FH's Opinion on Homosexuality

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FH's Opinion on Homosexuality

Postby A Thing of Eternity » 23 Apr 2008 16:59

From the books that I've read, FH was pretty ambiguous on the subject. I have only seen Gay charactors from him that are intended to be evil over-all, and in the Dosadi Experiment the main charactor has the opinion that homosexuals have suicidal tendancies based on the idea that they are "sucidal" genetically (the don't perpetuate the race). This is not necessarily an insult though, because the character is describing an elite death commando squad, so FH may have intended it as a twisted compliment.

Are there any interviews where he elaborates on the subject? Obviously, opinions expressed by his charactors are not the same as his opinions, but from the novels I've read so far he seems to display mixed thoughts on the subject - but leaning towards anti-gay slightly. This strikes me as odd becuase (according to the internet which we all know is always right) his second son Bruce (RIP) was a gay rights activist.

This is something I've always wondered about.
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Postby orald » 23 Apr 2008 17:06

I understand he didn't like his son Bruce's homosexuality, to say the least, and it does seem he's a bit anti-gay.

I don't think he says gays are suicidal, because as I remember in Dosadi those were fanatical warriors(also commiting suicide attacks, but that was part of their ferocity and loyalty), probably bonded to their fellow warriors through their sexual orientation.
It's also mentioned in GEoD that gays have been some of the finest, toughest warriors in history.

In general I think God Leto's views are his- that homosexuality is not great, but it's not necessarily evil.
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Postby chanilover » 23 Apr 2008 17:12

The only suicidal gays are the ones who wake up in bed next to Orald.

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Postby Omphalos » 23 Apr 2008 17:17

Herbert did not exactly create a sympathetic character in the Baron, who was a gay pedophile. It may be that he was trying to say something bigger about gays by having the Baron be an evil child molester, but probably not. I think that if you wanted to look a litte bit deeper at the Baron's character he was not really saying that gay=evil, but rather he was trying to liken the Baron to classical evil characters who are often depicted as having some element of "depravity" in literature to make them feel more evil.

Im not quite sure of the details of FH's relationship with his son, Bruce, who Brian noted was gay in Dreamers of Dune. But it appears that after maturation he and FH did not get along, and Bruce died of complications from aids in the 1990's.

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Postby Mandy » 23 Apr 2008 18:03

The Baron is not gay, he's a pedophile who prefers to rape boys. I think there is a difference.

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Postby Spicelon » 23 Apr 2008 18:22

Mandy wrote:The Baron is not gay, he's a pedophile who prefers to rape boys. I think there is a difference.


I completely agree. For people like the Baron, it's really not even about being gay or straight, it's more about being a freak. IMO at least.

Whatever FH's views on homosexuality were, the fact that sex in general is a recurrent theme in his books just means that he wasn't afraid to throw it out there, unlike a lot of people of his time.
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Postby Omphalos » 23 Apr 2008 19:15

Mandy wrote:The Baron is not gay, he's a pedophile who prefers to rape boys. I think there is a difference.


I think he was both.

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Postby GamePlayer » 23 Apr 2008 19:39

I think it's possible Frank Herbert disliked gays. Sure he was forward thinking and obviously part of the sexual revolution, but he was a product of his times nonetheless. Personally, I don't care if Frank Herbert did or did not demonize gays. There's numerous writers I adore throughout history that have all had some pretty lousy personal opinions. It doesn't diminish their work in any way. I'm for gay rights but that doesn't make me a better person than Frank. Frank made a great, lasting contribution to literature. What the hell have I accomplished?

I don't see Baron Harkonnen as some sort of gay benchmark. Who could? The character was so evil and depraved in so many ways, his penchant for raping young boys was merely one more reason to despise him; one reason among so, so many.

The only people that have a serious problem with the "supposed politically incorrect" parts of Frank's work are the equally despicable PC Nazis currently strangling our society. They are like religious fundamentalist groups damning Nabokov's Lolita. It's just the flip side of the same ugly extremist thinking. Tip to the clueless of the world: Frank Herbert was human, with all the faults and baggage that entails. He was also one of the greatest writers of our time. Those who can't reconcile those two and accept Frank Herbert for the great man he was don't deserve my time but instead my scorn.

