Wednesday, November 02, 2005

harrowing fiction

Shakespeare's Sister discusses passages from Scooter Libby's novel, and asks:
What kind of mind comes up with this shit, dreams up scenarios where children are raped by animals to train them in prostitution? Oh, right. A conservative one.
I'm pretty sure that conservatives don't have a monopoly on disturbing sadistic and sexual imagiry in fiction, and I'm pretty sure that the ability to dream up disturbing scenes for disturbing effect doesn't mean that the dreamer is disturbed.

Ignoring fiction for the moment, there is a thread in conservative political rhetoric of sexual and social armageddon, an implicit (or sometimes explicit) assumption that the only thing standing between us and the abyss of degradation is law. You see this when nationally syndicated pundits write that without the Law of the Bible, there would be no reason not to murder, that without tbe moral and legal condemnation of society, men couldn't help being seduced by the hedonism of the gay lifestyle. They say these things with such passion, such conviction, that it suggests personal experience, that they either know or are people for whom only strong, enforced law stands between them and dissolution.

I have talked to street corner evangelists, and heard their stories of being saved from hell in the here and now by adhering to God's Law, how they were weak and following the Law made them strong, and I have wondered about the strength of the desires they wrestled with before they found their source of strength, how strong those desires must still be, and I have seen the rage in their eyes when they see people living happy lives without denying themselves pleasures that the Law forbids. And I wonder how much they still want what they deny themselves, and how much that suppressed desire fuels their rage.

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