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June 28, 2004

Britney Spears and SSM (Updated Again for clarity) « Social Issues »

As I was reading through this post, a thought struck me. No, it didn't hurt, and I didn't strike back. Juvenile humor dispensed with, let's proceed, shall we?

Dawn objects to defenders of SSM using Britney Spears' unfortunate brush with matrimony as an example to demonstrate heterosexual marriage has already sustained damage worse than SSM could inflict.

I pretty much agree with her points, but I think the problem with the argument starts even earlier than that, with Britney Spears herself. If the battle-lines are drawn between liberal-leaning pro-SSM and conservative-leaning anti-SSM camps, then she's on their (liberal) side to begin with, not ours (conservative).

Because the gender diversity within a marriage bond was never really the issue. The disagreement is over the nature of society itself. The question is: do we have complete freedom to do whatever we want as long as it cannot be proven our actions harm anyone, or do we have a responsibility to establish and adhere to standards of conduct because the full consequences of potentially damaging behavior may not be observed until years or decades later? Or another way: do we have society only for the benefit for adults, or for children?*

Obviously, Britney Spears is not a part of a society designed to protect and nurture children and help them to achieve maturity safely. Hollywood itself is overwhelmingly aimed at adults. Don't believe me? Then why do children's shows include jokes and entendres that children cannot or should not understand? Because Hollywood knows that an adult (the one with the actual cash) will spend more money on a movie that doesn't bore adults. The entire entertainment industry is based on gathering money.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to outlaw Hollywood. I'm not trying to shame or marginalize anyone or anything for the sake of "The ChildrenTM", because I'm not actually advocating for new laws or programs. But I do want you to stop and think about how liberal and moderate adults want more freedom for themselves, and want to push responsibility for the protection of children off on parents. Rather than a society that is largely safe for children, with "adult"** areas clearly marked and cordoned off, many selfish adults (including the entertainment industry and most liberals) want a society in which anything goes, and parents must withdraw into their homes to try to re-establish some sort of control over what impinges and influences their children.

The Left & Moderates (through Establishment) tells us that if we don't like foul language and unnecessary sexuality, turn off the TV (knowing that most people won't). They tell us if we don't like Howard Stern, change the channel. If you don't want your children to hear curse words, you can always not curse yourself. Then they proceed to encourage situations that escalate, pushing the envelope of acceptability, which culminate in incidents like Janet Jackson's exposure and Bono's foul language and Britney's kiss of Madonna. You can't bring your family to a ballgame these days without hearing pretty much every bad word in the book. It's getting more difficult to go to any public event in large cities without seeing excessive sexuality on display (both hetero- and homo-). The pro-crudity lobby (my term, not theirs) pursues those of us who want to protect our children into every facet of our lives. Why do the the Gay Pride parades Dawn describes have more right to display in public than a nativity scene?

And when a conservative family does withdraw and homeschools their children, or to choose a private school where traditional values are easier to enforce, the Left derides them as naive and reactionary and trying to avoid the "real world". They fight to prevent vouchers and to outlaw homeschooling, mostly because they want to continue expanding funding to public schooling, sure...but making sure children are steeped in the Politically Correct liberal and atheistic ideology is a nice bonus, at the very least, if not the actual goal.

No, Britney Spears isn't a good example for Andrew Sullivan, et al, to bring up. Her marriage is a symbol of what is wrong with American society. Her marriage was the result of the same ideological force that is pushing SSM: a Godless, lawless, standardless, amoral, vapid sub-society that worships the unholy trinity of Money and Celebrity and Hedonism. The pro-SSM lobby using a Hollywood marriage as a portion of their argument is like a socialist saying the United States should be more socialist because Mao's and Stalin's ideas of Capitalism didn't work out.

Let me put it another way. I'd be willing to bet that if you broke the percentages of support for and opposition to SSM by status of marriage and parenthood, the vast majority of the people against SSM are married with kids, and the vast majority of people for SSM don't currently have any stake in the future beyond their own lives and desires. And what does that say?

