Saturday, 23 March 2013

Cardinal O'Brien: Flaunting It

People are allowed to live their lives however they want. If O’Brien had just decided that he was going to hide the elementary facts of his life from everyone, and if the person he was, it is claimed, in a relationship with had decided that he, too, was going to exercise that degree of concealment, who would care? It was once necessary; for many people, the concealment continued through habit. That is the right of individuals.
But through a familiar quirk of personality, Cardinal O’Brien was drawn to comment on an ineradicable part of his own personality. One can well guess what the process was. Someone hates and fears a forbidden aspect of themselves, and is drawn ineluctably to talk about it, rather than remain silent on the subject. Foucault wrote an interesting series of books about the history of sexuality, in which he proposed that the 19th century placed a prohibition on sexuality, not to silence discussion of it, but so that they could go on talking endlessly about it. Similarly, O’Brien clearly suppressed public knowledge of his own sexuality so that he could go on talking indefinitely about homosexuality. Going on about how awful those gays are – that, I am afraid, counts as “flaunting it”...

Philip Hensher in The Independent.

By far the best and most sensible piece I've see on the archbishop's outing.
I was tempted to post it in full, but I'm sure you can cope with clicking on that link. 
There's a lot to his argument that if someone grew up in a culture of the closet, it's quite a spectacular achievement if anyone manages to break free of that mindset.
Unlike many gay men commenting on this sorry, sad farce, be it in the media, and in the real and virtual worlds, Hensher's article doesn't have the snotty subtext; "Why can't every gay men be as wonderful and perfect as I think I am?"

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