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Hypocrisy over porn videos

By Raffique Shah
January 21, 2007

Adults who have expressed outrage at "porn videos" currently making the rounds, supposedly starring secondary school students, are either hypocritical, downright stupid, or a not-so-clever combination of both. Why are we shocked that pornographic material is coming out of our classrooms? We have seen bandits aplenty emerge from this failing education system, murderers, addicts, gangsters, fraudsters and even a few low-life politicians! So what if these pampered-from-birth children decide to harness technology, generously paid for by their doting parents and their home-or television-derived talents, to produce studio-quality porn movies?

It was bound to happen. This is a very sexually-charged society, as evidenced in part by the conduct of adults during the Carnival season, on "maticoor" nights and in our daily routines. We did not climb the AIDS-statistics ladder by accident. Many of those who are screaming bloody murder over the discovery of 50 such videos (numbers from Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar, who must have screened every one while counting them) are the very people who will simulate sex and worse at pre-Carnival fetes and on the streets and stages come the two days of revelry. Add to public eroticism the private lessons learnt by children who live in one-or-two-room tenements and the results can be a huge porn industry, which, I should add, is financially rewarding if we are to judge by international standards.

Sometime last year there was similar outrage in India when a young boy used his cellphone to film his girlfriend performing oral sex. The media went wild and holy men threatened Vedic-murder, a storm-in-a-lotha that simmered down as quickly as it emerged. That country's powerful Prostitutes Union had taken to the streets to demand that their clients be made to use condoms to stem the HIV tide there, which grabbed the headlines. Meanwhile, India's mobile phone market, one with the biggest growth potential in the world, increases almost exponentially. Porn is the norm there, as it is in most countries in the world, Islamic states included.

But there is another side to the hypocrisy that emerges from this latest video craze. Sex and pornography were not invented when Nokia (or whoever) made the first mobile phone. In my days at college-the early-to-mid-1960s-we boys, our testosterone levels gone awry, had to settle for a handful of very worn porn magazines that one was lucky to have access to. And who of my era did not use those tiny, round mirrors, strategically placed on the classroom floor, to peep up girls' skirts? Hell, even from primary school we knew which teachers were making out and who among the older male and female students were doing the same.

Those provided stimulation for masturbation, a very healthy form of release at that time. You know what? On Friday morning on radio I heard one woman casting damnation on masturbation and other forms of sexual release! Is she for real? I asked myself. She must be some sixth-decade virgin whose life must have been awfully dull and unfulfilling. These kids who are making school-based porn videos are ordinary teenagers, hormones all fired up, equipped with modern technology and fuelled by the wild consumerism. This is Vision 2020, only that the kids have stolen a march on the politicians.

Lest there are those who believe I condone these explicit video clips, worse, the ones that appear to be done under duress, let me disabuse their minds "one time". But I am no prude, never will be, nor will I pretend to be. And I am a realist. I know that children become sexually curious at varying ages, but more so in their early teens. I would therefore opt for proper sex education, make them aware of the negatives to engaging in sex too early in their lives. Hell, I would even encourage masturbation over abstinence, since that seems to be more reasonable.

But I will not bury my head in the Otaheite-mud and cast the children into purgatory. I will, however, damn the parents who, instead of buying simple "CEPEP" call-and-receive phones, equip their darlings with the latest "Bluetooth" technology.

Why does a student need a phone with these advanced features? Now, to augment the dumb tube (jumbo flat-screens, excuse me!) that already carries more than enough porn and computers that are used in the main for accessing erotic websites, we have hi-tech phones for made-in-the-classroom videos.

If only we would learn to use technology wisely. I am not suggesting that we eliminate sex from the learning equation. But we can have sexually-educated and satisfied students who also have deep interests in pursuing knowledge through use of modern technology.

The computer is a treasure-trove of information for persons who use it the right way. And can we, in the midst of this forest of cables that connect every household gadget, place a few interesting books on our coffee tables? There are few greater pleasures than reading. If the classroom porn masters can have their energies redirected to reading, we may strike the right balance between raw sex and real pleasure.