At some point, I figure, I may get buttonholed by busybodies, maybe sex-negative religious ones or maybe allegedly sex-positive secular feminist ones, who are butthurt that their own mass-casualty butthurt over pluralistic tolerance for sexual self-determination is not more widely shared by the public at large, and asked why I read the blogs of whores and pornographers, and why I add my own contributions to this seedy genre.

Let’s start with two brief answers. 1) The First Amendment, biotch. 2) Potter Stewart isn’t alive to know it when he sees it.

Never mind concerns about the future; as I described in my screed about Jesus Kristof and the unctuous “female perspective” that he shares with his smitten readership, the feminists have already started doing their part. It seems I’m not reading enough angels-on-a-pinhead pseudoacademic literature about the evil juggernaut of the patriarchy, and I really should make more of an effort to leaven my conversation with overwrought, quasimetaphorical rape references. Any woman who has been legitimately raped will certainly forgive me once she raises her own consciousness to the point of understanding that the apparently freelance thug who raped her was actually a proxy working on behalf of the patriarchy.

By the way, the patriarchy is also why your boyfriend is too cretinous and disrespectful of your womanhood to respect your so far unraised, subconscious wish to refrain from premarital sex so that you can honor the marriage bed in true fullness by using natural family planning and only natural family planning. If you did a close reading of Humanae Vitae and Theology of the Body and attended more Newman Club meetings, you’d eventually realize that being forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term is ever so much more respectful of you as a woman than separating the unitive and procreative functions of sex and not being open to life. You may think you have enough life on your plate as it is, but you really wouldn’t want to risk divorce by using a condom. It doesn’t matter if he wrapped it at your request; he’s dishonoring you and will inevitably treat you as a slatternly sex object. And that thing with an all-male College of Cardinals electing a male pope to oversee an all-male priesthood that issues overbearing, paternalistic sexual dicta to skeptical women who don’t want to get pregnant this month? That only looks like a patriarchy.

I wish I were exaggerating. My tone in that last paragraph was a bit more florid and less coy than you might hear from your parish NFP scolds, but the content was pretty standard.

You can’t understand just how fucking weird the stuff is until you’ve heard it. Quite a few of these people sincerely believed that a Methodist dry drunk father of two who got off on executing people was John Kerry’s true Catholic opponent. For any logicians who are unfamiliar with this meme, I’m not making it up. These people wouldn’t consider for a second that perhaps W was a chronic managerial fuckup with a coke habit befitting his posh background, and they apparently didn’t share my queasy gut feeling that the guy had a better than average likelihood of having performed freelance vivisections on cats. None of this was remotely material because W believed in traditional marriage and was agin killing babies.

To be clear, my RCIA class was run by adults and for adults. I wouldn’t have gone through with baptism and confirmation had our instructors and my classmates failed the gut check. Had I been seriously concerned that the Deepwater Horizon gushers spewing their goo all over the Newman Club meetings truly were the Catholic mainstream instead of a loudmouthed fringe yelling about how they were the one true mainstream in a river of denominational heresy, I doubt I would have gone through with it. If that hypocritical coarseness had been the prevailing tone at RCIA, the deal would have been scotched.

Part of the gut check was how often the RCIA class discussed menstruation and Disney princesses. To my relief, we didn’t. I can’t say that about the Newman Club icebreakers. Favorite saints and favorite popes made sense, and first period stories would have been fine had the subtext not been so blatantly wacko, but favorite Disney princesses did not inspire confidence in the Newman Club as a serious lay movement. This isn’t to say that such a movement couldn’t have a wide reach and do serious damage, but rather that there was obviously no reason to believe anything uttered by that crowd if it sounded nuts. As Jeff Foxworthy might say, you might be a cultist if you intone about ever-present threats to marriage and are also addled by Disney cartoon fairy tales. In retrospect, RCIA was at least as sober as it seemed at the time, but Alma Mater’s Newman Club chapter was a full-strength, Chuck-Diederich-get-your-balls-clipped cult.

If only it hadn’t been so vehemently opposed to literal ball clippage. But that’s the thing about cults. Regardless of what extreme they find best, they know it’s best and are itching for a war of attrition to prove it to the dissenters.

Even the internal dissent among the hard-core pro-lifers could be bizarre. Although it would have taken keen attention to notice at the time given the low signal-to-noise ratio and signal-jamming by the loudest members, our chapter was a powerful Pareto Rule practicum. Had the two or three shrillest absented themselves to, say, seek treatment for feigned anorgasmia from Tom Coburn in a jacuzzi in the Ozarks, the weirdness would have gone away, just like that, and resumed residence in its proper home. By far the most blatant batshit came from Lady Lejeune, a woman from exurban Maryland who was so sexually charged that she apparently had to discharge on the nearest surface several times a day. These days, she maintains, I shit ye not, a Catholic crunchy mama Army wife blog devoted to preachy stories about the godly army that she and Lord Lejeune are conceiving and raising for God and to lengthy, graphic but boring stories of her home births. The Ass Man’s graphic stories about Virginia State Police speed traps, the upcoming weekend’s celibacy, or the cramped dimensions of that bathroom in Ireland the time he got the Guinness shits on Saint Patrick’s Day had a concise eloquence that Lady Lejeune’s blog lacks. So, for that matter, did Lady Lejeune’s own graphic stories back before she maintained a blog so that she could inflict the unabridged versions on her family and friends.

The quintessential Lady Lejeune moment, then, involved menstruation. But of course. It also involved Lord Purcell, a man who kept his sexuality mostly to himself, like the understated Virginia gentleman that he was, although he was strident enough to wear a T-shirt with a picture of a punk rock fetus holding a guitar, with the words “Equal Rights for the Pre-Born”; and it involved, oh hell yes, some Opposing Viewpoints. Specifically, “Low blood iron: not a snowball’s chance in hell it isn’t the sole result of my period, which I have today” versus “Low blood iron: you might want to check that you’re eating enough iron.” Lord Purcell, a science polymath with a keen interest in nutrition, mentioned that college students commonly bring nutritional deficiencies upon themselves by skipping sleep and trying to subsist on ramen and coffee. Lady Lejeune’s retort was basically a two-fold reiteration of her original claim: the phlebotomist said it’s because of my period, and I’m on my period. And if anyone was on top of her own period, it was Lady Lejeune, who did month upon month of anal-retentive menstrual charting prior to her wedding and didn’t mind telling the rest of us about it. So of course, but of course, this what-are-you-eating vs. where-am-I-bleeding debate about Lady Lejeune’s low blood iron was held at full volume (particularly on her end) in front of everyone who happened to be in the room at the start of a Newman Club meeting.

I won’t include a link to Lady Lejeune’s blog. It’s her call as to whether to enter this fray for yet more Opposing Viewpoints. Aliens in the Family may not actively solicit Opposing Viewpoints from readers the way it solicits reader input on Richard Apicello, Martha Bennett and Paddington Bear, but really, the only thing that can dishonor that affair is its comingling with Michael Jackson anecdotes, and with standards like these, I’m asking for it.

