The Bathhouse Question
In the Thread Ideas page, a Guest had mentioned the concept of The Bathhouse. This Guest had mentioned it being inherently different from something like the Longhouse, considering that it is "an escape from the toil and misery" of Longhouse conditions, and abides by a different structure. I will quote the rest of his post:

Guest Wrote:The Bathhouse is a false paradise in which the only goal is physical pleasure. Addiction and hunger is the foundation of The Bathhhouse, primarily for sex, but other vices like drugs and eating are common. Addiction always entails escalation, and naturally the satyrs of The Bathhouse are always seeking new highs. The social structure is predatory and brutal where one must abuse or be abused. Young boys are the most vulnerable to abuse, due to the inherent physical weakness and lesser mental faculties of childhood.

[...] It is by definition a patriarchy since there is a hierarchy in which women are totally absent. Externally, The Bathhouse presents itself as a place of friendship, joy, and compassion, where men from all walk of live live in harmony and understanding. As all who enter soon find out, it is a hellish dungeon where the strong and the wealthy torture all below them for no other reason than to feel good.

The Bathhouse appears to be an enclave of society, somewhere secluded where the abilities of Man are (ostensibly) unimpeded. Confer to what Paglia said in Sexual Personae:

Quote:Male homosexuality played a similar catalytic role in Renaissance Florence and Elizabethan London. At such moments, male bondingenjoys an amorous intensity of self-assurance, a transient conviction of victory over mothers and nature. For 2,500 years, western culture has fed itself on the enormous achievements of homosexual hubris, small bands of men attaining visionary heights in a few concentrated years of exaltation and defiance.

This is the apparent mystique that the Guest attributes to The Bathhouse, which promises a subtle freedom. In reality, it is a squalid atmosphere that wastes each individual down to their basest qualities.

I have already expressed reservations about this idea, with reasons relating to Zoomer asexuality: does the symbol of the Bathhouse really relate to homosexual desire today? is it simply an anachronism which has lessened in significance overtime?

Despite these qualms, I have chosen to create the thread, so that the Bathhouse Question can be dwelled on longer. Those who posted originally in the Thread Ideas page are invited to elaborate their positions further.
Quote:As all who enter soon find out, it is a hellish dungeon where the strong and the wealthy torture all below them for no other reason than to feel good.

To the extent that homos can even be described as "caring" about anything besides getting fucked or fucking other men in the ass, there's a real fixation upon ruination, the wrecking of others' lives. Note the constant totem of the "Straight" recipient. A focus upon a man who wouldn't otherwise be a member of their party, but who is nonetheless turned by getting ass-fucked by one of them.

Quote:I wanted to destroy everything beautiful I’d never have. Burn the Amazon rain forests. Pump chlorofluorocarbons straight up to gobble the ozone. Open the dump valves on supertankers and uncap offshore oil wells. I wanted to kill all the fish I couldn’t afford to eat, and smother the French beaches I’d never see. I wanted the whole world to hit bottom. I really wanted to put a bullet between the eyes of every endangered panda that wouldn’t screw to save its species and every whale and dolphin that gave up and ran itself aground. I wanted to burn the Louvre. I’d do the Elgin Marbles with a sledge-hammer and wipe my ass with the Mona Lisa. This is my world, now.
-Chuck Palahniuk

My dad has maintained a friendship since childhood with a guy who ended up "turning out gay". The guy held girlfriends over the years and was heavily into bodybuilding, steroids, etc., before he ended up disappearing himself from his social circle when he accidentally made a public Facebook post about attending a "Bear Party". He since reappeared and ended up getting gaymarried to another Bear, a Puerto Rican, and is currently struggling with "AIDS" and colon cancer.

Quote:[My dreams reveal my] determination to ruin the simplest things. 
-Michel Foucault
So is this a thread about modern "gay" culture? I guess I'm replying to Graph here at least. Yes, it all descends into debasement sooner or later. Cut off from healthy rhythms of life with a place for experience and age by biology on one hand (age and sterility) and cut off from eternity on the other (impossible to cultivate or work towards posterity, our culture is sterilised).


The impulses that lead here didn't have to. Contempt for women and lower orders of human consciousness, fascination with the plastic and self-conscious, visceral fascination with power and interpersonal relations which draw their power from the richness you can see in the other. What we're seeing today is a bad manifestation of human potential. I would even go as far as to say a lot of very high human potential. If we weren't retarded we would have realised we were seeing a canary in the coalmine moment when more and more bright, otherwise well turned out men were falling into what was basically a hedonistic death-cult that didn't even really have the redeeming element of looking nice or meaning anything. 

