Garth A. Rattray
IT DIDN'T take a genius with the perspicacity of Einstein to see this coming. This is no "surprise blow", no "sucker punch"; it could be seen coming from a mile away. I am certain that the phrase "give them an inch and they'll take a mile" wasn't coined by anyone with any particularly advanced mental powers. One doesn't have to ask a rocket scientist what will happen if you leave the front door ajar; anything can get in.
Mere mortals know that if you place a small snowball at the top of a hill covered with snow it will roll down all the while quickly swelling into a giant unstoppable monstrosity.
Sarcastic remarks aside, it seems painfully obvious to me that our little island has always sold the promise of "sun, sea, sand and sex". For instance, there was a feature article on Sintra Arunte (now Arunte-Bronte) in The Gleaner on Friday, February 2, 2001. The Trinidadian beauty graced our most famous Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) poster. She posed for a photographer from Doyle Dane 28 years ago. The American advertising company was commissioned by the JTB to do an advertising poster.
The Gleaner states that "the photographer was scouting for a woman who could portray the beauty of an island". There was a scant description of the scantily dressed model as she appeared on the poster: "The red wet T-shirt clings to her body, caressing her full bosom and perfect 10 figure." Anyone who saw that poster will recall it very well. It was everywhere. There is no obvious sun, sea or sand anywhere, just the pretty young lady in a clinging wet T-shirt with "Jamaica" boldly displayed.
I am not knocking the advertising ploy used by the JTB back then (I, for one, gave the poster full marks) but one must realise that we reap what we sow. If, for instance, we advertise Jamaica as the perfect Spring Break destination and promise the freedom of expression that goes along with such an event then one has to expect just that... freedom of expression. Perhaps many people have not been seeing some of the excerpts taken from the "Jamaica Spring Break" events being aired on some music television stations. Blatant drunkenness and varying degrees of nudity are displayed there too, but I have never heard of any complaints.
Our famous and now apparently well ensconced Dance Halls (which depict nothing that could be construed as "dancing" and which take place in the streets), seem to take their roots in lewdness, lawlessness and lasciviousness. There are numerous instances of jerky writhing in all sorts of attitudinal planes depicting mock sexual intercourse and highlighting the occasional group exhibitionists vying for camera angles. Take a gander at your "community channel" once in a while but be sure to have a barf bag nearby and smelling salts at hand.
We welcome the Carnival with open arms (and wallets) and simultaneously all but abandoned our own Independence Day festivities. We always seem eager to embrace other cultures and shun our own. With the carnival (the word has Italian roots and means: "An instance of merrymaking, feasting, or masquerading: an instance of riotous excess"), we accepted semi-nude groups of people from all walks of life pouring into the streets.
Again, I believe that if that is what we want then that's fine. However we should expect that freedom of expression begets even more freedom of expression, and that may not necessarily be a bad thing, as long as we are willing to accept the consequences that are bound to follow.
I honestly wonder what we expected would eventually happen at a place aptly named "Hedonism". It is a Greek word meaning: "The doctrine that pleasure or happiness is the sole or chief good in life". Since it appears that most people find "sex" to be the "sole or chief good in life" then "sex" equals "pleasure or happiness" and that is the very doctrine of "Hedonism". It is more than just a word, it is a lifestyle.
The Hedonism hotels have always promulgated freedom of sexuality and sexual expressions. I am far too conservative a person to visit such a place but I have heard of some rather atypical behaviour involving every possible permutation and combination of gender, race and age. There has always been nudity at the Hedonism hotels, I believe. There has always been a quiet acceptance of these hotels, I believe; and so it comes as no surprise to me that the next step has been taken; organised nude matrimonial ceremonies.
Nude weddings are just a natural progression indicative of the price that we should expect to pay for giving that proverbial inch. I am not here to say whether or not I agree with it but why make a big deal over this now when the horse has already gone through the gate? Why the hue and cry, why the hubbub and the din, what did we expect?
We may as well leave the "nudely" weds alone. We not only invited this on our fair land, we deserve it. We sold out a long time ago and now it's time to pay the piper. It's that simple.
This new development was no mystery to me, my only question is this: What will the minister wear?
Dr. Garth A. Rattray is a medical practitioner with a family practice.