God forbid my first article for the year should be related to, er, public morals. I know better than to invite Looshans in Gomorrah to unleash brimstones of hypocrisy upon my unsaintly head. Besides, preaching to this flock about any kind of morality is equal to, as they used to say back in the day, taking coals to Lancaster. For over thirty years we had revered a certain public figure whose favorite “paramarital” (his word!) activity was to disburden 13-year-old schoolgirls of their innocence.
Long before any us ever heard of Duane Tucker, the particular icon had been openly misrepresenting himself to the immigration authorities of at least three countries in the pretend interests of his little victims. Did any of that bother us? Hell no. We not only worshipped at the brass feet of the devil deflowerer but we actually found words by which to laud his services to the nation, at any rate to his pieces in the valley.
But later for that, I hear a whole book is soon to be published about the proclivities of our leading public officials, all of whom appear to subscribe to Nixon’s “it’s not illegal if the President does it” philosophy. As I say, I am not about to launch into another pointless sermon. Better I should throw a ton of pearls before Ma Boeuf’s cows. This time around I choose to come at your conscience from a more mundane angle. You know, as in leer bab kamawad ou pwis defay, woozer sa woo. (So I don’t write en langue mama noo as well as the Creole author of national anthem; so sue me!) In any event, be careful whom you put down, the next Internet victim could be you. Or your faceless spouse carrying on with a total stranger as you never knew he could!
Consider this scenario: A Sunday afternoon. You’ve swallowed a basinful of banja and imported chicken and now you have a couple hours to kill before you head out to the movies. Pointless turning on your TV. Too stressful trying to follow the disjointed Chinese lip-synching.
You decide to do what most Looshan-Gomorrahans do postprandially: you settle down on your living room couch, turn on your laptop—to one of the pretend educational sites set up by Looshan-Gomorrahans illegal in New York. Suddenly there’s a huge toad in your throat; you can’t breathe; your heart is kicking the hell out of your ribcage and your head is spinning so fast you can hardly maintain your balance lying down. A piercing scream threatens your eardrums. What a shock to discover it came out of your mouth: Whaaaat! Who did that to me? Is that really me? How can it be? When did I do that? igodohmigodmigodmigodmigod. Where did I put that bottle of Touchdown?
Your live-in boyfriend rushes out of your bedroom. “What’s wrong, baby? Wha’ happen? Wha’ going on?”
You open your mouth to speak but the words refuse to come out. Your eyes speak for you. You’re in deep doo-doo. You cover your face with your right hand, while pointing at your laptop with an extended left index finger. Now it’s your boyfriend’s turn to explode: “You slut! You little bitch. I always knew there was something nasty about you. Now your secret is out. I want you outta my house. Now. Get the freakin’ hell out before I bust your head open!”
You collapse in a heap on the floor. You recover several seconds later to see your laptop, a recent birthday gift from your boyfriend. It’s all over the floor, in bits and pieces. You look up at him, standing over. The disgust in his eyes is worse than a murder threat.
“You gonna tell me about it or not?” he says. “Who took those nasty pictures of you? How did they end up on FaceBook?”
Now, dear reader, can you picture yourself in the unfortunate girl’s position? Yes, I say “unfortunate.” The FB pictures that depict her in sexual positions that had never even occurred to her, not even in her wildest fantasies, are fakes. Only the head is hers. Someone, somehow, had taken it off her Hi5 portrait and pasted it onto a stranger’s body that could easily pass for her own but most definitely is not.
It took three months before she finally convinced her boyfriend that her only mistake was to make her picture accessible to a sicko forger. Ah, but dear reader, you might not be so lucky. Some guys shoot and ask questions later!
My inspiration for this article? Over the Christmas weekend the season’s big thrill was inadvertently provided by a local woman who was pictured on the Net in circumstances most embarrassing. Almost everywhere you went someone was offering to e-mail someone else the most explicit pictures, as if they were irresistible black cake. In one of the pictures the woman is wearing a jacket associated with her place of work—a fact brought by suddenly concerned fellow staffers to the attention of her thoroughly embarrassed employers.
As I listened to the reviews of the pictures by the good citizens of Loosha and Gomorrah, my heart bled for the woman. No, I really was not all that interested in why she allowed herself to be photographed as depicted. I am not in the habit of determining what consenting adults may or may not do in privacy, whether in their bedrooms or on John Compton Highway when uninvited eyes are not watching. What really ripped my gut was why someone would put such pictures on the Net knowing full well what the repercussions will be.
I tracked down the young woman, called her. She was not at work at the time, she said, but was worried to death she might lose the job she had held for eight years and for which she was much appreciated by her employers. Her story of how she came to be the season’s post popular treat was hardly original. It centered on trust. Trust born of love for a man she’d given seven of her best years.
No need to question her about the acts depicted. They represented the fantasies of most men of my acquaintance, whether or not acknowledged. One of them is a gay, married to a woman, and the father of two young kids.
Oh, but I did want to know how and why the pictures had gone viral. If she had told me they were there with her consent I’d have said, “thanks for talking to me” and hung up. My personal code has always been chacun a son gout. She told me her boyfriend had persuaded her to pose for the pictures over a six-month period. So much for the how. She never expected pictures that were taken for the private purposes of herself and her boyfriend to end up on the Internet. The worst part was that the publication of her pictures were all part of a blackmail attempt by someone she might once have trusted with her life.
I called her employers, perchance to save her job. They were most understanding but offered no guarantees. Hopefully, they will see that by dismissing an otherwise excellent worker they will be assisting her blackmailer and at the same time encouraging others to do as he had done. It seems to me that the woman’s employers would do other local women a big service by standing by the latest Internet victim.
Of course, the sinless angels of Saint Lucia and Gomorrah will gleefully be rubbing their virgin hands and thighs (while secretly enjoying her pictures) and demanding the poor woman’s head—for the public good, of course. Saint Lucia and Gomorrah is no place for sluts.
As I say, perceived slut or not, no woman deserves such egregious treatment by a professed friend or lover or relative or anyone else. What is it about women (who obviously are superior to us macho men, dammit, admit it!) that thousands of them each day do the most stupid things in the name of love? Then again, what’s so stupid about doing things for love? Isn’t it our ingratitude that renders an act of love stupid?
Let’s not talk about women who serve as drug mules, prostitutes, thieves and killers. I doubt love has anything to do with their criminality. But that’s for another show. When a man and woman get it on in the privacy of their bedroom, what they do is not criminal. The real culprit in the case discussed here is the man who put his girlfriend’s pictures on the Net as punishment for her not doing his bidding in a singular instance. He should be flushed out of his hole and treated like the rat he is!
Finally: it should be remembered that today’s bullies consider the Net their most effective torture weapon. In Britain and the United States—for all we know, right here in Saint Lucia and Gomorrah too—there have been several cases of young boys and girls who committed suicide after discovering their pictures on the Internet—embarrassing pictures taken by cyber bullies at their school who forced the kids to pose against their will.
No doubt about it, the Internet is a wonderful thing. Until technology comes to grip with its not so wonderful features, however, we had better be careful who we permit to point even a cell phone in our direction. And by we, I mean, you and me, dear holier-than-thou citizen of Saint Lucia and Gomorrah.
Last month Justice Lorraine Williams fined two police officers several hundred thousand dollars each for placing on the Internet a sex tape retrieved from a Kittitian man’s cell phone. About the same time the famous wrestler Hulk Hogan was awarded damages totaling US$150 million against Gawker for airing a sex tape featuring Hogan and his best friend’s wife.
Editor’s Note: The preceding is a repeat publication.