Hands Off!
Published on: December 2, 2009
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  • wigwag

    “Why did Starbucks take a position, as a company, on this issue? Why did other companies? Is there perhaps an unusually large market of gay coffee drinkers? Or are Starbucks cafes favored gay meeting places? Could it be a matter of class, and therefore of cultural elitism? The higher one goes in the class system, the more one finds favorable attitudes toward homosexuality…” (Peter Berger)

    Starbucks knew exactly what they were doing. They made the decision that they did for two reasons; it reflected the values of the senior executives who run the company and more importantly, it reflected the values of most of their customers.

    The Starbucks executives aren’t stupid. They know perfectly well that its not just the quality of the coffee that brings in the customers. The Starbucks logo printed on their cups is an insignia of success highly valued by the owners of the upper middle class lips that touch those cups. Starbucks patrons are as interested in what their patronage of the company says about them as they are about the quality of the beverage they are about to imbibe. Gay rights is a value that is important to most of their patrons do naturally its a value that is important to the company.

  • Anthony

    “Where piety intersects with prurience, the Biblically correct and politically correct have more in common than they would like to think.” Is the message that sex pervades wittingly and unwittingly the cognitive determinants of both? That is, are they conflating religious/moral issues (Biblically correct persons) and secular/libertarian issues (politically correct persons) via attempts to reconcile established personal predilections in the obsessive domain of American sexuality?

  • wigwag

    “After looking at the first woman for a while, the first man turned to God and asked: “What should I do with her?” God replied: “Go over there and talk with her. Something will occur to you”. The first man does so, has a conversation, then comes back and asks: “What is a headache?”(Peter Berger)

    The interesting question is, who was the first woman? If Jewish mystical tradition is to be believed, it wasn’t Eve, it was Lilith.

    The myth derives from the fact that the Bible offers two somewhat different accounts of creation. In the first, the implication is definitely left that the first man and the first woman were created more or less simultaneously and out of the same material; dust. In the second more detailed account, the woman is created by the deity using the rib of the anesthetized man as the starting material.

    There are numerous versions of the Lilith myth; some go back as far as Gilgamesh. Whether there are biblical references to Lilith is not entirely clear (maybe Isaiah 34:14) but she is clearly mentioned in the Dead Sea Scrolls; specifically in the “Songs of the Sage.”

    For those who are unfamiliar with her, the bottom line is that when Adam proposes their first sexual encounter, Lilith has a lot more to complain about than a headache. Apparently Adam felt certain that as the man, he was entitled to be on top during copulation. Lilith explained to him that being created from the same dust that he was, he had absolutely no claim to position himself on top of her. Being new to sex, it never occurred to them that a compromise might exist; they could have adopted a position that required neither of them to be on top, but these were early days and no one had invented those sexual positions yet. Suffice it to say that the couple quarrels and not only is there not sex, but there’s no make-up sex either.

    At this point, the stories begin to diverge and things become a little fuzzy. In one account, Lilith stomps out of Eden, absconds to an area around the Red Sea and begins to cavort with the various demons who call the place home. According to another account, Lilith finds her heart’s desire in the archangel Samael (the Angel of Death) and the two embark on a career resembling that of Bonnie and Clyde, sowing mayhem wherever the go.

    Meanwhile back at the OK Corral otherwise known as the Garden of Eden, the deity realizes that what has transpired isn’t anyone’s idea of Paradise. He vows not to make the same mistake twice and to insure that Adam’s second wife is far more obedient than his first, he creates Eve out of Adam’s rib. The thinking was that surely Eve would understand that her existence and the existence of her female progeny was entirely subordinated to the male of her species who made her life (and the life of all future women) possible by donating his very precious thirteenth rib.

    John Milton was very familiar with the story of Lilith. As both a philo-Semite and an anti-Semite his feelings about her must have been complex and ambivalent. What we do know is that in “Paradise Lost,” Milton creates a hypersexualized Eve who bears little or no resemblance to the Eve of the Bible. Milton’s Eve with her “wanton locks” was a temptress who drove not only Adam and Satan to distraction but also the angels placed by the deity as monitors of the Garden of Eden. In fact, Milton’s Eve resembles no one so much as the Lilith of Jewish myth.

    So what has Lilith been doing since the glory days in the Garden of Eden? According to Jewish myth, she’s still a seductress tempting men as they sleep. If Jewish stories are to be believed, Lilith is responsible for nocturnal emissions. Talk about culture wars south of the navel.

  • Tom

    Of course, the American “obsession” with sex has nothing to do with the fact that sex is kind of important.

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