Those sex videos and us

HUMMING IN MY UNIVERSE By Jim Paredes Updated May 31, 2009 12:00 AM

There is no escaping it. People are riveted by the new sex videos. Everywhere you go, it is what is being talked about. There is even a certain perverse “ownership” about the issue as people express their opinions and wonder who else may be implicated.

Those involved are analyzed, psychoanalyzed, demonized, and in some strange way, even envied. People even have their own take on whether the women in the videos knew they were being filmed and many take a prurient interest in the possibility that the filming was done with their consent.

After I first heard about the scandal and its lurid details, I admit I tried to look for the videos on the Net but I could not find them. The next day, a friend had it on his laptop and asked me if I wanted to watch. I watched, but after about a minute, I turned away and refused to look anymore.

I just could not feel anything good about watching colleagues in show biz, or other people who are friends of some people I am close to, being humiliated by voyeurism. Sure, there are millions who have probably seen them, and what further damage could my watching the videos do, I asked myself. I couldn’t possibly make the situation worse by watching, I thought by way of justification. And yet, something in my gut told me that watching it wasn’t right. It simply went against the grain of what I believe in.

I do not want to sound holier-than-thou, or more Christian, or anything like that. I am no saint, that’s for sure. But my curiosity was outweighed by the compassion I felt for those people whose lives and reputations have been sullied by all this. It was as if they were being raped in front of a cheering, ogling, leering crowd. I simply put myself in their shoes. If I was in their place, how would I want other people to react to my (admitted) naiveté and trusting innocence that what I did privately would never be shown publicly? If I were in the place of the violated, would I want people to do what they are doing now at my expense?

We live in a time where our lives, because of the Internet and everyone’s access to it, can easily be put in the spotlight. Anyone can use the Internet for good or for ill. It’s as if, as denizens of cyberspace, we now live in Gotham City where twisted characters not unlike The Joker can hold our attention, our imagination and yes, our morals, hostage. Reputations, carefully nurtured, can come crashing down like a house of cards.

Social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Multiply and others seem to have created a generation of low-level narcissists, exhibitionists and voyeurs. You can count me as one of them. People broadcast their personal opinions and thoughts on anything, upload pictures of events in their lives, share their biographies, birthdays, convictions, trials and secrets, and presume that everyone else would be interested.

And lo and behold, many times, people are interested, especially when the broadcaster is a celebrity and what is being broadcasted to the world has something to do with taboo subjects such as one’s sexual preferences and proclivities, or other deep dark secrets. Everything can be posted — the good, the bad, the ugly. The Internet has provided everyone a venue for their own “reality show.”

The Internet has become our cyber body, mind and nervous system. Everyone is now part of everyone else. And this Internet “mind” we all share, just like the human mind described by Freud and Jung, harbors both our good and bad sides and everything in between. Thus, it broadcasts our activities that are for public consumption and also, when you analyze it, the shadows that live within us.

If it is acceptable to post almost everything in our lives on the Net, then why is it a surprise that our sex lives are suddenly included as well? In no way do I mean that posting anything that violates a person’s privacy is correct or even understandable. But sadly, I think there is a perverse inevitability to it.

Sexuality just happens to be one of those aspects of human nature that most everyone has an insatiable desire to know about, to discover about themselves and others, and to participate in. It elicits limitless fascination and, sadly, is one of the greatest taboos in our society. It is perhaps one of the most personal and private dimensions in anyone’s life. In truth, the latitude of behavior people engage in, sexually speaking, is so wide that society does not or cannot (as of now) acknowledge it fully. Its range of behavior thrives in our shadow world and it will be quite a while before it attains politically correct status or full acceptance, if ever.

Personally, I have more understanding for the “sin” of sex than any other human weakness, because I think sexuality contains one of the greatest forces in our lives, something that expresses who we really are, even as we struggle to tame it.

Much of this prurience that we are witnessing regarding the sex videos is driven by our government officials and their media cohorts who have a distorted sense of “mission” in “investigating” the issue. I take with a ton of salt the media’s mantra that it has the duty to peruse anything in the name of “the people’s right to know,” and the politicians’ knee-jerk response to hold a Senate hearing on the matter “in aid of legislation.” It’s all hogwash. The real reason behind the constant and excessive coverage of the sex video story is simple: ratings, ratings, ratings and for the politicians, exposure, exposure, exposure.

