Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Condom News Sensations

The condom makes the news twice – the Pope suddenly expresses an understanding of its use to protect against HIV, and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is accused of not using it sufficiently. The rubber has the center stage.

The Pope and the whole Catholic church have banned the condom completely for as long as this convenient little aid has been around, but now the present Pope expresses some understanding of its use to protect people from the HIV virus. He seems to regard it as the lesser of two evils:
”In this or that case, there can be nonetheless, in the intention of reducing the risk of infection, a first step in a movement toward a different way, a more humane way, of living sexuality.”

To the Pope, the rubber is nothing but a step towards the only really proper way of dealing with STD, which seems to be abstinence. Good luck with that.

In Sweden, two women have accused Wikileaks founder Julian Assange of raping them. It's not really a question of rape, but in one case the condom broke, and that woman suspected it was “intentional”, whatever Assange's motif might have been for that, and in the other case the woman obviously agreed to sex without a condom, and later regretted it, demanding that Assange checks himself for STD. Wouldn't it be simpler if she did it first?

When the industrially produced condom was spread around the world in the late 19th century, the ruling classes argued for restriction, so that the lower classes wouldn't misuse it. How to misuse a condom? The rulers felt that the masses would become morally corrupt if they could have intercourse without the risk of pregnancy. The upper classes, though, were expected to handle it splendidly.

The Catholic church has not deserted the attitude that sex is a sin when indulged in for the pleasure of it, the same way they expect their priests to live in celibacy, whatever the real consequences of this firm rule are – and they are. Fortunately, secular society has moved on.

But secular society, too, carries obsolete and reactionary values, especially regarding sex. So, lately in Sweden the legal use of the term rape has been widened to include a lot of things that we wouldn't normally call rape. A broken condom, a sex act that one of the participants later regrets. Now, it's rape. Naah.

The little bubble of rubber, the balloon of joy, plays trick on us, and reminds us that the moment we speak from indignation is the moment we become our own parodies. Life is a comedy, righteousness is a joke.