Not at the same time, rest assured. And, on that note, "Having sex while boosting cars" is probably one of the worst lines a script has ever forced from your lips, Mr. Cage, but I do like your work on the whole. I digress...
So recentely, on a message board, I got asked which is worse: sex or violence. First of all, the question is malformed, or at least ufit to be taken out of context. Amidst a discussion about video games and, consequentely, movies, the question is wether depictions of sex are worse than depictions of violence. And now I can clearly and absolutely state that the question is malformed.
As if this entry wasn't going to run long enough, I ask you a similarly malformed question. Which is sweeter: salt or beer? The answer is, rather clearly, neither is sweeter because neither is sweet to begin with. Ergo, I argue that neither depictions of sex nor depictions of violence are necessarily bad.
Alright, let's invite our guest speakers to bombard me with their ususal arguments. Better yet, let me do it for them, they'll need all their spit to babble a dogmatic reply to my venting. So without further ado, "1. Violence in movies makes our children violent", "2. Violence in TV is the cause of all the wars going on", "3. Violence in video games is at the root of catastrophes such as Columbine", "4. Sex in movies leads to the spreading of STDs", "5. Sex in video games leads to more and more rapings" and, my personal favourite, "6. Porn is for perverts".
Right, now to address them all in order:
1. Balderdash. Violence isn't depicted in movies suitable for children, unless very mild, humourous and cartoonish, or so the MPAA boasts. On that topic, the MPAA takes incomplete and inaccurate depictions of violence as less harmful than gory scenes. This means that one villian shooting several opponents, possibly multiple times each with relish, showing no remorse in a scene where not a single drop of blood is shown, making a shooting seem like a clean and easy thing, both on a technical and an emotional level, is suitable for a younger audience than a scene where someone stabs an opponent, causing a massive bleed from the victim and eliciting a turmoil of remorse, guilt and self loathing within the aggressor, showing just how ugly violence is. See the incongruence?
2. No, that would be the unquenchable thirst for money, power and oil parching the gluttunous throats of idiots with far too much power and wealth. Let's face it, I am yet to hear of any single war fought for the sake of war. It's the same tired old tale time and time again, from times History itself has forgotten: Party A wants Party B's lands/wealth/goods and is either unwilling or unable to find a diplomatic arrangement that serves both parties and goes on to a non diplomatic solution. That's not TV's fault, that mom and dad's fault for not teaching their political leaders to be to play nice and don't covet thy neighbour's assets. Sometimes, however, it's mere intolerance that motivates wars. And just where is intolerance picked up? Could it be in churches, mosques and synagogues, to name a few places of worship? Must I conjure words such as "Templar Knights" and "Jihad" to make my point? I didn't think so.
3. And I suppose Etonians, fine oarsmen that they are, never picked up a copy of Doom or Quake or Half Life or any of their mods or installments, because you've never heard of an Eton Massacre. Or the Dragon School Massacre. Or the Escola Secundária Alves Martins Massacre (though sometimes...). Also, do you suppose the culprits at Columbine, all of whom adept players of first person shooters, were the only adept players of first person shooters in the whole school? Doesn't this make you think that possibly it wasn't the game's fault, but the players' fault? Don't you suppose they could have picked up just as similar a thought from studying the bloody wars our History is littered with? Do you suppose I'm ever going to state anything rather than just make questions to rebate this claim? Well, yes, I am.
