Before “After the Ball” was the title of a gay rights manifesto published in 1989 by Harvard graduates Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen (see this critique by Doug Mainwaring), it was a line in a sentimental show tune tied to Jerome Kern’s musical Show Boat.
On gay issues, a mean season is upon us now. Innocent Americans – both gay and otherwise – find themselves sucked into the whirlpools of the filthy swamp that is mainstream gay culture, or “Gay Inc.” (and we're talking not just about Bryan Singer’s pool orgies, the rise of shameless gay human trafficking, beloved gay porn stars drugging and raping teen boys, or the pederast working for Joe Biden’s son). Now would be a good time to allow the thespian ghosts of centuries past to whisper a long and well-earned “I told you so” to us.
Been There, Done That
“After the Ball” was first a waltz penned in 1891 by Charles K. Harris, designed to capture the spirit of an age, a time full of rapid change, social anxiety, and winners and losers in the games of party life.
A little maiden climbed an old man's knee,
Begged for a story – "Do, Uncle, please.
Why are you single; why live alone?
Have you no babies; have you no home?"
"I had a sweetheart years, years ago;
Where she is now pet, you will soon know.
List to the story, I'll tell it all,
I believed her faithless after the ball."
After the ball is over,
After the break of morn –
After the dancers' leaving;
After the stars are gone;
Many a heart is aching,
If you could read them all;
Many the hopes that have vanished
After the ball.
Bright lights were flashing in the grand ballroom,
Softly the music playing sweet tunes.
There came my sweetheart, my love, my own –
"I wish some water; leave me alone."
When I returned dear there stood a man,
Kissing my sweetheart as lovers can.
Down fell the glass pet, broken, that's all,
Just as my heart was after the ball.
Long years have passed child, I've never wed.
True to my lost love though she is dead.
She tried to tell me, tried to explain;
I would not listen, pleadings were vain.
One day a letter came from that man,
He was her brother – the letter ran.
That's why I'm lonely, no home at all;
I broke her heart pet, after the ball.
What’s Gay about this Song?
It’s the story of a broken heart and a sad misunderstanding. A creepy man tells a little girl bouncing on his lap that in the midst of drunken festivities, he thought his best girl was cheating on him, but it turns out that the "other man" was her brother.
The song held a deeper resonance than that, however, which explains why it appeared in two screen adaptations of Jerome Kern’s Show Boat. “After the Ball” is a symbol of people partying, throwing caution to the wind, and then suddenly realizing that their lives are built on unreliable illusions. They really just wanted the stable conventions that might have once seemed boring.
The “dancers” and “stars” who goad us to make literal spectacles of ourselves are the first ones to disappear when we feel lonely and need someone to love us.
Show Boat was adapted from a novel by Edna Ferber. There is a scene where Magnolia, a mother abandoned by her husband Gay (yes, his name is really “Gay” in the 1951 version starring Howard Keel), has had to sing show tunes on stage to make a living.
Her strict, unforgiving mother, Parthy Hawks, disowned her because Hawks never trusted Gay – and wouldn’t you say, she was right! Poor Magnolia is on her own in the big bad city, performing in the cutthroat and exploitative subculture of Gay '90s show business. It is no coincidence that another famous song from this musical is titled “Life upon the wicked stage ain't nothing for a girl.”
Magnolia sings to a raucous crowd that nearly heckles her out of the theater. Her father, who she didn’t know was there, stands up and fights off the ruffians. In the end, even in the context of this song so important to gay politics, it is the traditional family structure of mother/father/child that restores order in a cruel and heartless world.
We are all living in Jerome Kern’s musical and singing “After the Ball.” We are all Magnolia now, and the whole world is Gay, because a small circle of misguided, and often cruel, gay activists remade our culture in Gay’s image.
Gay Culture Grew out of Decadent Subcultures.
We aren’t the first generation that got hoodwinked by sexual libertines, rakes, drama queens, and garden-variety scum. Ever heard of the “Gay '90s?” The 1890s saw a fin-de-siècle cult of aesthetical excess that allowed promiscuous cads, homosexuals, demimonde solicitors, and pornographers to flourish in wealthy cities like Paris and Chicago, while the poor lived twenty to a room and the masses starved.
Back then, the term “gay” didn’t mean homosexual, but the ties between the two words were already being forged. “Gay” meant devil-may-care, a bit self-indulgent, irreverent, the bon vivant of the party who downs cocktails, engages in forbidden pleasures, and charms his way out of trouble.
