Society & Culture

The Politics of Morbid Fascination

Rafael Palmeiro has ED.  How do I know?  He told me.  He told you, too.  Heck, he told the whole country about 15 years ago.  He went on national television (while intermittently swinging a big bat—Freudian subtlety is lost on the Madison Avenue types) to say that he was having a bit of trouble with his slugging percentage, and that Viagra had helped him pull out of the slump.

After recovering from the initial shock of seeing one of my boyhood heroes reduced to hocking aphrodisiacs, I began to reflect on the jarring juxtaposition, in television advertising, of impotency in the confessional mode, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, the rivers of smut being used to sell every other product under the sun.  How odd, I thought.  How sad.  The urge to abandon sober reason and carry the thyrsus in the Retail Mysteries is pumped through our libidos in all directions, such that we can scarcely buy antacids or bug spray without indexing the purchase to our relative state of arousal.  Stud bulls have more in the way of dispassionate cogitation than does the average consumer in the eyes of the advertising elite.

But there is something altogether apt about the need for Viagra paralleling the surfeit of bimbos in bikinis telling us all what we should and should not buy.  Shopping via the sex drive would be enough to exhaust the most virile in our midst.  Worn...

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