Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Male Friendship Damaged by Sexual Confusion

Albert Mohler's website is full of provocative articles. Last month he summarized a fascinating essay by Anthony Esolen, an English professor at Providence College. (See Mohler, "Sexual Confusion and the End of Friendship.")

Esolen explains that the homosexual and "pansexual" extremists have profoundly affected friendships between heterosexual males, and have made it even more difficult for boys to grow into healthy adult males. His essay, "A Requiem for Friendship: Why Boys Will Not Be Boys & Other Consequences of the Sexual Revolution," appears in the September 2005 issue of Touchstone magazine.

Excerpts from Mohler's artice:

Esolen begins by reminding readers of a scene from J. R. R. Tolkien's great work, The Lord of the Rings. Sam Gamgee, having followed his master Frodo into Mordor, the realm of death, finds him in a small filthy cell lying half-conscious. "Frodo! Mr. Frodo, my dear!" Sam cries. "It's Sam, I've come!" Frodo embraces his friend and Sam eventually cradles Frodo's head. As Esolen suggests, a reader or viewer of this scene is likely to jump to a rather perverse conclusion: "What, are they gay?"

Esolen suggests that this question is an "ignorant but inevitable response" to the context. He goes on to recall that Shakespeare and many other great authors spoke of non-sexual love between men in strongest terms. Similarly, when David is told of the death of his friend Jonathan, he cries: "Your love to me was finer than the love of women."

As Esolen understands, the corruption of language has contributed to this confusion. When words like love, friend, male, female, and partner are transformed in a new sexual context, what was once understood to be pure and undefiled is now subject to sniggering and disrespect.

Esolen insists that this linguistic shift was no accident. He accuses "pansexualists" of corrupting the language in order to normalize sexual confusion and anarchy. They have used language "as a tool for establishing their own order and imposing it on everyone else," he argues....

One of the words and realities most clearly corrupted for the sake of sexual anarchy is friendship--and male friendship in particular. "For modern American men, friendship is no longer forged in the heat of battle, or in the dust of the plains as they drive their herds across half a continent, or in the choking air of a coalmine, or even in the cigar smoke of a debating club," Esolen notes. Most men no longer find themselves in situations that encourage and inculcate straightforward male friendships. As Esolen observes, "the sexual revolution has also nearly killed male friendship as devoted to anything beyond drinking and watching sports; and the homosexual movement, a logically inevitable result of forty years of heterosexual promiscuity and feminist folly, bids fair to finish it off and nail the coffin shut."

What this means for grown men is bad enough, but Esolen is persuasive when he argues that the most vulnerable victims of friendship's demise are boys. "The prominence of male homosexuality changes the language for teenage boys. It is absurd and cruel to say that the boy can ignore it. Even if he would, his classmates will not let him. All boys need to prove that they are not failures. They need to prove that they are on the way to becoming men--that they are not going to relapse into the need to be protected by, and therefore identified with, their mothers." So? Esolen argues that boys, deprived of normal recognitions of masculinity and safe friendships with other boys and men, often turn to aggressive sexual promiscuity with girls in order to prove that they are not homosexual. Boys who refuse to play this game are tagged as homosexuals.

Esolen is on to something of incredible importance here. He reminds us all that boys need the uncomplicated camaraderie of other boys in order to negotiate their own path to manhood....