It does happen, from time to time, that I find myself in agreement with FOX News talking-head Bill O'Reilly. (Yes, I watch his show sometimes.)
To the indignation of less blatantly opinionated journalists (or perhaps they just have differently blatant opinions), O'Reilly has repeatedly insisted that the US is actively engaged in a 'culture war'. And frankly, that's how I see it, too. Of course, I'd characterize the terms of warfare somewhat differentlycertainly not, for instance, as a radical ACLU-loving left's battle against the sanctity of Christmasbut his core observation is true.
Lucky for all of us, front-row seats are still available for this title match: Judeo-Christian Traditionalists vs. Secular Progressives, live from Caesar's Palace.
Two big stories from yesterday's (Tue Jan 31) news, sitting side by side on my computer screen, drove this culture war point homeone out of Washington, the other from Hollywood. From the Traditionalists' corner comes the confirmation and swearing-in of conservative Samuel Alito to the nation's Supreme Court, despite hollow threats of a filibuster. Out of the Progressives' corner, witness the hype and hullabaloo surrounding the film Brokeback Mountain, an epic and explicit gay love story, which has already reaped substantial critical accolades and is now nominated for eight Academy Awards. (No, I haven't seen it yet.)
All this, set against the backdrop of that evening's State of the Union address (which, no, I didn't watch), presented by President Bush at exactly 9:12 p.m. EST, according to the official White House website. An odd time, you might think, to begin a speech. Unless, of course, you happened to know it was within seconds of the Moon's trine to benevolent Jupiter and if we ever hoped for evidence that there are astrologers' hands in the timing of such key governmental actions, this is a pretty good piece. But I digress.
Alito's confirmation, no big surprise, is a logical continuation of the Bush regime's platform from all alonga statement on behalf of federalism, religiosity and an almighty executive branch. Many pundits suspect a challenge to Roe v. Wade can't be far behind, while the question of gay marriage lurks uncomfortably in the palms of a court now with one more 'preserver of the old guard'.
Meanwhile, the widespread media support for Brokeback (and other gay-themed Oscar noms like Transamerica and Capote) clearly indicates an organic evolution in culture, one that implies advocacy for equal rights for gays including the right to marry. O'Reilly isn't wrong when he accuses Hollywood of pushing a 'gay agenda'an agenda that declares gays have stories worth telling, and that when average Americans connect emotionally with these stories, they'll be more likely to find compassion for the gay rights movement.
Oh, by the way, throughout the news day yesterday, the Moon was transiting through Pisces. It conjoined Uranus early in the morning, before hitting the trine to Jupiter at around 9:12 p.m. EST in time for Bush to take the mic. What an interesting synchronicity that I last took on the topic of 'culture war' here almost two years ago, shortly after Uranus first entered Pisces to stay. During that time, a New Moon in Piscesvery closely conjunct to Uranuscoincided with San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom marrying gay and lesbian couples and then President Bush calling for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.
Now, as if to affirm my hunch that the transit of Uranus through Pisces is somehow linked to this notion of a US culture war (last Uranus-in-Pisces was 1919-1927, when Prohibition was in effect), yesterday's developments occurred while the Moon traveled across this same Piscean zone. The question remains: Can the centralized power (i.e., the government) succeed at containing, through clauses written into policy, the leaky undercurrents of popular opinion?
I suppose we'll just have to wait and see, since Uranus will stay in Pisces through 2011. And I wouldn't dare to bet against either side, the U.S. government or the entertainment industry. After all, they've both got a lot of money at stake. What's worth more: a Christian dollar or a gay dollar?