Monday, November 15, 2004

Doctor Love

James Dobson has been in the news a lot lately. Head honcho of Focus on the Family, Dobson considers himself largely responsible for Dubya's '04 victory, and he's making the rounds of the Washington talk shows, loudly calling in his markers.

When my wife and I announced our engagement, her aunt gave us as a present Dobson's marriage primer Love For A Lifetime. We sat on the couch together one evening and leafed through it, reading bits aloud to each other. And we laughed and laughed. I don't remember all the things we found amusing; one thing was that he spends a couple of pages defending the idea that wives should be obedient to their husbands. Anyway, it was a hoot.

I don't have my Gore Vidal book or notes handy, but he has a good riff somewhere, written during the Reagan years, about the movement in politics toward "strengthening traditional family values," and how when politicians talk about the family, the subtext is the regulation of people's libidos, especially their homoerotic urges. When considering how James Dobson made the trip from family therapist to preacher against same-sex marriage, Mr. Vidal leaps to mind.

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