By Maria Padhila
You know that point when you’re arguing with someone and it starts escalating? And both sides start digging in their heels and pulling in more and more supporting examples, and expanding the argument, and making more points and counterpoints until you’re shouting “This all goes back to your being a carbon-based life form!” and your partner is shouting “We’re not going to settle this unless we blow up the universe and start over!”
Typical. Some people think you can solve anything with another big bang.
I think this is the point we’re reaching with the sex and relationship wars. We’ve escalated into overkill. At the same time as we’re seeing increased civil rights and changes in policy and legislature, and increased acceptance everywhere around us, welcoming different identities and relationship forms, we’re seeing an opposite reaction that’s so over-the-top it verges on parody.
Check out this case in point. But don’t be sipping your tea while you watch it. It’s a spit-take waiting to happen. Brigham Young University in Idaho released a helpful video cautioning against porn and masturbation that uses images and language comparing touching your dick to being shot at in the trenches on the front line. Or, as one commenter put it, to being in “the Battle of the Bulge.”
The jokes have abounded about this one. Even Jay Leno talked about it on The Tonight Show, re-titling the video “Saving Ryan’s Privates.” But The Daily Beast won the headline award. Here’s their take:
Self-Love is a Battlefield
The temptations of the Great War are many. The battles are real, and the strategies are clever. The enemy is cruel, ruthless, and relentless. We must not underestimate the danger. We must be vigilant… and valiant.”
Confused? So are undergraduates at Brigham Young University’s satellite campus in Idaho. A motivational video released by the school’s Housing and Student Living office urges students to report friends, roommates, or themselves if they suspect that they are masturbating too much. Hoping to combat the “social stigma against those who speak up in the face of evil,” the video urges BYU students to not leave the wounded on the masturbatory battlefield.
The video’s protagonist, a “lonely, confused young man” whose roommates ignore his onanistic impulses until he becomes addicted to pornography and quits attending church, is shown injured on a World War I-style battlefield. His friends, after hesitating for fear of being a “tattle-tale,” rescue him in the midst of heavy crossfire and celebrate his return with a round of (non-pocket) pool. The reformed porn addict shares a knowing look with his roommate, who is always there to lend a helping hand.
We need a tissue.
Others have said they find the video a trifle homoerotic, and as someone who prefers gay porn for its generally great-looking guys, I have to say I agree a little bit, and give a big thumbs up!
Most reactions centered on the disbelief that people can still “think this way” in our enlightened times. After all, didn’t we see, just in the past few weeks, all kinds of advances in LGBT civil rights, including a mass marriage on prime time television? An NFL draftee who came out as gay? Facebook changing to allow gender identity variations? LGBT leaders, entertainers and bestselling authors giving speeches in the nation’s capital? And a lot of people are pretty much yawning at it all, or saying sure, or applauding.
Just the other day on a poly forum, people were discussing whether being poly could affect your security clearance (an everyday deal in the Delaware-Maryland-Virginia area), and the answers were that no, it had never been an issue, as long as you were out, because the sticking point has always been whether you can be blackmailed, and others said being poly hadn’t had career repercussions. How’s that for a big “you’re poly, so what.” I love it.
But we’ve also seen attempts to limit not just abortion rights, but birth control rights, and such attempts are serious and ongoing. We’re watching a televised sports spectacle occurring in a country where it’s illegal to be gay. We’ve seen reports of gay people imprisoned, starved and whipped in countries under religious law. The thought of those men sneaking into the Nigeria prisons to bring food and news makes me want to weep.
It’s on, all right. And it’s deadly serious. But one way you can tell that this one is winnable — even in those places under disgusting and horrifying religious law — is that those who are oppressive are so over-the-top. You don’t get that heated and crazy unless you know you’re losing. And if they use that kind of energy in the skirmish, the opponent just has to stay cool and let them burn themselves out. Just keep making the points and hold the line in the human rights laws, just keep jabbing at the lies and pretensions, just stay strong and honest. Just keep laughing.
That’s not going to turn the situation in Nigeria around. But the saner we are, the crazier they look, and the harder it gets for them to justify their position. The wing nuttiness is getting intensively crazier and more destructive as it burns out, but it’s dominating a smaller and smaller space. What did they say against marriage equality? That it would mean “the death of the family.” Overkill again. Who says things like that? Who imagines that that’s rational or effective as an argument? Eventually, it’s being proven wrong and absurd.
The Mormon video is a lighter example, and really, in some ways, I’m inclined to say let everyone have their propaganda. Because progressives will always make better movies, ones that will make everyone change their minds all over again. We’ll always be better artists. We’ve won that battle right out of the gate.
Have you tried the Planet Waves premium membership? Sign up for a six-month membership and receive weekly and monthly horoscopes by Eric Francis, plus more. Eric’s horoscopes offer perspectives on your relationships, family dynamics, career and creativity like no other horoscopes online.