Sex and the Midnight Sun

In a classic Twilight Zone episode called "Midnight Sun," a female artist faces the dreadful fate of being burnt alive in an abandoned New York City.  She and her landlord remain in an apartment building after everyone else has escaped.  The Earth's orbit has wobbled off course, and the planet is inching closer to the Sun each day.  Night disappears.  All waters dry up.  The neighbors flee Manhattan in droves.  The temperature rises steadily until they face certain death.  The female painter loses all modesty, casting off all clothes but a slip as she waits to shrivel up and perish.

But then she wakes up to find that the doomsday amounted to nothing but a ruse.  In fact, her dark world will freeze.  Her landlady stands over her bundled in winter coats, while she lies swaddled in blankets.  Snow pelts the window of her building.  In reality, the Earth is drifting away from the sun, and all face death by hypothermia.

My forty-something generation remembers the fifties and sixties so condescendingly as a Stone Age of sexism, prejudice, and Eisenhowerian conformity.  But The Twilight Zone remains as a testament to the artistic genius of those decades.  

"Midnight Sun," like the vast majority of the series's episodes, pointed to a deeper truth with a timeless relevance.   The human mind faces danger by managing nightmares with counter-nightmares.  Cold is easier to suffer if one has plunged into a nightmare of insufferable heat.

Today's "Midnight Sun" hangs over sexuality.  This truth has become evident with the strange events of the last three years.  With the Obergefell v. Hodges decision nationalizing the compulsory recognition of same-sex relationships as marriages, not only the LGBT movement, but also feminism could claim "mission accomplished."  The stodgiest and crustiest institution of America – that Supreme Court of Dred Scott and Plessy v. Ferguson – had gazed over the heads of America's unwashed homophobic masses and winked to the professors of Women's Studies at Harvard and Yale.

"We're on the same page," Anthony Kennedy – white and male enough for Reagan – said to the purveyors of sexual utopianism.  By deciding that sexual tolerance and love came as basic entitlements, Anthony Kennedy gave feminists and sexual radicals everything they wanted.  They could do as they pleased and receive moral credit, social affirmation, and tax breaks for it.  The power of the state served at their beck and call, available as a form of coercion to fine, enjoin, censure, and (one day soon) imprison any who could impede them.

Nothing ruins victory quite as much as getting what one fought for.  In "Pyrrhic" achievements, winning kills a combatant worse than losing would have.  

After Obergefell, it would have made sense for the LGBT movement to wind down and for the women's movement to take a calm, reflective posture.  Both movements had run out of enemies, in a sense.  But instead they went into overdrive.  Suddenly, the LGBT movement took to wall-to-wall coverage of a wave of "transphobic" violence, nightmares of men who consider themselves women being beaten by hordes of Southern Baptists.  (In reality, fewer than thirty trans people were murdered last year, and transphobia did not motivate almost any of the killings.)

In keeping with the way the LGBT movement usually operates, the appetite shifts quickly to the punitive.  They abandoned plans to combat sexually transmitted diseases or relationship instability within the gay community.  They focus instead on more lists of people to ban, censor, no-platform, and destroy.

The women's movement has attained success that earlier feminists could only have imagined.  Even sensible measures such as banning abortions after the fifth month of pregnancy have no hope of passing.  The March for Life gathers each year, assembling hundreds of thousands of pro-life idealists.  A cottage industry of conservative commentators pats them on the head, cheers on their courage, and then cuts every imaginable backdoor deal to keep abortion facilities open for business.  Homosexuality and abortion flourish, championed by movements that have lost no ground.  They have gotten what they wanted.

They wanted a world in which sex did not matter and chastity posed no demands on them.  Unfortunately, this comes with a nightmare.  In a world where sex does not matter, sexual intercourse is meaningless, and no commitment really stands for anything.  The less guidance we receive about how to relate intimately to others based on the self-evident design of our actual bodies, the more confused and lonely we feel.  If I can change my sex at will, so can anyone I am dating.  So what value do I gain by proclaiming my sexual orientation?

If they can change their sex at will, they can change their preferences for a partner just as easily.  Where does that leave me?  Us?  Anyone?  Did anybody have a contingency plan in case loneliness ended up being worse than allowing Anglican churches to preach Romans 1?

