Saturday, October 11, 2008

Because Hating Normal, Happy People Makes Them Feel Smart, Part III

Decades, and decades, and decades of the same old slanderous European nonsense.

Americans will be forgiven if they can’t recognize the America described by Europeans to Europeans:

"Waves of pleasure flow over me; it feels like sliding down a mountain waterfall," rhapsodises one delighted woman. Another recalls: "It's like having a million tiny pleasure balloons explode inside of me all at once."

These descriptions come not from Cosmopolitan, not from an erotic website, not from a Black Lace novel and certainly not from a porn channel. They are, believe it or not, part of the new philosophy of the Religious Right in America. We've always known that sex sells. Well, now it's being used to sell both God and the Republicans in one extremely suggestive package. And in dressing up the old repressive values in fishnet stockings and flouncy lingerie, the forces of conservatism have beaten the liberals at their own game.

Choose almost any sex-related issue. From pornography and sex education to reproductive rights and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, Americans have allowed a conservative religious movement not only to dictate the terms of conversation but also to change the nation's laws and public health policies. And meanwhile American liberals have remained defensive and tongue-tied.
Decades of howling and catterwalling of the American left on these issues notwithstanding, this idiot concludes that “they’ve been muzzled by the right!” in spite of the fact that in large part, their proponency arguments are so frequently initiated and mature in the Unites States itself, somehow, miraculously, and in spite of the “illegality” of them that Herzog is implying gives Herzog by virtue of sympathy with an idea, the status of victim deserving of your pity and book sales.

This is how these kind of hack arguments about that strange, otherworldly thing called “Americur” work: out of a population of 300+ million people, a stunt writer no different than Dagmar (can I call you Dag?) Herzog will find a small group of people who amuse and horrify them by unselfconsciously and without irony being their natural selves – in other words not trained into his own world view. So long as it gives then a way to sneer at the who of the 300 million people in America that they pluck out the haystack, they make it seem as though the whoever or whatever little discovery of paydirt that their hatred can dwell on, is normal to the whole of society. In other words, we can all be Jeffrey Dahmer, compounded next week with an obvious segue to also being Georges Boosh. On the other hand, the lionization of people they’d like to agree with, become more and more them, receiving honorary citizenship by virtue of frequent presence in print: previously it was Woody Allen, Robert Reich, and Emmanuel Todd, now it’s Joe Stieglitz, Jeffrey Sachs and Barack Obama, or anyone else who will factor into the way people prop up their own world view.

The only analog would be as though we actually placed Sarkozy, Henryk Broder, and other marginal sympathizers to the American right on display in the center of our society. For the sake of honesty and the fitness of the ideas themselves, we don’t. We have never been that needy, fragile, or unsure of the concepts.

How is it that “great social observers” such as these contend with the same sorts in their own culture? Or do they rather assume that the entire society is monolithic in mind, spirit, and every other way? Where does that fit into the theory that we’re somehow all Stepford children, but at the same time evil, unpredictable geniuses of Empiredom?

Like the continent’s gutter press, the inconsistency of the declarations made explaining other cultures away with a single stroke rarely gather notice.

Let’s look at this again – the article appears in something that arrogantly calls itself “The Humanist” (a journal interested in topics surrounding and aversion to religion more than atheism, and generalized dwells on postmodern home-truths) and runs authors who tacitly claim to having some sort of authority in understanding philosophy, humanity, and all the leverage they can use on you that requires nothing of them other than engaging in verbal tonsil-hockey with those that agree with them.
Open a recent evangelical advice book and you will read comments like this one: "Some people have the mistaken notion that God is anti-sex ... in fact, he's outspokenly pro-sex! He invented it. What an incredible thought! Passionate sex was God's idea." Or: "Orgasm is an integral part of God's design for sex." Evangelical writers even coined a catchy new term – "soulgasm" – to describe the almost indescribable joys (physically incredible orgasms plus intimate emotional connection with the husband plus the presence of God) that await the evangelical wife.
The normal and happy will look at the above and find it familiar. Herzog, in a deep-seeded need to justify some previous slander about something he didn’t know anything about to begin with, wants to hear that religions somehow oppose sex. The great intellect can’t seem to understand that the only reason the gooey indifferent secular middle understand the emotional nature of sex, is because religion has long before the world began with his birth, almost universally said that there are emotional and philosophical differences between having sex with someone you love and commit to emotionally, and a complete stranger, someone for whom it will betray a trust with someone else, or otherwise with livestock.

With his ignorance and surprise at this capacity of anyone for whom he’s built his own descriptive image of that we are supposed to be imprinted with and hang around our necks like a millstone while we thank him for his wisdom in defining all of us, we should probably reason as he does - and assume that Dagmar doesn’t himself show any understanding of the distinction between rutting and intimacy. After all it involves human reason, and a “Humanist” surely wouldn’t want anyone stepping on his turf.

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