The Politics of Sex
By Jake Jaxson
“The time has come for all good men to rise above principle.”
Governor, Louisiana 1928 to 1932
Growing up, I was told there were three things you don’t discuss in “polite society” — politics, religion, and sex. And that was always odd to me because that’s all people talked about in South Louisiana.
It was part of our everyday lives — live, sin, repent… repeat. This way of life was lionized by our then infamous and very popular governor, Edwin Edwards. I remember him as a high rollin’ womanizer who would speak in plain and simple speech from a golden microphone at his campaign rallies. He quoted scripture during the week and played hard in Vegas on the weekends! In the tradition of another famous Louisiana Governor, Huey Long, he was a populous hero. He was a man of the people, and like Huey Long, he knew what the people wanted, “Every Man a King.”
Both politicians understood that at the end of a hard week’s work, having fed their kids and paid their bills, people wanted money in their pockets to sin. And in Louisiana, Saturdays were made for sinnin’ — enjoying a six pack or a trip to the drive-thru daiquiri shop, smoking some cigs while havin’ a few pulls at the slots, and if you’re lucky, a roll in the hay. This made life worth living because on Sunday, all would be forgiven, washed away by the blood of Christ.
Huey Long, was a master politician because he knew the hearts of his people, because it was a reflection of his own and he said it best when he once quipped, “Hard work is damn near as overrated as monogamy.”
This tradition is still alive in Louisiana. Just ask our sitting U.S. senator, and family values crusader David Vitter, who himself was exposed for his own use of call girls and prostitutes. He especially liked to be dressed in a diaper. His get-out-of-jail free card (literally) was: “The devil made me do it” and “I am forgiven.”
Naturally, my parents hated ol’ Edwin Edwards, but I loved him. Of course he was a crook, we all knew it, but the people of the state forgave him because he delivered, made us laugh, and more importantly, he did not judge us for our “moral shortcomings.” We elected him to four terms until he was finally indicted, tried, and convicted on corruption charges, stemming from his push to legalize gambling in Louisiana.
I share this today because I, like many, was shocked and confused by this week’s raid and take down of RentBoy.comby the federal government via the Department of Homeland Security. They arrested, from their homes, its CEO and seven of their current and past employees — many of whom are friends of mine. I know them as hardworking and tireless advocates for sex positive education. I was angered and dismayed when prosecutors described them as conspirators of an “international criminal organization.”
One thing that is clear to me is that this was not about the “rule of law” — it was a political act designed to feed and satisfy a still powerful and angry part of what was once part of Nixon’s “Moral Majority.” Because, in America, sex is still taboo and should not be discussed in “polite society!” This is still a prime and needed target for the religious right and moralizers for profit.
And before everyone gets caught up in the sensationalism of “The Rule of Law,” can we at least acknowledge the obvious? Our laws are enforced by politicians who pick and choose what laws they think matter, or help win them elections, or get them more contributions. The Financial Collapse of 2008 was the result of big banks breaking many laws and regulations… yet, NOT ONE of their employees were ever arrested and charged.
One thing that is very clear to me when it comes to the politics of sex — whoever is screaming sin, adulterer, slut, and prostitute the loudest — while holding themselves out as “better than,” usually are the ones doing exactly what they are alerting and warning others to avoid. (One of my recent films, The Bully, essentially addresses this at its core.)
There has been much speculation over why the raid at RentBoy occurred, considering they have operated openly for the past 20 years.
My belief, sadly, is that they were targeted and brought down because of PRIDE. They showed too much pride to be ignored, pride in creating a network of individuals wanting and needing to connect and explore their sexuality beyond the parameters set out, dictated, and prescribed to us by the moralizers for profit, the “glass housers” and the “do as I say, not as I do” crowd.
And in the spirit of that pride, today I am releasing part of a film that we had been working on months before the raid of RentBoy. To be honest, before today I was really struggling with how to put it on our site. In all honesty, and I’m ashamed to say, it was because it was not sexy. Our site is designed as a form for sexual entertainment and fantasy escape — and every time I watched this film, a heartbreaking reality hit me and I struggled with how best to present it because the two men in this film were so unashamed, loving, and proud. I worried that I could not do them justice. But today that has all changed.
Today, I want to introduce you to one of the men who advertised on RentBoy, Rob Yaeger. Please watch, as I know many of you will, with an open mind and heart.
And to all the judgmental moralizers, self haters, double speakers, and glass housers, watch this and ask yourself before you pick up that next rock. Are you now and will you ever be half the man that Rob is? Before you again say one thing and do another, ask yourself if your clever wordsmithing will ever match up to the selflessness of this man.
And lest we forget, taking offense where none is offered should be a trigger for self reflection, not persecution.
And what ever became of Edwin Edwards? Some say his pride got the best of him also, famously saying while running for re-election, “The only way I can lose is if I’m caught in bed with either a dead girl or a live boy!” Shortly after winning that election, the government came after him with the first of many indictments. But to this day he is a defiant man, and it’s hard for me not to root for him. When asked about his legal troubles, he brushed them aside with his thick Cajun accent saying, “People say I’ve had brushes with the law. That’s not true! I’ve had brushes with overzealous prosecutors!”