Alyssa Milano’s Ugly Modern Farce
Alyssa Milano is trying to turn old comedy — really old comedy — into history-changing news today. There’s nothing funny about it, though.
I was a college freshman when I saw the classic Greek play Lysistrata, by Aristophanes. The women of Greece were sick and tired of their men going to war with each other, so one of them, Lyistrata by name, called for a sex strike. If she’d had Twitter it might have looked a lot like this:
Spoiler alert: In the old, classic version it works. The men are persuaded. Men and women from all around Greece end up celebrating peace at the Acropolis.
It was comedy. It a lot like today’s sitcoms (and not a bit cleaner than some of them). But this does help explain why we have no record of real women trying that in real history, much less succeeding, doesn’t it? Sitcoms are like that. They aren’t real, thank God. They’re not meant to be.
So I can’t help wondering how much Alyssa Milano knows of the history of the theater. I wonder whether she realizes how she’s turning it inside out, making it even more a farce than it was in the first place.
Sex as Weapon
Milano’s version would end up with one side crushing the other in defeat.
For the women of Greece used the tactic to get men to quit fighting each other. Milano would use it as a weapon of war instead. The women of Greece wanted to stop the fighting; Milano wants to escalate it. The ancient play ends with everyone dancing in peace and joy. Milano’s version would end up with one side crushing the other in defeat.
She might object to that last line, saying, “Why point fingers at me? Both sides in this battle want total victory.” True enough, but you don’t hear both sides using sex as a weapon.
The word “perversion” means to twist something good into an evil or destructive form. In world all too full of perversions, weaponizing sex must rank somewhere near the top. God created it for intimacy and unity, and with a view to new life. Milano wants to use it for death and division.
Sex as God
And did you notice she didn’t call on women to withhold love? Neither did Lysistrata. They have that much in common, at least; and no surprise there. Only in the Judeo-Christian tradition are sex, love, lifelong commitment and child-rearing connected in one tight bond. Not that no other culture has experienced marriage that way — God never kept it a secret from the world.
But the Greeks didn’t connect sex solely with lifelong, committed marital love any more than today’s secularists. They used it for pleasure, for power and even for religion, as temple prostitutes supposedly connected them with the gods and goddesses.
Today sex is used for pleasure and for power, and it has become the god most worshiped by secularists. Pro-life advocacy is strongly connected with belief in the God of the Bible; pro-abortion advocacy is strongly connected with the pursuit of another god.
Abortion as the Man’s Choice
Ironically, though, in the ancient world abortion was the man’s choice. He had the power. He could command the woman to attempt it. One method was by taking poison in a dose not quite strong enough to kill her. Other methods shouldn’t even be imagined. You can imagine how free and liberated that would make her feel.
Abortion was iffy, of course, so the ancients often resorted to infanticide. A Greek man named Hilarion wrote a not-so-hilarious note to his wife from a business trip, inquiring kindly into her well-being during pregnancy, as any good husband would do. Casually — for it was really no big deal at all at the time — he instructs her, “If it’s a boy, keep it; if a girl, discard it.”
When the Christian era began, believers found these discarded children and raised them. Today we have elected officials casually discussing infanticide again.
Not So Funny
Pagan or secular, when sex is religion, death soon follows. Kind of like what happens when people start using weapons on each other. Lysistrata was comedy, though, so things ended up well. All the weapons got shelved in the end.
Alyssa Milano should know something about comedy. She played in almost 200 episodes of the sitcom Who’s the Boss. Using sex to persuade was funny in the 5th century B.C. Using sex as a weapon against men, women and babies today? It’s just ugly.
Tom Gilson is a senior editor with The Stream, and the author of A Christian Mind: Thoughts on Life and Truth in Jesus Christ. Follow him on Twitter: @TomGilsonAuthor.