Sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll - R.H. Joseph

Loyal readers will no doubt leap with delight when informed I have had another brilliant insight into the human condition.

The contributing factors were two: watching the Julia Roberts flick "Mona Lisa Smile" followed by the final weekend of NFL regular season football.

One facet of the film's examination of the liberation of American women in the latter half of the 20th century has to do with the availability of contraception.

As most of us are aware, the birth control pill permitted those so inclined to celebrate their libido without fear of conception. While this may have been a social revolution on an individual scale political equality, the overall freedom of women in a patriarchal society, was another battle entirely.

For example, the parameters of women's sexual expressiveness, the entirety of their physical being in fact, was (and remains) included by some within the purview of male decision making.

For those of us who bridle at conservative sexual repression, shame and self-loathing, the empowerment encouraged by the availability of birth control encouraged a welcome alteration to the patriarchal paradigm. The pill certainly contributed to women's insistence upon cultural self-determination.

Surprisingly, rather than welcoming women as equals the entrenched patriarchy strove all the harder to maintain its domination. Conservative men were adamant; it was they and they alone who should delimit female sexuality.


This brings us to Saturday and Sunday last. I don't know how many Viagra commercials I saw during the course of the six football games but there were a lot. As television advertising costs a pile I extrapolated and inferred Viagra is selling like Confederate battle flags at Republican rallies south of the Mason Dixon Line.

This is when I had my epiphany: Viagra will liberate women culturally in the same way the birth control pill liberated them sexually.

Once conservative men cease to feel overwhelmed, inadequate and emasculated by female physiology, there will be no need to artificially inhibit women's appetites. Suddenly, freed of the debilitating burden of psychological doubt that has plagued them since the beginning of time it is entirely possible conservative men will welcome, perhaps even encourage equality throughout the socio-political sphere.

Who knows, triumphant in their new-found self-confidence conservative men may discontinue their relentless cultural assault upon black ("super masculine" in the words of Eldridge Cleaver) males and all homosexual men.

(With luck such a change will occur before the Bush league initiates another nuclear arms race. In case you are not aware, with the same vision he has demonstrated in the rest of his foreign policy, our beloved president has instituted the development of a whole new arsenal of nuclear weaponry. Others will respond!)

But just when the future looked so completely rosy I had another, more disturbing insight. There is something far more fundamentally disquieting to the conservative stratum of male society than female physiology: spontaneity.

You see, the act of faith, the deliberate and conscious effort to perceive one's viewpoint as inerrant, which is the foundation of the conservative psyche, is undermined by spontaneity. Guess what lies at the foundation of sexuality?

Attend to the history of conservative proscription. With regard to public behavior, are the faithful threatened by particular acts or simply those which encourage spontaneity? You may be interested to know the waltz was banned long before the same opprobrium was directed toward rock 'n' roll.

Now that we've covered sex and rock 'n' roll we might as well take a look at drugs, that is to say, intoxicants. Care to guess why conservatives fear intoxicants? That's right, spontaneity.

Ironically, who among us feels uniquely qualified to determine which physical acts are "unnatural?" Self-absorption has led these people to aver spontaneity is unnatural.

Pity them. Pity the women who deny themselves spontaneous self-expression. Pity the men unable to perceive women as all the more thrilling when unabashedly creative.

Mind you, this isn't just about sex. As conservative men from Afghanistan to America have constricted female sexual expression so have they limited women's access to education, positions of legislative authority and a sense of cultural and religious historicity.

Men of America, this New Year's Eve have some Viagra and be spontaneous.

R.H. Joseph is a longtime employee of the News Daily. His column appears on Wednesdays. He may be reached at (770) 478-5753, ext. 252, or by e-mail at rjoseph@news-daily.com.