Posts Tagged ‘debauchery!’

A Playlist of Evangelism

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

Yes, perhaps I’ve got classic rock on the brain–(all the time, 24-7)– but our readings this week definitely brought to mind some famous songs…and I’m not talkin’ Y.M.C.A. These songs, while perhaps seemingly frivolous at first glance, actually represent how closely religious and secular views of society resembled each other and– dare I say it?– influenced each other.

First of all, we have the Evangelist’s side of things: Don’t Stop Believin’. This rock anthem, brought to you by Journey, seems religiously based at the outset: “Don’t Stop Believin’/Hold onto that feeling,” namely, faith. (This also ties to Journey’s equally-amazing song, Faithfully…but I digress.)

Evangelists of all ages and both sexes urge the Chicagoans to hold fast to their faith in the increasingly secular city in which they live, as the Red Light District expands and venereal disease creeps into the homes of dutiful middle-class Christians. Evangelists are especially quick to criticize prostitutes and those who run from domestic, middle class lives, such as our victim/protagonist? in this Bon Jovi tune, Runaway. Indeed, it seems that this era is full of stereotypes of the woman who runs rampant with promiscuity, poisoning Chicago’s streets with her sexual availability and rebuttal of societal rules. However, equally potent is the girl evangelist (who, admittedly, hits the scene a little later) from “Out of the Mouths of Babes,” who seems (and seeks) to embody a little messenger Angel in the urban slums. In the end though, it always seems to come back to Girls, Girls, Girls!

However, these so-called “religious” messengers are often young and impressionable themselves, and if we take a look at the lyrics of the Journey songs especially– and both of these are lyric vids, just so that you can indeed look at the lyrics if you’re unfamiliar with them, you’re welcome– we can see a sense of loss and displacement on the part of the youth, and something that deviates quite starkly from matters of churchliness:

“A singer in a smoky room/ the smell of wine and cheap perfume/ for a smile, they can share the night/ it goes on and on and on and on/ Strangers waiting, walking down the boulevard, their shadows searching in the night/ Streetlight people livin’ just to find emotion, hiding somewhere in the niiiiiiiiight!”

Now, to me this indicates a certain youthful helplessness, which Joiner hits on in Chapter four, saying how the Christian men of Chicago’s younger generation struggle due to “not measuring up” to their father’s “masculinity,” and yet trying to avoid their mother’s “feminized Christianity” simultaneously. Seems like they’re caught in quite the bind, which may lead them further into vice…and lead them to singers in smoky rooms, wine and cheap perfume.

I really do think that the evangelicals of this time fully believed in what they were doing (and preaching)– but that didn’t keep them from suffering from the Stranglehold in which Chicago’s corrupt capitalist society bound them. At the end of the day, all they could do was keep Takin’ it to the Streets and, most importantly, Livin’ on a Prayer.

 

 

 

 

Cruise Control? Not so much.

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

Okay, so feel free to disagree with me, but a lot of this text seems to focus around miscommunications and confusion of goals at the YMCA. And a lot of these have to do with false assumptions. These include but are not limited to:

1.    Christians are wholesome.

False: Christians TRY to be wholesome. But hey, Christians are people, and people are whole, not wholesome (which, if you think about it, is an oxymoronic word in itself).

2.    Providing sex education will make young men MORE restrained and less likely to engage in sexual acts with other men.

False: Maybe this would have been true if the Y had been less demanding of the men who held positions within the organization, particularly the secretaries. Maybe if they’d gotten to spend more time with their wives, too, they wouldn’t feel such strong homoerotic bonds.

3.    However, in contrast to that previous observation, another assumption the Y held was that homosociality was just as “dangerous” to society as homosexuality…

False: From a 21st-century standpoint, neither is particularly “dangerous. But going along with that…

4.    Similarly, there was the assumption that the “scare” of rampant homoeroticism and homosexual desires being acted upon in the early 20th century were equivalent to homosocial bonds.

False: It is simply that the centuries had different ways of defining what was considered to be “erotic” and what was “good clean fun” in terms of men being around each other/craving each other’s company/expressing longing for being in close proximity to other men’s bodies…

…Sorry this is so scattered; there’s just a lot to say about this piece. Anybody else get a kick out of that one chauvinist who claimed that men were at the Y to get “real work” done, whereas at the YWCA, women do domestic things, such as “make food”? Or for the studies of gay pornography that trace their roots back to these early fitness manuals? That was extremely interesting to me, and I will tell you all why tomorrow…

I do think Gustav-Wrathall could have woven more of a religious context into this, but considering his background as an ex-Mormon may not have proven especially applicable to this scholarship, I do not count the absence of his religious input as a devastating drawback in terms of the work overall.

Cruise Control? Not So Much.

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

Okay, so feel free to disagree with me, but a lot of this text seems to focus around miscommunications and confusion of goals at the YMCA. And a lot of these have to do with false assumptions. These include but are not limited to:

1. Christians are wholesome.

False: Christians TRY to be wholesome. But hey, Christians are people, and people are whole, not wholesome (which, if you think about it, is an oxymoronic word in itself).

2. Providing sex education will make young men MORE restrained and less likely to engage in sexual acts with other men.

False: Maybe this would have been true if the Y had been less demanding of the men who held positions within the organization, particularly the secretaries. Maybe if they’d gotten to spend more time with their wives, too, they wouldn’t feel such strong homoerotic bonds.

3. However, in contrast to that previous observation, another assumption the Y held was that homosociality was just as “dangerous” to society as homosexuality…

False: From a 21st-century standpoint, neither is particularly “dangerous. But going along with that…

4. Similarly, there was the assumption that the “scare” of rampant homoeroticism and homosexual desires being acted upon in the early 20th century were equivalent to homosocial bonds.

