Suicide Rationalizations Aren't Painless

« October 2010 »

memo to Alex Knepper and Vox Day: YOU ARE DUMB.

The recent spate of suicides by gay teens has been a particularly thorny problem for social conservatives. Clearly, if gay teens are committing suicide at an accelerated rate, then there must be something more difficult about living life as a gay teen as compared to living life as a straight teen. At the same time, it is the stated and deliberate goal of social conservatives to make life for gay people as difficult as possible.

I don't care what language they couch it in. When they oppose gay marriage, when they oppose gay adoption, when they go on TV and talk about how wrong gay pride parades are, when they try to convince people they can cure gayness, when they see two dudes holding hands on the street as a tracheal assault on their natural family values... every single one of these things makes living life as a gay person in American society more difficult.

Now, a sane person might draw a correlation, and maybe even an indirect causal link, between the omnipresent opposition to the very existence of homosexuals and an increased number of gay teens taking their own life. And again, this is a problem for social conservatives, who have been hiding behind "hate the sin, love the sinner" for so long that they're unsure how to handle the very real possibility that they've been driving gay teens to jump off of bridges.

Most conservatives in the public sphere are smart enough to know that blaming the victim would be a tactical error, and blaming the liberal American culture would be boneheaded opportunism. Most, but not all, which brings us to Alex Knepper and "Vox Day", whose takes on the suicide of Tyler Clementi, the Rutgers student who was secretly filmed by his roommate, are exemplars of assholery.

Here's how Knepper started his column. I can't, unfortunately, do a detailed deconstruction, because his column was so bad, Tucker Carlson's website deleted it and fired his ass for writing it. Knepper, by the way, is a gay conservative, which means when he came out of the closet, he just traded one form of denial for another. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"First of all: forgive me if my sympathy runs thin for someone who commits suicide over a sex tape. This incident is humiliating and shameful, to be sure — but in the grand, cosmic scheme of things, it doesn’t even begin to rank as tragic. We have got to be realistic when assessing this event and maintain publicly that humiliation is a preposterous rationale for suicide."

Here's a hint. When the first words out of your mouth are "forgive me", it means you're about to do something that needs to be forgiven. Which means you're about to do something wrong. Knepper essentially goes on to argue that since he can't imagine killing himself over a sex tape, it must not have been the humiliation, and thus any gay rights groups calling this a "hate crime" are exploiting Clementi's death for political gain. Kudos to the Daily Caller for recognizing at the very least that Knepper was making them look even worse than their regular content does.

If you want to blame the victim while getting paid by prominent conservatives, you may encounter difficulty. If, however, you're basically like me, except you're an avowed sexist, a demonstrable racist, and an anonymous American expatriate who fled to Italy to escape socialism, you can do whatever the hell you want. Including pinning Clementi's suicide on gay rights while making no sense whatsoever.

"While Clementi may have been taught that his desires were wrong, (we don't have any details on his upbringing, but the last name suggests a Catholic heritage), he was also steeped in years of indoctrination telling him that his abnormal desires were perfectly right and should not be resisted. That is why he felt free to act on them as soon as he got to college and out from under his parents' eyes." - "Vox Day", of Vox Popoli.

OK. If you leave out the incredible bias and the strange assumption that the only way he'd have been taught that gay was wrong was if his vaguely Italian last name meant he was Catholic, what you have is actually a fairly accurate state of affairs. Raised all his life to believe his sexual orientation was wrong, got to college, realized it wasn't so bad. It's a fairly natural progression. Oh, sure, "Vox Day" sees it as a failure of our collective shaming system, but in his defense, he's completely fucked in the head, as evidenced by his conclusion.

"And that is why his suicide poses a problem for the "morality is a human construct" crowd. Despite literal decades of preaching about the morality of homosexuality, despite the pansexual propaganda of the public and private schools, the knowledge that what he was doing was shameful and wrong still managed to penetrate Mr. Clementi's mind. A normal man being forced to confront his immorality in such a public way might have reacted with anger, irritation, embarrassment, or amusement, but only one who is both psychologically disturbed and appalled by his own actions will destroy himself over it."

So it wasn't the decades of repression that made Clementi crazy. That part was fine. That was right and just and how things should be for gays. It was only when he was told it was OK to be gay that the cognitive dissonance made him crazy enough to commit suicide when his roommate taped him making out with a dude and made the tape public.

Also, what normal man forced to confront his immorality in such a public way reacts with amusement? Those first three are logical extensions of the situation. The fourth is not, and so I can only conclude it stems from personal experience, and it was thrown in there because Vox Day considers himself to be the epicenter of "normal", instead of the epitome of asshole.