The truth is that reader comments will have to get aggressively trollish before I delete them, and it’s a long road that lies before us. Perhaps I trollishly shorten it in this essay; if so, so be it. But I’ll say this: since Lady Lejeune did more than her share of schism trolling as an undergraduate (e.g., “John Kennedy was a terrible Catholic!”, but nary an ill word about George II), I can certainly imagine her trolling her midwives in the interest of fomenting a schism between NFP partisan crunchy mamas and every other constituency within the crunchy mama community.

When I think of that, I think of my friend Baywatch, a doula, student RN and aspiring nurse-midwife in Orange County. Baywatch is about the farthest thing from a troll on this planet, particularly now that Grandma’s work is done. I don’t think I can overstate what a decent and gracious woman she is. Nor is she one to offer public overshares about recent happenings with her own lady parts. Temperance, modesty, all-around class–what ever could be her Achilles Heel?

A couple of things. First, she can be salty of tongue, which could make a stray evangelical scold blanch. John Hagee, Joel Osteen, Pat Robertson, whatever manipulative, passive-aggressive, bigoted raging asshat you can pick up at random after a Murfreesboro altar call–all of these will agree with me about the importance of edifying conversation in one’s Walk as a Christian. That may sound like some kind of coy joke about the Confederacy for an audience of Yankee goobers, but it isn’t entirely. Ours is a pluralistic nation, and we have specialists on that question (now, that is an inside joke for Putineers of any age!), so in the ecumenical spirit we agree to disagree on what exactly is edifying or not. Personally, I don’t consider it edifying to thunder about the damned in front of a diagram showing, in Norman Rockwell detail, Satan parachuting into hell in a rainstorm of blood, or to present the weekly offering as a Tammany Hall kickback racket run by the Boss Tweed of Hosts, or to gloat about the righteous smiting of the wicked in deadly weather events, but that’s just me. Not being an ordained clergyman, I may not understand this whole thing, so maybe I should pray about this shit (excuse me, crap–no, poop) at the altar and see if I don’t come to discover the difference between truly edifying speech that helps me in my Walk, e.g., “God will protect us from earthquakes if we restore prayer in our schools and hang His enemies in the ACLU on our town squares,” and unedifying speech that hinders my Walk, e.g., “Fuck yeah, I’m stoked to get shitfaced in Vegas this weekend!”

Second, and back out of that labyrinthine Protestant weasel hole, Baywatch has already caused Lady Lejeune butthurt; it’s just that Lady Lejeune has yet to discover it. Baywatch often posts things on Facebook pertinent to maintaining women’s access to family planning services, the unnatural kind, and by Lady Lejeune’s reckoning, that’s trolling by a baby-hating liberal slut. As far as I know Lady Lejeune has never said exactly that about anyone, but damn straight she has insinuated it. She is also exactly the kind of person who is adept at pulling off rhetorical chess moves where the rectifier of names confronting the troll is made to look like the troll to those who aren’t paying close attention. Rectified or not, let us name some of the things that have been known to cause Lady Lejeune grievous butthurt: Alma Mater’s student health center providing students with oral contraceptives at their request; res life staff handing out condoms to students who want them; the Girl Scouts of America giving money to Planned Parenthood. A compelling circumstantial case can be made that she comes into a world of butthurt at the thought of condoms and oral contraceptives in general.

Aside from the residential life sex days, which she may have been pressured into joining as an RA (I couldn’t tell, but it sounded like it was other RA’s handing out the condoms), these sources of butthurt had an interesting thing in common: they involved third parties and had nothing to do with Lady Lejeune. Few, if any, of her adversaries in this fight were going around calling her a prudish bitch; I heard absolutely no one on the other side objecting to individuals opting out of these activities.

The tenuous connection between these two ladies is Southern California. Lord Lejeune’s military obligations have taken the Lejeune family out of the Southland for the time being, but according to Lady Lejeune’s blog they intend to return to Los Angeles in the future. So I’m not totally making up the prospect of a catfight between those two.

If it happens, it’ll be like Rush Limbaugh and Scott Simon arguing about whether broadcast personalities should encourage people to talk to their doctors about their health care needs or call them sluts on nationally syndicated radio programs. And I don’t believe Lady Lejeune is the only breeder itching for that fight. There’s a lot of overlap between NFP partisanship and crunchy maternity. These women have a lot of babies, and a lot of them favor home water births with midwives. They’re really into the old-school stuff: accepting heavy days as curse-gifts from God, bareback, getting knocked up whenever, breastfeeding. It’s a mixed bag at worst, but more than a few of them are really fucking strident about it all.

The nice thing about America is that even if you have to work for women whose boundary problems compel them to accuse you, their putative sister, of moral turpitude for being on the pill, the internet offers a chance to escape it all by reading my coy stories about Apicello, Bennett and Bear. Or, depending on what you can dredge up on Google, stories about Apicello’s real sexual proclivities, which include groping his assistant without her consent. So regardless of the dubiousness of my considering them a cute prospective couple, my scenarios are actually an improvement.

Ooh, I think I have a rom-com screenplay!

Then again, there’s no reason to waste your time on obscure memes that I circulate to an audience that may number in the low dozens when you could wallow in the Nick Gillespie Meme Generator. And there’s no reason to limit your indecency to my version of it, or to whack off to the endlessly derivative dirty stories in Cosmo, when you could get your freak on with these other authors whose publications have already passed the 2,000 all-time page view threshold.

The Honest Courtesan

If it’s in the news and it involves whores, Maggie McNeill will cover it. Her blog is also a useful clearinghouse for other “Whorish Media” and “Friends of Whores.” For a retired prostitute and madam, McNeill is surprisingly chaste in her writing style, so hers is the kind of harlot’s blog you can share with your grandmother, as long as your grandmother isn’t the kind of Tennessean who gets totally head up at the Baptist altar call.

Maybe. As I’ve mentioned before, a lot of people seem to hold the memoirs of prostitutes in the same esteem as those of serial murderers. They don’t get the whole consent thing, because as they know, any woman who becomes a whore is a whore, you whore (Christian conservative gloss), a dupe whose consciousness has yet to be raised (one lefty feminist gloss) or a traitor to her sisters (the other usual feminist trope). Oh, and the victim meme, too, a favorite on both sides. So you might want to nip any conversations with I’m-worth-waiting-for or fish-on-a-bicycle friends and relatives in the bud until they have clearly discerned a qualitative difference in agency between putting out for money and being butchered by Dennis Rader. Just sayin’.

Feminisn’t

This one you don’t want to share with your grandmother. Eh, if your grandmother is Betty White, maybe you do. Kinda raunchy stuff; Furry Girl is a pornographer who partakes liberally of the Carlinian Heavy Seven in her writing.

Aside from the obvious professional similarities, two points in common between Furry Girl and Maggie McNeill come to mind: a libertarian bent and a strong, informed layman’s interest in science. I have mixed feelings about the libertarian thing since libertarianism so often descends into Asperger’s Spectrum up-by-the-bootstraps Social Darwinianism and raging goldbuggery, but I’m unambivalent about the scientific sobriety. Me likey. We have more than a few blatant quacks and legions of cuckoo-bananas marks in Ashland, so it’s refreshing to see Furry Girl savage these classes of fraud and fool. Disrupting vaccination programs based on the nuttery spread by unqualified celebrity mothers and preying upon insecure perimenopausal women who are looking for easy fixes to become sexy again are not honorable pursuits; calling bullshit on these jackasses is.

