Friday, June 23, 2017

June 23: Sex on Earth, Labels, Leaving Things in Better Shape

There were five sexes on Tralfamadore, each of them performing a step necessary in the creation of a new individual.  They looked identical to Billy--because their sex differences were all in the fourth dimension.

One of the biggest moral bombshells handed to Billy by the Tralfamadorians, incidentally had to do with sex on Earth.  They said their flying-saucer crews had identified no fewer than seven sexes on Earth, each essential to reproduction.  Again:  Billy couldn't possibly imagine what five of those seven sexes had to do with the making of a baby, since they were sexually active only in the fourth dimension.

The Tralfamadorians tried to give Billy clues that would help him imagine sex in the invisible dimension.  They told him that there could be no Earthling babies without male homosexuals.  There could be babies without female homosexuals.  There couldn't be babies without women over sixty-five years old.  There could be babies without men over sixty-five.  There couldn't be babies without other babies who had lived an hour or less after birth.  And so on.

It was gibberish to Billy.

Vonnegut really was ahead of his time with this discussion of sexes on Earth.  Back in the 1960s, he was talking about homosexuality, and not in any pejorative way.  Homosexuality is necessary for survival in the universe of Slaughterhouse.  Sex and sexuality are very fluid things.  That's a pretty amazing thing for Vonnegut to say.

In our country where the rights of all people who aren't white, male, heterosexual, Christian, and healthy are under attack by white, heterosexual, Christian, healthy men, perhaps every person in Congress needs to pick up a copy of Slaughterhouse Five to read.  Or maybe everyone in Congress needs to spend some time in a Tralfamadorian zoo.

I am not going to write about the Senate's version of Trumpcare in this post.  Not climbing up on a soapbox tonight.  I simply want to say that it really doesn't matter whether a person is gay, straight, Muslim, Christian, black, white, or blue.  Defining someone by any kind of label is dangerous.  I am more than a man or Christian or heterosexual or father or husband or poet or blogger.  I am a fellow traveler on this third rock from the Sun, trying to leave things in better shape than I found them when I arrived.

Every person is important.  I think that's Vonnegut's point in this little passage.  Everyone has something to contribute from the day that they're born to the day they die.  So it goes.

Saint Marty is thankful tonight for the chance to make the world a better place.

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