Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Is Nothing Sacred Anymore?

I went on Facebook this morning to read that one friend is upset that the subway announcements in New York begin, "Ladies and gentlemen, the next train" because apparently that is sexist. Being a veteran of Sex & Gender Roles class and having read The Gendered Society, aside from having interviewed many transsexuals, I understand what he means by that. But I still think he's wrong. Dead wrong. And to try to express that, I have written the following mocking modification of Kurt Vonnegut's opening paragraph in "Harrison Bergeron."
    THE YEAR WAS 2081, and everybody was finally equal. They weren't equal before God and the law because no one really cared much about God anymore. They were equal every which way. Nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else. Nobody had a gender- all that outdated "male" and "female" streotyping was over. Being gay had replaced religion and the devotion and fervor people dedicated to this past-time (and to getting boob jobs) was equal only to their love affair with gossip and reality TV. All this equality was due to the 211th, 212th, and 213th Amendments to the Constitution, and to the unceasing vigilance of agents of the United States Handicapper General. Also, the United States Genderless Association.
I think things have gone too far.

I think it's sick that "Glee", which is aimed at tweens and teens who enjoyed "High School Musical", features Santana and Brittany cuddling up and making out in bed, the glorification of getting drunk and wasted, a girl giving birth to a baby and then, rather than having to deal with any responsibility, just going back to her world where cheerleading is her biggest problem and so forth. To say nothing of the "Rocky Horror Picture Show" which is full of inappropriate, highly sexualized material. It's sick that Kurt Hummel's outrageous statements to his father have become a model for kids everywhere. He's actually upset his dad is mad that a guy he wants to have sex with is sleeping in his bed with him?

Ryan Murphey, the creator of the show, is deliberately sexualizing the show. He said: "It’s tough to get that sexual point of view across on television. Hopefully I have made it possible for somebody on broadcast television to do a rear-entry scene in three years. Maybe that will be my legacy." Right. Because every teenager needs to see a rear-entry scene on television.

I think it's sick that when I go on Facebook I see a photograph of a student from Frisch holding two cone-shaped party hats over her breasts a la Katy Perry's music video and the first comment to this posting is "HOT." When did self-objectifying become the new normal?

I think it's sick that everywhere I walk sexuality is so prominent and in your face, that subtlety is really hard to find and that books with the depth of love and sweetness that something like Blankets has are so rare that when I find them, tears come to my eyes.

I think it's sick that lust and love have become interchangeable.

I think creating a world where marriage between a man and woman is not considered sacred, respect for parents isn't sacred, genders and sexuality can be changed or switched at the drop of a hat, crossdressing is normal, it's impossible to expect teenagers not to drink, lust, experimentation and love all equate to the same thing, in short, the world which is currently our teenagers' televised fare- is sickening.

Because how many of them have any handle on what they're watching? How many of them can differentiate between what they see on TV and what they believe, who they want to become, what they respect, what their morals are and what ought to be sacred to them?

Laughter is the most difficult weapon to combat. If someone laughs at you and mocks you, he knocks your position out from under you. You won't be taken seriously anymore. That's what most television and gossip magazine do today- laugh at outdated morals, old fashioned ideas of sanctity, the idea that one might want love rather than sexual satisfaction. And they laugh so hard that you're afraid to be the archaic anachronism who stands up for these things.

I respect the difficulty, challenge, pain and struggle of transsexuals who change their gender. The same applies to those working to understand their sexual orientation. The same applies to people who wish to build families as gay parents. But the promiscuity, lewdness and immorality, the lack of faith, trust and loyalty that characterizes our society and its models aka celebrities and television- disgusts me.

It's time we starting asking our friends, students, professors and teens whether they believe that anything is sacred anymore. Be tough on them. Don't let them give one-word answers like "Family." If family is sacred, then how do they treat family? What does it mean for something to be sacred? Kurt Hummel claims that family is sacred to him, but then he mouths off at his father half the time. Does that seem consistent to you? Start the discussion.

Because God knows, if you don't, nobody's going to.

36 comments:

Sara said...

If you think it's sick, why are you on Facebook? That is quintessential Facebook. Either chill with it, or delete your account. Don't think you can have it both ways anymore. Same for TV. It is what it is. It's not rewinding to Mr. Ed and Leave it to Beaver any time soon.

Chana said...

