Monday, January 18, 2010

Poison for Your Brain: Side hugs. I am not making this up.

You need to watch this video. You also need to record your reaction to it on a video of your own and upload that to YouTube, because I am a schadenfreude junkie and I want to see your brain break. OK, that won't happen, but you still need to watch this video:
I don't think I can stress enough that this is not a joke. In a world where we are fighting over women's rights to reproduce or not, where relatively harmless cannabinoids are outlawed while addictive carcinogens are perfectly legal*, where you have to play primitive and silly social games to get laid because you can't just go out and pay someone to fuck you however you like, where legal contracts for domestic partnerships are only legal in certain places if the parties' plumbing matches in a certain way, where the same label of "militancy" is used to describe tactics of public debate and tactics of delusion-based violence alike - in such a world, there are people who are worried about the propriety of hugs. "Full-frontal hugs," that is. Side hugs, apparently, are OK. So is being a rough rider, I guess.

I feel the need to point out that I am not making this up. My friend Jack, who told me about this last night, said that he had to look up over a dozen internet articles before he was convinced that this is not a Poe. I only needed three, but then again, I've been to an Acquire the Fire concert. I've seen this shit in action firsthand.

These lunatics (and I mean that literally, these people are actually crazy in an important way) really believe that the mere chance of your groin coming into contact with the groin of another person, in a way that might possibly somehow be stimulating (if you've never actually had sex, that is), merits the overhauling of a nearly universal display of familiar affection. Double-you tee fuck. The killer, for me, is that even if you do their whole side-hug bullshit like you're posing for a photo, you still have to watch your hands, or you might inadvertently brush up against a nipple!

In a way, though, I find this almost poetic. Here is yet another religious warping of a perfectly natural part of being human, engineered to protect against imaginary harm in an impotent display of piety, to separate them from the unwashed masses in their minds while not actually accomplishing anything of substance at all. Really, it's religion in a nutshell.

* - For clarity, I think they should all be legal and the answer to abuse and addiction, like so many things, is therapy and education.

4 comments:

Ms. Hermit said...

Could you link to some of the articles that convinced you this is real? Because I took one look at it, listened to the lyrics (particularly that bit about being a rough rider), and dismissed it as a talented Poe. It makes me weep for the world a little more for the world to hear that this is real, and I'd like to read the proof for myself but I don't know where to start.

Thanks.

D said...

Well, the video was shot at the Encounter Generation conference, and according to the Wikipedia article, "[songwriter Ryan] Pann has said the song was satirizing the Christian habit of side hugging, but another mock rap video from the conference reinforces the Christian Side Hug song's message, making it clear that organizers were serious about keeping physical interactions to a minimum. The list of EG conference rules also includes a ban on public displays of affection."

According to my browser history, these were the three articles which convinced me of the phenomenon's legitimacy. According to some, it's a joke, but if it is then it's not a funny one because it's an actual practice that they claim to be making fun of. Stuff Christians Like (cited as a source on the practice) explicitly labels its entry as satire, and author Acuff clearly understands that the practice is worthy of ridicule. But the real clincher is that the Foothills Christian Church youth pastor application says, "Please initial next to each item indicating that you have read and understand the expectations listed below. Violation of any of the following may result in your immediate removal from ministry: ...Do not initiate hugs with members of the opposite sex. Side hugs are encouraged." (Emphases mine.) And at the fundagelical church I attended in my youth, unmarried couples were not allowed to kiss or to spend any unsupervised time together, which is why this was rather easier for me to swallow.

Ms. Hermit said...

Thank you. I was raised liberal Episcopal before quitting god, so this sort of super-christianity is all very foreign to me. The idea of a "no touching" rule blows my mind.

The things you learn via the internet, I guess.

D said...

Hey, cool, I went to an Episcopal church while I was a teenager. It helped undo some of the fundagelical damage, but it also made dropping the habit harder in the long run because it made, uhh... how can I put this? It was less absurd, but just as nonsensical.