(Above: the Bingle bump in action).
Casual readers might be unaware that the pond has been conducting a rigorous scientific study as to whether the "Lara Bingle bump" exists, and its effectiveness up against the Colbert bump.
The results are now in. Brass and drum roll please ...
The two pages devoted to the Bingle bump, the Bingle effect, the Bingle box office biz, the Bingle hit (out of hundreds on the pond) are the most clicked on by a multiplier of five and six over next best clicked ...
In a mere week, the last 'Bingle bump' research page zoomed to the top, according to google stats ... six times ahead of idle talk of Alan Jones and chaff bags.
It seems that if you put up 'Bingle' and 'nude' in the one sentence, an unseemly amount of men - clicking on their mouse with their cock - rush off to the page like lemmings to a breast feeding.
Is it fair to troll these hapless, driven men and boys?
Not really, but the quest for truth in science is never-ending, and truth to tell, Being Lara Bingle is quite harmless, with viewers dropping less than ten IQ points after each screening, way less than was anticipated by early studies of the Bingle brain bump lesion.
After all, Bingle is just making a living as best she knows how - thank the absent lord there are career paths for models - and the exploitative media are helping, and so of course is the pond.
Who knows, some of the lemmings might even stick around to consider the issue of prostitution, and so to a Thursday homily:
None of the daughters of Israel shall be a cult prostitute, and none of the sons of Israel shall be a cult prostitute. You shall not bring the fee of a prostitute or the wages of a dog into the house of the Lord your God in payment for any vow, for both of these are an abomination to the Lord your God. (Deuteronomy 23:17-18)
Sound advice from the good book, written around the 7th century BCE, and with plenty of other handy advice: wounded stones or your cock cut off, and you don't get into the congregation of the lord, nor bastards, not even to the tenth generation (so long John Gorton, and bugger off Ammonites and Moabites for ten generations), and unclean men who need a wash also miss out, and by the way, if you come across your neighbour's vineyard you can eat your fill, but not put any into your container ...
But where is this heading? Why right in the direction of Caroline Norma's most excellent cri de coeur Standing up for sex workers is standing up for pimps.
Deuteronomy is near to her heart:
The criminalisation of pimps and sex industry customers is a necessary first step towards this goal ...
Which goal is to eliminate prostitution, assist women to leave the sex industry and build lives that reflect their worth as full citizens, and good luck with that, at least as much luck and help as the long absent lord provided when he first laid out his injunctions millenia ago.
What's most curious about Norma's piece is the role in all this that she assigns to hated, hateful, hurtful liberals and in particular that wretched liberal Catharine Lumby - did we mention Norma's an academic, and there's nothing more frightening than the sight of one academic (Norma lurks at RMIT University) abusing another academic for being ... quelle horreur ... an academic ... (Lumby lurks at that hotbed of academia UNSW).
Fortunately Norma has a limited vocabulary, as befits an academic with a disdain of academia.
She deploys her favourite term of abuse - liberal - no less than five times, and she offers up "elite academics" four times, while helpfully counting herself amongst this damned elite.
It seems these wretched, hapless liberals have no idea how prostitution operates, and instead can only think in stereotypes of the happy hooker kind, and it's up to Norma to set the record straight:
Most significantly ... liberals must avoid mentioning pimps, traffickers, and sex industry customers in making their argument that prostitution is a legitimate form of work for poor women.
That's the sort of sweeping generalisation designed to set a liberal's teeth on edge.
That's the sort of sweeping generalisation designed to set a liberal's teeth on edge.
It's so hard to respond politely in a liberal way, especially when confronted by a column that fails throughout to mention male prostitution (perhaps Norma never ambled along the wall in Darlinghurst Road when it was at the height of the trade).
It seems female prostitution is all the go. Sheesh, even Deuteronomy showed a broader canvas - especially that bit about dog's wages.
As usual, the great divide is between the prohibitionists, the abolitionists, the people who want to drive prostitution underground, make it illegal as if that will make it go away, and those who take a more pragmatic view - regulate and enhance and improve the personal and health outcomes for those caught in a seamy trade as much as possible - and in the process, try to bring under control the pimps and the traffickers (oops, should these be mentioned by a liberal? Aren't liberals completely incapable of mentioning pimps?)
Put it another way. Is there any point trying to ban Lara Bingle, or ignore the Bingle bump?
As can be expected of someone who conducts her arguments in cliches - must liberals always cop abuse from all and sundry? - it's the business of Norma to present a glossy facade:
They (that's to say liberals) must overlook the good results that governments in Sweden, South Korea, Norway and Iceland have achieved in declaring prostitution a violation of gender equality, and criminalising the sex industry and its customers.
But actually Sweden didn't criminalise the sex industry, it merely criminalised those who buy sexual services, not those who sell them. And as for the success of the policy, well that depends who you read.If you read Susanne Dodillet and Petra Östergren's paper The Swedish Sex Purchase Act: Claimed Success and Documented Effects (here in pdf form), you get this:
... when reviewing the research and reports available, it becomes clear that the Sex Purchase Act cannot be said to have decreased prostitution, trafficking for sexual purposes, or had a deterrent effect on clients to the extent claimed. Nor is it possible to claim that public attitudes towards prostitution have changed significantly in the desired radical feminist direction or that there has been a similar increased support of the ban. We have also found reports of serious adverse effects of the Sex Purchase Act – especially concerning the health and well-being of sex workers – in spite of the fact that the lawmakers stressed that the ban was not to have a detrimental effect on people in prostitution. (more discussion here).
