From the Straights to the Gays, Shame Binds Us All (And That’s The Way The Owners Like It)
by Liam Scheff
The first thing you should know is this: your thoughts, your morals, your sense of ethics, boundaries, values – are not your own. You are a robot slave, programmed by shame. You run on it most of the time – especially when it comes to the management and suppression of your deepest impulses (and your truest self). Shame is the constant undercurrent of the western – and eastern – world, and how everything that we say we value gets done.
Wherever you are in the world – whatever city, state, nation or tribe – manages people through public and private approval or shame.
America, American, the United States. This place doesn’t really exist. The idea that America is a single entity is an illusion maintained by television, capitalism, and cookie-cutter consumer outlets dotting our highways on the way from cul-de-sac to gas station to Target-speckled glyphosate-lawned netherworld.
This America is a fiction, a fib, even a lie, overlaying the corpse of the first half of the 20th Century which still remembered all the centuries of conquest before. A nation of tribes and people brought in on long boat trips from hungry warring lands in Europe, as servant classes from Asia and Ireland, as slaves from Africa.
This truer America will rise again in the collapse of the oil state this century; indeed, we can already see the tribal divisions hoisted proudly in a fever pitch of combative jingoistic nationalisms that all claim to represent the “real” America. All are racist – as all tribes are – and all are crazy and inflexible, as all Americans have become.
So, how do you manage a nation of people who are bound by petroleum highways and low-low-Wal-Mart prices when the highways fail and the toxic products of the petrol age are no longer ours for a penny?
The answer is what it always was: shame. And the best and most easiest thing to shame is something the Catholics, Christians, Muslims and Jews figured out a long, long time ago. The best thing to shame is that set of mammalian processes and ethereal desire dreaming that is the most genuine currency of our beings. That thing called SEX.
Touch, heat, electricity in the body; turn-ons, thoughts of loving, desire, scents of hair and the cinnamon perfume of skin; what causes us to find release and hope in the muddle of our flesh-bound, hungry and thirsty lives. Sensual, loving, fervent and fevered, languorous and forgetful; sex. A word that fails to convey the depth and breadth of its undiscovered country.
The best way to control people is to take that thing that they can’t control – a thing as natural as respiration and perspiration – the impulse to love, to touch, to be loved, to commune, commingle and canoodle…to feel the boundaries of these bodies we’re given; to blend ourselves with our brethren, forgetting the impulses of survival-anxious ego, and float in a sea of forgiving chemistry issuing from ourselves and each other; a dream place reachable by any on earth with skin to caress and cheeks to press against chests, hips and cheeks.
This built-in self-saving survival system – this is where the managers of the first city-states plunged their stake and attached their iron chain. It would be the sex lives of all that would be suspect; our impulses to love as a tribe, with looser affiliations and general forgiveness for love among peers in the group; with ideas of ‘marriage’ that for us have no comparable point, except in consumer affairs – the idea that if you didn’t like the way something was going, you could return it without indignity, fuss or shame. People were meant to be happy, it was understood among many tribal peoples; and inside the boundaries of tribe, relationships were expected to be often fluid over time. The group was responsible for all members of the tribe, and all members participated in supporting the needs of the group.
This early natural communal life meant that no two people would self-isolate, form a separate identity, move far away from all others, and cut off their contact with anyone who might disrupt the guarded jealousy of this strange two-some, who refused to share food, energy, skills and child-rearing with the rest of the tribe.
But that isolating of two-somes is how our western culture emerged from the “darkness” of our formative (and long-lasting) tribal genesis.
Of course, life in a tribe is hard; and other tribes might be treated hostilely, or with suspicion; small skirmish ‘warfare’ would have been something that was a threat that could not always be avoided; and life focused on what we’d consider “manual labor,” truly the work of hands in procuring, processing, weaving and creating the materials that sustained life.
But the concept of Catholic shaming of sex, or Jewish prohibitions against women being sexual, or Muslim edicts against women even threatening to cause men to become excited – these mind-control functions would not have been understood by most of the native peoples of this planet. These sex-shaming devices are the tools of the city-state, the expanded or over-expanded non-tribe, that must find some means of creating a group identity for its people.