Sara, what an odd attitude. I use Facebook in order to connect with friends, its original purpose. Why shouldn't I be able to have it both ways? Why can't I expect a society that upholds the romantic ideals of true love, sweetness, morality? It's strange to me that a critique of society elicits the response: Deal with it or leave. Why not change it? As members of society, we are powerful. We can create arresting movies or television with substance rather than sex. But first we need people to actually think about what they are currently watching.

Sara said...

You failed to note the veiled sarcasm in my comment. As to Facebook's original purpose, it was to serve as a yearbook of sorts for current college students, hence the long abandoned .edu email requirement.I don't think Mr. Zuckerberg ever envisioned its current incarnation. As for creating arresting television shows; yes, you can. What you can't do is eliminate the current garbage that inhabits the airwaves. You do have the option to unplug both your TV set and Facebook account.

Anonymous said...

Sara,
Your comments are reflective of a laissez-faire attitude which does not follow the moral and ethical principles and imperatives for which Judaism and Jews stand. If there is a moral or ethical problem, it is our responsibility to respond and act. Perhaps if we were to project your argument onto the plane of social justice, you would realize your fallacy. If one sees injustice, does one silently accept it, run away, or respond and act? The same moral and ethical imperatives that instruct us to respond to injustice instruct us to do the same when our moral and ethical value system is under attack as well.
Chana, as for your statements - I agree with them wholeheartedly.

Josh said...

Regarding your point of society wanting everyone to be equal, I’m reminded of this great exchange from The Incredibles:
Helen: “Everyone's special, Dash.”
Dash: “Which is another way of saying no one is.”

Oh, and Pixar shows you can still make family-friendly movies that are really entertaining. It’s unfortunate it sometimes seems like they’re the only one.

Tali Adler said...

Your post conflates two different issues, and uses the more objectionable one to cast the other in a negative light. Are television shows today, particularly those aimed at young adults, highly sexualized? Sure. Is it inappropriate for teenagers to hold casual sex, hookups, binge drinking and drug use as things to be admired and emulated? Yeah, it is. What does any of that have to do with gender identity? Little or nothing.

Gender identity, as you probably know from your class, is separate from sexual preference or behavior-and has nothing to do with promiscuity or the other harmful behaviors that you identify in your post. Using your friend's facebook post, which has a valid argument (albeit one that I disagree with), as a jumping off point to criticize all sorts of promiscuity, objectification of women, and harmful behaviors that are prevalent in our society, essentially sets up a strawman that you use to attack issues such as the multiplicity of gender identity.

I'm not saying that each of those issues could not be a valid post in and of itself. I enjoyed reading your posts while you were in your gender studies class, and understand your rejection of many of the class's arguments. But, if you want to criticize your friend's facebook post, you should probably address it, and not other unrelated issues that you find objectionable.

Jewish Atheist said...

I loved Blankets but find your sexual moralizing repellent. Love and lust are not mutually exclusive, nor does prominent sexuality make subtlety impossible.

I think your continued membership in and support for a religious denomination that insists that God Himself wrote that gay sex is an abomination is far more disgusting than anything I've ever seen on Glee. Glee's done more good for gay people in three years than your religion has done in all of recorded history.

The days when religious people got to tell everyone else how to hide and repress their sexuality -- straight or gay -- are over. And the world is a better place because of it. People are sexual creatures and countries that accept and celebrate that are better than those that don't.

It's fine to dress like a nun and to only hold hands in public, if that's your thing. Nobody's stopping you. The rest of us have just moved on. Some teenage girls kiss and cuddle and explore their sexuality. They deserve to see versions of themselves reflected on t.v. as much as moralizing prigs do. They do not deserve to be hidden from view and told implicitly that they're somehow not as good as the prudes and the straight, non-curious kids.

I missed the drinking episode and the Kurt yelling at his dad episode, so I can't comment on them, but I guarantee you there are thousands of gay kids out there whose lives have been made better by watching Glee. And I also guarantee that there are dozens or hundreds of Jewish gay kids out there whose lives have been made worse by the things you hold in high esteem. Finally, the overwhelming majority of people have premarital sex and they don't deserve to have their choices marginalized by moralizing know-it-alls either.

Chana said...

