So, it was with a heavy heart that I ‘pulled’ a column that had been written for the comment pages of the Trinidad Express. It followed a study from the Indian Council of Medical Research which found that condoms made to international standards are too large for a majority of Indian men, or put another way, their penises are too small.
Cue much merriment in the column, which did indeed have its funnier moments.
“Indian men probably hope to dismiss the survey as, ‘No big thing!’ but the truth, as indubitable as it is irrational, is that penis dimensions have an importance to men way out of proportion to their size. In a quite literal sense, it really is no big thing.”
Here in the Trinidad there are about equal number of people from African and Indian descent, nearly 600,000 of each (the rest of us go into the ubiquitous ‘others’). To light this particular touch paper was just not something I wanted to do. There are many causes I would go into battle for, but the size of Indian men’s penises is not one of them.
The indignant writer – and I admire his indignation – asked me to appeal to some of the younger female staff for their views, which I duly did.
One wrote… –
“Well, what can I say? Firstly, I am horrified by the offensive nature of the column(definitely not funny). Secondly this is not something I think any of our readers would appreciate.”
“*gasp* putting our hands in the hornet’s nest are we? This story would reach media-frenzy status! The idea was a great concept, but definitely not for the faint-hearted... it would only serve to spark and fuel much controversy.”
And another… –
“The column makes for fun, humourous reading for some. But we work in a newsroom and are educated and open minded enough to see where [he] is coming from and I’m one of his fans. There are many in Trinidad and Tobago who are offended at the slightest quips. Some of them illiterate and they would not find the column relayed by two or three people down a chain, adding their own salt and sugar perhaps, the least bit funny. I know for management’s bottom-line, they could already be pointing to massive advertising and readership fall-out.”
So, in the court of newsroom opinion, the column didn't run either.
Final word with the columnist: “In future you might see why I do so much in freedom’s name – don’t think I’m always right but do know how important it is in TT sometimes to err on the side of liberty.”
Freedom and liberty, now they are some big topics.