Ask Palinode #3: the sweetest taboo

Saviabella, she of the smartness and the purtyness, puts to me a tough question:

Dear Palinode, what is the sweetest taboo?

An informal survey of people at the bar returned a 100% result for anal sex.

That is nonsense. 'Sweetest' implies the introduction of sugar or some kind of sweetener - a beaker of Equal, a ramikin of Sugar Twin, a blenda' full of Splenda, a sack of saccharine, a dose of Sucralose, a concert hall full of Xylitol, all the secret names of Aspartame. What kind of freaky perverted anal sex are the kids having these days that they need a shaker of sugar or a bottle of high fructose corn syrup to get it on? I'm thinking that having anal sex is like reading Thomas Pynchon - everybody talks about it but precious few have actually done it. Do people talk about Thomas Pynchon anymore? Maybe there's a vogue now for claiming never to have picked up Gravity's Rainbow. I think it'll be a while before it becomes fashionable to claim not to have had anal sex. If that happens, maybe there'll be matching baseball caps and sweat shorts. You know, activewear.

[image of activewear with "I didn't have anal sex today!" slogan]

[not able to upload my sketches of anti-anal sex activewear from work computer]

[also unable to find appropriate anti-anal sex activewear on the internet]

[please imagine activewear here until I get home to my scanner]

Clearly the ol' butt boogaloo (Scronkin' Two: Butt Boogaloo) is not on the menu. I recommend that we go to the source to determine what this 'sweetest taboo' is.

In her song "The Sweetest Taboo," singer Sade refuses to specify what this taboo thing is. Obviously it's so taboo, this taboo, that even to mention the taboo is taboo. That's pretty taboo, people. Clearly we're dealing with interdiction on a grand scale. And yet this taboo - whatever it may be - causes Sade (is her name itself a clue?) to fall in love with its provider. Let's look closely at the lyrics to see what they reveal.

If I tell you, If I tell you now
Will you keep on, Will you keep on loving me
If I tell you, If I tell you how I feel
Will you keep bringing out the best in me

Note the hesitation in the speaker's voice, her compulsion to reformulate and restate her words. Her difficulty with language hints at the presence of the purely abject, a prohibition so implacable that language itself teeters over the abyss. In her forceful repetition, however, she realizes that cannot find better words or more suitable phrases - that if all language is useless in the face of the abject, then any language will do. I applaud the speaker's courage in pursuing discourse in the face of such nihilist odds.

I'm also curious about her anxiety over having 'the best brought out of her' - is she a drug mule? Perhaps she's rethinking the risks involved in the venture, but doesn't want to tell her partner about her misgivings. Because clearly he's got the laxatives.

You give me, you give me the sweetest taboo
You give me, you're giving me the sweetest taboo
Too good for me

The more I study these lines, the more I'm convinced that the speaker is a drug mule with a bellyful of heroin-filled condoms. The sweetness must refer to the laxatives, most likely chocolate ex-lax, or one of those more economical knock-off brands.

There's a quiet storm, and it never felt like this before
There's a quiet storm, that is you
There's a quiet storm, and it never felt this hot before
Giving me something that's taboo
(Sometimes I think you're just too good for me)

I'm starting to think that this drug mule-laxative motif may be a bit off the mark. The other person is a storm? Not to be harsh, but what the fuck? Is Sade some kind of hippie? She's singing to some clouds and wind or something? And if she is, why would the storm need to be told that it was a storm? Is the storm so desperate for validation? I expect better from a storm, especially one so unprecedentedly hot.

Nor do I buy into the implied philosophical argument in attributing The Good to a storm. I call bullshit, Sade.

I'd do anything for you, I'd stand out in the rain
Anything you want me to do, don't let it slip away

Here's a casual question for the folks at home: what do you look for in your average expression of devotion? I'll tell you what I look for - a promise to do more than hang around outside and get damp. Again, I don't want to be harsh, but I'm pretty underwhelmed here. If I give you the sweetest taboo, I expect a little more than some wet-weather outdoors action, if you catch my drift.

Of course, it's possible that the 'rain' she refers to is coming from the 'storm' above her, which suggests some kind of golden shower situation. That's assuming that the 'quiet storm' is actually a human being, which makes no sense at all, but we're talking about a hippie drug mule with a laxative addiction here, so who knows what kind of junk is bubbling around in her marijuana-destroyed brain?

You've got the biggest heart
Sometimes i think you're just too good for me

The biggest heart? We're expected to believe that a storm has a heart? Gross.

Every day is christmas, and every night is new year's eve
Will you keep on loving me
Will you keep on, will you keep on
Bringing out the best in me

Ah damn. I'm sorry folks. If I'd given the lyrics a careful once-over I could have cleared up this whole thing immediately. Sade and her lover are caught in an accelerated seven-day time loop, in which the space between December 25th and January 1st, a span of 168 hours, is experienced in only (presumably) twelve hours. I can't tell from the song how it came about, but I surmise that Sade and her lover are physicists who took a time travel experiment too far.

In theory, the lover could travel from point A (Christmas Day) to point B (an arbitrary point between Christmas and New Year's Eve), go on in regular linear time to point C (New Year's Eve) and then return to point A, where he is transformed into a kind of atomic 'storm cloud' by the terrible energies unleashed. When the lover lands at point B, he understands that the return trip will kill him, but he takes the trip anyway out of a stubborn belief that this time he can control the forces involved for a sucessful return. He never does, and is forced to repeat the experiment for all eternity.

The experiment creates a separate 'bubble' universe in which Sade and the lover are condemned to go through the holiday week repeatedly, with Sade declaring her love to a disembodied storm of atoms. For reasons that may have to do with its size or some other formative condition, this is a higher energy universe in which time moves at a rate fourteen times faster than our own. This would explain why Sade feels so hot, since the increased rate of time means faster molecular movement and therefore more waste heat thrown off. Unfortunately, there's a paradox between the closed temporal loop and the second law of thermodynamics, but let's not carried away with the science here.*

It would also explain why standing out in the rain becomes such a crucial measure of devotion. In Sade's closed universe, rain would fall fourteen times faster than ours. If the average non wind-driven raindrop falls between 7-18 miles an hour, then she would be exposing herself to beads of water traveling up to 252 miles per hour!** And that's not factoring in wind speed, which in a storm could be considerable. I'm no meteorologist, but I'm guessing that prolonged exposure to heated water at such speeds could well be fatal. It turns out that she's willing to die for her disembodied lover. I am humbled, people.

Mind you, I'm not so humbled when I consider that the time travel experiment was probably concocted as a means of smuggling those heroin-filled condoms into the future.

Also consider that we live in a cynical age in which open and uncomplicated displays of emotion are considered sentimental or laughable. In such an environment, it may be love itself which is the sweetest taboo.

Although it's probably anal sex.

*I understand that some of my readers may not be scientists. I would like to assure you that all the science in my weblog is unassailable and totally correct, and if you disagree with any of it, you are from Satan and no one will have sex with you.

**This figure is also completely correct and cannot be gainsayed by human minds. It will blow up your brain in your head to try and dispute it.