Pinned By Shame
The city-state (or overly-expanded tribe) learned to shackle its people by the impulse that used to give them release, comfort, warmth, love, camaraderie and of course, healing-brain-and-body-chemical pleasure. Shame became the primary tool to manage people – so many people – into small isolated pods of two, separated from the rest by the prohibitions against finding anyone else attractive (less the angels weep and the Jewish/Muslim god want to kill you and everyone else), and caused people to reduce their notion of support to one partner, and the children you produced between you (now jealously guarded as property to inherit the jealously guarded land that the pair farmed). The life of the tribe was over in the invention of the city-state.
Men, of course, were always easily excused by satisfying their sexual hunger on any available, unmarried female. Prostitution became a profession as much to satisfy male needs as to excuse women from a life of endless pregnancy, isolation to the house and early death from excess labor and childbirth. Husbands could be expected to have some love, affection and a pressure-release valve on the side. Wives were not granted such a right, and devolved into a kind of drudgery and misery; of jealously guarding what was owned by the male, and of pecking at him for his observable failures.
The modern age improved the lot of women by using oil to do the work of many hands. And feminism decried the unequal treatment of women – including that ‘right of all men’ to fornicate more freely – so as to create a culture in which we are now equally yoked in a system of psychological fear and shame.
Today people proudly swear that they will forever be sensually “monogamous,” without asking if we are truly psychologically monogamous as a species.
It becomes difficult to be anything but – when spoken and unspoken codes of housing, tax, employment, medical care – and all aspects of social living – are built around the couple, and not the tribe. Only the strange outliers pull off the veil and publicly announce that they are “polyamorous,” and are quite happy in larger extended relationship structures.
The Gay Community and Shame
Compounding the reality of sex-shaming which we all face, is the specific Judeo-Christian-Islamic-Hindu prohibition against male-male attraction and affection. That is, everyone on earth is early programmed to be deeply homophobic, and the penis must be the most reviled object in the Western World. Most people imagine that women and vaginas are more deeply shamed than penises – but it’s not so.
The reality can be demonstrated in how we curse. Calling someone a “pussy” might mean that they are a coward, or are not tough enough for a situation. But the word “cocksucker” is simply the most aggressive epithet that can be applied to either male or female. It’s a complete removal of respect, a total denigration of one’s human value.
It must be considered a stunning irony then, that all men desire to have this act performed, and many women really enjoy and hunger to do it – as do many men. The penis, representing a force of violence, cannot be seen as providing pleasure, or being anything less than a weapon, or perhaps, the Jewish God’s tool to propagate the species.
It is in this hatred of male sexuality that we find the creation of the concept of “gay.” In the ancient world, it was entirely common that men would have (from rare to occasional to regular) sensual or sexual contact with other men. This did not require a special designation. There was no shame attached to acts of pleasure, except in some cultures where receiving anal sex was considered “unmanly.” But giving it was not looked down upon the same way, so we can see the denigration of receptive sex as a continuation of the debasement of women.
The gay community was formed most specifically from this desire to liberate men from male sexual self-hatred…but it does so by embracing the idea that the prohibition itself was in some way correct. That is, the gay community doesn’t address the underlying current of shame in the culture – it instead accepts its branding as a total prohibited class: men who have sex with men (and could have sensual experiences with nothing other than men). But this has never been the case in history.
Consider the probable reality that sexuality always has been something that occurs more fluidly than the rigid delineation of “gay” or “straight” would indicate:
If all people are sexual, and sexuality is at least a bit fluid (and not an absolute black and white, plus or minus, but rather existing in shades and variations, as psychologists will tell you is the case in observation), then what good is it to isolate some men from the group of all men, because they often like the company of men? Do we assume that all self-described gay men have never had – or enjoyed – a sensual experience with a woman? (It’s hardly the case. Many “gay” men were once married and did enjoy sensual interactions. So what precisely does “gay” mean if it’s not an absolute?)