Tali,

I think the two are connected, although I appreciate your thoughtful comment and critique. I think that by creating a world where we claim that gender expectations and identity are merely social constructs and thus don't really hold water/ have validity, you allow for a fluidity, smoothness and basically a gateway for the promiscuity that follows. If you deny that there are particular roles or mores or values (one of which is the designation of gender in Judaism, and its halakhic incarnations), you open the door to larger problems as well.

Anonymous said...

Not sure it is fair of you to judge society's morals while you so easily make up your own standards and ignore those of your religion.

Erachet said...

I felt the same way when I saw the glee episode where Finn was the only one criticized for being intolerant of sharing a room with Kurt and Kurt was painted as a victim. Kurt was just as intolerant of Finn as Finn was of him. And honestly, though Finn did go too far in calling Kurt names, his initial discomfort at having to share a room seemed perfectly reasonable to me.

To me, the issue is one of a mixed-up idea of tolerance/intolerance. Somehow, tolerance these days often seems to only go one way.

Also, if saying "Ladies and Gentleman" has become people's idea of sexist, then we really do live in a crazy world. Sometimes it seems as though people are looking to be offended.

Shades of Grey said...

I also whole-heartedly agree with the sentiments here. I saw that Facebook status and read the comments, walking away shaking my head wondering why this was such an offensive issue or even an issue to begin with.

The world out there is definitely crazy and becoming more sexualized by the moment. Everyone (without exception) needs to look inward and re-evaluate the standards of acceptability that we apply in approaching the media around us.

It would also be nice if there were more quality entertainment that was artistically motivating and intellectually inspiring without needing to resort to going for sexuality as a hook simply because "sex sells."

Noam said...

This issue would apply to nearly every media: TV, Radio, printed material would be subject to this kind of subhuman in-your-face shout out. So what are my options throw all those away and live in self imposed ghetto like the Chasidim?
My former Yeshiva gedolah is gravitating towards a no internet policy for students. In the past I thought it cruel, but your post seems to support this view.

Emily said...

(I tried to post this 15 minutes ago, but I think it didn't go through.)
Olivia,
You used your friend's statement as an introduction to your blog post, but the topic of your post had no connection to what you spoke about, namely, as Tali Adler said, "promiscuity or the other harmful behaviors." If you want to make a statement about those topics, that's fine. If you want to address your friend's post, that's fine too. But to mock what he wrote and use that as a transition to your article undermines the intellectual merit of your post and is somewhat reminiscent of cyberbullying.

Chana said...

Since it seems that both Tali and Emily don't understand why what my friend wrote has to do with sexualization, I'll break it down for you.

A gendered society is one in which certain gender roles are appointed for men and women. Namely, there's a difference between them that corresponds to their genetic makeup- the XX and XY chromosomes yield not only different bodies but different personalities.

While it is certainly true that society creates SOME gender roles (for example, when a girl baby cries vs. a boy baby, the girl is told, aw poor baby, why are you sad, whereas the boy baby is praised for making that lusty sound), it is not true, at least according to Judaism and halakha, that it is totally arbitrary.

The problem with the idea of gender being a construct in Judaism is that then everything works according to what the person feels himself to be. What that means is that even if I have XX chromosomes, I can wake up in the morning, say I feel my gender is a man's, and ask for a milah to be performed upon my sexual organs. Or alternatively, decide that as a feeling-myself-to-be-male I want to serve as a Kohen in the mikdash. Or that I want to wear male clothes and it's not crossdressing because my true gender identity is a male. Etc.

What this division of genders to create a genderless society eventually leads to is the idea that everyone can be anything they want. I can have XX chromosomes but act as a man. You can have XY chromosomes but be a woman. I with XX chromosomes in my "male" self can have a relationship with a man with XY chromosomes and call myself gay. It's all meaningless and there are no gender boundaries. Breaking the one boundary leads to the other. There's much more freedom and fluidity between sexes, because after all, why shouldn't there be- we're all genderless. Urinals may as well be full-out toilets with men and women both urinating in public because our sex organs don't define us. From this, we get to a model of a free-for-all. And if that free-for-all exists in gender, why not in sexuality as well?

If our society was genderless, there would be no concept of gendered marriage, for instance. The whole conception in the Torah of a "man lying with a woman as he does with a man" would be moot, because hey, even though I was born with XX chromosomes, I feel myself to be a man or vice versa, so presto, the Torah is outdated.

Basically, the one conception feeds into and founds the other.

