Puritanism and its lingering effects

June 17, 2007

I thought this article from BBC news was right-on in its analysis of our Puritan roots and how we in the U.S. selectively choose what we are going to be fussy over– using the mother who allowed her 16 year old son and his friends to consume alcohol at a party (but took away all of the keys of his friends in the process) and was then sentenced to over two years in jail (as a side note, the father who provided the alcohol got 30 days– what sexism is implicit in this sentence?).

I particularly enjoyed this part:

In Virginia, like in much of the US, you can drive when you are 15, die in the army at 17 and buy a gun at 18.

But you cannot let beer or wine pass your lips legally until you are 21…

The bizarre and selective Puritanism of the US is as old as the nation.

This country boasts a multibillion dollar porn industry that dwarfs the GDP of most developing countries.

The evening news is cluttered with adverts for erectile dysfunction: “If your erection lasts for more than six hours consult a physician.”

But there were howls of outrage when the singer Janet Jackson allowed her left breast to be exposed in a “wardrobe malfunction” during the Super Bowl half-time show in 2004.

A friend of mine was lambasted by an elderly gentleman on a deserted beach in North Carolina for allowing her three-year-old son to roam naked in the sand.

Read the whole thing here.

j

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