It’s important to make fun of this stuff.

What does one do with this?


We learn: “Roberto De Mattei, a Roman Catholic professor and vice president of Italy’s Centre for National Research, has an awesome new theory about why the Roman Empire came undone: the gays! Guess who doesn’t much like this theory? The gays!”

Now this sort of thing rarely makes the national news here, but we gays talk about it. Which makes us seem obsessed. But it’s not easy to ignore. Partly because it is directed at us as a way to demean and blame and wreck people’s lives, and that’s not very Christian. But also because it’s so bizarre. It’s not like we induced the man to say something so stupid and nonsensical so we can lampoon him. But he goes on Italian national radio and informs 70,000,000 Italians of the calamity in his mind, as instigation against us.

So we must lampoon him, in defense. And discuss him, and chastise and even try to chase him and his kind from any position of responsibility because he’s deluded. For a professor to just make something up this nuts is surely nuts. And actually, he’s not the first “Rome fell because of the Gays” guy. Only, now, dear internet, we can quickly put the man out to pasture. And I need to bring it to straight people, as we all do, which is why I blog the way I do. Otherwise they might not see this ridiculousness with which we must contend by people in high places.

“The Roman colony of Carthage was a paradise for homosexuals and they infected many others,” De Mattei claims in a new radio interview.

Not that I had to, as my friends know, but for proof — So I looked it up – Funny, Wikipedia doesn’t seem to note that. And points out the Romans had much fun destroying the real Carthage, and then a while later putting a Roman city there without a nefarious Carthagenian around to be gay. Did the man not hear of Hannibal and the Punic wars? A historian out to just remake history so as to make gay folks look bad? Wow! And the new Carthage, being Roman, was not different than any other Roman city here or there across the faltering empire with barbarians at the gates. After a thousand years. Though maybe you don’t like Wiki; go read Gibbons on the Fall of Rome. Geez.

“The invasion of the Barbarians was seen as punishment for this moral transgression. It is well known effeminate men and homosexuals have no place in the kingdom of God. Homosexuality was not rife among the Barbarians and this shows God’s justice comes throughout history.”

Such said the professor, with presumably a very straight face. That it took a 1,000 years for the barbarians to get to the Forum shows just how dangerous God may or may not have thought the gays were. And say, did Ancient Sumeria fall because of gays? Persia? China’s various empires? The Mayans? Why did these fall? Oh yah, overextending the national debt and engaging in foolish governmental practices, like oh, what’s going on around this country – and Italy, too — of late. At least we know why the Aztecs and the Inca fell: The Vatican showed up.

Now, this is Queerty speaking, which is good for me: Well then! So it’s not that Romans acting all gay somehow made them lesser warriors, but god hated the way all these gay couplings were happening under his watch and decided to let the Barbarians stomp them out?

Queerty continues: But what else would we expect from the same man who blamed the Japanese earthquake and tsunami as god’s plan? [Thus speaks the preacher: ] “Great catastrophes are a terrible but paternal sign of God’s benevolence which call attention to the ultimate scope of our lives. … If the Earth offered no danger, pain or catastrophe it would fascinate us to no end, and we would too easily forget we are citizens of heaven.” [Pure faith, to be respected, but kept at bay, like fine art, left to its devices in a baroque palace, alone.]

Queerty’s quip: Sadly, actual experts on Roman civilization had to put down their tea to refute De Mattei’s claims.

But well, sadly, the two “actual experts” didn’t quite refute the man sufficiently:

“It is highly improbable [ergo slightly probable] homosexuality led to the fall of the Roman Empire,” historian Emilio Gabba, a leading light in Roman history, said. However research would seem to suggest homosexuality was rife in ancient Rome, and it is widely portrayed in ancient Roman art and was seen as acceptable 2,000 years ago.

