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Friday, September 16, 2011

Four Terrible Old Books About Homosexuality, Including 1962's Faggots to Burn

Posted By on Fri, Sep 16, 2011 at 8:00 AM

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Each Friday, your Crap Archivist brings you the finest in forgotten and bewildering crap culled from Golden State basements, thrift stores, estate sales, and flea markets.

Gayness remains a thing that America freaks out over every couple of years when it can't find any real problems. This is not one of those times. Maybe it's because younger generations just don't find homosexuality offensive. Or perhaps it's that no forward-thinking state is currently doing something radical like trying to afford basic civil liberties to all citizens.

For whatever reason, even Republican presidential candidates are keeping mum about the occasional wedge issue that dare not speak its name. To remind us how far this country has come, your Crap Archivist presents this survey of terrible, wrongheaded books about homosexuality scored at California thrift stores. For brevity's sake, I have not included the books whose portrayals of gayness are the most shocking: Leviticus and DSMs I through III.

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Faggots to Burn

Author: Matt Bradley

Date: 1962

Publisher: Art Enterprises Inc.

The Cover Promises: You know that the Britsish use "faggot" as a unit of measurement for stick bundles. Also: "Is the 'Third Sex' taking over Hollywood?"

Tone: Lurid, amused, at times empathetic, and even more often aroused, especially during the case studies, which include lots of spanking.

Chapter Titles: Sick, Sick City; What Is a Queer; A Lesbian Tells All; Odds and Ends

Representative Quotes:

"Hollywood has, to express it succinctly, and to justify the phrase, 'faggots to burn.'" (12)
"A pervert has intercourse with animals, he exposes his genitals to small children, he mutilates helpless women while they are bound and gagged, he indulges in sexual relations with corpses, beats himself or begs to be beaten, even indulges in acts of cannibalism. ... In other words, perverts are nuts. Homosexuals are merely silly." (18 - 19)
Unscientific Assertion:
"The statistics on table-model radio sets stolen from queens by one-night-stand lovers are not available, but must be shockingly high." (59)
Attempt at Defining Terms:
"Your 'basket weaver,' one who likes to advertise his male attractions by wearing very tight pants, can do this to best advantage while casually cocking a leg over something, so that nearly all gay bars have what is called a 'cruising bar,' which is a narrow shelf, waist high, securely braced all around the empty walls." (120)
Does the Book Allege a Conspiracy of Homosexuals? Surprisingly, no. From the chapter "Fact & Fiction":

"Rumor: Most homosexuals are trying to take over the world.

Truth: Most homosexuals are trying to hold on to the lease for their apartments."

The Low Down: Its title more an expression of plenitude than a call for conflagration, Faggots to Burn is in many ways typical of midcentury paperback originals that purport to expose some topic of a sexual nature. While taking pains to express occasional alarm over his topic, author Bradley mostly just revels in a fantasia details of gay life. ("Wigs, gaily coiffed and costing [thousands], are sported. It's a mad, mad night!") He carps that "by his very existence" the homosexual "offends the public taste" and "is no paragon of virtue by any standards," but then he offers this strange tribute: "Rape is the one crime he can never, never be accused of."

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Growing Up Straight: What Every Family Should Know About Homosexuality

Author: Dr. George A. Rekers

Date: 1982

Publisher: Moody Press, Chicago

The Cover Promises: "Specific guidance to parents who want to keep their children from homosexuality."

The Cover Neglects to Mention: Rekers' penchant for hiring "rent boys" to accompany him on trips.

Tone: Aggrieved and touchy. Rekers resents "gay activists" and says so often. He also moans a lot about how resisting "impure temptation" is a great but necessary challenge, for "when we indulge in homosexuality we have 'exchanged the truth of God for a lie.'" Note the we.

Chapter Titles: Gay Liberation -- The Lure of a Deceptive Fantasy World; What Young People Should Know About Homosexual Temptations; "Such Were Some of You" -- True Liberation for Homosexuals

Representative Quotes:

"Everything that the gay activists are working for stands diametrically opposed everything concerned parents stand for in seeking future family fulfillment for their children." (40)
"The destruction of the city of Sodom for unrestrained homosexual sin is God's example for the rest of us." (41).
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Unscientific Assertion That Is Also Pretty Unimpressive:
"Hundreds of individuals have overcome their homosexuality."
Completely Unfair False-Choice Argument:
"Who should have the right to teach children sexual values -- homosexual activists or the children's own parents?" (83)
Proof That No Sentence Containing the Word "Frankly" Is in Any Way Actually Frank:
"I had never talked with an admitted homosexual before, and, frankly, I was speechless." (14)
Does the Book Allege a Conspiracy of Homosexuals? Yes, but only among "activists."

