Heterodox Views on Politics and Public Policy from Michael Blaine

Sunday, May 13, 2007

The Grocery Store Gauntlet

In what other society in the history of the world besides the US has obtaining food -- the basis of survival -- necessarly entailed being exposed to pornography? Because here in America every trip to the grocery store unavoidably involves just that: as one puts his groceries on the conveyor belt for the cashier to scan, the trashy magazines right there to the side scream out: "75 New Sex Tricks"; "How To Make A Home Sex Video"; "What He Really Wants You To Do To Please Him"; "America's Sexiest TV Cop," etc. Provisioning one's home thus becomes a titillating and tawdry experience, each and every time.

Grocery shopping is an experience whose conclusion is always demoralizing, in every single sense of that word. When it comes to buying food, I am a puritan. With reluctance I suggest that our nation's self-appointed moral guardians in Congress legislate smut out of our checkout lines. ("Cosmopolitan" is the most regular offender, but there are many other imitators aimed at women, as well as some objectionable magazines for men.) As we buy food for ourselves and our families, we should be free of commodified sex. We should not have to put up with such an elemental part of our lives being turned so unseemly by decadent magazine publishers and tasteless grocery store owners.