Tag Archives: homosexual

Book Review: The Word of God

You might think this is a religious book and in a way it is. The Word of God, or Holy Writ Rewritten, by Thomas Disch, (Tachyon Publications, San Francisco, 2008) was written not so much as a refutation to other religions, but, as Disch puts it, to establish himself as a deity. He begins his book discussing that the only way to talk to many religions, especially the fundamental ones, is to argue on their own level and point out that he too is a god and what his religion looks like.

It is witty, scathing, funny, illuminating. In part this is an autobiography of Disch’s life, but as a pastiche, not as a whole. It is part philosophy and condemnation of many conservative religions, especially Christianity. Disch was raised a Catholic and was publicly gay and since this is his “holy writ” it of course talks of religion in many guises quite a bit.

The book is also a collection of some poems and short stories, interspersed to give examples of birth, afterlife, reincarnation and judgment: “The New Me,” “Room Service,” “The Second Coming of the Christ,” “A Man of Mystery” “A Ranch House on the Styx,” “The School for Traitors,” “On the Road” and “Deus Ex Machina” almost all string together (some continuations of the same story) and of course all do touch on religion and the events that came together to create Thomas Disch. He was the illegitimate child of Thomas Mann, the prolific German writer and Nobel prize winner, though you will not find this listed in either Disch’s or Mann’s Wiki entry (and his father is missing altogether in his entry).

Many of these stories have Philip K. Dick in them, as a sort of antiChrist and in hell. It’s hard to tell from this if Disch had always hated Dick (since he wrote a poetic eulogy for Dick, which is in the book) or if he only came to despise Dick’s right-wing, bigoted, perhaps drug-induced opinions later, when Dick reported Disch to the FBI as a subversive. What the outcome of Dick’s confabulations were is unclear.

Thomas Disch was known to the SF community and was nominated numerous times for awards (and won some), but he also wrote a great deal of poetry, criticisms and other works, and had earlier aspirations in architecture. The book starts out in the present, around Christmas of 2005 when he began to write it, and he finishes on February 2nd, his birthday. Disch lived with his long time partner, Charles Naylor who died in 2005. Disch himself suffered from several illnesses and had a string of personal setbacks, besides being depressed by his partner’s death.

He took his life in July, 2008, just months before Word of God was published. It is somewhat ironic to read his words in this book that proclaims his deity and see where he was at and where life took him to. This is not his last book as I believe a posthumous work will be published this year. I enjoyed Word of God and it gave me a new look at Disch, his mind and his life. I had read his works, On Wings of Song and The Priest which was pretty scathing to the Catholic church while at the same time being deftly written enough for you to care for the very corrupt priest.

And if nothing else, I’m very curious as to what went on between Philip K. Dick, a great experimenter of drugs, married five times, and Thomas Disch, an openly gay man, all those years ago. They were both brilliant writers and characters in their own ways. Here’s to the god Disch and his ascension to his own heaven. Word of God, definitely worth a read, informative and entertaining throughout.

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Gay Pride and Whole Rainbow of Possibilities

This coming weekend marks the gay pride parade in Vancouver. I have only managed to go once and it was a so-so parade. I was expecting big Kermit floats and others covered in flowers. Mostly it came across as ways for different businesses to advertise while showing support. Though you do get some colorful individuals and the bare-breasted dykes on bikes. We probably have the second largest population of gay and lesbians after San Francisco. Why the west coast? I’m not sure. Probably because it’s warmer but also port cities tend to always be a blend of tradition and new ideas brought in by different ships and crews. Port cities are usually more liberal.

One of the news items associated with this year’s gay pride parade was about a Sikh man who has been trying to put a Bollywood style float together and running into some opposition: people don’t want the Sikh religion associated with homosexuality. It’s kind of odd because it’s not the religion that should be associated with homosexuality but homosexuals who are associated with the Sikh religion. Homosexuality isn’t drawn to a particular religion.

No matter what right wing fundamentalist may think, homosexuality isn’t a choice. People are born with a particular preponderance. A very good friend of mine, Greg, told me that by the age of six he knew he was gay and wanted to play “rubbing dinkies” with the boys. Most of the gay men I know tried sex with the other gender but it just didn’t work for them.

Someone posted on wordpress a while back (I wished I’d gone and responded) that their theory was that women who had a “best friend evah” who was gay were women who were dumb, vapid and not too deep (is that the same thing?). I believe the person went on to say that gay men only want these Barbie doll types of women as friends. (I didn’t read all of the article) I’ve heard some ludicrous things over the years and this rates as one of them.

Example: one of my best friends evah is gay. My other best friends are not. I have two degrees and have never been called stupid by anyone. My neighbors are gay and we’re all friends. My landlady is an architect. I certainly see no correlation with one type of person being the preferred friend type to a gay person (and I use gay here to mean men or women). Like all people, gay people have a range of personalities and religious beliefs. They are of all religions and none, varying tastes and desires and life goals. The only difference; they prefer to have sex with the same gender.

Of course, these odd prejudices of only one type for one type can also happen amongst certain gay people. I’ve been accused by gay men of being a fag hag. I hate this term and to me it means a woman who exclusively hangs around with gay men, hoping to eventually have sex with/sway one over to the other side. Even if it only means a woman who only hangs with gay men, I still take offense. If I want to go out with my gay friend, what’s wrong with that and why should it be assumed that’s all I do? Do people presume such things if you’re out with a straight male or a woman?

My biggest problem with people being against homosexuals is–what business is it of yours what they do in their bedrooms? They’re not warping your children’s minds. You can’t sway someone to the “gay side” unless they’re already gay. And as far as I’m concerned any religion that would ban someone just for being born the way they are, is a religion I want nothing to do with. Of course, mostly what happens is religious interpretation by individuals, which can get skewed. Love thy neighbor, but not if he’s gay? Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, but not if they’re gay?

I haven’t studied all religions but if compassion means it’s only for someone who is like you, then that’s a pretty narrow definition. Those who protest the most against being gay are probably those who have questioned their own sexuality and repressed it. Live and let live and stop repressing the homosexuals. If they were accepted in most cases as part of society, the need to flaunt or protest goes waaay down. Hooray for Canada, which legalized same sex marriages. And here’s to the gay pride parade which will be needed until everyone accepts that homosexuals are part of the overall population; 10%.

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