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Tuesday, 8.3.05:  Down with Vice

Sometimes it's interesting to read that there was an age more wicked than ours. In 18th century England the common eye-opener was not coffee but beer. Understandable I guess -- the water was very bad and boiled water beverages like coffee, tea, and chocolate were relatively new on the scene.

On the other hand, I heard a British director the other night say he often forgets how puritanical American society has become. He was referring to our current distaste for exuberant sex scenes but I think he's right in general.

Sex is framed only in terms of its dire consequences -- disease and heartbreak. "Just Say No" makes all the complexity and ugliness so much simpler to deal with. Gay marriage has some people so horrified that it could replace abortion as the issue du jour. But even on Showtime's Queer As Folk, all the wild boys are pairing up, getting married, buying houses, and adopting children. Conservatives may be apoplectic, but ex-hippie progressives have to scratch their heads: is this what gay fiction has come to? Convincing us that they are just as conventional and boring as everyone else?

Intoxication is not mainstream anymore either. When's the last time you saw a politician with a drink?

When's the last time you saw a politician with a cigarette? That alone could be cause for non-election.

I'm not really advocating vice, but our strictness adds to the polarization of our age. You are either good or bad, just like you are either conservative or liberal, red-state or blue-state.

The only vice we celebrate anymore is greed.




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