Galloping Toward Gomorrah
A couple of nights ago, I ran across a lengthy interview in New York magazine, titled, “What It’s Like to Date a Horse.” I thought it was a satire of some sort. It’s not. I’m not linking to it, because it is sick, sick stuff. It’s incredibly graphic, and I had decided not to write about it. But the more I thought about the thing, the more disturbed it made me. Here’s why: What’s significant is not that this deranged behavior happens. It has no doubt always been with us. What’s significant is that this interview appears in a mainstream magazine.
Says the zoophile in the interview: “I love me. I love who I am. I love my sexuality. … I wish we could talk more openly about sex and alternative sexual interests, or just sex in general.” He says that if we could do that, maybe so many zoophiles wouldn’t kill themselves. More:
Since there’s so much stigma attached to being a zoophile I imagine that means you don’t tell many people. Does it cause a split personality? What is it like for you to have a sexuality that’s not really accepted or understood?
I’m really lucky to have my wife, because nobody would ever guess. … Having said that, though, you are quite correct that it’s something that makes people feel confused and alone, and they have no idea what to think about what they are, and they can’t talk to anybody. I’ve heard stories of people getting shock or aversion therapy. I really don’t understand the hatred.
Do you wish you could be out and proud?
Absolutely. I’ve always been a very political person, and one of the reasons I started seeing a therapist is because I found that lately I’m having trouble with what people say about zoophiles. The same arguments over and over again, and nobody can support me because they get labeled. It’s been very hard dealing with those emotions and the heaviness of what it would be like to get caught and what’s being said and done to zoophiles, and the fact is, rather than actually engage with us, people would prefer to ignore us.
What have I done? I am a normal, average, hardworking guy. I pay my taxes, I make fairly good money, I have a nice house. I have dogs, I have ferrets, I have cats, a couple of rats, chickens in my backyard I’ve saved from places where they were just going to get killed. What have I done that’s so wrong? What is so wrong about physical contact between [myself and an animal]? And it does bring a weight. The experience of being a zoo adolescent was extremely lonely. I had no one to turn to, nobody to ask questions, and even if I had trusted someone I feel now like I would have gotten bad, heteronormative advice. It was a silent day-to-day struggle.
Yes, well, heaven forbid that somebody would give a freak who wants to poke a horse “bad, heteronormative advice.”
Princeton’s Robert George writes on his Facebook page:
First, please, somebody tell me that the interview in New York Magazine entitled “What It’s Like to Date a Horse” is a fake or some sort of spoof. Second, I will not post it here, because it is too disturbing. I urge friends not to read it unless you have a very, very, very strong stomach. I mention it, reluctantly, only to show that anyone who thought we had already reached the bottom of the slippery slope is mistaken. The descent into Gomorrah continues. I believe it can be reversed, but not simply stopped. “This far and no farther,” is not an option. “He who says A, says B.” Once a set of premises is adopted or endorsed, logic carries one to certain conclusions. One may have a subjective wish (rooted in an aversion, or preference, or lack of interest, or whatever) to where the logic of a position takes one, but a wish (or an aversion, or a preference) is not a principle.
He’s right. Again, I stress that the most disturbing thing about this is not that people who do this exist. It’s that a mainstream American magazine has published something this unspeakably perverse. And not just any mainstream magazine: New York has been a trendsetter since the 1960s. Under its current editor, former New York Times-man Adam Moss, New York has won a slew of National Magazine Awards, including being named 2013’s Magazine of the Year. This isn’t an Al Goldstein rag. This isn’t even the Village Voice.
There’s no way around it: New York magazine is mainstreaming bestiality as an alternative sexuality. It’s just different. Who are you to judge, you bad heteronormative person? How does his relationship with the mare affect you, huh?
One extremely tasteless and morally revolting interview in a leading magazine is not the end of the world. But it is a signpost. It’s not going to make everyone run out and get an animal boyfriend or girlfriend. But it does attempt to weaken an important taboo by giving a sympathetic forum to a deranged man whose behavior deserves the strongest condemnation, and who personally needs help. It’s important to pay attention to this for exactly the reason Robby George says. Ideas have consequences. If your idea is that all consensual sex is good, or at least beyond judgment, and that sexual desire is its own justification, then you have met your consequence in New York‘s anonymous zoophile. If you can stomach reading the thing, it’s rather remarkable how the perv defends himself and his desire using the language and reasoning we have all become familiar with in other contexts.
(And by the way, if the only thing you have to stand on to condemn Captain Equus here is that his girlfriend can’t meaningfully consent, then, well, you are ridiculous.)