Tuesday, June 14, 2011

My True Self

The article "In Search of The True Self" intrigued me.  It begins with this story....

Mark Pierpont used to be an important figure in the evangelical Christian effort to help “cure” gay people of their homosexual desires. He started out just printing up tracts and handing them out in gay bars, but his ministry grew over time, and eventually he was traveling the world and speaking to crowds that sometimes numbered in the thousands. There was just one problem. Mark Pierpont himself was gay. He continued to feel sexual desires toward other men and was constantly engaged in an effort to suppress them. In the documentary film “Protagonist,” Pierpont movingly describes his inner conflict, saying that he sometimes felt an almost physical revulsion at his own desires and would then think: “Good. I hate this.  I hate sin, just like God hates sin.”

The author then asks: Which one is Mark's true self?  The Christian? The Homosexual? 

The first answer is:  both.  He is just as much Christian as homosexual, even though these seem to be in deep opposition to each other within Mark himself.  

The second answer is: if you ask others which one is Mark's true self, they will give the answer in accordance with their own values.  Some will say:  Mark, dude, you're gay.  You'll be much happier if you just accept that that is indeed your true self.  Others will reply: Mark, your Christian self is your essential self, even if being true to your beliefs involves personal struggle.  Both will say the true self is the self that they think is more important.

Now, I don't have a dog in this particular hunt, as I'm about as Christian as I am gay.  Have fun with that one, friends!

But I was reflecting on this while having a lemon mint, a rocket salad, a hamour plate, and a green apple shisha at the local Al Shami Home Restaurant tonight.  I would have taken a picture of my meal, but it looked disappointingly as if I had ordered from Applebee's Home Restaurant.

The view around the room was more interesting. The waitrons -- both men and women -- wore black pants, white shirts, orange striped vests, and black bow ties.  The patrons were wearing, well, who knows what the guys were wearing, various guy stuff, I suppose, but the women were divided into those wearing the traditional black abayas and sheilas, and the Kardashians.  It was the Sisters of Mercy and the Jersey Shore, dining together.  I felt like I was on a highway with some driving 70 and others 30 -- either speed is fine, but having both on the same road made me grip the steering wheel a bit tighter than normal.

Back to the Which Self is the True One?  I think the choice here is not between the "Good" self and the "Bad" self.  Which would be which for Mark, not me Mark, but Mark Pierpont? Evangelical Christians would (mainly) say that the devout Christian is the Good Mark.  Others would say that the Gay Mark is the good Mark, and that the form of Christianity that suppresses homosexuality is itself a force for Evil.  (Myself? I can imagine that God would say: "You don't have to choose between being a Good Christian and a Good Homosexual.") I also don't think the choice of true selves is between the self we "Are" and the self we "Want to Be", but between two different, but equally "true" selves.

Which brings me to Anthony Weiner.  No, what really brings me to AW is that all bloggers everywhere apparently are required to write about him, or at least to have an opinion about him.  It would have been more interesting if he had been sexting Sarah Palin, or Albert Haynesworth, so I could blog (!!!) multiple (!!!) parties (!!!) at the same time.

What is AW's true self?  He may not know, and I'm pretty damn sure no one else knows either, other than (as above) by saying his true self is the one you say it is.  Maybe he is truly a libertine; maybe he is truly a devoted public servant.  Maybe he is both, or maybe he will somehow resolve for himself which self is more true, the obligatory-and-cliche rehab notwithstanding.  

As for me, I like having those multiple selves.  Well, maybe not those multiple selves, but, anyway.  It's more interesting having two selves, at least. I always have someone to talk to -- an amusing person, too, always good for a laugh or an insight or a story! -- even if he never quite fully understands me.

Update: Warning! Highly graphic, explicit political commentary follows.

Should Weiner resign?

The small "d" democratic in me is willing to leave that to his constituents.  I mean, our Congress has historically been loaded with idiots, imbeciles, drunks, thugs, racists, crooks, and that is just Weiner's home district I'm talking about.  (Apologies, NY's fighting 9th District!)  

Senator Vitter, a married, family values Republican was handily reelected after doing hookers.  Laissez les bon temps roulez, Lousiana.  If Vitter's good enough for the good folk of Louisiana, fine.   

Was Vitter, who broke laws while actually having sex worse than the sexting Weiner?

The large "D" Democrat in me said that Weiner should resign.  He was the visible face of the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party (Howard Dean reference!), unlike who-the-hell-is-Vitter?, and his continued presence in Congress will harm the Democrats.  Refusing to resign places his own interests above those of his party.  Go away.

Oh, wait.  President Clinton got a blow job in the Oval Office from an intern.  This is worse n every way than what Weiner did, and I didn't want Clinton to resign.  

I'll let my inner selves have a bit of convo about this over breakfast.  Maybe they can work out my internal disagreement.

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