By far and away, one of the most interesting and insightful books I have read in the past couple of years has been “One Nation Under Sex” by Dr. David Eisenbach. The author most associated with this work is Hustler porn man Larry Flynt, yet he has as much to do with writing this book as Garfunkel had with the success of Simon and Garfunkel…or that other Wham! guy with George Michael.
I am saddened that Flynt gets most of the credit for the writing of this book because Columbia University lecturer and historian Dr. Eisenbach is primarily responsible for this wonderful historic account of how sex has played an overwhelmingly large role in our nation’s history -from changing public policy to winning or losing wars. The book is academic in every sense with all claims sufficiently backed with reliable historical accounts. It is neither lurid nor appealing to prurient interests; it is flat out eye opening and educational.
If I were an American History professor, this most certainly would be either required or suggested reading.
To summarize this work in as few words possible, sexuality has played as much a part in American politics as any other underlying force; to be unaware and uneducated on this, as many prefer to pretend the great majority of our nation’s leaders were NOT horny bastards, is to be left ignorant and gullible. It is a magnificent study in basic human nature and its interplay with public policy.
And by horny bastards, I mean normal men. And I’m not talking about the members of the Philanderer’s Hall of Fame, appropriately named, Kennedy and Clinton’s Club. No. Names you would have never associated with such behavior.
Oh, but the ladies do not get a free pass on this either as the book reveals plenty of female forays.
The one chapter that was obviously authored by Flynt is actually an excellent one as he reveals the grand hypocrisy of the modern day politician. I do not respect Flynt for much, however in this sense, he is a hero. Several times he has offered a one million dollar reward for information leading to the “scandalous” sexual lives of elected leaders. The first time he did this in 1997 it lead to the resignation of incoming Speaker of the House Bob Livingston.
Flynt has no problem with congress having sexual dalliances; he has trouble with those politicians who publicly rail for purity while privately getting a lap dance from Puritee down at Little Darlings; the politician who votes for no gays in the military as he or she privately carries on gay love affairs.
I bring this up on Martin Luther King day. Why? MLK was quite renowned for his “activism” in the bedroom, at least if we were to believe J. Edgar Hoover’s reports. The man who carried the weight of the Civil Rights movement on his own shoulders often carried the weight of several mistresses on his shoulders, and probably his back, perhaps legs, and maybe even occasionally his arms as well.
MLK had one problem, he was human. I do not support lying or cheating or any other “flaw” (is it a flaw if we all have it?) we humans have in our make-up, however, I support people who are real people. Unafraid.
I have found that for every valuable trait we possess there exists a shadow to that trait, an often troubling flipside. The attractive strong and silent type is also the uncommunicative prick. The overly romantic man is eventually the wimp who needs to get his act together. The witty and funny female is concurrently the woman who cannot keep her mouth shut. Thus a passionate man is a passionate man, whether in front of the Lincoln memorial or in a downtown no-tell motel. Passion knows no bounds.
I am a quote guy and the following one MLK delivered has been etched in my mind for years:
“I say to you, this morning, that if you have never found something so dear and precious to you that you will die for it, then you aren’t fit to live. Well, you may go on and live until you are ninety, but you are just as dead at 38 as you would be at ninety. And the cessation of breathing in your life is but the belated announcement of an earlier death of the spirit.”
WOW. And would anyone want to rob someone of what makes them great?
Today I honor the man. The MAN. Not the larger than life mythical figure we have created that cannot possibly live up to our high moral expectations. I honor the “flawed” individual whose passion knew no bounds.
I honor that passion. I admire that passion. That passion was a wake up call for an entire country. Even if we are one nation under sex, that underlying driving passion can take us where we need to go. Happy MLK day everyone.