Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Naivete and the sex industry in Ireland

If one is in favour of pornography, topless bars, lap-dancing, prostitution and the sex industry in general, one ought at least be able to provide some reasons for one’s views—reasons which, if not entirely convincing, at least furnish others with evidence that one has considered the matter in an intellectual fashion.

Here in Ireland, folk are at the moment much in a tizzy about the proposed opening of a lap-dancing club in Kilkenny. Regardless of whether one considers this to be a marvellous stride forward into maturity or a regression into juvenilia, such is the regrettable parochialism of this small nation that no one seems to be able to stop talking about it.

Today Melancholicus was testily drumming the steering wheel while delayed in the morning rush hour beyond all reasonable endurance. Anyhow, he shall resist the urge to complain about the frustrations attendant upon commuting in Dublin, because once he starts he’ll never stop. He should of course pray more for serenity while on the road, but matters are not helped by the fact that he has thus far failed four driving tests, and to exhibit a learner-plate on one’s car in Dublin seems to send a clear signal to all other traffic that the driver is a fair target for bullying.

But let us return to the point of this post.

To ease his impatience he turned over to Newstalk 106, on which Brenda Power was beginning her morning phone-in show Your Call. Among other things, the fact that Kilkenny city’s first such sex club will open its doors this coming Friday featured in the discussions (interested parties may read the relevant newspaper coverage in The Irish Times here).

What exasperates Melancholicus most of all about such events as this is the content of the ignorant and thoughtless text messages that are routinely sent to the various radio stations whenever anything to do with the sex industry is aired in this country. First prize for idiot text of the day must surely go to the clown who sent the following message in to Newstalk:

Other modern countries have lap-dancing clubs. Ireland is now a modern country. Hopefully Catholic Ireland is dead.”

So, according to the perverse logic of this texter, the level at which the sex industry has proliferated in this country is to be taken as the index of how modern and sophisticated Ireland has become! But that is not all. The “modern Ireland” of lap-dancing and suchlike is contrasted with “Catholic Ireland”, which lacked such progressive institutions as lap-dancing. The texter clearly has an animus against “Catholic Ireland”, seemingly because the sex industry was not promoted by the latter. Or perhaps he/she (probably he) was simply grabbing the opportunity to claim his fifteen minutes of fame by having his Catholic-bashing text read out on air.

What Melancholicus finds most irritating is the implicit notion that opposition to the sex industry stems only from traditional religious beliefs, and that if there were no religion the sex industry would be something fine and dandy that everyone would approve of. He has encountered this unthinking and uncritical attitude on more than one occasion. The only arguments he has ever heard advanced in favour of the sex industry in this country are those hackneyed slogans which celebrate “liberation” from the “repression” of “Catholic Ireland”. On the occasion of the opening of the first lap-dancing club in Ireland in 1999/2000, the aptly-named Declan Moroney, a journalist for the now defunct tabloid paper Ireland On Sunday waxed lyrical in his praise for the establishment, and declared that the only people who could possibly be opposed to such a great stride forward were those he derisively dismissed as “the rosary bead brigade”. But no convincing argument is ever offered to persuade us that we should view the sex industry as a good in itself; it is all based upon a knee-jerk reaction against Catholic moral teaching, and some specious blather about “adults” and “maturity”. In the meantime the sex industry itself gets away with murder (sometimes literally) and continues to exploit its slaves and dependants while thriving on the propaganda of its anti-Catholic and opinionated useful idiots in the media and in society generally.

It is boasted by the champions of the new Ireland that we Irish are now finally grown up, that we have become adults, etc. etc. etc. Melancholicus is far from convinced. If anything, Irish society has become even more adolescent and immature than at any time in the past. The Irish are increasingly a race of arrogant, lustful, avaricious and greedy souls, with a bad temper and a proclivity for profanity. Melancholicus invites his overseas readers to seek out a few Irish blogs (particularly those for whom the new Ireland is a good thing); just peruse the contents and see if you don’t agree with this assessment.

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