Bring It On!

Sex and Violence

July 28th, 2005 | by Dr. Forbush |

I wasn’t surprised by the reaction to the uproar over “Grand Theft Auto.” Here is a game where the object is to steal cars and kill people. Obviously these are values that we shouldn’t be teaching our children, or even adults for that matter. But, with the aid of a download from the Internet the once extremely violent game now becomes an extremely violent game with cartoon sex in it. Suddenly the rating of the game must be raised one level higher from Mature to Adults Only, making it virtually unsellable.

What the hell is going on here? American values somehow allow quite disgusting violence that would result in people going to jail if done in real life. However, two people having sex, which is currently legal in at least 48 states raises the level of vulgarity to a level that is unacceptable for decent people. Isn’t this at bit irrational?

Well, as I said this didn’t surprise me because I have witnessed this bizarre behaviour in real life as well.

I am on the board of directors for an organization that invites artists to present their work. (I shouldn’t go into to much detail here, even though some of my fellow board members do read this blog I shouldn’t make it to obvious for those involved.) In the process of inviting an artist to present work we generally review some of the previous work of the artist to get an idea of what they could present. Of course we also encourage them to present new work that we haven’t seen as well.

About one week before the exhibition the artist told us that there would be some violence and nudity in his presentation. A couple of folks get upset about the nudity, but never mentioned any opposition to the violence. They argued that the nudity would create an unwanted reputation on our organization. But somehow the violent theme which pertained to Marxist rebels overthrowing a government in the 1960s didn’t really phase the group very much.

My attitude was to warn people before they bought tickets and let it go. People can make decisions based on information, but censoring the artist goes against my belief in freedom of expression.

Well, it turned out that these objectors just didn’t show up for the event, and they missed a very good and tastefully done presentation. But, that is their loss.

So, in order to understand this bizarre behaviour in America we need to understand that the root of this issue is based in Religion. The problem is found in the writings of St. Paul and his stoic ideas that found there way into Christianity. This same tragic infusion from St. Paul is also responsible for the pro-punishment philosophy of conservatives that I wrote about yesterday.

The idea stems from the idea that punishment is good. Now, we should realize from the start that when something is good it doesn’t mean that more of the same is always better. Candy may be good, but eating it for every meal is bound to be a problem. Similarly cutting down on salt may be good for blood pressure, but cutting it out of your diet completely could make you lethargic. Cutting fat from a obese person’s diet could be healthy for them, but cutting fat from a developing child’s diet could prevent their brain from developing properly. Hopefully I have given enough examples to show that moderation in most things leads to success, while extreme reactions often lead to tragedy.

So, St. Paul writes his stoic ideas into the Bible he tells us “But the widow who lives for pleasure is dead even while she lives.” 1 Tim 5:6 The reader gets the idea that pleasure must not be good. Pain on the other hand is viewed as good when Paul tells us, “My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you,” Galatians 4:19. With enough of this imagery readers are persuaded that pain is good and pleasure is bad.

This is not a new thing, the Franciscans, an order of priests who followed the teachings of St. Francis of Assisi, often used a metal tool to beat their backs until they bled. They became addicted to pain for pain’s sake. The stoic idea however is that hard work is not easy and working hard will pay off in the end even if you suffer along the way. St. Paul was trying to make this point, but his readers tend to take the point to extreme ends. Similarly, the stoic idea is to avoid being lazy, because taking time off from work often results in not having your basic needs later in the year. If you run out of firewood at the end of February and March is still cold you may get sick and die. But, if you push the pain idea to its illogical conclusion you should praise God for having the opportunity to suffer through the Cold March without firewood. Or, you could just forget about the wood for the entire winter and suffer right on through.

So, when conservatives get this warped idea of pain and pleasure in their minds they praise the pain and they punish the pleasure. So, once again the illogical conclusion is that violence is good because it is needed to inflect the needed pain on those who will be thankful for it. However, the sex is the forbidden pleasure that no one should know about. Knowing about this pleasure will obviously result in the people opting out of the pain idea in favor of the pleasure. And, maybe you can prevent children from this by using threat of punishment it is much more difficult to prevent adults from knowing about this. So, instead the adults must be shamed into guilt of even thinking about these things.