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Postby Mandy » 23 Apr 2008 20:12

The Baron probably couldn't get it up unless he felt he was in a position of complete power.

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Postby orald » 23 Apr 2008 20:36

GamePlayer wrote:his penchant for raping young boys was merely one more reason to despise him

Despise? Why? :)

I think he looked at it as "misguided" interest, like AToE said, they don't contribute to the gene pool. But not evil.

On the subject of the Baron's sexullity, I always assumed he was gay with an added twist of pedophilia.
Isn't a boy-loving pedo' defined as gay? Like a girl-loving one is straight.
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Postby Mr. Teg » 23 Apr 2008 21:04

I always assumed that FH was extrapolating what he had read about homosexuality from ancient Rome and Greece (there was a famous troop among Alexander's soldiers if I remember correctly).
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Postby orald » 23 Apr 2008 21:25

Yea, the Thebes had the Sacred Band of Thebes, but they were not Alexander's, they were actually killed in the battle against his father and him.

That's what FH alludes to in GEoD.
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Postby orald » 24 Apr 2008 00:19

I don't think Duncan's morals are necessarily his era's- Duncan is a macho man, he appriciates manliness and the streotypical related qualities(proud of his being a stupid meat-shield, err, soldier), and of course gays are soft and womanly in his opinion.
Add to that the fear many homophobes no doubt have of a gay person coming onto them, fear of being associated with gays because of that and such.
Duncan wants no connection or ambigiousness about the fact that he's a manly man, a stud.

:roll:

Duncan, you're a lil' sissy whiner, you got stomped by an elderly chap.
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Postby chanilover » 24 Apr 2008 01:54

Frank Herbert didn't seem to like gays, and I think part of that comes through in the books. The Baron was a gay paedo, which Frank may have thought was more depraved than a straight paedo.

It doesn't bother me, the guy's dead and like Gameplayer said, he was a product of his times. BUt there's no excuse for the subtle homophobia in the Prequels.

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Postby leto247 » 24 Apr 2008 04:36

I have always supposed that part of the problem of Herbert with homosexuality was that he couldn´t find it an evolutionary sense. That must had bother him. But as you said, one must not forget that he, as everyone else, is just a product of their times.

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Postby Mr. Teg » 24 Apr 2008 06:51

orald wrote:Yea, the Thebes had the Sacred Band of Thebes, but they were not Alexander's, they were actually killed in the battle against his father and him.

That's what FH alludes to in GEoD.


Yes, thanks, that's what I was trying to remember.
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Postby orald » 24 Apr 2008 06:53

Didn't read much of the prequels to notice it, so where can one see homophobia there?
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Fantômas

Postby Fantômas » 24 Apr 2008 07:07

chanilover wrote:The only suicidal gays are the ones who wake up in bed next to Orald.


Orald, wake up!

Fantômas

Postby Fantômas » 24 Apr 2008 07:10

chanilover wrote:The only suicidal gays are the ones who wake up in bed next to Orald.


Yeah, he just does'nt like hugging. But I will change him in due time.

Orald, wake up! Give me hug.

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Postby orald » 24 Apr 2008 07:28

fantomas wrote:Orald, wake up! Give me hug.

You were wrong, CL, now I'm suicidal too. :shock:
In memory of Perach, who suffered and died needlessly.



I wish I could have been with you that one last time.

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Postby Fantômas » 24 Apr 2008 07:33

orald wrote:
fantomas wrote:Orald, wake up! Give me hug.

You were wrong, CL, now I'm suicidal too. :shock:


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Postby Omphalos » 24 Apr 2008 10:57

leto247 wrote:I have always supposed that part of the problem of Herbert with homosexuality was that he couldn´t find it an evolutionary sense. That must had bother him. But as you said, one must not forget that he, as everyone else, is just a product of their times.


