When I was a very small kid, my parents inadvertently took us to a drive-in theater to see a porno. It was the 70s. This was back when you had to call a hotline to find out what movies were playing at a given cinema, and the recorded voice would read each movie title followed by the show times. They probably also read the MPAA rating, but it’s pretty obvious that, if they did, my parents ignored that part. So off we all went to see a double feature of “Alice in Wonderland” and “Pinocchio.” Unfortunately, they were quite possibly these movies: “Alice in Wonderland: An X-Rated Musical Fantasy” and “Pinocchio” (the tagline of which is the title of this post). I’d like to say that our family left immediately after my parents discovered the mistake. But nope. We lingered a little too long and I saw a little too much.
Later, as we were driving away, I remember seeing a policeman standing outside the concession building, enjoying the movie. Not averting his eyes or arresting people for watching something dirty and sinful. (I was being raised Catholic. And American. That’s two strikes against a healthy attitude toward sex.) I remember pointing and saying, “Ooooo! The policeman is watching!” But in my attempt to “tell on him” to someone, I found that no one in the car actually cared. Back then, I was under the impression that cops were like priests–agents of god who were there to tell you when you were doing something wrong. In my naivete, I thought all role-model-type adults were like that: teachers, fire fighters, military men and women, and the President. All were agents of god. And possibly celibate.
It would be years before I outgrew this notion. Not many years, mind you. But still, it took more than just a glimpse of a policeman at a porn screening for it to hit me: people are human, sex isn’t dirty, and no one should be “told on” if they’re simply doing something that adults enjoy doing. With experience and a tiny bit of maturity, that particular brand of naivete disappeared.
Other brands still linger, however, and I find myself wondering why, for example, the media cares so much about Anthony Weiner’s junk shot. David tells me it’s a political game, and yet here I am, still hoping that people will focus their energies on things that really matter and that the media will start treating its audience like intelligent people. So, nope, I haven’t come that far after all. I’ve only gone from expecting everyone to behave like angels to expecting everyone to behave like grown-ups. And as we all know, that’s just ludicrous.