Sunday, 10 August 2014

ONE MAN'S MEAT? THAT IS THE QUESTION...




And now for something completely different...

"...for there is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so."
said HAMLET in Act II, Scene II of the play of the same name.  If
that's true then we're all in trouble - and here's why.  Without a recog-
nised standard of what's good or bad, right or wrong. society stands on
the brink of chaos.  Another old saying, "One man's meat is another
man's poison!" is a different way of saying the same thing.

Someone once told me that somewhere in Africa, there are tribes
where fathers deflower their daughters (or perhaps it was uncles and
nieces, I forget which) at around the age of 11-13.  They don't regard it
as being bad or evil, and don't have the same attitude towards it as you
and I do.  In fact, not wishing to be crude, they actually think of it as
'sex education'.  Does the fact that they don't consider themselves
to be doing anything wrong make it right?  I'd say no.

There's a huge outcry in sections of the media at the moment
about female circumcision - also called female genital mutilation.
It sounds awful, although I entertain similar reservations about male
circumcision, to be honest.  Some cultures have been performing these
rituals for centuries and don't see anything wrong about them, but does
being a tradition with apparently no moral stigma within the societies
that indulge in such practices automatically make them right or
acceptable?  I'd say not necessarily so.

Dramatic as it may sound, society is under threat.  All around
are cries for the legalisation of drugs, government approved (and
taxed) brothels, the lowering of the age of consent (to 13 - and that's
just for starters), and all the standards to which society once aspired
are seemingly being rejected wholesale.  After all, runs the argument,
things are only bad if you think they are, so if you think something
is good, why should you be denied it simply because 'narrow-
minded' or unenlightened people disapprove?

I can't believe that people actually fall for such warped 'logic'.
For example, legalising drugs wouldn't take them out of the hands
of criminals, it would merely supply them with a 'legitimate' business
through which to launder profits from other illegal activities (and fund
them).  Having state-approved brothels wouldn't protect all prostitutes
from disease or attack, because there are always those (within all sec-
tions of society) who object, on 'principle', to declaring their income
and having to pay tax on it, who would operate outside of such
'licensed' premises and go it alone.

Some people, it seems, believe that the most effective way
to win the fight against crime is to abolish the very concept of
criminality - legalise everything, that's their solution.  If we cease
to think of things as bad, wrong or evil, then they're not - so there's
no need to prosecute anyone for anything, is there?  Ridiculous,  isn't
it?  Not everything is subjective, and when it comes to the nature of
good and evil, right and wrong, society is far better served when it
takes an objective stance on the subject.  When 'anything goes',
usually everything goes - morals, ethics, standards, the lot!
And that's never a good thing, I've found.

Agree?  Disagree?  Couldn't care less?  The comments
section, as always, awaits your response (if any)!

17 comments:

moonmando said...

We live in an age of cafeteria style morality Kid,with everyone picking and choosing what is right and what is wrong.People now Draw up their own personalised handbooks of responsibilities and obligations.
With the demise of Godliness in our society coupled with the rise of secularism i reckon we are all on the road to hell...,in a very big handcart indeed.

DeadSpiderEye said...

Entertaining some deep thoughts here Kid, you pose some tricky questions to which there probably are definitive answers but most of us aren't smart enough to work them out or have the explained to us with sufficient clarity.

Personally I think, once you've grasped the notion that your going to get it wrong at least fare proportion of, if not most of, the time when considering questions of morality then you've at least opened the door to correcting your mistakes. Two areas I would highlight are the question of prostitution and narcotics. until recently both trades were at least tolerated if not treated with approval by most western states, right up until the 1950's. in the case of prostitution, when it became a focus of the UN under the guidance of its Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold and it was under UN urging that the UK implemented most of it's current legislation regarding the practice.

I believe there is a need to balance rights when considering such issues, just because one doesn't approve of a practice or considers it to pose a threat oneself or some aspect of one's way of life, doesn't infer the right to proscribe that practice. I don't like Hare Krishnas, I think they're foolish and dangerous, especially to young impressionable minds but we're willing to tolerate them because an individual's rights considering religion are recognised as an important aspect of personal liberty. I think that's where Dag fell down in his personal crusade against prostitution, which unfortunately had enormous consequences, coming as it did as the same time as the suppression of Heroin prescribed to habitual users [addicts]. There's a decent book somewhere that documents the growth of the illicit Heroin trade, the link with prostitution, the CIA, the UN and organised crime, I can't recall the title but you should be able to find it, It focuses on a character called Lucky Luciano.

