Island Life by David Slack


Things we can't talk about are all the rage at the moment, so get a load of this shovelful. You'll have to make your way through this first paragraph, though, because mail censorship programs make it quite impossible for me to mention them until we are over the break. To fill the time, let me just say: I thought TVNZ had an unfortunate turn of phrase in one of their marketing releases last week. When you're describing the way your film crew in Tonga will be bringing news of the late king's funeral, is "in-depth coverage" really the best choice of words? I may lack a sense of reverence, but I couldn't help thinking of the uses you might make of those little TV sports action cameras. Two feet, three feet, four feet, down we go. Look out! Here comes the dirt!

Shameful disrespect, I know. But at least I didn't call anyone a slug.

If you found that unedifying, stop now. Things will only get worse from this point. My subject today is the male member. Mr Freud, may we have the first slide, please.

We read today on the Internet, thanks to Boing Boing, that a man in China met with a distressing fate some months ago. He was shorn, in some unspecified - but surely ghastly - accident, of his penis. But all was not lost. You can wait years for a heart or a kidney in most western nations, but in China, it is notoriously easy to lay your hand on a spare part. The surgeons got hold of another Johnson, and they skilfully and successfully attached it to the patient. (Yes, this will be a journey through the lexicon of penis euphemisms.)

Anyway…man and manhood were brought together, and science continued its proud march forward. But science, it appears, counts for not a lot within the sanctity of the bedroom, or the bathroom, or wherever it was that the man and wife of this tale paused to reflect on the foreign presence in their life. They beheld something new and It Was Not Good.

They freaked out; the doctors removed it.

Tell me you didn't flinch a little, men. I regaled this story to the women who were drinking wine here earlier tonight. They speculated about impaired performance. Nerve endings and the like. I believe this is as good an example as you will find of the difference between men and women when it comes to shopping.

Reading that sorry tale got me to thinking about Don Brash, the old goat. That picture of him in Saturday morning's Herald depicting him as a young blade in charge of Trust Bank, with two paternal arms around the shoulders of pretty young models sporting the new tellers' uniforms had a lot to say, much of it about testosterone and this mortal life of ours.

The sad truth, of course, is that if you play, you pay. I have been idly wondering what might happen if this undeniably upstanding and estimable man were inexplicably to surrender to the lusts and impulses of the flesh (which God knows can be a mighty temptation) and find himself in a full-scale Clintonesque bimbo eruption. More scary yet, what if there should be a Bobbit-like denouement?

In other words, suppose he should get himself into the very worst kind of trouble and end up in need of a transplant? We know there's a spare in Beijing. Would he accept it, and if he did, do you think he would make a point of telling all and sundry what part of the world it came from?

We don't want to hear about anyone's testicles, quite frankly, but the notion of a fellow walking around with another man's pecker in their trousers is, it must be said, a thing to ponder. Ian Wishart, it would seem, thinks of little else some days.

A man's pride and his self-esteem can be a fragile flower. Take a look at this video, of a man proposing to his girlfriend in front of several thousand people and being turned down. More instructively, read the comments beneath to see how people responded to it. Men's solidarity can quickly veer to the brutal. The joke, if you want to call it that, is that the whole thing was just an act. The basketball people, like all the other sports enterprises these days, are filling every spare minute at their games with bread and circuses. It leaves people with no empty time for contemplation, and heaven knows we can't have people contemplating.

But if contemplation is your preference, then I recommend this photograph by John Selkirk which appears at Stuff. It has more eloquence than almost anything anyone has written this past week about the people in the frame.