The strength of these two human drives is derived from the need for these two drives. The sex drive is so powerful because it is the drive that ensures the continuation of the human race. Pain is right up there as well, because pain prevents us from doing stupid things like burning our hands, dropping rocks on our feet and working to hard for to long.

After all this I hope that you will realize that American culture has a warped idea of both sex and violence. Violence is praised and tolerated while sex is shunned. However, most violent acts are illegal at some level and sex between consenting adults is legal in most states. Of course these people want God’s given punishment for sex to be carried out on those who engage in this heinous act - pregnancy.

Cross posted at Dr. Forbush Thinks.

politics and religion

  1. 17 Responses to “Sex and Violence”

  2. By Kirk on Jul 28, 2005 | Reply

    I was just complaining about the same thing – minus St. Paul.

    I can’t believe Senator Clinton went after Grand Theft Auto, it reminding me of Al Gore when he was a senator going after albums. You know, we got an unjustified war going on, so if it’s violence you want to stop maybe you should be focusing on that and not some stupid video game.

    Beating someone to death with a bat, no big deal. Having consensual sex, oh my God! Convene the Senate!

  3. By Thomas McCay on Jul 28, 2005 | Reply

    This BS from Hilary doesn’t surprise me, even a little. It’s part of trying to take the presidency by moving further and further to the right. Utter hypocrisy, in my view.

    Sadly, when Christians use Paul to excuse their hatreds and their desire to punish, they never seem to get around to reading his writings, made shortly before his death, in his old age.

    Namely Corinthians II, which in many ways contradicts and supersedes his earlier anger and threats.

    Corinthians Two is about his apparently new found belief that without love, the entire thing (Christianity) was meaningless. “If i speak in the tongues of angels, without love I am a hammering gong”. That’s a paraphrase, of course.

    They don’t bring that stuff out but about once a year when they want to feel good about themselves.
    The rest of the time, they like to pretend that Paul’s angry letters to the other churches are the actual words of god

    Ignorance is a great threat to the peace of the world

  4. By The Bastard on Jul 28, 2005 | Reply

    It kind of reminds me of the whole marriage thing Bush is trying to Bush through where you can make money as a single parent by getting married.

    Violence OK but damn those single mothers!!! They can’t possibly raise a kid to be good and drug free.

    I don’t get it! George came from a “unbroken” family and look at how fucked up he turned out!

    Convicted felon that stole an election! So much for the two parent theory……..

  5. By Chris on Jul 28, 2005 | Reply

    If we had more sex, we’d have less violence.

    Good point that the violence was not an issue until it was discovered there was sex involved.

    I wonder where the politicians were before this year. It was common knowledge that GTA had sex and violence involved.

    http://d-chaos.blogspot.com

  6. By Kirk on Jul 28, 2005 | Reply

    Uh oh, you guys delete comments. You shouldn’t do that. That’s exactly what right wing sites do. If you really want to make your point, let the right wingers comment because they end up making the case for you.

  7. By CT on Jul 28, 2005 | Reply

    I can identify with you…

  8. By The Bastard on Jul 28, 2005 | Reply

    Kurt,

    Please understand that deleting comments is not our normal practice but some of us here at BIO were personnaly attacked by the person who’s comments were deleted. We believe in view points and dissent but will not tolerate childish, sophmoric behavior that does nothing to promote debate.

    Again, sorry for the deletions (I know one of the comments was yours but it was inm reference to theirs, sorry) and we hope you do come back.

  9. By Political Pie on Jul 28, 2005 | Reply

    It also does not suprise me that Hillary would rid Grand Theft Auto. It makes perfect sense: she is trying to show the south how socially conservative she is.

    If she writes a book on Family, like Al Gore, I would buy it purely for the irony!!!

  10. By Kirk on Jul 28, 2005 | Reply

    Let them ridicule, when you comment back show some restraint (just a little though, I like to rough them up some) and reply with facts preferably hyperlinked. That does a better job of countering right wing propaganda than any post will do. It makes them look like the idiots they are.

    Sorry to gripe on your blog about this, but it bothers me to no end when I see a liberal blog pull some of the same stuff a right wing blog does. Hey, if they are posting addresses, phone numbers etc, by all means delete it. But, if it’s merely insults, keep ‘em. Especially if they are racist. Those are the best ones to keep, it shows their true colors.

