IN MY OPINION
Books Read in 2007
Mefeedia Video Archive
SOAP OPERA DIGEST
4 February 2007
One thing my mother missed while she was in the hospital was watching her soap. She has watched The Young and the Restless for so long that the young restless people she first knew are now old and doddering. We got our first TV in 1953, when I was 10, so she has been watching it at least fifty years, she insists. She also thinks she listened to it on radio before that. (I'm not sure that this particular soap has been around that long, but I know she has been listening to soap operas since the days of "Stella Dallas," and "Backstage Wife.")
I'm becoming addicted to soap operas while I'm here.
"As the World Turns" plays out each morning outside the kitchen window, where my mother has a bird feeder. She keeps a 40 lb bag of bird seed in the carport and I put a quart of food in the feeder each morning. It's like rush hour on the freeway, with the little birds flying down, pecking frantically at the seed, trying to get enough, and flitting in and out of the overhanging bottlebrush tree.
Then comes the big bad black crow who lands on top of the feeder and scares everyone away, like an evil landlord flinging his cape over his shoulders, twirling his moustache and demanding the farmer's daughter's virtue in exchange for the rent. I watch him and hiss, like any good mellerdramer audience would.
When the crow flies off, the doves come and allow the little birds to join them on the feeder. Unlike the crow, the doves are willing to co-exist peacefully with the little guys.
Meanwhile, "All My Children" is playing out on the front porch, where the first of this year's crop of doves has built a nest in the hanging basket and are ready to raise the first of the new doves to be born on my mother's porch this year.
The day I arrived, Mama Dove was busy building a nest in the basket and father worked tirelessly all day bringing twigs to his beloved. Off in a nearby tree, another pair of doves watched, jealously, and whenever Mama was alone, they would fly down to the porch. Papa would be there in an instant to chase them away. This was HIS home and HIS wife and HIS kids and they had to get the hell out.
I haven't checked the status of the nest yet, so I don't know if Mama has laid her eggs yet. There was a lot of billing and cooing that went on for a couple of days after the nest building. They'd fly off together and then come back for meals (there is another bird feeder on the front porch). Mama spends a lot of time sitting in the nest, so I'm sure she must have laid her eggs by now.
The upstarts still come and peck at the food in the bird feeder, eyeing the nest out of the corner of their eye. Mama or Papa will then swoop down on them and chase them away. The doves are obviously not entirely peaceful.
While all this avian drama is going on here, over in San Francisco we are getting gleeful reruns of Sex and the City, as Mayor Gavin Newsom, the up-and-coming Democrat mentioned often with some future gubernatorial or senatorial race, and maybe someday even the White House has been caught with his pants down. During a time when his marriage was ending and he was going through a divorce, he had an affair with his campaign manager's wife.
Unlike most politicians, Newsom has stood up, admitted the affair, apologized, and offered no excuses. But all the news stories are about how his political career is finished. Women seem ready to forgive him and move on, but he has apparently violated, the San Francisco Chronicle says today, some "MAN code," and it is the men who are backing away and talking about the political suicide his penis has caused.
My god are we obsessed to the point of pathological illness with sex in this country? We have a tin despot on the throne in Washington who has brought us to the brink of nuclear war, who has made a mockery of our Constitution, who has ignored all the advice of his advisors and the will of the people and just gone ahead because being president means not having to say you're sorry, and yet we can't seem to bring any sort of disciplinary action against him, but Bill Clinton has a consensual relationship with a young woman, who by her own admission seduced him, and he has to be impeached.
Now a man whose marriage had already failed turns for solace to a woman (and we don't know the condition of her marriage or who made the first move on whom) and men are rushing to say that his political career is dead.
People in this country can't stand the thought of two people of the same gender loving one another. People can't stomach the idea that young girls can be protected from the potentially cancer-causing Human Papilloma Virus by giving them a simple vaccination, because it might make them want to have sex. People pull their kids out of biology class because someone might actually tell them about sexually transmitted diseases...and heaven forbid someone demonstrate the use of a condom or talk about what can happen if you don't protct yourself.
It's just sex. It's the natural urge that God gave us. Bees do it. Birds do it--a lot around here. Some use it in a way that seems politically correct, others use it in ways that feel right to them but may fly in the face of the norm. But is it really the be all and the end all of our society? Is what happens between the waist and the knees really the only standard by which everyone is to be judged? Is it worth ending the career of a promising politician, or risking our daughters' lives for?
When are we going to grow up and be adults about sex? Seems to me all this brouhaha is for the birds.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
I beat her in canasta today--twice!--so we have moved on to new activities.
This is entry #2503