Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Random Bible Verse of the Day: Song of Songs (and Eroticism!)

I find this to be obscene.  Someone arrest Santorum.
Allow me a brief introduction to this episode of Random Bible Verse of the Day...

As I noted the other day, Rick Santorum, is on a crusade to eliminate porn.  Besides his evidence free assertions that porn has negative social outcomes, simply defining what constitutes as 'porn' is a huge stumbling block as there is tremendous variability in the nature of 'porn' such that at some point it becomes 'art' (presuming for the moment that 'porn' isn't 'art').  And at some other non-linear point, it becomes educational or research for science.  I would defy anyone to try to delineate the boundaries of 'porn'.

This got me thinking about society's aversion to what has, for some reason, been widely been defined as obscene.  Take the middle finger, for example.  We see other people's middle fingers every day and no one seems to get too bent out of shape.

But when it is only the middle finger that is exposed, we become quite offended - especially if directed at us personally.  And perhaps that is quite reasonable to take umbrage if personally directed toward you.  After all, it is the commonly understood meaning of the middle finger which conveys the sender's ill will toward the target.  That much is certainly understandable.

Yet, where I have trouble figuring out, is why society is so sensitive to 'the middle finger' in general.  Like this:

Guess where you can put this thumb!?!!

Quite racy, it is.

But why blur it out?  We all know what's going on.  Hell, the blog even tells us "...Chuck Cecil gave the finger to a ref..."

Its as if the actual image of the middle finger extended while the others are down will corrupt our brains...even though everyone that sees such a blurred out image is mentally reconstructing the image anyway!

If you were really serious about sheltering your audience from the indignity of having to see a middle finger and all of its vicious implications, you wouldn't show the blurred out shot or even mentioned that it happened [which is probably what China or Iran would do].

Its the same thing as The Game.

Don't think about Pink Elephants.  Seriously, stop thinking about Pink Elephants!!

I think I've made my point.

But not quite.

I write this post because I came across a sultry little Bible passage that caught my eye that goes by the name of Song of Songs.  Yup, its a whole book in the Bible.

It starts off relatively tame:
Take me with you and we'll run away; by my king and take me to your room.  We will be happy together, drink deep, and lose ourselves in love.  No wonder all women love you! (1:4)
Ok, maybe the imagery is rather startling for the Bible. Let's jump ahead to the good stuff:
The Woman - Wake up, North Wind.  South Wind, blow on my garden; fill the air with fragrance.  Let my lover come to his garden and eat the best of its fruits.
The Man - I have entered my garden, my sweetheart, my bride.  I am gathering my spices an myrrh; I am eating my honey and honeycomb; I am drinking my wine and milk.
The Women - Eat, lovers, and drink unitl you are drunk with love!
The Woman - While I slept, my heart was awake.  I dreamed my lover knocked at the door.
The Man -  Let me come in, my darling, my sweetheart, my dove.  My head is wet with dew and my hair is damp from the mist.
The Woman - I have already undressed; why should I get dressed again?  I have washed my feet, why should I get them dirty again?  My lover put his hand to the door, and I was thrilled that he was near.  I was ready to let him come in.  My hands were covered with myrrh, my fingers with lquid myrrh as I grasped the handle of the door.  (4:16 - 5:6)
Regardless of the various theologians interpretations of this book, and specifically this passage, there is no denying its erotic imagery.

So, I'm curious, even forgetting for the moment that this came from the Bible, if Rick Santorum is also interested in criminalize erotic poems, novels, or narratives?  If not, isn't the effect the same as visual 'porn': people are imagining sex acts.  (As an aside, I wonder if Santorum would, if he could, criminalize the thought of hardcore sex or softcore porn?).  If so, would Santorum criminalize the Bible given the passage above?

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