    Back to Senator Clinton though. I don’t mind her trying to find “common ground” with Republicans on issues. Her husband did that and even though we can all find things to gripe about, he really was a great president. Almost everyone did well under his presidency. The problem I have is picking such a crappy issue to try to find common ground with.

    She’s not my pick for president, but if she ends up being the nominee, I’d still be proud to vote for her.

    Thought I should make that point clear.

    And who the hell is Kurt? Now, that angers me. Kurt’s a real asshole; Kirk is pretty cool… when he’s not acting like an asshole anyway.

  11. By sally on Jul 28, 2005 | Reply

    Kirk, it is our policy not to delete comments but there is a practice if you notice in comments here (past tense) and comments elsewhere, where the commentator says virtually nothing related to the post or even the blog and they leave their own blog address and a blurb to visit.

  12. By Martian Anthropologist on Jul 28, 2005 | Reply

    Nice blog post. I was thinking the same thing. Reminds me of the Janet Jackson incident. Two teams bashing each other over a football, that’s ok. But one nipple? Call the censors!

  13. By The Cranky Liberal on Jul 29, 2005 | Reply

    Kirk

    We struggle with that issue on this blog, and our own personal blogs. We let more than we want to stay up as an example of idiotic behavior on the other side. However, this is private property, so if something is deemed inappropriate, we will excericise our right to remove it. You can’t go onto NBC and do whatever you want on camera. I love when the right wingers scream it’s censorship. That just makes me laugh.

    Anyhow, to the Docs topic - A few weeks ago I saw Mr. & Mris Smith. Decent film, lots of action (AKA violence) some suggestive behaviour, and one scene where Brad and Angelina beat the living piss out of each other (there just aint no other way to say it). Brad is just beating her, and she is beating back (nice domestic violence scene). By the end of the movie dozens and dozens of folks have been killed.

    And it’s PG 13.

    Not one moment of nudity though. Nope if AJ jad popped out a breast - R rating right there. So tell me, what kind of whacked out world can we see a married couple beat each other up, kill people, blow up buildings etc - but that’s ok. Anyone can go to see it (PG 13 doesn’t preclude young kids - just “suggests” parents take note) but you can’t see someone nude. Funny, I’d rather my kid get excited over a girl than a gun, and I like guns.

  14. By pia on Jul 29, 2005 | Reply

    Funny Cranky I don’t usually walk out of films but almost did when I saw that one. Was waiting for the famous chemistry I had read so much about. All I saw was a couple trying to kill each other and a lot of violence.

    I actually do stay up at night wondering why violence is so easily condoned–but sex…

    And Angelina Jolie (one of my fave actresses)and Brad Pitt–they’re supposed to be such caring wonderful people. How could they make a movie like that?

    Really upset me.

  15. By Eddy on Jul 30, 2005 | Reply

    Interesting posts…

  16. By jackamoe on Jul 31, 2005 | Reply

    Great post. I like GWB stance on it…Good parents don’t let kids play bad games.

  17. By DutchmaninDallas on Jul 31, 2005 | Reply

    Interesting, I wrote a smaller, (less ‘deep’) piece today (encountered this one while random-blog-surfing). Mine is called ‘Shoot someone, OK. Have sex, NOT OK’. See my blog ‘Dutchman in Dallas, life in the big D from the perspective of a cloggie’:

    http://dutchmanindallas.blogspot.com

  18. By Angie on Aug 5, 2005 | Reply

    Funny how in the long run it benefits everyone :P It won’t lower the number of sales of the game… if anything, MORE people are trying to get their hands on a copy now :P
    I just don’t get it either…. who cares!?!?! Monitor what games your kids are buying and playing :P And honestly, if my kid were to sneak to a friend’s house where it was available…. like it would be the end all moment that would usher him into a life of violence and crime :P PLEASE!!!! With so many IMPORTANT issues to focus on…. why anyone would waste their time on this is insane :P And honestly… I follow video games pretty close… we have an Xbox, PS2 and Gamecube… which the whole family plays on… and it would have taken some time for me to have heard about that cheat if not for all of the hoop-la about it. Many kids in america would have never known if not for the media. So in my mind, they are partly to blame for anyone seeing it that shouldn’t. Besides…. many countries have the same music, movies and video games as we do… and still don’t have the amount of violence and crime. The problem isn’t the entertainment industry…. the problem is society and misplaced focus, power and goals.

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