The sexual revolution always seems to have another frontier. Indeed, the very idea of a "revolution" would be negated were there no frontiers to conquer. So deeper, ever deeper, we plumb the depths. Look at television: Every new frontier is just another titillating, initially shocking plot for a fictional or "reality" show, until there's a "new normal" and the novelty and naughtiness wears off.
Wash, rinse, repeat.
The latest example is a brand-new show on the TLC cable network called "Sister Wives," all about a likeable, longhaired Utah man named Kody Brown and his three wives and 13 children. But this isn't enough drama for a "reality" show, so the plot twist has Brown taking on a fourth wife with three of her own kids from a previous marriage.
We've gone down a very strange path from "The Brady Bunch."
HBO started the normalization of polygamy with its drama "Big Love," but TLC is openly pushing for the walls of judgment to come falling down. Its slogan for the show is "Rethink love. Rethink marriage. Rethink family reality." In the first promo, one of the wives argues, "I think we're normal, and I go out and go, 'Oh, yeah, I can't tell everybody about my normal family.'" Kody Brown insists, "If you're good with one marriage, they figure you'll be good with two. I hope they think I'll be good with four."
They're not kidding. Off camera, there's more religion and politics at work. Kody Brown and his wives are in fact "fundamentalist Mormons" who have been political activists to legalize polygamy in Utah. The name of their lobbying group is Principle Voices. The group promotes a book called "Jesus Was Married," in which the disciples Martha and Mary, as well as Mary Magdalene, were all married to Jesus. It's "The Da Vinci Code" on Viagra.
This isn't the only TLC show to promote the "poly" -- yup, the hip new word -- lifestyle. They also aired a series this summer called "Strange Sex," which also had a plot about "polyamory," which is described as "consensual, responsible non-monogamy." TLC started as the Learning Channel; it's fast becoming the Libertine Channel.
The TLC show promoted a woman named Jaiya who lives with two men, having a baby with one of them. The bloggers at Polyamorous Percolations were delighted by its favorable spin: "the very picture of a respectful, insightful, beautiful poly documentary." A Chicago Tribune critic explained it "definitely aims to establish a sense of normalcy to an otherwise hard-to-understand situation" and "offers a great deal of education about human sexuality."
We're never being indoctrinated, just "educated." The abnormal is replaced by "a sense of normalcy."
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