Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Sexual Bondage and the Ways of Traditionalist Catholic Folk

This title, along with my other post titled "Nursing babies. It's not sexual, but why do most women act like it is", receives far more hits than any of my other posts. Both posts receive more hits because sex sells, which is also probably why you are here reading this, you too were attracted by my using sex in my title.

Now leave this article and go read something more worthwhile such as :

Women in Art / as window into the soul of a culture.

or my article : All of God’s Creation Seeks Stability

or my article on torture.

my article on the annulment scandal.

or my article on mental reservation is deception. and some lies are not only good, but a duty

And tell me what you think.

But if you insist, go ahead and read on, but don't say I didn't warn you.

Over at Front Porch Republic there's an article titled Sex and the Nanny State. A title which caught my interest sufficiently for me to look at that article. Because what more can one ask for than the combination of sex and bondage? Except for perhaps, some scandal? All three catch the reader's interest drawing him in for a closer look.

Reading such articles on line is a bit like voyeurism, the reader wants to look, but not look too closely, and with eyes averted just enough to get a good thorough glimpse.

I once read that 'B' movies were developed first as a title, then a poster was made, and after that a plot was developed to support the catchy title and poster.

Some books are like 'B' movies, good title with filler to follow. Two of my favorite titles on our book shelf are The Ways of White Folk and Jews Without Money. I’ve never read either book although I do have an idea of their subject matter, where as my wife has read virtually every book on the shelves, and keeps only the books she sees as worth reading. Whereas I would keep the books because of the titles alone because of their incongruity with shallow modern sensibilities.

Some titles are both good and good reading such as Murder for Christmas : 26 Tales of Seasonal Malice. Or Small is Still Beautiful, economics as if families mattered.

It’s the “as if families mattered” which catches the readers interest because the author is telling us, this book is rightly ordered. It’s a title also used in architecture and planning with titles such as housing as if people mattered, or city planning as if people mattered and similar. Whether the book lives up to its title is a different matter.

So while we can’t judge a book by its cover, sometimes it’s a pretty good place to start.

I once bought a car for just about the same reason, because I liked their one TV commercial when I was in grade school. I knew something about Volkswagons, but it was the commercial of the little bug getting stepped-on time and again and getting back up and buzzing around that really sold me.

The commercial was advertising how dependable the car was, and it was, and it did buzz around the city nicely, but what the commercial was really selling was cuteness and fun. Which at least did come with the car to some extent. Unlike the hot babe in the typical car commercial, where you have to supply your own.

Not that we’re the worse off for it, and a friend of mine in a conversation recently at the FSSP parish said the babe in his passenger seat made those advertised versions look like diddly-squat. But nevertheless, what is actually marketed for sale, i.e. the car, is only partially and not really what the car manufacturer is selling, i.e. the hot babe.

So where does sexual bondage fit into all this? It fits in about the same way as the hot babe fits into the passenger seat of the car in the car commercial. If you were looking for some kind of lurid story, you have to supply your own.

My favorite books are likewise missing, sex, scandal and bondage. Or least each is missing insofar as each of them is not the real story, with the plot as backdrop. Les Miserable, The Count of Monte Cristo, Brideshead Revisted, David Copperfield, Gone With the Wind and so on stand on different and better merits.

But just because hot babe appeal shouldn't be the only criteria when shopping, or choosing the next book to read, doesn't mean it shouldn't be considered and sometimes placed very high on the list of priorities. Buying a car because of the hot babe factor is not a good way to shop for a car, but the hot babe factor is important in marriage. And down playing it to the point of pooh poohing it as not important is a Jansenist, (as opposed to a Catholic, i.e. natural as God intended), approach to married life, because sexual attraction does matter.

Which is why sex sells and why advertisers use it. Because it is natural to us. And if a husband is not first sexually attracted to his wife, both before and when married, there's a problem.

And just because plain prairie muffins out sell big city girls in the marriage market doesn't prove prairie muffinism is a good recipe for marriage in the long run.

Catholic marriage books, well deserving of the rightly ordered subtitle "as if families mattered", used to advise wives to dress, put on makeup and such so as to be attractive to their husbands. Where as now it's considered UnCatholic to wear anything but denim jumpers and similar fare in a mistaken notion of modesty and religious piety.

Those marriage books are the Way of Traditionalist Catholic Folk. What is not traditionalist is prairie muffinism. Prairie muffinism is the way of those still caught up in the swirling modernist milieu trying to find their way to cultural Catholicism. The prairie muffins get it partly right, but make the error of going off into an enthusiastic extreme.

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