Modern European culture is saturated with sex. The joy of looking and breaking taboos is paradigmatic of the Western mind in general; we want to see and experience everything, and the egotistical ideology that subtends capitalist societies encourages this. The history of western art is replete with nudity, and, unlike the Moslems, we take great joy in seeing the naked, bruised body of our mythological saviour- figure. The problem, however, is that pornography’s logic is the logic of transgression and this transgression can continue ad infinitum, leading in some cases to violence and pedophilic abuse. How we control pornography is going to be one of the biggest challenges facing western societies in this century. It also raises troubling questions about the validity of the nuclear family as a basic unit of society. Is the monogamous family with the father as its head the only valid way to construct society? Is pornography a symptom of our anxiety about this?
One could argue that the sexual impulse, as the primal life-force of the world, dominates the human psyche more than any other force. Even in societies where nudity is taboo, this ban on sexual expression is pursued with frenetic zeal. I remember the first book of the Greek historian Herodotus’s histories where he describes the rise and fall of the ancient Lydian Empire, which was in modern day Turkey. He tells the story of the lineage of King Croesus. The downfall of Croesus and his line occurred due to a sexual trangression by his ancestor Gyges, who was the servant of King Candaules. Candaules tells his servant Gyges that his wife is the fairest in the world and that if he does not believe him, he should sneak a look at her when she is undressing in her boudoir. Gyges, though reluctant at first, agrees but is caught be the wife of King Candaules, who encourages him to kill her husband and elope with her, usurping the regal line. Herodotus tells us that nudity was taboo for the Lydians, whereas the Greeks had little trouble with it. Here we see what is, perhaps, the first schism between the thinking of east and west in our attitudes to sex. We in the west still aspire to the aesthetic dimensions of the male and female nude as conceived by Greek sculptors such as Apelles and Praxiteles. The physical dimensions aspired to by most women and displayed obsessively across the mass media of the West approximate to those of the Greek statue of Venus de Milo in the Louvre in Paris. However, the inheritors of Ancient Lydia, today’s Middle Eastern countries, vehemently reject such corporeal worship. But in mankind’s obsessive uncovering and covering up of the human body, there is the same insuperable force at work, the life-force, the sexual instinct dominating human consciousness.
There is no doubt that the ‘sexyness’ is now an ubiquitous concept in Europe. Everything aspires to the conditions of ‘sexyness’. Even decisions to go to war are said to be on the basis of mendacious ‘sexed-up’ dossiers. For a language to appeal to young people it has to be ‘sexy’. To be sure, TG4 have inspired a whole generation of Gaelgeoirí with a keen interest in meteorology with their voluptuous weather-girls. The sad fact is that many of the men who watch the weather on TG4 can never remember the forecast! But would they appeal to us as much if they appeared completely naked in front of the camera? Probably not as much; there would be nothing left to imagine and we would eventually become bored. That is why the idea of Gaelporn is infinitely more exciting than its realization on screen. However, I could, of course, be wrong about this. We’ll have to wait and see. Coinnigí súil amach!