Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Why Is Vulgarity Celebrated?


By now, I am sure you have heard of the latest controversy surrounding both the advertisements during the Super Bowl, and the half time performance of Prince. In the latter instance, the pop artist is alleged to have used his unusually shaped guitar as a phallic symbol.

Vulgarity and tastelessness have been the hallmarks of the Super Bowl for the past few years. What is really ironic about this year's display is that the two head coaches of the respective teams are both declared Christians. I am sure neither of them would approve of vulgarity or raunch, but they have no say in the matter. They can't control networks, advertisers or musicians.

In one of the ads, two men are eating the same Snickers bar and end up in a figure-four liplock. They then have to do something to prove their manhood, including ripping the hair out of their chests. Homosexual activists cried foul, calling the ad "homophobic." I would have protested it simply because of the implied subject matter. Why is it that such a tiny minority whose behavior has historically been viewed as sinful and immoral commands such a high attention? I for one am tired of having every sexual perversion on God's green earth played out for everyone to see ad nauseum.

I can't stand the never-ending Nutrisystem ads. "Look at me, I'm in a size two." Yeah? Great. Now put a bag over your head and go away. (I don't really mean the girl in the ad personally - I'm just satirizing to illustrate my irritation with the repeat..repeat...repeat ad) As an aside and leaving health issues like thyroid aside, if most people would quit binging, they wouldn't have to worry about spending hundreds of dollars a month on some make-a-buck formula. The glycemic index has been known for years, and I didn't need some diet company to tell me about it. Much less irritate the stomach acid out of me by looping commercials during morning and afternoon drive time.

I can't stand the never ending Levitra, Cialis and other sexual performance ads. At times, I wish they'd follow the Apostle Paul's wish in Galatians, expressed toward those pushing false doctrine. Look it up and you'll see what I mean. I don't want to hear about their troubles any more. Go see a doctor in private and shut up! Or better yet, abstain and chew plenty of ice, followed by copious amounts of saltpeter. The world doesn't need to hear about your difficulties in the bedroom. I am sure most parents are tired of having to explain things to young children who really don't need to know that stuff yet.

I am tired of having a septic tank spewed at me night after night under the guise of entertainment. No one I know really appreciates it, yet we keep getting it night after night. Someone must be watching and someone must be making money or they wouldn't do it. On a more sinister possibility, maybe they don't care about losing money in the short term if they can affect the desired societal change in the long term. Dr. Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi propagandist, once said that if you tell a lie often enough, people come to believe it. I am sure the same principle can be in play culturally. Keep throwing enough sewage out there, and sooner or later people will think it's Perrier spring water.

Why can't commercial producers actually use some creativity and produce a wholesome ad? Why can't musicians try to point the way to higher, nobler ideas instead of appealing to everyone's nether regions? Are we as a culture so absorbed and obsessed with sex that we can't go for 30 minutes without some reference to it - direct or implied? Whatever happened to being discreet? Whatever happened to leaving things to the imagination, if one MUST make such implications.

By now, some of my critics will call me prudish and anti-sex. Not at all. When it's done the way God intended, it's a beautiful thing. It's a gift. But our culture has made it something cheap, almost bestial. Celebrate perversion, promiscuity and lust. Celebrate death. Yes, death. Because that is where it will ultimately lead.


Joe B. Whitchurch said...

Well written and thought out. Thanks.

Between body lubricants and sexual performance drugs I long for a good ole cigarette commercial or the ole safe sex commercial. Of course the former was taken off the air due to concern about the healthy choices or lack thereof by others. And the latter was qualified to 'saf-ER' because 'safe' wasn't really well...true. And then it too apparently was taken off the air and replaced with the female variety 'protection'.

