Untitled, Acrylic on Canvas, 27" by 11", Richard J Van Wagoner, Circa 1970, Courtesy of Van Wagoner Family Trust**
“Pornography is a public health crisis.” Porn is obscene to Evangelical Mike because it portrays women only as objects of men’s sexual desire and equates their value and usefulness with sex. Evangelical Mike fervently proclaims that women are so much more than that diminished, distorted, one-dimensional portrayal. [Safe, however, are guns in the hands of the severely mentally ill, coal and other carbon-based fuel, Republican-contributor Dow’s chlorphyrifos (linked to autism), lead-based paint and other potent neurotoxins, non-funding for women’s reproductive health, non-funding for breast and cervical cancer screening, fracking, conversion therapy . . . .]
Problem is, extreme piety and hubris obscure Evangelical Mike’s stuckness in his own obscene and misogynistic world that defines women as . . . well . . . little more than sexual objects. Evangelical Mike won’t lunch with a vagina.
Parenthetically, Evangelical Mike’s proclamations about women’s health and reproductive rights also convey insight into that obscene world in which he insists everyone under his dominion lives.
While sharing common views about “vaginas,” Evangelical Mike and POTUS react in different ways to those they encounter. One runs from them while the other grabs ’em. The carnage women sustain from entitled men, including self-ordained “men of god,” is no less obscene and harmful than anything Evangelical Mike attributes to porn. Porn, at least, doesn’t pretend to be something it’s not. Porn, at least, doesn’t hide behind a façade of “tremendous respect for women” while bending them over. Porn, at least, doesn’t invoke a supernatural source to rationalize male paternalism over the women getting f*#%ed. The one-dimensional portrayal of women in porn is an honest metaphor for Evangelical Mike’s and his boss’s dishonest, unidimensional conceptualization of women.
As I stated in a prior post, this “deservedly mocked image of a condescending Trump and his groupies reinstating ‘the Mexico City Policy,’ aka ‘the Global Gag Rule,’ is flagrant metaphor for the circularity of men doing the answering of such questions for women, except/because that’s precisely what these kind of men do.” One fitting caption might be “Gang Rape in the Oval Office.”
When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.
1 [pronounced “First” not “One”] Corinthians 13:11 (New American Standard)
I grew up in a culture that elevated penises over vaginas. Drilled into me at a young age was the notion that in god’s eyes, and in the hierarchy of sin, “illicit sexual relations of men and women — stands, in its enormity, next to murder.” That declaration by Spencer W. Kimball, an eventual Mormon Prophet, Seer and Revelator, came in his 1969 opus on forgiveness. Perfect timing for me. I was 11. In my home and church, the urge to avoid anything unchaste was insatiable. This obsession with the second-most-serious sin was likely aided by a general lack of temptation among parishioners and lay clergy for the most serious sin, murder, which is not to say sex’s preeminence wasn’t primarily achieved on its back by the sweat of its own brow. I was not allowed not to think about not having sex. So I didn’t. I thought a lot about not having sex, a sort of aversion therapy against the taboo that proved about as effective as a moth dancing with a flame. As an adolescent I was conditioned to objectify girls by equating them with sex, a conditioning abetted and hastened by said aversive therapy which found me not thinking about sex every six seconds or so. Sex, of course, was sin. A = B, B = C, A = C.
A very capable trial lawyer and friend, who happens to be a woman, posted this in response to Evangelical Mike’s statement which I interpret as his refusal to lunch alone with a vagina:
“I am grateful for the many men in Utah who have felt comfortable having a professional business lunch with me over the years. The fact that they are equally at ease having a one on one lunch with a female colleague as a male colleague helps women obtain equal footing in the business world.” . . . Juli Pardell Blanch
I’ve had lunch with Juli, just us two, a few weeks ago. And many times before that. We’ve tried cases together, in another city, staying in the same hotel, without chaperones. I think we have mutual respect. I think we consider each other multidimensional. I think we respect each other’s intellect and skills. I think we have learned and can learn from each other. I think we can enjoy each other’s sense of humor and conversation. I think Juli has a lot to offer. I think we have self-respect and self-control. I think our spouses trust us. And I think all of this despite the fact that as a child and adolescent I was conditioned to think of girls as sex and sex as sin. There came a time to do away with childish things.
I’m guessing Evangelical Mike can’t bring himself to respect women, doesn’t consider them multi-dimensional, doesn’t respect their intellect or skill set, has nothing to learn from them, can’t enjoy their sense of humor or conversation, doesn’t think women have much to offer, doesn’t have self-respect or self-control, doesn’t have the trust of his spouse . . . .
My response to Juli’s recent post:
“And I have my wife’s permission. Strange that she is able to trust me like that. She must also trust the people I have lunch with. And I don’t think it’s only because I am so resistible. . . . I unfortunately was brought up in a mostly gender segregated culture from which I learned/was taught that girls were sex and sex was sin. Not defaulting to equating females with sex has taken a lot of work. In the end I concluded that god hated me for my sinfulness until I gave him up for Prozac. Much better now.”
P.S. As I have said in prior posts, Pence in many ways is more dangerous than Trump. Another example is his support for conversion therapy over funding for HIV/AIDS.
PENCIVE TIMES: “MAKING AMERICA STRAIGHT (OR AT LEAST CLOSETED) AGAIN”
*My brother the very talented fiction writer and novelist, Robert Hodgson Van Wagoner, deserves considerable credit for offering both substantive and technical suggestions to https://medium.com/@richardvanwagoner and https://lastamendment.com
**Richard’s list of honors, awards and professional associations is extensive. He was Professor Emeritus (Painting and Drawing), Weber State University, having served three Appointments as Chair of the Department of Visual Arts there. He guest-lectured and instructed at many universities and juried numerous shows and exhibitions. He was invited to submit his work as part of many shows and exhibitions, and his work was exhibited in a number of traveling shows domestically and internationally. My daughter Angela Moore, a professional photographer, photographed more than 500 pieces of my father’s work. On behalf of the Van Wagoner Family Trust, she is in the process of compiling a collection of his art work. The photographs of my father’s art reproduced in https://medium.com/@richardvanwagoner and https://lastamendment.com are hers