Wednesday, March 19, 2008

T.M.I (too much information)

Sorry about the repeat blog entry last week. I was down for the count with what we will politely call a prolonged case of “gastro-intestinal disturbance.” You know what I’m talking about, right? I don’t have to go into graphic detail, do I? No…because we share the same sensibility, I’m sure, about things that go on the boudoir and the toilette. No need to elaborate.

So, what’s going on today’s world? In the last week, I have had to run the gauntlet with my kids on topics related to prostitution, infidelity, and the mother of them all—three-ways. Our new governor—inaugurated after the old governor admitted to soliciting a prostitute—assures us that he’s not “having an affair right now.” Whew! That’s good, right? Maybe now he has time to deal with the one gazillion dollar deficit the New York State budget is facing instead of what to eat at the continental breakfast buffet at the Upper West Side hotel that he admittedly has taken his paramours to.

I consider myself your garden variety prude. I don’t talk about bodily functions, sex, how much money I make, or anything I consider “private” in public. Some of my friends might dispute this contention, but believe me, I try not to. Sometimes, it's unavoidable. I will not use the more common word for “gastro-intestinal disturbance” in mixed company. (Unless it can get me out of a three-hour nuptial mass for a couple I know will be divorced before my check clears or an extended stint of watching someone else’s home videos.) I just don’t think it’s right. But I’ll laugh heartily at a naughty joke, have been known to cuss every now and again, and enjoy certain déclassé reality television shows, like Rock of Love. But the fourth wall, so to speak, has come down in America and we’re becoming a class of divulgers, a population of people who think that everyone needs to know everything all the time. Is it “Larry King Syndrome”? Or the “Jerry Springeritization” of America? (I’m trademarking those, by the way.) I’m just not sure.

Let’s think back to a simpler time. Do you remember when Jimmy Carter said that he “lusted in his heart” and the country nearly shut down for a week? People were gouging their own eyes out to think that our President looked at women and—gasp!—thought about them in a lustful way. God, I miss Jimmy Carter. This week alone, we learned that former Governor Spitzer likes it au naturel (and frankly, who doesn’t?), Dina McGreevey may have had sex with another man while her husband watched (and if your husband is gay, I say you get a pass on that one), and that you can book a one, two, three, or four “diamond” woman on-line (by the way, it’s all the same woman, you moron johns out there) with your credit card. Who knew? But more importantly: who wanted to know?

It’s titillation overload, and I, for one, am tired of it. I’m thinking that a moratorium on all things licentious and lascivious is in order but how does one go about instituting that? In the world of twenty-four hours cable news, I am afraid it’s going to get worse and worse as time goes by. And if I’m so sick and tired of this, I imagine others must be as well.

I was talking with my friend, Carol, about this yesterday and she reminded of something that I should have been thinking about all along: the children in this equation. Can you imagine being an adolescent or a teen and having the details of your father or mother’s sex life splashed across the front of every tabloid? I can’t. The most embarrassing thing I remember is my mother starring as a Carmen Miranda-type singer in the annual church variety show, belting out “The Girl from Ipanema” (ah, good times). I can’t even begin to comprehend being in one of the most turbulent periods of life—and let’s admit it, anything from about eleven to twenty years old qualifies—and having all of these intensely personal details about your family brought forth on a daily basis. This, as you are undergoing emotional, physical, and hormonal changes while trying to deal with the challenges of socialization in middle or high school. It’s just not fair.

Let’s put this stuff away, people. Please. Let’s do it for children. Yours, mine, and theirs.

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