Sunday, 28 July 2013

24 hours from Tulsa and Release Me-The most wicked songs ever written?

This post might not seem closely related to Darwin, and I am aware of the tendency to deride folks who make too big a claim for all-embracing theories. I get that. However, this is about something really important, namely sexual chaos and its costly repercussions in many spheres of life, from mental health and child abuse to crime, the tax and benefit system and housing.

We all act on our beliefs, that is axiomatic. This is equally true for a sincere Christian gritting his teeth and forgiving somebody who hates him as Jesus commanded as it is for a sexual abuser of children who believes that he has the right to follow his urges. He must believe that or he would not do it. Unless, perhaps he is a passive agent of deterministic forces beyond his control. In which case, you might think, why criticise him?

When I was young, just a small child growing up, I listened daily to pop music on the radio and TV, as did most people I knew. Every now and then a new singer would emerge on to the scene with something quite impactful, a song would strongly impact public consciousness. One such was Engelbert Humperdinck who came to glory with the song ‘Release Me’, a plea for divorce on the grounds that 'I don't love you any more'. A song with a similar message that was given a lot of air time around the same era was ’24 hours from Tulsa’ by Gene Pitney. Both songs were sung from the point of view of a married man who has decided to abandon his faithful wife because of an infatuation with another women. Perhaps, we aren’t told, a younger, prettier one who is not worn out with child bearing and care.

I was a pre-teen when these songs came out, and it’s only now looking back that I can see how disturbed I was by them, and why. I was used to my mother and father both being there. The idea that husbands and wives, mummies and daddies, sometimes got fed up with each other or, as Pitney sung ‘ somebody new.’ Was extremely disturbing. But for some, no doubt, the song opened up possibilities, which as the statistics show, many acted upon. Every known study shows that children do worse in single parent families. A huge amount of child abuse is carried out by ‘Mum’s latest boyfriend’. Divorced people live shorter and less happy lives. So why do we allow the culture to reinforce the stereotype that Pitney and Humperdinck sung about, when the songs should have been execrated?

I should stress that while these 2 particular songs are strong exemplars, and remain stuck in my head from when I was very young, they were by no means unique. A huge stream of thought in popular song from Sinatra to Hendrix and beyond speaks of ‘love’ or ‘being in love’ as an emotion that happens to us, like a viral infection, and takes us where it will, with us having no choice in the matter. The Pitney song is particular strong in this idea of the force of nature which overwhelms us, do check the lyrics if you don’t know them. The protagonist of the song (and I do know that it is not necessarily Pitney himself) proclaims, as he excuses his behaviour,

“Oh the jukebox started to play
and nightime turned into day as we were dancing closely
all of a sudden I lost control as I held her charms
and I caressed her, kissed her
told her I'd die before I let her out of my arms.”

So let’s get this straight. On a business trip, a married man meets a woman by chance and becomes overwhelmed by such strong passions that his marriage vows are set at nothing. The wife who has (perhaps) surrendered her precious virginity to him, borne him children, made their home, made allowances for his weaknesses, washed the skid marks on his underpants, she is now redundant. His message to her is, stuff happens, I’ve moved on-live with it.
I was horrified. What if my dad behaved like that? He used to travel away from home, what if he told Mum he didn't love her anymore and had found somebody new? I was too afraid to talk about it. I believe those thoughts damaged me significantly in terms of creating insecurity.

Again, what has this to do with evolution? Quite a lot. First, there is the idea of biological determinism which springs from Darwinianism. We are passive agents of our genes. There is no such thing as free will.
On a cruder level, men are the slaves of their penises-the biological urge to impregnate is all important and takes precedence over any 'hypocritical Victorian moral taboos' etc. Get rid of all that 'thou shalt not' God stuff

Evolutionism dethrones God. Instead of Jesus’ firm command that a man and women shall stay faithful to each other on pain of God's extreme displeasure, we have Aleister Crowley’s ‘Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law’. If there is no creator, then there is no lawgiver or judge and we are autonomous beings answerable to ourselves, bags of impure carbon which as Dawkins  preaches only exist to pass on our genes. Of course he has been married 3 times. If this life is all there is, and pleasure the only thing worth having, then why do deferred gratification or deny our souls anything they crave? As the atheist poet A E Housman wrote
‘It is in truth iniquity on high
To cheat our sentenced souls of aught they crave
And mar the merriment as you and I
Fare on our long fool’s-errand to the grave’

(A E Housman, last poems, IX)

In other words, eat, drink, fornicate, betray, excuse yourself with a shrug of the shoulders and be merry, for the day after tomorrow our atoms will be meaninglessly mingled with dust in the heat death of the universe. If it feels good, do it.

Friends, you can’t run a successful civilisation on those lines.
I am grateful to my parents for keeping their marriage vows even when it was difficult. They believed in a God whose authority to command us derives from the fact that he created us in wisdom and love, and who rewards faithfulness and punishes betrayal and sexual immorality. Now children are being taught that, as we are just evolved pond slime on a vector between the big bang and the heat death of the universe, we may as well play around and have fun while we can. The sexual free for all has been legitimised and bankrolled by the State. We hear little about the manifold harms it causes since journalists and politicians are up to their elbows in it themselves. Peter Hitchens writes a lot about this, atheism is necessary to get rid of sexual guilt so we can indulge ourselves freely, like the protagonists of these 2 songs and others like them, and of course evolutionism is foundational to atheism.
God created us for faithful, lifelong marriage between a man and a woman, this really matters a lot. No wonder the agents of Satan wage war against faithful married love. The perversion of same sex so called marriage is only a continuation of the long war of attrition that has been going on since at least the 2 wicked, harmful songs, cruel I mention above.


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