GILF me a break


Does Japanese elder porn get better with age?

By Elliot Chan, Opinions Editor

Formerly published in The Other Press. Jan. 28, 2014

For a country that censors genitals in “regular” pornography, while producing an ample amount of grotesque tentacle erotica, bukakee, and tamakeri, it’s not hard to believe that 20-30 per cent of the current adult entertainment in Japanese cyberspace is elder porn, i.e. old people having sex on camera.

It makes sense, after all: Japan has an aging demographic with a younger generation less interested in intercourse and more interested in relationships with animated avatars, inanimate feminine objects like pillows or dolls, and computer generated personalities. Now, I’m not one to criticize what other people do in the bedroom as long as no one is getting hurt—which I’m not always sure of when “researching”; what bothers me is that pornography is starting to give modern society a musky stank and an unachievable expectation for intimate interactions.

“It’s mostly older men who watch. Maybe some single women who are a little older,” Shigeo Tokuda, 79-year-old porn star told the Globe and Mail. “Definitely, they want to have some connection to a character that’s their age, to feel they can have the same satisfaction.”

I get it; we all have fetishes and we need outlets so we don’t repress the animal urges inside of us and explode. But we have made pedophiles out of people who are attracted to young girls and boys—would watching animated pornography (hentai) of children be any more acceptable? Niche markets work, every art form relies on some form of niche to keep the medium afloat, but just because there is a supply and demand, does that mean it’s appropriate?

I personally don’t want to see my grandparents doing it—and I wouldn’t want other people seeing my family members do it either. That shit is traumatic. The same way a family would be disappointed in their teenager for partaking in recreational drugs, having an elder adult porn star at the dinner table is not any less reassuring.

That being said, all porn stars must deal with that eventual fate of having someone near and dear see their work; it’s just a naked, wrinkly elephant in the room.

Sure, elders are adults and they deserve to make decisions of their own, but with the Internet being accessible to anyone of any age, shouldn’t we be more conscious of what is online?

I don’t want to make any low blows here, but the term elder porn means that the people participating in the act are old, and therefore, will soon face the inevitable. What would it be like living in a world where we’re watching pornography of people who are no longer alive? What will that do to our psyches with such content so easily accessible? Will videos be relics or artifacts of Japan’s ahead-of-its-time evolution? The Internet is able to hold content temporarily, but any computer-user can save the files onto their own hard drive. Porn stars die, but the pornography they create doesn’t.

I’m not against elder porn; I’m against the idea that the pornography world has created bedridden, tissue-wasting creatures who aren’t trying to achieve anything greater than self-satisfaction—oh, and sex robots. Sure, what people get off on is none of my business and I don’t want it to be, but I do feel there is going to be a legitimate problem; maybe not now, but if the trend continues and the Japanese continue to build an empire of bizarre erotic entertainment, how is that going to affect the next generation?

The same way recreational drugs have made a blip in our radars and demanded attention—I foresee pornography doing the same, perhaps to a wider scope.

Facebook Not Forever: The Social Media Giant is Over the Hill

Formerly published in Techvibes. 

I was late to start: I opened my Facebook account around 2007, when all my other high school friends were advocating it and praising about the innovative capability to make events, share pictures, and occasionally poke each other.

I remember feeling hesitant when signing up for the account—I knew I was opening a Pandora’s box. I would never be the same.

Over six years later I have shared a lot of good times on Facebook. But my attitude towards it has changed multiple times over the course of my active account. I began by simply using it as a social hangout. Then I used it as a professional networking platform to seek work and experiences. Today, it’s just a place for me to keep tidbits of my life and to check in with old friends that I don’t get to see in person.

So when news about the gradual decline of youth engagement in Facebook surfaced, I was far from surprised.

What does the word “decline” even mean in the Facebook world? After all, the social media platform has approximately 1.2 billion active users. It seems everybody we know have Facebook—and that is part of the problem. The younger generation will never feel the liberty of social networking if Mom and Dad are creeping about, commenting on pictures and liking posts.

It’s true; we, the mass, are in fact making Facebook lame. This proves that the life expectancy of social media only has the longevity of the generation that pioneered it.

Success is the best poison any company can hope for and Facebook is coping with the repercussions now. Competitors that were once dominated have changed their strategy from facing the giant head on to luring the aging youth away like the Pied Piper. In a survey measuring the most important social media platform for teens done by Piper Jaffray & Co., 26% said Twitter is the most important as of Fall 2013 and 23% said Instagram is most important, matching Facebook (also 23%), which dropped from 42% a year ago.

Twitter and Instagram can obviously celebrate their accomplishment, but they aren’t Facebook’s only competition today. Messaging apps, although are smaller, are as intimidating as any other competitors on the communication market. This case was proven when Facebook offered a generous $3-billion to buy the ephemeral picture and text messaging app Snapchat.

The startup founded in 2011 by a couple of Standford students turned down the offer. Many thought they were insane—but I don’t.

I believe mobile is the future and that is where Facebook will lose the youth. Sure, they have their own messaging app, but with so many different ways to chat, not even SMS is safe, let alone Facebook’s mediocre application. The rise of Whatsapp, the resurgence of BBM, and the novelty of Snapchat will all act as alternatives for a text-heavy world that can often get very boring, especially for generations with shorter attention spans.

In 2007, I imagined my relationship with Facebook in the future. I saw myself as this distracted creature with a habitual tendency to check up on my network of friends for no reason. I am now that being—and if the younger generation saw me, they would think I’m so not cool.

But while the coolness and popularity of Facebook has declined significantly since the early 2000s, that doesn’t mean it’s going anywhere. Like phone numbers, emails and postal codes, Facebook accounts will just be another thing modern people use in their daily lives without acknowledgement.

It might not be hip or trendy, but it’s still necessary. And some might say that is the best accomplishment. And for the moment the Zuckerberg camp can breathe a sigh of relief: they’re not Myspace. Yet.