News Feed

Monday, April 25, 2011

Generation XXX - Born to Porn

Years ago in 1967 or 1968, when I was maybe ten or eleven years old, I found a stack of porn magazines while exploring the families rambling home in which various members of our extended tribe resided, the house had seventeen bedrooms, labyrinthine cellars and extensive grounds and had been requisitioned by the army during the second world war so finding exciting items in some abandoned corner was not that unusual, though I never found a wardrobe into Narnia or some secret passage containing hidden treasure which is what I was usually looking for. On this occasion though I had found a fencing sword and was having imagery battles in one of the older and more dilapidated parts of the cellars when I rammed the sword into an old blanket that was lying on top of a pile of coal, and with a deft flick of my wrist had hurled the blanket into the air revealing a box full of porn magazines. Treasure indeed!
I can't remember much about the magazines now and think that probably they were mainly American strong softcore titles, which meant that they would have contained full nudity, women in stockings and fetish gear and strong sex scenes but not hordcore penetration, though they certainly contained much stronger and a lot more graphic material than was readily available in the UK at the time. I remember being very excited about my 'find' and took one or two of the magazines into my Church of England Primary School the next day to show my friends. This proved to be a big mistake... 
When I got to school I showed the magazines to a few chums in the playground, the children went mad, shouting and screaming and calling their friends over and within minutes I was at the centre of a huge scrum of excited, almost hysterical boys and girls all jostling and fighting with each other to get a look at some naked flesh. Of course even in the non PC nineteen sixties a huge mêlée involving half the school was not going to be tolerated and soon a couple of our teachers waded into the throng to see what was going on and there in the middle was me, clutching a couple of, by this time, rather disheveled pictures of breasts and bottoms. I was also, I expect, smirking gleefully. 
Then all hell broke lose. I was marched to the headmasters office, canned, my mother called in, my father notified and with stern faces all round I was cross-examined as to where I had got hold of such filth and threatened with expulsion. I stuck to my story that I had found the magazines in a bin on the way to school, this still being a time when children could walk to and from school without fear, and eventually the matter was dropped. I'm sure that there was a bit more fallout but if there is it is now lost in the mists of time and I suspect too that our coal bunker only contained coal in future.
I mention this story of my childhood because over the last few days newspapers and the BBC have been full of stories regarding the readily available amount of pornography on the internet and how easily accessible that material is to children, teenagers and young adults and wanted to illustrate that up until a few years ago the exact opposite was true. The main gist of these articles is the concern many parents, psychologists and the wider society have that children's attitudes to relationships and to each other are being harmed by exposure to often pretty extreme pornography. This concern is more focused now because the wider availability of pornography began with the arrival of Web2o in the early noughties and now almost a decade later we are beginning to see children and teenagers of the Web2o decade become adults. 
This is the first generation that has grown up with pornography so readily available to them, yet they are also bombarded with warnings as to the malign, predatory and dangerous nature of sex. So in an already confusing world, sex is good and available at the click of button and bad because because every email or approach from an unknown adult is a paedophile out to do harm.
A new survey for the BBC has also shown that 8 out of 10 young men between 18 and 24 have looked at porn which is hardly surprising given that men of almost any age are thinking about sex virtually nonstop and between 15 and 30 are almost ready to explode with sexual angst so drooling over porn whilst not exactly edifying is hardly surprising. Nor is the fact that at least a third of young women have look at porn as well given that contrary to popular belief women are just as highly sexed as men if not more so, they are just a bit more circumspect in their drooling and lusting than men.
What is inconvertible though is that young people are seeing pornography at a younger and younger age and that is having an effect. The fashion for women to shave off their public hair stems from pornography, as does breast augmentation, labiaplasty and vaginoplasty. So did the demystifying of anal sex, cunnilingus and the introducing to a once fairly straight public a pornucopia of sexual proclivities covering everything from double penetration to fisting and beyond.
Many of these aspects of pornography are enlightening and for many empowering,
and, personally having fought adult censorship in the courts and having begun the legal process that legalized pornography in the UK, would not want to see the pendulum begin swinging back the other way. However it is not good that young children are accessing hardcore porn, yet the censoring of the internet is neither desirable or easily achievable unless the UK Government wishes to bring in draconian laws on a par with China or Saudi Arabia. Far better that we learn how to educate and help this new generation absorb what is going on around them and to understand, explain and reason the effects of what they are or will be seeing.
For boys this may mean explaining to them that what they see in porn does automatically equate to how they have sex with their girlfriend and that equally a girl doesn’t have to make love like a pornstar. They can and should be themselves. Most of all they need to understand that pornography needs to shock to survive, and as its audience and they themselves becomes jaded and immune through over exposure, so pornography as stimuli has to become increasing jaded in turn as unfortunately that is the nature of the beast.
Yes pornography is desensitising and should not readily be available to children, but pornography is only one aspect of a sexualized media that is bombarding children and adults alike with sexual images and messages in everything we see. From pop videos to the marketing of clothes and make-up, through to the antics of celebrities and reality TV contestants. The message being that sex is at the centre of everything and more than ever that message is 'if you've got it, flaunt it!'. 
The internet sex genie is out of the bottle and nothing short of an authoritarian or religious revolution will put in back in again. I suspect that now if a smirking ten year old brought a porn magazine to school he would find few takers and in a way that lost excitement of innocence is sad but time moves on. Now most young people will see porn as a kind of rite of passage to adulthood, they will look and then move on, some will have a problem with it, like others have problems with drink and drugs, but that is life and we cannot legislate for a minority. Far better to trust Generation XXX with being better able to handle porn and let them get on with making Generation YYY in their own natural way...

