The Utter Devilry of Sex Will Destroy Your Kids (Right?)
I am, to a certain degree, a street kid. My friends and I were not kids whose parents forced into little leagues, and we never had much interest in that stuff anyway. We ran the streets. The fondest memories of my youth aren’t tied up with participation award trophies. Rather, the best memories of my childhood lay on a street corner where my friends and I played wire-ball, drank warm beer, and got into fights. Imagine my excitement when my father introduced me to gangster movies. I loved all of them, especially Goodfellas. I wasn’t even ten years old when I watched a group of mobsters toss young Henry Hill’s local mailman into a pizza oven. Of course, if we assume the position that violence on television breeds violence in the streets, I must be an exception, as I’m on quite friendly terms with my mailman and, as of yet, I haven’t as much as invited him into my kitchen let alone my oven. He probably wouldn’t fit in there anyway.
Though me and my buddies loved every gangsterism that ever poured out of Joe Pesci’s mouth, we never ice-picked anyone, never put a guy’s head in a vice, and rarely got offended if a rival asked us to shine their shoes. One of my boyhood pals did go on to law school, but I’m not sure if he ever watched My Cousin Vinny.
Americans, I think, have largely dismissed the idea that violence in entertainment causes children to become murderers, mafiosi, or mailman cookers. My father let me watch The Warriors when I was in the third grade and I have yet to be called Swan, and I doubt anyone will pin Cyrus’ murder on me, although I can never be too sure. Every few years some politician with nothing interesting to say brings up video game violence, but Super Mario has been around for a few decades now and I’ve never seen any impressionable youths decimating the turtle population or make any attempt to shoot fireballs out of their fingers by eating red flowers. If those uninteresting loudmouth politicians make any headway with their assertion that video game violence causes twenty Columbines a year, usually it results in a few popcorn headlines before everybody moves on to more interesting news, like wars in Iraq, Islamic sleeper cells in the White House, and children that may or may not be flying around in balloons.
If we’ve gotten over our fear of violence in entertainment, we should get over our fear of sex in entertainment. Of course we are, little by little, but it’s an agonizingly incremental progression. We can watch mainstream films in which bad actors are forced to saw off their feet, but explicit depictions of sex in mainstream movies usually warrants the dreaded NC-17 rating.
Dimwit talking heads who oppose depictions of sex revert to the same argument they use against violence in entertainment, which is that blatant sexual activity will hurt our children’s fragile psyches and inspire them to become crossdressing bisexuals. When middle American Johnny and Janey are caught finger-bombing each other on the school bus, the talking heads immediately blame sex in entertainment. This is ludicrous, but an easy logical fallacy that the one-liner media exploits. Forget that perhaps Johnny and Janey are quick to finger-bomb each other in public because they’ve grown up in a sexually repressive culture, and act out in much the same way as teenage alcoholics: You’re told you can’t have something, so you want it. Unfortunately, you end up getting it on a school bus.
Obviously, kids shouldn’t look at porn or graphic sex scenes. But telling a child or teenager that sex is a demonic entity that surges out of the gates of hell to try and eat baby Jesus isn’t very healthy. A realistic approach to informing children and young people about sex would demystify the topic and, hopefully, those kids will be less likely to finger-bomb each other in public.
The primary source of unhealthy sexual activity comes from one’s childhood, not entertainment, yet this is a sore subject. America continues to vilify sex as it always has. No wonder we have so many immigrants; if we depended on the fecundity of WASPS, Puritans, Pilgrims, and Quakers to populate our nation, America would probably be empty by now.
You dear readers might be wondering why I haven’t really mentioned pornography here. Well, we as Americans have a long way to go before porn is no longer considered a dirty word, because porn involved sex, and sex is just as dirty as porn in American culture. We can deal with images of war, violence, and murder, but a bare vagina shocks us. JFK is more infamous for fucking actresses than he is for his role in the Vietnam War, although I’ll admit that Marylin Monroe is, to me, more interesting than angry Viet Cong. Bill Clinton is despised by many for getting a blowjob, yet most Americans are oblivious to the fact that Clinton was bombing the shit out of Iraq at the same time. And, when reminded of Clinton’s copious use of the military during his years on the White House, they say, “Oh well, sometimes you gotta bomb a motherfucker.” But he was impeached for getting head.
This is all very stupid, because Americans love sex, we’re just afraid to admit it. We supposedly hate pornography, yet the industry generates a billion dollars a year. We like our famous people to be clean cut and wholesome, but Vanessa Hudgens’ bare bush made her more famous than any godawful musical. Utterly untalented celebrities leak their own sex tapes and make millions of dollars, yet porn remains a dirty and exploitative industry in the minds of so many of us. Simply, we’re totally hypocritical.
It’s the American way, I guess. And no, I still don’t have the urge to put my mailman in an oven.
Be nice to your mailman, folks.