As to your belief regarding cyber-bullying- I find that remarkably hard to believe since a) I deliberately didn't use the person's name and b) I'm responding to a point he made, not saying that he is a bad person for thinking this point. If you call this cyber-bullying, you've probably never had the real experience of being bullied, which is nice for you, because I have (both online and offline), and let me tell you, this is not it.

Holy Hyrax said...

JA,

How about the rest of Chana wrote? You seem to have ignored it.

>And the world is a better place because of it

Based on what? A more sexualized world where everything all around you (even geared toward young children) is a good thing?

Aren't you part of the spectrum that abhors female objectivism? Ever think of where that can POSSIBLY come from?

Emily said...

Olivia (or Chana, if you prefer),
In terms of the first part of your response, I'm going to respectfully agree to disagree with you.
In terms of the second part, if I could recognize who you're talking about, then so can other people. Furthermore, I specifically said "reminiscent" because I don't actually think that this was cyberbullying. It was, at the very least, mocking and derisive.

Jewish Atheist said...

HH,

Hey, long time no see!

What part did I ignore?

Based on what? A more sexualized world where everything all around you (even geared toward young children) is a good thing?

You think that's an objective way of looking at it? Sure, there are excesses, especially where young children are involved, but that's just the bad part. The good part is unrepressed sexuality, which has a lot of good effects.

For example, it tends to lead to more gender equality. It tends to lead to greater enjoyment of sex for women. It tends to lead to people figured out (or admitting) that they're gay instead of just marrying a person of the opposite sex. It lets people marry people who they are sexually compatible with instead of entering a crapshoot. It lets people wait until they're ready to get married instead of rushing into it. It leads to safer sex, because people always had premarital sex, but where it's stigmatized, condom usage is less likely and less correctly done. Oh yeah, and it lets people just enjoy sex before marriage!

Finally, not having premarital sex seems to be correlated with being uptight and conservative, so the less of that the better. I admit I'm reaching here, but hopefully fewer wars, less crime, etc. People having good sex are just not as likely to want to do that stuff.

Aren't you part of the spectrum that abhors female objectivism? Ever think of where that can POSSIBLY come from?

I think it comes from religion and "traditional" values, actually. For example, in a comment on this very post, Chana offers up a defense of traditional gender roles. Traditional Judaism basically sets up the woman as a child-rearing and raising (and cooking&cleaning) object. It forbids women rabbis, etc.

A sexually-liberated society is much more egalitarian and therefore less objectivizing. Women are empowered to decide what kind of role they want to lead -- they are aren't forced or coerced into some kind of cookie cutter. Sure, some choose to be strippers or porn stars or even prostitutes, but that is their right.

Chana said...

Emily,

Any chance you care to explain exactly why you respectfully disagree?

More importantly, of course you can recognize who I'm talking about if you're friends with him on Facebook. The point is not to comment about him in such a way that those who are NOT his friends can recognize him. He made a public status; I wrote a public response- I'm not sure where you see the problem.

Re: mocking and derisive, if you're talking about my Harrison Bergeron rewrite, then sure, that definitely pokes fun at the direction our society is going. I hardly think I mocked our mutual friend, though- just said that I think he's dead wrong, which I do think. And mocked his particular point of view on this subject. I'm not sure what you see as being wrong with mocking someone's point of view when you find it ridiculous- do you think our friend ought to get a free pass and I should accept his points of view just because he's gay or what?

Anonymous said...

Chana, you do realize that your notions of biology are totally incorrect, right? There are plenty of people with XY chromosomes who are phenotypically female from birth and plenty of people with XX chromosomes who are phenotypically male from birth (i.e., these are not people who have transitioned medically in any way).

ilanica said...

I'd like to agree with Talia's point and add one of my own.

I agree with Talia because I think (and know, having seen it done by example) that certain norms can shift without morality disintegrating. Case in point: a committed gay couple. Yes, they are of the same sex, but they do not cheat on each other and have a happy stable relationship.

Someone can take the sanctity of relationships and sexuality seriously while still coming to terms with their sexual identity.

Also, regarding Glee: I think Kurt is meant to be seen as a realistic character. Many teenagers mouth off to their parents. I don't think the show glorifies that.

Additionally: Overt sexuality portrayed for entertainment purposes is perhaps distasteful, but I don't know if it is immoral in the same sense that outright promiscuity is. It might be, but surely there are degrees?