Sunday, April 17, 2011


As the UK’s Coalition government edges ever closer to collapse and its politician’s snipe and jostle with each other, maneuvering themselves into the best and most favourable  positions in which to jump ship or carry favour with the UK’s increasingly volatile media, so its leaders, Nick Clegg and David Cameron, appear ever more desperate and despairing. Clegg in particular seems to be on the verge of a breakdown, bursting into tears because he has become a hate figure to students for breaking his election pledge not to raise tuition fees, or getting hysterical and girly, worrying about all the anger ‘out there’. Yet it is his, and the nation’s, ridiculous leader David Cameron whose behaviour is really bordering on the manic. Cameron bigged it up with the Egyptian’s in Tahrir Square, then dressed down ‘man-of-the-people’ style with the Ryaniar regulars with nothing more than a change of socks for hand luggage for a long weekend holiday with his wife and as soon as he got back declared war on Libya. 
Then, with hardly time to pause or breath in between making dire threats against Colonel Gaddafi, Cameron, now wrapped in the robes of cultural diversity and multiculturalism, launched into a bitter diatribe against Oxford University describing it as a disgrace for only admitting one black student in the last academic year based on her merits - the implication being that from now on Oxford should dumb down to let in more ethnically desirable types regardless of their academic qualifications.  Then within days he had ditched the cultural diversity robes and wrapped himself in a Union Jack and set about attacking the number of immigrants in the UK, saying that Labour’s ‘open door policy’ was responsible and that the number of foreigners in the UK was dangerously high. 
No doubt in the days to come Cameron will threaten to invade Syria, announce further cutbacks in the armed forces, pledge to observe Ramadan and eat only Halal meat before denouncing the failure of immigrants to integrate and threatening to follow France and ban the burka. This is Cameron desperately playing to the gallery and failing as his inconsistency and insincerity make it impossible for anyone to know what he really means and what he really intends to do about any of these soundbite pronouncements. Nothing probably.
Yet in amongst these ramblings are real concerns that have been ignored for years and which should be addressed, which makes their being spewed out by Cameron like so much political ectoplasm all the more tragic. There are too many immigrants in the UK and successive governments not only opened the door, they wedged it open and no one, even now, has had the guts to close it. Likewise, as mentioned in an earlier Cameron rant, multiculturalism has failed, failed in ways that will potentially destroy our societies as the sinister Talabanisation of London’s Tower Hamlet’s and other UK cities shows. 
Here women, even non Muslim women, are being threatened and intimidated for wearing revealing Western clothes, and advertisements on billboards and bus shelters which feature scantily clad women are being painted black.  Yet as usual the politicians and police play it down, dismissing the threats as the actions of a small minority, a ‘minority’ that will one day knock on their door as well. This sort of action has been building for years, in Bradford over five years ago prostitutes were driven out of Muslim areas and Western girls were ‘advised’ to dress conservatively walking through them and, in a sign of things to come, advertisers avoided giving ‘offense’ by not booking ads in their area that showed women in underwear or bikinis. Always appeasement, always avoiding confrontation, always defeat.
