Change the Government, Change the Country

It’s almost trite to point out that if you read the Latin poets of classical Rome, one thing you will come across again and again are laments about the moral standards of youth… and any readers of Robert Graves should be equally aware of Augustus’ concern that sexual morals were going to pot. O Tempora, O Mores!

In the aftermath of the US Election, it looks like the release of a film about the pioneering sex researcher, Kinsey, is causing consternation. Writing in the New York Times, Frank Rich informs readers about the latest front in the Culture Wars, the ‘battle against sex in America’.

Rich notes that when Kinsey’s report was released, 75% of Americans approved of his work. A few years ago I was doing some research into religious attitudes towards homosexuality. I was interested to find that mainstream Christian publications such as Christianity Today spent much of the family-friendly 50s bemoaning the collapse of sexual morality. All that jitterbugging, I guess. But back then Evangelicals largely stayed out of politics and the cultural domain. Not so today.

Rich senses a pattern:

Yet even as the “Kinsey” spot was barred in New York, a public radio station in North Carolina, WUNC-FM, told an international women’s rights organization based in Chapel Hill that it could not use the phrase “reproductive rights” in an on-air announcement. In Los Angeles, five commercial TV channels, fearing indecency penalties, refused to broadcast a public service spot created by Los Angeles county’s own public health agency to counteract a rising tide of syphilis. Nationwide, the big three TV networks all banned an ad in which the United Church of Christ heralded the openness of its 6,000 congregations to gay couples.

The technique of the boycott campaign also appears to be selectively applied:

In the case of “Kinsey,” the Traditional Values Coalition has called for a yearlong boycott of all movies released by Fox. (With the hypocrisy we’ve come to expect, it does not ask its members to boycott Fox’s corporate sibling in the Murdoch empire, Fox News.) But such organizations don’t really care about “Kinsey” – an art-house picture that, however well reviewed or Oscar-nominated, will be seen by a relatively small audience, mostly in blue states. The film is just this month’s handy pretext for advancing the larger goal of pushing sex of all nonbiblical kinds back into the closet and undermining any scientific findings, whether circa 1948 or 2004, that might challenge fundamentalist sexual orthodoxy as successfully as Darwin challenged Genesis.

So much for the First Amendment!

About Mark Bahnisch

Mark Bahnisch is a sociologist and is the founder of this blog. He has an undergraduate degree in history and politics from UQ, and postgraduate qualifications in sociology, industrial relations and political economy from Griffith and QUT. He has recently been awarded his PhD through the Humanities Program at QUT. Mark's full bio is on this page.
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2022 years ago

How about this review of Walt Disney’s The Shark Tale from the American Family Association:

“Something’s Swishy About Shark Tale
Cartoon Primes Kids with a Pro-Homosexual Message”

What is it with the fundy Christians and their obsession with sex particularly of the same-sex variety?

2022 years ago

yikes! walt disney attacks family values! whatever next!

2022 years ago

What has the First Amendemnt got to do with anything?

PETA is free to organise boycotts of films because animals have been depicted nude without their permission, fundies is free to organise boycotts of films with gay fish.

The First Amendment regulates actions by the Congress, and no-one else.

2022 years ago

Sounds like AFA is singing from the Andrew Bolt “Finding Nemo is vegetarian propaganda” hymn sheet.

Mark Bahnisch
Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Ok, blank, I’ll modify it to “whatever happened to freedom of speech?”

The real issue is not boycotts – yeah, sure, whatever. The issue is what can and cannot be said in a largely corporatised public domain. Surely anyone would agree that public health measures about stds are important. I guess if we don’t draw attention to sex, no-one will know what it is and have sex. And surely people who support reproductive rights should be able to say so? Couldn’t even Fox News recognise that as balance or is balance only Murdoch propaganda? And surely if a church wants to purchase air time to say it’s gay-friendly, it has a right to? After all, the jurisprudence on political free speech in the States usually equates being able to pay to get out a political message with freedom of speech – hence a lot of the problems with the various attempts at campaign finance reform…

2022 years ago

Perhaps those who support ‘reproductive rights’ should come clean and air ads that say things like ‘Kill Your Children for the Sake of Your Job’?

I imagine those ads were rejected because they were overtly divisive and disineguous about it not because they were to do with abortion. Similarly, I cannot prima facie understand the banning of the gay church commercial: I’ve viewed it and it was clunky, but harmless. Then again, it makes it’s point by characterising others who don’t agree as door bitches on the Gate of Heaven, hardly the kind of thing to air on primtime tee vee.

I find it strange that you talk of campaign finance reform in a post that attacks conservatives when people like Soros, Moore and the crowd used obscene amounts of soft money to try to unseat Bush.

If people want to pay for an ad they will. If they don’t want to see certain things on their televisions, they will agigate so they won’t. If that is not democracy in action, I don’t know what is.

Nic White
2022 years ago

Dreadnought people should have the right to be exposed to everything so they can make informed decisions, this is why many people condemn censorship in all its forms.

“Perhaps those who support ‘reproductive rights’ should come clean and air ads that say things like ‘Kill Your Children for the Sake of Your Job’?”

That would be dishonest, because there is no medical proof about at what point the organism has be considered human, and therefore able to be murdered. Saying everyone who has an abortion does it to save their jobs is absurd and demeaning.

2022 years ago

“The point at which the organism has to be considered human” is not really in question. The organism which results from a human sperm combining with a human embryo is a human being.
What is in question is the legal status of this human being, which is a legal decision, and thus ultimately a political decision.

Under current Australian law, ‘persons'(not human beings) have legal rights, and to be a ‘person’ requires live birth.

There have been some recent cases where expectant mothers have been assaulted, resulting in the termination of the pregnancy. The assailant cannot not be charged with manslaughter (or murder) in these cases.

However, if not-yet-unborn human being is injured, and is later born alive, and thus becomes a ‘person’, that person can sue for injuries caused to it while it was not a ‘person’.

2022 years ago

a human ovum combining with a human sperm is a human being

2022 years ago

But pretty typical of the “overtly divisive and disineguous” ways that the fundamentalist lobbies work.

So Dreadnought, the Fundamentalists are allowed to call it murder because God is on their side, yet the other side of the argument is to be censored because God isn’t on theirs?

Or is it ok to censor them because their views just aren’t yours?

2022 years ago

Where did I call for censorship? I merely pointed up what might be considered less than charitable in the ad in question. In the interests of reason, limited airtime means that certain things have to be dropped. A Church ad calling for more charity or love is probably going to get more play than one that impugns all other faiths but one’s own.

Since when does advocating for life from conception until natural death (the view held, at least nominally by over a billion Catholics and many others) make one a Fundamentalist?

Abortion doctors/supporters won’t even speak of the abortion procedure, let alone the larger questions. There are layers of lies, I just pointed out the most obvious. Oh and abortionists make an absolute killing in medical fees so Evil Rupert isn’t the only one likely to exert undue influence in Mark’s ‘corporatised’ public square.

Finally, many would argue Augie’s interest in arresting and reversing the moral decline of the late Republic was a key plank in his wider and wildly successful effort to unite the Empire and rebuild Rome’s prestige.