Lightmind Extract 040

01Jan08

mdpc 6.14.05
The O.J. Simpson trial- jealousy-fueled rage, sexual control
Clinton/Lewinsky- extra-marital sexuality, power
Chandra Levy disappearance/murder- extra-marital sexuality, vanity ( i.e., Gary Condit’s apparent concern for his career outweighing concern for the well-being of a woman he had been intimate with)
Scott Peterson- extra-marital sexuality, rage at being confined to adult roles/responsibilities?
Michael Jackson- sexuality

So it would seem that sexuality and the inability to integrate it properly into one’s life, especially within the strict confines accorded to a public figure, are common denominators in all of these cases. In these examples, which have been feverishly and salaciously delivered to us by formerly sober-ish media outfits such as CNN and the big three networks, the hidden side of sexuality is brought to light– but not in a felicitous way.

Are these problems with sexuality endemic to our culture; remnants of our Puritan past and other religious-inspired cultural conditioning, or is this a species-wide conundrum– that is, is sexuality simply too wild and primal a force to ever be reigned in so as to satisfy the dictates of polite society? Is the reproductive urge and all of the concomitant complex psychic forces which shape our sexuality always destined to play itself out in a decidedly unwieldy and perhaps even tragic manner? Do the otherwise apparently ultra-civilized Danes and the Swedes have their own Jackos and their own Clintonian sex scandals? Or what about the idyllic visions instilled in us by Rousseau, or Gaugin, or countless anthropologists who have delivered us romantic accounts of “exotic” cultures living in harmony with their “animal” natures?

I wonder about the degree to which arguably the least disturbing of these examples, Clinton/Lewinsky, and Michael Jackson, may have to at least a small extent contributed to bit of healing around the shadow areas of sexuality in our culture. Surely many men (and presumably some women) breathed a bit easier inside their skin when they learned that the President of the United States, a man who had achieved the highest totem that one may aspire to in our culture… all of his political power notwithstanding, was unable to “overpower” his particular sexual urges, with the result that he was caught having phone sex and commiting other improprieties with a woman alarmingly close to his teenage daughter’s age. Suddenly it may not have seemed so bad if the average schlub found himself to be a “pervert”; to occasionally be led by his sexual desires to places that were somewhat less than dignified. Hell, the president of the U.S. of A. dunnit! Cigars, etc.

And with the case of Jackson, though he is infamous for his bizarre lifestyle and appearances, he nonetheless retains a megacelebrity status that countless numbers of fans worship; and furthermore he remains beloved by many for his music even as they look disapprovingly on his eccentricities. Perhaps here is a candidate for humanizing one of the last great “demons” in our society: the pedophile. It can’t be emphasized enough that I am in no way condoning sexualizing or exploiting or molesting children/minors, etc. (or any conceivable variety of nonconsensual or non-adult sexuality); and as well, I would have to say that the most sensational and absolutely horrific of cases, such as the guy who kidnaps a child and then rapes them before killing them and leaving them for dead are perhaps very legitimately in every sense termed “demonic”.

…However, if there is ever to be any proper rehabilitation of pedophiles in our society (even if it necessitates drastic measures such as castration, chemical or otherwise) it seems apparent that one must at some point recognize the humanity of such individuals. The average pedophile, I reckon, is in large part more (at least one would hope) a case of “sick” then he is “monster” or “demon”. Likewise, the same could be said or hoped for in the case of other, more “acceptable” criminals, such as murderers…

At the risk of sounding dangerously glib in touching upon what is an extremely delicate matter, I want to say that it has occured to me that perhaps Jackson has functioned for pedophiles in the same way that Clinton might have for philanderers– in other words, a pedophile might look at himself in a new light– while though still recognizing his sexual tendencies as completely unacceptable, he may, by virtue of the cultural talismanic power that celebrity has, look at the case of Jackson and be able to reclaim a sense of humanity for himself where previously there may have only been extreme self-hatred and self-demonization. Similarly, with the Clinton effect, someone who had viewed himself overwhelmingly as being a “creepy” sex addict, might in light of all of the sordid details dug up by Kenneth Starr, come to recognize himself as simply another human being struggling with forces that even “the most powerful man in the free world” (or so the cliche goes) found himself unable to integrate…

I realize that I have touched upon some delicate subjects here, and I apologize in advance if I have offended anyone. These are simply some thoughts that have come to my mind when confronted with these dramas that have been playing out in our culture; I thought it might be interesting to look at them from the idea that we are witnessing shadow elements of the psyche being brought to light on the national stage– the most hidden and suppressed aspects of the personal level being given mass exposure via the mass media. I’d be curious to hear any thoughts that anyone has regarding any of this…

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