Sunday, January 27, 2008

Thank you Mistress Kersten; May I have another?

Tracing her literary riding crop across our collectively trembling skin Sunday morning, Katherine Kersten once again attempts to dictate for us the sexual practices we ought to be engaging in. Or, more specifically, not engaging in. Like the dominatrix with her fingernails in your private parts, Mistress Kersten thinks she's the one who gets to decide what you like. In her column on Sunday, she describes with little editorializing the educational and social efforts of "Kinky U," a group of University students who engage in activities that are clearly not part of her list of approved sexual practices.

The lack of editorializing is purposeful, it seems, because she seems to think that merely by revealing breathlessly the activities of Kinky U, her readers will be so squicked that they’ll just know that those icky sexual minorities have gone too far this time. She wants us to pretend that practices that have been around forever simply go away if we condemn them enough: teenage sex, homosexuality, adultery, and yes, even kinky sex between consenting adults.

But intentional ignorance of those things we don’t approve of only results in unplanned pregnancy, the spread of disease, and accidental death. Take, for example, the early demise of the Rev. Gary Aldridge, a graduate of and former dean at Liberty University and one-time employee of Jerry Falwell:

The report indicated that Aldridge died while seeking sexual gratification.

The autopsy, prepared by Dr. Stephen Boudreau of the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences, lists "accidental mechanical asphyxia" as the cause of death. Aldridge's hands and feet were bound together behind his back, and they were attached to a nylon cord fastened around his neck.

The body was dressed in a face mask with a single breathing vent, two wetsuits and was bound with cords and a belt, according to the report.

Aldridge was the longtime pastor of Thornington Road Baptist Church in Montgomery. A church member found the body after Aldridge failed to show up at church on a Sunday when his wife was out of town.

Because of his position, Aldridge's death was widely reported last fall, with plenty of titillation to go around. It's safe to conclude Rev. Aldridge would have benefited from a basic safety course from Kinky U, and it's equally safe to conclude Liberty University had no such resources for the young and curious Aldridge.

Back in October at the time of Aldridge's death, Mrs. Tilton had this to say:

It's easy to despise the Aldridges of this world. We should be careful about doing so. Aldridge had a passion that few of us will understand and that most of us will find distasteful. He didn't need our approval, though. Yet he must have lived in terror that the denizens of his little world would discover him. Freed from that cramped and bitter world, perhaps he could have found a measure of happiness; freed from that world, perhaps he might even be alive today.

In her ongoing celebration of ignorance and intolerance, Mistress Kersten continues to expand her campaign to grant freedom only to those she thinks worthy, to ridicule those she thinks not. And like any good dominatrix, she works very hard at making us believe she's the one making the decisions.

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