A lot of people have expressed shock and surprise over the revelations of brutish behavior by so many men they had previously admired. How could these men have done such things? And further, how could so many of them have done such things? What have we come to? What is wrong with us?
What I find shocking and surprising is the shock and surprise.
For decades, our culture has engaged in the very kinds of thought and behavior that virtually assure that we would end up right where we are. For starters, we have used one of God’s delightful gifts—our creative energies—to trivialize another of his delightful gifts—sexuality—by reducing it to mere biological function. We have created, and rabidly consumed, entertainment that makes women mere collections of body parts to be ogled (we call that PG) and fondled (we call that R). For the most part, the women in our movies, our television shows, our game shows, our sports broadcasts, and even our news programs (!) are no more than eye candy, there for the shot that deftly catches the angles most likely to focus the viewer’s mind on the external and provoke a merely physical response. One news analysis show sports a “leg chair” featuring a clear shot of a female pundit—always a female—in a short skirt—always short. This is about news analysis, and the woman is a lawyer, for crying out loud; what’s the real objective here? Oh, and this is the politically “conservative” channel.
If we take in a steady diet of material that sees women as meat, we’re going to think of them as meat, and we’re going to toss them around like so many beef carcasses.
We’ve reaped what we’ve sowed.
A second practice is our elevation of creatures to the status of creators. We’ve made gods of mere men.
We all want heroes, and genuine heroism should be thanked and celebrated. The generation of young men who took on two world powers at the same time, on opposite sides of the world, and by dint of grit and guts and discipline and determination ground them into powder—the Greatest Generation—are rightfully heroes. But I’ve noticed that those men, real heroes all, didn’t really ask for anything special. They didn’t want to talk about their exploits except to deflect praise to others, especially those who died by their sides. They wanted simple, ordinary pleasures—a wife, a child or two, a house, a back yard, maybe a picket fence. Peace.
And they cared for their people, because they had fought for them.
But opportunities for real heroism on that scale don’t come along very often, and in those in-between times, we want heroes. So we make them up. We celebrate actors, and athletes, and musicians, not simply respecting their legitimate accomplishments or their disciplined devotion to their craft—which are worthy of respect—but pouring adulation and worship on them, making them idols, American or otherwise. And then we adulate those in power in those industries or in politics. And eventually we even make gods out of people who just read the news.
Humans aren’t designed to be gods; they’re designed to be worshipers. When we make them gods, they respond poorly, like anyone else who’s in a position for which he is completely unqualified. They are corrupted by the power, they feel undeservedly invulnerable, and away we go.
There’s irony here.
We pride ourselves on our modernity. We’ve outgrown our ancient superstitious ways. We’re scientific. Yeah, that’s it.
How scientific is it to compile terabytes of data on physical and psychological human sexual response—something we’ve put an inordinate amount of time and resources into studying—then do all of the things that incite the raw hormonal reaction, and then act surprised when the chemical reaction occurs? How scientific is that?
“Officer, I just poured gasoline all over the building and then lit a match; I had no intention of burning the place down.”
And to increase our guilt, we’ve criticized those who said, “Um, you keep that up, you’re gonna burn the place down,” as joyless prudes.
That’s not gonna stand up in court.