Thursday, April 30, 2009

Sacred Highs

NPR's Dick Meyer has a column at their web site, called Against The Grain. It's described as "a mix of sarcastic sociology and comic moral philosophy that occasionally descends into political commentary." His most recent piece, "New Lows In TV Advertising," complains about an advertisement for K-Y gel that ran after a rerun of Seinfeld that Mr. Meyer and his son were watching. Cue the requisite public despair over the "inexorable degradation of our sensibility, manners, idealism and common sense," with extra points awarded from including his son for a "but think of the children," angle. I don't know if he wrung his hands, too, but I wouldn't be surprised.

"When nothing is off-limits, when nothing is sacred, when nothing offends, then nothing is, well, sacred. Who wants a world where nothing is sacred?" Meyer asks, plaintively.

Raises hand.

Or more accurately, I don't want to live in a world where being offended and declaring things off limits becomes an obligation, where we no longer own a sense of propriety, because the sense of propriety owns us. Things should not be sacred simply because we feel a need to have things be sacred. Things should be sacred because we understand the benefit to ourselves, our community and/or our society in making them so. When that benefit is no longer present, the sense of sacredness goes away. As well it should. We have slaughtered sacred cows that prior generations of Americans held dear, and not only barbecued them with relish (but never with sauce), but counted those would object as backwards. We should not be above such treatment ourselves.

No comments: