Fri | Apr 20, 2018

Yellow Pages storm in a thimble

Published:Saturday | December 10, 2016 | 12:00 AM


If you have a problem with the front cover of your copy of the current Jamaican Yellow Pages directory (dancehall scene), why not just flip it over to the back cover (ska/rocksteady scene) or better still just tear off the flipping front cover?

This is a simple solution to a simple problem. The cover is almost literally a flat (two-dimensional) cardboard photo, and that disturbs or turns on some of us? Give me a break.

Now, though I am trained in music and philosophy and have been a Christian for 49 years, I would not venture to do any kind of research at a live dance hall session because I personally could not "plead the blood of Jesus" fervently enough to keep all sections of my anatomy calm. Even then, my possible response to the visual stimuli in that setting would be essentially saying much more about me than about the gyrating female bodies I would be viewing.

Apropos this stimulus or response issue, two illustrations have been brought to my attention in recent months. One, squeeze a peeled orange as hard and as long as you can and you will never ever get lime juice from the effort.

This is because of the internal make-up of the orange, which determines its response to squeezing. If a skimpily clad lady, or one who is not exactly small-breasted or of a small derriÈre, turns me on sexually, that response is essentially because of my internal make-up.

The other illustration relates to grains of sand in an eye as opposed to in an oyster. Sand in an eye irritates and harms, but in an oyster, a pearl is likely because the make-up of the eye does not allow for a response other than irritation or harm, whereas the make-up of the oyster leads to a pearl response.

Whether it is the sculpture at Emancipation Park, the current Yellow Pages dancehall cover, or whatever, let's not forget or downplay the fact that our response to any given work of art may be more suggestive of the kind of person we are than about the aesthetico-moral calibre of the work of art.

Maybe I just need Jesus, but church leaders need to revisit their definition (if they have one) and defence of what we regard as pornography.

This Yellow Pages controversy is really more like fomenting a Category Five storm in a thimble than a storm in a teacup. For the young and innocent, a thimble is a tiny sewing device.