Welcome to the Madhouse


THE INTERNET is bananas.

I’ve suspected it for a long time but I’ve now gathered evidence enough to feel confident saying so in cyber-print.

Two weeks ago I wrote an opinion piece for The Weeklings, which was subsequently picked up by The Good Men Project and Salon. In it I dared to suggest that your relationship is no one’s business but your own. In other words: mind your own beeswax.

Cue accusations of Nazism in 5, 4, 3, 2…

I was called a bigot, a sinner, a promoter of deviant behavior, a heathen. I was told that the “hyper-sexual often have trouble committing because of mental illness,” and that “because sodomy seems to be creeping into the hetero community now, sex has no societal boundaries.” On Twitter, I was accused by a college history teacher of being “judgmental of the LGBT folks…YOURS is not the lone opinion.”

I was also informed that open relationships would spread more of “the AIDS” and “polyamorous relationships never work over any length of time.” Simultaneously, because I expressed my opinion (one I considered benign), all liberals came under suspicion for trying to turn America into a bastion of the Satanic arts (read: totalitarianism). Somehow my unwillingness to judge was interpreted as a consolidation of liberal power which will naturally result in cats and dogs living together, an oxymoronic war on success, and the mandatory use of butt plugs.

"It's a MADHOUSE!!!!" Charlton Heston gets it all figured out in PLANET OF THE APES.

“It’s a MADHOUSE!!!!” Charlton Heston has it all figured out in PLANET OF THE APES.

In a response to my work, Joseph Dooley, a blogger at RED PILL, said, “Interesting how the apostles of the Left deploy this libertarian refrain on social issues, yet they cry out ‘no man is an island’ when peddling top-down economic centralization, in which fascist or Soviet-style planning ‘casually subjugates’ everyone.”

Dooley’s bio states that he “lived nearly 5 years in the belly of the liberal beast, Maryland.” I’m thinking this has to be a joke, right? If Maryland is the belly of the liberal beast, what does that say about Manhattan?

Mr. Dooley directly referenced “sin,” the “afterlife,” “Heaven,” the “success of the Christian West [sic],” and “morality, family, property” as the “natural order of the universe.” You know, the natural order – absolutism; in which Christianity is all correct,  everything else is all wrong and liberals are on an ever-growing search for “unfettered power.”

This is a mode of thinking which takes fear over fact and presumption over experience.  Since the internet sends people to Banana Town whenever someone offers reason, no one ever loses the debate – even if all they have to debate with are non sequiturs and broad strokes. They just give you the finger as they drive through the oblivion of accusation, conspiracy theory and fear mongering.

I guess I accidentally revealed my fiendish plot to take over the world by calling for privacy in loving relationships. The red dolls are on to me so I may have to admit that I want to destroy the world by leaving people alone!

A right to privacy isn’t some twisted form of moral relativism that negates Christian belief. It is the unwritten privilege granted by the freedoms in the Bill of Rights. How a call for privacy got translated into the destruction of personal liberty through liberal malaise I’ll never know. I’m also still trying to figure out when charity to the poor and the concern for the general welfare of society became an evil; seems to me that both of those are what it means to keep Christ in one’s heart.

Whether or not you believe in the 1st Amendment’s separation of church and state (and there is a bizarre backlash against it), Christian doctrine is not civil law. That would make the United States a theocracy, no better than the countries the fearful class detest. And if you do believe a theocratic American government is acceptable, it’s wise to recognize that judgment, finger-pointing and fear of “the other” were the very things Jesus preached against.

I was raised Catholic. What my daily religious studies taught me was that Jesus was generous, tolerant and intelligent. He was also direct and never shied away from calling out the Pharisees who, if they understood the logic of his teaching at all, refused to take it into their hearts. I remember Jesus feeding the multitudes, chastising the hypocrites, being kind to the sick, the poor, the needy, and the outcasts, and reminding us to look into our own hearts to avoid judging “lest ye be judged.” In Matthew 7:5, Jesus says, “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s.”

In Banana Town, my refusal to judge your relationship implies that I believe “free love” is the better choice. Is that another non sequitur in the road? Banana Town is littered with them.

I’d recommend sticking to the facts and… maybe… getting some help with the log in your eye. Maybe from your friend with the speck.

On the positive side, my favorite response came when someone online reminded me of a quote by Mrs. Patrick Campbell (February 9, 1865 – April 9, 1940), a British actress who was the original Eliza Doolittle in Shaw’s Pygmalion. Reportedly, Mrs. Campbell said, responding to an actress who complained that a mature actor in the company was making a show of his feelings for a younger man, “Does it really matter what these affectionate people do — so long as they don’t do it in the streets and frighten the horses!”

"...so long as they don’t do it in the streets and frighten the horses!" - Mrs. Patrick Campbell

“…so long as they don’t do it in the streets and frighten the horses!” – Mrs. Patrick Campbell

About Tom Gualtieri

Tom Gualtieri (@TomGGualtieri)is a theatre artist with his hand in many disciplines: lyricist, playwright, performer, director, knitter. He maintains an ongoing collaboration with composer David Sisco. His solo play, That Play: A Solo Macbeth, was nominated for a 2013 Drama Desk Award.
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