Americans have a hard time ignoring things. On the freeway, for example, any time there’s a car on the shoulder, everyone in front of me has to slow down and look. If there’s a tow-truck over there—wow, fascinating!—count on being an hour late for wherever you’re going.
TVs in public are another thing Americans can’t seem to ignore, no matter what they’re showing.
The hardest thing for Americans to ignore, however, is sex. And not just sex, but anything distantly or vaguely connected to sex. For people who don’t want to think about sex, but who can’t ignore things that remind them of sex, the world’s a hard place to navigate. Their solution is for everyone else to stop any behavior that makes them uncomfortable. For example:
* A Virginia high school student wearing a t-shirt with the lesbian pride symbol was told to cover it up or be disciplined. In supporting punishment, the assistant principal said because the complaining teacher is “very conservative” she found the t-shirt so upsetting that it “interfered with her ability to teach.”
* Oregon’s Udink family has had vanity license plates featuring their last name for seven years. A DMV language expert recently declared “Udink” a sexually suggestive expression (one I sure don’t know), and the DMV is demanding the plates back.
* In public buildings in California, Vermont, Washington, Tennessee, and in CIA headquarters, art that showed women’s uncovered breasts—even of Greek goddesses, or a historically accurate mural of Columbus’ landing, or a priceless Titian on loan—was challenged as creating a sexually hostile work environment, and was removed.
Of course, this is in addition to the nude beaches, adult bookstores, swing clubs, and phone- sex lines that are constantly being busted across the country.
Americans who are uncomfortable with sex have declared war on sex, trying to cleanse their visual and aural environment so they never, ever have to confront something that makes them uncomfortable.
Ladies and gentlemen, may I suggest you learn to use the off button on your TV remote, look at something else when you don’t like what’s in front of you, and stop craning your neck to see something that upsets you—so you can then complain about it.
Every 12-year-old learns to ignore the word “duty,” every college guy learns to walk to class despite the various breasts and butts that parade in front of him daily, and every adult learns to ignore the sounds that come out of the bathroom. It’s time that adults who are uncomfortable with sex felt responsible for ignoring it, and simply learned how to do so.