Anyway, it'll be interesting to read what comments this subject spawns, I look forward to a certain amount of controversy.


Kid said...

I waited to see if there was going to be any other comments before responding, Moony and DSE, but no one else seems to be biting - even 'though the hits have been relatively high so far.

Moony, you were brave enough to allude to the religious implications in connection to the subject, but, going by the low response, it looks like most people would prefer not to consider them.

******

An interesting response, as usual, DSE. I'll certainly consider hunting down the book you speak of when I have the time. Unfortunately, the low response means you're to be deprived of the controversy you were looking forward to.

Colin Jones said...

Apologies for the late comment due to unavoidable circumstances ! Kid, a few days ago you mentioned that when you were a teenager you had pictures of Page 3 girls on your bedroom wall but my mother regarded Page 3 as vulgar and degrading so aren't you also picking and choosing your own moral values ? There are plenty who say that Page 3 cheapened and sexualized young women but you'd say those people are politically correct killjoys so why are their values wrong and yours' right ? My father supported a hardline attitude against drugs but he was totally in favour of legalising prostitution because he said that you can't ever stop it so you might as well make the women safer which sounds like a good argument to me. There are perfectly good reasons for legalising prostitution and drugs but you don't agree so society is going to the dogs if anybody suggests it - I'm sorry,Kid, but it seems like you regard your own beliefs and values as the norm and anybody who disagrees is completely wrong. As for religion - all that ever did was prop up the Establishment and they didn't give a toss about the terrible inequalities of society so good riddance to religion as far as I'm concerned.

Kid said...

Actually, Col, I didn't say a few days ago that I had pics of Page 3 girls on my wall when I was a teenager, I said it in a response to someone at least a year or so back. And I hardly think it's fair or logical to try and hold me to account TODAY for my teenage attitudes, which, for all you know, may not be the same ones I hold as an adult. Or are you telling me that you think exactly the same way today on every subject as you did as a teenager? As for picking and choosing my own moral values - doesn't everybody to some extent? Why would you object to me doing so when you're clearly indulging in the exact same thing?

Your point only comes near to being a valid one if your mother was correct in her assertion that Page 3 was vulgar and degrading. And by her standards it clearly was. An argument could be made for either side of the case 'though. If nudity is allowed on a beach, what's wrong with seeing a pair of tits in a paper? (And I'm not talking about David Cameron or Ed Balls.) Actually, nowadays, I probably lean towards your mother's point of view (I'm not sure about 'degrading', but perhaps unseemly), because, If I had a daughter, I'm not sure I'd like her regarding getting her kit off for a lads' mag or newspaper (or as a prostitute) as a perfectly normal or 'legitimate' career choice.

What I find more interesting however, is that, given her views on Page 3, your mum would almost certainly have found prostitution vulgar and degrading, and responsible for cheapening and sexualizing young women, so her attitude was obviously at odds with your father's. So, you take your mum's view in order to beat me over the head for my post, then you take your father's view to do the same - even 'though they appear to be mutually exclusive. You can't have it both ways, Col - why not pick one and stick with it? Surely you can see the logical absurdity of arguing two opposing views at the same time.

As for keeping women safe in regards to prostitution - surely the best way to do that is for women (and guys, I suppose) not to become prostitutes? Or is that too simple a solution, do you think? You see, the point of my post was the absurdity of attempting to abolish crime by the ridiculous practice of making everything legal. Despite the seemingly-'reasonable' arguments put forward by those who propose such an approach, what usually lies behind it is their objection to them (or others) being deprived of an opportunity to make money.

And legalising prostitution wouldn't necessarily make all prostitutes safe, even if that aspiration were the main reason for doing so. That rationale is just a front in most cases for those who want to use prostitutes without fear of prosecution or stigma. Or, as I said, as a way of making money 'legally' from it. In the case of government (or would-be government) spokesmen advocating such a thing, you can bet your boots that their main concern is exploiting an avenue of raising revenue by creating another 'indusrty' that can be taxed.