And of course if you're a thinking person you can see where I'm going. This is everyone. This is the story of civilisation post WW2. These guys just went first and hardest. Which I would actually call admirable in its own way. They fell hard out of the vestigial rhythms of life and then realised the one path open that could be followed through was decadent self destruction. At least they own it. The average normalfag for decades now has just been a disgusting copy with less integrity, bent on eating their cake and having it. The rewards of civility alongside the joys of devouring it. Now their children have to live in the spiritual wasteland created by their desertion of their posts and are becoming zombies, monsters, madmen, etc.

Who can claim to have more integrity than the types Graph is describing above today? And of those with integrity we might identify, is "sexuality" (stupid word) relevant? I don't feel like a single point raised here or in the thread ideas thread can't be generalised into a more widespread problem of our age.
(08-27-2023, 01:38 AM)anthony Wrote: Who can claim to have more integrity than the types Graph is describing above today? And of those with integrity we might identify, is "sexuality" (stupid word) relevant?

Homophobes. Because they can argue from a religious perspective and a natural perspective. Sure, the "average normalfag" isn't of the Westboro Baptist Church sort (they may have been better off in the long run if they had), but we are undoubtedly seeing the tolls that decades of forced and contrived acceptance of Gay takes on regular people. Eventually, there is a trigger in nature. 


The only reason it may seem like homos can unabashedly "own it" is because to even get to the point where it appears as such, both from a present and retrospective view, they've required the full force of a global state apparatus to reinvent for the masses the Western understanding of both religion and nature. It's obviously fake and gay. And if it isn't, why would it already be hanging by a thread, in need of constant life support by way of authoritative reinforcement, not even 100 years yet since 1945? Even older gays (Boomers and Gen X), the ones more aptly described by the Bathhouse in the original sense of the concept, are homophobic and "trans"phobic against what and who is considered 'gay' today. Of course, that means very little in the eyes of the true homophobe, but it does suggest that it's a runaway train that such brave pioneers have lost control of. I don't find this characterised by integrity. "Sexuality" is not as relevant to the homophobe as much as the desire for order and against disfunction, which is what the Bathhouse represents.

I don't want to derail too much from what Guest and John intended for the thread, so I will just add that I think the original symbol of the "Bathhouse" is one that requires the shrouding of an underground scene, kept hidden in the shadows. So while I agree with John to an extent that the Bathhouse is fundamentally different today, I don't think that it is due to a lack of gays having sex, and certainly don't think that it is nonexistent. One can find both numbers and personal anecdotes on good authority that homo promiscuity certainly still exists. It just isn't only confined to the shadows anymore. I'm sure people have seen some of the images that come out of the more extreme pride parades. Gay has become mainstream, albeit in large part at the hands of an iron fist, and that's why the concept of the Bathhouse at the very least seems different. That's why OG Bathhouse gays dislike modern Gay, because there was a great irony in that their being 'accepted' by society actually caused them to lose the core of what their identity was really based on.
Has anyone read the book referenced in BAM, The Engineering of the Gay Man by Harro MJ? I imagine it would be relevant.
The basic problem with Faggot-culture is that it doesn't seek destruction as a means of leveling a sick culture for the sake of replacing it with something better. It first pursues that as a means towards paraphilic desire, and then towards political lobbying as a means of further dissolving an incidentally sick parent-culture allowing its existance in the first place that's yet seemingly "unturned", and then finally towards potentially reaching individuals yet "unturned".

Even during their heyday in USCities of the late 70's/early 80's, gays endlessly marched in the streets for the DNC, for every single shitlib tenet levied to them. They don't continue to do this for the sake of creating anything, or even for destroying anything for noble reasons, they just want to see society ruined for its own sake.

I'm sorry to maybe derail John's thread from its intention, so to return there there's the question on the difference between 2023 and 1983 homosexual behavior. The former is a government-privileged person. Sodomy is legal, Grindr is legal, gaymarriage is legal, gaypride marches are legal, ungay pastries are for all purposes illegal, and yet they're still angry, and still highly politically active. I don't think 2023 and 1983 faggots are especially different in character or intention, aside from the former being a highly preferred Citizen of USGOV who may or may not have less ass-sex. The latter seems to differ most significantly in that their activities were de jure (if not especially de facto) illegal, and that they may or may not have engaged in more ass-sex.
I object to the framing of modern homosexuality as being about "pleasure" at all. Ultimately this obscures their nature and makes it difficult to specify what exactly is wrong with them. In reality LGBT people tend to be far more neurotic and miserable than even the average person, which is also why they are a recognizable identity-group. Neurosis is not about maximization of pleasure, although it is a manifestation of real desire, just the form that desire has taken after being straitjacketed and caged.