Great place for stray free titty pics, too.

On the Continuing Thunderous Suckitude of Legal Marketing

This one isn’t whorish, not that kind of whorish, anyway, but there’s a connection.

Ken at Popehat writes an occasional series of posts on the legal marketing racket. The link above is just one in the series, but its title alone is worth publicizing, as is the series. It’s also worth noting that Ken, a partner in a criminal defense firm, somehow finds time to be a prolific and eloquent blogger, raise his kids and (so he claims) play video games. And, for what it’s worth, Popehat is one of Maggie McNeill’s Friends of Whores.

The gist of Ken’s legal marketing series is that lawyers and their firms are forced by idiotic professional custom to pay into a glorified protection racket run by the legal equivalents of Yellow Pages publishers. Placing these ads provides two benefits: respect from colleagues who respect the racket, and cold calls from batshit crazy people who want pro bono representation on meritless, often psychotic cases. Ken’s spammer series publishes spam that he gets from sleazy marketers who want to use Popehat to promote their own businesses, often law firms, but instead end up having their integrity publicly questioned in open letters replete with My Little Pony references.

Ken’s mantra is that quality clients and quality counsel alike come from personal referrals. That seems like the best way for sex workers to drum up business, too, which raises a question: what the hell is that garbage in the back of the Philadelphia CityPaper? There are ways to run a dignified brothel or outcall service, but one wouldn’t know it to look at the ads. “Look at me, I have DDD cups and a big ass, and I make a mean O face!” is a coarse way to drum up business, and I’d expect the business it drums up to be equally coarse. There’s no need to insult the client base’s intelligence by being so crude. Just because you’re selling pussy and they’re buying it doesn’t mean that they need to be beaten over the head with it. Appealing to the reptilian brain, I have to assume, brings some reptiles out of the woodwork.

This would be less of a problem if there weren’t such a taboo against putting the word out among one’s friends that one likes putting out for money. I may be in the minority on this, but I find it more sensible and reassuring to find a whore through friends than through the kind of underworld sleazeballs who infest front office operations in the sex trade. Doing business with friends seems prudent to me, too. (For the record, I don’t feel that way about legal counsel. Every analogy at some point becomes a disanalogy.)

But every consensus I’ve come across in my social life holds that putting in a good word for one’s friends in the trade would be unfathomably crude and off-putting. These things are sanctified, to the extent that they are, by publication in the gutter press. You wouldn’t want to vulgarize prostitution by turning it into something involving friends recommending their whore friends to their client friends. Friends don’t let friends turn tricks; no, friends duplicitously slutshame one another in furtherance of whatever communal drama just erupted.

Maybe I’m just hanging out with the wrong people. Actually, at times I’ve done exactly that.

Go Ask Ella

Notwithstanding the crunchy Opposing Viewpoints that Ella Lauser occasionally offers on gastrointestinal physiology, her sex advice posts are worth reading. For one thing, she’s a lot less sucky at celibacy than your parish loudmouths probably are; when she bottled it up for a month as part of a thirty-day total continence challenge, she did it in such a way that she didn’t unleash a firehose of repressed goo on the nearest third parties, and I respect that. Granted, I’m not really on board with the whole hippie artistic thing the way she is, but I don’t detect any cult vibes from her, so again: respect. I like my crunchiness, and my bus stop rap performances about Punjabi hotel owners by gay guys in sequined shirts, from people who aren’t ravenous vampire squid narcissists.

That’s the weird thing about SoCal narcissism. It’s apparently a boogieman, like the Comintern fifth column or childless liberals who hate children because they’re childless liberals and Rush Limbaugh says so. Sure, there are some gnarly examples in rarefied parts of Hollywood, like Charlie Sheen, but they’re anomalies. My SoCal friends and their friends (Ella is a friend of Baywatch’s through the crunchy mama community) are, as far as I can tell, pretty much sane, well-adjusted people who were raised right and have manners. Don’t ask why I consider this noteworthy; I’ll go down an endless rabbit hole if I address that now, and in any event that mug of bitter will be on tap again before long, so stay tuned. Sure, if you hang out in Irvine or on the Westside, before long you’ll collide with some Stuff White People Like and maybe hear a White Whine or two, but, at least in my experience, you’ll probably be safe from the kind of possessive freaks who want to mold you in their image, and I can think of a certain Elizabethan municipality in Southern Oregon that is also a stop on the PATCO Speed Line where that isn’t necessarily the case.

As Jesus didn’t say but might have, the slutty you will have with you always, so you might as well be ethical about it, and Ella has some good advice on ethical sluttery. If you’re worried about a relativistic moral vacuum on her blog, you might as well worry about the Khrushchev moles on the 1956 Abilene City Council, because it ain’t there, and they wasn’t either. (Am I defaming West Texas? Well, Honey Badger would like to see a statewide repudiation of Rick Perry before answering that charge.) As the “sister you probably never had,” Ella knows not to do whatcher big sister done (the watchwords at Starbucks haven’t necessarily gotten any whiter since then, but they’ve gotten whinier; have they ever). Relationships succeed, relationships fail, so it might be prudent to figure out how to cut a firebreak on that hot mess, learn how to be magnanimous and clearheaded rather than catty and hateful in romantic relationships, and get laid if you’re up for it.

“Yet another hooker who insists she isn’t; what a stupid society we live in!”

That was Maggie McNeill’s reaction to the link above about a woman in Rochester, NY, who charges $60 an hour for snuggling, but only snuggling.

The astute media observer, such as myself, if I do say so myself, may notice some hallmarks of the gutter press in that article, but really they aren’t hard to miss if you pay attention to other people’s syntax and logic: the overwrought sense of controversy, the multiple pictures of Jackie Samuel cuddling with various people of both genders who look suspiciously like models, the oh-my-God-the-next-hour-she’s-with-a-different-man angle. Let’s get this straight: she’s an escort. Her niche in the trade is an odd one, to be sure, but she’s a member of an ancient and frankly civilizing profession. Imagine, then, the Daily Mail saying the same thing about an NHS dentist in rural Wales: “But revisit the scene an hour later and Jackie Samuel will have her drill in the mouth of another man.” It’s absurd.

One might wonder whether the clients, models or whatever whose snuggling photos were published by the Daily Mail were compensated for the trouble. (One might really wonder whether the doofuses who agree to pose for photos in the Mail-Tribune are compensated. As far as I know they aren’t, but it isn’t news that dignity is not held in high esteem in “Our Valley.”) And who are her clients? Has Rochester been invaded by hipsters who appreciate the charms of whorish women ironically, like PBR?