Cameron’s reason for attacking multiculturalism and immigration is cynical in that there are elections coming up and he’s trying to win back Tory voters who have drifted away by talking tough on issues they care about, yet he will do nothing. Even when in Tower Hamlets again, Muslim radicals attacked another totem of our inclusive society, gay rights, the powers that be first blamed the mysterious ‘minority’ and then, once a paper had suggested that members of the ‘far right’ had done it to stir up trouble, blamed members of the English Defense League. Of course they had done it, they or anyone other than the crazed Islamists in our midst who can do no wrong in the eyes of our weak and increasingly impotent democracy. 
Again and again we are seeing the English revert to type, not the brave, bold warriors of legend, but the craven, subservient appeasers personified by Neville Chamberlain and the little man, the health and safety politically correct busy bodies that infest our councils and local government, whose aim is to facilitate our colonization as smoothly as possible. Yet nothing is done? Newspapers, websites and forums are full of vague threats and talk of people rising up, yet nothing happens. We are like the willing victims of massacres like Babi Yar, whereby thousands of people allow themselves to be marched out of their towns and villages, to be stripped and shot by a comparatively small number of soldiers. They often knew what was coming, heard the shots as they lined up over trenches of bodies and yet did nothing accept wait for death. The executioners often thought it was because the victims knew that their fate was to die and accepted it. 
Perhaps our fate, like England’s, is to die too... 

Saturday, April 2, 2011

I Saw, I Filmed, I Ran Riot - Violence as Celebrity

About 5 or 6 six years ago when I lived in London's Soho overlooking a street plagued by crackheads and drug dealers I remember hearing more shouting than usual and looked out of my window to see two junkies fighting and rolling on the ground. This wasn't an unusual sight but being early evening there were lots of people about and what was unusual, at least to my eyes at that time, was that the majority of the crowd who had stopped to watch, had taken out their mobile phones and were filming the fight. Needless to say no one intervened but thousands more would have watched the sight of these wretches rolling in the dirt as the video clips were uploaded to the net in the days to come, for violence, like sex, is something many people like to watch.

Six years on it is as if nothing is real unless it has been filmed and uploaded to YouTube, Twitter or Facebook, and yet with the reality has come an unreality as the line between film as fantasy and entertainment has increasingly crossed with film as a record of truth and real events. So it was that March 26th's anti-cuts riot had the bizarre spectacle of being both riot and entertainment, as news crews and the general public along with anarchists jostled with each other not to throw things but to get the best angle in which to film the 'action'. Equally each rioter seemed to have one eye on the police and the other on the nearest news crew so that he or she could be captured in their best revolutionary pose. 

