Last week you met the Tuesday Prude*. This week let’s explore the crucial role prudes have played in the history of humankind** and how the Tuesday Prude hopes to enhance that function.
Since the dawn of civilization, ‘civilized’ societies have consistently chosen to veer from the straight-and-narrow and instead careen down a greasy highway of deteriorating manners, behavior, dress and…civility. The careening is usually accompanied by flashy externals, raucous grinding, cheap interiors and annoying noises.The only reason every society hasn’t hurtled off the cliff into utter chaos is because somebody remembered to Apply the Prude.
Oh, you thought prudes were just killjoys sprinkled throughout the centuries to wag fingers, frown fiercely and censure conduct? Well, that too, but only because societies refused to use us in the manner for which we were intended: Civilization’s emergency brake.
A well-maintained prude system is needed to stand between human beings and their predilection for heading to Hades in a handbasket. Prudes understand that peoplekind don’t see how jettisoning morals, ethics, courtesy and semicolons will lead to a massive smash-up. Until it is almost too late. At that point they slam on the prudes and the result might be something like the Puritans, the Victorians, Prohibition or the Eisenhower Era, all with much to commend them but also known for their own forms of excess.
And therein lies the rub. As with any braking device, depressing underused prudes with too much force makes bad things happen. Instead of merely slowing down, civilization may come to a grinding halt, as all the stuff from the back seat comes flying to the front.
Stomp on the worn out prude system and it will squeal. Instead of common sense morals, ethical standards and civility, the result can be censorious superiority and hypercritical hypocrisy.
Society doesn’t understand that at the heart of true prudishness is honor. Honor leads to desire for justice, and freedom and decency. Some of the most well adjusted prudes fought slavery, struggled for independence, demanded equality.
Check your prudes regularly, society, and don’t neglect them. Apply them before you lose control. And come back next week to learn why, if you don’t let us repair you, we’ll just honk louder.
*The Tuesday Prude, while primarily the work of one prude, is more a sort of virtual safe house where prudes can gather, be educated, encouraged, and never worry about ‘adult’ content.
** Disclaimer: what we refer to as ‘history of humankind’ at the Tuesday Prude generally means ‘history of America’ because our knowledge of any other history is abysmal