How Sex Pissed Me Off
I spent about four hours tonight watching a program on H2 called "How Sex Changed the World". It's a documentary series that pulls the juicy bits of history you might not know about and puts them in an interesting and watchable format intercut with plenty of vintage photos and videos. At first it was fascinating in a good way but after around the second hour I started to overnotice a few trends throughout the history touched upon by the episodes that really started to eat at me.
The first trend I won't go into very deeply as it was pretty simple. For a premium cable station airing a documentary program about sex's place in history after 10pm, they were really heavy-handed with the censor boxes. Pixelation, black boxes, and blurs everywhere. In the space of three minutes they blurred the genital region of da Vinci's Vitruvian Man drawing and then showed a doctor starting to make the Y-incision on a corpse in a brief autopsy clip. I have as much objection to gore as I do to porn at this point (that is to say, none at all), but a full color shot of subcutaneous fat at a slight distance seemed a pretty stark contrast to the carefully neutered classic art piece by one of the Italian masters.
The second and most overt of these trends, at its most basic root, is for religion to shit all over science at every turn. It was shown time and time again how the religious right and moral crusaders (which are born almost without fail from deep-rooted belief in one of the major religions) spend so much of their time trying to punish and limit the behavior of people who don't feel as they do. I've made this complaint a lot, but when's the last time you heard of a bunch of gay guys getting drunk, wandering into a singles bar and beating the crap out of the men there? How many stories make the news about a gay man on a crime spree, hunting and raping straight men as conversion therapy? You don't, because gay men don't behave like that. They may be a little "ew, pussy is gross" but they're not pushing legislation to make straight sex illegal. That's what straight men do to the LGBT community. Did Wiccans stage a huge noisy protest when they elected the last Pope? No. Do Satanists hammer on your door at 10am on a Saturday to foist pamphlets on you? No. Because these are not groups that are prone to overinvolving themselves in the lives of others whom they know aren't interested. Proselytizing isn't in the codebook. It's not done. Time is too valuable to waste on what other people are doing. These are people interested in their own lives, something the religious right needs to consider.
Anthony Comstock spent 40 years of his life lobbying against obscenity after spending most of his youth as a chronic masturbator. Deciding he was on a mission from God, he made it his life's work to cause as much damage to "smut" as he could by teaming up with the YMCA to co-found The New York Society for the Suppression of Vice. He spent awhile rounding up about 15,000 porno mags, romance novels, medical documents and contraception material received in the mail and in 1873 he pitched a "Suppression of, Trade in, and Circulation of Obscene Literature and Articles of Immoral Use" bill to Congress. When faced with a mountain of porno, Congress had two choices: say there was no problem with these articles and let everyone think they were a pervert, or agree with the bill and sign it into law. Of course it passed and they granted Comstock the right to arrest anyone sending anything obscene through the mail. He went on a rampage ending in over 4000 arrests. He arrested physicians for offering women contraception information, sometimes by writing them first pretending to be a young pregnant teen on the verge of suicide if the doctor didn't help them, and then arresting the doctor if they replied. A woman by the name of Ira Craddock wrote a pamphlet advising bridegrooms how to make their wedding night more enjoyable for their new brides. He hauled her into court and she was indicted for the circulation of obscene literature, but committed suicide before starting her prison sentence. She wasn't the only one, Comstock was fond of bragging that he'd caused the suicides of fifteen people because of his work. Took it as a compliment.
Another piece of work is John Kellogg, creator of cornflakes breakfast cereal, who advocated circumcision of young boys without the use of anesthesia and the application of carbolic acid to the clitoris of young girls as effective deterrents against masturbation. Why? Because God doesn't like it, obviously. Because he read a book written by dozens of players of an ancient game of Telephone that said that God said it's bad. Clearly worse than maiming children.
Or of course Alfred Kinsey, who answered America's thirst for knowledge of all things sex with not one but two best-selling books on the subject that provided a strong base of information for the entire field of sexology. He might've discovered more if religious groups hadn't pressured his biggest contributor, the Rockefeller Foundation, to pull funding. Let's guess why. He continued anyway on a much lesser scale until his death in 1956. And I could also mention Leonardo da Vinci, who had to employ grave robbers to steal cadavers for him to use in his anatomy studies because the Catholic Church decreed that the human body was sacred to God and couldn't be used for medical research.
Time and time again over the course of just the "Superheroes of Sex" episode it was shown that the main opponent to enlightenment, knowledge and progress has been religion. This is a big part of why I feel so strongly against the major religions, this vast inability to allow mankind to think for itself beyond the bounds of what was sketched out in some religious tome. This is why, if there was a battlefield with lines drawn, I would be on the side of Lucifer. The light-bringer. Son of Morning. The one who clued Eve in that day in Eden that eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge wouldn't kill her, that God was lying to keep her and Adam underfoot and in the dark, "safe" from this dangerous information.
This is why this is important to me. We can go back and forth with Neo-Satanism vs Traditional and Luciferian Satanism vs the Temple of Set vs the Church of Satan and all that shit, frankly I'm not 100% clear on the compare/contrast lay of the land between each of these and don't know which I'd fit into. I'm not burning churches and killing babies, but I'm certainly not protesting soldier's funerals and donating to pro-life groups either. I'm busy doing my own thing, concentrating on what I feel is worth my time, doing what I want to do without worrying too much about what others do except when it starts to interfere with me. You're free to believe what you want, but when your religious belief starts trying to make legal statutes that impact me based on what your holy text says? That's horseshit and I'm against it, and probably against you in at least a small way.
Anyone interested in the series can watch it on the History Channel's website for free: