Sunday, May 04, 2008

How little decency? How about some legit priorities!

Anyone who even slightly knows me should know I’m not some uptight conservative prude. However, contrary to the assumption many conservatives who have read my opinions may have of me, I am actually a bit of a social conservative. Like them I am disgusted by the level and glorification of sexual promiscuity in society. I am strictly monogamous and quite unapologetic in my belief that monogamy is superior to promiscuity.

I believe there is way too much sex & violence in mass media, I just don't happen to think it's the government's role to dictate content. I also think that conservative groups need to get a life rather than constantly try to legislate their "family values". I may think the incessant "male enhancement" advertisements and "Girls Gone Wild" infomercials are completely unnecessary, but I still watch Family Guy.

It is with pensive contemplation that I wonder just what in the hell this world is coming to. While reading Newsweek magazine, in between articles about Barack Obama and the race for the White House, I read three articles describing some goings on that genuinely shocked me. No, it certainly wasn't the first time.

First was the food crisis. This is a big problem, of course, and it's getting bigger all the time. But there was one anecdote which, for me, really put things into perspective. I've heard some horror stories about hunger and poverty before. I recall documentaries in which people from Russia in WWI or Germany in WWII described boiling their shoe leather out of hunger, which, outside of cannibalism and eating your pets that seems about as extreme as things get. But watching black and white newsreels and listening to elderly people describe what they went through as children, while tragic, has a surreal quality to it. It's a somehow different when you read what people are going through Right Now. And so, I was sickened upon reading that in Haiti, "the desperately hungry have turned to mud pies (concoctions of cooking oil, bits of vegetable and dirt)".

While the blame falls to many causes, like higher food demand from a growing middle class in India and China, much of the blame is also linked to bad crop yields due to weather. This is often a direct effect of climate change. Yep, the climate change that so many “no-nonsense” conservatives insist isn't actually happening or if it is then it's merely cyclical - money-generating industries couldn't possibly be the culprit.

Overzealous environmentalism is to blame, too. What the “green lobby” instigated, government subsidies has turned into a total nightmare - biofuels. To me, from the first time I heard about it years ago, the concept of growing food for fuel was completely counterintuitive. Not because I'm such an expert on farming and the global market, but because I do seem to possess at least a shred of common sense. Call me crazy, but there is something inherently very wrong with growing food for fuel, especially in a world in which people are still starving!

I moved to another article. This one was about "art", as some call it. Again, not a total prude, but I must admit most abstract art I simply don't get. Nonetheless, again, in my libertine philosophy it isn't the government's business to be setting standards on art, nor dictating what museums should exhibit. I recall strongly opposing former NY Mayor Rudy Guilianni attempting to do so over “art” involving elephant dung & the Virgin Mary which offended his Catholic sensibilities.

It seems that the latest "statement" by certain twisted imaginations who call themselves "artists" involve tethering a starving dog just out of reach of food and a young woman who produces "art" using what she claims is blood from her {deliberately} induced miscarriages. I won't mention these “artists” because neither are deserving of the publicity they are obviously seeking.

It wasn't just the offensiveness in these attempts at “art” that shocked me. It wasn't simply that I don't "get" what they're trying to say - I doubt they do either. Personally, I don’t see how either should even qualify as art, but for me it was the obviousness of how unethical it is that I found so disturbing.

Fortunately certain museums are refusing to exhibit the works, which is their prerogative. As one would expect, free-speech advocates are coming to the rescue. I think it’s these folks that really don’t get it. Now, I truly loathe censorship to degrees a lot of people might find unimaginable. I have nothing but contempt for those charlatans who claim respect for free-speech whilst also demanding anti-flag-burning amendments and insisting nude statues be covered before the class of 5th graders be allowed into the museum. But seriously, if a museum places reasonable limits on the sort of content they’ll permit, especially when it crosses such an obvious threshold of having no intrinsic worth, then no one is taking anyone’s precious “free-speech” rights.

The last article involved parents "freaking out" because young children, particularly boys, sometimes engage in perfectly reasonable, perfectly natural behaviors. No sex, we're talking about the very type of activities that curious boys and girls and boys have participated in since time immemorial.

One 5-year-old boy gets taken to a therapist for asking his younger sister to see her genitals. Another 6-year-old boy was reported to the police for smacking a girl's butt. One mother laments that while it was cute when her 3-year old would streak in the backyard, now that he’s 4 it isn’t so cute anymore. Seriously, lady, it’s not like the kid is even remotely near approaching the onset of puberty yet. At least wait until he’s five before soberly contemplating whether he’s likely to become a “flasher” as an adult!

Now, for shear over-the-top, people-are-losing-all-sense-of-rationality, a teacher's aide actually accused a 4-year-old boy of "sexual harassment for pressing his face into her breasts when he hugged her". I couldn't make this stuff up. I wish it were.

So, while people are eating mud in Haiti, here in the U.S. Costco is limiting four 20-pound bags of rice per customer. While you may be assassinated for depicting the Prophet Mohammed in some European countries, here you have a “right” to splatter your miscarriage on sheets and exhibit it in museums as “art” whether they like it or not. And, while pre-teen Afghan girls are being married off to men or their teenage sons in order to repay loans, otherwise well-adjusted Americans of good conscience are considering therapy for their 5-year-old’s curiosity about what our society labels as “private parts”.

Yes, Virginia, the world has lost its freaking mind!

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