The reference point to “gay” was fun tainted by dishonesty and callousness. It is quite appealing, unless you’re Oscar Wilde and society’s backlash catches up with you. “Gay” men were serial bachelors, deadbeat dads, bisexuals, homosexuals, drifters, gamblers, cross-dressers, opium addicts, and circuit boys. In the twentieth century, somehow all these forms of gleeful decadence became reduced to the mere question of homosexuality. Some homosexuals quite foolishly took it upon themselves to carry on the tradition of perversion and excess by making their subculture ground zero for old patterns of social breakdown.
Remember, we aren’t the first ones fooled. We are just the generation that got hoodwinked by this toxic mix when it was packaged as celebrating the wholesome liberation of same-sex love.
The Myth of the Blameless Gay Victim
Just one year ago, much of the nation was still enthralled by visions of homosexual innocence.
When I went to St. Paul to testify before Minnesota lawmakers about the irreplaceable nature of mothers and fathers, the chosen witnesses in favor of gay marriage took seats and cried on cue before elected officials.
In the House committee, middle-class parents sat before the panels and started talking about how they wanted their good-natured and innocent gay son to be happy. They broke down and started crying. Then in the Senate, they performed the same routine. You could have set your timer – here come the waterworks in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…
Others came forward and partook in the choreographed weeping – Republicans and Democrats, Baptists and atheists – in between the testimonials from sons of homosexuals who assured the committee that they were perfectly happy being deprived of their biological dads or moms, or not even knowing who those dads and moms were. We even got a less famous version of Zach Wahls; from the plains of Minnesota comes the trim white suburban boy conceived through sperm-banking, to say his lesbian moms raised him so well that he turned out heterosexual, a varsity letterman, gorgeous, and articulate.
He is so successful that now nobody will sympathize with him if one day he wakes up, decides a terrible wrong has been done to him, and wants to know who his father is. The poor chap got swindled by his own moms.
And so it goes with famous coming-out stories like the sons of Rob Portman and Paul Singer, or the conspicuous case of Dick Cheney’s daughter. These people used the fact that they had famous or rich fathers to push forward policy enabling millions of lesbians to bring children into the world with no fathers at all. If that isn’t the epitome of short-sighted selfishness, I don’t know what is.
The Maudlin Victim Factory
Minnesota was by no means isolated. Ritualized crying became the weapon of choice. We heard about well-intended homosexuals being thrown out of the house by mean Christian parents. We heard about stellar gay citizens “just wanting to build families.” In endless performances of rhetorical masochism, we heard about kids of gay people longing to have society applaud their guardians for wrenching them away from their own biological roots. We heard about horrible bullies committing all these mythical crimes against helpless gay people:
- Stiffing lesbian waitresses on tips because they hate their lifestyle.
- Barring a lesbian mom from visiting her lover in the emergency room because they’re gay.
- Spray-painting “Kill the Gay” on lesbians’ garages.
- Putting on ski masks, breaking into a lesbian’s house, vandalizing her rooms, and carving slurs into her naked body.
- Luring gay boys out of Montana bars with an offer of cigarettes, calling them “f-----s,” and beating them to a pulp.
- Slipping hate letters under the door of lesbian college students.
- Burning gay men’s hands with hot metals.
- Jumping a gay man en masse, calling him names, and beating him to a pulp.
- Spray-painting “Hey Tranny, know your place” inside Vassar dormitories.
- Posting homophobic messages so prolifically at Oberlin College that the whole school had to shut down.
All of these stories, it turns out, were completely fabricated. And this is a trimmed down list, believe me – the anti-gay hate crime hoaxes are astonishing in their volume and premeditation. This is not a coincidence. There’s too much consistency in the fabrications and what the fabricators are trying to do.
Beyond the fabrications, there are the intentional misreadings of real events – the belief, for instance, that Matthew Shepard was killed because of homophobia rather than out of intimate partner violence by another queer man; the conviction that 12,000 homosexuals were kicked out of the military for being gay when in fact most of them asked to leave using an escape valve (Don’t Ask Don’t Tell) that has now been taken away from them; the certainty that Tyler Clementi’s 2010 suicide resulted from gay-bashing rather than the eighteen-year-old’s distraught response to the fallout of risky sexual behavior with older strangers he was meeting over the internet.
At every turn, the show must go on. In the face of overwhelming evidence that things are going badly for gay people – there’s HIV, suicides caused by romantic cruelty from other gays, intimate partner violence, eating disorders, high addiction rates,