Sunday, February 5, 2017

Is That All There a Holocaust?




   Another Holocaust Memorial Day will come and go. Some will pause and reflect on what it means to humanity going forward. Others will just do what they do all year long: invoke Shoah to deceptively promote the very ideas which thrive when remembrance is nefariously re-purposed as emotive buzzwords and worse. Moral man has no great difficulties comprehending the annihilation of an individual and his or her family and culture - immoral society however collectively eschews what the numbers really mean. 

Holocausts and stuff…I’m reminded of delivering one of my best friends’ eulogy when he succumbed to AIDS. Steve loved the very best of everything, especially literature. For him I drew on Hemingway’s “A Farewell To Arms”, and how Papa H. likened the dead World War 1 soldiers to becoming nothing more than concrete numbers and dates on roads and regiments. And how honor and courage seemed like obscene abstractions. (I lost my audience in that little chapel early on: neither an ashamed mother nor a motley collection of homosexualists drew comfort from my words. But the non-denominational celebrant at least claimed to get it.)

 Broadway initially felt a direct effect of AIDS because it hit their bottom line hard: a multi-million dollar business was built on the back of homosexual creativity. The shows had much difficulty going on. But that particular loss was in and of itself. Schlagers and tits and feathers aside, it doesn’t address legacy or community: the cumulative knowledge and extraordinary talents of an era’s gay men weren’t handed on to homo replacements on Broadway or anywhere else. Our rate of replication couldn’t quickly assure that clever hands and astute minds would be replaced in a generation. Gay men worldwide lost our best and brightest across the boards, and as a generation or two of men on the planet we’re diminished for it.


Come as you are. Or are not.
 The fact that the modern skinhead haircut was pioneered by gay AIDS activists as a Holocaust reminder is something apparently forgotten by gays and fashionistas alike. Analogies don’t always work because nothing is quite the same as anything else. But Shoah teaching principles aren’t as exclusively Judeo-centric as one might think, and homosexualists can draw much from them. As we note that effects ripple from cause, we also note that ACT-UP was as much about honor and courage as it was about anger.

Perhaps all that some of us will take away from the Holocaust is that we’ll never meet or know the grandsons. Those nice Jewish and Gypsy and Slavic guys we should be meeting. And that’s okay, because at least we’re relating the 'then' to the 'now'. We can, and should, collectively remember 'our own kind as well. And also ask ourselves what legacy of theirs we’ve been deprived of. (Notably, our own kind weren’t liberated from concentration camps when the good guys showed up: they were transferred to other prisons to complete their sentences…‘cos, well, the law (for fags) is the law.)

Holocausts and stuff…we’ve recovered somewhat but only somewhat. One does not need to be a Jew or a homosexual to observe who and what's been lost in terms of homosexual culture. The generational continuance of history, knowledge, intellect and strong leadership was indiscriminately decimated, and the vacuum is sucking in sewerage. Better medical interventions and same-sex marriage don’t make the ever-increasing threats to our being go away. Legal changes by stealth and hubris are more threatening than ever. Political elites of all persuasions do their dirty deals without ever really acknowledging human rights – let alone bargaining for it. Many brothers-in-deviance are probably wishfully thinking our future is still just somewhere over the rainbow, at best.

Or is this the ideal climate from which the homosexualist can, or could, emerge to confidently and purposefully help reset the future? Our feminist sisters are also realistically seeing problems ahead for women, and they’re asking “Where are the gay men? We were there for you front and center when AIDS hit.” Are we forgetting our friends while we pretend to not hear the narratives about fags lives not mattering?

And, most of all, aren’t we forgetting that being a victim isn’t an easy job, and that one gets no thanks for it? Shoah teaching is most definitely not about perpetuating a state of victimhood as perceived or experienced. As we remember, we're encouraged to never again be victims for starters. We don’t have to be pacifists to make that fundamental thought-leap to becoming the change we wish to see in the world. We just have to change our mind about ourselves first, and then see optimism and opportunity. 



(Revised January 2023)

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