The Lowdown: Rekers' book reads differently today, a year after his rent-boy encounter. Some of it, though, sounds like things he might still be saying, especially this, pretty much any time the 'ol hypocrite walks into a room: "Do not ever joke about your friend's homosexual problem to him or to anyone else."

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The Gay Nineties: What the Empirical Evidence Reveals About Homosexuality

Author: Dr. Paul Cameron

Date: 1993

Publisher: Adroit Press

The Cover Promises: "No hype, no exaggeration, no fear-mongering - just the facts."

The Cover Neglects to Mention: Dr. Cameron, a psychologist by training, has been expelled from the APA and discredited from numerous other professional organizations.

Tone: Faux rigorous and dispassionate but just barely choking back paranoia and vomit. Each chapter boasts a flurry of statistics and facts, most derived from iffy sources or Cameron's own dipshit methodologies, and then a couple statements of conclusive disgust.

Representative Quotes:

"We collected and analyzed obituaries from 16 homosexual newspapers or journals and two mainline newspapers in order to determine a number of facts. ... The average lifespan of the homosexual who died of causes other than AIDS was 42 -- 41 for those with lifetime sexual partners, 43 for those without."
"It was predominantly the homosexual Brown Shirts who provided Hitler with the brute force necessary to support his rise to power." (226).
Chapter and Section Titles: An Empirical View of Gays in the Military; Corporate America Comes Aboard; Child Molestation: A Fairy Tale With Flaws

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Unscientific Assertion:

"Homosexuals don't like to think of themselves as morally deficient or 'ill.' They prefer to think of themselves as normal as Ozzie and Harriet, as natural in their behavior as the Cleavers."
Does the Book Allege a Conspiracy of Homosexuals?: Oh, yes.
"The gay movement is forthright about wanting to legitimize child-adult homosexual sex." (67)
"Col. Black's anecdotes suggest that with a growing homosexual presence, our Armed Forces are already compromised." (224)

The Lowdown: Truly loathsome. Cameron writes, "Homosexual activists habitually argue that they are the victims of violence rather than the perpetrators." He claims that in San Francisco in 1970 a full 24 percent of male homosexuals were raped by other gay men, and that 9 percent of straight men were, too. He insists that there "appears to be a connection between the practice of violent sex and one's willingness to infect someone else deliberately." He defines "rimming." His Family Research Institute soldiers on to this day, promising "empirical research." It's run by his son, Kirk, who is not that Kirk Cameron.

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Someone I Love is Gay

Authors: Anita Worthen and Bob Davies

Date: 1996

Publisher: InterVarsity Press

Tone: Worried and pained, as the authors prep their readers for handling guilt and the possibility of "letting go" -- but still continuing to love -- their "errant" children and spouses. Perhaps this tone is accounted for by the fact that Worthen's own husband is, in her words, "a former homosexual," while her son was -- again, in her words -- "practicing homosexuality." Co-author Davies, meanwhile, admits in the introduction to having felt "drawn to" the "large gay scene" in his hometown, Vancouver, but staying away out of "fear and timidity."

Chapter Titles: When a Friend Says, "I'm Gay"; Guilt: The Continual Crushing Weight; Disclosure: Do I Dare Tell Anyone?; Finding Hope Again: Life After Homosexuality

Representative Quotes:

"Eventually, things fall apart. What does it matter if my house is a mess? a mother will wonder. My son is gay!"(32)
"Here are some symptoms which may indicate that separation is an option to consider:

The gay spouse is spending unaccounted time away from the family.

The gay spouse appears to have given up trying to solve the homosexual problem.

The gay spouse exhibits a pattern of habitual deception." (143)

click to enlarge studies_in_crap_gay_roundup_someone_i_love_back.jpg
Unscientific Assertion:
"Benefits from AIDS: Although it might be hard to believe, there can be some changes for the good that come out of this difficult situation."
Wait, Benefits From AIDS? Seriously?:
"Faced with brevity of life, families may develop a deeper appreciation for each other." (109).
Does the Book Allege a Conspiracy of Homosexuals?: Refreshingly, no.

The Lowdown: The authors instruct readers to offer family members acceptance rather than approval, which is a step forward, I guess, although it's not quite what you expect from Worthen, who claims her husband has successfully grown out of that "destructive lifestyle." Other subjects covered involve coping strategies for visits with gay children and how the most important thing is spending time together -- a belief that flowers into astonishing selfishness in the chapter about AIDS, wherein the authors crow that the process of dying tends to inspire "fresh priorities" and "renewed passion for God."

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Alan Scherstuhl

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