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Good Morning Nanty Glo!


Monday, May 16 2005
Jon Kennedy, webmaster

The unfunny side of sex

To tie up some loose ends from Friday's discourse on whether sex is funny, some supplemental thoughts, all of which, lacking any input from list members, come from my own mind and heart. What the PG-13 movies and TV sitcoms—as well as smarmy jokes and dirty stories—consider the "funny" side of sex, the ribald or tawdry, vulgar side, is not at all close to what C.S. Lewis referred to as the funny side of the subject. Lewis finds it funny (in the passage quoted on Friday) that at times, when it's impossible to act on passionate desires, when time and place are not right, the desires are the most keen, but when there is a mutual desire to dally in your legitimate lover's arms with time to spare, there too often seems to be no way to fan amorous passion into life. That's just one of the ways in which intimacy often misleads us and makes us laugh at ourselves and our sexuality, despite ourselves, when we're duly licensed and married. This isn't knee-slapping funny, but it's part of the funny stuff of life we have to laugh at to keep from going round the bend.

That's funny, but acting like everything about sex is funny isn't. At least that's my lifelong conviction, based on some fairly transparent teaching in the New Testament, and this round of re-examining the issue hasn't changed my mind. The jokes about masturbation that are all over Comedy Central this year aren't funny; encouraging adults to laugh about their self-abuse ventures isn't cute, nor are whether they like this or that "position," or like this or that "adult toy" proper topics for polite discourse or any public discussion. Turn it off. Don't patronize it. Read a book. These topics have no redeeming value; getting a thousand strangers packed into a free-admission TV studio audience to laugh about such intimacies is a bad idea. Civilization has been saying so for nigh on 2000 years, and probably much longer, and only now has "civilization" decided we can "come together" and let it all hang out on an HBO special. Bad idea.

More than a generation, now, of sex education in public schools has not only not made our current younger generations more careful and responsible about sex, but has contributed to a record-high rate of unplanned pregnancy, unwed childbirth, sexually transmitted diseases, abortions, and a host of other socially destructive outcomes. And a cavalier attitude toward what is said about sex, or even how sexual "bad words" are used publicly and semipublicly, have by all measures been more destructive than enlightening or liberating for society.

It would seem to go without saying—except that all the evidence is that most people have never entertained this thought—that repeating a dirty joke is giving whoever hears it permission to also tell dirty jokes back to you or to the whole audience (even if parts of it may be "captive" and very unreceptive to filth) that heard you tell yours. And dirty jokes are verbal nudity; you can't unsay a dirty word any more than you can preserve your modesty when you're parading outside naked. Both are "asking for trouble" and wise people preserve both their literal nakedness and their intimate discourse for very narrow, properly defined intimate settings. Telling a dirty joke is, to many who hear it, an indication that you have a "loose" attitude toward sex and sends the message that anything goes. You may as well wear a badge that says "ask me, I might."

"Saving it for marriage" is on one hand a cliche that most people these days seem to scoff at as a prudish proposition, yet in our one-foot-in-one-world-and-the-other-in-another era, we also pay lipservice to "saving it" as the only way in the long run to preserve the family and as a consequence of that, saving the civilization. "Saving it" isn't easy. Making oneself vulerable to lewd propositions by laughing at someone else's dirty jokes is just making it even harder. Telling them is even more reprehensible. If matrimony is holy, profaning sex is unholy and an attack on everything that is holy; sexual profanity is ungodly, and even, in the proper sense, unhuman, antihuman.

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

—Philippians 4:7-9


A complete index of Jon Kennedy's Jonals for 2001 - 2005


If raising children was going to be easy, it never would have started with something called labor!

Sent by Trudy Myers  

Thought for today


God never gave man a thing to do concerning which it were irreverent to ponder how the Son of God would have done it.

George MacDonald  

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