When I was about 34 years old, I discovered strip clubs. That would be about 1995. No, then I'm wrong. It was closer to 1996 and I was 35. Mind you this was a few years after the debut of the film Jurassic Park and the debut of Janet Jackson's album 'Janet'. Janet Jackson was the last wholesome stripper, but that was way *before* her tit fell out which was in 2004, nine years later. At that moment, you remember, Justin Timberlake was becoming the new Michael Jackson, who was already long dead, artistically speaking. And it was at that moment that nominally white Americans were handed the baton, the way I see it. But titty bars were all the rage, along with Eddie Bauer Edition Ford Explorers back in 1996.
You see, I started hanging around new money and was rather excited by it back then, primarily because I was newly married and had a couple of babies, and I actually really cared about making as much money as possible. I had consigned myself to Plan B which was moving to the New South, when it was clear I wasn't going to do the Columbia MBA in International Finance with a trip through Wall Street as a hedge fund quant. I married the wrong kind of woman for New York City, and so we went to Atlanta, and I learned all about Sales. Sales guys are a fascinating breed of human being, and I wouldn't be half the man I am today if I hadn't gotten to understand the actual blood and guts of the sales process. Glengarry Glen Ross is the tip of the iceberg, people. This is the part of business that makes people throw themselves from skyscrapers. It's the crusher; the do or die, the dog eat dog and the kill or be killed. Most importantly, it's the winner takes all, a little bit of luck and the golden lottery ticket as well. So I got to see, up close and personal, what people do before and after the million dollar payday. There is an excitement that cannot be denied when you suddenly rise above all your previous limits. Suddenly, you are above society, above the law, for at least a party, right?
I don't want to speak out of school, because I genuinely learned a lot and made what you might call friends. But we people with massive egos understand that there are friends and their are friends. Nevertheless, when you have a closing party after the deal is done, much steak, lobster, cabernet and tobacco are consumed. Which is to say a lot more tasteful than hookers and blow. Then again there was Qualcomm. I do not digress to say that some people just have *that* kind of party just waiting to get out of them, and sometimes (clutch the pearls) it doesn't happen with 'experimentation in college' aka frat parties. Sometimes it happens with accountants, and purchasing agents in their mid 30s, who any other day of the week are on toddler lockdown. In short, there is a whole lot of America who are just six figures short of the kind of idiot party that Caligula might dream up, or Fellini. Does it really matter? People everywhere at some point in their lives want to get their freak on. So much so that it's a business. Strip clubs make lots of money, but at least some of them are discrete.
So all across America when people really want to get wild and loose because they have become successful beyond their wildest dreams, well, there's Las Vegas. Just short of that there are titty bars and steakhouses. Happy Americans love to throw money around. This is actually half a problem. It is only half a problem because this is what new money success smells like. It smells like the Billionaire Boys Club. It smells like Less Than Zero. It smells like The Hangover, which is what Ferris Beuller was really thinking about doing on his day off. Except back in the Go Go 80s there wasn't quite as much new money as there was in the days of Irrational Exuberance. But it all smells the same.
What's going on today is the same smell, except it's outdoors and broadcast and everybody wants a sniff. Or perhaps it's more appropriate to say that the big media executives of today have lost their ability to think like Michael Crichton or pay people like Michael Crichton. So instead of throwing money at entertainment like Jurassic Park, they throw money at Trey Parker and Matt Stone. Remember them? They are the millionaire geniuses behind South Park. Why should anyone be surprised that in such an environment as gives awards for being sexy, that being sexy is what such entertainers try their damndest to do. Wasn't it just a week ago that one of these morons told a bunch of teenagers that what's really sexy is being smart? I hear that some Senator cited him, and I kid you not.
So here's what I'm saying. There's nothing new about degeneracy. The content of hookers and blow are the same now as they have ever been, as is the utter and complete lack of imagination in transgressive excess in any of the seven deadly sins. For some people, it's a crazy party. For others it's a living, and with reality television we come closer to what we all really want which is pornography and snuff videos. YouTube treads the fine line with selfies and fail videos. But it's the same slapstick. It's the same dick jokes. It's the same night on the town in Las Vegas that Lenny Bruce was talking about. Except now every state has a lottery and every state has titty bars. Well, way more than before. But I probably shouldn't say 'we' so very broadly. It's not that highbrow culture has disappeared, it's just that people with money, ie big media producers, are not particularly interested in preserving it for the benefit of the mainstream. I'm thinking perhaps that CBS's exclusive coverage of The Masters Tournament is about all that's left. The rest is on PBS, but only because they rebroadcast BBC.
No doubt that the peasantry will be the peasantry, but we were once attempting something called public education, the ends of which were enabling self-rule. But you cannot raise a functional democracy in an atmosphere of continual shameless public degeneracy. You need episodic guilty private degeneracy for a democracy to work. In public, you should be public-minded and public-spirited. If your aim is the preservation of liberty you must more than balance your mindless debauchery with civil conduct. It requires an 80/20 rule at the very least. It's tragic that such cannot go without saying that prominent figures in society should be beyond any reasonable reproach. Of course you must understand that we are fighting a war against those who spend their lives chasing Pulitzer prizes for discovering 'hipocrisy'. Such gossips and destroyers of worlds refuse to distinguish between the personal and the political, the private and the public. Their parents were racist, so the world is racist, etc, etc. (c.f. Nouning Hatey). "What difference does it make?", these liars ask. We're all twerkers and jerks and smokers and drinkers and haters and murderers - it's all a part of American culture, they say. It's all a part of *some* culture, they'll say. Multiculturalists must accept that any human being can do what comes natural and it must be civilized because 'we all do it at some point' and 'who are we to judge', and other mawkish banalities.
What's going on is simple outrage. And since I spent an hour in a waiting room this afternoon forced to watch CNN and some doe-eyed parent wailing about the 20 year-old who apparently can't wait to get out of her Disney contract and her clothes, I had to think about it too. We, now speaking of myself in this, simply must take our moral obligations to the next level. One cannot assume that the public sphere is not immoral, because the airwaves and every other mass medium are run by moral idiots who have every incentive to cater to every degeneracy imaginable. Our media environment has all the appeal of a ghastly train wreck, with big tits, covered in bacon. It's not going to stop. You just have to stay away from it; guard your soul.
It's not difficult to maintain distance. We all know where the titty bars are. As Nancy Reagan reminded us, Just Say No. All it takes is moral discipline, which for most of us is easily had. It's just rather pathetic that the media business has lost theirs. Which is why this 'story' is making headlines just before we punish Syria.