06 July 2005

Why not "ambisexual," I wonder?

I'm guessing that more than a few of my readers have at least heard about the recent New York Times article "Straight, Gay or Lying? Bisexuality Revisited."
The psychologists found that men who identified themselves as bisexual were in fact exclusively aroused by either one sex or the other, usually by other men.
The article has inspired both whimsy and ire from folks I know who have met actual bisexuals. Or, you know, are actual bisexuals.
Seated alone in a laboratory room, the men then watched a series of erotic movies, some involving only women, others involving only men.
You gotta wonder what they showed 'em. I'm pretty darn heterosexual. I'm not too proud to say that I haven't spent a little quiet time alone with a picture of Miss November. But your average blue movie's Lesbian Sex Scene is just ... ugh. If you showed me that, and the champagne scene with the two fellas in My Beautiful Laundrette, I'd register as gay as a day in May.

And those bisexual fellas who didn't respond to the girls? Did they think to show them Bound? Gina Gershon and Jennifer Tilly knocking the sheets clean off the matress. That would turn Quentin Crisp on, and he's been dead for over five years.

I dunno, maybe they did that, and there was something screwy about how they "directly measured." I certainly don't want to think about that part of this alleged science.

So who's behind this?

Dr. J. Michael Bailey, a professor of psychology at Northwestern and the new study's senior author.
Whaddaya know, the Southern Poverty Law Center has a page about him. It turns out he's involved in lawsuits for unethical research practices, speaking and publishing about junk science, and ... wait for it ... he belongs an organization that includes these guys:
  • Jean-Phillippe Rushton, a prominent researcher on black genetic inferiority who is president of a pro-eugenics hate group, the Pioneer Fund;
  • Charles Murray, co-author of The Bell Curve, which purported to show black and Latino intellectual inferiority;
  • Kevin MacDonald, a professor at California State University at Long Beach who has written several books about supposed Jewish strategies to subvert "Euro-American" culture; and
  • Gregory Cochrane, a physicist who has suggested the existence of a genetic "gay germ."
What a surprise.


Indri said...

I like the "lying" possibility. Because people will definitely do so if it means they get to be beaten up and discriminated against.

You got me worked up about this yesterday and I had just calmed down. Hay-zoos. Very interesting to see that the lead author has a history.

Reya Mellicker said...

Miniver, thank you so much for poking holes in this particular stupidity - as if a person's sexuality could be measured by showing him or her some movies. There's something so stingy about looking at sexualty in this ridiculously limited way. For heaven's sake!

I like ambisexual a lot better than "bi" which always sounds like I'm trying to slice myself in half. The longer way to say it is that gender is not an identifying factor in who I am attracted to sexually. I tried using "trisexual" for awhile, but it was confusing, even to me, though I love the term "geosexual" because it conveys how passionately in love I am with the landscape.

Jonathan Korman said...

Mick Jagger, of course, famously asserts that he's trisexual: "I'll try anything once."

And "geosexual" makes me think of James Tiptree, Jr.'s story "The Earth Doth Like a Snake Renew," which you can find in the collection Crown of Stars. Anyone who reads my blog who doesn't know about Tiptree ought to run to the nearest used bookstore, go to the science fiction shelf, and buy some Tiptree. Especially if you think you don't like SF.

And if you like surprises, buy an old edition, read it, and then --- after you've read some stories --- do a web search on Tiptree. The author's biography has some unusual elements.