But do they have Gore-gasms?

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

I just encountered an article about "green sex" that has to be read to be believed, and that I cannot let pass without comment As my point of departure, though, I'll quote from a completely different article first: "[H]e spent his time lugging manure, fertilizing cabbage, and writing in his diary about the benefits of ... physical labor, both to himself and to the [collective]."

Aroused yet? If you're like the idiots in this article, you will be. Or you'll pretend to be. Or you'll pretend that it's obvious that others should be. Or that it's trendy to be. Whatever. When one does not hold one's own life as sacred and worthy of enjoyment for its own sake, one will look elsewhere for meaning, sometimes with hilarious results....

Other ways of "greenwashing" the bedroom, as outlined by TreeHugger and Greenpeace, include turning out the lights, not buying PVC or vinyl accoutrements, ensuring S&M paddles are made from sustainably harvested timber, using organic massage oils, showering together, using bamboo bed sheets (they come from a rapidly renewable resource and are said to be "super sexy"), and wearing lingerie made with renewable fibres such as hemp (Enamore), bamboo (Butta) and other organic goodness (GreenKnickers, Buenostyle, Peau Ethique).
Call me sexually repressed, but I may not even get so far as to turn off the lights. And I won't be thinking about what my sheets are made of, what the lingerie I just flung across the room is woven from, or playing "sexual connoisseur asshole/eco-prick" with a paddle made of sustainably effin' harvested timber! When I have sex, I devote my undivided attention to my wife. Screw the rest of the world. I mean that figuratively, for the benefit of any Greens who happen to be reading this.

How mind-numbingly boring! If you're a guy who's so hard-up his sexual partner could be described as a "corn-fed, no make-up, natural fiber, no-bra needing, sandal-wearing, hirsute, somewhat fragrant hippie chick", then perhaps you might need something like the above to distract yourself long enough to -- um -- finish the job. But otherwise, what the hell is this about?

On a more serious note, this brings me back to that first quote. It comes from an article about one Jingbei Hu, who is contemplating an inability to "think for themselves" among Chinese youths past and present, and how this might tie in with China's Cultural Revolution.

Many of the people who will take environmentalism to their bedrooms will not think too deeply about any of the above. Most are mindless young people who don't think too deeply about anything at all. They just know that recycled Communism makes them feel good. There's how your cultural revolutions get started, Mr. Hu. Young minds transformed into skulls full of mush and made to feel good by the crusades of the cynical, helped along by a few idealistic "useful idiots" here and there end up putting these cynics into power, where they suddenly aren't quite so stylish anymore. But by that point, style is the least of anyone's worries.

-- CAV


Adrian Hester said...

Hoo-buddy, Gus, that's certainly prime fodder for humor! Let's see...

"No PVC? You mean I'll have to go back to leather for my whips? But how can I be sure it's cruelty-free?"

...and so on ad nauseam (literally, for at least the great majority of people). It makes for a great big passel of really funny, really tacky jokes, but what's worth some thought is why it's such a ripe trigger. It's not that I find S&M paddles, vinyl garb, or even lingerie particularly shocking, just boring; nor do I think there's anything wrong with manufacturing and marketing them. The specificity of "ensuring S&M paddles are made from sustainably harvested timber" is a key here, I think. Presumably you're not going to need very many of them over a lifetime no matter how promiscuous you are with them, so there shouldn't be much of a market for them, certainly not one on the same scale as non-linen linens, say, nor does it seem the most critical area of your life to paint green if you're worried about deforestation. The disproportion makes their mention stick out like a sore thumb (or a sore bum?); they're given such prominence, clearly, as a way of saying how free and open-minded a green lifestyle can be. Whatever your thing is, greenwashing the bedroom is compatible with it.

But a lot of those "things" are as much about inverting, acting out, and reacting against taboos or common social roles as they are about pleasure with a lover. Such people might reject those roles or taboos but they're still under their thrall; an inverted taboo is still a taboo to be flouted. So, to someone like me all those accoutrements are mere persiflage; they don't give me any frisson echoing what their owners must feel. (But then perhaps I'm just odd; even elaborate lingerie doesn't move me, even esthetically.) If anything, I wonder what it must be like to feel the need to grimace at the ghosts of society to heighten your intimate moments--seems awfully distracting, not to mention redolent of being ever-mindful of religious prohibitions and regulations.

And that's how greenwashing the bedroom ties in with it. It too injects what are essentially religious moral prohibitions concerning right action into the bedroom. And since the green prohibitions are based on a rejection of other aspects of the same western society whose sexual customs and taboos bedevil the "sexual minorities," they can easily be glommed together as all of a piece. Yes, it's a grab-bag that lumps, say, the cult of virginity and chastity together with the admiration of productivity and industry, but it has a certain prima facie coherence to it that makes marketing their opposites an attractive scheme. (Perhaps an advertising campaign with Kermit singing, "Girls are easy if you're green"?) There are other sources of humor tied up with that--such as the obvious association of those people loudly pursuing "natural lifestyles," natural being taken as including tattooing, scarification, and patchouli but not immersion in clean water, and the raunchy old idea of odeur de femme (for example, maybe "progressive" mothers will tell their daughters, "Just hold your nose and think of the Amazon")--but they're just icing on the cake.

Gus Van Horn said...

Yes. The silly need to list every type of bedroom implement struck me, too, and beyond the "leftists are the real partiers" stereotype they love to cast for themselves or the empiricist-emotionalist speech tic of listing everything long past the point of being clear, both of which are part of it. But your analysis gets to the essence, which is that on this level, too, the left is just a secularized Christianity, albeit in a twisted, reactive form.

Thank you for the thoughtful comment, which was a slight surprise concerning how the subject matter of the post just begs to be ridiculed.

I was half-expecting to have to admonish several people by now that humorous innuendo was okay in the comments, but that I wasn't going to let things degenerate into the vulgar. Whew!