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Once up porn a time

Published:Saturday | April 17, 2010 | 12:00 AM
Tony Deyal

Tony Deyal, Contributor

Sperminator, Womb Raider, Star Whores, Shaving Ryan's Privates, Free My Willy, Saturday Night Beaver, Riding Miss Daisy, On Golden Blonde, Ocean's 11 Inches and When Harry Ate Sally are some of the fare that turned on Trinidad and Tobago to the extent that for four years it topped the list of countries whose in- and co-habitants use the Google search engine to seek out and download Internet pornography.

Google explained that while the total number of porn seekers was higher in the larger countries like the United States (US), Trinidad and Tobago had the highest numbers or proportion per capita, a Latin term meaning 'for each head' (whatever that means, whether statistically or pornographically). Second in the virtual sex stakes was Bangladesh with the United Kingdom third. Jamaica, the only other Caribbean country in the top 10, was ninth, followed by the US at 10.

Two years ago, one of my more cynical friends called me when the news of the Trinidadian proclivity for pornography broke. "Tony, you hear about this porn business?" he asked. "The Government has a 20/20 Vision for making TNT a world class nation but at the rate they're watching porn everybody will be blind by then." I found it funny that a man wearing tri-focals should make a comment like that but added my own little quip, "Well, blow me down! I suppose a Trini's favourite Christmas Carol must be O Come All Ye Faithful.

Not surprising

My friend mentioned that a Trinidadian psychologist, Dr Dorrell Philip, was quoted as saying, "It (the result), is not surprising at all. We are and have always been a society of excess, a sexually oriented society that deplores morals." However, in what may be either Freudian slips or deliberate puns, Dr Philip is reported to have advised that the Government should take a "firm stand" and a "more hands-on approach". Not to be outdone, Trinidad's Social Development Minister, Dr Amery Browne, refused to comment "until further information was at hand". Maybe all government ministers should be equipped with a Palm computer.

A few days ago, my friend called me again. "Tony boy," he said sorrowfully, "we in trouble!" I was alarmed. "What happen?"

"We are now Number Two," he said. Ignoring, for the time being, the scatological implications of his remark, I asked him to explain what he meant. "Papua New Guinea take over," he replied. "They gone ahead of us. We now second among the world's porn watchers."

"Some people would be pleased by that," I said. "Why are you so down?" He explained, "We can't be the best football team in the world - we're not even in the World Cup finals in South Africa. We try with athletics but we can't beat Jamaica. People say Rio Carnival is better than ours. The only thing we top the world in was porn and now we don't have even that." "Give it up," I counselled. "That is not something to be proud of."

"How you mean?" he asked indignantly, "We can't take that lying down."

I had visions of a new groups of Trinis united to take TNT back to the top of the menage - a whacked-out bunch of porn-again extreme sects, google and goggle-eyed, absorbing pornishment until TNT rises again and again and again. "Don't worry," my friend said ominously as he hung up, "we have it in hand.If Trinis sin, they do so in what may be exalted if not entirely good company. It seems that one day in May 1999 Ronald Thiemann, the dean of Harvard's Divinity School, called the university's technical support department to request more disk space on a computer in an office at his Harvard-owned residence. Technicians soon found the cause of the problem. The dean had been downloading and storing thousands of pornographic images. Though Thiemann was asked to resign his post (for "conduct unbecoming a dean"), he remained a tenured faculty member. Among his many accomplishments? The creation of the school's Center for the Study of Values in Public Life.

Pretty weird

In December 2003, Ontario's provincial auditor issued a report on that Ministry of Consumer and Business Services. About 4,000 complaints and inquiries related to debt collectors in 2002 (including 800 written, formal complaints) had resulted in just 10 inspections. Similarly, some 2,000 complaints about motor vehicle repairs had prompted just six inspections. Meanwhile, after claiming to have received eight complaints about adult video stores (none in writing), the ministry officials had carried out almost 1,600 inspections. Assistant provincial auditor Jim McCarter described the situation as "pretty weird," adding that he was not sure whether inspectors were in fact screening porn. "My understanding," he remarked, "is that [this] is not a primary part of their job!"

Sir Eugene Goosens, as head of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, was instrumental in persuading the city to tear down a ramshackle tram depot and replace it with the remarkable Sydney Opera House. Goossens, however, did not see his dream fulfilled. Bill Bryson, in his book on Australia, In A Sunburned Country, explained, "In 1956, while passing through customs at Sydney Airport, he was found to be carrying a large and diversified collection of pornographic material, and he was invited to take his sordid continental habits elsewhere. Thus, by one of life's small ironies, he was unable to enjoy, as it were, his own finest erection."

Opinion on the impact of pornography is mixed. Clinicians and researchers from the US told a Senate Committee that Internet pornography is the new crack cocaine, leading to addiction, misogyny, paedophilia, boob jobs and erectile dysfunction. A University of Montreal study, funded by the Interdisciplinary Research Center on Family Violence and Violence Against Women, says that pornography is so widely digested, and with such a seemingly low correlation to "pathological" behaviour, that it is grossly over-demonised.

Simon Louis Lajeunesse, a postdoctoral student and professor at the School of Social Work, set out to examine the effects of pornography on men, which would involve studying men in their 20s who've never consumed pornography. "We couldn't find any," he said.

- Tony Deyal was last seen saying that where pornographic movies are concerned, nothing is sacred, not even Robert Ludlum. There is now a movie called, The Porn Identity. Who knows it might be better than Forrest Hump.