You won’t see this bit of real history at any museum, that’s for sure. But still “suggest”? Pompeii is chock full of the stuff, there’s even coffee table books on it – we got ours, you got yours. There’s vases galore from Lisbon to Lebanon with homoerotic scenes. But “rife” – such a weird word, how about “common.” or better yet, “accepted.” Yes, accepted, that’s what it was. And in Ancient Greece, too. Just an everyday, “oh well, some folks are gay.” And every historian since the fall of Rome has been trying to hush up this reality of the roots of our democracy and ordered civilization since then. Or blame the fall of the Pagan world on gays – a result which Christians wanted, by the way. Without a doubt, it was Christian doctrine which slayed Rome, not gays. Ahem.

“There is no proof Rome had a high number of homosexuals. [Nope, and yep, it had the same 5% we do.] I can safely say Rome did not fall because it was gay,” Professor Lellia Cracco Ruggini, an expert on Roman history from Turin University, added.

But what isn’t quite mentioned, by the good professors, the two repudiators or the repudiated, to really cement the death of this long uttered mush, they should have said: From Zero to 315 AD, Christians were brutally persecuted by Rome, but they gained some acceptance. It’s remarkably like the gay rights movement, persecution until begging for don’t tread on us either led to a sullen tolerance by the authorities. Then, in 315AD Emperor Constantine decided to become a Christian and go build himself a new city which is now called Istanbul. One hundred years later the Western Empire, as it was called in its waning days, after quite an explosion of the spread of Christianity, was overrun by barbarians who burned and sacked Rome starting in 415 AD and thereafter, repeatedly, some more brutally than others, until the US finally put out the flames in 1945, and Rome has been at peace again ever since.

So it appears that for 1,000 years Rome was quite a city living in benign peace, with a fine gay bunch contributing what they did. Probably hair cutting, decorating and theater, but I’m just guessing. And then it turned Christian and all hell broke loose. I’m not laying blame on Christians, I’m just pointing out the facts of the matter. Perhaps it was the barbarians after all. Which the professors all ought to know. And be able to say forthrightly. For the sheer importance of history and intellectual honesty.

And then Queerty concludes: “Except I kind of like De Mattei’s little theory about how all the world’s disasters are simply god’s punishment, because can you even imagine what’s in store for the world’s Catholics for their abuse of thousands of little boys? And their contributions to helping HIV spread? I think the earth might just open up and swallow Vatican City whole.”

And, well, that’s over the top too, though comedic, and we need this comedy in the face of the mush. Though it leans towards the exact same thought pattern as Mr. De Mattei has. And we gays just can’t keep going on tit for tat with these people. I do recall another method. It’s in every church every Sunday – it’s extending the hand of friendship, and loving thy neighbor as yourself, and treating others as you want to be treated, and taking the blessings of liberty and life and doing something good. But trashing other people? It’s sort of Medieval. Which is a period of Church history which is quite extraordinary in its gayness. Why, Pope Alexander VI in 1492 had to tell all his bishops and cardinals, priests and monks — stop molesting the boys. Even had to fire a few prelates to encourage the others. What is it with Rome and homosexuality? Maybe it’s in the water.


1 Comment

  1. ted

    This is so simple as to be absurd, but it needs to be pointed out. There were no homosexuals in Rome. The word was not invented until the 1800’s (1869 was first know appearance in print). So in Rome, who knows what percent of men had sexual relations exclusively with men? Since Women were not able to vote or hold office, and there were slave women, they were not seen as partners, but more as prizes and property. Probably, in a society free of observation, they settled into the proportions of people cohabiting for the usual variety of reasons – attraction, finances, expedience, work, leisure, inertia …

    but all in all it is not possible to apply standards of christianity today to rome of yesterday (or today perhaps) because very little is known of the day to day grind of Rome. No one writes about the little things, and no records are kept of the millions of interactions and romances that come so naturally in a God given body. All I know is that whne God puts two people together in mutual affection, let no institution, man or law come between them – or God help those who defile his beautiful creation of love.

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