Samuel’s claim that her service isn’t sexual in nature is rubbish. Maybe she’s telling the truth about her chaste boundaries, in which case she’s unfortunately asking for rape. I say this not as a moral aspersion but out of sober recognition that escorts’ clients are disproportionately sexually frustrated men. Connect the dots if you will, but forget any notion of misogynistic rape on behalf of the patriarchy; if it happens, it will most likely be an impulsive, opportunistic act. On the other hand, there’s no telling what she’s omitting in the interest of legal ass coverage. This could just be a case of not publishing the zone fares. Metro does that, too, which is why I never know what it’ll cost to take the 460 bus all the way to Disneyland, if you know what I mean. Actually, I’ve only gone as far as Buena Park, if you know what I mean, and I wish I meant that a bit dirtier than I do. Happily, the amateur equivalent of Jackie Samuel’s practices isn’t strange to me, so maybe I’ve taken the 460 to the part of Norwalk where that fat homeless guy lays out waiting for Good Samaritans to bring him donuts, if you know what I mean.

Damned if I know what Jackie Samuel means. She insists that her tits and ass are off limits, although apparently not in so many words, because that which is covered in unmentionables is untouchable. It’s like the airspace on either side of the north approach to National Airport, so she had better pray for a disciplined flight crew. But not to worry, she’s innocent and wholesome, as are her clients.

They’re just adults for whom the epitome of asexual fulfillment is chaste cuddling with a woman who doesn’t dress for work. Streetwalkers and escorts may have grownup streetclothes to doff when things get hot and heavy, but Samuel just hangs out in pyjamas all afternoon and caters to her clients’ sublimation fetish, and her own. I’d be amazed if teddy bears aren’t involved.

Am I wrong to notice a theme of arrested development? Jackie Samuel seems to be yet another grown woman who is afraid to have big girl sex because she hasn’t gotten permission. It was the same way with a number of people at the Newman Club. They were fast machines, but they didn’t keep their engines clean because the bishops had warned them against premarital engine maintenance, so instead they did things like carry on eye-batting sublimated crushes on the parish priests and indulge in cassock fetishes. And Disney princess love.

It’s one thing to just not be that ragingly sexual, to feel one’s sexuality awaken only in the presence of one’s boyfriend, and maybe to occasionally match the feverish intensity of his sexual attraction to Chase Utley. (That’s one guy who awakens by protective impulse, not as a bro thing but as a California boy at the center of a Philadelphia personality cult thing.) To beat a dead horse, though, the naturally chaste women were not at the helm of the Newman Club. There was more than a little red Corvette inside that little red Corvette. Even Prince lacks the vocabulary to quantify the braking power needed to keep those vehicles from missing a curve and broadsiding a madrone in the Applegate every half hour. That kind of American Power isn’t built in Detroit. “Sex drive” was an understatement. We’re talking somewhere between five o’clock Acela unrestricted Run 8 through Secaucus Junction and United 967 Heavy maximum flaps takeoff roll into 30-knot variable crosswinds and a Manassas thunderhead.

Speaking of things that land heavy and bruised on the Front Range, Ted Haggard has always appreciated the charms of Manassas. Different strokes for different folks, and different kinds of artesian goo. But in any event, shit be sticky, yo.

I’m thinking that what the sex trade needs is more engineers. Eh, shit, that golddigging freak who married the robber baron asshole in Florida and tried to build a copy of the Palace of Versailles was trained as an engineer, but they aren’t all like that. Whores or engineers, that is; and if that shallow oddity can be both, so can normal women. Few people go into the STEM fields so that they can bang on about nitpicking semantic differences by way of assuaging their butthurt at being called by a fraught name. That said, the first component of that acronym, Science, might include nurses, which potentially brings us back to the Ass Man/Lady Lejeune spectrum of talking too much about bodily functions, and what we’re looking for is whores who don’t talk a loud game. The trade really could use more women who approach it as a matter of logic: willing merchant, willing customer, low-chop flight conditions, agreed-upon fare and departure time.

Harlotry? Call it a Greek donkey tour if you like, or call it a wind tunnel test. If the drilling contract has been agreed to, and the borehole has been properly mudded, and the drill rig is in good working order, it’s no less sweet or lucrative by any other name. Damn the semantics; let’s go.

Chateau Heartiste

The scumminess.

This is what would happen if Mark Fuhrman were obsessed with sex instead of race. Shit, it may be even worse than Fuhrman. I’m not convinced that the academy valedictorian was in earnest when he carried on about how “the niggers have discovered Westwood,” or that Captain York had “sucked and fucked her way to the top.” His language was just too ostentatious, and the circumstantial evidence suggests that he was trolling his crunchy, liberal interviewer. He had the motive, he had the opportunity, and smart fellow that he was, he had the means. You don’t hear about it on TV, but it’s pretty clear that Fuhrman is whip-smart and OJ Simpson is a semiliterate idiot. The hidden history of Men Against Women suggests, oddly enough, that that occult LAPD extracurricular club included women as equals, and trite though they may be, Fuhrman’s supporters are probably right that, even more than OJ, some of the detective’s best friends were black people.

Racial and sexual paranoia are not mutually exclusive, of course. In that spirit, Chateau Heartiste leavens its Nixonian intelligence with Nixonian antisocial paranoia and bigotry. And sweet Jesus, is it vile. It’s NSFW, if it’s safe for anyone. But forewarned is forearmed, and that brand of antisocial, sexist wingnuttery is a lot more popular than media reports suggest.That kind of rot is forced into the Memory Hole on a daily basis, but like the South, it rises again. It cannot be repressed, only mitigated or ridden out.

That’s another reason that societies need whores and ethical sluts. A population that is able to find outlets for its sexual frustration is less prone to plunge into this kind of evil. People who have lasting, stable friendships with members of the opposite sex are also less vulnerable.
Defining marriage (or as the Heartistes call it, the “codified long-term relationship”) in a manner that transcends sex is another tremendously wise idea. People who enter into marriage with the sobriety and maturity to not totally freak out in the event of an affair are, I have to assume, much less credulous in the face of this Nixonian paranoia on steroids when the sexual aspect of marriage fails.

Remember the 1990’s white supremacist “Militias?” The McVeigh/Nichols “Bubba job” in Oklahoma City? That kind of thing doesn’t spontaneously implode when repudiated by polite society; it merely goes underground and attempts to regroup. There is some explosive psychosexual rage in this country, and the studied ignorance of the heavily coastal, well-educated Fourth Estate doesn’t make it go away. Reasonable whores of goodwill and reasonable sluts of goodwill are among our few hopes for lowering the flashpoint. And no, in this case I am not being cute. You didn’t hear this on TV, either, but there’s a fairly good chance that a loose woman at the right place and time could have defused George Sodini and saved several lives, not just his.

Hell, St. Augustine pretty much predicted that.

Bros Like This Site

Oh hell yes, time to put on that party dress, so that some antisocial cretin can splooge on it and then make fun of you for being slutty. If a bro happens by the Market Square when she’s standing in her underwear, he won’t discreetly appreciate her womanly charms like a gentleman; he’ll point and laugh like the troglodyte his asshat Lord of the Flies “brothers” raised him to be.

