"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Hot Sex And Good Causes–The Perfect Storm Of Political Idealism And Erotic Fantasy

Blendy Mumford had been a good boy – modest, dutiful, obedient and respectful.  He never complained about sitting through Father Brophy’s sermons or Sunday High Mass.  He took it all seriously, the liturgy, robes, chalices, and mysteries of his faith, and never complained.  He was even considered as a priestly prospect, so said Monsignor, explaining to Blendy’s parents how a boy of his solemnity and spiritual longing came along only once in a great while.  Although too young for formal training, his faith should be nurtured, husbanded, and cared for, the priest said.  This was a boy of definite promise.

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The Mumfords were not exactly thrilled to hear the news.  They were more Easter Duty Catholics, sitting on the edge of belief, giving generously to the parish, but paying little attention to their religion.  They were not concerned either with eternal salvation or hellfire, the familiar themes of Father Brophy’s sermons.  They were good burghers, solid members of the community, and church was part of the social calculus; so when they heard that their son might head off into the carrels of a rather obsessive religion, they were worried.  

They wondered how their son had turned out this way, although one of Marcie Mumford’s uncles had been saved and her colonial ancestor, Hiram Foster, had been a member of John Davenport’s expeditions to found a spiritual colony in New Haven and became its first reverend.

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Bob Mumford had been brought up Catholic enough to want his son to be baptized in the Church; and his wife went along.  She had had enough of sketchy evangelical Protestantism to assume that the Catholic Church would be no worse, and in fact all the pomp and circumstance of the Church made Christmas and Easter feel more real than the spare, bare-bones, resurrectionalism of her family’s Church of Christ Delivered.

In any case, Blendy’s devoutness and spiritual ambitions went quickly by the wayside as he got older.  ‘Pizza, girls, and movies’ he told his mother were his favorite things. From the sublime to the ridiculous, she thought, and what could possibly be next? But other than pizza which he could take or leave as a young adult, or movies which were neither here nor there in his young man’s life, sex was indeed part of the maturing Blendy; and by the time he got to college he was a real Lothario, indifferent to feminist chides about his lack of intimacy and serial testosterone affairs, and more sought after for his sexual confidence and ease than any of the more primly progressive members of his class.

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The small New England liberal arts school where he was a student was a hotbed of social activism.  Like Oberlin and Amherst, Cennett College was all about The Movement.  There was no cause that wasn’t celebrated.  Sexism, racism, homophobia, the climate, the glass ceiling, Black Lives Matter, utopianism, anti-clericalism, socialism, and the New World Order were only a few of the incendiary issues bannered and festooned every weekend, championed in and out of class.  Social reform, campus leaders averred, had to begin within the campus before it could ever take root outside.  No one was excluded, and every word, phrase, and intimation was monitored for doctrinal consistency, purity, and purpose.

Blendy, despite his lack of political commitment and social energy, knew exactly what he was doing by turning down Harvard and Stanford and opting for the confines of Cennett.  Sexual enterprise was part and parcel of social activism.  In fact, Robert Long Madrone, professor of social psychology and author of Sex and The Good Cause – Psychosexuality and Political Activism wrote the following:

Despite the popular perception that attraction and adherence to good causes is a sign of philosophical maturity, social activism is a magnet for the emotionally and sexually needy.  Belonging, not faith is the meme in the big tent of right behavior.  Camaraderie not fellowship; amour not mutual respect; satisfaction not success are the rules of thumb for environmentalism, social justice, and progressive change.  These claques of progressive intent are the means to emotional fulfillment, outlets for still puerile aspirations, and seething repositories of sexual energy and adventurism. It is not the cause but the sex.

Professor Madrone was, as one would expect in today’s censorious times, roundly dunned and hammered for what were called his retrograde, bullying ideas.  He was thought to be, by his feminist critics, a sexually obsessed moron with no racial or civil sensitivities who should be removed from academia.   Easier said than done because Madrone was a tenured professor.  There was no way to dislodge what had become an embarrassment for a school considered to be a beacon of progressivism and campus liberalism.

Blendy didn’t have to read Prof. Madrone’s publications to know that his argument was as right as rain.  As a student at his exclusive New England boarding school, he had seen that emotional idealism, post-adolescent sexual energy, and the tide of political utopianism created the perfect storm of sexual activity.  There was something heady about the combination of bacchanalian sex and political protest. 

The sweaty bodies of the barricades and the musty, swampy, erotic bodies of bedtime were one and the same.  The same emotional energy that drove belonging and doing good fueled passionate, unbridled sex.

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Once again, Professor Madrone:

The emotional insecurity behind political activism is not new.  It is no coincidence that the social revolutionaries of the Sixties were also beneficiaries of free love, love the one you’re with, open sexuality.  The civil rights movement of the day was a coincidence of social reconfiguration and liberated sexual energy.  Hippies at the barricades.  Revolutionaries in revolutionary positions.  One and the same.

And so went Blendy’s four years at Cennett with one caveat – political activism was a boring, tedious affair, and he never bothered with it.  He was continually amazed how the women he bedded overlooked his political indifference or rather chose not to see it. There is a certain myopia inherent to idealism and exaggerated by political cause, so Brenda, Linda, Shana, and Lotte thought that Blendy was a political brother as well as a lover and gave to him a full-throated, unrestrained orgasm of solidarity.

Blendy graduated Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa – his sexual adventures deterred him as little as those of Lothario, both were men who could juggle many balls in the air – and he went on to law school and a lucrative career as a partner in a K Street law firm specializing in – you guessed it –  environmental and civil rights law.  He was far too professional to have sexual liaisons with his activist clients; but since he was no closer to serious political commitment than he ever was, he dated and bedded on the fringes, the progressive hangers-on still needy and unsatisfied by their still futile efforts to change the world.

As with his college lovers, no woman in Washington ever suspected his political diffidence. They assumed that he was loving them for their ideals, their spiritual idealism and only secondarily for their femininity and their bodies; but for Blendy it was a win-win situation and he took his pleasure wherever and whenever he could.

One final quote from Professor Madrone:

The political idealist is above all a sexual animal which experiences the same orgasm in coupling and in the toppling of an offensive statue.  Which comes first, the political chicken or the sexual egg? It matters not.  Disaggregation is not the issue. Sex, purely and simply,  is.

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