This was unrest for a generation weened on X-Factor and Glee, not so much the children of Che Guevara but of Simon Cowell.  Every moment is captured, analysed and discussed, every pose, flame and flicker, blood and bruise is a potential front page image or Youtube sensation and another step up the blooded ladder of protest stardom. Now, as youth cults have all but been consigned to the past, and sad old punks, teddyboys, goths and skinheads look like anachronisms from Grannies attic so finally has a generation that had all but been written off as apolitical, narcissistic and obsessed with posting inanities on Facebook found itself taking the world by surprise, and creating something, that if not exactly new, then reinvented for their generation; Moral, Righteous Violence and Organised Anarchist Chic. Protest as a virtue and anger as a state of mind.

Suddenly the old mainstream Left and Right had to take notice, as first Millbank Tower and then Prince Charles and Carmilla, found themselves caught up in a wave of anger and destruction than was both unpredicted and unpredictable. For many this was a new entertainment, a new adrenaline rush that mixed violence, camaraderie and infamy into a heady brew of celebrity with a cause. If Cheryl Cole was 19 now and wanted to to get on the front page of the nation's papers what better way than to dress in black neo-Red Army Faction, radical-urban-terrorist-off-the-peg-at-Chelsea Girl Class War chic and wow the press with a bit of posing and teasing while lobbing a brick through the window of the nearest Ann Summers or Barclays. Within days every teenage boy, and quite a few girls, would have their anarchy sex symbol poster up on the wall and their heads filled with thoughts of love on the barricades. 

For the hundreds of young, black-clad, masked-up anarchy-angries racing from bank to bank, pausing only long enough to smash-up symbols of wealth like the Porsche showrooms in Mayfair on the way, their main pursers were not the police but film crews and photographers. For every black-blocer smashing a window there were between ten and twenty photographers, maybe six or seven film crews, a few 'legal observers' making sure that the niceties of rioting  were upheld and possibly the odd policemen looking self-concious and irrelevant. This was anarchy chic and riot-lite, no one gets killed and the only buildings trashed belong to the behemoths of bad capitalism, the banks and tax-avoiders. Collateral damage was limited to the odd tourist in the wrong place at the wrong time and the occasional bystander who got kettled. For everyone else this was a chance to go wild, keep the moral high-ground and watch it all on TV and your smart phone later on.

Yet so far this has generally been a very civilized, middle class kind of rioting with the police seemingly preferring the role of benevolent prefects rather than fascistic stormtrooper, and with the media literally interviewing plummy-voiced rioters as they smashed in windows and hurled bricks at the police it has so far been a very jolly affair all round. Virtually all the arrests made on the 26th March consisted of UK Uncut unfortunates who had peacefully occupied Fortnam and Masons and then 'surrendered' only to be arrested en masse by a police force desperate to be seen doing something other than getting hit by paint bombs and arriving outside wrecked banks long after the wreckers had moved on. The other arrests amounted to less than fifty in total and are unlikely to deter anyone from turning up again apart from the police who might decide they would be more effective if they stayed away.

Yet this is now, riot and protest, as with films, sex and violence, lose their edge when you've seen the same theme repeated again and again, sooner or later you have to raise the ante and that is particularly true of protest as adrenaline rush. Shortly those clips of black-blocers smashing windows or black-clad anarchists pontificating and posting pretentious drivel as to why they've targeted this or that store will just sound like so much self-centred waffle. People will escalate the violence and the state will escalate its response and then hopefully the reality and fantasy of what we watch on screen will separate and people will realise that protest at this level is both real and dangerous and that actions have consequences. 

I have no doubt that our new generation will make mistakes and for myself would wish that the philosophy and motivation behind the protests had a more libertarian, right wing direction, but while capitalism's bloated banks continue to hold out their cosseted and profligate hands for ever bigger helpings of the States money to bail them out and save them from their mistakes, that can never be. In fact when the leading trends magazine, The Trends Journal, and its outspoken publisher Gerald Celente, begin predicting the virtual collapse of Western society due to its mismanagement by our current rulers, then perhaps it is probably time to stop watching and start doing and we all take to the streets.

"When the money stops flowing to mainstreet, the blood starts flowing on the street"
Gerald Celente.