no referee, all things are permissible.nStabler (aptly nicknamed “ThenSnake”) explains his outlook on life innsimple terms: “Getting nowhere fast,nthat was my off-season philosophy. Infigured it wasn’t where you were goingnthat counted because we all end up innthe same place anyway. What reallyncounts is how you get there. Was thentrip fun?” Mantle, on his part, nevernendorses this kind of kinetic nihilism,nbut neither does he offer a plausiblenalternative. Once a rich and weightynword meaning “declaration of religiousnfaith,” profession has reached annabsurd trivialization when applied tonthe pursuits of “pros” like these.nA. P. Housman counted fortunaten”the athlete dying young,” the youngnchampion forced “to slip betimes awayn/ From fields where glory does notnstay.” In contrast, Housman pointednto the many long-lived athletes whon. . . swell the routnOf lads that wore their honorsnout.nRunners whom renown outrannAnd the name died before thenman.nHousman wrote some years beforenbaseball and football became multibillion-dollarnindustries, offeringncountless media, management, business,nand coaching opportunities tonaging superstars. Both Stabler andnMantie have continued to find numerousnways — including these bestsellingnbooks—to turn their past athleticnaccomplishments into lucrativenopportunities. But Mantie is not sonbusy making money that he does notnFor Immediate ServicenChroniclesnNEW SUBSCRIBERSnTOLL FREE NUMBERn1-800-435-0715n32 / CHRONICLESnILLINOIS RESIDENTSn1-800-892-0753nfind time to criticize commentatorsnwho forget how many post-seasonnhome runs he hit during his career,nnor has Stabler quite forgotten hisngrudge against sportswriters whonpassed him over in picking the bestnNFL quarterback in 1977.nSpeaking of writers. Stabler andnMantie are every bit as good at writingnas Housman was at sports.nPrurient Puritansnby Thomas MolnarnThe Puritan Conscience and ModernnSexuahty by Edmund Leites,nNew Haven, CT: Yale UniversitynPress.nMasters and Johnson on Sex andnHuman Loving by William H. Masters,nVirginia E. Johnson, and RobertnC. Kolodny, Boston: Little,nBrown; $24.95.nThese apparentiy very different booksn—a cultural history and research onnAmerican sexual mores—actually addressnthe same issue: the attempt tonreconcile morality and the sexual impulse.nA typically puritanical endeavor,nbecause the puritan, with his eternalnbad conscience about things thatnmay not please God, that is sin, goesnthrough mental, moral, and behavioralncontortion in order to legitimizenwhat he likes to do in bed. As EdmundnLeites admits, the Catholic attitude isndifferent: The Catholic Church foreseesnand expects moral failures in allnmen and provides the sinner, ex postnfacto, with assurances of a safe return.nThese are called sacraments of penance,nand while their efficacy is by nonmeans automatic (genuine contritionnis needed), their availability offers confidencenin God’s forgiveness.nThe puritan needs other guarantees,nnamely a moral life with no slipperynoccasions, for fear of falling into thenabyss. Every daily act (family, business,nforeign policy) must thus benmoral, a tension impossible to sustainnfor anyone who is not an Orientalnguru. Gandhi, for example, tested hisnown moral muscle by sleeping with anyoung girl in his bed—and not touchingnher. While the puritan does not gonto such lengths, he devises other safe­nnnguards. In Leites’ words, the combinationnof erotic delight and moral constancynis best located in marriage.nHowever, at the end of the Puritan eranin England, the Restoration comedynsaid out loud what males thought ofnthis formula: When the initial passionnebbs away, the husband looks for othernoutiets, outside marriage. Yet the demandnfor constancy persisted and engenderedncomplicated forms of sexualnhypocrisy that Leites analyzes at lengthnin Richardson’s novel, Pamela. Andnthat is when Dr. Freud came in. . . .nIn Sex and Human Loving we havena kind of caricature of the puritannattitude to sex and sin. We are now inn1986, not in the centuries of Englishnand American divines, of Cromwellnand Richardson. In other words, constancynwith its moral roots is no longernfashionable, new substitutes had to benfound for both terms of the formula,nsexual and moral fulfillment. Thenpuritanical mind has come up with annumber of substitutes, but first of all itnreplaced the pastor’s sermon and thenmoralist’s treatise with scientific sexology,nsex therapy, psychoanalysis—andnstatistics. The overall method, as it isnthe case with reductionism in general,nremoves the topic itself and puts itsntrust in the process of sampling, ofncounting noses, or rather orgasms. Itndoes not occur to the authors —ninverted puritans that they are—thatnby ignoring the awe and excitementnsurrounding sexuality and by focusingnon the physical and immediately psychologicalnmechanism of the thing,nthe object of research slips away andnwe are left with mere behavioristienaccounts. At best with the voyeur’s andnthe lecher’s temptation.nBut even so, the puritan’s approachnneeds guarantees that sex is not sinful,nthat it is natural, social, tensionrelieving,nscientific, teachable, andncapsulizable within how to manuals.nGod is, of course, no longer present,nand sin too has been absorbed by thenblotter of the new culture. Yet, thenpuritan’s sense of guilt is irrepressible,nno matter what the label; it may benexplained, compressed, socially justified,nor diluted in some ideologicalnmessage and in sexual hygiene, butnsomething remains that needs tamingnand reassuring. Hence the proliferationnof books about sex, the way catechismsnused to proliferate or the “mir-n