Fallout of the sexual revolution to be revealed in Eberstadt talk
Author-researcher to deliver Dec. 3 Archbishop’s
Lecture Series talk
By Jean Torkelson
Author Mary Eberstadt
Like every revolution, the sexual revolution has in 50 years transformed the cultural landscape and left behind a succession of battlefields and victims.
There is no better travel guide across this scarred scenery than author, essayist and researcher Mary Eberstadt, who explains, masterfully, the meaning behind all the cultural declines we see before us in her new book, “Adam and Eve After the Pill: Paradoxes of the Sexual Revolution.”
Eberstadt will discuss her book as guest speaker at the Archbishop’s Lecture Series at 7 p.m. Dec. 3 in Bonfils Hall of the John Paul II Center campus, 1300 S. Steele St. in Denver.
Eberstadt turns her keen eye and clean, clear writing style to the most obvious—yet perhaps least understood—of all cultural revolutions, the one that followed in the wake of the development and marketing of the birth control pill in the early 1960s.
Until 1930, when the influential, worldwide Anglican Communion officially ended its condemnation of artificial birth control, virtually all churches and faiths recognized the danger in allowing humanity to be totally free, in effect, to “just say no” to creating the next generation. Eberstadt notes that, in the 1940s and 1950s, even secular sociologists worried about the fallout from what one called “sexual anarchy.” Eberstadt describes the cultural attitude which gradually took over, post Pill, as one of “intentional sterility”… along with its “permanent backup plan”—abortion.
After the floodgates opened, what happened to women, men and—most heartbreaking of all, to children—forms the core of Eberstadt’s book.
“This resolute refusal to recognize that the revolution falls heaviest on the youngest and most vulnerable shoulders … is perhaps the most vivid example of the denial surrounding the fallout of the sexual revolution,” she writes. “In no other realm of human life do ordinary Americans seem so indifferent to the particular suffering of the smallest and weakest.”
Archbishop’s Lecture Series
Speaker: Author-researcher Mary Eberstadt
Title: “The Paradoxes of the Sexual Revolution”
When: 7 p.m. Dec. 3
Where: Bonfils Hall, John Paul II Center, 1300 S. Steele St., Denver
Seating: First come, first served
Questions: Call 303-715-3230 or email email@example.com
As expected, Eberstadt connects all the dots, showing how the sexual revolution has victimized the weakest, from the fetus left legally unprotected in the womb, to generations of children falling between the cracks of what is now a sad cliché, “the broken home.”
But although the tour is sometimes dreary, the book is not. Eberstadt explores in lively detail the many paradoxes of the revolution—for example, sexual freedom has actually led to a more restricted society, where women often feel unsafe. Men, far from achieving greater virility with access to pornography, have been weakened; and the promise of greater happiness outside of marriage simply isn’t true—and there are even documented “happiness studies” to prove it.
Among her most fascinating observations is the comparison of food and sex, the two human drives necessary for survival of the species. Yet modern advances in technology in food production and in sex (via the birth control pill), have produced opposite reactions in human behavior: While the Pill unleashed a “do what you will” mentality throughout society, better food technology has done the opposite—it has made people more restrictive and conscious of making careful choices, going “organic,” for example, and becoming almost monkish in their use of fats and red meat.
So where is this all going? Eberstadt closes with an examination of Pope Paul VI’s “Humanae Vitae,” which was quickly scorned in 1968 for forbidding Catholics to use artificial birth control. Having led her readers on a lively, if sobering, tour of the sexual revolution’s now desolate landscape, Eberstadt offers hope that, in a renewed appreciation of “Humanae Vitae” as well, people will begin to wake up and see “what that revolution has really wrought.”
Jean Torkelson: 303-715-3122; www.twitter.com/DCRegister