"The Bathhouse" might still be a good appellation for these subspecies of neurotic onanism, but to understand them as some kind of uninhibited pursuit of pleasure is completely wrong, I think. The main feature of self-identified gay//trans psychology is how incredibly simple and shallow they are. Genuine pleasure generally does not allow itself to be confined to the handful of Oedipal-narcissistic obsessions that spring up in the minds of these people. So, if the Longhouse is the subjection of all life to the domestic preoccupations of aging women, perhaps we could say the Bathhouse is a natural offshoot or counterpart rather than an "escape" from the Longhouse. That is, a kind of release valve, or supervised space of perverted activity that does not directly threaten the domestic order, however unsanitary and physically repulsive it might become.
No worries about thread derailment, to those who wondered. So long as we are on somewhat related territory, I still view it as on-topic.

While we're on the line of thought introduced by Graph and Anthony, I would like to turn to Jean Genet, whose work was admired by both Sartre and Peter Sotos. I have little to say on the subject since I have only just started a dispassionate reading of Sartre's Saint Genet, but it is noteworthy that Genet is a) a homosexual b) characterized as a traitorous sort by Sartre and c) on the first page is considered a passéiste — someone who no longer is able to adjust to the present time. There is a profundity to the word passéistes here, since the phenomenon that's evoked is of delinquent humanity. It is humanity that has been left to its own devices, forced to observe the tempo of change within the world. This is a predicament that can loom over a man's life, or force him into a rough metamorphosis. Sartre claims that Genet experienced a death at boyhood and wants "to die again".

Sartre attributes this mostly to the lack of parental figures, that he had figured himself apart from other boys his age due to him being an adopted child / a "false" child.

Quote:And yet, from this moment on he lives in a state of uneasiness. The pious and lawful vocables which he has been made to learn are not quite applicable to what he is and what he feels. But as he possesses no others, he can neither describe nor define his malaise. Unnamed, unnamable, marginal, unexpressed, this anxiety, which is faceless and without consistency, seems to him a negligible mood. Genet does not perceive it. Yet it expresses his deepest reality...

It is here where it is claimed he thinks himself as the "excrement" of his mother. I will stop here from following a linear paraphrase of the text to mention that the frequent mention of nothingness in this analysis is not exclusive to Genet. Since Sartre's philosophical project (pre-Marxist conversion) focuses on Nothingness, he can also be considered an apt example of someone who's fixated on ruination. Desire itself, in Being and Nothingness, is said to "nihilate" consciousness; the relation between self and Other is conflicted and without symmetry; love in its very essence is destructible; the perversions of sadism and masochism can, from a distant vantage point, appear as an expected turn of events. Sartre, so far as I am aware, is heterosexual, but shares a subdued intellectual affinity for ruination as the classic Bathhouse Homosexual. There is capacity for love or for an abstract form of freedom in B&N, but it is inherently prone to destruction, lurching towards nothingness.

Genet attempts to enact a form of deprivation/destruction through his most notorious feat, which is thieving. Everything from Genet's life subsequently has some relation to his thieving / depriving character. There is more to say about how, in Saint Genet, he experiences another transformation into the thief who is recognized. He becomes this encaged animal in the eyes of the adults, already mentally imprisoned under them. I don't want this post to be a book summary so I'll turn to a much later section, where his homosexuality has become a developed part of his personality. He now resembles, in Sartre's eyes, the symbol of the traitor.

Quote:This traitor is a madman, it is himself whom he betrays. A disintegrating society, an individual who is an enemy to himself and who experiences this disintegration as a disease of his personality: such are the necessary and sufficient conditions for betrayal to occur.
Both conditions are fulfilled in the case of Genet.

Analyzing the character of older homosexuals, who probably are the most prominent examples of the Bathhouse concept, is profitable. The homosexual of today is oftentimes too ambiguous, too deracinated, and too stupid to tell us anything about their world. Before the time of Genet, the transgressive act of homosexuality could be found in D.A.F. Sade and Lautremont. In those authors who transgress, devoted to the destructive symbol of the libertine and Maldoror (respectively), the homosexual act makes destruction manifest. For Sade, one must think it is a means to achieving a more crucial victory of libertinism, over the weakling mind of the victim. Genet is tied to this short tradition by being a criminal on the outskirts, with homosexual impulses being an attendant desire. Thomas E. Gaddis and James E. Long's book about Carl Panzram has a similar portrait of the criminal, which begun with an upbringing of transgression and punishment, then a premature experience with homosexual desire (i.e., raped by older criminals, which begins the cycle of Panzram attacking others when he is older). William S. Burroughs somewhat fits into the criminal mold too. It is the de jure condition of illegality that can very well produce these characters, for a time.
I just want to interject that I never said The Bathhouse actually is an escape from The Longhouse. I said it presents itself as one superficially, and John omitted the lines which provide that context.

