Now, for some light relief, a question: What can a religious wingnut, in good conscience, drink?
For the homophobes out there, anxious to denounce same sex love wherever they find it, there are grave dangers to their ideological purity every time they order a drink. They may not know it, but either wine or Budweiser beer would be indirectly celebrating stories of Greek love – among the gods, no less.
Let’s begin with wine. A story from the late Hellenistic poem “Dionysica”, by Nonnus of Panopolis in Egypt, tells the story of Dionysus’ love for the young Ampelos. Overcome by his beauty, he is immediately smitten, swooning and lovesick. He flatters the young Ampelos shamelessly, admiring his flute playing in spite of the wrong notes, and is insanely jealous when his beloved dances with the satyrs (with whom, Nonnus observes, he shares an anatomical detail.) Ampelos soaks up this attention and flattery, which he foolishly believes. Convinced of his own merits, he begins riding on the wild animals that draw Dionysus’ chariot. Dionysus warns him of the danger, but is recklessly ignored. The result is inevitable. Ampelos attempts to ride a wild bull, is thrown and impaled, and dies. Dionysus is grief-stricken – but there is some consolation. Typically in tales of death for those beloved by Greek gods, there is a post-mortem transformation: Ampelos becomes a vine. Dionysus, the god of wine, gives it to us through the fruit he gets from his beloved, who has become the vine.
No wine for homophobes, then. What about beer?
The most famous of all the stories of boy love among the Greek gods is that of Zeus, who in the shape of an eagle captured and then raped Ganymede, before installing him for evermore as cup-bearer to the gods. The story is so well-known, that in earlier centuries, the very name “Ganymede” was a euphemism for a homosexual. So, were the manufacturers of Budweiser and their advertising agencies really unaware of the symbolism behind their use of this myth? The image of a giant eagle in flight, clutching a beautiful boy in his talons, once featured in several campaigns for Budweiser, in advertisements and on promotional merchandise. Was this use of clearly homoerotic imagery just display extraordinary ignorance of the classics, or was it an astonishingly early example of courting the pink dollar?
(More examples at This Bud’s for Zeus)
You decide. Either way, no Buds for bigots.
What else is off limits? I assume that no self-respecting member of NAM (National organisation Against Marriage) would touch Absolut vodka, which has been openly courting gay drinkers for decades, but what else?
All suggestions welcome. (I’m hoping we can reduce them to plain tap water).
Crompton, Louis: Homosexuality and Civilization