Sexual performance enhancement as a drug category should not require too much nuancing to find both unhealthful and false. Physicality without relationship strikes me as less healthful and a concern for performance without regard for intimacy and lifelong secure commitment strikes me as a rather deceptive promise as well. Winston's never tasted good other than like a cigarette 'should'(?) but I find musing upon those commercials more tasteful than these you've mentioned. All they needed to say was Everett Koop said it could lead to cancer. Ever heard the litany of side effects and disasterous consequences some of these drug commercials now apparently need to do? Amazing.

Your earlier blog comments on proving the slippery slope argument, doesn't technically hold. In hindsight the slope is demonstrable but it doesn't make the 'form' of the argument better. But my-my there are a LOT of visible cultural decline slippery slopes to behold. I like the Keyes' quote.

crownring said...

Sola, I'm really beginning to wonder about some people. I saw Prince's halftime show including the song Purple Rain where he got out his funky purple guitar and I did NOT see the supposed phallus symbol in the sail thing. Maybe I was much more concerned about the man not falling and breaking a hip or getting fried by playing an electric in the rain, but I saw NO SUCH THING. It's bad enough when such things really are blatantly meant to happen, but I am tired of people making mountains out of nothing and seeing things that AREN'T THERE. What's next, cutting down all the cactus in the desert for fear a child will see phallic symbols? Far too much was made of Janet Jackson's nipple exposure a few years ago and I still do not believe that was an intentional act. I also believe the backlash that happened after that event was totally superficial and hypocritical, the world acting like it suddenly had Godly morals. This is simply cultural baloney, Joel. If it's so immoral for people to see human breasts and nipples, then I suggest men be charged with exposing themselves for not wearing a shirt in public and communal showers be banned at public pools and school locker rooms.

BTW, if you care to do the research, Sola, you'd discover much of so-called proper Victorian behavior was nothing more than a sham. People acted so proper in public, but the utter carnality and TRUE PERVERSION that went on behind closed doors makes the Janet Jackson nipple incident totally laughable.

SolaMeanie said...

I have to disagree with you for once, crownring. Not so much on the Prince incident because I didn't see the performance. I did see the photo in question, and that's what it looked like. I primarily led off with that because that's the latest incident. Having said that, Prince has been known for very lewd material and performances throughout his career, including the song "Darling Nikki" who is "masturbating with a magazine." I am no Prince fan. True or false, it doesn't change my initial premise that I am tired of in your face vulgarity.

The reality is that networks and performers have been intentionally pushing the envelope for years to see what they can get past the censors. The sole reason is to shock and titillate. I simply can't approve of such things as a Christian, or wave it off as insignificant. The Jackson thing would probably have never reached the level it reached if these people hadn't been already known for pushing the limits of being racy. Even if the blouse hadn't been ripped completely and showed only a brazziere, what's the point? Am I to applaud a man ripping a woman's clothes off in public? With children watching? I can't believe you'd defend this!

I am not ignorant of Victorian hypocrisy, but at least they kept their perversions behind closed doors. Now they flaunt it. Also, bare male chests aren't generally seen as sexual objects in the manner women's breasts are. And since when are boys and girls taking showers together in school? I hadn't heard that one.

SolaMeanie said...


In the case of the "slippery slope," I note your use of the term "technical." If you mean this in the non causa pro causa sense (or more colloquially the domino principle) of one event doesn't necessarily lead to the next event, I would agree. However, I think the slippery slope case is all too often dismissed simply because one can't NECESSARILY tie one event in sequence to the next. Simple time and history shows that sin has a cumulative effect...demonstrated in lots of old saws.."one thing leads to another" ...."give them an inch and they'll take a mile"...."camel's nose under the door..."

How many societies in history began fudging their standards in little ways at the beginning? Then, once one standard was watered down, other standards followed suit. It's happened too often to be dismissed.

In the case of the media and entertainment, the "artists" have been trying to dodge the censors for eons..pushing a little more..and a little more..and a little more. Remember when abortion came up on "All in the Family" in the early 70s? It was seen as shocking then. Not now.

I rest my case!