The phone rang at some ungodly hour last night and a very methed out friend of mine called to say that he was having a relationship with a porn star. A ‘chic with a dick’. Worse, he said, he wanted to become a ‘chic with a dick’ himself. He then spoke to me as his ‘other’ incarnation, which was very disturbing as I really thought I was speaking to another person. When he became ‘her’ he sounded like he’d been snorting helium.
He sent me a link to a porn sight where I could see his ‘girl friend’ in action. I declined to open the link even though I was very, very tempted.
Then, quite coincidentally, I received a very angry email from Pater Tatchell the British human rights activist denouncing Quentin Crisp as a homophobe and misogynist. Pater writes:
“Quentin Crisp was a contradictory, infuriating figure. Although astonishingly brave and defiant as an out gay man in the 1930s and 40s, he was later defiantly self-obsessed, homophobic and reactionary. Quentin denounced the gay rights movement and slammed homosexuality as ‘a terrible disease’; adding that ‘the world would be better without homosexuals’. Quentin disparaged homosexuality as an illness, affliction, burden, curse and abnormality. He regarded himself as ‘disfigured’ by his gayness. He never spoke out for gay rights or supported any gay equality cause.”
I was taken aback by the fury of the email simply because the description of Quentin by Peter was so incredibly off. Quentin may have been a very muddled old man when it came to expressing his political views but he was very much a product of his age and time and should be viewed as such. It seems churlish to denounce Crisp simply because he never overcame his shame and self-hatred or learned a contemporary gay polemic.
Shame blighted Quentin Crisp’s life and one can never underestimate the damage toxic shame can cause.
Toxic shame is an all-pervasive sense that one is flawed, worthless and defective as a human being. It is more than just a fleeting feeling of unworthiness; it is an internal sense of falling short. As John Bradshaw says, “A shame based person will guard against exposing his inner self to others, but more significantly, he will guard against exposing himself to himself.”
I have an enormous amount of respect for Peter Tatchell who has routinely risked his life and health for the sake of his beliefs-a little like Quentin Crisp. Peter and Quentin have profoundly influenced my thinking during the past 30 years-even though they come from such politically diverse places. Quentin may have said some very stupid things but what he did empowered boys like me to be true to themselves.
Finally, dear readers, let’s chat momentarily about the banks. I think we can all agree that the banks have fucked us over?
The loyalty most of you have toward the banks will never be reciprocated. They don’t give a damn about you. The last thing the banks need is another wave of toxic assets. By cynically creating my very own I may do myself a favor.
Before the banks behaved so abominably I would never have thought so irresponsibly. Now, frankly, I don’t care. They have shown utter contempt for the trust that was placed in them by ordinary, working people.
If any of you are foolish enough to believe that the credit rating system will not be recalibrated then think twice. As soon as the banks are ready to do business again they will manipulate the credit rating system, that you all seem to blindly respect, to suit themselves.
Apparently, according to NPR this morning, scientists are working on a pill for people who feel socially excluded.
Bring it on.