*Personally, I think "civilization" and "society" are expressedly for the protection of the weak. And children are the weak. Their minds are designed to learn and assimilate. Adults can resist and seek out what they want with far more ability and effectivenss than children. Because of this, I think we should have a child-safe society. Adults will always be able to find and enjoy their adult pleasures, but I don't think those pleasures should be in the open as the default, as it seems to be now.

**this has been said before, but I'll repeat: why does "adult" usually mean the content has a pre-adolescent obession with crudity, sex, and scatalogical themes?

Posted by Nathan at 04:32 AM | Comments (6)
» Mind of Mog links with: Brain Fertilizer Indeed
» The White Peril links with: Send it in a letter, baby / Tell me on the phone

Wow. Great minds run in the same channel. And on a different topic, I just posted about this very thing not 30 seconds ago. Well, I wasn't addressing exactly the same thing, but close.

Reading Andrew Sullivan on gay issues lately tends to be bad for my blood pressure, so I haven't seen his take on the Britney story. I don't think the issues it raises are useful only for the libertine lobby, though. The point that Britney (and Liz and Zsa Zsa and Mickey) are permitted to make unions that any sane person can see are due to fail without people's screaming that they're being forced to "approve" of them, for example, strikes me as valid, though I don't know whether anyone's making it.

Posted by: Sean Kinsell at June 28, 2004 08:17 AM

I don't think I qualify as a great mind...

I see your point, but to me, that puts it back on a case-by-case, individual basis. I agree that ground is more advantageous to the pro-SSM lobby, but the point I'm trying make is more that homosexual marriage by itself is but one small and rather unimportant battle in the culture war. It is only important because the conservatives have drawn a line here that says, "You shall not pass." And the liberals/moderates have that look on their face that says, "Oh, yes we will." My own leaning is toward the conservatives, just by the techniques I've seen the liberals/moderates use.
But all that aside, I find it ironic that the liberals/moderates use an example from the liberal camp as an attempt to undermine a conservative point.
It's not honest, it's not logical, and I will do my point to not let it stand.
Liberals wanted no-fault marriages.* Liberals undermined the sanctity of marriage to begin with, and now Liberals are pointing to the tatters of marriage and say it's not worth saving, so we might as well try SSM and see what happens.

*I do realize that individual cases can be related in such a manner that it will seem like millions of people would have been forced to commit suicide or murder if it weren't for no-fault divorce. I disagree, and think that there is no one under the age of 50 (or so) who even really understands what life and marriage were like before no-fault divorce.

Posted by: nathan at June 28, 2004 08:46 AM

I think I have a problem:
Whenever I see the Abbreviation of SSM, I think "Surface-to-Surface Missile"


Posted by: Jeremy at June 28, 2004 10:05 AM

Jeremy, the problem is you should be imagining *two* surface-to-surface missiles.

Or none.

Anyway...Nathan, you know I'm not a proponent of SSM (or public crudity, for that matter). I would like to say, though, that since we're a human civilization bound together by ideas, not a herd of baboons, having children is not the only way to have a stake in the future. The most important, yes, but not the only. That a lot of people on the liberal side of the culture war act as if they were the last people whose interests they need to care about is true, but a different issue.

Posted by: Sean Kinsell at June 28, 2004 10:35 AM

Actually, Sean, I didn't know you weren't a proponent...I just knew you didn't agree with most of the reasons proponents gave. I wasn't disagreeing with you, but I still felt your statement was enough different from what I said that I feared I might not have been clear enough. I do tend to ramble and wander when I must, I know. :)
In any case, while I may respond to specific things people have said, if I don't mention that person by name or use "you", then I'm probably just reacting to what your words made me think. Your thoughts are still and always welcome any time...

Posted by: nathan at June 28, 2004 11:29 AM

Wait-I know I commented on your post about SSM the other day...where did it go?

Posted by: Rae at June 28, 2004 09:18 PM
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