For a different take on the frenzy about the sex videos, I would like to share something I wrote years ago, my take on the Beatitudes:

“Blessed are the strange, the weird, the people we laugh at, especially the socially wretched and despised. By their presence in our lives, they expand our reality — on our part, reluctantly and on theirs, so painfully — by forcing us to look at them in the hope that we see the God in them.”

Instead of getting lost in this demeaning circus that tempts us to trivialize and even laugh at other people’s suffering, we may want to retain our humanity and spare its victims the inhumanity of all this by simply refusing to watch those blasted sex videos.

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Craig Peihopa
11 years ago

I know nothing of the content this post is concerned with, and am happy for my ignorance to remain on this matter, However I certainly relate to and understand the points you have raised. It has made me think much. I love the last verse wherein you state “….demeaning circus that tempts us to trivialize and even laugh at other people’s suffering” Oh that this could be enshrined as a screen saver on every computer, PDA or blackberry.

As a community, whether local or international, we seem to be rapidly losing our one time simple respect and courtesy for others, as though the people we see are objects without body parts or passions.

Anything that encourages us all to be a little kinder, a little more respectful and caring one for another is something I seek after and will be found supporting. Great writing.

11 years ago

hi sir. I just wish majority of our people think like you. I hope our politicians also give the issue a little privacy. I do think that the “frenzy” was mostly driven by the politicians’ attempt to get exposure… and since it was put on a senate trial which was also public, people became more and more curious about the video. and what they were fighting for – the end of public’s viewing of the video – was actually the opposite of the result of too much media coverage… and yes, in the end what people really got were higher ratings for tv shows and better exposure for senatorial reelectionists.

Jim Paredes
Jim Paredes
11 years ago

Thanks for the comments. We just have to treat each other the way we want to be treated.

Cesar Noel
11 years ago

Well said sir Jim. I also blogged my opinion about the issue. The issue should have been handled away from the media circus.

11 years ago

I’m very disappointed that senators have to had a hearing out of this issue. It is a waste of taxpayers money.

11 years ago

I didn’t actually read the whole of this post, but I sooo love you for posting it. Sometimes I’m afraid of some of the things I think about and want to say, but when I read your blog, you give me so much more confidence that one day I may be so bold as to tell it as I see it.

From my experience, it’s better (or easier) to be modest and conservative; never make a fuss or draw too much attention to yourself. But I’ve been feeling stifled and clogged up on the inside. When I read this blog, I feel free.. I really do.

I’m even afraid to post this right now. Was I being too forward? Was this all just an overshare?



11 years ago

I haven’t seen the infamous videos, Jim, only the media coverage about it that you refer to.

So basing my following comment solely on that exposure to this, I wonder if maybe we finally need to clarify what “ownership” the public has over those in this type of situation, if any.

It seems for personalities in the media who ride the wave of public interest, there always seems to be a mixed reaction when that interest goes beyond the intended scope of the publicists, or takes a different direction. Could the public simply be rebelling against the media exposure they’re being presented with?

I agree that people who have a career in the media spotlight also deserve privacy away from the media spotlight. But then again where would their career be if the public simply chose to ignore what they are being spoon fed by the publicists? I guess what I’m trying to ask is who really has the right to control it all anyway? Do the artists have the right to have it all their own way? I don’t know the answer.


11 years ago

Thanks Jim.

I don’t disagree with you at all, but by that reasoning of judging the situation (by putting ourself into the other’s shoes) I also don’t give a damn whether the ACA host here in Aus is having a fight with celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey, or how celebrities are doing in Hollywood rehabs, or the sexual preferences of a pinoy TV host, or whether some actor “still feels the pain of some past incident”, but that is all we seem to get rammed down our necks – even to the point of becoming headline news.

I have no problem with the stuff you mention remaining private (in fact I wish it would), but are the publicists & the PR types opening the door in the first place by giving the public tasty morsels of tidbits to whet their appetite, just to advance the profile of their star? Maybe if the upcoming stars showed a bit more caution with what they portray as their “image”, then there wouldn’t be that type of curiosity about them from the public.

Hence, why I question whether sometimes that gun you speak of is being used by the publicists & the PR types to play Russian roulette with, then they seem to complain when it goes off in their face.

Thanks Jim, I enjoyed the article, & your reply. 🙂