And where I agree with you is how sickening it is whenever love and lust are somehow seen as interchangeable. That is something truly against the spirit of Torah and any sensitive, reflective person.

Anonymous said...

I actually agree with you that Kurt's character has crossed a line recently; while I think he's a fantastic character who has done so much for gay kids, his interactions with his father have been completely off the mark. His father had every right to yell at him for having a sleepover with another boy, and his response that his father should better educate himself on gay sex was ridiculous.
Kurt's father has been an ideal model for how a parent of gay kids should behave. From the moment Kurt came out to him, he has been accepting, non-judgmental, and fully committed to defending his son. I only wish parents I know in real life could be half that fantastic. For Kurt to continue to accuse his father of prejudice is ridiculous.

And to JA: the sexual utopia you describe isn't exactly the reality for most women out there, despite sexual liberation. In fact many women are having unhealthier, less satisfying sex lives. The statistics of women with STDs is horrifying.
And sorry, but I don't buy your premarital sex= less crime and wars. I'm sure most criminals happily engage in premarital sex, but somehow they are still inclined to partake in criminal activity. I agree that a healthy sex life is important, but contrary to what you're saying sex does not equal happiness. Its just sex.

Ἐπίκουρος said...

JA,

1) I think that, religious issues aside, conservatism as a philosophical position is very defensible. You seem to, a priori, consider a conservative to be misguided and wrong. That may be your belief, but I think it is presumptuous to treat that as a fact going into an argument.

2) There is a distinction between repressing your sexuality, and the complete abandonment of limits. Our society is obsessed with sex - and I think it is at the societal level, not the personal level, that things fall apart because of this obsession.

Humans are hard-wired for sex and the marketing machine uses this weakness to sell. In the process, we are turning our society into one where the only value is "does it make me feel good". Yet, historically, when societies reach this point, they inevitably collapse. This is due to several things. One is, to build and grow you need to sacrifice. A society which focuses on immediate gratification does not raise members who are willing to sacrifice. This is why birth rates are negative in non-immigrant Europeans. Two, the preoccupation with sex leads to the neglect of everything else that's important. Look at the lyrics of all popular songs - it's all about love and sex. Sure, people sang about love since time immemorial, but where are the songs about friendship, about love for your country, about nature, about social issues. They are basically non-existent. Just "sex, drugs, and rock and roll".

Sex is a basic drive. It should not be repressed. Premarital sex has many benefits, including ensuring sexual compatibility of partners. There I agree with you.

But your utopian statements about if only people stopped being sexually repressed and then we will have equality, peace, motherhood and apple pie, seem like a real stretch.

Holy Hyrax said...

JA

I believe Ἐπίκουρος made some good points. This is not about repression but about a private vs public domain. You say some things are excesses. I beg to differ. They are not excesses but the normal outcome of continuous exposure to sex at every turn of the head. There is no reason to say that shows like "skins" for example is an excess. It's just the next step. So yes, Sex is a natural drive. So what? Is there no virtue to it? Should it be branded, and sold to a younger and younger audience? So yes, your side teaches condom use. I remember, I went to public school. But the need to teach about condoms and safe sex (etc) comes as a need to a society that is over saturated with sex. How many times have I read young boys disciplined for what is now being called "sexual harassment?" Slapping a girls butt? Are we serious? Sexual harassment?. Well obviously NOW!. You have sexualized a society, they harass women and now, we have to "discipline" them at younger ages that what they are dong is tantamount to sexual harassment when 20 years ago, that was absurd.

-You cause the problem, then you try to remedy it. I at least understand the problem and try to remedy it mechatchila.-

The list can go on to how even college girls perceive themselves in a society that idolizes the body and glorifies sex all around them. I understand we come from two different value spectrums. That is why we can't see eye to eye. Any benefit to an over-sexed society is overwhelmed by the obvious hedonistic natural consequences to it. This isn't even a religious issue. It's a value driven issue that plenty of non-religious people hold to be true when they just think for a moment about unintended consequences in the future.

Also, I disagree with your notion of how to reach equality and what equality means. If the only way (for example) for women to reach equality is by the continuous openness of sex and selling of their bodies, than indeed this is a sad day. The women's suffrage movement did not need this aspect of open sex to deliver their message. Also, I believe Chana PERFECTLY parodied the notion of equality. Equality today means "the same." But there is no such thing as "the same". We are not the same. We should be equal UNDER THE LAW, but lets face it, it has gone over beyond the law as can be seen by the example of Chana's facebook friend. It's a farce. There are males and there are females. Each are unique in their rite. Why on earth would people actively want to blur those lines?

