After some sharp discussions on another blog, I’ve been thinking about how I’ve changed in the last 18 months since coming to this community. As I’ve come to know Beck, I have also come to know and accept parts of me that were always there, but I refused to recognize.
And through this process of recognizing the other “me”, I have found that as I attempt to blend into one (as so many comments have encouraged me to do) I become more edgy, more willing to push the limits, more rebellious, even more questioning of authority and the straight line (some may call this apostasy as I’ve blogged about before).
Additionally, I’ve become maybe more insensitive to some points-of-view and desensitized to what may have seemed offensive to me just a couple of years ago.
Regarding visual media, you need to know that in our household we watch no television. We haven’t for years. We’ve done this not in an authoritative manner with our children, but by example and the policy has naturally evolved without even declaring a “policy”. If the kids want to watch standard television – they can. There is no family rule against it. There is no moratorium. But what is really interesting (and mind you our kids are teenagers) they have chosen not to. By replacing television with other activities, our kids don’t even seem to notice that they’re missing anything. We never have had cable (yes, I know I’m missing out on great programs) and we use our flat screen as a monitor for DVDs. With the sensitivities (mainly of my wife) we watch DVDs that are kid-approved and prophet-appropriate.
For me, it is a matter of time. Between work, family, work, church and work, there just isn’t time for television or any of its cable counterparts. For me, television is very insipid yet addicting. I can slip into a hotel room on a business trip and flip the box on and flip through channels aimlessly not watching lame-anything, just flipping and flipping – mainly because I can, not because I’m searching for anything in particular.
That hasn’t stopped me from occasionally slipping onto the Internet to gaze at a photo collection of good looking guys – clothed for the most part - in strictly adhered to, non-x-rated sites. I’ve justified (maybe wrongfully) this behavior as a way of “coming to terms” with my attraction issues and bringing my two halves together. I’ve justified that since such sites are not “porn rated” that I’m not viewing pornography – and I’ve been able to keep my self-imposed limits in tact, just like my television watching.
Now some may call me a prude for having such limits, while others might point out that I’m addicted to what they may call “soft porn”. I’m too close to the forest to see the trees right now and note objectively the difference, so this post is an attempt for me to step back and try to see what I’m doing to myself.
From recent blogging discussions, I’ve been forced to face the fact that maybe I’m insensitive to others by posting images I find that I don’t think are necessarily very erotic in nature, but more artsy or beautiful. And since offense is taken, it makes me wonder if I’ve allowed myself to become so desensitized that I don’t see the offensiveness of my actions. Have I slipped down that slope of degradation so much that I don’t notice it anymore? Have I allowed myself to interpret my search for noticing “beautiful men” as comforting and artistic instead of the perversion that others see?
It reminds me of Rodin’s exhibit at BYU years ago where there was such a scandal over allowing a sculpture of a naked man to be seen on the Lord’s campus. What is art? What is beauty? These questions are beyond my weak philosophical mind to debate here. Just as with pornography – I can say that I know it when I see it. And the beauty of the male form, with or without clothes, is still something that I cherish and admire. (It’s a cultural thing – I know, for example, that in southern