My wife and I often joke that we are going to raise our children Amish so as to shield them from our depraved culture. We jest, but there’s a sliver of truth in our jesting. And of course Donald has written a series of excellent posts here at TAC on the signs of our cultural decay.
It’s not exactly a newsflash when a bunch of cranky bloggers at a website called the American Catholic bemoan our hedonistic culture. But when others of a less socially conservative bent join the fray you know that things may have reached a breaking point.
Ace of Spades is a conservative blog, though one that tends to a certain amount of, err, frivolity with regards to cultural matters. I don’t think Ace deviates from most social conservatives on the core issues, but you wouldn’t necessarily expect a rant like this one a site like his. But Ace completely lays into the singer Katy Perry and the awful message that she spreads to our youth.
Ace posts the lyrics to one of Perry’s new songs:
Let’s go all the way tonight
no regrets, just love
We can dance until we die
you and I will be young forever
You make me feel like
I’m livin’ a
the way you turn me on
I can’t sleep
Let’s run away and
never look back, never look back
To which he adds his commentary:
She is plainly attempting to mimic the basics of Like a Virgin here, lyrically. Like a Virgin was also a metaphor — kinda — about very young people having sex and how awesome it is. I say metaphor, because Madonna said “like a virgin;” that is, she wasn’t actually saying she was a virgin, but was so hot for this guy she felt like one.
Similarly, Katy Perry isn’t saying she is a Teenage Dream, but she feels like one, because she’s so horned-up and stuff.
But I do not think her legions of tweener girl fans are going to get this very thin distinction (and Katy Perry doesn’t really mean them to). They are not going to take from it that this is an adult woman saying she feels so hot ‘n horny she feels like a Teenage Dream, but is in fact not a Teenage Dream at all; they are going to make this their anthem, and become someone’s Teenage Dream.
And she’s telling them how awesome that is. And how teenage sex is just so awesome that even when adults want to discuss awesome sex, they talk about it terms of teenage sex, the most awesomest awesome sex of all.
And yeah, for that reason, the song will sell well, and it will be proposed as theme for junior proms across the country (and will mostly be rejected by faculty… mostly).
. . . This was just evil for evil’s sake. She wanted to be even more famous than she is (and she is already quite a bit more famous than her present, but very limited, talents would recommend), and she decided to grab at that on the backs of tweener girls, already immersed in a culture that tells them virgins are weird and having sex is what the cool, popular kids do, with almost no pushback against this message at all.
Later Ace discusses how this juxtaposes with the mockery heaped upon Christine O’Donnell for having the temerity to say that maybe – just maybe – kids should take it easy before they hop into bed and that masturbation is – GASP! – a sin.
It’s in this context that I would advise all those people who think Christine O’Donnell is “weird” and “judgmental” and “too religious” for expressing her take-it-slow views on sexuality. Young girls — really young; tweens — are being sold this crap day and night by an insidious, viciously cynical pop culture that says it’s never too young to be someone’s Teenage Dream.
Is it so awful that some people want to push back on this and try with what tools they can to raise the average age of first sex up to the “prudish, judgmental, no-fun” range of 16 and 1 month?
I think this last point is particularly salient. It’s not just that the culture celebrates, as Aerosmith would describe it, “young lust,” but that it actively mocks anyone who dares criticize the hyper-sexualization of our youth. Anyone who holds to traditional morality is derided as a religious fanatic. So we have dopey bloggers writing books that seriously compare religious Americans with the Taliban and insane Congressmen who accuse their opponents of wishing to harm women simply because they cited a biblical passage about marriage.
The most frustrating aspect as that this all transcends politics. Oh, sure, there might be a left-right divide when it comes to social issues, but this is really beyond the political arena. I know that we all tend to – okay, I tend to – think of most issues within a political context, but the fact of the matter is there is no political solution to the likes of Katy Perry telling her teen fans all about the joys of sex. No matter how much we might try to censor such vulgarity the reality is that without a total ban on such content such stuff is simply going to be out there for consumption.
We have to confront the fact that we have a mass media, an entertainment industry, and even to some extent an educational system that is actively hostile to traditional morality. When confronted with such a reality it becomes tempting to throw one’s hands in the air and, as my wife and I joke about, go join the Amish and shut out the rest of the world. But as Michael Steele said at a Knights of Columbus lecture I once sat in on, we are called to be signs of contradiction in this culture. We can’t just shut the windows, bar the doors, and pretend that the outside world doesn’t exist.
So what is the solution? Again, that’s the thing – there’s no easy fix. We are confronted by the existence of a little thing known as original sin. Man may not be a depraved animal as some philosophers have stated in the past, but as James Madison noted, we’re not exactly angels either. All we can do is to instill the opposite message of what the purveyors of cultural filth transmit and hope that our message overwhelms theirs. Meantime, maybe we can take some solace that even if the self-proclaimed “morons” who read and contribute to a not-exactly socially conservative website appreciate the problems, then we’re getting somewhere.