Quote:The Bathhouse: Homosexual society, and what happens when homosexuality isn't punished. The Bathhouse is a false paradise in which the only goal is physical pleasure. Addiction and hunger is the foundation of The Bathhhouse, primarily for sex, but other vices like drugs and eating are common. Addiction always entails escalation, and naturally the satyrs of The Bathhouse are always seeking new highs. The social structure is predatory and brutal where one must abuse or be abused. Young boys are the most vulnerable to abuse, due to the inherent physical weakness and lesser mental faculties of childhood.

To the foolish and uninformed, The Bathhouse seems like an escape from the toil and misery of The Longhouse. It is by definition a patriarchy since there is a hierarchy in which women are totally absent. Externally, The Bathhouse presents itself as a place of friendship, joy, and compassion, where men from all walk of live live in harmony and understanding. As all who enter soon find out, it is a hellish dungeon where the strong and the wealthy torture all below them for no other reason than to feel good.
I think prior to understanding the social manifestations of homosexuality, it is useful to lay down some rough classifications of the psycho-types that experience homosexual desire:

1. Fetishistic: Males aroused by the idea of dominating or being dominated by a man. Sexually favoring transgression, BDSM, and acts of debasement.
2. Effeminate: Low virility males who adopt homosexual behaviors after failing to confirm heterosexual masculinity.
3. Ephebophilic: Men who are attracted to youths (13-17, typically). Associated with the historically aristocratic forms of homosexuality in Greece, Japan, etc...
4. Pedophilic: Men who are attracted to prepubescent boys.
5. Aesthetic/Social/Romantic: Men who disdain women and desire intimate relationships with other men. These are usually the political gays, left or right, and it is also historically associated with the aristocratic forms of homosexuality --- naturally, not all such gays are aristocratic.

These aren't exclusive categories, they overlap and interact - but they form a good guide for analysis. Note that the ephebophilic form is course the most common manifestation of the desire, and I'd wager that a very large percentage of men have the capacity for that particular form - if in a repressed state. Personally, I would not call such a form of homosexuality 'gay'.

The Bathhouse as a kind of sociological thought experiment - exists largely to serve the fetishistic group. Gloryholes, sex with anonymous strangers, etc - these *do* appeal directly towards the transgressive spirit - if only in concept. In practice, sexual transgression is cheaper and less appealing than acts of spiritual transgression.  Let me quote Story of the Eye:

Quote:To others, the universe seems decent because decent people have gelded eyes. That is why they fear lewdness. They are never frightened by the crowing of a rooster or when strolling under a starry heaven. In general, people savor the "pleasures of the flesh" only on condition that they be insipid.

But as of then, no doubt existed for me: I did not care for what is known as "pleasures of the flesh" because they really are insipid; I cared only for what is classified as "dirty." On the other hand, I was not even satisfied with the usual debauchery, because the only thing it dirties is debauchery itself, while, in some way or other, anything sublime and perfectly pure is left intact by it. My kind of debauchery soils not only my body and my thoughts, but also anything I may conceive in its course, that is to say, the vast starry universe, which merely serves as a backdrop.

Either way, the people who utilized the bathhouse, as it existed, may or may not have been homosexual - but they weren't necessarily *gay*. They often had wives, girlfriends, and children and used these institutions as an outlet.

As such the bathhouse is somewhat tangential to the construction of the 'gay rights' movement because it is tangential to what 'gay' actually is and was - the gay rights movement was an aristocratic construction, birthed by bookish types who romanticized ancient Greece. It was not about homosexual sex as much as it was about the normalization of 'gay relationships' and 'gay love'. The thought leaders for gay rights activism came from those who desired not just long-term social relationships, but the social approval and recognition of them. Harry Hay, the Mattachine Society, Provincetown, all of these --- they birthed a movement advanced by upper-class gays to normalize their existing relationships. To do this, they sought to mobilize the other kinds of homosexuals towards this common end, well often remaining somewhat contemptuous of 'lower gay' culture. Upper-class gays wanted an end to the social stigma and the possibility of blackmail/reputation damage --- lower gays wanted an end to the raids of their bathhouses and bars.

