CAMPOut:Fay's Rehoboth Journal
|by Fay Jacobs|
|Fourth Down and a Breast to Go
Somebody help me here. I'm confused. It's Super Bowl eve, and CNN is crazed over how the NFL will protect the children of America from another accidental breast at half-time.
Baby-faced, uber-trustworthy Paul McCartney has been imported to make sure that a Janet Jackson redux is not even a remote possibility. We recall that one year ago Janet's bitty titty had the Federal Communications Commission and the concerned mother's of America in a sizzle over that naughty wardrobe malfunction. Just this morning, a commentator, tongue firmly in cheek, hoped that this year, McCartney wouldn't accidentally sing Oobla Dee Oobla Bra....
I'm confused, because right in the middle of TV's talking heads expounding on the Super Bowl horror of a nipple making a forward pass, I was treated to a commercial for Levitra.
Now it used to be that advertising for ED drugs, as the common medical malfunction used to be called, was discreet, with spokesperson Bob Dole talking about the little blue pill that would help men with the long-closeted condition.
These days, though, we have romantic television images of very young, exceptionally virile men, and their grinning female partners touting the drug as providing a longer-lasting, better experience. They imply that the drug is not so much for dysfunction as for dissatisfaction.
All well and good, if in between commercials all those concerned mothers aren't getting hysterical about a breast on the 50-yard line. Evidently they have no problem with women broadcasting their thoughts on the quality of erections, but the sight of a female breast makes them queasy. What the hell is that?
Never mind that warning on the Cialis commercial (or is it Levitra again?) telling men that if their erections last longer than four hours they should seek immediate medical help. Go explain that to the kids. (Hell, explain it to me.)
Conservatives, emboldened by what they thought was an election mandate, but what was, if a victory at all (paranoid lefties unite!) just a razor thin win, have gone bonkers. Recently they flogged the entertainment industry over that frighteningly salacious character SpongeBob Square Pants. To hear Dr. James Dobson of the Family Research Council tell it, the problem is not so much SpongeBob himselfalthough I'm sure he's a little light in the swim fins for Dobson's taste but that the We Are Family Foundation produced a video for the schools starring SpongeBob, Barney and a variety of other subversive cartoons. Dobson says that the Foundation is, gasp, "pro-homosexual with a sinister agenda."
That sinister agenda teaches youngsters about tolerance by suggesting they take the following pledge: "To help...make America a better place for all, I pledge to have respect for people whose abilities, beliefs, culture, race, sexual identity or other characteristics are different from my own."
Disgusting, don't you think?
Dobson heard the pledge and urged parents "to keep a close eye on your sons and daughters. Watch carefully everything that goes into their little minds."
Little minds, indeed.
All this wouldn't be so frightening if the media didn't find it contagious, spending the entire pre-Super Bowl week tittering, if you'll excuse the expression, about Janet Jackson's 2004 one-point conversion.
Since then, the FCC cracked down on Howard Stern, Dr. Dobson squeezed SpongeBob and right here in Rehoboth, the Film Society got the evil eye for showing a movie that was no more graphic than many others at Midway.
Then came The Vagina Monologues. At first mention of the play's title in area newspapers (not using the word vagina in any of the headlines, I might add), there was an outcry from some Sussex County folks, hollering that the play promotes lesbianism.
Frankly, the play is 90% heterosexual. But let's face it, 10 percent homo in a sea of hetero is red meat to those conservatives.
Never mind that the play had been on Broadway since 1997 (with the word Vagina in 6-ft letters on the marquee) or that it has been done in 76 countries, translated into 35 languages and produced in thousands of communities.
I was most amused by one newspaper, which printed The Vagina Monologues press release, but changed the headline to read "Tickets going fast for play."
I myself have to do a mea culpa for suggesting that we leave the title of the play off the Convention Center marquee. The last thing I wanted was a repeat of the letters to the editor battle of last summer over inappropriate signs on Route One.
But there's a big difference between keeping "Vagina" off the marquee (now there's a mental picture) and renaming the play "CAMP Rehoboth Monologues." I don't exactly know how that happened but it gave me a laugh.
In fact, at the show's dress rehearsal, the actresses started substituting the words "CAMP Rehoboth" every time they were supposed to say the V-word. We all had a good howl.
So what do we do about this selectively outraged society and the free press that gives them more air time and credence every day?
I say we make good and sure the world is still safe for the mention of biologically correct body parts and small spongy cartoon characters. I say we fight to make sure the FCC allows us to watch programming that's at least as explicit as commercials hawking "a quality sexual experience."
It's going to be a fight, but there are signs we will eventually win. My optimism comes from a four year old.
As her mother prepared to leave for the Convention Center to perform in the "CAMP Rehoboth Monologues," this child sat on my living room carpet amid a pile of well-dressed Barbie Dolls. But one was buck naked.
"We need to put her clothes on," the child calmly said, "so you don't see her vagina and her bum." Good girl.
But while we wait for the toddler generation to grow up, we can pray that the vituperative conservatives don't try to put words like vagina back in the closet. Hell, we hope they don't try to put gay people back in the closet.
And I so hope that nobody at the Super Bowl drops their drawers, alludes to a penis, or puts one small breast forward for mankind.
People will laugh so hard they'll miss the Levitra commercials.
Fay Jacobs is the author of As I Lay Fryinga Rehoboth Beach Memoir and can be reached at www.fayjacobs.com.
LETTERS From CAMP Rehoboth, Vol. 15, No. 1 February 11, 2005