What is going on in American culture?

And I specify American culture because while I have a bunch of head-knowledge about other nations, I’ve only visited Mexico so far (You’re next, UK!), and I would hesitate to say I knew a lot about that culture after only two weeks there.  

Anyway, what’s bugging me was brought on by comments on an article on a local website.  A gay couple was kicked out of a local mall for holding hands and kissing.  The security guard kicked them out, claiming it was policy no matter if it was a heterosexual couple or a homosexual one.   The local news station went undercover, and witnessed many straight couples doing the same things the gay men had been doing–and nobody said a word.  The mall manager refused comment. 

That’s all pathetic enough, but the comment section is when my blood pressure really took off.  I’m used to the sort of “OMG GAY PEOPLE KISSING THAT’S SO GROSS” nonsense that populates this kind of thread; let’s set them aside.  Time will deal with those morons. 

No, what bothered me was the plethora of comments saying something like “Good! Nobody should be doing that in front of children, not even straight couples!”

Seriously, WTF? Since when is it harmful for kids to see a man kiss his wife?  Or girlfriend?  We’re not talking “tonsil dueling,” here, we’re talking about a quick kiss.  And there are people there who think that’s too much for children to see.  

Back when The Matrix Reloaded came out, my younger sister, then 12, asked me to take her to see it.  I asked her mom what she thought, and she asked if it was “inappropriate.”  I admitted that yes, there was rather a lot of violence, including people getting shot, dying on-camera, “bad” language, etc.  She said “Oh, I don’t care about that stuff!  I just don’t want her to see a sex scene!”

Say WHAT?  Watching two characters who are lovers show that love is worse than watching something like 40 people dying on screen, and many more off-screen?  Really?  

This isn’t just my family, either.  I’ve seen parents at the game store, warned by an employee that the game they are about to buy their elementary-school kid is rated “M,” meaning it’s meant for adults, scoff at the violence warning and ask “Is there sex in it?”  One woman refused to buy her kid Mass Effect, one of the best-written games in the last few years, because the employee admitted there’s a love scene in which you see a part of a woman’s thigh.  

Now, it’s not like I think kids should be watching porn, or even less-explicit love scenes.  But there is something wrong with a society that thinks it’s more important a kid not see a nude human making love than that they not see a man get his head blown off.  

George Carlin was right: “When you’re born, you get a ticket to the freak show. When you’re born in America, you get a front-row seat.”


Published by Michael R. Johnston

Father of an eighth grader, high school English teacher, writer. Fifty years old and feeling almost every bit of it on some days, and not a bit of it on others. Based in Sacramento, California, USA

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