I think that this is a great point. But there has to be a counter argument to it. What is the evolutionary basis for homosexuality? Under what circumstances to aid genetics would a member of the species give up procreation? (not saying that it is a choice or not here, just that from a coldly logical standpoint there must be some genetic "reason" that homosexuality occurs).

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Postby HoosierDaddy » 24 Apr 2008 11:53

Omphalos wrote:
leto247 wrote:I have always supposed that part of the problem of Herbert with homosexuality was that he couldn´t find it an evolutionary sense. That must had bother him. But as you said, one must not forget that he, as everyone else, is just a product of their times.


I think that this is a great point. But there has to be a counter argument to it. What is the evolutionary basis for homosexuality? Under what circumstances to aid genetics would a member of the species give up procreation? (not saying that it is a choice or not here, just that from a coldly logical standpoint there must be some genetic "reason" that homosexuality occurs).


A very complex subject. First, how do you define homosexuality? Do homosexuals (male or female) breed? Does having "homosexuality" in the gene pool convey any benefit to survival of the family/tribe/city/nation?

The answer may simply lie in that a purely heterosexual species isn't as good at survival. Females are the key to procreation, and one alpha male can "service" many. Too many alpha males/females contending for the opposite sex could take away from the issue of group survival in ancient times.

I read a while back that somebody did a study that suggested male birth order may have a factor, that the mother could biochemically influence later male babies toward a more nurturing, homosexual tendency in the womb. When I read it, I was quite skeptical how anybody could prove such a thing, but who knows.

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Postby GamePlayer » 24 Apr 2008 12:07

I thought homosexuality was evolutionary. I've always understood it as a tendency toward population control, a way in which the human species adapts to overpopulation so as to ensure it's long term survival. Environmental stimuli tells us there are too many people and thus we adapt to survive by increasing the occurrence of homosexuality to control population growth.

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Postby Omphalos » 24 Apr 2008 12:44

HoosierDaddy wrote:Does having "homosexuality" in the gene pool convey any benefit to survival of the family/tribe/city/nation?


I guess so, but before you can get to a final answer here, I think you have to realize that individuals who make these mating decisions have important selfish reasons to choose in a way that does not recognize the importance of the tribe. People do that all the time.

HoosierDaddy wrote:The answer may simply lie in that a purely heterosexual species isn't as good at survival. Females are the key to procreation, and one alpha male can "service" many. Too many alpha males/females contending for the opposite sex could take away from the issue of group survival in ancient times.


True, but in an alpha male situation, the other males are just waiting their turn to defeat or kill the aplha male so that they can replace him.



GamePlayer wrote:I thought homosexuality was evolutionary. I've always understood it as a tendency toward population control, a way in which the human species adapts to overpopulation so as to ensure it's long term survival. Environmental stimuli tells us there are too many people and thus we adapt to survive by increasing the occurrence of homosexuality to control population growth.


If that is the case, then why not just turn off the ability to create viable reproductive material? If nature's intent (work with me here, Im just using those terms as shorthand) is to keep the population down in times when population is too high, then why would homosexuality be an answer? After all, homosexuals still can create viable off spring by mating with members of the opposite sex.

I think nature has much better tools available to fix that problem, such as plagues, sterility, aggression, etc. I have always thought that if there is a "purposeful reason" (again, work with me) for homosexuality, it must be for something else. I wish I could remember the name of the theory we tossed around in law school in teh one fluff class I took third year. It is concerned with genetically driven reasons for being altruistic, or giving things to other people. One of the theories we discussed was that homosexuals were driven to members of the same sex as a result of this impulse, which had the effect of freeing up more members of the opposite sex for procreation with others. It sounded like flip-flop to me. Why would one person be driven to a place that keeps them from passing on the most valueable thing that they have (DNA) so some other schlep that they dont even know can do just that? Anyway, that was a side discussion. We were talking more about altruism in the context of farm subsidies, jury verdicts and the like, but this came up too.