Westerners have launched a gay Culture War against what they view as “redneck Russia”, says Brendan O’Neill on spiked today.
Describing the gay-friendly protests over Sochi as an “outpouring of ersatz homophilia”, O’Neill says the Winter Olympics have been “turned into a platform for a showdown between enlightened Westerners who like gays and wicked Ruskies who apparently do not”.
“Where once the West would have sought to assert its superiority to Russia in economic or ideological terms, now, like a bespectacled East Coast American liberal looking with horror upon redneck Southerners who do not support gay marriage, it tries to get one over on Russia through the issue of lifestyle, through culture, through waging a Culture War rather than a political one”, says O’Neill.
Referring to various media outlets’ and corporations’ flying of the rainbow flag during Sochi, O’Neill says we are “witnessing the emergence of a new form of international politicking, one designed not to achieve tangible political or territorial goals but simply to send a message across the internet, through the media, about ourselves and our cultural superiority to the backward hordes”.
“The gay issue has in recent years been absolutely central to the ramping up of the Culture Wars, to the fashioning of a new divide between allegedly enlightened elites and apparently bigoted mobs”, O’Neill writes. “In Western societies, being gay-friendly has become absolutely the least controversial stance a politician or corporation can take. Indeed, gayness has become a kind of sacred symbol of moral authority, and celebrating it has become a means of winning almost instant media and activist support.”
Now, that shallow celebration of the gay lifestyle has gone global, he says: “A West bereft of its old economic clout and lacking serious ideological beliefs now attempts to assert its moral authority in global affairs through tangential cultural issues, and most notably through being gay-friendly.
“So the UN is forever drawing up lists of non-gay-friendly countries, Washington has threatened to cut off aid to countries that are not gay-friendly, and Russia is today demonised, cast out of polite international affairs, not on the basis of its economic manoeuvring or ideological positioning but because of its attitude to gays.
“Where once the world was divided between the civilised and the savage, now it’s split between the gay-friendly and the homophobic. Welcome to the era of Queer Imperialism.”
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(1) Brendan O’Neill is editor of spiked.
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