Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Sex With Dogs

I'm very busy studying (and will be for the next three weeks), but I came across this interview while driving in the car listening to Sirius. I try not to make it a habit to listen to Howard Stern (a significantly large portion of the Howard Stern show is worthless and downright immoral), but he sometimes has decent interviews. This is not one of those interviews (Stern is particularly clueless here), but the topic itself is interesting. I'm not sure when this took place, but Artie Lange is there, so it must have been at least the 2000's, before Lange tried to kill himself in early 2010.

Stern is interviewing a 28-year-old man who has sex with dogs This is not particularly interesting in itself, especially considering the show in question. Instead, what's interesting is the fact that the man who has sex with dogs so articulately and so seriously defends himself against the brutal attacks he receives. He argues that there's nothing wrong with what he does and makes that much clear despite the cries of horror from the audience.You can listen to the interview here. (Please note that this is not an endorsement of this show; it is mostly trash, and I do not recommend anyone listening to any other interview in the video. I link to the interview only to make these points.) I am usually able to link to a specific spot in a youtube video, but I can't seem to get it to work on this long of a video. Anyway, you need to go to 1:23:36 to hear the interview. It really is worth listening to, especially if you want to understand what I talk about here. At a certain point (especially with all the cross-breeding stuff), I kind of think it's a fake call, though I ultimately don't think that it is. And even if it is a joke, it really doesn't have any bearing on the points I'm going to be making.

The most obvious issue is that I don't really think the people calling him a pervert really support their moral judgments with any serious arguments. Like, for example (as has been noted countless times), what is the limiting principle for a secular world with respect to sexuality? You'll notice in the interview that no one addresses his point that other species have sex with one another all the time and that it's humans who have a strange "we're different" attitude. I'm not totally sure what really legitimate argument can be made against this point from the position of Stern or the rest of the modern world. It's true that many animals don't seem to have many species-only scruples. The best argument, of course, is that a dog can't "consent," but in a lot of ways this sort of begs the question. (Also note that the man claims that he never forces himself on the dogs, which is actually something I do believe.) No one ever explains why consent has to be the guiding principle, philosophically, to moral sexual behavior. It's just taken for granted. And of course this really seems sort of silly in light of what we do to animals. It's not like we ask consent from animals before we slit their throats and eat them. The callers and Stern would of course not be so vicious toward a person who simply eats meat. I'll also go on record as saying that an animal probably prefers we have sex with it than we chop it up and eat it, all things being equal.

But this is really what I want to focus on: Stern and the callers' responses. The people calling in tear into him, one even saying that he should die because of his sexual preference. I think this is sort of fascinating - the responses people have when they are disgusted by sexual deviance. I certainly share in their disgust, because I think having sex with dogs is not only extremely off-putting but gravely immoral (for reasons beyond my personal preference), but my response is not unrelenting hatred for him. In a lot of ways I understand his frustration, and I find it annoyingly hypocritical for someone like Howard Stern, who is no stranger to calling for unrestricted sexual behavior (even to make money), to refer to someone as a "pervert." There's no real need to keep a good liberal attitude going when the mob is against an incredibly unpopular position. But it is interesting, nonetheless, that people as liberal as those on this show get violently angry and clearly aggressive toward someone's sexual interests. 

What's also a bit fascinating is the psychologist who comes on trying to diagnose and "help" the man. I'm always so interested as to what counts as psychologically "healthy" to the modern, secular world. I'm not even certain how the modern world gets away with using language like "healthy." The word has no real objective meaning outside of essentialist notions. And used in any other context, of course, saying that a person's personal proclivities are "perverted" or "unhealthy" would just be "judgmental" or "ignorant." "They're just different," they'd normally say, "not bad." Being a part of the modern world, I understand completely why the man who has sex with dogs is annoyed at the accusations of being called a pervert and the psychologist's pathetic attempt to diagnose his "problems." They, like most everything else, aren't problems to the man, and to tell him that they are is just to force their preferences on him. No doubt he would be exceedingly happy if he could have access to dogs as anyone else might be happy to have access to beautiful women. The only reason he's unhappy, after all, is not because he wants to have sex with dogs but because the world tells him that he shouldn't.

Also note that I find it sufficiently hilarious how the man refers to homosexual and oral dog sex as "disgusting" but proudly and capably defends heterosexual dog sex. You see, he's ironically just an essentialist at heart, arguing that it's okay to have sex with dogs because an offspring is possible. I have to assume that since this interview he has not achieved a half-man, half-dog mix. Finally, please don't take this post the wrong way. I do not think he is right, and I think that the audience is tapping into some sort of truth with its responses, even if it doesn't know what that truth might actually be. And also, please note that I very much denounce the violent responses the people do have. I think it's the same general hatred and disgust here that leads to serious and unjust violence against homosexuals or other sexual deviants. 

5 comments:

  1. I'm always so interested as to what counts as psychologically "healthy" to the modern, secular world. I'm not even certain how the modern world gets away with using language like "healthy."

    My experience is, at least with non-professionals, there's just this unspoken assumption that we all know what is and isn't healthy and it's so obvious that we don't even need to think about it. You can tell someone is mentally unsound the same way you can tell the guy with the missing limb is probably 'handicapped'. But once you start to dig, it either collapses altogether or falls back to philosophy, with all its difficulties.

    I think you're right about that momentary, awkward realization of truth on the part of some audience members. I wonder how much of these things tend to be staged and all (then again, how much money do you have to pay a guy to go on the radio and pretend he has sex with dogs?) Interesting to hear he put up an articulate defense. I suppose he really could, given the current state of public consciousness about things like this.

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  2. Hi Joe,

    Would you mind breaking up your paragraphs more? The block-o-texts are a bit hard to read.

    Thanks!

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  3. Hey, this is whiteroseofsummer just taking you up on your offer to check out your blog. I have to say I though that the title of this particular post was simply a metaphor of some sort. Turns out, it really was a post about someone having sex with dogs. I agree that blind hatred leads to a lot of injustice against, not just people with SSA, but anyone deemed too out of the ordinary.

    Church teaching is clear that "gay" relationships are immoral (as are any other sexual relationships outside of a true marriage) but church teaching is also clear that that does not give other license to mistreat or abuse them.

    Everyone remembers the first part, very few remember (or choose to follow) the second part. Right now with the upheaval of the institution of marriage, I can understand why the establishment of Catholics insist on propagating an "us vs. mentality," but the more militant they become, the less compassion and grace they seem to have...and they seem perfectly ok with that.

    This troubles me deeply. As a person who struggles with SSA, I don't see how I'm so supposed to grow in my faith and stay true to the teachings of the Church when the majority of practicing Catholics are so insistent on insulating themselves from people like me.

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  4. Morals can be as fashionable as clothes. In some sense it is "healthier" to conform to prevailing customs. It creates less anxiety (for everyone) when someone wears "appropriate" clothing. Moral judgments can be supported with serious arguments. They can also just be trendy. I think we all do a bit of both.

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  5. I had a question here a little bit off the topic but related. If the final cause of living things is to flourish and create more of its own, then is it wrong to neuter an animal like a dog or a cat? Am I missing something here?

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