Without chastity, it turns out, there can be no charity.  A society that blithely rushes into sexual congress will rush just as quickly into mass judgment.  Forgiveness and mercy require patience and equanimity, calm contentment, and selflessness.  Not coincidentally, chastity also rests upon patience, equanimity, calm contentment, and selflessness.  Hasty love goes hand in hand with hasty hate.  So our society now traffics in condemnations based on little snippets of things people said decades ago, offhand comments that linger online and never go away, and watch lists compiled by paid character assassins who take everything out of context.

The list of people fired or ruined for making supposedly homophobic or sexist remarks should have served as a warning bell.  Maybe nobody said, "We are all Brendan Eich now," because we all knew we were Brendan Eich, and we accepted it.  So now the list of people fired or ruined for supposedly "harassing" or being "sexually inappropriate," even based on accusations from forty years ago lacking any real evidence, has exploded.  The rampage of judgmental condemnation shows no sign of abating.

The LGBT and feminist movements live like the Manhattan painter in the Twilight Zone.  They inhabit a fictional nightmare of their own conception.  They believe that their greatest threat consists of a deadly evangelical menace that stands to shut down screenings of Call Me by Your Name, or a world of toxic masculinity that encourages male co-workers to ask them out on dates.  Sexism and intolerance loom on all sides as ever present dangers.  Their greatest nightmare is facing people who view sex differently from the way they do.  This includes people who see kinky sex as gross rather than exciting.  It includes people who do not interest them sexually yet who express sexual interest to them.  Like the woman about to freeze to death painting pictures of a blazing sun about to fry her alive, these fear-mongers imagine a world of sexual order, conformity, and predictability as the worst type of existence imaginable.

Meanwhile, sexual chaos consumes them and wrecks them more each day.  The loneliness will catch up with them.  Perhaps they know this.  It might comfort them to imagine that lusty men yearn to bed them while homophobes will continue praising chastity.  Those inconveniences seem, at last, soothing for someone who faces long hours at a dull job and an empty apartment full of solitude and sadness.

Robert Oscar Lopez can be followed at English Manif.

In a classic Twilight Zone episode called "Midnight Sun," a female artist faces the dreadful fate of being burnt alive in an abandoned New York City.  She and her landlord remain in an apartment building after everyone else has escaped.  The Earth's orbit has wobbled off course, and the planet is inching closer to the Sun each day.  Night disappears.  All waters dry up.  The neighbors flee Manhattan in droves.  The temperature rises steadily until they face certain death.  The female painter loses all modesty, casting off all clothes but a slip as she waits to shrivel up and perish.

But then she wakes up to find that the doomsday amounted to nothing but a ruse.  In fact, her dark world will freeze.  Her landlady stands over her bundled in winter coats, while she lies swaddled in blankets.  Snow pelts the window of her building.  In reality, the Earth is drifting away from the sun, and all face death by hypothermia.

My forty-something generation remembers the fifties and sixties so condescendingly as a Stone Age of sexism, prejudice, and Eisenhowerian conformity.  But The Twilight Zone remains as a testament to the artistic genius of those decades.  

"Midnight Sun," like the vast majority of the series's episodes, pointed to a deeper truth with a timeless relevance.   The human mind faces danger by managing nightmares with counter-nightmares.  Cold is easier to suffer if one has plunged into a nightmare of insufferable heat.

Today's "Midnight Sun" hangs over sexuality.  This truth has become evident with the strange events of the last three years.  With the Obergefell v. Hodges decision nationalizing the compulsory recognition of same-sex relationships as marriages, not only the LGBT movement, but also feminism could claim "mission accomplished."  The stodgiest and crustiest institution of America – that Supreme Court of Dred Scott and Plessy v. Ferguson – had gazed over the heads of America's unwashed homophobic masses and winked to the professors of Women's Studies at Harvard and Yale.

"We're on the same page," Anthony Kennedy – white and male enough for Reagan – said to the purveyors of sexual utopianism.  By deciding that sexual tolerance and love came as basic entitlements, Anthony Kennedy gave feminists and sexual radicals everything they wanted.  They could do as they pleased and receive moral credit, social affirmation, and tax breaks for it.  The power of the state served at their beck and call, available as a form of coercion to fine, enjoin, censure, and (one day soon) imprison any who could impede them.

