Sunday, October 3, 2010

TMI in All the Wrong Places

I read a column by the great observer Peggy Noonan yesterday. In it she pointed out that for the last twenty years politicians have been telling us what a lousy group of losers they are through their use of negative attack ads. It appears that they have done a great job of applying the fundamental rule for marketing; that of managing expectations. And they all seem to be living down to them.
I was at yoga the other day and apparently someone passed gas because the instructor cautioned us not to worry as this exercise will cause such reactions from the most modest of us.
These two events, having occurred within close proximity of one another, got me to thinking about our social mores. We are completely embarrassed by the most human of bodily functions but we are unabashedly and magnetically attracted to the muddy side of the famous person--movie star and politician alike. And if there is a commercial reward involved there seems to be no boundary at all, at least in that most impersonal of mediums, the TV ad-we see folks holding hands in bathtubs and speedy acts of incredibly potent sexual climax on a regular basis. (See what you DVR’ers are missing?)
What is up with that?
The rules for polite society grew out of the Victorian era. Although on the surface people were most reserved, underneath it all they were amazingly human. Discretion, however, kept such things as homosexuality and extramarital affairs out of the public eye. These were not the topic of dinner conversation, much less the length of an erection, as they are now. No heart-wrenching revelations of the torture of carrying a sexually transmitted disease being revealed to the people who know you only through your role on reality TV and their interest in your ability to design things.
Why do we need to know the sexual activities of these people?
Yesterday I also read a very compelling essay by a gay army man about the burden of living with the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. The military, being more than just a job, puts people in close living proximity for long periods of time. Of all the places where it might be relevant to discuss these things, it is off limits.
Does this make any sense whatsoever? How is it that the one place it would be handy to know a person’s sexual tendencies-in the field barracks that you will be intimately sharing for months on end-you are supposed to have no clue, but if you were at home watching TV you have a ring-side seat at the sexual banquet of any number of people, including your own Senator. 
Too much information in all the wrong places!
This kind of thing gives me a headache. Especially when I consider that the means by which we pay for that dedicated army man to “protect” our national security is in great peril by the unprecedented and unsolvable deficit levels that threaten our national security in a very profound way..
Could we please leave the talk of bodily functions to the boudoir and get back to the business of running the country? If we don’t, my migraine will only increase. And with Obamacare on the horizon I fear for the ability to get quick, effective treatment.