"the (unnatural) trade", 1728

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Sat Aug 14 22:56:59 UTC 2010

On Sat, Aug 14, 2010 at 2:02 PM, Ronald Butters <ronbutters at aol.com> wrote:

 It seems to me that JL profoundly misunderstands the idea of the 19th
century social construction of homosexuality as a psychological
category. The lyrics seem to describe the "unnatural act" of anal
intercourse and attributes it to men in women's clothing who, in their
depraved search for novelty of sensation, seek out each other. The
point of view of the satirist is that this sort of behavior is merely
one disgusting manifestation of "lechery" and not some kind of disease
or inborn product of immutable, special psychology. Of course, one
could argue that the notion of the social construction of
homosexuality is rather trivial, since it is a product of a general
change in the view of human psychology between the 18th and 19th
centuries, in which the 18th century view was that people were more or
less the same but could be convinced to do all sorts of depraved
things: there were not homosexuals and heterosexuals, there were only
people who could express themselves sexually in a variety of ways,
some natural, some not.

Seems reasonable to me, though I'd have written "natural," since
that's a concept controlled by culture.

The profundity of JL's misunderstanding is most likely no more than
mine own, I'd venture.

All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"––a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
–Mark Twain

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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