Jewish Atheist said...

Ἐπίκουρος,

1) I, personally, based on experience, find American conservatism to be a bad thing.

2) I don't agree that there has been a complete abandonment of limits. Neither sex with minors (by adults) nor non-consensual sex is permitted or culturally accepted. (The Torah, of course, is okay with both, in various circumstances, although the Oral Law has "interpreted" most of it away as it followed Western civilization by a couple of hundred years as it evolved.)

As for being "obsessed" with sex, it's one of humanity's most basic drives, and it sells. People choose to focus on the sex part as the problem, but the real problem is the commoditization of everything, including sex.

In the process, we are turning our society into one where the only value is "does it make me feel good".

Not remotely true. It's true that "does it make me feel good" is more valued than in other cultures like Orthodox Judaism or various Asian cultures, but I see that as a good thing. The individual's wants are treated as valid and important and it's not all about sacrificing one's own wishes for God/the gods/the society. But our society also values other things, like love and family (of various kinds) and generosity and hard work and talent.

Yet, historically, when societies reach this point, they inevitably collapse.

*huge eyeroll* Societies collapse because they overextend financially and militarily, not because they are sexually liberated.

Sure, people sang about love since time immemorial, but where are the songs about friendship, about love for your country, about nature, about social issues. They are basically non-existent. Just "sex, drugs, and rock and roll".

There are tons of songs about all of those things. But, yes, sex sells. Again, you're blaming the sex instead of the selling, though.

But your utopian statements about if only people stopped being sexually repressed and then we will have equality, peace, motherhood and apple pie, seem like a real stretch.

I admitted it might be a stretch, but I think there is more than a grain of truth in it. I don't think the historical correlation between sexual liberation and dovishness is a coincidence.

Jewish Atheist said...

HH:

I think I addressed most of your points in my response to Epicurus. Let me address this, though:

Why on earth would people actively want to blur those lines?

THE LINES IN REAL LIFE ARE BLURRED! That's the thing that religious people and conservatives do not get. They have these one-size-fits-all rules that are kinda okay for most people, but for the outliers it's basically "tough luck." Homosexuality is the perfect example of this -- in reality some percentage of the populate is gay. In Orthodoxy and conservatism, you say "Most people are straight, therefore straight is the only way to be, so tough."

It's the same thing with feminism. Probably more women than men on average want to stay home with kids. That's fine and that's their right. But conservatives and religious people take it to the next step and say ALL women have to be that way. NO women can be rabbis, even if they are exceptionally qualified.

Anonymous said...

Interesting is the percentage of posts on orthodox blogs (including this one) related to m/f issues.

ALso iirc there were a number of posts on this blog that some commenters felt were on the wrong side of the line that iiuc the baalat hablog is trying to draw in this post.

The world is a messy place sometimes.

KT
Joel Rich

Ἐπίκουρος said...

2) I don't agree that there has been a complete abandonment of limits. Neither sex with minors (by adults) nor non-consensual sex is permitted or culturally accepted.

I have been privy to fourth graders having conversations about oral sex. This is in a well off suburban elementary school, not some inner city ghetto. Likewise, "blow job buses" conversations among 13 year olds in a Jewish Conservative school... It may not be "culturally accepted", but it is much more prevalent than it used to be before the "sexual revolution"

As for being "obsessed" with sex, it's one of humanity's most basic drives, and it sells. People choose to focus on the sex part as the problem, but the real problem is the commoditization of everything, including sex.

I thought that this was one of the main points of the original blog post.


But our society also values other things, like love and family (of various kinds) and generosity and hard work and talent.
I guess I disagree. Speak to some immigrants from those societies to get a true sense of the gap between their understanding of these concepts and mainstream American understanding... In my experience the gap is enormous.


*huge eyeroll* Societies collapse because they overextend financially and militarily, not because they are sexually liberated.

I never said that it is the sexual "liberation" which causes the collapse. I said that is the is hedonism which makes the individual more important than the society. This is a basic concept in sports, in the military, and in life.


There are tons of songs about all of those things. But, yes, sex sells. Again, you're blaming the sex instead of the selling, though.

