May 31, 2020
Home  »  Magazine  »  International  » Cover Stories  » Cover Stories »  When Billy The Kid Met The Playboy Bunny

When Billy The Kid Met The Playboy Bunny

When Billy The Kid Met The Playboy Bunny
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+0553

LOVE and bullets, Charlie." That Bronsonian parting line which defined the Americas of the swinging seventies has given way to a far more direct end-of-the-millennium mantra: sex and guns. Preferably lots of it. Nothing, but nothing, brings out the great American paradox better than those two words. A nation that prides itself on its moral permissiveness wallows in its president's tawdry affair with an intern, to the extent that they now know more about his sexual life than that of their best friend's. And while the parents are piously busy, bombing Iraq or Sudan, New York kindergartens are being equipped with metal detectors to prevent kids armed with handguns from shooting at their classmates every now and then.

A nation that gave the world Playboy and Penthouse, Demi Moore and Pamela Anderson, while extolling the wares of dildo shops and peep shows, a nation whose porn industry can wipe out the national debt of most Third World nations, gets into a prurient huff because its president is an adulterer. As for the other phallic symbol, the gun lobby proudly proclaims that in 1994 (the last year for which figures were available) there were 231 million firearms, mostly handguns, in private hands. After all, the second amendment to the US Constitution categorically ensures that: "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." And the people, of course, includes children and the mentally ill. So what do you get? Sesame Street with semi-automatic weapons.

In 1995, nearly 35,000 Americans died by gunfire. Among all consumer products, only motor vehicles out-pace guns as a cause of fatal injury, and it is estimated that guns will pass them by 2003. Clearly, marketing is paying off. When sales slumped in the 1980s, gunmakers began to expand the market with niche marketing campaigns aimed at women and youth. Calamity Jane revisited.

Meanwhile, concerned parents argue over the merits of the V-chip, which lets them deny their children access to the ever-increasing number of pornographic TV channels. "One does not need to endorse the finger-wagging moralism of zealots to think that a society whose films, TV magazines and conversation are so obsessed with the business of sexual gratification is not a healthy one. Other generations left such mysteries to the beating of a private heart. That is now called hypocrisy, but it was not unwise," writes Newsweek International editor Michael Elliott. True, the times are a-changing. AIDS has cast its skull and crossbones shadow over the promiscuity prominently advertised and hyped by Hollywood as signs of American permissiveness since the decadent '60s. "Yes, there certainly is a change over the last two decades in the attitudes people have over sexuality," says New York pollster John Zogby. "The baby boomers (born between 1945 and 1964) tend to be liberal. That and the growth of the Christian Right has polarised attitudes. On one hand, there's growing tolerance toward alternate lifestyles, on the other there are attacks on gays." Dr Janice Epp, a professor of human sexuality, however, warns that all survey data "about sexuality is debatable. There's no monolithic attitude about sexuality in the US".

But certainly the "attitudes have changed," she admits. Some 30 or 40 years ago, the American electorate would not have tolerated their president being an adulterer. "But now they don't want to remove Clinton for adultery, but for lying or per-jury. ..what was not acceptable then has now become acceptable." The populace is now also more tolerant toward same-sex marriages.

Sex, according to the Americans, is of two types—pre and post-marital. And the statistics speak for themselves. Specifically, 79 per cent of Americans feel it is always wrong for a married person to have extramarital sexual relations, and another 11 per cent says it is "almost always" wrong. Yet, almost 80 per cent say half or more of all married men have committed adultery at some point. And women? Sixty per cent say half or more of married women have committed adultery.

Sex, according to the Americans, is of two types—pre and post-marital. And the statistics speak for themselves. Specifically, 79 per cent of Americans feel it is always wrong for a married person to have extramarital sexual relations, and another 11 per cent says it is "almost always" wrong. Yet, almost 80 per cent say half or more of all married men have committed adultery at some point. And women? Sixty per cent say half or more of married women have committed adultery.

Perhaps, frightening thought, that accounts for all the guns sold in the country. If Obelix the Gaul had lived today, he would have no hesitation at all in tapping his right temple and pronouncing: "These Americans are crazy."

Next Story >>
Google + Linkedin Whatsapp

The Latest Issue

Outlook Videos