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Look what they done to my smut, ma

By TBogg
Monday, December 9, 2013 13:19 EDT
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Oh dear.

It seems that upright citizens cultural scold Lee Siegel, who once saved America from not only the tyranny of  blogofascism but also single-handedly stemmed the blight of ballcaps, is – once again – being hoi polloi annoyed by the commoners whose base instincts have become a bit too base for Lee’s tastes. Taking to the astringently asexual pages of the Wall Street Journal, Siegel clutches his pearl necklace (not that kind of pearl necklace, you low-born filth monger) and laments the SAD STATE OF SEXUAL AFFAIRS  in America after one of his kids busted in on him while he was “researching” celebrity sex by googling ‘naked Alyson Hannigan’:

“What’s celebrity sex, Dad?” It was my 7-year-old son, who had been looking over my shoulder at my computer screen. He mispronounced “celebrity” but spoke the word “sex” as if he had been using it all his life. “Celebrity six,” I said, abruptly closing my AOL screen. “It’s a game famous people play in teams of three,” I said, as I ushered him out of my office and downstairs into what I assumed was the safety of the living room.

No such luck. His 3-year-old sister had gotten her precocious little hands on my wife’s iPhone as it was charging on a table next to the sofa. By randomly tapping icons on the screen, she had conjured up an image of Beyoncé barely clad in black leather, caught in a suggestive pose that I hoped would suggest nothing at all to her or her brother.

And so it went on this typical weekend. The eff-word popped out of TV programs we thought were friendly enough to have on while the children played in the next room. Ads depicting all but naked couples beckoned to them from the mainstream magazines scattered around the house. The kids peered over my shoulder as I perused my email inbox, their curiosity piqued by the endless stream of solicitations having to do with one aspect or another of sex, sex, sex!

When did the culture become so coarse?

While research would seem to indicate that this happened in July of 1969, or possibly with the release of Ken Starr’s humid little potboiler The Human Stain , it most likely began about seven years ago in the Siegel household when Siegel fils entered the world as the result of mommy and daddy loving each other in a very special way, nine months prior, following several pitchers of Harvey Wallbangers and a Shannon Tweed double feature on Cinemax. Now, seven years later, Lee is ruing the day he found so many sex sites intriguing and signed up for their newsletters (again: for research) which are filling up his in-box, even though he freely admits that he was once a ‘player’ who enjoyed a good cinematic rogering:

It’s a question that quickly gets you branded as either an unsophisticated rube or some angry culture warrior. But I swear on my hard drive that I’m neither. My favorite movie is “Last Tango in Paris.”

A film that proves that existential angst, like art-house popcorn, always goes down a little bit easier with butter. But nowadays, sex and the culture it clutters up is not so high-minded and it seems more interested in getting into you pants than it does in getting into your head, unlike the good old days when the Beatles coyly suggested “Why don’t we do it in the road’.

Everyone remembers the Rolling Stones’ “Brown Sugar,” whose sexual and racial provocations were perfectly calibrated for 1971. Few, if any, people can recall their foray into explicit obscenity two years later with “Star Star.” The earlier song was sly and licentious; behind the sexual allusions were the vitality and energy to carry them out. The explicitness of “Star Star” was for bored, weary, repressed squares in the suburbs, with their swingers parties and “key clubs.”

What happened to you,  America? And where did it all go to h-e-double hockey sticks?

Cherchez une jeune fille appelee Brooke Shields:

Normalized by TV and the rest of the media, the counterculture of the 1970s was smoothly assimilated into the commercial culture of the 1980s. Recall the 15-year-old Brooke Shields appearing in a commercial for Calvin Klein jeans in 1980, spreading her legs and saying, “Do you know what comes between me and my Calvins? Nothing.” From then on, there was no going back.

One might suggest that things actually got down and dirty in 1972 when Deep Throat had couples lining up around the block in search of artistic enlightenment, and maybe a few pointers, and sex strutted out of the sleazy backroom and into the living room. Or onto the kitchen table before the kids were born. Back then we could claim that we were opening our minds, and  our legs,  to a wilder world of experiences and, as you may have heard: if you free your mind,  your ass will follow (Funkadelic 1970). But, just like hearing Working for The Clampdown being played on an elevator, sex has sold itself out and has gone mainstream and now it has lost that loving transgressive feeling. This horrific turn of events has left serious collectors and completists of erotica esoterica like Lee Siegel  lamenting the good old days when, to get your rocks off (Rolling Stones 1972), you had to go looking for love in all the wrong places:

Though many of these vulgar outlaws were eventually warily embraced by the mainstream, to one degree or another, it wasn’t until long after their deaths that society assimilated them, still warily, and sometimes not at all. In their own lifetimes, they mostly existed on the margins or in the depths; you had to seek them out in society’s obscure corners. That was especially the case during the advent of new types of music. Swing, bebop, Sinatra, cool jazz, rock ‘n’ roll—all were specialized, youth-oriented upheavals in sound and style, and they drove the older generation crazy.

Now anyone and everyone is jerkin’ to the twerking and the Lee Siegel’s of the world are watching their hobby go mainstream with a dick dick here and a twerk twerk there, and all this sexual ubiquity has taken the fun and danger out of inviting a young lady with a fine-turned ankle and a dewy decolletage over for an evening of erotic titillation. Ah, those were the days, as prescribed in the Holy Book of The Playboy Advisor (blessed be Hef’s name), when a simple Miles Davis LP and a Klimt giclee print were more than enough to butter a gal up.

O tempora! O mores! Oh,  Story of O….

 
 
 
 
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