Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Week 25: The (Gay) Butterfly Effect

The (Gay) Butterfly Effect
An urban planning perspective on Prop 8, on what it means to walk, and on the crazy shit that happens when we stop.

The history of mankind is a history of unexpected connections, of chance encounters between people and ideas that pushed the envelope of human understanding and opened our eyes to more of our limitless potential.

This history is inextricably linked to our cities: great urban spaces where people from all over the world and from all walks of life came together, collided, and every so often, gave off a random spark that grew to illuminate the world in a whole new way.

And so I walk, because I know that walking can change the world. I walk because I know that, contrary to what Einstein believed, God does indeed play with dice.

Of course, I also walk for other—less noble—reasons: bumping into acquaintances, ogling cute boys on the street, or overhearing some juicy tidbits about who did what with whom last night.

Walking was all this to me, and more. But then Prop 8 blew into town.

The first few days after losing a constitutional guarantee are always the worst.

I remember sharing a narrow sidewalk in Concord, California with a portly, flaxen-haired office worker the day after Prop 8 passed. I was walking to lunch; she was walking back. I looked at her as we passed, and came to the unsettling realization that, statistically speaking—she probably voted yes. 

The realization unleashed a floodgate of raw emotions. Old wounds from the night before bled anew, the delicate scabs bursting beneath the pressure of a heart that seethed with anger.

I stopped walking.

The public space was supposed to be a forum for building trust. But now, all it did was to remind me with each chance encounter that this country had betrayed me—that it had betrayed itself.


I stop walking altogether, and because I stop walking, I stop trusting. Because I stop trusting, love has no foundation, and so when love finally dissipates—I am left without a community.

I take refuge from the world in an isolated gay enclave, stewing in the idea that they all hate me. Sequestered away in my homogenized homosexual bubble, I stop interacting with heterosexuals, and quickly forget that they aren't all like that. 

Over time, the isolation and ignorance breed fear, which festers until from it emerges an uncompromising hatred.

This hatred goes on to fuel a radical gay minority whose modus operandi involves strapping explosive devices to their bodies and blowing themselves up in the middle of straight nightclubs busy with the activity of breeders, many of whom—ironically—support same-sex marriage.

In a flash of flesh-rendering light, I depart from this world. The physical body dies, but my legacy of hatred—my ideas—live on, inciting still more disaffected and marginalized gay men to martyrdom.

The senseless indiscriminate violence of a radical minority shifts national opinion against the moderate gay majority. Discriminatory and draconian new laws are passed in a new populist uprising led by Sarah Palin; and San Francisco and New York, those bastions of guppydom (like yuppies but gay), respond by seceding from the Union. 

The civil war that follows will be known to future generations as the Great Betrayal: a reference to the large contingent of Bible-thumping Republicans who turn out to be closeted gay men and either defect or are psychologically overwhelmed by their own hypocrisy.

The decidedly un-civil conflict in the US helps to enhance China's standing in the world, allowing them to establish a new global hegemony through which the Middle Kingdom rises once more: English falls out of favor, supplanted by Mandarin as the lingua franca of global capitalism; South Korea re-integrates Hanja into their education system; Taiwan is peacefully reunified with the Mainland; and Vietnam successfully petitions China to become the 23rd province of 南越

Chinese citizens begin immigrating to Israel en masse and, with the tacit backing of the Middle Kingdom, quickly declare statehood. The new state contracts Lee Kwan Yew to serve as enlightened despot, and he—through a combination of social engineering, arranged interfaith marriages, market-based incentives, and the threat of capital punishment—finally establishes a lasting peace in the Middle East. 

...all because a bunch of gay butterflies were never able to flap their wings in California.


  1. Uh, Earl... the Middle Kingdom is going to establish global hegemony no matter what happens in the bloated, necrotic carcass that is the US.

    And self-loathing, closeted Republicans will never be overwhelmed by their hypocrisy, as they are incapable of the introspection necessary to be aware of their hypocrisy. It's more likely they will be gleefully running the concentration camps into which gays will be herded under the Palin regime.

  2. Oh Erik. This bloated, necrotic carcass is all we have. Let's fix it up and it'll be just like new!

    And I dunno. The lure of sex can be a powerful motivating factor. I am sure the state will also grant asylum to any defectors. This should be enough to turn the tide and help the homos win the war.