I'm still too frazzled to put together a proper post, but I wanted to jot down a thought. What follows is fluff. This blog usually reserves non-political trivia for the weekend -- but this
week, the weekend starts early.
I've been catching up with a series called The Big Bang Theory
, which is new to me even though many of you have followed it for years. Many episodes are laugh-out-loud funny, and the ladies are adorable. But the nerds on this show don't really resemble the nerds that I've known.
Sorry, but I don't think that science geeks spend all that much time thinking about boinking. At least, the nerds I've met don't continually express
their thoughts about boinking. They don't act as if there were no other permissible topics of discussion, the way lumpenprole slobs might do.
Many years ago, I was talking to one of my college professors about (of all people) Gordon of Khartoum. I noted that some writers have suspected that Gordon might be gay because he never married. My prof's response: "It's easy to say that. A lot of people don't understand that the great men of history get to be
the great men of history because they don't spend as much time as normal people do worrying about who takes whom to the prom."
At the time, I didn't agree. I saw myself as a potential Great Man of History yet I thought about girls all the freakin' time
Maybe it's a function of age, but I find it easier now than then to understand what my professor was getting at. I also think that if I had spent more time doing stuff
and less time thinking about girls, I might have gotten somewhere. Maybe I wouldn't have attained Gordon-of-Khartoumhood. But...somewhere
My point is this: Our popular culture treats Da Boink as the sole worthwhile activity in all of human existence. In doing so, our culture misrepresents our experience and misleads young people.
As Malcolm Muggeridge (and just because I quote him here doesn't make him my favorite person) famously said: "The orgasm has replaced the Cross as the focus of longing and the image of fulfillment." We need not go back to the Cross. (And I'm not sure many people truly longed
for it.) But if you're shopping for a raison d'etre
, then orgasm -- howevermuch fun -- doesn't suffice.
Believe me, kids: After the first ten or twenty minutes of The Sole Worthwhile Activity In All Of Human Existence, a certain familiarity sets in, a certain repetitiveness, a certain is-that-all-there-is.
This state of mind can be pleasantly spacey. But this is also the time when I tend to hear distant voices offering a droning rendition of Verdi's Anvil Chorus
. Maybe that's why some people get into BDSM -- it gives 'em something to do aside from humming along with the Verdi.
For a young man, the best thing about orgasm is that, afterward, you finally have at least thirty minutes of not
thinking about sex. At last, you can focus on writing your novel! Must get to work -- now!
Alas, that's precisely the moment when she
wants to cuddle.
Schtupping ain't everything. In fact, it's hardly anything. Monkeys schtupp. So do dogs and cats and beetles and anteaters and snails
. But only human beings can design a Parthenon or sculpt a Pieta
or erect the great statue of Gyuanin in Sanya.
There's another teevee show that makes a similar mistake: Da Vinci's Demons
. I could stand to watch only one episode of that beautiful-looking irritation. Never mind the anachronisms, never mind the religious bigotry, and never mind the historical question of Lenny's homosexuality, which falls into the likely-but-unproven category. Bottom line: I've read more about Leonardo da Vinci than you (probably) have and -- unlike the writers of that show -- I've concluded that he (probably) wasn't a very sexual being. Even in his secret writings, he rarely addressed the subject of sex. When he did, he seemed to look upon the act with a cold eye, as though coitus were a bizarre biological process involving some alien species.
That attitude is impermissible and unthinkable to our current entertainment-creators. The people who write for television all presume that those of fine and famous mind were as rut-obsessed as is the lowest quasi-humanoid lumpenprole organism in the audience. When Leonardo da Vinci was twenty, he wasn't like I was, or like you were, or like anyone you know. He didn't think about girls -- or even boys -- all the freakin' time
. He had bigger fish to fry. And that's how he got to be Leonardo da Vinci.
There's an early episode of Big Bang Theory
in which a gifted artist wins a date with Penny by surreptitiously drawing her portrait. In real life, this trick doesn't work. Trust me. In fact, the results can be downright humiliating, because your sketchbook provides an excellent visual record of your failures.
On the other hand, I've heard that Stephen Ward
used this very stratagem to assemble his harem (or whatever you want to call it). Bugger all! Why did it work for him
and not me?
(Finally! I finally managed to get some politics into this post!)