All Worked Up about Orwell


Back in 1984, appropriately enough, I read George Orwell’s anti-utopian science fiction novel “1984” for a political science class. In class, we discussed whether the novel, (published in 1948), described a possible future society under Communist rule, under Nazi or possibly British socialism, and even whether Orwell was describing then-contemporary post World War II Great Britain.

Who knew the novel would be describing the Bush Administration’s plans for governing the United States?

In case you haven’t read the novel, or if you have and have successfully blotted out the memory, “1984” paints a bleak, depressing picture of the future. England is ruled by a worldwide totalitarian regime. Many of Orwell’s descriptions of English life under the single ruling party, dubbed “Big Brother, have eerie parallels to contemporary U.S. life.

Orwell foretold the 24-7 electronic surveillance of citizens, modern torture and brainwashing techniques, perpetual war against ethereal enemies, governmental control of mass media, massive uber-patriotic propaganda campaigns, and attempts to stifle dissent by altering the very language through the concepts of doublespeak” and “newspeak.”

Orwell also coined the term, ‘sexcrime.” I’m not referring to bona fide and properly prosecuted sex crimes such as rape and child molestation. In the appendix to his book, Orwell provides his own definition of the term.

(The party member’s) sexual life, for example, was entirely regulated by the two Newspeak words: sexcrime (sexual immorality) and goodsex (chastity). Sexcrime covered all sexual misdeeds whatever. It covered fornication, adultery, homosexuality, and other perversions, and, in addition, normal intercourse practised for its own sake. “He knew what was meant by goodsex “that is to say, normal intercourse between man and wife, for the sole purpose of begetting children, and without physical pleasure on the part of the woman: all else was “sexcrime.”

The novel’s hero, Winston Smith, is a minor functionary in the ruling party. Not surprisingly, following his dick leads Winston to his downfall. He meets and falls in love with Julia, another minor party member. Julia is an unashamedly promiscuous woman who commits ‘sexcrimes’ (that is, she sleeps around), as a form of protest against the establishment. After the first time Winston and Julia hook up, Orwell writes, “Their embrace had been a battle, the climax a victory. It was a blow struck against the party. It was a political act.”

Over the course of their affair, Winston and Julia begin acting rebellious in other ways, including reading prohibited materials. Eventually, the two are caught, tortured, brainwashed, and ultimately betrayed by each other.

Why do I bring this up?

Because it’s not hard to see eerie parallels between Orwell’s definition of ‘sexcrimes’ and the Bush Administration’s modern-day “War On Whoopie.”

If you’re a regular reader of this column, (and if you aren’t, why the hell not?), you’re aware that the Christian Right, through their designated puppet, the Bush Administration, have been trying to shut down pornography, profanity, sex toys, sex education, a woman’s right to choose, birth control, gay marriage, homosexuality in general, and to otherwise in every way, shape or form take the “WOO-HOO, That was FUN!” out of sex. If the sex isn’t specifically between married people, and for the specific purpose of bearing children, the Christian Right, (whom I’ve dubbed the Holy Terrors), want to shut it down.

So picture a future in which the Holy Terrors win.

John, shall we engage in marital intercourse after dinner?”

Afraid not, Marsha. The permits haven’t come back from the Department of Homeland Fertility yet.”

But I’m ovulating, John. And don’t tell anybody, but I’m really, really horny.”

Then we’d definitely better not do anything, Marsha. The last time you exceeded your orgasm quota, we had to pay a fine.”

If this sounds far-fetched, while you’re in the bookstore, picking up a copy of “1984, buy “The Scarlet Letter” by Nathaniel Hawthorne for a picture of religious views toward sexuality in the U.S. not so long ago. And while you’re at it, you’d better grab some books by Henry Miller, D.H. Lawrence, Stendahl, Henry James, Anais Nin, Susie Bright, Maxim Jakobowski, and as many other erotic writers, old and new, as you can find, because if the Holy Terrors have their way, you won’t be able to find them anymore.

Imagine living in a society with no photos, literature, movies, or music that could in any way be considered erotic or appealing to the prurient interests. No colorful language. No provocative outfits. No v-necked blouses showing off cleavage, or tight blue jeans accentuating a firm ass. Drab clothes, drab art, drab words, drab literature. Homosexuals are “out of sight, out of mind.” they’re imprisoned, brainwashed, or worse. Sex is a chore. A burden. If the act doesn’t result in conception, it’s a failure. People don’t hook up because of love or even sexual attraction, but for their mutual ability to produce offspring. If you’re infertile, maybe you’re just treated as second-class citizens. Maybe you’re in the same place as the homosexuals. And yes, all intercourse must be within the bonds of matrimony. And all of this is rigidly enforced and overseen by a pseudo-benevolent loving government. The Powers That Be dictate with whom we have sex, when we have sex, and how we have sex.

In other words, it’s a society a lot like that of Orwell’s “1984.”

Will the Holy Terrors succeed in their War on Whoopie?

Of course not.

In the first place, sex is everywhere. Of course, it’s always been everywhere, but these days it’s positively moved into the mainstream. Porn is chic. Jenna Jameson has a best-selling autobiography. Porn stars make reality shows and documentaries. Writers of erotica are cult figures in the literary world. Thanks to the internet, anyone can get any access to any sexually oriented material he or she wants anywhere, anytime. Porn isn’t just in the mainstream; it’s on the cutting edge. Barely ten minutes after Apple introduced its new video iPod, porn video distributors announced they would make clips available for the new device.

As far as sexual preferences are concerned, gays can marry in Massachusetts, Canada, and an ever-growing number of European countries. For every anti-fun statute that is passed in a “red” state, a pro-fun measure passes in a “blue” state.

Trying to curb peoples’ urges to make whoopee is like trying to stop a breach in a flooded levee with sponges and “Brawny” paper towels. (Bad, tasteless, insensitive joke there. I humbly apologize to the citizens of Hurricane Katrina-devastated New Orleans, Louisiana, and to the heroic efforts of those trying to repair the damage to that great city’s levees with government-issue sponges and “Brawny” paper towels).

For all their bluster and busy activity, the Holy Terrors don’t realize their War on Whoopie is already lost. Which leads me to the second reason why their failure is a foregone conclusion.

they’re just not smart enough to pull it off.

that’s not to say the Holy Terrors don’t have power. That’s not to say they can’t make life miserable for the rest of us. That’s not to say they won’t make every effort to drag us, kicking and screaming, back to the Middle Ages or, more likely, forward into George Orwell’s dark vision of the future.

Which is why, fellow fun-loving freaks, we must resist the tyranny of our would-be oppressors! We must stand up (or lie down, as the case may be) for our right to spread our legs, drop our drawers, break out the whips, nipple clamps and candlewax and have dirty, kinky, twisted, sweaty carnal knowledge with our fellow consenting adults in any way and every way, shape or form. We must not just watch porn for its own sake, we must do so as an expression of freedom of speech. When We’re punishing a very bad, bad person, We’re not just spanking a bare bottom, We’re also striking a blow for personal liberty. With a leather paddle, to boot.

They say politics makes strange bedfellows. I’ll show you some strange bedfellows.

Come on, Baby. let’s go on up to my place and we’ll stick it to The Man.

J.T. Benjamin
May/June 2006

“All Worked Up” © 2006 J.T. Benjamin. All rights reserved.

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