sex

Denny Hastert, sexual revolutionary

Why do liberals care that former Speaker of the House Denny Hastert molested four young boys?

That’s a serious question. Federal prosecutors allege that Hastert sexually abused at least four students while coaching wrestling at Yorkville High School in Illinois. He subsequently tried to cover up the molestation by paying the victims $3.5 million in hush money. No such luck, as the PATRIOT Act, which Hastert was indispensable in shepherding through Congress, alerted law enforcement officials to the payoffs.

George Bernard Shaw would be hard-pressed to create such delicious irony.

Liberals, seizing on the personal hypocrisy of a midwestern Republican leader, are going ape shit over Hastert’s alleged diddling of teenage boys. Mary Elizabeth Williams of Salon demands that “no pity” be given for the former Speaker. The comment sections of left-wing havens like Slate.com are littered with contempt and denunciations of Hastert’s perversion.

I honestly don’t understand how the Left can be so stinging in its criticism of Hastert. Aren’t we supposed to be accepting of the alternative sexual choices of others? Isn’t it bigoted to cast judgment upon those can’t help their sexual preference? And doesn’t social justice warriorism claim that men can’t be raped?

If Denny Hastert sexually abused male students in his role as a teacher and mentor, liberals have no reason to be incensed by his behavior. After all, it wasn’t conservatives who led the effort to rid sex of reasonable limits. Progressives started it, and, boy, do they intend to finish it.

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Liberals hold stupid and contradictory views on sex

When it comes to insanity, Joe Gould, the infamously unstable writer who may or may not have written the largest oral account of history, didn’t believe in it. “The fallacy of dividing people into sane and insane lies in the assumption that we really do touch other lives,” he wrote. Seeing as how Gould lived a tragic, if not prolific, life that ended with many stints in mental hospitals and a lobotomy, perhaps he isn’t great source material on mental health.

Or maybe he is, when looking through the lens of today’s liberalism.

The recent leak of user data from the affair-abetting site AshleyMadison.com has got to be beguiling for progressives. As liberals fight to transcendent bourgeoisie sexual norms, they are, at the same time, trying to retain the faithfulness necessary to foster a loving relationship. So on one hand, sexual liberation is the number one goal of the progressive vision. Yet, on the other fidelity is a necessary limit on sexual activity. So which is more important for leftists? Dependability or unrestrained whoopie?

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The slave morality of sexual liberation

In Lenin’s time, a considerable number of young Marxists eagerly awaited a post-revolutionary society where getting sex would be really really easy:

Youth’s altered attitude to questions of sex is of course ‘fundamental’, and based on theory. Many people call it ‘revolutionary’ and ‘communist’. They sincerely believe that this is so. I am an old man, and I do not like it. I may be a morose ascetic, but quite often this so-called ‘new sex life’ of young people and frequently of the adults too seems to me purely bourgeois and simply an extension of the good old bourgeois brothel. All this has nothing in common with free love as we Communists understand it. No doubt you have heard about the famous theory that in communist society satisfying sexual desire and the craving for love is as simple and trivial as ‘drinking a glass of water’. A section of our youth has gone mad, absolutely mad, over this ‘glass-of-water theory’. It has been fatal to many a young boy and girl. Its devotees assert that it is a Marxist theory. I want no part of the kind of Marxism which infers all phenomena and all changes in the ideological superstructure of society directly and blandly from its economic basis, for things are not as simple as all that. A certain Frederick Engels has established this a long time ago with regard to historical materialism.

Clearly Lenin wasn’t on board with it, but you get the idea that the desire for this type of sexual liberation was a peculiarly communist interest. I don’t think that the Tsar and his cronies had to worry about the supply of readily available sex. As every teen comedy has shown us, the inability to get laid is the mark of a loser. Communism is the revolt of the losers.

I definitely don’t subscribe to Nietzsche’s philosophy, but his concept of master-slave morality seems salient enough to (loosely) borrow. Slave morality is defined by the and values and wishes of an overworked peasant. A great illustration is the land of Cockaigne, depicted in the featured image of this article. From Wikipedia:

Cockaigne or Cockayne is a land of plenty in medieval myth, an imaginary place of extreme luxury and ease where physical comforts and pleasures are always immediately at hand and where the harshness of medieval peasant life does not exist. Specifically, in poems like The Land of Cockaigne, Cockaigne is a land of contraries, where all the restrictions of society are defied (abbots beaten by their monks), sexual liberty is open (nuns flipped over to show their bottoms), and food is plentiful (skies that rain cheeses). Writing about Cockaigne was a commonplace of Goliard verse. It represented both wish fulfillment and resentment at the strictures of asceticism and dearth.

…roasted pigs wander about with knives in their backs to make carving easy, where grilled geese fly directly into one’s mouth, where cooked fish jump out of the water and land at one’s feet. The weather is always mild, the wine flows freely, sex is readily available, and all people enjoy eternal youth.

All of this is what “good” is particularly from the perspective of someone with low-level physiological concerns.

For the man who doesn’t get laid, the most important thing about sex is how attainable it is. All other considerations are secondary. Increased supply of easy-access sex is the promise of sexual liberation. Some spillover is bound to happen, and the involuntary celibate wants to get splashed. He doesn’t care about the virtues of human sexuality higher up the pyramid as long as he is thirsty.

