Sunday, March 18, 2007

Puritan Society

We live in a puritan society. I mean that in the literal sense that we are in a society founded by puritans and that still, at its core, has some pretty strange puritan sensibilities. Some might object that our culture has gone "bad" apparently because of the visible flesh of women shown at an earlier and earlier age. But then that makes my point.

To illustrate, and what got me thinking about this in the first place, consider the latest stupid thing said by a public figure, this time the head of the military, namely, that homosexuality is immoral. And so they have gotten rid of lots of qualified personnel, including translators, arab translators, who are in critically short supply. In the meanwhile, psychopaths and hardened criminals are let in as they relax standards. And the question is, why are we letting in psychopaths, rapists, robbers, and murders while kicking out highly qualified homosexuals?

I think it has its roots in our puritanism. Our society has, perversly, always found legal, adult, consensual sex to be something far worse than the worst crime, murder. Witness our movie rating system. Loving, consensual sex between adults is rated X. Brutal murder, with blood and torture is rated R or even PG-13, shown in prime-time on shows like 24. Only in a puritan society is sex considered far worse than brutal murder and torture.

And so, in that society, soldiers who have a sexual orientation that some object to, well, that's a FAR more serious crime than mere robbery or murder, so the military has no problem making exceptions for psychopaths (so long as they are heterosexual pyschopaths), but has a huge problem letting in gays.

For me, I'm sorry, I think violence is what should be rated R and X, and sex should be rated PG-13. I'd much rather my kids be having sex than they be violent. Everyone eventually has sex. One would hope that only a very small minority of us ever turn to violence or crime. But puritanism rules.


cornucrapia said...

As a Canadian I can only relate sort of. We're definitely a puritan society as well but to a lesser extent, probably somewhere between the States and Europe, leaning a bit towards Americans due to geographic factors and the amount of American media we consume. I think it's totally mind blowing that we try and hide sex, something amazing, loving, and necessary to the very survival of our species but revel in destructive violence. I'm not one of those people who thinks that playing violent video games or watching violent movies will make you a murderer, but if I were to even think there was some influence (I'd say there is a little bit at least) I'd sure as hell rather have people watching more sex than violence. I think it's especially mind boggling because I've never actually met a person who thought media or real violence was better than media or real sex, where are these people coming from? Who's letting them decide things?

DBB said...

Well, those people are perhaps not in the same social circle as yourself. I mean, the people I hang out with are mostly atheists...

It would be interesting to do a systematic poll on the subject to see if people really agreed with the rating system as it is, or if it is a "heckler's veto" of those who wrote in to complain about the nipple in the Superbowl that sets policy.