4. No, unprotected sex with multiple partners without asserting each partner's health condition through reliable, regular tests, conducted by quallified medical personnel, impractical though it might be with increasing, leads to the spreading of STDs. I'm not going to advocate monogamy or condemn casual sex, regardless of my own moral convictions, because those are matters of lifestyle and, ultimately, opinion and neither can be taken as morally superior for as long as informed consent is given by all the participants. What I will advocate is that, with each choice of lifestyle, certain responsabilities must be assumed and certain measures are recommended. A loving, monogamous couple might settle for an STD exam for each of the partners and dispense with condoms, while an active party animal, getting off with one (or more) members of the opposite sex (or of the same sex, or a combination, whatever works) should probably insist on adequate prophilaxy. This is not the behaviour depicctions of sex should either recommend or discourage; this is for schools and parents to teach to their children. Ask yourselves this (assuming you disagree, otherwise, don't bother): would you rather your child came home with one or more STDs and possibly an undesired pregnancy or put your puritane views aside for twenty minutes and teach them about condoms? Face it, someday your children are going to have sex (unless, possibly, if they choose to become engineers or managers). It might be up to you wether it is a wonderful experience that leaves them satisfied on a physical, moral and emotional plane or an awkward disaster that leaves them frustrated and miserable, not to mention diseased, possibly to the point of fatality. Think about it. And yes, I'm advocating Sex Ed in public schools, which I was promised for the best of eight years and never got. Maybe it wasn't such as loss for me, but not everyone is as lucky. I have my mother to thank for it; others might not.
5. Again, rape is not the fruit of exposure to sexuality, but of a misinterpretation of sexuality. Understand that rape isn't about getting of in the same erotic sense as consensual sex is about getting off, or, in other words, it's not about physical pleasure. It is, in fact, about aggression and dominance. Consider this: a young infant, or anyone else who has not been told about healthy sexuality, watches as two (or kore, really) bodies writhe in strange motions, seldom, if ever, seen in everyday life in public, while bestial groans and cries are let loose for several minutes of sternuous activity until finally all participants are left exhausted, and at least one of them walks away glad. Now I as you: has our subject observed an episode of sexual activity or a brawl? Rape is motivated by the desire to either harm or assert social or physical dominance, and sex is used as a tool. Lust might play a role, but rest assured, it is not remotely the same kind of lust one feels towards a consensual partner; it is, in fact, more akin to blood lust. If anything, sex scenes, which often depict all partners involved enjoying the experience, would work against the probability of a rape occuring, unless, of course, the rapist is deluded to the point of believing the victim is enjoying it. Then the rapist cannot be taken as any other member of the society and regular rules don't apply, voiding any arguments related to media.
6. And religion is for zealots. Sorry, I couldn't help it, this kind of generalising gets up my nose like itsy bitsy spider getting up the water spout. Porn is for those seeking quick arousal and relief for their lust or a catalyst for their sexuality. Unless an addiction is in play, there is nothing intrinsically wrong with porn. Performers do so of their own volition and are remunerated, and purevoyers are, of course, acting upon their own desires. Themes depicted are only staged as a fantasy, which should be taken as fiction, and no more harmful in nature than "The Sound of Music", which, in turn, features depictions of a regime who thought well to purge a country of millions guilty only of worshipping a different faith. How's porn ever done something like that?
More to the point, probably, is how exactly do you suppose you're protecting your children? Blinding them to violent os sexual themes isn't going to help them in the long run. Both are innate to mankind, and the best we can hope for them is to channel them apropriately, into harmless outlets for violence (i.e., let your kids shoot the bloody brain and guts out of their polygonal enemies in video games, lest they pick up the carving knife from the kitchen and let your blood all over the dining room carpet. It will stain!) and healthy sexuality (your little boy is going to come across the most goregous youg girl sunning herself in your next trip to the beach as a family and maybe you should be the first to tell him why she makes him feel that way, why he can't take his eyes off her and why does he suddenly want to be close to her. Same goes if he feels that way about the male lifeguard, it's no one's fault, especially because no harm, no foul( foul/fault, get it?). You're not protecting your kids by not letting them know about violence and sexuality, you're just setting them up to become confused as all hell when they do discover about them in the end. Just a word of caution, don't be in too much of a hurry. I learnt of human reproduction at possibly age three or so, way before I had any notion of sexuality, and now I realise that it kind of is a bit of a prequesite. Might be a good idea to introduce them both at the same time, or at least, when your youngling asks you where do babies come from, instead of comming up with the good old stork or its likes, deliver an approach on the basics of reproduction stressing the relevance of affection between two consenting adults, otherwise a cold, scientific approach might lead your children to regard the whole process as banal and completely unrelated to feelings of tenderness, which is probably not the best idea.
Enjoy your summer and the sunning beauties that come with it.
Pax vobiscum atque vale.
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