How do you feel when you turn on the television and see individuals engaging in simulated sex? Or portraying drug use? How do you feel when, in a news story, you hear the account of someone who was raped? Or see a social media story about a priest or teacher who forced a child to have sex with them, or worse?
The other day a friend of mine posted a still frame on his facebook account from one of those daytime tabloid shows. It was of a teenage black girl and under her picture was her name and the fact that she’d recently had sex with a man for a “lobster buffet dinner”. Of course the reaction of everyone to the photo was laughter and mockery. The inevitable evolution of the absurdity that has become our public treatment of what we once saw as shocking or, at the very least, private.
It’s strange, isn’t it? That the greatest Taboo in our society right now isn’t sex or drug use. It isn’t violence or rape. It isn’t incest or pedophilia or necrophilia. It isn’t prostitution or cannibalism. It isn’t bondage or S&M. It isn’t gluttony, infidelity, pride or deceit. It isn’t any of these things. Doesn’t it feel like somehow some of these things should shock us? Or at the very least present us with some sense of mystery? But they don’t, do they?
In fact, all of these topics are portrayed vividly and matter-of-factly any time of the day or night you care to log into the internet, or flip on your TV, or slap down your ten bucks at the theatre to see the latest blockbuster. Constantly, we are barraged with these topics by tepid minds who believe they are being clever, counter-cultural or shocking. Or worse, by those who are trying to desensitize us, break down our boundaries and force us into the constant discomfort between the extremes of utter titillation and total disgust.
The other day in a public Laundromat I saw, on one of fifteen TV's hanging from every angle in the place, a cable show dedicated to the hundred most violent and horrifying deaths of all time. Each one of them was vividly reenacted with actors and stunning special effects while it was described in matter of fact detail by a expressionless narrator. No one in the Laundromat thought that this was a strange thing to see there.
It’s as if, in desensitizing people from these things, the real taboo becomes less obvious. But it’s there if you pay attention. In all of the arguments for gay rights, abortion, rape, public health care, teen sex, political scandal, race tension, terrorism, murder and suicide there is one thing missing. One thing that no one wants to talk about. Or, if it is talked about, it’s met with scorn and derision and dismissed by those who quickly put up another shocking photo of a teenage girl who recently gave her priest a blow job for a number seven value meal and a two slices of Eli’s cheesecake.
The most horrifying, objectionable Taboo is any individual who stands up and says he does not want to be a slave. To any religion, or government, to any job or academic institution. The real Taboo, my friends, is advocating self-reliance and freedom.
Why? Why is such an assertion so shocking? That one should want to be free and have the right to his own choices? To speak the way he wishes to speak or disregard political correctness? Why must he be punished for not paying homage to everyone else’s damage and victimhood or for not conforming to what the man or woman down the street defines as a ‘good person’? Why is it despicable that he should want to learn to defend himself and those he cares about rather than recklessly and irresponsibly trusting someone else to do it for him?
Why is it shocking? Because the world is dangerous. There are terrorist out there. Evil men want to rape you and your children. You may get sick. You need to give your power to us so we can protect you. Someone is going to attack you for your gender, race or sexual preference. Or worse, someone may call you a fatty on the bus. And you won’t be able to protect yourself. We’ll make sure of that. So let us make laws for you. Lots and lots of laws that you too will eventually fall victim to.
How does that make you feel? To know that the very individuals who are desensitizing you to all of the perversions that they find titillating are trying to make your most basic freedom to be independent and self sufficient, to grow and become actualized the greatest Taboo of all? That they are using your own security fears against you so that you give up your independence?
It should make you feel afraid. Uncomfortable. Angry. Outraged.
And if it doesn’t, try this. Next time you’re waiting for your Chinese take out and see a twelve year old on a talk show slap her mother, or find yourself sitting in front of a big screen watching some dude giving a simulated hand job to another, ask yourself this question: Why would I feel that the guy who wants to be optimistic and live his life his way, who doesn’t want to be forced into someone else’s idea of healthcare, or who thinks political correctness is a form of thought control, or who would rather all governments stay out of his personal relationships—why would I feel that is more shocking than this?