Daniel Thwaites, Contributor
The Gleaner's latest instalment on cultural chaos is news that schoolboys are popping street-vended Cialis, Viagra, and other sexual enhancers. So I called up to see if it was possible to re-register for high school, get de ting downtown, and head over to the Half-Way Tree Transport Centre.
Then a video of the Maggotty High trailblazers went viral, brukin' out, skinnin' out and shellin' dung de dance. Why dem never call mi? Forget about Half-Way Tree. A Maggotty mi seh!
In other news, alligators, turtles and even sly mongoose are all in danger because they're all good 'fi dem sinting deh!' No species or creature, however, initially alien to our usual culinary habits, is safe. I'm telling you, the lionfish could've been eradicated quite easily by the rumour that it will mek yuh roar like a lion, and give you positive analytical findings in bedroom athletics.
The concern of the yard-man to sharpen his tool, never slight, seems to have entered a new era. And it has filtered directly down to the schoolers, as proved by The Gleaner's exposť and the Maggotty video, recorded by a citizen journalist fully engaged in the worldwide struggle against drawers.
Looks like we need WADA anti-doping intervention for third-form English class along with the national athletics programme. It's not just sprinters and shot putters at Stadium needing attention. It's also the bedchamber marathon men and javelin throwers.
So I learned that new products are being pioneered and savvy suppliers are rushing them to market. Stud 100, Black Ants and Hard 10 Day were some mentioned. I hadn't ever heard of these, but they certainly sound fearsome. What we need now is an alligator-flavoured Stud 100, or a mongoose meat Hard 10 Day. I'm just putting that out there; I don't need the credit.
Anyway, just like cheating on the CAPE exam, it all comes down to pressure to perform. According to one teenager: "We are not satisfied that we are able to satisfy our girls. Lovemaking is war," he chuckled. "If you don't perform, [the girls] will diss you ... , so when me done wid har, she can't chat to me." Added the young man: "When we take de things dem and put it on them (females), them haffi bawl."
That's quite unforgettable. "Lovemaking is war," says this Viagra-munching boy soldier of the bed sheets. The youth could go far if he stopped jookin' for a moment and picked up a book.
It might be of concern that this warped view of lovemaking is early-stage psychopathy.
Equally interesting is that the anonymous bedroom bully is sorta echoing Buju's timeless classic, Stamina Daddy, except that he's admitting he needs the chemical assistance that the Banton boasts he can do without:
A nuh de stone weh mek she moan and groan
Den a wah? Ah jus de length of de Banton tone
Mek she dig up de sheet and de pillow, seh she waan fi go home ...
She did wild but now she tame, no more will she roam,
Because she feel de wrath of de Banton tone!
Or how about Powerman's classic, Stone:
If a gyal waan dead, tell har fi come inna mi bed!
Mi legal! Mi got mi sexxin' ticket,
An' if mi sex har an' she dead, nutten nuh come outa it!
Now The Sunday Gleaner didn't only report the story, but solicited analysis. One analyst attributed the pill-popping behaviour to the plantation, the supposed Rosetta Stone of Jamaican society: "The plantation legacy has taken everything from black men and all they end up with is their sexual prowess, and they'll do anything to showcase that."
That may well be so regarding the deep background of some of our problems, but there are questions to ask here, not least of all because of the many intervening years since the plantation reigned supreme. For one thing, other societies had plantation slavery: Are their children popping Viagra pills?
Also, it hardly needs saying that not all black men have been reduced to mere caricatures of sexual prowess, as not all (or even most) behave this way. And equally obviously, this behaviour is not limited to black men, but rather a possibility for all men given our common frailties. The plantation would not, therefore, seem to be a necessary or sufficient condition for the lechery.
Mind you, if given the opportunity, I am happy to blame each and every one of my indiscretions on some early 19th-century great-grandfather. It keeps me current with my Irish-American law partner who blames his overeating and love of whisky on the potato famine. According to the prior suffering, so the current vice: he can gwaan wid de potato and I will gwaan wid de girl.
Actually, the Sunday Gleaner story reminded me of descriptions I've read of elderly men in the vast retirement communities of South Florida, who are stacked up against all the widows and divorcees. The advent of Viagra was a bonanza for these guys, who overnight became like a mongoose loose in a fowl coop. Retirement communities might be a gyal farm, but it's not a plantation.
The analysts also pointed to some more proximate and direct causes, like the instructional dancehall handbooks we've all memorised, and, of course, the copious amounts of pornography children are digesting from their laptops and iPhones.
We are today acutely attuned to the history of when enslavers of the body denied freedom. Rightly so. But we can be controlled from within as from without, and so freedom is also unavailable to anyone whose passions are untamed. If denied the means, vocabulary, concepts, and other tools by which he can attain autonomy and direct his life, a man remains under a species of bondage. Compulsive desires and uncontrollable appetites are incompatible with any useful or robust idea of liberty.
In fact, the self-regulation and direction afforded by self-restraint and even occasional self-denial would seem to be a necessary precondition for freedom. And that is what I see as the grave danger for teenagers sourcing power pills like lustful geriatrics, while Powerman's Stone loops in their heads: the rebirth of unfreedom through utter decadence.
Of course, being as that there are few things quite so enjoyable as yielding to temptation, it pains us to admit that society, civilisation, and our own liberty require self-restraint. Are our children being taught to monitor, control, and direct themselves well enough? It doesn't appear so. More likely, they are being conditioned to live on the plantation of unrestrained, unfocused, and untutored passions.
Daniel Thwaites is a partner of Thwaites Law Firm in Jamaica, and Thwaites, Lundgren & D'Arcy in New York. Email feedback to email@example.com.