Arnold on the couch
If he were still alive, Sigmund Freud would have a field day with his fellow Austrian Arnold Schwarzenegger, a guy who has spent his entire adult lifetime hanging out in the gayest neighborhoods of the gay community—bodybuilding and showbiz—and yet he cannot bring himself to support equal rights for the very people he has worked with and partied with for all those years.
Here’s a guy who spent big chunks of his time and energy getting all glistened up with baby oil to better show off his pecs, his delts and his abs, and even more time strutting around in bulging Speedos, and yet he still cannot resist making fun of “girlie men,” as though his own lifestyle choices were the norm by which all other lifestyle choices should be measured. Here’s a guy who seems completely unmindful of the phallic symbolism of the big cigars he cannot do without. Here’s a guy who played a man who gets pregnant in a movie, but who doesn’t wish to offend constituents who would demand a stricter definition of just what is “normal.” Here’s a guy who clearly enjoys the pleasures of the flesh rather indiscriminately but feels duty-bound to deny rights to people who would choose to chase their own carnal pleasures straight into the bonds of matrimony.
The governor simply could not, in good conscience, sign a bill that would allow homosexuals to enjoy the benefits of marriage. With polls showing an electorate evenly divided on the issue, the same-sex-marriage bill passed through the Legislature with the votes of politicians willing to vote for it simply because it was right, fair and equitable. Arnold, however, though he’s a man famous for playing tough, gets pretty wussy when being tough in the political arena might bruise him. He wouldn’t, after all, want to alienate any of his big-money donors on the Christian right by taking a political position that would reduce his record-breaking fund-raising abilities. Bodybuilders are competitive, and Arnold has been none too subtle in boasting about the money he takes in.
But perhaps it’s unfair to the governor to suggest that keeping the fund-raising spigot open was the only reason for his veto of the marriage-rights act. He clearly gave the matter a great deal of thought, as was evident in his 2003 pronouncement on the matter: “I think that gay marriage should be between a man and a woman.”
Or perhaps he was legitimately concerned for public order. Commenting on NBC’s Meet the Press in 2004 on the dangers gay marriage poses to the common good, he opined: “All of a sudden, we see riots, we see protests. … The next thing we know, there is injured or there is dead people. We don’t want to get to that extent.”
Freud would have recognized the governor’s behavior for what it is. Before Arnold was born, the father of psychoanalysis said, “I have found little that is ‘good’ about human beings on the whole. … Most of them are trash, no matter whether they publicly subscribe to this or that ethical doctrine or to none at all.”
Point well taken, Dr. Freud.