I am not blaming anything, just pointing out that there is a fine line between un-repression and wanton hedonism. Sex, like anything, without some type of limits, is not a good thing. Not from a religious point of view, but from a philosophical and social point of view. The Turkish sultans were encouraged by their viziers to spend their days shtupping their concubines in their harems while high on opium. The ultimate "ideal".


I don't think the historical correlation between sexual liberation and dovishness is a coincidence.

I'm curious what you're talking about. If you mean the US, we're in the middle of two wars right now. For now I won't bring up the statistical maxim of "Correlation does not imply causality".

Jewish Atheist said...

Re: the hedonism.

First, I think you're exaggerating. People still have families and jobs they hate and make sacrifices for one another.

You're basically making a slippery slope argument, that sexual liberation leads inexorably to "no limits," etc. It's the kind of argument people make against alcohol -- some people are alcoholics, therefore there is no place in this world for alcohol. The fact that some people go to excess or that you can point to some demographic (e.g. college kids) who are abusing it doesn't mean the thing itself is bad. It's just not a fair representation.


I'm curious what you're talking about. If you mean the US, we're in the middle of two wars right now.

And you don't see an overlap between those who support the wars and those who oppose premarital sex? I think the overlap is enormous and I don't think it's a coincidence.

For now I won't bring up the statistical maxim of "Correlation does not imply causality".

I wasn't offering it as proof, just as something to think about.

What is your explanation for the correlation/overlap between the religious right and the hawkish right? Pure coincidence? Tell me a person's stance on premarital sex, and I can guess at that person's stance on the Iraq war with far greater than 50% accuracy. Why is that?

Epicurus said...

First, I think you're exaggerating. People still have families and jobs they hate and make sacrifices for one another.

You're basically making a slippery slope argument


Well, yes, I am. But a slippery slope argument is not always wrong.

that sexual liberation leads inexorably to "no limits," etc. It's the kind of argument people make against alcohol -- some people are alcoholics, therefore there is no place in this world for alcohol. The fact that some people go to excess or that you can point to some demographic (e.g. college kids) who are abusing it doesn't mean the thing itself is bad. It's just not a fair representation.

I think you have it backwards. The point I was trying to make is that the lack of any kind of sexual inhibitions is just one of the aspects of a society that is spiraling into hedonism. Take a look at the amount of porn on the web. I am in no way a prude, but what's bizarre is that it used to be that the majority of porn was made by "actresses" or models or whatever. Now it's just regular kids, "amateurs" - and there are tens of thousands of videos and pictures out there. People committing the kind of lewd acts that would make a hooker blush. And no, I am not exaggerating.

And you don't see an overlap between those who support the wars and those who oppose premarital sex? I think the overlap is enormous and I don't think it's a coincidence.

So in your world, the peaceniks are just screwing their brains out while the sexually repressed prudes are blowing the Taliban back to the stone age? How do you explain the Roman empire? They seem to have had their cake and ate it too.

What is your explanation for the correlation/overlap between the religious right and the hawkish right? Pure coincidence?

No, it is not a coincidence. However, you are comparing extremes. If you took a look at the more moderate cross sections of both camps, I don't think it will correlate as neatly.

(Changed by nick to English letters)

Jewish Atheist said...

Now it's just regular kids, "amateurs" - and there are tens of thousands of videos and pictures out there.

There are over 250,000,000 American citizens. Even if there are "tens of thousands" making amateur porn, it's still a tiny, tiny, tiny fraction. Again, you're pointing to the extremes and pretending that it's representative of society.

And anyway, I don't see how putting a picture or video of yourself engaged in sexual activity is incompatible with a life that is not 100% hedonistic. Do those people not have families friends or neighbors or causes they sacrifice for? Does this one act define their entire life?

So in your world, the peaceniks are just screwing their brains out while the sexually repressed prudes are blowing the Taliban back to the stone age?

Well it's not quite that simple, obviously. I'm talking more about the supporters of war than the soldiers. Also, the Taliban are an excellent example of a society that is sexually repressed. How many suicide bombers believe in premarital sex? (I'm not talking about hypocrites -- that comes with its own set of issues. I'm talking about people who are okay with the idea.)

How do you explain the Roman empire? They seem to have had their cake and ate it too.

Can't say I know enough about the state of premarital sex in Ancient Rome and how it related to hawks vs. doves.

