Exclusively in the new print issue of CounterPunch
MARX: A HERO FOR OUR TIME? — Suddenly, everyone from the Wall Street Journal to Rolling Stone seems to be talking about Karl Marx. Louis Proyect delves into this mysterious resurgence, giving a vivid assessment of Marx’s relevance in the era of globalized capitalism. THE MEANING OF MANDELA: Longtime civil rights organizer Kevin Alexander Gray gives in intimate portrait of Nelson Mandela and the global struggle of racial justice. FALLOUT OVER FUKUSHIMA: Peter Lee investigates the scandalous exposure of sailors on board the USS Reagan to radioactive fallout from Fukushima. SOUTHERN DISCOMFORT: Kim Nicolini charts the rise of Matthew McConaughey. PLUS: Mike Whitney on the coming crash of the housing market. JoAnn Wypijewski on slavery, torture and revolt. Chris Floyd on the stupidity of US policy in Ukraine. Kristin Kolb on musicians and health care. And Jeffrey St. Clair on life and death on the mean streets of an America in decline
The Viagra Junkies

Living in Harmony With the World

by DAVID MACARAY

It’s important we speak frankly. After all, it’s science we’re talking about here. Biology. Anatomy. Physiology. Maybe a little Psychology mixed in with it. Most of us would agree that of all our anthropomorphic, imaginary friends (Mother Nature, Father Time, Big Brother, Lady Luck and Uncle Sam), Mother Nature commands the most respect. And why wouldn’t she?

Given her formidable track record and her tool box full of catastrophic remedies, Mother Nature can be downright scary. And if there’s one thing Mother Nature has made clear over the span of hundreds of thousands of years, it’s that she doesn’t want to see elderly men in a state of tumescence. She doesn’t want elderly men walking around with erections. In short, she doesn’t want elderly men to continue to get laid.

Mother Nature invented how human sexuality was to play out. Not only did she invent it, she clearly intended that geriatric impotence play a major role in it. She had a preconceived cut-off point in mind. If she wanted men to engage in sexual intercourse at the age of seventy-five, she would’ve arranged it—just as she arranged for a woman’s child-bearing years to begin with menstruation and end at menopause.

News item: Last week it was reported that the 83-year old movie star Clint Eastwood, who had recently ended his 17-year marriage to Dian Ruiz, a wife 35 years his junior, was already seen hanging out with an attractive, much younger woman. What, if anything, does this tell us?

A. 80 is the new 55.

B. Women are incredibly forgiving.

C. Clint Eastwood is a Viagra fiend.

D. Celebrity gossip dominates our culture.

E. Life is cruel.

Personally, I would put my money on answer “C.” Speaking of Viagra, many of us still remember when Bob Dole became the company’s pitchman. It’s true. After losing the 1996 presidential election to Bill Clinton, Dole, a cranky, former U.S. senator in his mid-seventies, went on national television and copiously praised Viagra for having cured his impotence.

The juxtaposition was startling. During the presidential campaign, we heard Senator Dole speak about such things as strengthening the U.S. military, overhauling our welfare system, and the importance of UN peacekeepers in Kosovo. After the election, we heard him speak about the importance of maintaining a boner. Call me priggish, but I found that undignified.

Undignified as well as grotesque. This desiccated ex-senator was simply too damned old to be going on national television and discussing his stubborn need for sexual intercourse. Just as Clint Eastwood is too old for it. I enjoy Clint Eastwood movies. He’s an accomplished actor and a brilliant director. But when is this pathetic, shrivel-assed old geezer going to realize it’s time to holster it? (and I say that with all due respect)

Also, from a marketing standpoint, choosing a guy like Bob Dole or Clint Eastwood to advertise Viagra doesn’t seem like the proper approach. If they want to increase their sales, they should hire a young celebrity, somebody whose premature impotence would elicit genuine sympathy and concern, rather than morbid curiosity or horror.

Imagine if, say, Leonardo Di Caprio went on television and confessed to using Viagra. Now there’s a pitchman who’d be worth every penny. Holding a bottle of those blue pills, Leo smiles into the camera and says, “Viagra makes me feel like I’m (wink)…..king of the world!”

David Macaray, an LA playwright and author (“It’s Never Been Easy: Essays on Modern Labor”), was a former union rep. He can be reached at dmacaray@earthlink.net