America: Taking a Walk on the Wild Side

In 1972 Lou Reed released the classic Take a Walk on the Wild Side. Peaking at #16 on the pop charts, the song described an underground lifestyle that was unknown to most of America and whose subject matter was counter to the prevailing culture. References to transsexuals, male prostitutes, oral sex, and drug usage were each a vignette in the song’s verses. Because Americans were considered puritanical in their mores, in order to play on American radio the reference to oral sex had to be removed. I’ve always enjoyed the tune, but found the lyrics a little disturbing.

A mere forty-two years later, what Lou Reed wrote about is now considered not underground or counter cultural, but mainstream and a large part of the prevailing pop culture. Much of these ideas and behaviors can now be found on the television screen on any given night and treated as if they are normal. To illustrate how far we’ve come, in the recent NFL draft the first openly homosexual player was drafted, the 249th pick overall and within seven of not being drafted. On draft weekend, the President of the United States called the young man to congratulate him. What made this young man so special that he would be honored with a call from the President when no other players were? Because he likes to have sexual intercourse with other men, he is celebrated and featured as the major news story throughout the mainstream press. I wonder if the number one pick feels a little slighted.

I stated earlier that I find the lyrics to Lou Reed’s song a little disturbing. I’m guessing when he penned the tune, Mr. Reed was hoping for just that effect. Because of my revelation, I now find myself out of the mainstream and clearly a part of the counterculture. In a few short decades I’ve gone from thinking like most people to having my thinking questioned. Mr. Dylan was prescient with his words, “The times they are a-changin”, and they continue to change day by day. It seems that a man named Paul was even more prescient than Mr. Reed when he wrote a couple of thousand years ago,

For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.

The early Christians found themselves, in the Roman and Greek cultures, to be fish out of water and today Christians, who hold to their beliefs, will find themselves numbered among the ostracized. Now that those formerly of the counterculture are running the country and representing the mainstream, I feel compelled to shout, “Down with the man!” “Question authority!”