If Chateau Heartiste is the Pepperdine Law Review-cum-Glenn Beck nut screed of online misogyny, Bros Like This Site is closer to the Animal House-meets-Ann Coulter-meets-Treadway/Nifong-spectrum Kafkaesque nightmare version. Consider, for example, its take on Lady Lejeune’s favorite subject. These gents proudly outdo the Ass Man as troubadours of the deuce, but in the next breath they proclaim their ostentatious disgust with menstruation, which to my knowledge the Ass Man never did. The Ass Man was a pluralist about bodily functions, as he was about providing dimensional specifications to quantify how cramped that shitter in Norwich was, or stumbling off a cliff into a berry patch and splitting open the seat of one’s pants. These weren’t communitarian moral issues to him. To “Bros” menstruation is. Nor is their communitarian freakout over periods the result of an aversion to blood; given the places where they admit to introducing their penises, not to mention any places that they’re too reticent to mention, they do not have a heartfelt problem with getting some blood on the junk. This period phobia is nothing but a crude device to humiliate women for being women and to socially control any normative peers who have wandered into their company. Nor is their rhetoric a mere Fuhrmanian flourish to troll feminists. I’ve been in close enough proximity to this class of shithead to know that at least a few of them are sincere in their misogyny.

Other Bro pastimes, we’re told, include the men-only Haddonfield Special, i.e., not inviting any girls along when you shit in a neighbor’s yard as a fuck-you to the bourgeois value of not living over the open sewers of Lagos; aspiring to cirrhosis and Marcia Clark-grade dental hell; inseminating severely intoxicated strangers, then slutshaming them; and (I infer) generally attainting pastel clothing. Actually, attainting pastel clothing is a coeducational enterprise in large parts of the Northeast; your neighborhood sorority cat-fighters have done it, too. You’re best advised to come to Huntington Beach to find people of either gender who redeem the Miami Vice color schemes; I came across a Yelp thread that accused HB of having a Bro infestation, but in my experience all it takes is one chubby redheaded dude in a three-tone polo shirt-scarf-overcoat ensemble to walk down the pier with a girl on each arm to break that critical mass, and when the Indian guys in proto-Nehru suits show up on the same night there’s no point to even trying to hose the pier down with one’s Bro goo.

By the way, the Bro constituency is exactly the one that kept Christine O’Donnell from getting laid a few years ago. I knew it the moment I saw it. O’Donnell had gone out drinking in Old City Philadelphia, a place dear to my heart, with a group of man-children who were anything but dear. They got drunk and she hooked up with one of these dudes, but she scotched the deal when he discovered that she hadn’t adequately shaved her pubes, a situation that he subsequently described in coy but seedy fashion to the celebrity gutter press during O’Donnell’s Senate run.

Set aside the clear appearance that O’Donnell is too lazy and hedonistic to appropriately represent a Senate constituency. In every other regard, she is august enough for that body (we’re talking about prevailing local standards, after all), and it would take an idiot not to recognize that she’s a hell of a catch for any young man out on the town for the evening. Drop-dead gorgeous, intelligent, well-spoken, extremely friendly and outgoing–how the hell did she end up with some kiss-and-tell bastard with a proud pubic hair phobia? Of all the men who were out in Old City that night looking for pussy, she ended up with him?

By the funhouse standards of the celebrity press, an accusation that O’Donnell didn’t shave her lady parts to the satisfaction of some guy who was eagerly pawing her all night is a scandal, but the fact that that creep inflicted himself on the hookup pool and then shared private details about his encounter with O’Donnell the moment there was a market for that rubbish is, well, just the disinfecting sunlight of a vigorous free press.

Like hell it is. If no one else will ride into this Deadwood-on-the-Delaware and proclaim himself sheriff, I will. Men who act like that should be blacklisted by every loose woman in town until they demonstrate that they’ve grown the fuck up. I get the distinct feeling that Christine O’Donnell is respectful and affectionate with the men she beds (a feeling that I don’t get about, to name one freak, Michele Bachmann). When she goes on the manhunt, she should be able to pick up a man who unabashedly enjoys the company of decent women and treats them with respect and admiration because he isn’t trying to impress his perverted cultist buddies back at SAE. That will probably involve really liking pussy and being less abashed about it than O’Donnell is about liking cock, but a guy with reasonably normal social skills can express that in a coherent, honest, respectful way that is amenable to reaching a consensus about how far we’re going on the 460 bus tonight, if you know what I mean.

There are two obstacles to achieving this ideal. We’ve already discussed the fact that the asshats are out in force, which is somewhat consistent with my experiences in Old City and very consistent with my experiences in Manayunk. Holy misogynistic cockhounds. The other, more subtle problem, however, is that so few of the kind of sexually frustrated guys who strive to relate to women as friends and equals are not out on the town. This isn’t entirely because they’re shy, either; most of the ones who wouldn’t want to go out solo would be glad to go out with their buddies, of both genders, from Intervarsity. But, as Pee-Wee Herman said in the theater, there’s the rub. These guys are disproportionately spending their free time in groups like Intervarsity Christian Fellowship. I’m an alumnus, so I know whereof I speak, and I speak of the sexually repressed badgering the sexually repressed into small groups and accountability partnerships. This isn’t the realm of Newman Club gushers, but on close examination, or in retrospect for those of us who aren’t glad to have fallen through the cracks in the bottom of the dating pool, it’s bad enough. These guys are too busy going to fellowship meetings to watch wiggety-wack videos about Holy Spirit awakenings bringing peace, sobriety and a Christian police force to Hemet, and peace, sobriety, wildly successful church plantings and huge-ass Ephesians 3:20 cabbage crops to Honduran highlanders, to go out to a pub, nurse a pint, and get chatted up by some hedonistic chicks. And if they show an inclination to spend Friday night doing the latter rather than the former, there’s a good chance that their accountability partners or various members of the peanut gallery at their small groups will advise them to spend more time in the Word. The long-term social ramifications of this approach for the bachelor type are not considered; in fact, they’re considered unworthy of consideration because the only edifying sexuality is the God-honoring marital kind, and if you spend enough time in the Word, enough Quiet Time, you’ll be convicted of this.

Ooh yeah, I know the lingo. I’ve been around that block a time or two. I can’t say I recommend it unless you’ve got a serious girlfriend who isn’t bashful about PDA, preferably one who doesn’t take the meddlesome boors at Creation too seriously. Even if she does get convicted by that pedantic, Manichean purity crusade, there’s a good chance that she’ll end up working as, say, a bartender in a venerable old Virginian municipality of NoVa (that shit along Chain Bridge Road and the Jefferson Davis Highway is NOT Virginia, I’m sorry to say), making her own independent sexual decisions with a series of boyfriends, and not being totally neurotic about it, unlike her neighbors in Arlington and Adams-Morgan, who are just plain neurotic about everything and need a Xanax stat. They don’t tell you this at Creation, but some of you young people may discover in due time that, married or not, you’re ready for big girl sex. Or big boy sex. Or, depending on your inclinations, sex with Los Angeles radio personality Big Boy. But that’s between you and him. Or between you and her. A good rule of thumb is that it’s between you and whoever is nailing or prospectively nailing you to the mattress, and the only way some pearl-clutching twit in a turtleneck on the main stage at the Giant Center has a compelling say in that is if he goes from third party to direct party and, say, takes you backstage to show you what happens when he gets edified and, upright in the sight of the Lord, produces his own creation.

Hey, it could be worse. You could be letting Ted Haggard pay for your meth habit.

