Traditional Values defender Maggie Gallagher seems to have gotten the last laugh.
Lou Reed was the minstrel boy to the wars of the sexual revolution. His haunting 1972 anthem urged young Americans to â€œTake a Walk on the Wild Side.â€ It celebrated the polymorphous perversity of Andy Warholâ€™s New York. …
Lou Reed was transgressive, progressive, and prodigiously talented. And yet somehow over the weekend Reed became the poster child of â€œtransphobicâ€ intolerance? How?
Meet Chelsea, Emily, Becca and Kayla. Theyâ€™re the executive officers of the University of Guelph Central Student Association in Ontario, Canada. Guelph is one of Canadaâ€™s top five universities. Last Thursday, these young women held an event to distribute summer bus passes. One of them (they wonâ€™t say which one) prepared a playlist. It included Reedâ€™s anthem.
Apparently a transgender student complained. The young executives posted a heartfelt apology on the CSAâ€™s official Facebook page. They said that the song appeared because of â€œignorance as the person making the list did not know or understand the lyrics.â€ …
Here are the new moral rules outlined by the young executive officers of the CSA: â€œThe song is understood to be transphobic because of the lyrics and the sentiments that they support in present day,â€ the group responded to the student. â€œThe lyrics, â€˜and then he was a she,â€™ devalues the experiences and identities of trans folks.â€ And thus â€œminimize the experiences of oppression.â€ They also said the song was problematic because it suggests that transgender people are â€œwild,â€ â€œunusualâ€ or â€œunnatural.â€
â€œWhile we acknowledge that the song was written with certain purpose and intention, we would also emphasize that media is not always consumed in the ways that it was intended,â€ they added primly.
The whole comic incident lays bare certain truths about our own cultural moment, compared to the 1960s.
The old SSRs (Sixties Sexual Revolutionaries) wanted to transgress norms. To break boundaries. To â€œliberateâ€ behavior and trample on icons. Then to rip up the Bible-based sexual morality associated with the bourgeois life. The new SJWs want to build a new moral orthodoxy imposed uniformly on all. If anyone from the properly certified minority group has hurt feelings listening to â€œWalk on the Wild Side,â€ then nobody should have to hear it. The SJWs want to be the new bourgeois morality.
SSRs attacked Bible-based moral codes. But these sex codes also had deep roots in human nature across lines of culture and religion. They were multicultural in the best sense. Details varied. Virtually every human society has understood that disciplining sexuality in the service of children and marriage was a critical and necessary social task. …
The lack of any standard, paradoxically, makes the SJW moral code far more intrusive and punitive than Victorian morality. (Could Lou Reed have ever dreamt of that?) You canâ€™t avoid breaking its rules, since they arenâ€™t announced in advance. You only find out youâ€™ve done wrong once someone complains. And from that, there is no appeal. Guilt is absolute and automatic. You have no choice but to grovel for mercy. The Guelph students clearly knew that. Hence their abject apology.
The old SSR codebreakers threw out the Biblical baby with the bathwater (often literally).
But at least they understood one great and obvious truth: You canâ€™t take a walk on the wild side in a safe space.