Epicurus said...

There are over 250,000,000 American citizens. Even if there are "tens of thousands" making amateur porn, it's still a tiny, tiny, tiny fraction. Again, you're pointing to the extremes and pretending that it's representative of society.

Out of that population, a large number are AARP age. If you take the number of youths (say between 18-25), it would be a small fraction of that. But my point was not that they are statistically representative, but to look at the trend. Look up Porn 2.0 (or maybe even Porn 3.0) I guess we can see where we are at in a decade or so.


Can't say I know enough about the state of premarital sex in Ancient Rome and how it related to hawks vs. doves.

I wasn't talking about premarital sex specifically. You have heard though that Romans were known for their orgies.

Anyhow, I am going on vacation for a week so I gotta cut this short. Thanks for the conversation.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps Emily sees a problem with the fact that in responding to your friend's status, you didn't:

a)respond in a similar venue, (facebook) but on an entirely separate site, and

b)didn't even notify your friend about the fact that you posted an entire response to his status on your blog.

While certainly NOT cyberbullying, I can see why someone would think this was rude. If someone had a response to something I wrote on the internet, and chose to post it on the internet, the polite thing to do would be to notify me of its existence (preferably before it was posted), and give me the opportunity to respond if I so chose.

Holy Hyrax said...

>THE LINES IN REAL LIFE ARE BLURRED!

That is obviously not the type of blur I am talking about. I know very well that women want to work and do work and have worked. You can go back to medievel Jewish life and the women were working while the men learned.

This is not an orthodoxy issue at all. I am simply talking about societies trend of blurring the lines between differences existing between the male and the female (more than just reproductive differences). Not only blurring....but an active push to get rid of any differneces. (The sexual arena is the perfect example of this) Why else would someone get offended by "Ladies and Gentlemen?" Again, Chana's parody is a perfect example of getting rid of any distinctions in the goal of equality (i.e. sameness)

PS- Re: Hedonism: Even hedonistic people had family and kids.

Anonymous said...

You think Glee is sick for teens but not for yourself? Why the double standard Chana? Furthermore, you claim it is "our" responsibility to act and respond. What are you doing?! You were perfectly ok ragging on Mouchka for her inaction whining? I'd take your whole article on her and apply it to this. YOU are whining here. YOU are not taking action. Perhaps it is YOU that needs to grow up.

"He made a public status; I wrote a public response- I'm not sure where you see the problem".

How is a FB status "public"? It is a thought shared with friends. Whether that's 2 friends sitting in my living room or 500 friends on my computer screen. If he knew you were going to write this, perhaps you'd be on a limited profile view list. Your justification is disturbing. Emily is right on ALL accounts.

Chana, you thoughts are FULL of double standards, contradictions, logical errors, and morally questionable "outings."

I was willing to give your "musings" one more shot, but you have officially lost me as a reader.

-One Fan Lost (Forever)

Anonymous said...

First, why don't you change your page to "The OBNOXIOUS Jew" since it's people like you that push others away from the Jewish faith with your blithering idiotic ramblings. You're the perfect example of the TV and movie, whinning Jew. Get off the rag and get down off the cross, someone else needs the wood. Go out and find a man that can satisfy you because if you're married apparently your husbands penis isn't big enough for that gapping hole of a mouth you have and certainly isn't doing the job between your legs. If you can't find a man, which I think is the problem because who would want to listen to you complain about a show that centers around high school life and showtunes, since you're not bright enough to discuss the news, politics, world hunger or finance, then there is a gadget called "the Rabbit" that perhaps a good Gentile girl can explain to you. Please just go crawl in a hole or get some counseling and stop your ignorant bitching about GLEE and gays and transgenders and the fact that you either don't have kids or if you do they must really hate you since you are like nails scratched across a chaulk board. Please do us all a favor and delete any pages you have online.

Sign News said...

How sacred can this world be without leaders? Our society does not harvest leadership, instead promotes followers. Follow my brand, follow my church. Society has given power to the people, and now the select few know this.. and want this from us.

It's a damage control society- and this is certainly damage but much less than humanity is capable of.

It's a top-down situation. We look to a select few who don't deserve leadership (politicians, business leaders, anything on TV) and they influence us both directly and indirectly.

Solutions come through systemic changes. If we rely on the masses of people to have a degree of civility and consideration, we will find none of it.