As for religion, No, propping up the establishment was not ALL it did (if, in fact, it did). Most charitable institutions that exist today are based on and sprang from religious principles - would you rather not have them as well?

So let's recap, shall we? You're taking issue with me for holding views that you don't share, based on the fact that you hold views that you don't perceive me to share? Pot calling kettle, perhaps?

Look on the bright side, Col - at least on this blog you're allowed to express a different point of view without being called a 'troll' for it. Can't be bad, eh?

Colin Jones said...

And that's why I'm a fan of your blog, Kid ! Actually I think my mother was in favour of legalising prostitution too for the same reason as my father - it was the way Page 3 girls flaunted themselves in a newspaper that she didn't like and yes, I know that prostitutes flaunt themselves too but not half naked for millions to see. I just don't believe that they are trying to solve crime by making illegal things legal and we are only talking about two things anyway - drugs and prostitution. Most prostitutes would be safer if it was legal and as for drugs, something has got to be done to break the power of drug barons - I've read that several South American countries are thinking about making drugs legal because they don't know what else to do and they are at the end of their tether. The "war on drugs" is a fiasco anyway - anybody who wants to get drugs seems to be able to get them and I read that a large proportion of crime is caused by people stealing things to buy drugs - something radical needs to be done and legalisation should be tried for a period of time at least and if it doesn't work it could go back to being illegal. Prostitution and drugs should never have been illegal to begin with.

Kid said...

I'm bound to say then, Col, that it seems to me that your ma had a curiously contradictory outlook on those two subjects, although we're probably all like that in regard to some topic. However, I wasn't restricting myself to just those two examples, I was applying myself to a wider principle.

On the point of legalising drugs, it wouldn't solve the problem. As I said in the post, it would merely provide criminals with a legitimate business through which to launder the profits from other illegal activities - and fund them. Drugs are also the reason why many women become embroiled in prostitution - solve one, and it helps in addressing the other. Also, if drugs were legalised, other business (like Boots) would start selling them and drug-use would probably become even more widespread. And just being legal wouldn't stop people stealing to fund their drug habit. Last time I looked, food, cars and alcohol weren't illegal, and it doesn't appear to have stopped anyone stealing them (and it's not just drug-users who do so).

As for not making prostitution and drugs illegal to begin with - they probably weren't. It was the problems that came along with them in societies aspiring to nobler and grander ideals that led to them being outlawed. The only reason that certain people are calling for them to be legalised is to reduce the reported crime rates and increase tax revenue, despite their expressed 'concerns' about 'safety'.

Paul McScotty -Muir said...

Morality is a biggie to tackle Kid - I think we are a lot "better" than folk say / think - in general I think what we have "lost" is a certain humility and "niceness" but in many ways we are (or at least try to be) more moral now (ie ask a black person in 50s America - generally assumed to be a more moral time - just how moral a time that actually was etc).

I do agree in some ways with "moonmando" with folk picking and choosing what is moral (although really that is the human condition ) it depends on what folk consider immoral/moral ie someone who thinks it immoral to "cross dress" but has no issues with racism are to me immoral. You can (again IHMO) not approval of a cross dresser (they are hurting on one) but you cant agree with racism - but thats an easy example some are morality choices are not as black and white.

Re page 3 some people find that immoral not due to nudity /sex but to the way it reflect on women as "objects" (as Colin notes)- I can easily see a woman objecting to a page 3 images AND supporting legalised prostitution they are 2 separate issues when viewed like that one ie page 3 viewed objectifying women in a popular daily paper to young males 365 days a year the other (legalising prostitution) is keeping women (prostitutes) safe on the street (legalising prostitution does not relate to making it a career choice that some young women view page 3 as) - What I find immoral re page 3 is the paper decrying sex offenders (rightly ) on page 1 and having 17 year old Sharon (a kid) from Essex " getting them out" on page 3 or even worse doing the countdown (as happened) to Emma Watson's (Hermione Granger in Harry Potter films) 17th Birthday when she would be "legal"

The issue of legalising certain drugs (there is little support for legalised crack cocaine, Heroin etc)is an option to try to combat crime lords (lets be honest the baddies are winning) and the havoc they are causing on some peoples lives - I do see problems with this to be honest but I don't see the issue of looking at legalising certain drugs as immoral n any way

A bit off subject but re the issue of Female Genital circumcision (noted in the west as Female genital mutilation -FMG) is not the same in any way as male circumcision -male circumcision may have originated from religious moral practice, but it has no ill effects on men (in some cases its a positive re certain health issue ie cancer in others I'm sure its not great) FMG is violent and has tenuous (if any) links to "religion" its a way to "sew" women up to keep them "pure" for men (in some cases with any sharp object available including a piece glass) and it kllls many women (children) and makes life painful for almost the rest with infections etc - more importantly most women don't want it its hoisted on them (but considered moral in some areas of West Africa for a woman to undergo this procedure)

And finally that title "one man's meat" was that meant lol

Kid said...

