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A return to decency

Published: May 01, 2013

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Dear Editor,

Recently, I saw the new Rev On TV ad made for (and probably by) Cable Bahamas.  While I applaud the world-class special effects, artistic direction and cinematography used in the making of this ad, I found its content to be indecent, as its sexual implications went beyond intimation straight to distasteful.

Simply, the ad shows a lovely girl pressing a button.  But it’s the implications of the ad that are disturbing.  She presses a button that can be said to activate her sexually as she seems to explode with passion.  At first we see her clothed in a strapless blouse, then the camera zooms in giving the illusion of a naked girl.  As a man, this ad said one thing to me, “Rev On turns you on.”  To the women, the message to them could be, “If you get Rev On, you could have whatever this girl is having.”  The ad does visually what the Garnier Fructis shampoo ads do audibly.

Now I am sure that Cable Bahamas will deny these implications emphatically.  And while I cannot outright say that this is what they meant, I know the immediate effect it has on me as a man – a man who like most men struggles with sexual temptation (a struggle which has been aided and augmented by cable TV and the Internet).  Every minute that I am on the Internet, something sexual, or of a sexual connotation pops up and I have to fight not to look, and sometimes I lost and looked.  And I know that I am not alone because almost every man has this same struggle.

But while the Cable Bahamas ad is connotatively disturbing, there are many other forms of advertising in our little country that are indecent.  I listened to a local radio station some time ago where the DJ simulated cursing by saying “gad jammit” over and over again on his show.  He may as well have said the real thing, as everyone heard something else.  But to this radio station, this seemed to be okay.  Another radio station borrowed a line from a dirty joke: “Stand back, we don’t know how big this thing gets.”  Maybe they still use it today, but we know what the implication is and we laugh at the double meaning.  And some of us laughed (to our shame) because we knew the dirty joke from whence it came.

There is an onslaught of sexually suggestive posters that stain our billboards, windows, lampposts and shop walls.  Barely-clad women in sexually provocative situations are used to grasp the attention of men and to sell the product at hand.  They are everywhere.  There is a liquor store on Mackey Street that has a billboard displaying provocatively-dressed women, one of them with the camisole just about to fall off her bare breast.

And while these are all bad, I think that we sunk to a new low when we allowed the burlesque show that happened February 2, 2013 at Atlantis.  Dita Von Teese was the performer of the evening who commanded $125 per male, and possibly a few females.  (I am assuming that the show was not canceled.)  And while the word “burlesque” does not imply pornography, burlesque shows have typically used striptease as a part of their performance, which usually ends with the performers in a bikini bottom and tassels on the nipples.  It is still pornography and voyeurism no matter how you dress it.

It always amazes me that there was never a national outcry from women to stop the exploitation of the female gender in this country.  Every time a girl receives money to show her half-naked body to sell a product (especially alcohol), service or concept this is prostitution.  Women fight for equal pay, corporate position and equality with men, but hardly for the thing that God holds in such high esteem – a woman’s virtue.  And I find it so amazing that these girls don’t have anyone in their lives with a strong enough voice to make them aware that they are selling their bodies and their virtue.  This has always bothered me, and I am a man.  Though for many women today it’s hard to cry out against the way women dress on display ads when you dress the same way to go to the mall.  I remember not so long ago when many of the pieces of clothing that women wear today as outer clothing were actually undergarments.

It is time for us to return to decency in this country.  One time ago it was not like this.  A woman was respected and her chastity protected by all.  I call on the government to create (or enforce) legislation that will ban public nudity, public foul language, suggestive dancing, public display of sexual affection (including French kissing), the use of the female (or male) body with any kind of sexual insinuations, and ads with sexual intimations.  And these must be for resident and tourist alike.

I call on the church to renew its mandate to shine God’s light on immorality (no matter who or where it comes from), and to promote the good.

I call on Cable Bahamas to remove channels 18, 29, 48, 49 and all the pornography channels from its offering – to clean up its act.  I agree with Desmond Edwards, who warned at the time, that The Bahamas was not ready for cable.  Cable TV has exposed our youth to all the filth of the world, especially the filth of the United States.  If you don’t think that VH1, Tempo, MTV and The Bad Girls’ Club have had a degrading influence on us, then you need God to remove the scales from your eyes.

BTC has plans to offer television to Bahamians.  I urge them not to take the ungodly road, selling violence, drug use, pornography and immorality for our visual consumption, but to maintain the standard that ZNS has held up over the years showing decent programs that anyone can watch.  They may be old, faded and outdated, but they are decent.

I call on us all to clean up our act because God is already judging us individually and as a nation for these things.  This is not the country that I was proud to call home some 20 years ago.

– Marcellus Bassett

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