“A way of life can be shared among individuals of different age, status, and social activity. It can yield intense relations not resembling those that are institutionalized. It seems to me that (male friendship as) a way of life can yield a culture and an ethics. To be “gay,” I think, is not to identify with the psychological traits and the visible masks of the homosexual but to try to define and develop a way of life.”
—Michel Foucault, ‘Friendship as a Way of Life’, 1981.
Being a man-loving-man was once a fascinating and radical adventure. Our peculiar predicament could inspire the the right man a chance to live a better, more passionate, and original life. Dynamism, eroticism, hedonism and mystique marked much of that nearly forgotten world. In the welter of late history, we have lost our way, straying from time-honored customs and traditions into garish wedding pictures, suburban block parties and mind-deadening box stores.
For most, this seems to be a pig’s heaven, but for us it marks a steep downward slope into oblivion. We set forth a Modest Proposal here: a call for a small and quiet revolt against the anemic regime we now endure. We strike out on a new path, to live out an old story.
- are not an Identity, more a stance, or better yet, a pose. We shape shift in the practice everyday life.
- hold manly Desire as our Fundament.
- are Camp: it’s our sense, sensibility and style, although we throw subversion in our own unique way; we are a form of masculine drag.
- esteem manly friendship within “a brotherhood of lovers”, holding that a different kind of love exists among men. Within our circles, we honor courage, loyalty, intelligence, knowledge, wisdom, passion, skill and decency. So bound, we become men in our own eccentric ways.
- are unreservedly hedonistic and pro-sex. We are men who are shamelessly man-loving sluts; we are unrepentant, joyous and filthy perverts. We revile the pathetic currency in sex-panic and its deleterious and pervasive affect on our getting laid.
- trust implicitly in our daemon, that guiding set of affinities, tendencies and sensibilities, to deliver us to higher ground; not to mention lead us to the good sex, food, parties, bars and people.
- seek adventures, innovations and experiments in living, the arts, professions and comradery. We endeavor to revive our own ancient and anarchic lineage, and live out our own “traditional family values” and tribal sensibility. In this vein, we choose to learn, speak and augment the nameless, secret and near-dead “language” spoken in our version of “the good life”. We do as we do to please ourselves.
- endeavor to rediscover clues to our mysterious and noble descent, especially in its tangle of Epicurean, libertine and hedonist roots. We are guided by our progenitors, among them: Baudelaire, Whitman, Wilde, Proust, Auden, Garcia-Lorca, Baldwin, Genet, Pasolini, Mishima, Foucault, Vidal, Fassbinder, Ginsberg, White, Waters and Cooper.
- question and suspect all histories, narratives and institutions that lay claim to us or that feign speak for us. We endeavor to reclaim, retell and recast our own stories, images and aesthetic out of the fragments and shards that are left of our birthright. We choose to become what we are; we are not just born this way, we are the authors of our own lives.
- choose to be nameless, opaque, and protean. We will pop up anywhere and disappear just as quickly. We’re an ideal, not an Identity.
- reject the pop-culture contrivance, so-called “romantic love” as a privileged ideal for our bonds. Indeed, setting up an affliction of adolescence as the organizing principle for long-term relationships is unwise at best, a recipe for cataclysm at worst.
- revolt against the idea of a universal “gay community” and regret its hollow liberationist agitprop, its cliché rites (coming out, Gay Pride, dating, bourgeois marriage, eyebrow plucking, etc.), as well as its shallow consumerism, derivative heteromonotony and general tackiness. We reject GLBTQ nationalism, jingoism and imperialism as a wholly malign project.
- regard Stonewall and its consequences as a blunder with regard to our kind: we are not an ethnicity nor a religion, but intentional kin bound by a loose set of strong affinities. We will no longer tolerate being suborned into riding on floats with greased-pole go-go queens, eating sick-making rainbow flags and picking glitter out of our beards for three weeks.
- assert that the hijacking of homosexuality by the self-appointed gay and lesbian agendists of all stripes (notwithstanding their relentless, strident and triumphalist propaganda) has been a calamitous misadventure for our tradition. We heartily renounce all representations and ministrations of these apparachiks whose dreariness is only outdone by their professional incompetence and execrable lack of style.
- are not a potential niche market; nor do we have a blind faith in commerce to shape our lives for the better.
- eschew marriage, monogamy, religion (most especially monotheism), and the traditional family. Indeed, we firmly assert that, for us, “the world of the heterosexual is a sick and boring life” and chafe—- how we chafe—-under the detested yoke of heteroimperialism. As much fun as it is to live in a permanent refugee camp where tailgate parties are the highest art form, we’d rather make our own fun.
- prefer smirking to smiling and smiling to being grim.
- believe Humans (our term for straight people), Normals (heteronormed fags and dykes), The Gays (vacuous party-fags), Queers (whatever they are), and the assorted new ecology of niche specialists such as Bears, Wolves, Otters, Foxes, Leather Men, Fantastic Men (judgmental fashion bears), Silver Daddies, Buttheads (prissy hipster ho-hos), Metrosexuals, Bisexuals, Closet-cases, Transexuals, Trisexuals, Pansexuals, Interspeciels, Asexuals (sigh), LesBeings, Faeries, etc., all have a right to their various, enigmatic and dizzying life-stylings. We are not aspiring to be one of these identities.
- affirm the right of every person to be treated equitably and decently, albeit we may rue their misguided “lifestyle choices”, odd preferences and wonky customs.
- are commutarians and pacifists.
- prefer living, thinking and fighting to suffering and begging; we despise all narratives that portray us as victims or bystanders, weak or sick. We refuse to live in perpetual fear and mourning; we are finished with the shame and guilt imposed upon us as a result of the AIDS epidemic. We deny bringing this ourselves and scoff at the pervasive, perfidious and ridiculous myth that the God of the Old Testament has metamorphosed into a tropical virus to personally punish fags for our reputed misdeeds.
- endeavor to form friendly brotherhoods in order to further our aims and fellowship. We are not separatists, but with due respect to others, wish to be left outside city walls to build our own houses in a wilderness of our own choosing. We do not impose our ways on others, nor make claims on them. In turn, we expect to be left to ourselves. We value the offices of discretion and secrecy and prefer the glance, the whisper and the shadow; the light, it burns. It burns!
- see a great value in being intentional travelers and strangers.
- are more of a mood than a movement.
- actively seek to recruit men into our circle.
We seek friends and brothers here, not fans, customers or enemies; nor is not the best place to look for fashion statements or the hippest parties. If any of the above rings true for you, come into the enchanting dark light of our capacious closet and let’s plot sexy revolution, plan perverse adventures and talk about pornographic ideas. Keep up with us on the site. Contend, submit, unite and join!
February 2011, Berlin
(Revised: June 2011, Berlin)
© HOMO Magazine 2011