A recent news item talks about how authorities in Los Angeles are thinking of introducing a legislation mandating that porn stars should wear condoms in their movies! While I am sure wearing condoms is a good thing, maybe this is a case of taking things a bit too far. Or, at a deeper level, it is what happens when we let Big Brother take over all aspects of our lives. Big Brother in this case is convinced that HIV and AIDS are a menace that need to be controlled (no arguments there – except that worldwide they anyway seem to be more under control now than a decade back), and that wearing condoms helps prevent the spread of AIDS (better than advocating complete abstention at least). So far so good.
Then is where it begins to get interesting. Big Brother – in this case whoever is the competent authority in the city of Los Angeles – has decided that it wants to ram this message home to the target audience. And who would the primary target audiences be? – people who have more sex, in other words not friaries and nunneries(again an assumption). And people who have more sex, or likely to have unprotected sex, are most likely to watch porn videos (once again, I wonder if that is the case). So voila, ensure that everyone wears condoms in them! And then you pass a law to do that! No one in Big Brothers’ councils can oppose it since it would not be considered politically correct to oppose a measure of this sort and thus the law gets passed.
It was very interesting to see a statutory warning pop up in large type whenever someone lit up in the latest James Bond film “Skyfall”. It certainly took away a little from enjoying the movie, and it is debatable whether this measure will in any way help to reduce smoking. In any case, who was Ramadoss trying to protect us from? From ourselves? Why is he forcing his views on me when I am watching a James Bond flick?
And who is the government to decide what is good and what is bad? Are they the final arbiters of good taste, or for that matter, health? What is to prevent them from decreeing that every time a character drinks a cola, he/she has to turn to the audience and announce “to reduce calories use aspartame in instead of sugar” (when in fact diet colas could turn out to be more harmful than the sugar-filled one because of this very chemical); or every time the family sits for a meal of desi paratha with ghee there is a message saying “ghee is full of calories, replacing it with mono-unsaturated, non-transfat ,HDL filled, vegan, refined, fatty acids is good for the heart (when in actual fact most of that rubbish is bad, and ghee is good!)?
Do they have the right to interfere with our right to enjoy things we want, unadulterated with someone’s views of what they think is good? Do we allow Big Brother to invade all aspects of our lives, and reach out to us both overtly and subtly through every means that we reach out to the world with? Will we let every lobby or powergroup out there try to manipulate our thinking?
Why can’t they too put out their views out there like everyone else and let us decide what is good or bad? As individuals shouldn’t we be left to decide on our own what is good for us?
The irony is that the US is the nation that professes to believe most in individual liberty, but it is the place today where being politically incorrect and airing contrarian views is the least accepted. There are more and more holy cows which cannot be questioned… and Big Brother wants to ensure that we all subscribe to those views…
A further irony – the porn industry in the US is the only place in the world where the incidence of AIDS / HIV is zero. Yes, zero. That’s because they have taken self-regulatory steps to ensure this!
Ten years ago people were afraid of AIDS not because of the disease, but being afraid to explain how they got it. Now who cares? Only celebrities and NGOs working for the victims appear worried. Big brothers cannot protect those who need protection. They are trying to protect those who may not need protection because they accept attempts to protect them.
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