Why does a movie such as “LookingnFor Mr. Goodbar” feature a scene innwhich each measured thrust of a studnpickup’s wand evokes the ecstatic cryn”Oh God!” from star Diane Keatonn(whose lower middle class, Catholic backgroundnhas carefully—excuse the expression—beennlaid out)? Did the condomnreference in “Saturday Night Fever” elicitna great, knee-slapping guffaw when younsaw it? Did you expect a zoom-shot to ancircular crease in the guy’s wallet? Didnyou “get off on” the candid language?nDid the movie “yank your chain” or “pushnyour buttons?” Can you spot the unifyingnthread in the progression from Playboy’snsqueaky clean sexpots (who love hockeynand horses) to Penthouse’s raunchiernbods (who love lotsa grass and sex) tonHustler’s noncrypto, haw-haw perversions?nIt needs no streetcorner Savonarola tonrecognize, after confronting today’s typicalnmass market book, movie, pop recordnor advertisement, that this is not quitenwhat Adam Smith (a scholar of moralnphilosophy rather than a mere economist,nby the way) had in mind when propoundingnfree-market principles. Today’s invisiblenhand—or too absurdly visible—isnever reaching towards somebody’s genitals.nMechano-erotomania swaggers thenland, baring its privates. We face (oftennwith a self-reassuring little snicker) somenkind of weird, societal conspiracy-of-theopen-raincoat.nSurrounded by an apparentnand subliminal media sex-bath—itsnsounds (any heavy-breathing disco record),nits symbols (almost any erogenizednmagazine ad), its sights (most moviesnand as much as TV can get away with),nits smells (musk, body-maskers, lacquerednandrogyne)—we rock between the literalnbosoms of some maniacal, commercialnsex goddess, pouting orgiastic promisesnat us or urging us on to greater statisticalnheights with greased vibrators or condomsncopied from the face of the starnosednmole.nBigger, longer, deeper, stronger! Wavenafter wave comes crashing at us on thenstreet, on buses, subways, on radio, asnwe sit thumbing a magazine at home,nwritten in the sky, stencilled on sidewalks.nin drugstores and supermarkets (we allnknow why those deodorant cans arenshaped that way; the super-phallic drainndecloggers are the ultimate orgasmicnpromise). It becomes a trial simply tonsink into bed with a consenting adultnand read a good book (it’s there too,nrelentlessly panting).nI’m not ranting that we-gotta-cleanup-America.nBut people are getting suicidallynblithe about perhaps the most rewardingnand most private aspect of humannexistence: sexual fulfillment. I prefer,ngiven current fashion, a slightly moren”dirty little secret” era. Not kinky, repressednVictorianism; not “Spanker’snMonthly” obviously. But wasn’t it nice—nif you can remember—when they let usnalone, when we had our own private sexnlives, sanctuaries to which we couldnrepair for solace, expression, renewal,nexuberance, even raw release?nYet release seems to be the equation’snfront-end today. Release from humanitynin mechano-orgasmia. Spin the recordnand the dolls begin to dance. An oldntheme: remember “Nutcracker.” “ThenRed Shoes.” “Faust.” But “Saturday NightnFever” again: did you catch the passingndance sequence in which the teasing starnbegins pressing Travolta’s imaginary buttons?nR2D2 with electronic Frenchntickler. Golem and gonad. Modern ethic.nCommercial mass media’s do-it-to-me,ndo-it-to-me tattoo (the latest disco deliriumnis a good example) is fast becomingnpop America’s public theme song. AsnWilliam Bryan Key says in his expose ofnsubliminal advertising. Subliminal Seduction:n”As a culture, North Americanmight well be described as one enormous,nmagnificent, self-service, subliminal massagenparlor.” Key, who may possess ankeenly developed sense of the put-on,nattacks one aspect of the total psychicnmassage. He catalogs an impressive numbernof examples revealing the consciouslyncontrived subconscious sexual (or deathrelated)ncues in today’s print advertisingnand packaging. It’s hard for most peoplento believe that there’s even niore sexsubliminalnat that—in Joey Heathertonnsprawling invitingly on the Serta. Key’snbook, and my own poor file of admannnn”etchings” should convince anybody however.nIhat ad men are slipping genitalnsymbols, suggestive words or disguisednsex acts into their ads (or merely using anclever sexually symbolic motif to psychologicallynjar viewers) is only one importantnaspect in a much larger issue: thenwholesale invasion of human privacy—nand profanation of sexual privacy—beingncarried out daily by mass media. Popnculture has not only penetrated our bedroom;nit’s wormed its way into our verynunconscious via a synergy of seemingnerotomania. Why “seeming”? Key andnothers (McLuhan in The MechanicalnBride, especially Gershon Legman in hisnexpose of pop culture, Love & Death)nexplain how symbolic media psychosexualnperversions can sorely infect one’snactual sex life—ruin it, pervert it, makenit schizo. But that is another matter, tooninvolved to take up here. The Open-Raincoatnconspiracy—in which we are soldnon a massive, pervasive invasion of ournown privacy—is an open conspiracy ofncommon goals: $$$$ and perhaps thenmalign power to set the dolls spinning tonone’s own manipulative tune. It boilsndown, in fact, to a matter of asking thenmotivational researchers or ratingsnwizards what must be done to moven”product.” Sex—and death—sell thesendays (watch the Bacardi rum ads fornintimations of mortality).nSex sells in amazing ways. One couldngo on—cataloging the sexual sell fromnapparent (phallic hair driers and deodorantncans) to subliminal (microscopic icencube orgies). The ads are purposefullynpacked with oral sex, also voyeurism,nmasturbation, fetishism, sado-masochismnas well as “straight” sex—but always withna sly, suggestive sneer that marriage isn’tndirty enough. The idea—the sell—is tonconfer moral permission, as Key pointsnout, and associate it with your product.nAll this devolves on a crushing, sadnperception. “Saturday Night Fever,”n”Looking For Mr. Goodbar,” “PolicenStory”—you name it—are so wrenchinglynfar from, say, “On the Waterfront” ornStuds Lonigan and even The Amboyn17nChronicles of Culturen