What is Taboo to you?

Dirty Bertie wonders about where Taboo is heading this century


Taboo. What does it mean to you? Is it going commando on a night-out? A bit a bondage in the boudoir? Maybe making-out with one of your cousins cos they’re really fit? How about sleeping with prostitutes? Taboo is that dark child of social convention. That dirty runt that no one in the family ever really acknowledged because it was born out of wed-lock. As the centuries have passed, taboo has changed. Like every generation, we’re arrogant enough to think that we’ve reached the pinnacle and we’ve got it right. Taboo means debauchery, it means resistance to social norms.

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the road less travelled by, and that has made all the difference”
Robert Frost

No that wasn’t an innuendo – when Edward VIII stepped down from the throne to break the taboo of marrying a divorcee, he was shunned for it. And yet in this century, Prince Charles isn’t regarded in the same way for marrying Camilla Parker-Bowles. The 1967 Oscar-winner; “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner” is based entirely on the taboo at that time of a white woman bringing her black fiancée to meet her white family. Taboos have been broken and are breaking all the time. At this very moment, we are in the process of ending the taboo of the word “cunt”; a word which is still frowned upon in some circles and then used flippantly in others.

So which will crumble next? Should they crumble at all, or ever? In the distant future will it be okay to date your brother? What about the legal age for sex? When will it drop further? I know of plenty of people who have had sex before they were legally meant to. Does that make it right? 

“Give an inch, they’ll take a foot! Much more than that and you won’t have a leg to stand on!”
Blackadder Goes Forth

Where do we draw the line? Where should we draw the line? Homosexuality is now in the open – and the debate for gay marriage is raging. Bisexuality has wriggled its way into acceptance. Another taboo down! Sodomy gave way quite some time ago. Fetishes have even become standard. Smoking pot is pretty much accepted by most, though many people still frown upon people taking harder drugs.

Surely we must draw the line at where we hurt people, be it physically, or psychologically. Of course the elephant I’m tip-toeing around is paedophilia. Surely that’s a taboo we can all get behind. Corrupting the youth a little more aggressively than Socrates. So how about looking at pictures of nude underage children? That’s not hurting anyone is it? Looking at pictures of children running around at the beach, while one plays with oneself. That doesn’t hurt anyone in the privacy one's own home. But if the police found out – you're a filthy crook. 

It’s more than just not hurting anyone, it’s about liberty. It’s about where one person uses their liberty to encroach another’s. Communism was once a taboo – USA fought the Vietnam war to stop the spread of it, to protect their ideology and so on and so forth. Similarly, it’s not that pictures aren’t harmful, it’s what they represent, it’s how they were attained. It’s the temptation that making something even remotely acceptable would open a bottomless can of worms. Think about where you would draw that blurry line.