The New York Times has been full of good news lately. A couple of days after Mr. Traub’s socialist fantasia appeared, the front page of the Arts section announced plans for a Museum of Sex, to be located at Fifth Avenue and Twenty-seventh Street in Manhattan. The new institution—which is looking for a temporary home while waiting for its new building—is the brainchild of Daniel Gluck, whom the Times describes as a thirty-one-year-old “former product manager for a software company.” Mr. Gluck has been trying to found a Museum of Sex —devoted to “the history and evolution of human sexuality”—for three years. He had trouble incorporating as a non-profit institution, he said, because “the New York Board of Regents … said the term Museum of Sex made a mockery of the institution of a Museum.” Quite right, too, though these days such mockery is common enough. In any case, Mr. Gluck was undaunted and managed to put together private funding and even attract the donation of art works from Peter and Eileen Norton, Californian collectors who recently announced that they were giving away some 1000 works to various museums. Mr. Gluck explained that “people don’t necessarily know what we mean by sex objects.” He mentioned Victorian “anti-masturbation devices” and “bundling boards.” But the object he wants most for the collection, the Times reported, is Monica Lewinsky’s blue dress. If it were April 1, we would suspect that the whole thing was some ghastly joke. Unfortunately, Mr. Gluck seems quite in earnest about creating what he called “the Smithsonian of sex.” Have we finally passed beyond parody, beyond satire? The Museum of Sex. What could Juvenal, Jonathan Swift, or Evelyn Waugh say of us that we haven’t already said of ourselves?
This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 18 Number 6, on page 3
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