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‘Muir Woods, Queer Woods’

Ranger Ricky Martin and the National Park Service queer the Muir Woods for you (NPS video)

Ever been to the Muir Woods, the redwood forest north of San Francisco? It is like heaven on earth. First time I went, I thought, “So this is why people become druids and worship trees.” It is not only one of the great treasures of America, but of the world. To enter the Muir Woods is to walk into a garden of transcendence.

Or was. This is what hits you now when you show up at the park:


No kidding. Here’s what the National Park Service tells you about the Queer Ecology of the Muir Woods. Excerpt:

Queer ecology is the series of practice that reimagines how people think about nature. It studies gender, sexuality, and behavior in the natural world. It uses the word “queer” because it draws from a related field called queer theory. Queer theory studies dominant, social norms around sexuality and the way those norms hurt people who are queer. Queer ecology looks at how dominant, social norms impact our understanding of nature.

A common way mainstream American society understands nature is in “either/or” boxes like “male/female,” “natural/unnatural,” and “human/nature.” Looking at nature with our societal norms, we might look at two spiders and assume the big one is the male or “dad” and the smaller one is the female or “mom.” Queer ecology investigates if the norms we put on people apply to plants, animals, and insects. Often, the answer is no, just like the answer is no with the spider example above. In many species of spiders, the physically larger spiders are female. Many times these societal perceptions don’t universally apply to people either. When we impose our societal norms on nature, we miss how diverse nature really is. But when we learn to recognize societal norms and question them, we can more accurately study the natural world.

The Redwood forest is a wonderful place to experience queer ecology. When we look at Muir Woods in the lens queer ecology provides, we see past the structures that we have traditionally held to be true in nature. Redwood forest ecosystems are so diverse and there is a lot we can learn from this incredible variation. Here are a few examples of queer ecology in the redwood forest.

They give examples — gay bats, genderfluid banana slugs, how making creeks straight harmed the forest, and so forth.

This is the National Parks Service, a US Government agency. Watch the five minute video where gay and bisexual forest guides tell you all about the Queer Woods. 

Here’s the embed:

You know why this is totalitarian? Because totalitarianism is what you have when politics invade every aspect of society. Mussolini, the Italian Fascist leader who invented the term “totalitarianism,” defined it as “all within the state, none outside the state, none against the state.” For us, it’s “all within wokeness, none outside of wokeness, none against wokeness.”

One of contemporary progressivism’s commonly used phrases—the personal is political—captures the totalitarian spirit, which seeks to infuse all aspects of life with political consciousness. Indeed, the Left pushes its ideology ever deeper into the personal realm, leaving fewer and fewer areas of daily life uncontested. This, warned Arendt, is a sign that a society is ripening for totalitarianism, because that is what totalitarianism essentially is: the politicization of everything.

Infusing every aspect of life with ideology was a standard aspect of Soviet totalitarianism. Early in the Stalin era, N. V. Krylenko, a Soviet commissar (political officer), steamrolled over chess players who wanted to keep politics out of the game.

“We must finish once and for all with the neutrality of chess,” he said. “We must condemn once and for all the formula ‘chess for the sake of chess,’ like the formula ‘art for art’s sake.’ We must organize shock brigades of chess-players, and begin immediate realization of a Five-Year Plan for chess.”

Today they would be demanding that we queer chess, or develop a Five-Year Plan to make chess antiracist. The mentality is the same: there is nothing that can exist outside of wokeness.

By the way, here is some of the material being taught to elementary school students at a school in the Bay Area, according to this tweet:


More news from the Bay Area, this one from a reader in Los Gatos:

I readLive Not By Lies and it is great.  A powerful warning for what is coming.  Thank you for writing it.
I was reminded today of the stories told by the people in your book who know what it is like to live in a totalitarian society and the unmistakable warning signs that it is happening.
My wife and I were in our front yard today and a wonderful woman stopped to talk to us (from a safe distance).  She left East Germany 40 years ago.  She talked of living in fear every day and the toll it takes on people to live that way.  They could never say what they really thought and had to limit everything they said out of fear of imprisonment.  She never knew who was listening or who would turn her in.  One of her relatives, to this day, will not discuss politics over the phone out of fear of being arrested.
She moved here in 1966 hoping to get away from the fear.  She had.  Until the last six to nine months.  The rapidity of the change has stunned her.  It is all too familiar.  The fear is creeping back.
You might be thinking, well, just get out of crazypants California, and everything will be fine. Do you seriously not think that what starts in California stays in California?
UPDATE: A reader writes:

What a crazy story. William Kent (who donated Muir Woods to the country) would have been horrified. Here’s what he said about the donation — and if he had accepted having his name on the park, he would have to be canceled today for having such retrograde views.

Shrouded in fog banks that roll in daily from the Pacific, California redwoods reach hundreds of feet in height and thousands of years in age. They once filled many northern California coastal valleys, but it was one of the last remaining mature stands that William and Elizabeth Kent purchased in 1905. In donating a 300-acre tract north of San Francisco to the Department of the Interior, the Kents asked that President Theodore Roosevelt declare it a national monument, and name it Muir Woods in homage to naturalist John Muir. Acting on their request in 1908, Roosevelt created the first national protected area to be donated by private individuals. But the President suggested the monument should bear the donor family’s name, in recognition of their “generous and public-spirited” act. William Kent demurred, saying he and his wife were raising “five good husky boys” and “if these boys cannot keep the name of Kent alive, I am willing it should be forgotten.”  

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. A veteran of three decades of magazine and newspaper journalism, he has also written three New York Times bestsellers—Live Not By Lies, The Benedict Option, and The Little Way of Ruthie Lemingas well as Crunchy Cons and How Dante Can Save Your Life. Dreher lives in Baton Rouge, La.

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