Amidst all the doom and gloom about the economy these days, comes a ray of sunshine! The New York Times on Nov. 19 carried this headline: "Sex Museum Reports Profitability." The story begins, "In its first six weeks the Museum of Sex at 233 Fifth Avenue has drawn more than 15,000 visitors, well over the projections of the number needed to make a profit, reports Daniel Gluck, the founder and executive director."
Doesn't that just warm your heart? It sure does mine. The story goes on to tell us that the big draw for these thousands of people is the opening exhibit entitled "NYC Sex: How New York City Transformed Sex in America" and, further, that the catalogue of this first show is "boldly illustrated." I'll bet!
New Yorkers complain that their city gets a bad rap as the Sodom and Gomorrah of the USA – yet, here they are trumpeting Gotham as catalyst for "transforming sex in America." As proof, the exhibit features pornographic videos of the fetishist trades, displays of 19th-century gay resorts in the Bowery, and a celebration of "the public and orgiastic sex that turned into a health disaster" known as AIDS. Hard to imagine why any city would want to take credit for that!
In an earlier story, the Times told us that the "Sex Museum says it's here to educate." Its first curator, who lasted only a few months, explained, "The loftier mission was exploring the sexual subcultures of the city and how they influenced the mainstream."
What an insult to the culturally rich New York City that excavating gutters and exhibiting depravity is promoted as a "loftier mission." But the erstwhile curator is not alone in perceiving pornography and sexual perversity as educational. Some of our finest universities are touting courses in the curricula of women's studies, cultural history and sociology that require students to view pornography and study all sorts of sexual practices, then, write term papers about the content as though it was a legitimate focus of academic inquiry. In more than one university, student-made pornographic videos are acceptable as final projects.
It's no wonder that a 34-year-old man who graduated in fine arts from the University of Pennsylvania with a business degree from the Wharton School, after having made a fortune in the software business would think that a Sex Museum is a legitimate business. That's Daniel Gluck's pedigree.
Once the groves of academia legitimized what once were considered societal sexual taboos in the name of academic freedom, it was only minutes before we had the U.S. government's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention developing and disseminating sex-ed material to middle schools that explain how to protect your health while "fisting," "rimming" and performing cunnilingus with your sex partner. (If you don't know what these sexual practices are, call the Sex Museum of New York.)
And let's not forget the teen-age "health" website called Go Ask Alice, created by none other than the very distinguished Columbia University and recommended to children by the American Library Association. That's where kids can go to find out how to wash the blood off their cat-of-nine-tails after engaging in sadomasochistic sex – among every other sexual perversion imaginable, and some that are unimaginable.
The poison has seeped so far into the culture that a few weeks ago the Tucson campus of the University of Arizona was welcoming pimps, prostitutes, porn stars and exotic dancers into their classrooms to talk with students about "careers" as sex workers, and to demonstrate that working your way through school as a lap dancer, stripper, "escort" or actor in a pornographic film should not be considered shameful. Maybe not. But the University of Arizona should certainly be ashamed of itself!
I urged parents of students to withhold their next tuition payment and alums to withhold their contributions until they got a promise from the college that it would never again allow such a "sexual festival" to be held on the campus. It's because people don't do that – don't speak up courageously and powerfully – that these things keep happening and keep getting more and more outrageous and offensive. Those activists and special-interest groups that gain an advantage from having "all the walls come tumbling down" are well organized and well financed. (20 people anonymously invested several million dollars to endow the Sex Museum of New York.) The rest of you just avert your eyes while you wring your hands.
I say "you," rather than "we," because I'm on my soapbox day after day, hour after hour, bringing all of this to your attention and "givin' 'em hell," as best I can. Where are the rest of decent Americans?
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