The Seemless Drift to Gomorrah
Sometimes, it seems as if the Left and Right agree on much more than their adherents perceive, the difference being mainly semantic… and concerning whether the sociological item on the table is positive or negative. Of course, in most contexts, that either/or judgment is the core determinant of whether we would characterize two parties as “in agreement,” but it would surely serve the end of clarity if we could develop a social vocabulary that enabled us to trace agreement on cause and consequence even when we disagree vehemently on the desirability of the latter.
Take the thread that can be made to unravel beginning with Megan Andelloux’s letter of objection to the Donna Hughes op-ed that I mentioned the other day:
Let me introduce myself: I’m the [sexologist and] nationally certified sex-educator and derogatorily labeled “tattooed lady” mentioned by Donna Hughes in her June 24 opinion piece. It seems that the professor of women’s studies at the University of Rhode Island was so put off by my appearance that she called into question my credentials. Putting quotation marks around my profession was insulting. And yes, I am a contributor to the sex-workers magazine $pread. Is it so shocking that sex workers can read?
Here’s where we pause for a moment either to marvel that we’re being asked to take seriously a magazine called $pread or to huff at the judgmentalism of those who don’t appreciate the campy wordplay appropriate to a quirky profession. My reaction was the former, of course, and I’m further inclined to propose sympathy with academics who can’t resist putting quotation marks around a line of work that entails publication in such a “periodical.”
Still, we’d do better all around by practicing a healthy humor over undo seriousness concerning titles. Odd that I, arch conservative, should be the one thus to chastise, but as far as I’m concerned, quotations are implied around any and every title and credential; we print the punctuation merely as an expression of personal opinion about a particular one. Being a “professional” ultimately indicates little more than the ability to collect money for a particular service. Credentials and degrees mean specifically that hoops have been jumped, and the fact that they are available means primarily that somebody has found profit in offering them.
This is not to say that there isn’t value to credentials and degrees; if a person is in the market for a sexologist (or, for that matter, an astrologer), it would be prudent to seek one who is recognized by the structural consensus of the field. It is also not to say that degree programs and certifications of longer pedigree aren’t subject to the same yardstick; they profit mainly from better phrasing and a more sophisticated marketing campaign, and I’m as apt to pfft bubbles into my milk over any given university’s catalog of degree offerings as over certain documentation available exclusively online.
Let it be acknowledged, though, that those of a radical bent have strong motivation to assert the legitimacy, even banality, of their officialnesses — initially because they don’t have a track record of respectability, but also because their object (whether conscious or instinctual) is the incremental implementation of a culture toward which a majority of their countrymen would decline to set sail were it in the travelogue. The radical, progressive agenda proclaims the mildness of each turn of the rudder, suggesting that circumstances just favor the port to the immediate west. When the evening tides change the weather, the radicals cajole that a nearby island promises a safer harbor, and they announce their ever-foreseeable destination only after they’ve won control of the helm at midnight.
Sexology elides quickly to $pread, which explicitly validates prostitution, which is lashed to a culture of drugs, perversion, and abuse. The difficulty in communication is that the folks who inhabit points along that progression see nothing wrong with it and, where malevolent symptoms are undeniable, will blame stigma and society’s blurred vision of the “real” problems beneath. To outsiders inspecting the strange world, its advocates raise people, like Andelloux, who appear admirably well adjusted except for the fetishes and kinks (although they’d argue against my “except”).
Megan’s Web site, for example, is conspicuously harmless, exuding softness. She doesn’t appear dangerous, nor does she appear unhappy. See, naught can be wrong with a life led smiling. Personal unhappiness, however, is not the only — not even the most important — consequence of committing one’s self to her worldview. That actuality comes into view with Ms. Andelloux’s list of professional memberships, which includes both NARAL and Planned Parenthood. Once again, some will applaud that association, but we others see in it the most dire consequence of sexual “liberation.”
The most dire in a parade of consequences. There’s a whole lot of societal deconstruction to be observed in the life of this girl next door:
Derek Andelloux is an ex-football player, and he is built like one. He is blonde and blue-eyed with high cheekbones, and, like all blondes, Megan says, he smells like candy. He is husky, and Dutch-looking, and enjoys chopping wood. And after a few years of dating, he wanted to propose to Megan.
She gave him a hundred different reasons why marriage was antiquated and sexist. She pointed out that her gay friends couldn’t get married. She didn’t want to lose her identity, to be introduced as Derek’s wife, to be seen as a ball and chain instead of a sexual being. But she did want to spend the rest of her life with Derek.
The couple agreed to have a commitment ceremony instead, and after exchanging rings in front of 135 friends and relatives in September 2004, they merged their last names — he went from being Derek Mailloux to Derek Andelloux, and she added the French suffix to the first two syllables of “Anderson.”
The life of this particular sexologist strives for sterility and is scornful of the institution by which Western society has so successfully managed relationships in which intended sterility is notoriously difficult to achieve. Conveniently, her “life partner’s” Daily Kos diary describes him as a “future abortion provider.”
Some will decry it as inflammatory to observe the fortuity of their relationship: Her life’s work is to encourage a cast of mind with consequent behavior that tends to result in the creation of inconvenient human life, and his will be the termination of that life. I’d describe that as a cross-marketing package designed in Hell. They, likely not believing in Hell, would see their ideologies as mutually — and benignly — reinforcing and as reflective of their complementary affinities. Given her declared disinterest in becoming a parent, would it be offensive of me to wonder whether the couple mightn’t find intimacy in the shared experience of eliminating their own accidental offspring? If so, why? It’s an honest question.
With this image of suburban domesticity in a world in which prostitution is just another trade, cultural corruption is only mildly visible on the surface but applies its inevitably destructive subversion. It puts a whimsical, pastel face on a set of cannibalizing priorities. The legions of less-advantaged souls who cannot afford the Andellouxs’ packaging will suffer tangible harm by the destruction of a culture from which they’ve benefited hugely, but in which radicals see only obstacles to the fulfillment of their desires.
Now consider Megan’s behavior with her extended family:
Though Andelloux does not plan on having children of her own, she loves the sassiness and angst of teenagers. She often picks her niece Becky up in a town outside of Worcester, Massachusetts, and takes her out to dinner or shopping for shoes. Although Becky’s parents, Andelloux’s sister Amy and her husband Michael Zakarian, don’t approve of her attempts to educate their children, Andelloux finds ways to spend time with her niece and her nephew, Tommy.
Would it be judgmental to characterize the subversion of others’ attempts to guide their own children as the polar opposite of respect? And if respect for differences and tolerance for the social enclaves that others build for themselves — most concretely, under their own roofs — is not the hallmark of a social movement that lists the Kink-Aware Professionals group alongside the ACLU, doesn’t the cry of “live and let live” take on a vicious insincerity?
Would it be hyperbolic of me to suggest that such as these are blithe to their deconstruction of our society? It could not be, because rephrasing the suggestion in sunnier terms, they’d likely agree.