Dirty business down under
Vail, CO, Colorado
A few years back, a North Carolina man was arrested for allegedly standing at the bottom of a National Park outhouse, to videotape women using the latrine. I would like to go on record by saying: “I would never do that.”
The fragrant felon was wearing fishing waders, goggles and a rain hat, thus proving the age-old adage that “There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing.”
I’ll go out on a limb here and say this guy has some issues.
I can understand most bad behavior. Rage, loss of control and desperation are not foreign conditions, even in the dilettante domain I call home. If the circumstances were right, or terribly wrong, I can see even normally moral people committing the most heinous crimes. But to the best of my knowledge, I can’t think of anyone I’ve ever known who would engage in that particular subterranean voyeurism. (Except maybe this one guy, but he moved away to teach skiing in Utah.)
But I don’t believe for an instant that the man arrested is the only person on the planet who would derive sexual gratification from such a thing.
The Catholic Church tried to sell me on the idea of “original sin.” Only after the child is baptized is the sin removed, leaving the babe pure.
I don’t buy it. A child at birth is perfect; it is only after the influence of parents, society and trauma that they get tweaked.
The question is why some are able to weather the many pressures of life and the neuroses of upbringing and society while others end up standing under toilets? The bigger question is whether those of us who are stain-free can take credit for being so?
Organized religion makes much of the concept of free will: God allows temptations while providing the direction to encourage us to make the proper decisions. The attitude being that those who make good choices are “pious,” those who don’t are not. What I could never understand was how those born poor, abused and genetically lacking could compete on a level playing field with those born blessed and entitled?
It’s easy for us to feel superior to the dregs of our culture who make headlines with violent and perverted behavior. But upon closer examination of the lives and upbringing of those villains, I find myself wondering what took them so long to act out their neuroses.
Certainly there are many who have overcome bad lives and trauma to live positive and productive lives. But it’s more than possible that being born resilient is less an earned attribute than an accident of birth.
I’m not suggesting there’s no credit or blame for good or bad behavior, but, rather that society can take much of the responsibility for the conduct of its citizens.
I have no statistics to prove this, I would guess there are more murderers, rapists and guys who stand under toilets in this country than most others.
We are the most wealthy, powerful and sexually hung-up modern nation on the planet.
In many other nations, sex isn’t a phobia that is judged, hyped, marketed or condemned. In this country, the attitude on love ranges from one of total salacious titillation used to sell products to a zealot’s condemnation of normal predilections.
Sex is either glorified by the media or deemed filthy by the dirty-minded, and kids are confused by the contradiction of MTV and abstinence-only programs.
I have no idea if the latrine spelunker was driven to his perversion from a combination of rock n’ roll and evangelism. But I know the best way to confuse and cheapen an intrinsic desire is to put it under a microscope and allow those with an agenda to offer an opinion.
Natural desires, when suppressed, can turn into unnatural cravings. Somewhere along the road, the latrine outlaw’s mental wiring short-circuited to the point where the line between love and sewage blurred. I feel a profound sadness for him, others like him … and the people who do their laundry.
Jeffrey Bergeron, under the alias of Biff America, can be seen on RSN TV, heard on KOA radio, and read in several newspapers and magazines. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Biff’s book “Steep, Deep and Dyslexic” is available from local book stores or at backcountrymagazine.com.