I did something that I only rarely do: I watched some network TV last night. My excuse was that the NFL season kicked off with the Hall of Fame Game--and I was more than a little ready for some football. But, I was shocked. I was stunned by the brazen commercials, the vile promos for new shows, and the defiling character of some of the sideline bantering.
The experience reminded me of Shakespeare's famous rebuke:
"Oh shame, where is thy blush?
If thou canst mutine in a matron’s bones,
To flaming youth, let virtue be as wax
And melt in her own fire. Proclaim no shame
When the compulsive ardor gives the charge,
Since for itself as actively doth burn,
And reason panders will."
It also reminded me of the quip of C.S. Lewis that, "The orgasm has now replaced the cross as the focus of longing and the image of fulfillment."
Somehow, we have forgotten G.K. Chesterton's sage observation that, "The moment sex ceases to be a servant it becomes a tyrant. There is something dangerous and disproportionate in its place in human nature, for whatever reason; and it does really need a special purification and dedication. The modern talk about sex being free like any other sense, about the body being beautiful like any tree or flower, is either a description of the Garden of Eden or a piece of thoroughly bad psychology, of which the world grew weary two thousand years ago." Or that of Robert Louis Stevenson, "Even the greatest of delights without the least of restrictions will quickly cease to satisfy. A pristine joy, like sex, made common and base is merely a defiled and repulsive thing."
I am going to have to be a lot more careful this season. We all are. After all, as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow has said, "Purity is the beginning of all passion and shame is the beginning of discernment."