It’s advent. The season of excitedly preparing for the Christmas festivities. The season of good will to all men. I’ve been reasonably efficient this year, and went to our local sub-post office to buy my stamps for my North American and Australian cards. It was almost closing time, so there was a longer queue than I’d ever seen there. Normally, I queue crammed between an aisle of washing powder and general household goods such as plastic bowls. But today, at the back of the queue, I was in a gap at the end of the aisle so that I realised I had a full view of the newspaper aisle. Because the aisles are quite narrow, I don’t usually stand back enough to be able to take a good look at the top shelf. But I could today.
No FHM style magazines here, but what struck me as pretty rampant pornography. Women in bondage gear, women with their legs spread wide and a (strangely small) yellow star covering what must either be the world’s tiniest female genitalia or a photoshopped nod to a modicum of modesty. Plus, badly hand written cardboard signs promising that there was yet more porn and DVDs available behind the counter.
So, why not put it all behind the counter? An elderly lady gave me the answer: because I needed to ‘get a bit more modern’ and ‘come up to date a bit’. ‘You may as well say that you won’t step outside your front door, this is all over the place’, she haughtily told me (whilst refusing actually to take a look at what was there in this particular shop: this particular sort of stuff is not ‘all over the place’ – and there’s none at all in the Co-op two doors down).
So, the question I have is this. Why does the freedom of some people to masturbate over photoshopped pictures of the mostly impoverished 18 year olds who’ve been lured or tricked into the pornography industry trump my freedom not to see this stuff when all I want to do is sent glad tidings of great joy or other appropriately neutral good wishes to my friends and relatives? Is the internet running out of its porn supply such that this is their only option? Are these porn consumers too shy to ask to take a look at the stuff behind the counter? Ah, bless!