These are the kind of people who should be out at the bars looking for hookups, not the ones who are actually putting themselves out there and making an antisocial nuisance of themselves. Evangelicals are always talking about ways to witness to the world, and this is one way they could become natural witnesses–not for the binary sexuality that their youth group leaders so cherish, but for civilization, broadly and meaningfully defined, for asshat abatement by sheer force of numbers. Manayunk may be hardened, flood-prone ground unreceptive to their message, but they should at least be able to reap a harvest in Old City, and maybe hogtie some Bros and put them on the next northbound R6. Christine O’Donnell shouldn’t be cruising the town for those jerks; she should be organizing meet-ups for Theology, and Some Things We Needn’t Name, on Tap. We’ve already seen the most likely alternative, after all.

With respect to another pragmatic asshat abatement program: If any of you ladies find yourselves with one of these Bro Culture cretins during the witchy moon time and he makes a scene about it, the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes don’t permit you to wait until he’s passed out and then tampon-Superman that ho, but the Common Law principle of equity does. I reckon there’s also some favorable Texas case law on the subject.

Honey Boo Boo Nation

In the tradition of P. J. O’Rourke reading The Wealth of Nations “so you don’t have to,” Rod Dreher watched an episode of “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” and reported back to the peanut gallery, so that we need not debase ourselves in that fashion. I have to respect anyone who is able to write a coherent, grammatically correct sentence and still willingly endures an episode of that rubbish in the public interest.

His summary assessment: “It was awful, but I enjoyed it in an Ignatius-at-the-Pyrtania way.” I didn’t entirely get that reference, so Dreher must be a smart chap, an assessment easily confirmed by reading the rest of his essay. It’s a lot easier to play stupid; just look at Oprah and everyone in her orbit, except for Susan Casey. And just as histrionic stupidity attracts and begets histrionic stupidity (albeit with an occasional woman of poise, decorum and thoughtfulness thrown in because, hey, someone has to edit the magazine, so she might as well be literate), intelligent writing attracts and begets intelligent writing. The intelligence in the comment thread on the Honey Boo Boo Nation article is through the roof. Where pedantic, harebrained “progressives” talk about diversity, the American Conservative attracts it like mayflies to a lantern, and it’s the real deal, not the mushy kind they carried on about in college. Not only is the discourse vigorous and varied, it’s also eminently civil, a sad rarity on teh Interwebs. Rod Dreher and his peanut gallery have given legislatures from Capitol Hill to Sacramento the solution to partisan acrimony. Alas, those who need instruction have hardened their hearts. Also, the reading level may go over their heads a bit, and you can’t expect our legislators to have the attention span needed to read through a long-form essay and comment thread if they won’t read legislation before voting on it. Maybe the only real solution is for someone to release a new version of Angry Birds, this one called Nice Birds. If we can’t reach Congress and the California General Assembly at our own level of discourse, perhaps we can reach them at theirs.

As Dreher mentioned, that Honey Boo Boo stuff is gross. The combination of sneering, self-satisfied morbidly obese adults and preschool-age children competing in beauty pageants is exactly the kind of thing to confirm a narrowminded Yankee’s prejudices about the South and to make a decent Virginian wonder whether Georgia oughtn’t start its own war of secession. What decent Southerners apparently don’t wonder about is whether “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” is fit to play on their living room televisions, and I certainly don’t blame them. If it isn’t redneck minstrelsy, as Dreher argues, it’s pretty close. I’d say it’s more accurately described as white trash minstrelsy; Fred Reed agrees with me that there’s a very real difference between rednecks and white trash. There’s some overlap, to be sure, but not a whole lot.

Notwithstanding any taxonomical spats, however, it’s garbage by any name. I had sincerely hoped that the Jon-Benet Ramsey spectacle would kill the child pageant subculture outright, but apparently not. Say what you will about my off-color references to child molesters, randy city attorneys, and cannibals, but there are some things that a decent person simply does not do to a child. An Adults’ Hour for the childish, such as this blog or South Park, is qualitatively very different from dragging one’s young daughter into the child pageant circuit. Children deserve nurturing, protection and positive modeling from the adults in their lives; when “toddlers and tiaras” is the watchword, the kiddos are being failed by everyone around them. That’s all there is to it. It’s a shitty way to raise a child, and a shitty model of sexuality for the young and impressionable.

Then again, Mama June and the clan are being paid for their troubles, and Americans are all about making a living. Ongoing Jackass stunts as a lifestyle are, apparently, a family value, and to take a really cynical view, it’s probably better to raise one’s children in an environment of vice and spite for money than to do so out of love of the game. As Fred Reed says, the better is preferable to the worse.

The “Honey Boo Boo Nation” comment thread contains a lot of cautionary language about the consequences of sexual dissolution, but unlike what one hears from the likes of Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin, the caution seems to be overwhelmingly motivated by a genuine interest in children’s welfare. That is to say, it can properly be called conservatism, in contrast to the authoritarian asshattery that passes for conservatism in the Republican Party these days. As an occasional reader of Lawyers, Guns and Money, I find it discordant to see references to “illicit sexytime” that do not also refer to David Brooks, so perhaps Dreher’s peanut gallery should be more observant of Internet Traditions, but at least their discussion of illicit sexytime is decent and civil for a change. The Republican Party should take notice.

Nah, that would be bad for business, just like not whoring one’s family life out to the highest bidder.

Fucking for an increase in holy celibacy

That isn’t how the author would phrase it, but I don’t mind putting a cynical gloss on these things. The strident extremists may disagree, but I’d like to think that there’s a difference between faith and checking one’s brain at the door. That difference, it seems, is also more or less the difference between a functional, moral, reasonably well run church and a callous, mismanaged authoritarian cult.

Authoritarian types in the Church sometimes remind their pluralistic adversaries that the Roman Catholic Church is not a democracy. Nor, I might add, is it a republic, a distinction that I, for one, care about even if a majority of my countrymen aren’t aware that there is a distinction. I would also add that the Church’s self-perpetuating hierarchy is a compelling reason in favor of its being allowed to rule only the Vatican City; the very fact that it is a church is another good reason, a lesson lost on millions of historically illiterate cryptotheocrats and outright theocrats whose conception of civics would make the Founding Fathers turn in their graves. But to return to the Roman part: yes, the Church inherited control of what was by that point a decidedly nondemocratic Roman civil bureaucracy because no one else had the wherewithal to run the joint. Actually, it wasn’t the last time that kind of thing happened in Italian politics; Mussolini made good use of it, too. As with the American federal bureaucracy, not everything about the Roman imperial bureaucracy made any discernible sense, and as the sands of time blew where they would (or whatever the fuck it is that sands of time do, blowing probably not being it in an hourglass), additional layers of ecclesiastical protocol and regulation adhered to the contraption.

The great part was that since it happened in an apostolic church that employed some of Europe’s sharpest minds, regardless of whether the accretions were brilliant or headslappingly nonsensical they were consistently presented as having been added in the name of God and his church in the interest of holiness. Far be it from the one holy catholic and apostolic church to make any of these odd decisions for crass or even pragmatic reasons; its motives were obviously as pure as the driven snow.

