I read—or, rather, skimmed—Marty Klein’s America’s War on Sex based on a recommendation I now regret following. The book is a shrill manifesto regarding the “culture wars,” complete with an unappetizing name for the opposing side (“erotophobes”), military rhetoric (“Battleground: Adult Entertainment”), and specious reasoning that assumes you’re already a believer.
America’s War on Sex implies a vast oppositional conspiracy and portrays itself as a lone David wielding the staff of reason; one particularly ludicrous section begins, “The Sexual Disaster Industry (SDI) involves federal and local government, conservative religion, so-called morality organizations, right-wing think tanks, victim-parade daytime talk shows like Montell and Maury, and news programs looking for a bump (‘Isn’t it awful the way people go to strip clubs? Film at 11!’).” Add in the Illuminati and Knights Templar and you’ve practically got a Dan Brown novel.
If there is a “War on Sex” in America, it’s being fought with the same competence as the war on drugs, or the wars on various other nebulous, abstract concepts that are announced from time to time. This seems a useless salvo in the “culture war” that seems chiefly a product of journalists and think-tankers who need subjects to write about. One of the few positive results of the current economic climate is that “culture war” coverage has receded as an unusual, rarely noticed phenomenon known as “real problems” have begun to dominate the news.