We're in the midst of the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression, so of course the Bible-thumping wingnut response is, "How can we work this to get some gay people fired?" From Feministing comes this galling show of bigotry mixed with indifference to the reality of our economic situation:

ATLANTA - Upset House Republicans are mounting a campaign to purge Georgia's higher education system of professors with an expertise in racy sexuality topics as the state grapples with a $2.2 billion shortfall.

State Rep. Charlice Byrd, R-Woodstock, took the House well on Friday to announce a "grassroots" effort to oust professors with expertise in subjects like male prostitution, oral sex and "queer theory."

"This is not considered higher education," Byrd said. "If legislators are going to dole out the dollars, we should have a say-so in where they go."

Of course, the reporting on the article indicates that the reporter seems equally confused about why anyone would want to study sexual topics or anything relating to gay life. This, despite the fact that these crazy homophobes probably obsess about the subject more that people who get a doctorate in it ever could. But to hear them bleating, you'd think sex was hardly a topic worth any interest at all. But the mere fact that wingnuts devote so many of their waking hours struggling against sex, legislating against it, and worrying about it is evidence in and of itself that it's a fascinating topic that bears studying. Ironically, the only way I could see sex slipping into a territory where it didn't merit this level of investigation would be in a truly egalitarian world where people weren't punished for being queer or female, and sex was treated as a completely normal and healthy part of life. Then there wouldn't be so much strife and shame that drew attention, though it's hard for me to believe there's any such thing as a world where people don't find sex fascinating. But if it were to happen, it would be in a truly feminist world, i.e. the wingnut version of hell where the dishes aren't getting done unless you do them yourself and no one will believe your cock has magical powers.

The regents, who oversee the state's colleges and universities, has bristled at attempts by legislators to dictate who they should hire. A regents spokesman said the university system's mission - teaching, research and service - is a broad field.

He said the state's schools hire faculty with expertise in a range of subjects as part of "a tradition of investigating the human experience." And he noted that they aren't teaching "how-to" courses, but rather they are experts on the sociological trends and risks.

And yet we can believe that the wingnuts will never, ever believe this. We're talking about people who think boring old biology is actual a Satanic cabal out to undermine their death grip on power through Jeebus, so they're not going to believe that these courses are anything but massive orgies of the sort they never get invited to join for free. The situation is a hodge podge of everything that gets wingnuts upset: academics, people who don't hate themselves, intelligence, sexuality, feminism, gays, and reading. It's the giant liberal elite conspiracy to make you the wingnuts feel inadequate merely because you are inadequate, due to being too consumed by hate to relax and have the good sex you hate everyone else for having. That the things they envy and fear are actually within their grasp if they chose to chill out just makes the situation worse. It's easier to hate someone you could be if you just tried than someone you could never be.

And let's face it: From the joyless prude perspective, it's not just sex that's supposed to be a grim biological function with a minor amount of pleasure granted to straight men for their superiority but not to anyone else. Reading is also supposed to be totally boring. If what you're studying in school actually interests you and excites your imagination, then you're probably doing something wrong. The only officially permissible pleasures in American life are those of eating food that's bad for you and consumerism. Which is why Valentine's Day is such a big deal---it's when people who subscribe to materialist American values can feel good about sex because they spent money on it. But there's never a time when reading is supposed to be fun. If you start enjoying reading, you'll do it more, and if you do it more, then you might learn some stuff, and next thing you know you can't vote Republican in good conscience anymore.