This “twinned” sign should welcome every visitor to our capital, at least today. And there I was, thinking that London Pride was only a brand of beer.
A million noisy and ill-dressed folk are paralysing London streets to take part in the annual Pride parade that champions the cause of the special rights desired by the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT+) ‘community’.
Now I think that the people who go by initials resembling those of the secret police in a totalitarian state deserve their rights. All subjects of Her Majesty do, the rights of Englishmen and all that.
Nor can one object to some people doing an Oliver Twist and asking for more rights than their fair share. That’s a tad greedy, but only an inveterate Rousseauan would object to this display of human frailty.
But the word pride does baffle me, and to some extent this is the fault of Biblical translators who otherwise did such a sterling job. In ancient Greek there were two words designating this concept, one positive, one negative.
The negative one has come down to us as hubris; the positive one as pride proper. But Lancelot Andrewes and his colleagues also used the word ‘pride’ in its negative sense, to denote the deadliest of the seven sins.
(With a sense of pride in my native land, something I generally manage to suppress, I’m pleased to tell you the Russians appropriately use two different cognates, gordost’ and gordynia, to denote pride and hubris, respectively.)
That sin is responsible for the two most catastrophic Old Testament events. It drove Archangel Lucifer (whose name most appropriately means Enlightener, as in Diderot and Voltaire) to rebel against God and become Satan, the devil, the evil seducer.
And it’s because of their pride that Adam and Eve branded man with original sin. They thought they knew better than God and therefore didn’t have to obey his injunctions, specifically one involving the forbidden fruit that Lucifer was pushing with the intrusiveness of a greengrocer at a Soho market.
As a result, man was stuck in a fallen state, where he stayed until Rousseau cancelled original sin by declaring man both perfect and tautologically perfectible. By way of a virtuous reaction, the French made a good go of trying to murder everyone who disagreed with Rousseau, running up a seven-figure score and hinting at the possibility of self-refutation.
Now original sin had something tangentially to do with sex, as did the word hubris in ancient Greece. It described actions that humiliated the victim for the gratification of the abuser, thereby shaming both.
Now if those LGBT+ revellers used the word pride in that meaning, they’d find no argument in these quarters. But they don’t. They use it in its positive sense, as humble delight in one’s achievements.
That’s where my problems start. The dictionary defines achievement as “a thing done successfully with effort, skill, or courage.” Now it takes no mean legerdemain to attach that word to the act of one gentleman shoving his clenched fist up the rectum of another.
This, even though this procedure doubtless requires, in addition to suspended squeamishness, some effort and skill on the part of the active participant and some courage from the one on the receiving end of the fist.
Similarly, though it probably takes some courage to decide to have certain anatomical parts removed or, conversely, attached, the effort and skill are those of the doctor performing the operation, not of the patient.
Then again, the humble aspect of this emotion isn’t much in evidence when mobs rampage through the streets screaming obscene slogans, waving rainbow flags and in general making a rather tasteless nuisance of themselves.
On balance, no matter how much casuistry we indulge in, one finds it hard to understand what pride has to do with aberrant sexual practices. The word degeneracy springs to mind more readily, but of course when it does it must be expunged immediately on pain of ostracism and, these days, possibly criminal prosecution.
To prove that the end is really nigh, a rainbow flag has been projected on the Mother of All Parliaments, and on this evidence it’s indeed a mother, in the elegant American sense of the word.
Hundreds of police officers, more than 100 of them armed, are patrolling the streets, to make sure no harm comes to the revellers or, more probably, to those who look at them askance. Moreover, some 150 similarly inclined police officers are marching with the braying mob, thereby combining the roles of protectors and protectees.
A number of Central London streets have been blocked, including that amusing aptronym Cockspur Street. Let me tell you, if I were stuck in traffic as a result, I wouldn’t be feeling especially gay.
Theresa May laudably took time off trying to safeguard Britain’s future to commend the deviants for sending out a “proud and positive message to the world”. That’s our Christian Prime Minister, ladies and gentlemen, in case you’ve forgivably forgotten.
“We need to do all we can to build a country which works for everyone,” added Mrs May, “where people of all backgrounds are free to be themselves and fulfil their full potential.” Fulfilling the full potential of fisting might cause rupture in addition to rapture, so caution must be exercised. But the PM left that part out.
Secretary of State for Education Justine Greening, who herself is the L part of the popular acronym, wrote in The Telegraph that: “Often it’s all of us, and our own stories, that can have the biggest impact in the push for equality.” Excellent locution for an Education Minister.
“I am proud to live in a country where we are free to be who we are,” added Miss Greening. Those chaps in Sodom must have felt the same way. But it didn’t quite pan out to their satisfaction, did it?