Sunday, November 6, 2011
Lionel Trilling on Homosexuality
Who said this, and it's dumb, though it sounds so high falutin smart?
...But this does not leave the discussion where the Report seems to want to leave it--at the idea that homosexuality is to be accepted as a form of sexuality like another and that is as natural as heterosexuality...Nor does the practice of "an increasing proportion of.. psychiatrists who make no attempt to redirect behavior, but who devote their attention to helping an individual accept himself" imply that what the Report seems to want it to., that these psychiatrists hav thereby judged homosexuality to be an unxceptionable form of sexuality; it is rather that, in many cases, they are able to effect no change in the psychic disposition and therefore do the humane and sensible best thing. Their opinion of the etiology of homosexuality as lying in some warp--as the culture judges it--of the psychic structure, has not, I believe changed...
I read this as saying as homosexuality is a deviance, ideally to be treated, the sufferer to be redirected towards heterosexuality. The utterer, however otherwise estimable, is a man of his time in many respects, though he would not have taken kindly to such a judgment. Here he fuses the weakness of his Freudianism-he cites Freud in the same essay (The Kinsey Report) to the same nonsensical effect on homosexuality-with his weakness in making self satisfied, self assured pronouncements outside his area of competence, art, culture and intellectual history (the latter for which he is not given sufficient credit.)
Rather than reading Lionel Trilling's essay The Kinsey Report, I suggest being better served by listening to recordings of the blues band by that same name, led by the inimitable Big Daddy Kinsey, now deceased, who I once had the honour of buying a beer in The Silver Dollar in Toronto, only to have him tell me kind of emphatically that he didn't talk about no politics with strangers.