C'mon, McScotty, 'fess up - are you a secret trannie? (Chortle!)

Racism is wrong, I'm sure we'd agree, but that doesn't mean that a racist who thinks cross-dressing is wrong is necessarily mistaken in that view (I'm not suggesting that he has the right to curtail what people get up to in private in regard to how they dress 'though) - but that's another discussion.

I'd disagree with you about Page 3 and prostitution being separate issues, because, when you think about it, it could be argued that Page 3 (or porn) is prostitution by proxy. Many a young man, I'm sure, has been inflamed to passion at the sight of a Page 3 girl and indulged in a little action - sans girl of course. (By proxy, remember?) But I'm being slightly flippant. Nothing objectifies a woman more as a sex object than actually BEING one by profession - in short, a prostitute! Why that should be regarded as being okay by people who object to Page 3 is a mystery to me, and utterly contradictory in my view.

Again, Id have to disagree with you on the drugs issue, McScotty, and here's why. Drugs themselves are the problem, the status of actual supplier is (to some extent) redundant. What does it matter (ignoring all the associated criminal activity just for a moment) if it's a 'drug baron' shipping drugs to your high street, or the Boots the Chemist's warehouse? Do we really want people taking mind-altering substances and indulging in the accompanying antisocial behaviour that ensues? Making it legal would have people jumping in their cars and on their motorbikes while they're high and endangering themselves and others in the process. Then how about legislation to stop what I describe happening? A nightmare of red tape and confusion would ensue and be nigh impossible to enforce. We have too much legislation as it is anyway - we don't need more (in regard to anything - what we need is for existing legislation to be enforced).

I'm aware of the difference between male and female circumcision, McScotty, and the way it which impacts on women's health, etc., but, with regard to male circumcision, it's whether it's right, in principle, to perpetuate a practice which is neither necessary (nor harmful if it ISN'T done) on babies who can't consent, merely to identify them in a religious or cultural way. Dog breeders aren't even allowed to dock dogs' tails anymore because it's regarded as barbaric, so why should we want anything less for humans. If someone WANTS (or needs) to be circumcised, then no problem, bit to inflict it on infants doesn't seem right to me when it isn't necessary. My point being that, regardless of any arguable (and coincidental) health benefits, male circumcision (in religious or cultural instances) is not performed for health reasons.

Now, did I miss anything?

DeadSpiderEye said...

The discussion seems to be progressing at a lively rate, there's a lot I find personally contentious, so much so, it's difficult to focus, but equally there's some interesting insight. One topic I would like to address explicitly, that's been referred to obliquely in regard to 'objectification' is the subject of demonisation. One thing that people find it difficult to accept is that most attributes or practices that are labelled as undesirable, perfidious or evil don't become regarded as such through an some intrinsic property. Indeed it was wise to include the topic of circumcision because McScotty's contribution illustrates this to a high degree of satisfaction. The reasons for the chasm that represents the attitudes between the male and female practices in western culture are complex but they they're -almost- entirely culturally derived. It's a huge blind spot in most folks thinking and a constant reminder to me of the fluid nature of morality. Unfortunately cutting the end off some unwitting child's knob is one of the practices we can ascribe as intrinsically flawed, with a high degree of certainty.

