Last Sunday, while I was watching a prestigious golf tournament on television, I could not help being struck by the need corporate advertisers seem to feel to make sure we know they hold the correct opinions regarding sex. I have no idea what the executives at CBS, an entertainment company, think they have to teach us about sexual morality, as their shows are largely like every other large network’s shows, devoted to a non-morality of lewdness without mirth, self-expression without real human personality, and family bodies without the moral flesh and bones that might hold them together.
Someone more knowledgeable about the matter than I am should someday analyze the connection between Jabba the State and Kanamit Incorporated, as devouring between them—not without occasional quarreling over a drumstick or tugging at the wishbone—their favorite social morsel, the true independence of man, founded in families strong enough to resist what Jabba has to offer and what Kanamit has to sell, because unlike Jabba and Kanamit, human families can touch the deepest heart of man, and can bring us into the precincts of the divine.
CBS announced its support for Pride Month, and required the main announcer, Jim Nantz, to say the right words, though whether he felt this way or that way about it, I have no idea. It struck me that not a single one of the professional golfers on the Muirfield course would want his son to be marching in deshabille down the main street of Columbus, Ohio, declaring to all some his odd sexual proclivities. Rather, every one of them, without exception, if you told him that he could do something simple and healthy and ordinary to make sure it would not happen, would do that thing in a heartbeat, and would take care to continue to do it, just as he would take care to keep dirty water from being piped into his house. Interesting, then, that we are to express pride in what no decent parent would choose.
Golfers tend to be a conservative lot, but even so, plenty of those young men on the course are leading or have led sexually irregular lives, the mildest form of which seems to be that of getting the child before the marriage license. Such people are not likely to inquire too closely into the moral law in this regard, and for them, the gays in parade run interference. They clear the opposition away. Of course, the real conclusion to draw is the opposite. Since young Mr. Mashie is wrong to be fornicating, though with the intention of marrying the woman someday or other, then there’s no point even talking about Pride.
Then there was the commercial for a payroll company. You can tell what the audience for a sporting event is by the targets of their commercials. I don’t think that the payroll company will be buying advertising time for one of those love-by-numbers romances on the Hallmark channel. The company is angling for executives. Did they put forth their skill, their ease of use, or anything else you might want from a company that helps you with your payroll? No, not at all. The commercial was all about the company’s virtue, because it supports “payroll equality.”
It’s another case of overstepping boundaries. You hire a bookkeeper to keep your books, and to do so as the law requires. Your bookkeeper is not a moral philosopher. Your bookkeeper cannot tell you whom to hire, for what job, and at what pay. He knows nothing about that. You may say, “I will take a chance with this young man, though he has skated a little on the wrong side of the law, because I’d like to give him a second chance, and he has brains and energy.” Your bookkeeper cannot, as a bookkeeper, express any opinion about the matter, nor is it his business to do so, any more than it is your janitor’s business, or the delivery boy’s business. You may say, “This fellow is a family man, and I think I can secure his services and his loyalty with a little extra pay, so I will offer him a generous entry salary.” Again, your bookkeeper, as a bookkeeper, has nothing to say about it.
With this commercial too, there was a clash between the message and the very golf tournament it used for its airtime. For one of the main figures in the commercial was a female athlete. That sets right before our eyes how empty the term “equality” is. Equal in what way, in what respect, for what purpose, with what justice? The LPGA limits its membership to women; otherwise there would be no LPGA. Should the greatest woman golfer in the world make as much money as the greatest golfer in the world? Muirfield sported a couple of par-4 holes that would have to be par-5 for the women, and a couple of par-3 holes that would have to be shortened; as the course was, I think it would have been terrific for any of the women to play a single round at par, as unlikely as a man’s shooting 64, eight under. Why should you make the same money when you do not do the same thing?
The oldsters in the Champions Tour must exclude all men under 50. Bernhard Langer has been, by far, the most successful senior golfer in the world. Is it age discrimination that keeps his purses relatively low? Langer cannot now do what he did in 1985 and 1993, when he donned the green jacket at the Masters. Langer at age 65 is not equal to Langer at age 27 or Langer at age 35.
Jack Nicklaus was on hand to congratulate the winner, Viktor Hovland, a 25-year-old who can swing a driver as well as anyone, whose play is often an exciting adventure of risk-taking and neck-saving. Hovland appeared to be quite moved when Nicklaus shook his hand. Anybody who knows Jack knows he has always been thoroughly devoted to his family; he’d have won quite a few more tournaments, though no golfer has ever won more, if he had not stayed home many a week in spring and summer when his children were growing up. He and his wife Barbara have been married for 62 years, and that family is by all accounts as strong as steel. What Jack’s political views are, I have no idea, and they don’t matter to me. I can say, confidently, that the Nicklaus family give the lie to the notion that men and women are interchangeable, that it doesn’t matter that your mother and father are married and that they stay married, and that a sexual non-morality of self-expression and willfulness is the gold-dusted highway to human happiness and social responsibility.
Why, then, the commercials? People will say it’s all about business, all for money. I don’t know that I agree. The payroll company’s commercial was dark, a tad grim, which may for all I know be appealing to certain people; but there was a touch of a threat about it. “If you do not believe as we believe, so much the worse for you, but you know, you do believe as we believe, so all’s well. Sign here.” Or perhaps I am mistaking a strange sideways appeal to the human hope for salvation. Like Jabba the State, Kanamit Incorporated comes to bring peace on earth.
“There is nothing ulterior in our motives,” says the human resources director at KI. “Nothing at all. You will discover this for yourselves before too long, simply by testing the various devices which we will make available to you. We can show you, for example, how to add a certain very cheap nitrate to the soil and end famine on earth for good and all. We can demonstrate to you quite practically the principles of the force field in which you may cloak each nation with an invisible wall, absolutely impenetrable by bombs, missiles, or anything else. We ask only that you trust us, only that you simply trust us.”
The Kanamit wants to serve man. And Jabba’s mouth waters.