Monday, January 10, 2005

Beat misery through blogging

After a very unsatisfactory day involving the county clerk, an underperforming car dealer employee (no one named "Candy" has ever won a Nobel prize), and a Chesapeake Bay retriever, I wish that Mondays came with "rewind" buttons. But they don't.

So onward--to movies.

We ended our trip to Utah and watched another Mormon-themed movie, Latter Days. You won't find Richard Dutcher anyone near this one: the plot involves the seduction of a Mormon missionary in Los Angeles by a gay neighbor, the impossibly gorgeous Wes Ramsey.

Meanwhile, anyone moving to Utah should pick up a copy of Green Jell-o and Red Punch: The Heinous Truth about Utah. It's a guide to Utah culture in the spirit of Augusten Burroughs' Running with Scissors.

Then, in the spirit of the bumper sticker, "Doing my part to piss off the Religious Right," we watched Kinsey at a theatre in downtown Fort God

According to some, pioneering sex researcher Alfred Kinsey (together with Hugh Hefner and, I don't know, maybe Helen Gurley Brown) nearly destroyed Western civilization.

For Kinsey's fans, finding out that masturbation or homosexuality did not make you insane was liberating.

It's a conflict between inductive and deductive reasoning, in a way. Kinsey, a natural scientist, was inductive: he gathered data--lots of data--and then drew conclusions. His detractors are deductive: they want to start with stated truths ("Thou shalt not . . .") and make experience fit those truths.

For example, if "X" percent of married American women have sex outside of marriage, it becomes more statistically "normal." Does that make it acceptable, or is it still wrong? There is the battleground.

Kinsey could not answer that question: emotional and spiritual realities were outside his method. His data collection too, especially on the first book on male sexual behavior, had some problems. But at least he provided data of types that no one before him had provided, and so he forever changed these moral debates.


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