Sunday, January 30, 2005


I went to see Kinsey, the movie, last night. I first read about the movie back in November. An article appeared in the Bowdoin Orient, the student newspaper of Bowdoin College. This article made me aware that Kinsey was a Bowdoin graduate, which I did not know. The writer did a good job of covering details about the movie and giving information on Kinsey, particularly the controversy that follows the deceased sexologist, years after his death.

Until Kinsey undertoook his scientific investigation into American sexuality, the culture was awash in misinformation, lies and damaging folklore about a core behavior of our species. Seeing the movie made me reflect back to the time, just after World War II, when sexuality was being practiced, but often, behind the proverbial closed doors and drawn blinds of our puritanical veneer. Kinsey literally tore the veil in two and introduced Americans to the holiest of holies concerning human sexuality.

I can only imagine the firestorm that greeted Kinsey and his reports when they were first released to the public in 1948 (Sexual Behavior in the Human Male) and 1953 (Sexual Behavior in the Human Female).

Kinsey became, and still remains, a lightning-rod for any persons or groups that seek to return American culture to the dark ages of Victorian sexual mores and the double-standard that was prevalent in society.

The release of the movie has brought renewed attacks on the man, who first and foremost was a scientist. Nearly fifty years after his death, repressed and frustrated moral arbiters are still trying to tarnish and discredit the man's reputation and lifelong work, with lies and innuendo.

I thought writer/director, Bill Condon, did an excellent job of presenting Kinsey as a human being, warts and all. I’ve read that the film is an honest attempt at trying to piece together Kinsey’s life and work, and attempts to eliminate the voyeuristic fascination that some have with perpetuating myths about him.

It’s amazing to me, that almost 60 years after his groundbreaking work appeared, we as a nation are still fixated on legislating morality, which primarily pertains to sexuality. While sexuality in any consensual arrangement can be a means for positive expression that other interactions fall short of, we are still seeking to limit sex, while rarely, if ever eliminating government-sanctioned violence and murder. If there is one constant in American life and culture, it’s the hypocrisy and outright lunacy that exists in relation to sexuality.

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