Thursday, October 05, 2006
It's the Hypocrisy Stupid! It's now all Foley all the time. 24/7 that's nearly all that one can listen to. Discussion of it is on every news channel, every radio station, the blogs, and the Internet. It, of course, involves rather scummy emails and instant messages with graphic inappropriate sexual communications between a Republican 52 year old Congressman and teenage male Congressional pages. We are saturated with the issue. I'll bet the American public is sick of it and would like it to just "poof" go away. Of course, it won't, at least not for awhile.
Why do Americans have an obsession with sex? Americans and sex have always had a difficult time together. Religion, I suspect, accounts for much of the discord. Our Puritan past complete with witches and demands for repentance for even thinking about sex did not help. Hester Prynne, the heroine in Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter, is forced to wear the mark of Cain in the form of the red letter "A," in Puritan New England because of her sin of adultery. This tells us much about the nascent American culture and its views of sexual sin.
Fast forward centuries later "banned in Boston" was the yardstick for profanity. The profanity that defined that era certainly is tame by the standards of contemporary American mores but D.H. Lawrence's Lady Chatterly's Lover, nonetheless, was banned and his work indicted because of it's sexual content. Many other authors and their books suffered the same fate.
Our TV culture of the 1950's would not even allow Lucy and Desi, who were, of course married, to sleep in a double bed together. They could only share a room with twin beds as if they were roommates at NYU. Although the network scandalously allowed Lucy to appear pregnant she could not say the word "pregnant." Lucy was "having a baby" certainly she was NOT pregnant. Sex was extracted from the always-glorified family. June and Ward Cleaver of Leave it to Beaver fame never, of course, spoke of sex and , indeed, it seemed as if their sons Wally and Beaver were hatched. One could not have conceived (pardon the pun) of Ozzie and Harriet naked, locked in a passionate embrace while David and Ricky were in the next room or in any room for that matter. Sex in the 1950's and early 60's was vacuumed out of and extracted from the culture and a seemingly sexless milieu enveloped that era like a shroud.
This country, however, in the late 1960's freed itself, at least in theory, from the sexual tyranny it had known since its inception. Like an inmate being released from jail, America could not get enough of that which it repressed and wanted so badly. Suppressing the potent biological urge of sex is a nearly impossible thing to do. Just ask the Vatican and Catholic priests. Human hormones will not allow it. It is an urge so strong it simply will not be denied with ease. In addition, let's face it, sex is fun and it feels great.
Unfortunately a new found freedom was taken to excess. The late 60's along with the birth control pill freed up, especially, women. It ushered in, as I call it, The Age of Sex. It was everywhere and permeated everything -- music, literature, arts, TV, film, advertising and even sports. If it felt good it was done. It became unbridled and extreme. Because of that unwanted pregnancies, increased divorce statistics, STD's -- among them the lethal virus AIDS -- arose. The culture experienced a crudity not known before and still exists today. Steve Allen, the great comic, intellectual and man of letters talked about this in his book Vulgarians at the Gate. He observed in America a culturally crude licentious decline which brought with it sociological and psychological fragmentation. It was a hefty price to pay for a change of culture which seemed, at first, so benign and so natural.
Today the Christian right has seen to it that the Republican party is now the party of the so called "moral majority." To buy a ticket to enter the hallowed Republican sanctuaries one must buy into its reactionary sexual politics of denial, repression and suppression and hope that it will buy one a ride back to a seemingly simpler time. Indeed, allegedly, it could buy an entry into heaven itself. This is a delusion. The ideal families of June and Ward Cleaver and Ozzie and Harriet Nelson never existed. They especially did not exist if one was black or poor, and certainly did not exist if a member of those families was homosexual. Those "ideal" families did not exist either for people who were abused in marriage or tormented by an unhappy marital life.
Putting the sex jeanie back into the bottle and repressing our sexuality once again is not so easy. Discord between two people is ever present and sexuality remains a constant force. It always will. Nature meant that to be so. Republican, Democrat and Independent alike should recognize that and accept it because everyone is subject to it. Denial of self creates bad behavior in the form of violence, suicide and even possibly child abuse. They should accept their sexuality and conduct themselves appropriately, because it's the hypocrisy, stupid, that will get them into trouble every time!