Is porn any worse than other business?

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IOL  Eddie-Mbalo done Cape Argus In a recent interview, we asked Eddy Mbalo, TopTVs chief executive, if he would watch porn. He said: Absolutely. In fact, I would watch it with my wife.

Cape Town -

So you walk into a room – a huge function in the city – and everyone who’s anyone is there. All the movers and shakers. All the big names. It’s the place to be, the place to be seen.

Except for that guy on the far side. It’s the late Lolly Jackson, or someone just like him. Wealthy as God, owns a dozen nightclubs and some strip clubs, has a blonde on his arm with the legs of a teenage giraffe who looks a quarter of his age. He drives a V12 Lamborghini, the purple one parked illegally outside the entrance.

You’re not sure if you’d like to be seen with him.

But everyone else is above board. Or are they?

It’s sometimes strange where we draw the line between The Establishment and The Mavericks (excuse the pun). Between The Legitimate and The Shady. Between The Gentlemen and The Skelms.

So, let’s asks ourselves a few simple questions:

* Is it ethical to produce cigarettes?

* Or to offer poor, vulnerable people loans, on which they pay staggering interest rates?

* To buy houses on auction for dirt-cheap prices, when we know the banks only care about getting their money back – and not helping the owners repay as much as possible of their debts?

* To build low-cost houses using sub-standard materials?

* For some pharmaceutical companies to hold patents on medicines which, if rolled out generically across the globe more affordably, could save thousands of lives?

* To run medical aids which try their utmost to reject claims?

* And what about defence lawyers who know in their hearts that their clients are guilty, but defend them still?

Sure, they might say no one’s forced to accept their products or services. But we’re entitled to a bit more honesty than that, aren’t we? All of these are pretty mainstream activities – many of which are practised by big, established, “respectable” businesses.

But are the people behind these businesses seriously our chosen “pillars of society”?

This week, TopTV was granted permission to broadcast three porn channels.

I interviewed an expert on what to expect. One of the channels will be “hard-core”. But what does that mean? Could one expect to see stuff like threesomes?

“Yes.”

The whole rugby team finding a beautiful woman in their changeroom – with predictable consequences?

“Yes. You know – normal porn. That’s what people want to see.”

In a recent interview, we asked Eddy Mbalo, the company’s chief executive, if he would watch the content. He said: “Absolutely. In fact, I would watch it with my wife.”

At least he’s honest.

And, to be equally honest, is his “crime” any worse than the others above? Some of the other activities above ruin lives entirely – but happily continue under the banner of “respectability”.

There’s a whole lot of hypocrisy out there, a whole lot of shame – very, very cleverly masked, I reckon.

* Murray Williams’s column Shooting from the Lip appears in the Cape Argus every Friday. Follow him on Twitter: @mwdeadline

Cape Argus


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