Thus, in a sense, the gay rights movement was born with both a high and low character. Or maybe, a left-wing and right-wing character. The high character has long sought to civilize homosexual behavior into non-self-destructive forms and integrate it within the socius. The low character just wanted any legal impediments to gloryholes removed.

At least in the origins, you can see something of that left/right division within the homosexual movement. This would start to change around the 1970s or so, particularly following the influence of leftist intellectuals like Foucault. Foucault was himself an upper-class gay, but found the contempt that most elite gays had for lower gay culture to be distasteful to his Marxist palette. Accordingly, this class of leftist upper-class gays framed lower homosexuality in revolutionary terms as a force for dismantling what they regarded as implicitly fascist social norms/valuations - and these ideas became foundational to the emerging 'queer theory', which radically affirmed and celebrated the worst excesses of the bathhouse. Still, radical queer theory was untenable as a viable political movement, and the more sensible integrationist gays were able to actually win politically.

During the mid to late 00s, the uptick of academic leftist ideology mainstreamed queer theory within leftist or left-adjacent internet communities concurrent to the total political victory of gay integrationists. This resulted, in my view, in a kind of schizophrenic merger of two distinct strains of ideas. A cultural gayness that normalized sexual transgression (so it is no longer transgressive), promoted safe/ethical sex, and concurrently pushes for middle-class normie-friendly gay lifestyles. As a consequence, mainstream cultural gayness now exists in a constant state of unresolved tension. Gay promiscuity/Bathhouse culture still exists, as does ethnic low gay culture ("down low brothers"),  and is predominant on Grindr and elsewhere.

Aristocratic/aesthetic homosexuality now increasingly forks in two directions, towards transsexuality and towards radical right-wing politics. This would be best discussed in another thread, though.

For now, I'll give my take on the actual concept of the 'Bathouse' being discussed - I think it is largely silly. Outside of the queer theory conception, it never existed practically as a place to experience any kind of radically transgressive freedom - that perception of it was generated post-facto by queer theorists as apologia, fetishizing an imagined vision of it. It was no more liberating or radical than a vegas brothel. In practice, it was largely lower class men looking to fuck or get fucked, with most ultra-paranoid about getting arrested or coworkers/friends finding out. 

On the other hand, a certain radical transgressive freedom did exist within effete elite gay culture. It was in the Provincetown dinner parties, it was in the secretive associations of gay lawyers/politicians/business leaders. There, ultimately, it wasn't about anal sex - it was fundamentally about an assertive defiance in favor of their personal aesthetic vision of how their lives should look.
It’s a Tuesday night, you admire the full moon as the chilly night air nips at any exposed skin. Your attention is directed from one bright source of light to another. A neon sign rudely emanates its harsh electromagnetic attacks on your retina. Burning into you eyes are the words “Vincent’s Pub.” Taking a deep breath to steady your heart rate after a sudden spike from the apprehension of the rubicon you’re about to cross, you push the door opens and enter. Inside you are met with the repulsive homoerotic atmosphere of a gay bar. Your stomach turns and your head spins as you advance through this hostile territory. Your no fag, no sissy, no pervert, yet your destiny has lead you here. You were always destined for great things— or so your mother had said so many times before— and contrary to what your childish prejudices had assumed, the path to great things converged here in this unassuming gay bar. But why a gay bar of all things? This gay bar was the entrance to a secret and exclusive society that held a lease around all the big happenings of your nation. This society was called The Bathhouse. 

Bathhouses have always been places of converging power and influence. In the east they acted as key political organizing centers in the same way Free Mason lodges did for the west. Yet with the decline of traditional secret societys a gap opened up that needed to be filled, and what better to fill it with but bathhouses. It was only natural in an atheistic society that homosexuality should disseminate into its cracks and crevices— and your nation was full of them. Now for any young man trying to get ahead in the world he had to make a choice: become a fag or give up his dreams. Dreams were what sustained us, what gave us the strength to face the coming day, and oh boy would you need that strength for what was coming next. Looking at the door in the back of the bar, you charged intrepidly, unperturbed by the dangers you would soon face. It was in that moment that a childhood memory came bubbling up from your deep within your subconscious. The memory was of your first kiss. You were only seven when it happened and it was only a peck, but it felt like a lightning strike. You knew at the time it was a big moment for yourself, something that would define you going forwards in life. “Sorry Claire” you whispered as a tear rolled down your cheek.

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