Agents of Cinematic Degradation: The 80S ‘Teen Sex Comedy’
This passage is taken from Andy Nowicki‘s newly-published Ruminations of a Low-Status Male, Volume 3: On Being Unwanted, now available on Kindle and in paperback)
What we must understand, again, is the degree to which efforts are being made to pervert and undermine us, to turn us against our very own souls, to convince us happily to consume one poison pill after another.
These malignant manipulations arise in various formats, including but not limited to song, cinema, and other predominant genres of mass culture. Once more, it should be emphasized that one needn’t hold that every single jot and tittle is being micromanaged by some puppet-master lurking in the shadows—it is more than probable that a great deal is in fact being left open to improvisation. But even if the script isn’t always slavishly followed to a “t,” the script still obtains, in broad outline.
How it takes us to our prescribed destination of degradation and ruin isn’t as important to our rulers as the fact that it surely gets us there. And of course, our degradation and their profit margin need not be in conflict. In fact, the two quite often complement one another perfectly, even with a certain ghastly elegance.
As a case in point, let us consider a genre of film which, while certainly possessed of organic appeal, nevertheless also undoubtedly serves its prescribed role as agent of degradation.
The “teen sex comedy” reached its curious apogee in the early to mid-1980s, but its source material came out of the 70s. The genre was largely informed by raunchy fare like “Caddyshack,” “Animal House,” and “Meatballs”—all of which, it is fair to admit, contain inspired moments of genuine amusement, courtesy of a cast of gifted comedians.
Still, whatever the overall qualities of such movies as comedies per se, they are all infused with a certain repellent and insidious element: propagandistically speaking, each of these films promotes libertinism as cool and sexy while deriding traditional sexual mores as ridiculous and worthy of contempt. In all of them, the good-looking, well put-together, worthwhile, funny, charming, and likable people are carnally-liberated liberals, who oppose “uptight” carnally-repressive—and usually ugly and stupid—conservative fuddy-duddies.
In the 70s, “uptight” became the slur of choice for supposedly “now” sorts of people. Displaying restraint was “uptight.” Being scrupulous and principled was “uptight.” Objecting to vulgarity was “uptight.” The sex comedies of the 70s ubiquitously promoted this anti-uptightness crusade, but most of these films were not explicitly set in high schools, with teenagers as protagonists. The previous strictures of that paradigm expanded, however, with the advent of the 80s, in which even adolescents were brought into the mix and encouraged to join the seemingly mandatory orgy or else risk being castigated as “uptight,” too.
Of course, as discussed earlier, the sexualization of youth has an abundance of precedent in the pop culture canon. But it was the “teen sex comedy” caper which was used to promote the notion that the virginal state was a shameful condition, and that proper-thinking youth ought therefore to engage in an all-out quest to shred their virginity as soon as possible, by whatever means are available.
The notion of virginity as something shameful, as a sort of “curse,” which carries a certain accompanying psychic stench, marking one as an undesirable, is taken up with a peculiar mania in these movies. Not only is sexual intercourse a means of obtaining pleasure, that is, it is also a bar to clear, a rite of passage, a way of obtaining a more exalted status.
Upon “Losin’ It,” (one actual title of a movie from the era), a boy “comes of age.” Before he loses his virginity, however, he is depicted as awkward, a little dopey, and quite pathetic. The scenarios of these movies are typically a mix of lowbrow slapstick humor and tantalizing softcore peepshow, which when considered closely, is a decidedly odd combination. The attempts at generating laughs are meant to be a cover for the underlying soft-porn effect, but how exactly are arousal and hilarity supposed to work in tandem with one another?
Though these movies are jam-packed with nudity and sexual situations, they are clearly meant more to tease and titillate the viewer than to assist him in the achievement of satiation. That is to say, the ultimate effect upon the spectator seems to be one of agitation and frustration.
Lamely-timed slapstick “bits” alternate with the gratuitous flashing of breasts; gross-out gags, rendered in the broadest possible fashion, closely follow intermittent moans of female ecstasy; seemingly promising carnal adventures in progress are abruptly cut short to make way for the execution of dumb and pointless low-budget hijinks perpetrated by no-name actors, while no-name bands play second-rate power pop would-be standards over the no-account soundtrack.
The viewer emerges from an 80s “teen sex comedy” victim of a “Ludovico Technique” of a new sort, with one’s brain crucially rewired in certain respects. One is, first of all, in an agitated state—aroused, yet constantly thwarted from satisfaction; on the loins-level, he has been primed for release, just before being left on his own in a cold, harsh, unresponsive world disinclined to show him any favors whatsoever.
Thus even as his lust is relentlessly and remorselessly conjured, his overall sense of psychic alienation spikes. As blood races to his groin, it simultaneously drains from his heart.
Andy Nowicki, assistant editor of Alternative Right, is the author of eight books, including Under the Nihil, The Columbine Pilgrim, Considering Suicide, and Beauty and the Least. Visit his Soundcloud page and his YouTube channel. His author page is Alt Right Novelist.