Fear of Feeling

The Flagellation of Our Lord Jesus Christ

I think Americans are terrified of feeling anything. And homophobia is simply an extreme example of the American terror that’s concerned with growing up. I never met a people more infantile in my life…It’s a way of controlling people. Nobody really cares who goes to bed with whom finally. I mean, the State doesn’t really care, the Church doesn’t really care. They care that you should be frightened of what you do. As long as you feel guilty about it, the State can rule you. It’s a way of exerting control over the universe, by terrifying people.

James Baldwin
Interviewed by Richard Goldstein (1984)

Painting by William-Adolphe Bouguereau: The Flagellation of Our Lord Jesus Christ (1880)

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