I’ve started calling this Mariani’s Law: In general, how keen someone is on sexual liberation and sex positivity is inversely proportional to how attractive that person is.

But are there virtues to sex beyond just having a lot of it? Faithful couples seem to think so, and for what it’s worth, so does the Catholic Church. Even from a utilitarian standpoint I think we need to look at this with some scrutiny. I bet that the average sexual encounter in Iran is hotter than than the average sexual counter in the United States, even though there’s more sexual encounters per capita in the US. The point is that there’s tradeoffs in changes of a society’s sexual mores. The side that favors quantity above all else are the “slaves.” The other side is concerned with values that transcend that calculation.

I’ve reaped the dividends of the sexual revolution, and in all probability it’s been a net gain. Sex is awesome per se, and that’s precisely why we don’t need a value system telling us that we should be promiscuous. That kind of value system doesn’t serve monogamous couples, it serves the sexually frustrated.

Awkward internet Marxists who get miffed about “slut shaming” definitely are at slave-level:

Conceptual Anarchy in Hinduism

“9.334. But to serve Brahmanas (who are) learned in the Vedas, householders, and famous (for virtue) is the highest duty of a Sudra, which leads to beatitude.” –Manu Smriti

“All your talk is of caste and creed

Is it even as natural as the spider and its web?

The four blessed Vedas, were they created by Brahma?

Is caste and creed worthwhile, ye elders of Paichalur?” -Uttiranallur Nagai

Mandana-Misra-and-AdiShankaras-debate

Hinduism is in a constant state of transformation through internal discourse and dissent. Image source.

(This post mostly consists of quotes from Manu Smriti and Medieval Hindu Bhakti poems, so if you want to skip my spiel just hit the “read more” link at the bottom.)

People in the west tend to have an odd outlook on the ethics or “doctrines” of Hinduism. In most religions, doctrine works something like this: There is a core text, or set of texts, which contain precepts. Early in the religion’s history some sages write commentaries on these. The rest of the reasoning and doctrine formation of the religion continues by referring to these sources for legitimacy. Innovations occur, but normally only if it can somehow be “textually justified.”

Certainly there is a part of the Hindu religion, which operates very similarly to this—the religion of the Brahmins. But Hinduism cannot be thought of as just that. It is the religion of all Indians, except perhaps those who explicitly decry the label, like the Buddhists, Jainsm and Sikhs (and even those divisions are sometimes blurry. Even some sects of Islam are pretty heavily syncretized.)

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The end of the rainbow: Eyes Wide Shut analysis

Eyes Wide Shut is probably my favorite film, but it didn’t acquire this distinction until quite a long time after I had first watched it. A second viewing was followed by the nuances of the film creeping up in my mind and demanding a share of my daydreaming. When I watched it a third time, and the rest was history.

I am in some pretty good company – Stanley Kubrick considered it to be his greatest contribution to the art of cinema. Before the film was released, Kubrick died, leaving this enigmatic film for viewers to ponder without its creator to chime in. But the film was not a sudden act of inspiration that came to the auteur, but a culmination of decades of meditation and influence that provided Kubrick with a capstone that ultimately summed up his vision as a filmmaker. Kubrick had been envisioning a film about sexual relations since early in his career, and upon reading the early 20th century novella Dream Story, he decided to buy the rights to it in 1971. For almost 30 years Kubrick held the rights, and the ideas that were to become his final masterpiece took shape throughout that time.

Kubrick’s exploration of the dream world of the film that the audience is part of is ultimately manifested in Eyes Wide Shut. The diegesis of Kubrick is a dream in which the audience is invited to take part in. Kubrick stated early in his career,

The representation of reality has no bite. It does not transcend. Nowadays I am more interested in taking up a fantastic and improbable story…. I always enjoyed representing a slightly surreal situation in a realistic way. I have always had a penchant for fairy-tales, myths and magical stories. They seem to me to come closer to our present-day experience of reality than realistic stories, which are basically just as stylized.

To this end, Kubrick’s films walk the line between the dream and the reality even within his films. Mixture of the diegetic and non-diegetic sounds are a tool used throughout his filmography, at least since 1957’s Paths of Glory, over four decades before his final film. We hear a non-diegetic percussion piece when the soldiers are sent into No Man’s Land from the trench. Later, when being executed, a percussion piece plays again, only this time, we learn that the drummers are in the reality of the film. In A Clockwork Orange, the main character Alex is both the main character and the narrator; he is both the gaze and the object of the gaze. By walking this line, Kubrick recognizes that dream-state of film that always exists in the medium whether creators intend or address it or not. Films are necessarily believable and internally consistent absurdities that echo the mental filtering of reality. In a film, characters are funnier than reality; the passing of time is more perfect than reality. This is because our gaze is restricted to the narrative that is relevant to the auteur’s vision. In real life, our idea and memories of our friends are funnier than reality. Our idea of Christmastime is more wonderful and cozy than can be. Our real life gaze conserves details by only cataloging those details that are relevant to our personal narrative.

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