Little to say for myself

Sunday, September 07, 2003

A Bunch of Tossers

The Great Communicator links to this article about a recent Doonesbury cartoon. It referred to the recent evidence that regular masturbation reduces prostate cancer risk in certain age groups. I mentioned the news at the time, albeit light-heartedly. In the article it seems that 19 out of 34 newspapers polled said that they would not publish the strip, because it included the M word.

It's just staggering to me that they even considered it. They decided to publish an innocuous alternate strip, on grounds typified by one editor:
"You know what they say about pornography: 'You know it when you see it.' There is a line between what's acceptable and what's offensive dialogue in a community like ours. For me, this crossed the line. I knew it when I saw it."
Pornography? PORNOGRAPHY??

I'm too shocked to find adequate words for this. I thought we'd managed to jettison all that superstitious bunkum about wanking being a source of shame. I also thought that the main missions of our great free press were to inform, educate and demystify.

After all, we're talking about saving lives here. About a risk-free, costless, universally available and (let's not beat about the bush) thoroughly enjoyable way of reducing the risk of a terrible disease that kills too many young husbands, partners and fathers in every corner of the world.

Not only that, the news may even be the catalyst for a revival in the sexual relationships of troubled couples everywhere. Imagine: something thrilling that a couple can share at the most intimate level, in the knowledge that they're making a positive contribution to life expectancy - and feeding their relationship at the same time.

But no. Instead of encouraging anything that might help to spread the good news, we get blinkered and backward censorship, with the usual get-out clause:
"Other newspapers may feel differently, and that's what makes this such a great country."
"Great" isn't the word I was looking for.

P.S. Wouldn't it be wonderful if someone were to announce a finding that regular masturbation reduced the risk of cervical cancer too? I can't imagine the Women's Pages of many newspapers, even the more backward mid-western ones, being shy about that - but maybe that's just wishful thinking.

posted by Plig | 01:20 |

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