How Liberal We Are

“One In Twenty” By Brian Magee

Anyone who is not a positive nut-case can see easily enough through the filth of Reuben’s squalid and shameful little book. The array of vegetables and kitchen utensils supposedly used in sex is so absurd that one can only feel happy the street theatre of G.L.F. in one of its less crazy moments guyed this pernicious nonsense.

But Brian Magee’s book is couched in seemingly such reasonable terms, I feel like adapting to it the term of Mark Antony in his funeral oration over Caesar “but Brutus is an honourable man, all honourable men.” How sorry he is for a poor homosexual who cannot bring his love to a B.B.C. or television House party or dance. Why the hell not! He goes to “gay” clubs, spends the evening there and reaches the amazing realisation that, after all, this love is not unnatural and abnormal.

Whenever I see the word “normal” my hackles rise. As someone fairly proficient in existentialist and phenomenologist types of thinking, I believe that abstract universal do not apply to any concrete and particular individual. A tree, a book, a shoe is nothing but itself. Man, on the other hand, is a combination of choices, each unique and gratuitous. There is no universal precedent for right action, because all actions are unique and singular outcomes of choice.

Brian Magee so generously deplores the fact that there are no serious homosexuals. I need not embarass my readers by quoting examples to the opposite from twenty civilisations. Is he so happy not to be Leonardo, or MichelAngelo, or Plato, or Winckelmann, or Christopher Marlowe, or, in more modern times, Proust, Gide, Cocteau? What is, in fact, remarkable is not how few serious homosexuals there are but how vast in every significant field of achievement their contribution to art, science, music, the theatre, ballet and philosophy is!

He is patronising to such an extent that he seems never to have realised either that every woman has a masculine side (ANIMUS) and every man a feminine side (ANIMA). He seems to have no idea of the incidence of homosexuality in all primitive as well as advanced cultures, nor sub-cultures nor all species from self-pollinating plants up to the anthropoids. How much wiser Goethe was who said far from being a perversion, homosexuality in its noble-love and ideal friendship went a long way to accounting for the glory of Greece and the greatness of Rome.

But Magee is even more vicious when, seeming so compassionate, he deplores that so many of his friends endure the degradation of cruising and cottaging. Since the Law forbids homosexuals to contact each other and noble Welfare workers have organised clubs and societies where they can meet even if they are at present breaking an insane law, it is because they care for human beings not to express, as Magee does, the gladness of being heterosexual.

More vicious still, this loathsome and repulsive book, the only book I have ever destroyed because of its underhand hostility marked by generous concern, is as repulsive as a film like “Detective” which theoretically attacks homosexual persecution but shows every homosexual in the film as a chronic or potential psychopath or the sort of fairy that no homosexual I know, certainly not myself, would look at twice. Out and out lunatics like Reuben are easy to deal with; but people like Magee are the real enemy. They want to present us as shallow frivolous moral morons but they put it in such charming, apparently reasonable terms that one friend of mine became through reading the Magee book so hostile to homosexuals saying “he deals with the average sort, not the few geniuses,” it provoked in me a real sense of waste. Above all, beware of the enemy posing as a liberal.

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