Reading the New York Times in the morning at our house is a contact sport. The day after the State of the Union speech always promises lots of body and paper slamming. George's SOU speech invariably has a Ground Hog Day, déjà vu quality about it. He appears in late January and there's 20 more months of nuclear winter.
Before we could even get to the re-cap, rehash of his "If I Did it Speech" a headline caught my eye: "Gay Sheep: Science and the Perils of Bad Publicity". It didn't take much and I was off and running. "How dare they call us sheep? We've done more courageous things in one year of our lives, than they could ever dream to do in their whole lives! You just try to come out to your parents! You go to your church and hear yourself described as sinner, abomination! You try being out at work. You're the sheep. When you're not being chickens. You're so sheepish, you should all be drinking Woolite Cosmos down at your special cafes! Last year it was Brokeback jokes, now this." Coffee was flying. I punctuated each question by slamming the paper on the comforter.
My girlfriend let me run on a bit and then pointed out, her Jane Curtain to my Roseanne Roseannadana, that the article was about a study of actual gay sheep. Oh. Well. Never mind.
The article was about a researcher from the University of Oregon who was looking for physiological factors to explain the 8% of sheep who are gay. I would just look for that Abercrombie and Fitch orange tag on a gene. The researcher postulated, as scientists are wont to do, that the mechanism in gay sheep might have human implications. That set the PETA people to worrying, blogging and gang-emailing that the science would lead to breeding out homosexuality.
If that were true, the Bush "Administration" would already have made a Manhattan project out of it. Go ahead. Research away. Need more money? Better equipment? Are you sure that microscope is big enough? How about an institute? Here use this stem cell money we've got lying around.
When I have a big reaction to something, it's usually a sign that there is some truth somewhere in it. Sometimes I do think we are more sheepish than gay. That we have made very safe little pens for ourselves and we bathe in the sheep dip of conformity. I'll stop this metaphor before it gets really baaaad. No wait, that's lamb. Okay, I'm off to practice my sheep bleat with an ironic gay accent.