“One Hand Will Inculcate unto the Other: A Rumination on a Little Late-1990’s Media Hypocrisy”

* “Rome’s sexual disorientation was great theater, but it led to the collapse of paganism. Pursuit of pleasure belongs on the party circuit, not in the centers of power. Today too, one might like playfulness and spontaneity in a friend, lover, or star, but one wants a different character in people with professional or political authority.”

– from Sexual Personae, Camille Paglia


I always thought it was weird that people got so bent out of shape about Bill Clinton getting a beej, beige, however you wanna spell it, in his office. It is after all the temporary act of one man, a microfiber on the burlap of America’s overall troubles.
Back in the ’80’s, I don’t think rappers discussed “getting head” all that much, but it seems to be a lyrical trend having emerged in the decade following, and definitely in the ’00’s, in major label rap that’s endorsed by communications companies like Clear Channel. In other words, the pursuit of sexual conquest is a paradigm into which the American populace is largely coerced, so it seems like some slack should be cut to the people who achieve it. Sure, it was ostensible adultery, and perhaps a defacement of officiousness, and oftentimes morality comes down to a simple either/or decision, the result contingent upon what end is of greater weight in the individual’s mind. So I guess, for the general American public offended by this isolated act, particularly the GOP, which, as John Stewart of The Daily Show put it, “Turned the volume up to 11 on this Monica thing,” the despising of the realized act of Clinton’s outweighs what should have been a prevailing allocation of reason, its miniscule framework in the shadow of war, poverty and murder. What do leaders do for us? Bill Clinton is known for overseeing a booming economy and peace talks, yet it’s presidents who thrust us into war, blood and calamity who are often praised as “fearless leaders.”
Everclear’s got a great song at the end of their 1995 sophomore album Sparkle and Fade, “My Sexual Life”: “I can’t hide my sexual life.” There are rumors that it was a conspiracy, that Lewinsky was placed there by GOP officials, or whatever, and this would certainly behoove the propagation of Clinton as a flaccid, spineless jellyfish, aiding his successor’s perceived clout as firmer and tougher. But the only reason why we need a president who’s “tougher,” in the first place, is that our country is founded on violence, and so reaps what is sews, hounded and plagued from its cradle to tomb by incessant pestilence and destruction.
Ghana is a matriarchal country, run by women, and it has no defense budget. Yet they still send fans to the World Cup no matter where it’s held, and seem to lead a perfectly thriving life. But arguably, America exists under a pervasive canopy of fear and panic, and so desires a president whose behavior molds to this paradigmatic, ubiquitous hurry. War essentially amounts to production and economic boom, evidenced by America’s fiduciary success in the ’20’s and ’50’s. This is typically the case, so what of the ’90’s, why the seemingly unexplainable financial flourishing? It must have been the Cold War, America must have been selling arms to Israel et. al. at an exorbitant rate, propelling the auto industry and others. Certainly, then, the question is also begged as to why the economy fell following the Iraq war. My town lost a lot of key locally owned restaurants and stores, and the record store industry also took arguably a penultimate blow.
This brings up another question — the role, or affect, of popular music within the combustion engine that is American socioeconomics. If I may make what will immediately seem an aside, I recently saw a book entitled Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens. This book appalled me.
First of all, a higher and higher rate of teens, all the time, is growing up products of broken homes. So let’s think about the values with which they’re growing up.
It’s no doubt that they’re taught to enter this rat-race economy, and try to become king of the hill, so to speak. But we’re instructing this on terms of the elderly, wealthy, and we’re insufficiently giving young people their own voice. The truth is, we can learn a lot from them, but in each community the economic infrastructure differs, and in many of them quantity of arena for artistic expression and moral nurturing is suffering.
What is the morality of America? Basically, making money. Except it’s not a teenager’s job to make money, unless he or she sees fit. In olden times, women often lived at home well into their mid-20’s, until they found a worthy suitor, and men would often go on to work for the family, either as farmhands or craftsmen of another variety. I know what you’re thinking: farming! That’s boring! One time I was sitting in a Charlotte, North Carolina bar, and a commercial came on for a site called something like “farmersonly.com.” A black dude next to me at the downtown bar, which I think was Mellow Mushroom, said sarcastically, “That looks like a great dating site.” It’s interesting the differences in perceptions of online dating across the country.
Getting back to how, and if, teens are able to healthfully express themselves in local civic life, I think we thrust sex upon them, making a perfunctory at best effort to quell the deluge of conquistador peer pressure via movies and TV shows, and so they become the offspring of the whole community, parental control arguably waning.
So when someone gets sex, people get pi**ed off, and when someone doesn’t, people make fun of them. And it wouldn’t bother me half as much the up in arms stalk people took on about the Monica incident, except that I smell a rat with it. I think the country was just poised to start despising a Democrat president, scared by what they thought was perhaps a reversion into daemonic amorality. It’s almost as if people think doing their civic part is micromanaging every little aspect of someone’s life, and if they do this it will absolve them of all their ills in their own endeavors. The face we put forth is one of control, when it should be one of patience, sympathy and understanding, because this is truly the divine way.


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