False: It is simply that the centuries had different ways of defining what was considered to be “erotic” and what was “good clean fun” in terms of men being around each other/craving each other’s company/expressing longing for being in close proximity to other men’s bodies…

…Sorry this is so scattered; there’s just a lot to say about this piece. Anybody else get a kick out of that one chauvinist who claimed that men were at the Y to get “real work” done, whereas at the YWCA, women do domestic things, such as “make food”? Or for the studies of gay pornography that trace their roots back to these early fitness manuals? That was extremely interesting to me, and I will tell you all why tomorrow…

I do think Gustav-Wrathall could have woven more of a religious context into this, but considering his background as an ex-Mormon may not have proven especially applicable to this scholarship, I do not count the absence of his religious input as a devastating drawback in terms of the work overall.

Maybe She’s Born with it…Maybe it’s Awakened During Puberty!: The Sexual Impulse in Women

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

So, now for a total change of topic from my last pre-break post…

I was especially intrigued by the section of this reading that ranged from pp. 198-203. First, there is Montaigne’s idea that women are “incomparably more apt and ardent in love than men are” because “it [sexual impulse] is a discipline that runs in their veins” (198). This is in direct contrast to the mode of thinking where women are considered sexually frigid. Even the greatest rock n’ rollers were familiar with this school of thought, as is evidenced by the following classics:

She’s So Cold by the Rolling Stones

Cold As Ice by Foreigner

But seriously, there seems to be a great divide when considering women’s sexuality, and I hate that it comes down to this, but if one tried to wrap it up neatly, women’s sexuality seems to fall into the paradigm of the virgin and the whore. Either women are considered “salacious, ”“lascivious,” and “seductive,” or they are regarded as the opposite: unable to be sexually excited at all, and averse to the advances of the opposite sex. It should also be said that the discussion of women becoming “hysterical” as a result of coitus, though ridiculous and old-fashioned to our 21st-century ears, gained a lot of popularity back in the day, and seems to go hand-in-hand with both the virgin who is “deflowered/awakened” by a man’s sexual advances, or the promiscuous woman who is prone to be put into hysterics often and without shame, which in itself would be considered shameful. Altogether, the idea of women’s sexuality and sexual pleasure seems coated in shame…

[Side note: I was frustrated by the fact that the author did not go into same-sex relations, but I can understand why it would confound his/her train of thought. I also have some issues with the final paragraph on page 200 about Baltic women and their seductive patterns, but I feel those would best be raised in class, where the discussion can be more fully fleshed out than simply on the blog.]

But enough complaining! Page 202 brings about an idea that is less offensive and (probably) much more palatable to modern-day women than the view that we are “frigid” or, on the other end of the spectrum, “slutty” or “easy.” I will end with this paragraph, which seems to attempt to make peace with both women and men harboring sexual impulses:

“…in most cases the sexual coldness of women is only apparent, either due to the concealment of glowing sexuality beneath the veil of outward reticence prescribed by conventional morality, or else the husband who has not succeeded in arousing erotic sensations which are complicated and with difficulty awakened… The sexual sensibility of women is certainly different from that of men, but in strength it is at least as great.” (Bloch, 202).

This postulation is not without its own set of assumptions/problems, but it at least seems to award women with their due “natural” feelings and persuasions instead of knocking them for having them in the first place.

Blog Anxiety…

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

I know this is just something I have to get over, but I am still not entirely comfortable with expressing my feelings about the readings on the blog. I feel like there is too much to say, and that I will bog people down by having to read my ramblings, or else I will abbreviate too much and then it won’t be insightful.

Any directional help from my fellow scholars? Regardless of whether anyone sees this post, there WILL be a blogpost regarding the reading and a separate one about Brigham Young come 8 A.M., but I’m just overthinking and stressing out in the meantime.

I’ve Just Met a Girl Named Mariaaaaa…

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

…and BOY, is she an awful liar!

Okay, I am basically going to repeat the sentiments everyone else’s posts have already expressed:

  1. Sex sells. Whether it be rape (*cringing, can’t believe I wrote that*), incest, or any other negative/questionable sexual content, it grabs the reader’s attention.
  2. Babies. Gotta have infant death if it’s a worthwhile story. (For the record, I HATE “dead baby” jokes. Can’t stand them.)
  3. Priests make good scapegoats. They’re the guys people love to hate. Who would come to the door of a convent, make hissing noises, and expect to be let in around midnight for some wayward sexual pleasure? A priest, of course!

But seriously. I know that in 19th-century America– and indeed, since then– there has been a strong anti-Catholic rhetoric going around. Sometimes, the faith itself was used as a basis of racial oppression, as well. Indeed, two of the most discriminated-against European immigrant groups– the Irish and the Italians– were primarily Catholic, and in the early 1900s, they were “hated on” quite a bit for this reason.

HOWEVER, I would like to believe that if I were alive when the Awful Disclosures of Maria Monk came out that I would have been at least a little bit skeptical. No matter how terrible you may think a particular religious sect is, would you really ascribe to them infanticide, rape, murder, and whatever else, all in the name of God? This seems to be a stretch, even for your average illiterate American Protestant who “didn’t know any better.”

Therefore, I must say that Maria (a.k.a., the shady Protestant males with a knack for tall tales…hey, that rhymed) may have put forth an interesting horror story through this volume, but no wonder it was disproved within months of its publication. It was simply “too bad to be true,” and the writing style itself left a lot to be desired– I think I yawned twice for each page.

I have an alias, and it’s all good!

Saturday, January 26th, 2013

I just want everyone to know, in case I wasn’t clear about it in class, that I am Sarah A. Foote.

Got that? Arrrbuckles=Sarah. Yay hooray, internet personalities!

Okay, back to homework now…