Nothing ruins victory quite as much as getting what one fought for.  In "Pyrrhic" achievements, winning kills a combatant worse than losing would have.  

After Obergefell, it would have made sense for the LGBT movement to wind down and for the women's movement to take a calm, reflective posture.  Both movements had run out of enemies, in a sense.  But instead they went into overdrive.  Suddenly, the LGBT movement took to wall-to-wall coverage of a wave of "transphobic" violence, nightmares of men who consider themselves women being beaten by hordes of Southern Baptists.  (In reality, fewer than thirty trans people were murdered last year, and transphobia did not motivate almost any of the killings.)

In keeping with the way the LGBT movement usually operates, the appetite shifts quickly to the punitive.  They abandoned plans to combat sexually transmitted diseases or relationship instability within the gay community.  They focus instead on more lists of people to ban, censor, no-platform, and destroy.

The women's movement has attained success that earlier feminists could only have imagined.  Even sensible measures such as banning abortions after the fifth month of pregnancy have no hope of passing.  The March for Life gathers each year, assembling hundreds of thousands of pro-life idealists.  A cottage industry of conservative commentators pats them on the head, cheers on their courage, and then cuts every imaginable backdoor deal to keep abortion facilities open for business.  Homosexuality and abortion flourish, championed by movements that have lost no ground.  They have gotten what they wanted.

They wanted a world in which sex did not matter and chastity posed no demands on them.  Unfortunately, this comes with a nightmare.  In a world where sex does not matter, sexual intercourse is meaningless, and no commitment really stands for anything.  The less guidance we receive about how to relate intimately to others based on the self-evident design of our actual bodies, the more confused and lonely we feel.  If I can change my sex at will, so can anyone I am dating.  So what value do I gain by proclaiming my sexual orientation?

If they can change their sex at will, they can change their preferences for a partner just as easily.  Where does that leave me?  Us?  Anyone?  Did anybody have a contingency plan in case loneliness ended up being worse than allowing Anglican churches to preach Romans 1?

Without chastity, it turns out, there can be no charity.  A society that blithely rushes into sexual congress will rush just as quickly into mass judgment.  Forgiveness and mercy require patience and equanimity, calm contentment, and selflessness.  Not coincidentally, chastity also rests upon patience, equanimity, calm contentment, and selflessness.  Hasty love goes hand in hand with hasty hate.  So our society now traffics in condemnations based on little snippets of things people said decades ago, offhand comments that linger online and never go away, and watch lists compiled by paid character assassins who take everything out of context.

The list of people fired or ruined for making supposedly homophobic or sexist remarks should have served as a warning bell.  Maybe nobody said, "We are all Brendan Eich now," because we all knew we were Brendan Eich, and we accepted it.  So now the list of people fired or ruined for supposedly "harassing" or being "sexually inappropriate," even based on accusations from forty years ago lacking any real evidence, has exploded.  The rampage of judgmental condemnation shows no sign of abating.

The LGBT and feminist movements live like the Manhattan painter in the Twilight Zone.  They inhabit a fictional nightmare of their own conception.  They believe that their greatest threat consists of a deadly evangelical menace that stands to shut down screenings of Call Me by Your Name, or a world of toxic masculinity that encourages male co-workers to ask them out on dates.  Sexism and intolerance loom on all sides as ever present dangers.  Their greatest nightmare is facing people who view sex differently from the way they do.  This includes people who see kinky sex as gross rather than exciting.  It includes people who do not interest them sexually yet who express sexual interest to them.  Like the woman about to freeze to death painting pictures of a blazing sun about to fry her alive, these fear-mongers imagine a world of sexual order, conformity, and predictability as the worst type of existence imaginable.

Meanwhile, sexual chaos consumes them and wrecks them more each day.  The loneliness will catch up with them.  Perhaps they know this.  It might comfort them to imagine that lusty men yearn to bed them while homophobes will continue praising chastity.  Those inconveniences seem, at last, soothing for someone who faces long hours at a dull job and an empty apartment full of solitude and sadness.

Robert Oscar Lopez can be followed at English Manif.