As for South Korea, the 2004 Special Law did result in a successful export of some prostitutes to other countries, including Australia, but if you read newspaper reports, all that the attempted banning has achieved are new and ingenious ways of going about the business (Sex trade still problem despite tough law).
Their promotional skills are getting cleverer. Some brothels operate popular online websites where clients post their comments after using their prostitution services. Others scatter thousands of name card-sized flyers using a vehicle with a hole at the bottom.
“Moreover, such punishment is possible only when their sexual affairs are proved with obvious evidence,” he added.
Amid the ongoing demand for prostitution brothel owners hire women through more shady deals, making prostitutes more vulnerable to abuse.
Having enduring years of abuse under an unfair contract with their employers, some women risk their lives seeking help from the police. But some police officers, bribed by pimps, often ignore their reports or the women also should be questioned as a suspect.
If that's Norma's definition of success, the pond would be interested in her notion of failure. When you criminalise the business, the women involved are perforce only able to deal with criminals.
As in Sweden, after legislative changes, the level of visibility of street sex work dropped in Norway, but recent reports have indicated that it has returned to its previous levels, and at no point does Norma mention that the main target of the 2009 law was African women working the streets (you can wiki more here).
So does Iceland offer the way forward? (It too criminalised clients in 2009, while the selling of sex remained decriminalised). Not really, unless you think that having a vigilante group to enforce the law is the way to go, driving activities underground. (wiki it here).
There's something weird going on in the Scandinavian countries, and not just in the matter of Assange, and by way of contrast, it would have been useful for Norma to attempt to explain why the more pragmatic policies of the Netherlands and Germany are any more of a failure than the flailing attempts by the Scandinavian countries to abolish rather than regulate the trade.
Prohibition has never worked. It didn't work with alcohol in the United States, and it certainly isn't working with the war on drugs that is still being fought at the moment (the pond has always believed that bureaucrats selling weed - heavily taxed and available in dour licensed premises and presented in government-stamped brown packaging and covered in health warnings - would do more to de-glamourise the stuff than the war has done since Nixon set it going).
It's also never worked with pornography, but along the way it did considerable harm to literature that wanted to contemplate human sexuality (where would the world be without Nabokov's Lolita?).
And it won't work with Lara Bingle, bless her bump.
Prostitution has been under the hammer for at least nine thousand years, if we trust the bible is accurately dated, and yet it still turns up like a bad penny, accompanied by even worse pennies, which is to say traffickers and pimps.
There's nothing glamorous or joyous about the lifestyle - yes the pond has been in the company of hookers for extended periods, and they weren't happy campers, preferring drugs and a lesbian lifestyle to the odious ways of the men who paid for their company - but there's no benefit in sounding like a righteous, sanctimonious hypocrite, and Norma manages that feat with exceptional skill throughout her piece.
She also managed to stir up the punters, so in that sense her column can be considered a great success. One comment seemed to capture the flavour:
Just when the liberals are seeing off the churches, along comes a certain flavour of feminism to impress its prohibitionist ideology on society at large. (corrected for egregious typos)
So there you have it. You can never get rid of the prohibitionists, but the sight of feminists aligning themselves with the Pellists and the Jensenists and the mad mullahs of the world is enough to send a shiver of fear down the pond's liberal jelly spine ...
But at least you can also see what joy Lara Bingle can offer.
Not only can she be deployed to troll the men who use their cocks to click on a mouse to do a google search, she can be deployed against the puritanical, prohibitionist, anti-liberal, academically elite Caroline Norma...First up, those nude photos we mentioned for SEO reasons. Sure the pond has totally nude photos of Bingle, they're only a click away, but what's the point of trolling and titillating if you deliver the goods? Here's what the TV show delivers ...
Is there anything Lara Bingle can't do?
Donuts. Is there anything they can't do?
Donuts. Is there anything they can't do?
Rock stars. Is there anything they don't know?
The answer to life's problems aren't at the bottom of a bottle, they're on TV! (Homer Simpson)
(Below: and look, to prove the pond is fair dinkum, and plays fair, here's more Bingle snaps from the show for the Bingle maniacs who just love to google, or is it to bingle for their dingle...
So that's your nude lot. And then there's sideboob flash, made famous by Huffington Post, and discussed by learned journals like The Guardian and featured on Jon Stewart, and if it's good enough for those socialist pinko pervert liberals, it's good enough for the proudly liberal pond ...
And there's always time to sit at the feet of the rich and wise, and learn stuff. Like Kyle. As Yoda said, size matters not. Look at me, judge me by size do you?
And then a final flash so Lara can go water-skiing.
Ready are you? What know you of ready? For eight hundred years have I trained Jedi. My own counsel will I keep on who is to be trained. A Jedi must have the deepest commitment, the most serious mind. This one a long time have I watched. All her life has she looked away... to the future, to the horizon. Never her mind on where she was. Hmm? What she was doing. Hmph. Adventure. Heh. Excitement. Heh. A Jedi craves not these things. You are reckless.
Thanks Yoda, but we're more excited about the definitive scientific confirmation of the Bingle bump. Star Wars and Lara Bingle nude? How can it miss? Start your SEO motors now ...