Of course, the laity occasionally had popular what-the-fuck moments. In the good old days of pious and holy Christians like Torquemada, the Church dealt with lay insolence harshly and decisively, as the proto-Soviet government that it was. Then, when it found itself replaced as Western Europe’s umbrella government not by some totalitarian Warsaw Pact monstrosity but by the dour pluralists of Brussels, and when it was also forced to contend with the Satanic force of the First Amendment, it incrementally toned down the inquisitorial thuggery. This moral reform had its highminded motives, to be sure, but it was also a matter of survival; as it is, the Italian government, so called, occasionally gets petulant enough to shut off electricity to the Vatican’s shortwave radio towers, which are located on Italian soil. It stands to reason, then, that if the EU is solicitous of the easily hurt fee-fees of the Belgians, who have five regional and/or linguistic faction parliaments to govern a population of eleven million and a national capital comprised of nineteen separate municipalities, it will also be solicitous of the feelings of Europe’s please-don’t-torture-me-on-the-rack constituency. Hence, these days the Church’s recourse against subversion and what it perceives as unholiness is limited to pearl-clutching admonitions, proclamations of grievous butthurt by its lay proxies, and implicit threats to force the complainers into another schism, threats that few laypeople believe because, unlike the Brethren churches, the Catholic Church is self-evidently averse to schisms.

This notion of self-government raises an interesting question for those of us who are prone to Jesuitical flights of logical fancy and are considering law school as a way of eventually getting paid for it: If self-government requires an engaged, responsible citizenry, should not government by an episcopal junta then require a disengaged, irresponsible citizenry? Well? Thaddeus Russell himself said so in his history of whores, lazy factory workers, and pirates who hung their junk out their britches, so is it the case or not? May the Catholic laity not appropriately adopt a colonial Philadelphia Honey Badger-grade hedonistic disengagement from church politics commensurate to the say that they do not have in the affairs of their denomination?

Oh, hell no, we are not dealing with Jesuits this time, at least not the kind of Jesuits that give their order such a good name in secular and ecumenical circles. The counterpoint to my logical objection is quite simple: “Catholic guilt: try it some time.” NFP partisans have a lot more Catholic guilt than they have good things to say about the Jesuits, if they have anything to say about the Jesuits at all. They might put in a good word from time to time about the kind of Jesuit who fancies himself the Don Quixote of his order, the one true Scotsman in a rabble of British appeasement traitors, St. Thomas More to the little Henry VIII heretical devils who run their colleges, but the NFP partisans are as likely to refer to the Jesuit tradition as they are to one-up me by announcing that their sexual repression is the definitive answer to the 777’s balanced field problem. Fuck, I didn’t know what the hell a balanced field was until earlier this year, but I did know that a number of my friends in the Newman Club weren’t exactly playing on one.

So, to get back on topic from our disordered aviation metaphors about even more disordered behavior, the shortage of young people who want to devote their lives to a priesthood whose mandatory celibacy was instituted as a very worldly response to the Medieval wills-and-trusts problem of priests including church property in their estates is very much the proper concern of every Catholic parent. The fact that the Church comes up with this stuff on its own and apparently has some hella weird shit going on in its priesthood and holy orders is no excuse for not having at least a 14% rate of vocations among your own children, a rate that you’ll surely boost by doing it bareback with your honey and not using any of the dark chemical arts to avoid getting knocked up.

Where, you ask, was the Jesuitical logic behind that statement? There wasn’t any, silly! Look, if you want an idea of how hackneyed the argumentation is in the Catholic NFP Mom blog, consider this statement: “And these children as adults exprienced (sic) an influx of divorce and contraception in their own marriages as the message to raise holy families was stifled by both the silence of the church and the clamor of the culture. Satan succeeded to hold back the beauty of the Church in the minds of those young people who were sent out into a new selfish world of sex, drugs, and rock and roll.”

Not the greatest syntax, but let’s leave that aside. An “influx of divorce and contraception” is akin to an “onslaught of spousal battery and junk food consumption.” Not to put too fine a point on it, divorce and contraception are in no way equivalent in their effects on children. Controlling when one conceives is not on the same moral plane as cleaving one’s family in an outburst of acrimony while the lawyers run off with a substantial portion of what they were allegedly trying to seize from their adversaries on behalf of their bickering clients. This isn’t to say that divorces always turn out like that. Some couples handle divorce amicably and with class, but there’s no comparing the likelihood of trouble in a divorce with the all but made-up problems caused by contraception in marriage. Every one of the latter alleged destructive effects–divorce, husbands’ disrespect for their wives, boring sex, etc–is at most tangential to contraceptive use and is consequently buttressed with an overbearing, intellectually vacuous insistence that correlation implies causation, an assertion that is much easier to make when one makes absolutely no effort to control for variables other than contraceptive use. Do NFP couples get divorced less often because they are more highly educated and better paid than contraceptive users, or because the sort of assholes who will inevitably treat their spouses like shit take themselves out of the NFP pool once they hear about the severe limits on sexual spontaneity? The answers to these questions are not ones that you’ll hear from NFP partisans, any more than you’ll hear a remotely balanced pharmacological assessment of the benefits and adverse side effects of oral contraceptives. All you need to know about the latter is that they’re yucky-yucky manmade chemicals that will flatline your sex drive, and you’re probably a filthy hedonistic slut if you’re looking for medicines to mitigate your menstrual problems.

Then we read about the unholy trinity of “sex, drugs, and rock and roll.” The only thing I like about that phrase is that it used proper punctuation and didn’t use that stupid ‘n’ contrivance as a spelling convention, because in every other respect it was a hallmark of a small mind. Let’s be clear about this and cause what butthurt we may to America’s aging boomers: for those of us who aren’t stupidly obsessed with the fact that a stupid subculture made a big deal out of how it spent the summer of 1969 in a mudpit, dropping acid, and fucking fellow dirtballs at the drop of a hat, the Woodstock phenomenon is of no particular consequence, except that screechers on both sides of the culture war won’t shut the fuck up about it. Normally, if I heard about such a thing, all I’d say is that I find it depressing to talk about alcoholic Queenslanders, and leave it at that. Enough ink has been spilled about Woodstock and its spinoffs already, and good God, y’all, what is it good for? Alas, in this case the bullshit is so overrated that the only way to debunk its central importance to all people everywhere is to bang on about it a bit more, but this time about what a stupid red herring it is, either as a lodestone of virtue or as a lodestone of vice, to any serious discussion of the sixties.

Like the McCarthyite discourse about communism, the discourse about 1960s culture is just fucking bizarre in its fixation on minor, if not imaginary, problems instead of very real, very serious ones. Frankly, if you’re pissy about the drug-fueled fuckery of Woodstock but not about the rash of assassinations of police officers in the early 1970s, you’re either an ignoramus or a repressed, resentful busybody. If the times you’re critiquing featured epic bigotry; fractiousness that threatened to cleave your country along racial, political and class lines; recurrent civil unrest; assassination as a routine political tool; and mass butchery of your country’s youth in a foreign war on behalf of a series of incompetent, corrupt, effete regimes that your country’s foreign intelligence services deposed whenever the spirit moved them, further strengthening popular support for the very austere, very principled anticolonial guerrilla insurgency that your own country’s armed forces were fighting; then the most serious problems in your country in those times were not cultural pluralism, drug use or sexual license. They just weren’t.