So what's the reason for the blind spot? well it's because folk ascribe a practice's moral status through culturally derived means. That means: prostitution, taking drugs, free carrier bags with your shopping [yeah who'da thought that was evil 20 years ago] and mutilating your children. Deamonsation is the means by which hitherto acceptable practices become stigmatised as evil. There's a good example to cite for this, a cartoon from the 40's called: Scrum me Mama with a Boogie Beat. This cartoon was withheld from exhibition in the US a few years after it was produced, at the behest of the NACCP who were concerned about its depiction of black folk, the implication being that such depictions were, what we'd understand as racist today. I don't have any personal knowledge of the attitudes to race that the makers of the cartoon held but what I do know is that the caricatures portrayed are consistent with the style of the studio and a black female, Vivian Dandrige, was employed to voice the lead. What Scrum me... illustrates is one unfortunate aspect of deamonisation, which is that although the process is contrived, it's effects are real and have a concrete relationship with reality. Today it would be practically impossible for anyone other that a person who held quite unpleasant views on race to exhibit Scrum me... It would also be -almost- impossible for a person to emulate those caricatures without a, probably justifiable, accusation of racism, even though there's no rationally intrinsic associations such attitudes.

So why do people do it, why on earth whould you wanna kick up a fuss about a cartoon or nudie pictures when all you're achieving is cultural impoverishment, and giving those with malign intent a weapon? That's a tough one, I used to think it were because people were just, well meaning but stupid, you know, 'The road to hell...' an' all that. Now I'm I'm not so sure, yeah is there is a certain amount of stupidity, which I don't exclude my from being vulnerable to btw, but I've come accept that it's a least partially deliberately contrived.

Kid said...

Another interesting (and fascinating) comment, DSE. On the matter of racism, some people find the maid in the old Tom & Jerry cartoons to be racist and offensive, but to me, that's like taking offence at Fred Flintstone on the grounds that he's hardly a flattering example of a white guy. (I'm not sure, but I think the maid was changed to white in later cartoons, and perhaps even retroactively altered in some earlier ones.)

What's more, without a word of a lie, there used to be a kitchen assistant in the King's Reach Tower cafeteria who was not only the physical double (okay, we never saw all of her in the cartoon, but we could imagine her) of the T&J maid, but also spoke exactly like her. Not a hoax, not a lie, not an imaginary story - EXACTLY like her. Now, she could hardly be considered a racist, offensive stereotype, so why would her cartoon double be regarded in such a fashion?

It's beyond me, guys. Anyone got any ideas?

Colin Jones said...

Kid, there were some Tom and Jerry cartoons that changed the maid's voice into an Irish accent - how ridiculous was that, a black maid with an Irish accent ! By the way, I totally agree with you about male circumcision - I consider it to be completely unacceptable that it's done to a week-old baby that has no say in the matter.

Kid said...

Careful, CJ - agreeing with me could become a habit. You've established a precedent. (Chortle!)

Paul McScotty -Muir said...

You know I'd look good in dress... your just jealous!!

I agree with your comments on circumcising male babies - I was just using it to note the extreme difference between FMG and how people/cultures use religion/power/ stigma/gender and male interest etc to justify their actions and practices.

Re the cafeteria style morality comment I didn't use the right combination of views - my issue is with the "Daily Mail" culture ie thinking you stand for high moral values by hating child sex abusers (as any right thinking person should think) but then thinking its ok to hate Jews (for example) - or standing up for family values and going out at night and beating up prostitutes or gay people - I see no issue in not agreeing with someone's (legal adult) lifestyle (that's NOT immoral) it is immoral though to beat them up or spread hate news on them.

Anyway Im off to visit the "Babe of the Day" post.

Kid said...

Well, I certainly agree with not beating people up just because they hold views different to myself - in most cases. However, there's something about that naked rambler chappie that makes me want to give him repeated kicks in the b*lls with spike-capped boots. People should be allowed to not have their kids confronted in public by a naked man who puts his own compulsions over society's entirely reasonable strictures. Having said that, he's clearly bonkers and should be locked away until he puts some clothes on.

As for beating up gay people, yes that's wrong - but you'd be tempted if you ran into Alan Carr or Louis Spence, wouldn't you McScotty? Although, that's not so much because they're gay, but because they're a couple of irritating t*ts. (Oh, I'm awful, so I am.)

Paul McScotty -Muir said...

Lol yes you are indeed "awful"

I agree I can't stand Louis Spence or Alan Carr either (lack of talent in the first case and just really really annoying and never of the Telly for Mr Carr)

Kid said...

I don't see talent in either case, to be honest, as far as being TV presenters or guests. One can dance (apparently) and one can smirk at the camera, but that's about it. Conscription - that's what they need. (I think I just turned into my dad.)

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