Jones, who was diagnosed with dementia in 2015, was the main directing force in Python’s films, as well as a prolific creator of TV documentaries and children’s books.
My favorite number in my favorite Python Movie The Meaning of Life, was Every Sperm Is Sacred. A musical sketch from the film Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life.
A satire of Catholic teachings on reproduction that forbid masturbation and contraception, the song was released on the album Monty Python Sings and was nominated for a BAFTA Music Award for Best Original Song in a Film in 1983.
If you’ve never had the pleasure here it is in it’s entirety! –
Viewing Python as the “great originator” of combining provocative humour and high-quality original music, Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane regarded the song as his favourite Python number, stating, “It’s so beautifully written, it’s musically and lyrically legit, the orchestrations are fantastic, the choreography and the presentation are very, very complex – it’s treated seriously.”
Every Sperm Is Sacred is a brilliantly lush musical production that ruthlessly lampoons the absurdity of the anti-choice argument when taken to its extreme.
However, this one comedy sketch also digs deeply at modern Human Sexuality, Religion and The Socioeconomics of Women’s Rights
The phrase “every sperm is sacred” has become almost proverbial in the field of Human Sexuality. It extends to such areas as cloning, where the song is used to criticize anti-cloning activists who argue that every embryo or fertilized egg is sacred.
Pro-Choice activists have sung the song outside abortion clinics to ridicule their opponents, legal scholars have alluded to it in discussions of women’s reproductive rights.
It is sometimes difficult to separate the comic from the serious application of the phrase, and two recent publications on the penis use it for precisely that purpose, Talking Cock, by Richard Herring, and Dick: A User’s Guide.
The religious import of the sketch is significant and is reflected in the widely dispersed usage of the phrase.
In the book Monty Python and Philosophy, the argument is teased out to reach a broader (still humorous) conclusion: “The Pythons ask us to consider the consequences of the belief that God cares about our reproductive practices and sees everything. If so, then he watches our sexual activities. … Christians must concede that all things considered, this [watching people have sex] is one of God’s less onerous activities.”
Philip Jenkins discusses the sketch as an important sign of a growing willingness in the popular media of the 1970s and 1980s to criticize the Catholic Church, saying that “Catholic attitudes toward sex and contraception are ruthlessly parodied” in the song, proving that “Catholicism was available as a legitimate subject of serious fiction.”
Socioeconomic impacts for Women & Girls
The sketch is set in a small working-class Yorkshire village, where economic opportunities are grim, and in one struggling (but happy only in the way a musical family in such dire circumstances can be ) household, the father and mother explain to their brood in song, that Catholicism frowns upon both Contraception & Masturbation.
The Catholic Church has been a subject for humor, from the time of the Reformation to the present day. Such humor ranges from mild burlesque to derisive attacks. Catholic clergy and lay organizations such as the Catholic League monitor for particularly offensive and derogatory incidents and voice their objections and protests.
However, the statement the sketch makes it clear, and in line with most postmodern theories on economic development and woman’s rights.
In a March 2013 Report by Guttmacher Institute, they site specifically -“The Social and Economic Benefits of Women’s Ability To Determine Whether and When to Have Children”
“Contemporary studies indicate that teen pregnancy interferes with young women’s ability to graduate from high school and to enroll in and graduate from college.
Conversely, planning, delaying, and spacing births appears to help women achieve their education and career goals.
Delaying a birth can also reduce the gap in pay that typically exists between working mothers and their childless peers and can reduce women’s chances of needing public assistance.”
Because not all women have shared equally in the social and economic benefits of contraception, there is more work to be done in implementing programs and policies that advance contraceptive access and help all women achieve their life goals if and when they decide to become mothers.
This impact is only magnified in non-G 20 countries. Choice is an economic issue. It impacts society. And Mr. Jones brilliant and hilarious allegory lays that fact out plainly.
Image credits- MontyPython.Com