Tuesday, April 24, 2007


The plural of anecdote is conjecture. --B. Sano

Whenever sex enters the narrative, the narrative becomes all about sex. That’s true even when things seem to go in another direction, like in slasher films where the teens have sex, and are then gory murdered. The deaths are all about how they shouldn’t have had sex.

Back in the day, a friend of mine told me about a discussion he’d heard. I’m unsure about the context, but it was some sort of group discussion, and it was about communes. There was one woman in attendance who was living in one, and the first thing she said was, “Don’t ask about sex. It’s all very confused and I don’t want to talk about it.”

A lot of people lost interest after that, apparently. The hows and whys of dividing up household chores, composting, and geodesic domes just didn’t have the, uh, sex appeal.

Abstinence education was always a doomed idea. If you don’t want kids to have sex, you don’t spend a lot of time talking about them not having sex. Talking about not having sex is still talking about sex; it betrays the fundamental obsession. Try sublimation. Teach them chess, only you’d better redesign the pieces and make sure they never see “The Thomas Crown Affair.”

I’ve occasionally wondered how much of the damage done by pedophilia is from the acts themselves, and how much of it by all the fuss about it. Realize, I’m not saying that raping a ten year old is innocuous, but I noticed on the “Inner Child” episode of Raines that everyone was behaving as if the rape of the child made the murder much worse. I confess to thinking that “dead child” trumps “rape,” but I know there are those who seem to disagree. Certainly the dramatic “my life is over/ruined” etc.” often appears in the public discourse.

After I went away to college there was a scandal involving a Nashville disk jockey and a number of teenage girls, one of whom was a neighbor of ours. There were supposedly things like nude photographs, etc., and the DJ in question was fired and fled town. I’m not sure how illegal it was, nor even the age of consent in Tennessee at the time. For that matter, I have no information as to whether or not actual intercourse ever took place, though one wouldn’t be surprised, would one?

Our neighbor committed suicide, ostensibly because no one asked her to the Senior Prom.

It’s a fair cop, but society’s to blame. – Monty Python’s Flying Circus

A friend of mine has a son who once did some adolescent “horsing around” with a buddy of his on a camping trip. Some would classify it as an adolescent homosexual experience. Still, my friend’s son, as an adult, is by pretty much any measure, both stable and heterosexual, at least judging by his lovers. He never had any particular problem with the episode.

His friend, however, was somewhat bent out of shape by it, or so I heard. He was very upset, broke off the friendship etc. I don’t know the final disposition. I do wonder what the result would have been if conventional wisdom had opined, “No big deal.”

Which brings me around to Michael Jackson, a tragic case, no doubt. An abused child, worked harder than most histories describe sweatshops, (but all too common in show business), robbed of a childhood, so most theories of arrested development apply. Yet a bona fide pop genius.

That's how much we love Michael. We love Michael so much we let the first kid slide... –Chris Rock

No moral here. I know how much some people hate Jackson. Some people seem to love him just as much. But I don’t want to go out on such a bummer, so I’m going to change the subject, while still talking about Michael Jackson.

Jackson was married for a while to Lisa Marie Presley. Elvis’ daughter, so what does that make her? The Kingette? No, that’s disrespectful, and I do respect Lisa Marie; far too much to think she deserves tabloid treatment, though obviously I’m not above the occasional joke at the expense of her fame.

But here’s the thing: she has her father’s features, eyes, lips, cheekbones, you can see Elvis in his daughter. But it looks good; she’s pretty, and exotic too. I like exotic.

Besides, Elvis was not “ruggedly handsome.” He was good looking, but he looked almost pretty, a little feminine perhaps. Full lips, soft eyes. There’s nothing wrong with that.

Then there’s Michael Jackson, who seems to be suffering from surgical addiction, at the very least. The story goes that he’s been trying to make himself look like Diana Ross.

Nothing wrong with Diana Ross, either. But she’s not a girly-girl. I’d even let it slide if someone were to suggest she looked a little bit mannish.

So you’re probably ‘way ahead of me here, to the conclusion of a shaggy dog essay: The Michael Jackson/Lisa Marie Presley marriage can be said to have involved a man who has been trying to look like a woman who looks a bit like a man to a woman who looks a lot like a man who looks a bit like a woman.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

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