Having Sex for Columbine

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As Michael Moore’s sensational new movie Bowling for Columbine wows theatre-goers and reminds Canadians how wise and lucky we are to be on this side of the border, we can easily translate the movie’s topic of America’s love affair with guns to our own attitudes about sex. Moore suggests that fear keeps our southerly neighbours in a constant state of insecurity and over-reaction. Does fear similarly cause us to resist pleasure and demonize sexual expression? Can we link our conservative censorship (both governmental and personal) to historical factors that we’ve long forgotten?

We certainly have our own sexual Columbines. There was the Montreal Massacre, which resonated with fear and hatred of the female gender. We have the Pig Farm murders. Ditto. We have continuing gay bashings in the West End which seem to go curiously under-investigated and rarely resolved. Are we witnessing another expression of the confusion between sex and violence? Or is Canada swept away with the same kind of blinkered adherence to an unexamined social more of denial of pleasure as the United States is to the insanity of violence as an end as well as a means to capturing a sense of security?

Is it this fear that causes our attempts to silence information about sex? Why does pleasure frighten us so? What are we afraid will happen if we revel in sensual delight, if we talk openly and approvingly of loving connections, if we educate our population (young and old alike) to the joys as well as the consequences of sex? Michael Moore discovered no solutions, but his perceptive view of the problem may encourage critical and creative thinking regarding what seems to be a silly obsession with violence. If we look at sex and sensuality with that same kind of clear perspective, might we see better and kinder solutions ourselves?