Friday, June 20, 2008

Queen Victoria and Today's Marrying Poofs: She Might Not Be Amused...

... But The Duke of Clarence Might!*

Some Christofascist thinking is termed mid-Victorian. And with good reason: the vision of Victoria surrounded by her offspring with Teutonic and boring Albert at her side seems the epitome of family values. She was a stalwart child-bearer - kept in an almost perpetual state of pregnancy by Albert for ten years (nine children), and she let Albert be the head of the family (very Prussian upbringing - I think even the girls were taught to goosestep!). And there were so very many things of which she disapproved: with the exception of the "sublime" Albert, she disapproved of sex in almost any form. (Irony: what is considered, even by today's standards, a very kinky type piercing is called a "Prince Albert" - always an embarrassing situation at airport security). For some people, attendance at her court was considered to be more of a penance than a boon (women especially). Only "naughty Bertie" the Prince of Wales ever livened it up, but even he kept a vast distance between himself and "mama" most of the time. And when Albert died, an entire nation had to mourn - for about twenty years. The palace looked like the main chapel of a funeral parlor and Victoria NEVER wore any color but black for the rest of her (long) life.

Forget the Fabulous Fifties, the Roaring Twenties or even the Gilded Age.. Fundamentalists, Reconstructionists and Christofascists everywhere pray that we must return to the Victorian age before Christ comes again. The Age was so pure, so masculine, so romantic. Why, can't you see Ann Coulter(geist) in a crinoline? At 6'1" and in an 17"-waist whalebone corset, she would have cut a dashing (if odd) figure! And the New Victorian Age would demand that Faith and Religion (Christian only, of course) take precedent over science instead of (horrors!) the other way around as it is today!

A VERY flattering portrait of Victoria

O.K., I'll give up the effusive rhetoric to make a point: the attack on same-sex marriage has become so outrageous as to become embarrassing to the rest of the (yes) civilized world. The latest FRC article focusing on Norway's legalization of same-sex marriage - in the usual Putrescent Perkins style: "Norway Is Not Our Way" - insults the country by characterizing it as the world's non-family-oriented playground:

"Advocates claim that broadening the scope of marriage will actually strengthen it as an institution. But Scandinavia and the Netherlands' experiences with counterfeit marriages have thoroughly refuted that argument. Heterosexual marriage rates have plummeted, unstable cohabiting relationships have increased, out-of-wedlock births have skyrocketed...While other, more liberal countries may be blazing a trail of social experimentation, rest assured they are watching America for validation.",

Huh? Sorry, Perkins, but it's been a long time since any other country looked to us for validation. America is frequently considered the country NOT to copy, especially when it comes to "family values" and foreign policy. George W. Bush saw to it that American arrogance and aggression were placed front and center ahead of the rest of the world. And many of your companion Christofascists are making American religion look, well, too...silly. "Word of Faith" preachers are cropping up, building laser-lighted stadiums so that they can dance to their bizarre untheological theories. Unlike many Americans, Europeans are realizing that they have to learn from history's mistakes, not go backwards in time to an imagined history. Victorians did that too: they built faux castles, made decorative armor, and romanticized themes beyond recognition. Then (horrors!) science and industry appeared and the "genuine gothic" didn't just disappear - it collapsed like a flimsy set built for an even flimsier play. And in literature, Tennyson was giving way to Whitman, and Edward Bulwer-Lytton ("It was a dark and stormy night...") gave way to Mark Twain.

The Gothic pile of stones built by "It was a dark and stormy night"

What the whole of the Religious Right is blinded by its legendary bigotry (sorry) and wants desperately to regress into its own "historical" novel, some nations want to progress into what they are now proud to call CIVILization.

* The Duke of Clarence was grandson of Victoria and second in line to the throne after his father "Bertie" (Edward VII). While a great deal of rumors flew about his misadventures (he was even suspected of being "Jack the Ripper"!), the most prevalent one was his implication in a male brothel scandal. His death from an influenza pandemic brought about all sorts of conspiracy theories:

(from Wikipedia):

"...that he died of syphilis or was poisoned or pushed off a cliff on the instructions of Lord Randolph Churchill or that his death was faked to remove him from the line of succession and that he survived until the 1930s in a mental hospital on the Isle of Wight or imprisoned in Glamis Castle..."

The one that hasn't been completely negated, however, is that his family asked the doctor to do relatively little in the way of administering any antibiotics. Even if the rumors were untrue, what was evident was that someone did not want Albert Victor (Clarence) to become king.