Things are feeling pretty… 2020 at the moment, so we thought you deserved something fun this Friday morning.
We wouldn’t normally consider chatter from AM radio to be worth bringing to your attention, a recent piece from Todd Starnes is just too good to resist: “‘Ecosexuals’ marry one another -- and Earth.”
While “it sounds like a joke,” Starnes opens, “the people behind it are not kidding.” He very much wants his audience to get mad because, in 2008, Beth Stephens and Annie Sprinkle had a 300-person marriage ceremony to the Earth, and have since continued encouraging others to follow suit. The horror!
The accompanying video is titled “Holy Gender Fluidity, Batman! Robin is Bisexual!” in reference to news that Robin comes out as bisexual in a recent installment of the DC Comics anthology, so suffice to say the cishetereonormativity here is bursting out from between the lines.
Starnes quotes professional climate disinformation mainstay Marc Morano, who said it’s “part of a deep-green ecology where they sort of look at the earth as some kind of a spirit-sexual relationship.” Since an IPCC chair once said something about how “protection of the earth was his religion,” Morano says, “it’s only a matter of time before it’s going to come into this weird sexuality that they're calling ecosexuals.”
Cal Beisner, professional creationist and climate denier said they were “turning their backs on God,” and referred to it as “theater of the absurd.”
Which is ironic, because according to the recent CNN story Starnes was ranting about, Beth Stephens and Annie Sprinkle would agree. Turns out they’re not scary eco-radicals, they’re doing this as performance art. They incorporated eco-awareness into their LGBTQ+ rights activism, so showing the absurdity of a long-exclusionary and patriarchal wedding mythos is exactly the point they’re making, and they even made it in the CNN story!
According to Stephens, chair of the Art Department at the E.A.R.T.H. Lab at the University of California Santa Cruz, their nearly two-decade collaboration in art and activism makes deliberate use of “strategies of joy” and also, “absurdity.”
As CNN’s Jacqui Palumbo recaps, the couple “adopted wedding rituals as a vehicle for LGBTQ, sex-positive acts at a time when same-sex couples were not able to marry in the US, and for environmental activism at a time when it was becoming clear how dangerous the climate emergency had become.”
Over a course of seven years, they performed campy, themed weddings to the sky, moon, snow, Appalachian Mountains, and yes, the Earth, to “mobilize the wedding ceremony… as a means to engage further political conversation, build community, and generate love.”
Sprinkle told CNN that “everyone knows the narrative of weddings, how there’s the rings, the vows, the kiss. It really is a performance.”
They’ve even written a book about it, called “Assuming the Ecosexual Position: The Earth as a Lover,” to encourage others to care enough about people and the planet, that we actually take care of them.
As for the future, they’ve gotten a Guggenheim Fellowship to produce a film on wildfires and “social fires,” Stephens said, which could potentially lead to steamy results if viewed in conjunction with their existing documentary film, “Water Makes Us Wet.”