Sunday, August 29, 2004

Halloween and Lost Innocence

A bunch of blogs lately have been expressing dismay at a website offering for sale some Halloween costumes styled "Pimps & 'Ho's."

Okay, open sexuality and modesty throughout the ages alternate as cultural norms, sometimes on a timescale of less than a decade. It would be pretty easy to dismiss the "pimp & ho" costumes using that sort of logic. But I think it's fair to consider them in light of the professed values we've been debating as a culture for the last few generations.

So yes, it's an appalling manifestation of capitalist laizzes-faire, a challenge to parental involvement, lowering of standards, blaah blaah blaah. I would LOVE to be able to blame it on the progressives and liberals who have been telling us for decades we have no right to JUDGE different lifestyles, and who REFUSED to challenge Clinton for saying "oral sex isn't sex." (or ANY of his many misdeeds...)

But I have to ponder...

Speaking as a someone who recognized long ago what a minefield sexuality can be to traverse with a shred of dignity and grace, I have to wonder... What about the magazines in every grocery store's checkouts????? What about the commercials spewing out of the television round the clock, crudely exploiting sex to sell everything???? What about a BILLION DOLLAR sex video industry that simply makes a mockery of any enforcement of prostitution (i.e., payment for sexual acts) laws????? What about the public school administrators for whom imposing a dress code on the pheromone firestorm in progress is way down the list of priorities after metal detectors, drug tests, assaults on teachers, assaults on other students, and kids who only know their dad as "the defendant?"

What about the Parents?

When I was in highschool in the late 60's, my friends and I convinced ourselves that the ONLY reason our parents didn't want us to have sex was that they didn't want us to have FUN! Hey, the PILL had been around for years! Why WORRY? Just a few years later attitudes had shifted from restricting pregnant girls to attend programs that isolated them from the mainstream, to allowing them to attend just as any other student. (I'm not sure this is the case everywhere, but there's been a huge change.) At the same time, out-of-wedlock births vastly increased, despite a similar increase in abortions. And the last few years, parents around the country have been discovering that their 12 and 13-year-old daughters are performing oral sex on serial partners just to be considered dateworthy.

When that makes me feel like things are going to hell in a handbasket, I recall that my grandmother in Texas back in about 1913 ran off and got married at age 13, by lying to the clerk about her age. My own sweet mother was married and had given birth to her daughter by age 17.

In one sense, the huge problem we have is that our high- technology- dependent world requires far more training than used to be necessary to prepare a person for self-sufficiency. Adolescence has been extended from age 15 to the mid-twenties for most people. At the same time, improved nutrition and general health seem to be advancing children to puberty and sexual maturity at ever-younger ages.

We now have an enormous population of children who are ready for sex, but not for the responsibilities and challenges that inevitably result.

For a number of years, there was a book club that offered as a come-on a very low-priced 2-volume set of the philosophical writings of Will and Ariel Durant. I can only recall one sentence I read (it was SEARED into my memory...) that goes roughly so: "Human sexuality is like a RIVER of FIRE, that has to be constantly banked lest it overflow the landscape." I believe they were writing in the mid-1920's, and the comment was prompted by the extravagant licentiousness and recurrent chaos it seemed to loose in Roman society.

Seems to me it still applies.

It's impossible to deny that the liberal agenda has contributed heavily to the sexualization of our culture. It doesn't necessarily follow that sexualization per se is wrong. But there is definitely a fundamental conflict between the progressives' insistence that WE MUST NOT JUDGE, and the unimpeachable evidence that babies born to unwed mothers, and raised without the presence of the biological father, are profoundly disadvantaged. It is an incredible mess, and the only way out is cooperation instead of the tragic polarization that continues between the major political parties.

I do believe the Republicans will do a better job for a few years. When the Republicans have been in effective control of both houses for, say, HALF the time the Dems had'em, then I would say maybe it's time to consider giving them another chance to screw things up. I do believe ANY one party in power too long gets to thinking it owns the place.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's all about the parents -- and their willingness to shape their offsprings' morals and to actively supervise the children's activities. Parenthood requires more effort than most folks seem to be willing to make, and laissez-faire folks shouldn't reproduce.

A Recovering Liberal

6:04 PM  

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