If teh Woodstock stoopid really is the extent of your understanding of the 1960s, you’re an idiot. Of course, the dipshits on both sides love to carry on about that shit, the liberals about how it freed everyone from oppression by the Man, the conservatives about how it sent society to hell in a hand basket and, for those of a Catholic bent, unleashed the forces of Satan and kept the Holy Spirit from getting thee to the nunnery. So of course both sides, but particularly the right,  ignore the historical truth that the first three postwar decades were a time of unparalleled economic opportunity and equality in the United States. (The left ignores it mainly because it’s still too fixated on the titties of acid-dropping concertgoers.) There’s obviously no way that the relative abundance of vocations in the 1930s had anything to do with an economic collapse that unleashed a wave of predation on the land; no, it was a work of the Holy Spirit performed upon a nation of holy Catholics whose increase in holiness was aided by the wholesome, uplifting radio programming of Father Charles Coughlin. Because, you know, they had broadcast decency standards back then.

There’s no need to worry about the end of history when you’re dealing with the NFP crowd. They don’t care that Francis Fukuyama called time on that game; they weren’t playing it in the first place. The really prolific breeders whose children filled the celibate orders, the ones with eight, ten or twelve children, who were far from uncommon back then, weren’t practicing any sort of family planning at all; they were just having shitloads of babies. Some of the couples with smaller families were doing likewise, but were affected by some combination of stillbirths, neonatal and childhood deaths, and low fertility. The very phrase “natural family planning” is a neologism whose first known use Merriam-Webster dates to 1975. Frankly, the motivations for popularizing that terminology were (and remain) Orwellian: its proponents wanted to discredit much more reliable artificial family planning methods that allowed for more sexual spontaneity, like condoms and oral contraceptives, and they wanted to bamboozle the public into thinking that their natural, less reliable method had nothing in common with the rhythm method, which was widely ridiculed as superstitious sectarian bunkum.

This isn’t the only example of NFP screechers living in an ahistorical bubble. The same “vocations crisis” post refers to College Station, TX, as “Steubenville South.” You’ll hear a lot about Steubenville in NFP circles, often orgasmic logorrhea from someone who just came back from a retreat at Franciscan University of Steubenville and won’t shut up about how amazingly holy everyone was. The funny thing, though, is that you won’t hear a word about Steubenville as a city. For that, you’ll have to track down a Rat Pack aficionado, and that’s when things really get interesting. It turns out that Dean Martin grew up there, and by the way, it’s an irredeemably corrupt, mob-infested Rust Belt riverfront shithole with a notoriously lawless police department.

Oh. It must be nice to be hermetically sealed off from all that in the ivory tower. You need to realize, though, that Franciscan is a real Catholic university, not one of those pseudocatholic joints like Villanova or Georgetown or the constellation of schools named after Ignatius Loyola, so you, too, should seek holiness by spending your vacation on the outskirts of a police mob den about whose governance you care not a whit.

Catholic NFP Mom touches on a couple of other kinds of crazy that are worth mentioning. First, her seven-year-old daughter is torn between a perceived vocation to the religious life and an intense desire to be a wife and mother. Cue our fellow motor vehicle enthusiast, Prince: “Baby, you’ve got to slow down!”

More to the point, that way lies madness. When I think of cradle Catholics who can’t balance their dueling calls to marriage and to the celibate orders, I immediately think of John the Bathtub Baptist, the man who precipitated my matriculation into RCIA by imploring me to let him summarily baptize me in his family bathtub at a cocktail party. It was no secret to me that a Catholic priest might get defrocked, or at least taken out to the woodshed by his bishop, for pulling shit like that, and I very much liked the idea of handling that kind of thing in a process-oriented church that also happened not to bang on about Calvinist predestination and the righteousness of damnation for the unbeliever. The downside of that process-oriented approach to ministry, of course, is that guys like John the Bathtub Baptist can’t get married and then become Catholic priests unless they drop out and go Anglican in the meantime, a Canon Law headslapper whose navigation is known in Episcopal circles as “swimming the Tiber” or “swimming the Thames.” What happened to John the Bathtub Baptist instead was that he wandered out of the Catholic Church (it probably had something to do with the allegedly crappy preaching that Catholics complain about when they’ve spent too much time watching Joel Osteen), got evangelized by nondenom surfer evangelists in Hawaii, and decided to get out of the shallow end of the theological pool by joining the Oxbridge Reform theology community, which practices and preaches a right honorable, right reverent form of snooty batshit.

Second, Catholic NFP Mom puts in a good word for Opus Dei. Heeby-jeeby-jeeby. That’s one lay movement that gave me the creeps from the moment I first heard of it. It’s a twisted organization for twisted minds. Really, all you need to know about Opus Dei is that Robert Philip Hanssen was a member. Yes, it’s a fine outfit for upstanding religious chaps who secretly record themselves having sex with their wives and join the FBI so that they can fulfill their lifelong ambition of being Kim Philby. Robert Philip Hanssen is exactly the kind of sicko who would join such an organization.

Good luck finding anything at Villanova that’s as sick as that.

Vulpecular Visions of a Melodious Mind

Pretentious title? Sure. Also, the writing can be disorganized. That said, Audiofox’s essays are in a completely different world of honesty and sobriety from the self-referential thundering of the freaks I just got done skewering. It stands to reason that the antidote to American theocratic nuttery would come from Canada, just like the solution to our suck-ass pharmaceutical retail industry does. Just don’t extrapolate this statement to their politicians; their Liberals have gone off the deep end into the politically correct abyss, and even if Stockwell Day is a relative improvement over the authoritarian asshats who have hijacked the GOP, keep in mind that he managed to scare up some young-earth creationists in Red Deer and then pander to them like any good Republican would do stateside.

The right-wing hive mind would probably dismiss Audiofox as another Canadian moral relativist. Like a lot of things that American “conservatives” say about Canada, that would be bullshit, a descriptor that is perfectly reputable in its honest usage but has been misappropriated as a stupid tribal slur. To judge from the journaling in her blog, she is a textbook example of the ethical slut, the kind of woman who gives Lady Lejeune another case of the vapors but whose efforts to be responsible about her promiscuity are exactly what a decent person would hope for in a pluralistic society. Pluralism is, of course, a subject of hotly contested Opposing Viewpoints in American religious circles, although the reactionaries usually try to use subtler language than, “shut your legs, you slut.” Audiofox does a good job of calling out catfighting bitches and cockblocking busybodies, a custom strange to religious communities where the official consensus is that it would be horribly rude to challenge one’s coreligionist for being a meddlesome bitch about a third party’s private sexual behavior.

Like Vaclav Havel and me, Audiofox is all about living in truth. That’s a rather forward statement, but for bold appropriation of Vaclav Havel’s name it has nothing on the shit libertarians say in his defense when some obscure, tweedy English Marxist calls their man bourgeois, thinking that that will discredit the Velvet Revolution. For the cockhound, an important component of living in truth is admitting that, hell yes, one likes the cock. We’ve seen where being ashamed of this proclivity can lead, and as I’ve suggested, it isn’t the honest who I’m worried will nonconsensually cover me in a shmear of their artesian goo.