2005-02-08

 

Carnaval and the Puritan Insanity




Nothing makes me feel more of a foreigner in the US than Carnaval. This morning, with my 4 year old son, I was watching images of Carnaval from Rio, Portugal and elsewhere on the Portuguese satellite news channel. The exuberance of almost naked bodies dancing in perfect happiness could well be another universe. The reality here, as Frank Rich well described in his Sunday column, is that of perfect puritan madness: toddlers bottoms get pixelated, glimpses of female nudity are axed even in completely unsexual circumstances, etc, etc. All because of Jane Jackson's breast?

No, not really. The puritans always try to make everyone else live in the miserable way that they do. As Robin Williams said, "this country was founded by people who were too uptight to stay in England!"



What I resent more about puritans is the sexualization of everything they lay their eyes on. Just last year, in Santa Fe, supposedly an old-Hippie haven, I had one of those defining culture shocks: my 1 year old daughter (!!!!) was not allowed in the public pool wearing only her bikini bottoms. Girls must wear a full swim suit. Even 1 year olds. When the life-guard told me that she had to leave, I was absolutely furious, not because we had to leave, but because the dirty bastards who make these rules can conceive my 1-year old daughter as a sexual object!

It's the old manicheist paradox, the more you try to define good, the more you define evil, giving it a larger role in life than it should have. But what I absolutely love about America is that it will produce a response and it won't be Marilyn Manson. Just like the 60's spawned a generation tired of the hypocrisy of people like J. Edgar Hoover, a closeted homosexual on a culture vendetta against people who were happily living their fantasies, it will produce a generation tired of the obvious hypocrisy of the moral-pushing power of today. Let's hope they dress better than the hippies, though! We need a big-time glam revival! (Addition: My friend Cosma Shalizi sent me a very good read on this subject of Sex in America.)

David Bowie's Life On Mars?
It's a god-awful small affair
To the girl with the mousy hair
But her mummy is yelling "No"
And her daddy has told her to go
But her friend is nowhere to be seen
Now she walks through her sunken dream
To the seat with the clearest view
And she's hooked to the silver screen
But the film is a saddening bore
For she's lived it ten times or more
She could spit in the eyes of fools
As they ask her to focus on

Sailors fighting in the dance hall
Oh man! Look at those cavemen go
It's the freakiest show
Take a look at the Lawman
Beating up the wrong guy
Oh man! Wonder if he'll ever know
He's in the best selling show
Is there life on Mars?

It's on Amerika's tortured brow
That Mickey Mouse has grown up a cow
Now the workers have struck for fame
'Cause Lennon's on sale again
See the mice in their million hordes
From Ibiza to the Norfolk Broads
Rule Britannia is out of bounds
To my mother, my dog, and clowns
But the film is a saddening bore
'Cause I wrote it ten times or more
It's about to be writ again
As I ask you to focus on

Sailors fighting in the dance hall
Oh man! Look at those cavemen go
It's the freakiest show
Take a look at the Lawman
Beating up the wrong guy
Oh man! Wonder if he'll ever know
He's in the best selling show
Is there life on Mars?

Comments:
You hit it on the nail.

Task 1: Read Stephen Ducat's "The Wimp Factor"

Task 2: Google "femiphobia" and "femiphobic"
 
the two worst words in the english language....politically incorrect ....
 

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