No Love for Porn! - The Reykjavik Grapevine

No Love for Porn!

No Love for Porn!

Published March 8, 2007

One of Iceland’s main selling points has always been “purity”, a trait on which Icelandair has capitalized with the tantalizing phrase, “Come and take a break from the world”. Maybe I have read too much literature, but when I see Geysir “erupting” I cannot help but wonder if foreigners consider us a sex-crazed country. Furthermore, every advertisement from Iceland seems to stress how alluring our women are; beautiful, yet easy (in their heads meaning sleazy and good looking). It is not a stretch, considering that some of Icelandair’s more recent ads are pictures of scantily clad ladies, frolicking in the Blue Lagoon inviting, one assumes, the male population of other countries over for some manic and wild nights in Reykjavík.
Put these things together, and it seems as if it were only a matter of time before the porn industry came to sink its teeth into “pure Iceland”, i.e. at least the enticing escapism of the country. Most people are aware of the group of porn moguls, including the “almost Icelandic” (Western Icelanders) brothers who, in their quixotic quest to provide the world with porn, denounced their Icelandic ancestry. Harsh words indeed. Now it seems that Iceland has been branded the antithesis of The Netherlands, or rather the culture of Amsterdam. I consider this to be a good thing because most foreign male visitors are not exactly going there for the windmills, Edam cheese, wooden clogs and Dutch cuisine.
I think the same thing can be said of the so-called porn conference. These people were not coming here to witness or partake in any Icelandic culture. They wanted to talk about porn, introduce porn, and maybe, let us not delude ourselves, make contacts here in this country. A porn conference by its nature is not like any other convention, neither is a KKK convention. Not that racism and gender degradation are the same thing, they just seem to stem from the same root: A total lack of empathy for a fellow human being.
Sadly, many Icelanders deemed it appropriate to take part in some mass hysteria of apologies by writing semantically horrendous written comments on the homepage of the conference, with more spelling errors than sense. Are we actually apologising to purveyors of smut? What next? Will we apologise to Holocaust deniers if they are not allowed to hold a conference here? Have we apologised for denying Jews to come here and seek refuge, or apologised for trying to ban African American GIs from coming onshore or leaving the base?
Certain phrases and comments written by these people on the net strike me as amazingly simplistic and childish, including statements that Hotel Radisson’s decision was “a black day in the history of Iceland,” thus putting it in the same category as dates such as 1918, 1783 and 1262. The history books in the next decades will be an interesting read if we ascribe to their logic. Our grandchildren will read about when we lost our independence, “Móðuharðindin” or when volcanic ash suffocated livestock and humans, The Spanish Flu and the winter when almost everybody froze to death – and then the day a hotel decided to uphold a moral stance, at least under pressure. A Black Day indeed.
Most of those commenting also concurred that they were ashamed of our government or that the horrible witches of feminism have brought this curse of Puritanism to our country. Some even went so far as to be ashamed of being Icelandic. To them I say, why not exchange nationalities? We could get some people here from Sudan, and you can leave for Sudan. The hypocrisy of these people is appalling.
When Falun Gong practitioners came here to demonstrate against Li Peng, there were nowhere as many voices of dissent protesting about the rights of the Falun Gong being trounced on. Their right to denounce him as a mass murderer was annulled and made void by our government. Or when the police here in Reykjavík took pictures of Icelandic protesters and actually manhandled some of us to the ground. That is just fine and dandy, but God forbid there be a porn conference cancelled. The horror! It’s as though the Internet itself were being closed by the reactions.
From what I can gather, the individuals of snowgathering.com seem to have taken offence to our allegedly puritan society – a society that seems to be too pure to handle porn. And somehow in their minds, with twisted logic, we have become sexually repressed whale killers. Imagine the headlines around the world: “Keiko haters kill off innocent porn conference.” I highly doubt that I speak only for myself when I say that “I love sex and prefer that to whale meat any day”. Hell, I don’t even consume any flesh. So, how I can support Radisson’s decision despite their obvious hypocrisy? Simple. You can agree with freedom of speech, as an undeniable right, it just does not mean you have to be the one that is helping them out. Porn is a fact of life, you cannot tell people what to do; and Radisson does provide porn at an affordable price in the privacy of the consumer’s room. To decide to cease doing that is purely image control. But they have a right not to host guests they deem inappropriate.
I hate generalizations but it seems like there is a generation of men that have grown up and consider it absurd for women to be opposed to being depicted as money-shot recipients. Imagine growing up with your Barbie doll to aspire to, along with your pretty pink sheets and with a rosy dream of becoming a beauty pageant queen and then when you have the nerve to question these things, being told off for the audacity of being a radical feminist. It sort of reminds one of the sombre tone that was taken in the Civil Rights movement:
“How dare they?”
It seems as if a whole bunch of males in our country have forgotten the Icelandic Sagas, and in the process have become snivelling little bureaucrats, chanting in unison chorus of spite against the evil and manipulative feminists, those “kerlingar” that dare to oppose a decent conference and free speech. Are some men too afraid of having female equals? Because there sure were enough of them in the Sagas, like Auður, back to whom almost everybody can trace their roots.
Unfortunately, this whole discussion has become a farce, reminding one of an absurd theatre with meaningless chatter in the media, for example the chairman of the Left-Green party, Steingrímur Sigfússon, has proposed setting up “net-police” to surf the Internet, with the emphasis on curbing distribution of porn on the Internet. This kind of careless talk reminds one of a totalitarian state. What next? Are we going to burn the Marquis De Sade’s works, cast the smutty Classics into the sea and say good riddance to literature in general? Goodbye disgustingly rude Catullus.
Is there a difference between visual eroticism and what is considered porn on the net? Defining porn is not as simple as some people seem to think. The line between eroticism, satire, porn, literature and art is pretty thin sometimes, but I am reminded of a great little anecdote: If the Swedish plumber comes over, gets laid and does not fix the sink, well you were probably just watching some porn. All sex, no plot. Although that does not mean I want the government telling me what to watch, eat and do. That is not their role and should never be. It was not only feminists, the Left Green Party, the Mayor (Independence Party) and the Church that opposed this conference, there were many other individuals who thought it had nothing good to bring to our country. Bygones. Let’s get over it. They will host their conference elsewhere and Iceland will still be hip if that is what you people are worried about.
However, enough is enough. Some of us are not huge supporters of porn, that doesn’t mean we can try to get rid of it with censorship and Draconian laws. Knowledge and education are better tools. I think we should give the feminists a little more credit and a lot more respect, but that does not mean we will agree with this newest approach of trying to phase out porn on the net and in shops. I myself prefer a more direct approach in my sex life rather than the passive approach of viewing porn onscreen. Sadly, that does not ring true for all, a fact I was reminded of when reading Silfur Egils on visir.net: “What about all us men that don’t get love, what are we supposed to do?” How about watching less porn and trying to get out some more?

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