This continues from the previous post.
I thought about that departed age when I heard a news bulletin about a new government initiative. Apparently there is so much violence against girls - of thirteen years or even as young as eleven - including a great deal of sexual violence from boyfriends - that the government is going to take action. What sort of action? Somehow reinforcing patterns of parental control? Ensuring that parents know how their young are dressed and where they're going and what they're doing and who they're with and what time they come home? A long and up-hill struggle to reintroduce patterns of courtship and of gradualism in the development of relationships? Seminars for the young on Modesty? Not on your life. I'm not making this up: children aged five and upwards are to be taught in school about the wrongness of violence against females. (Mind you, this news item was slightly undermined by the next one: about a murderer who had escaped from prison where she was serving Life for beating up and then stabbing her boyfriend to death [why, you ask, did I not write "murderess? Because that would have subverted my paraprosdokian].)
Sex and drink need ritual. They need inherited and formalised restraints. For, as Euripides taught the Athenians in their theatre, Aphrodite and Dionysus are dangerous gods. If you fail to treat them with respect, they will take you to the cleaners. What is wrong with our society is not that the schools fail adequately to drive home the imperatives of political correctness; it is that members of the cultural elite have in the last generations prided themselves on destroying the restraints and deriding the rituals; and now the gods have descended upon them and, my goodness, with what a vengeace. And they don't like it. And the only remedy they seem to be capable of discerning is the ancient mantra: "Doctor says keep on taking the pills". But what the Modern Girl needs is not more skill in contraception and better access to abortifacients, but careful lessons on how to entertain a boy to Tea.
And there can never have been a society which knew so little about hedone - real pleasure. I doubt if our culture of binge drinking delivers half the pleasure of wine approached with repect and drunk in accordance with archaic rituals (memories of the Alec Guinness clergyman character in Kind Hearts and Coronets reminding the visiting 'bishop' that "The decanter is with you, my Lord"). And I doubt if our culture of instant polybonk delivers a quarter of the pleasure of wondering whether she really meant to brush your hand with hers as she offered you another sandwich.