The manly pursuit of desire: the war on sex

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This is an illuminating, often disturbing book, handling some extremely touchy subjects especially now in our brazenly benighted Age of Donald Trump. Basically it says that your "private" life and any approach to it can now destroy you. No matter who you are or where you are. And if you are a person of no privilege, meaning outside the corporate structure that controls the country - meaning most black, brown, other skinned, or chronically poor people - then it's as easy as slipping on the streets of New York after a February ice storm to end up, for any infraction of America's tightening sexual mores, within the teeth of its prison-industry complex.

Jeff Sessions, Trump's racist, half-brain-dead head of Justice, wants to make this privatized prison hell even more darkly "privatized," therefore further outside any kind of democratic, rational intervention into its brutality.

Some basic concepts Halperin and Hoppe and their team of mostly academics want to present: First, the approaching tsunami of America's war on sexuality and gender is gathering full steam in front of us. The compiling and enforcing of sexual offender registries is terrifying. Four year olds can get on these permanent lists - if some kid pulls down the pants of another in a playground, he/she can be brought up as an offender especially if there happens to be a mandated reporter hanging around. There are now close to a million names on these registries nationally. Each represents a history that can range from sadistic perpetrators to a large number of people who were absolutely innocent and still condemned by Law, Inc. as guilty. The prison terms for sexual offenses are horrifying: you can get a longer sentence for some forms of offense, which can even include public urination in a dark place, than you can for far more serious crimes - much longer. And, even on release, it will be impossible to make a living since so many professions (teaching, clinical medicine, department store work, etc.) are off limits. [...]

But what bothered me more was that there was no deeper analysis of why this war on sex is gaining traction. To me it seems only too obvious that as our country, and much of the world, becomes absolutely corporatized, so that we now have no division between a private life and a corporate working one, any disruptive incursion into the "working world" - which now encompasses everything - becomes intolerable.

A large number of Americans have virtually no intimate life outside work and church, and neither of these institutions will tolerate sexual or private nonconformity in any form. Being a regular company guy, a cog in the wheel, is mandatory, because the truth is you can't wander outside the wheel. Anything outside it is too threatening to be overlooked. Trump et al want a world of competitive hard-workers to make him and his buddies even more super-rich. And no matter how kinky and screwed up they may be in their luxury fortified towers, this group, now at the helm of the country, will not suffer one moment of anyone else’s life to be allowed "off the books" and even for a second, private only to themselves.

source: Book review 'Perry Brass: The Manly Pursuit of Desire: THE WAR ON SEX, edited by David M. Halperin and Trevor Hoppe' by Perry Brass (Acclaimed writer, activist, and gender pioneer);; HuffPost; 19 April 2017