you should do some study first. First I recommend you read John Boswell's fine book Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality (University of Chicago Press, 1980), in which he documents legally recognized homosexual marriage in ancient Rome extending into the Christian period, and his Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe (Villard Books, 1994), in which he discusses Church-blessed same-sex unions and even an ancient Christian same-sex nuptial liturgy. Then check out my Male Colors: The Construction of Homosexuality in Tokugawa Japan (University of California Press, 1995) in which I describe the “brotherhood-bonds” between samurai males, involving written contracts and sometimes severe punishments for infidelity, in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Check out the literature on the Azande of the southern Sudan, where for centuries warriors bonded, in all legitimacy, with “boy-wives.” Or read Marjorie Topley's study of lesbian marriages in Guangdong, China into the early twentieth century. Check out Yale law professor William Eskridge's The Case for Same-Sex Marriage (1996), and other of this scholar's works, replete with many historical examples.
What the study of world history will really tell you, Governor, is that pretty much any kind of sexual behavior can become institutionalized somewhere, sometime.
Via Burningbird, On Marriage in “Recorded History,” an Open Letter to Gov. Mitt Romney
History. It's so seditious …
Gotta love it …