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Making War, Not Love: A French View On Sex In America - From Abu Ghraib To DSK

Op-Ed: A prominent French intellectual's j'accuse against a nation that accepts lies to justify war, while extra-marital sex is the equivalent of "national betrayal." Pascal Bruckner on America's obsession with

(mcd)
(mcd)
Pascal Bruckner

PARIS - A few years ago, we were on a family beach vacation in Florida. After a swim, my two-year-old daughter took off her bathing suit. Suddenly, the summer visitors began looking at us sideways. A few minutes later, a sheriff's deputy equipped with an arsenal that could destroy an entire city, arrived and shouted at us that we had to get our daughter dressed again if we didn't want to get fined. My daughter, who thought it was a game, started to run. We ran after her…and the sheriff ran after us. Finally, we caught her and laughed out loud, but the big man in uniform didn't. In Uncle Sam territory, to be naked on the beach is forbidden, even for babies.

North America, obviously, has a problem with sex that comes from its Protestant legacy, which also has it giving the whole world lessons in morality. To describe America as a Puritan country is not enough because it is a double-faced Puritanism, which shifts with change in attitudes, uses the vocabulary of freedom and coexists with a thriving porn industry. More precisely, this is a prurient Puritanism.

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May 21-22

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