Sunday, October 23, 2011

Puritan Autumn

The Puritan streak has been with us for a long time; after all, several of the states were founded by religious cranks and nutters.  We've had our contretemps from time to time regarding blue laws, sumptuary laws, blasphemy and profanity laws, smoking restrictions, prohibition, restriction of beverage sales, regulation of sexual activity or expression,  and so forth.  For God's sake, even dancing!  It's as if we divide into two or more camps: those who wish to restrict a particular pleasure or other choice behavior, and those who wish to carry on.  Now this is not a simple liberal-conservative difference; both quasi-philosophies are not loath to deploy the full majesty of the law to restrict, forbid, or otherwise discourage whatever no-no they have in mind.  This Puritanism has been steadily receding in recent times, most notably with the repeal of Prohibition.  Still, there are traces:

We have the recurrent example associated with this time of year: certain churches and communities finding fault with Halloween; instead opting for Fall Festivals or Harvest Festivals (although urbanites might have to search high and low for something to actually harvest).  Yes, Halloween has been demonized into a pagan festival that good Christians should eschew.  At least the antagonistic churches have had to come up with alternatives to the Halloween parties and trick-or-treating, so the children in those places at least have something to celebrate.

Also, we have the movement in certain cities (Chicago already, L.A. soon) to ban fois gras.  After the ban on fois gras took place in Chicago, there were some bootleg fois gras places that cropped up.  It's as if because eating duck or goose liver became illegal, suddenly people want to eat it!  Right now there is a restaurant in Los Angeles that is offering a medley of paté dishes as $175 per head!

I only need to mention in passing that a few communities restrict swimwear for women, particularly thongs or going topfree.  One community in Utah even forbade bikinis in public pools!

And, famously, there's weed.  Except in California, if it's still allowed there.  It's probably a myth circulated in movies like Footloose; but some communities might actually outlaw dancing.  Certainly, some churches do.

Our latent Puritanism, having lost on so many fronts, is also still alive and well in discouraging certain types of humor, such as the time-honored ethnic or religious jokes, not to mention jokes about men and women.  Part of the problem is the humorfree moralists we have around.  Does being a feminist mean that you have to check your sense of humor at the door?  Now sometimes this kind of humor might be hurtful, but enough, enough!  Jokes do have a point to it, if Freud is right.

Now, I'm not in the vanguard to eat liver from any creature, nor wear a thong; but Halloween is so notoriously a childhood delight that it's a crime to eliminate it.  And as for bikinis, it depends on how successful I am in getting back into shape after a winter! 

However, I'll breach three of the possible taboos enough to tell an old religious and sexy joke: 

Do you know why Baptists don't like to make love while standing?  Because they feel that it leads to dancing.


Anemone said...

I love that joke! And I'll retell it tomorrow!

Big Sky Heidi said...

I think we ought to legalize weed and topfree. If churches want to do Judgement Houses instead of haunted houses, it's their call. I'm for Halloween and dancing, though.

Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head said...

Is the movement to ban fois gras an anti-French thing?

Bilbo said...

There are a lot of uptight folks out there who need to get lives. And that's a great joke that I will certainly use at the appropriate time. Did you know that someone (I think it was George Bernard Shaw) once said that dancing is the vertical expression of a horizontal desire? No wonder I love the Tango...

eViL pOp TaRt said...

Anemone and Heidi, thanks!

Elvis, no, it's more animal rights-inspired by folks who went beyond posing nude in ads.

Bilbo, thank you! And the Tango is quite passionate

Duckbutt said...

There are some hyperreligious asshats who pass out tracts to trick-or-treaters. Some of the junior high crowd don't take it too kindly.

Anonymous said...

They ought to legalize marijuana.

Hell Hound said...

A great joke!