Archive for October, 2011

Three Cheers for the Irish Farmer

 A few weeks ago – eons, in the stream of consciousness that is pop culture – a previously unknown 61-year-old Irish farmer and father of four named Alan Graham made international headlines by requesting that the film crew to whom he had given permission to use his acreage take their little soft-porn production elsewhere. 

An internet search on the topic turns up lots of sensational claims:  “Topless Rihanna outrages Irish farmer,” according to  “This story is hilarious,” to the YouTube contributor who posted about it.  “A Democratic Unionist Party councilor found his Christian values [insert smirk] challenged by the scantily-clad R&B singer who was shooting her new video on his property.” 

Reuters news service shouts, “Global pop star Rihanna was thrown out of a corn field by an angry farmer in Northern Ireland after he spotted her posing for cameras in a skimpy top,” and  Yahoo declares, “Northern Irish farmer boots scantily clad Rihanna off land.”

But stripping down to one’s bikini bottom goes beyond most definitions of “scantily clad,” and a quote from the “angry farmer” sounds immanently reasonable to me:  “I have an ethos, and I felt that [Rihanna’s state of undress] was inappropriate.  I requested them to stop, and they did.  She was most gracious and we shook hands and we parted on good enough terms.”

As reported by the BBC, the landowner added, “I wish them no ill will.  Perhaps they could acquaint themselves with a greater God.”   Wow.  Principled and articulate.  No wonder there was a clash of understandings.   

On September 27, 2011, the day this story buzzed through the airwaves like a cartoon boll weevil mowing down a cotton plant, the BBC quoted a young local journalist as saying that the farmer’s actions had made her homeland “a laughing stock” in the eyes of the world.  Her inverted concept of shame is saddening.  But then, so are the related Facebook observations. 

“Heck,” chirps the junior high locker room crowd.  “Just sit back and enjoy the view.”  And the Neanderthal echo follows, “She can take off as many pieces of clothing as she likes on my land.”  But there is a thread of contrarian sentiment, as in, “Fair play, farmer.  Too many people are scared to speak up and say what they believe.”  I find myself surprised by social network comments in support of the fellow baring his scruples in response to Rihanna’s baring hers. 

I recently purchased a paperback entitled Female Chauvinist Pigs:  Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture, by Ariel Levy, which explores this general topic.  I’ll say up front that the book is not on my list of recommended reading, for a couple of reasons.  I only made it through the first 117 pages before deciding to just skim the last 100, but I could have used a Prozac and a hot, soapy shower after even that abbreviated tour of the sad universe of everyday smut the title characters inhabit. 

The Spring Break mentality evident on Girls Gone Wild videos, I learned, is only the tip of the iceberg for many of these females, some of whom who have grown up to the beat of indecent rap lyrics, paternity-testing as entertainment, and primetime airings of Victoria’s Secret models b-b-b-bouncing down the runway.  They know nothing other than the vulgar, bawdy culture into which they were born, so they have no societal standard of decency to compare it too – absent diligent parents and a close relationship with that greater God to whom Mr. Graham makes reference. 

And then there’s the fact that the author dives a bit too enthusiastically into the lewd and obscene language of her subject for my comfort.  Pass the Zest, please. 

But in wading through, a number of explanations for the dominant Facebook mind-set rise from the muck.  At the base of the New Amorality – which allows for Family Hour profanity, pole-dancing as a mainstream diversion, and pornography as an element of sex education – are some gritty misconceptions about the supposedly uncontainable urges thought to rule the males of our species.  (more…)

October 25, 2011 at 2:23 am 3 comments

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