Gays and Bacch-Anal (Part 2) : Fact and Fiction
I’m starting to think that my inspiration to write comes to me whenever I’m in a JUTC A/C yellow bus. I’m somehow calm and my creative juices flow. Anyhow, I digress; on to the matter at hand. You didn’t click this link to be subject to an advertisement of JUTC’s bus service.
A few weeks ago I was privy to a conversation between three individuals which prompted me to write Gays and Bacch-Anal. The post attracted a considerable amount of interest and commentary and raised several questions, some of which remain unanswered. My readers, I feel so important saying that, appeared split down the middle on what kind of behaviour was appropriate for bacchanal and whether the spotlight should only be on gays, since; as one comment phrased it, “straight people carry on bad too.” Additionally, is Jamaica’s society moving to a place where the open expression of homosexuality is acceptable? And if this is true, what does that mean for the soca culture and the society at large?
Reading the comments on the first post, I became interested in the origins of bacchanal. What does it all mean? And where does it come from?
In Greek and Roman mythology there is a god of wine, theatre and ecstasy. To the Greeks, this god is named “Dionysius” and to the Romans he is named “Bacchus”. Does this word look familiar to anyone? Yes. The word “bacchanal” has it’s roots in Roman mythology. The god Bacchus was known for wild parties and excesses of wine, orgies and general revelry. All of this would be considered “loose” and “brukking out” by present day society but in the era of the Romans, it was accepted and even mandatory behaviour. My question then is, since this festival or party of “bacchanal” has it’s origins in a lewd and outlandish ‘cult’, is the behaviour displayed at Mas Camp inappropriate? Isn’t it merely in keeping with the origins of the event? And aren’t those who “bruck out” doing justice to the memory of Bacchus? Think on these things.
Now, if straight people are allowed to “dash out” and behave bad, why shouldn’t gays? Is it that we assume that only straight people are expected to let go and have fun? Still, there were relevant comments relating to the fact that gays ought to be more conscious about their surroundings and understand that their behaviour is offensive to the general society. I firmly believe that if your behaviour offends the general conscience of the society, you should not force it on other people. It should be confined to a setting where it doesn’t infringe on anyone else’s conscience. On the flip side, I am still maintaining that there should be no advocacy of violence against gays who opt to let loose. Surely they must have some right to do so.
Finally, if the soca culture gives it’s silent approval to gays letting go and enjoying themselves in that setting, will this spill over into other settings? Will we be faced with a situation where gays decide to go “wild” wherever and whenever? Or am I just exaggerating the situation? It is a fact that bacchanal has it’s origins in wild un-tamed fun. The idea that only straight people have the right to “get whe” is fiction. I believe it is fictional to believe that the society is moving to a place of accepting homosexual expression. But what of the argument that this behaviour may spill over into the larger society? Is that fact or fiction? You decide.