“Gay” serves to continue the isolating prohibition on sensual expression; the same that feeds the shame-based concept of isolated, shame-and-fear-restrained coupling whose only purpose is to serve the city-state and not the tribe or the individual. It is not a purely natural division.
This problem can be seen in the isolation of what we’re forced to call “bi-sexuals” from the general conversation of the “gay community.” Bi-sexual people have not been offered much room at the table – because the idea of bisexuality – that a person lives within a natural and variable range of attractions to males and females, manifesting differently from person to person – upsets the very idea of “gay identity.”
That is, if bi-sexuality is real, and occurs everywhere on a subtle scale, then “gay” is revealed to be as phony a demarcation as “straight.” (Perhaps we should more accurately call it “bi-sensuality?” But doesn’t the word “sensuality” already encompass that?)
“Gay” exists as a response to Old Testament prohibitions against a single act – sodomy. Yes, that’s in the Bible. The Jewish conceptualization of “god,” drawn from the lifestyle and practices of the various Jewish tribes, frowned miserably upon male-male sensuality – though the Jewish god did encourage multi-wife relationships, and the well-known host of horrors that color the Pentateuch/Old Testament, from rape, incest and forcible penile mutilation, to all out genocide. (So, tell me again why anybody takes this book so damn seriously?)
But love and affection, sensual or sexual – exist within all people toward people they love and care for. The gay community then is playing the same hand it was dealt. It embraces the shame that was thrown at this single act – and universalizes the act into a total subclass of all human beings; thus destroying subtlety, destroying fluidity, and frankly, embracing the ‘scientific’ eugenic aspects of medicine as it relates to treating sex as a disease, and homosexuality as a more severe disease.
It is because of this psychosis that we have the “AIDS industry,” that technical, pseudo-scientific manifestation of self-hatred, which preys on the deeply embedded shaming of a male-male impulse, and institutionalizes the “testing” of men who admit to this with a device called an “HIV test.” These tests are clinically and technically non-specific, and do not demonstrate any particular infection. The medical literature makes this reality abundantly clear, a reality you can verify through the copious literature available. But the gay community refused to look at its psychosis regarding HIV testing. It villainizes those who present verifiable material on the topic. And it fervently embraces the test – and the life-altering and ending drugs that follow testing – as a means of gaining cultural acceptance in a cult of sexual shame.
Is there a solution? No, probably not. Not for the gay community at large, and not for the “straight community” either. (You can see how ridiculous the term “gay and straight” are when applied to the concept of a worldwide “community” of people who happen to fuck or hug or get excited one way or the other.)
I’m certainly not advocating a mindless free-love way of life as an antidote. That was tried in both the hippy movement and early gay ghettos, and led to a lot of stupidity, sickness and heartbreak.
I am advocating – for those whose eyes are open – to become aware of the power these Old Testament cults have on our minds and souls, and how fucking unhappy they make us as a society. From our heart-breakingly unfullfillable promises of “Christian” marriage, to our massive and onerous, and frankly evil divorce industry, we (if you are awake enough to read this) could do better for ourselves.
The culture can’t be saved, but perhaps your life can be better if you begin to see the hands that are pulling your strings, from childhood indoctrination onward.
Author’s note: I’ll be writing more about the topic of sex shaming as the major means of cultural management. I’ve written about the gay community and the HIV test extensively. What I haven’t connected in my public writing is the reality that our entire culture operates with shame as a control lever.
As I’m struggling with a difficult neuromuscular illness (which I’ve written about in previous posts), I’ve decided to be more forward and focused on this issue, as I don’t know how much time I have (I hope it will be a lot – but I’m also trying to maximize what I can do now) – as it is the one I’d like to spend more time talking about. I think it’s misunderstood, maligned unjustly, and grossly under-represented in adult conversation about sex, society and American life.
If you’d like me to appear on a radio show or write a piece for your journal, write me here or on facebook. Radio interviews must be under 30 minutes due to my energy considerations.
Please support American Heretic by buying a book:
Or donate $5 to $20 on Paypal: