Sometimes, statistics can go some way to defining the state of a civilization. This doesn't happen often, but there are small occasions in which even the most drunken, addled reader will sober up very quickly, as pertinent numbers begin to numb.
So please allow me to offer you some numerical information that might just make you rethink your life priorities.
You see, I have just come across this infographic, courtesy of Online MBA, a site "where business education meets the Internet." This is a business blog that tweets occasionally and even adorns its site with a Reuters feed.
For some reason, no doubt a deep one (I have asked them and am waiting for a reply), the people behind the site decided to purloin a chart from Onlineschools.org, which amuses itself in what it calls a "labor of love," by producing infographics about the things you care about.
In this case, it just happens to be online pornography. Indeed, this gives some considerable dimension to the breadth of enthusiasm the world seems to hold for this somewhat universal entertainment.
Perhaps there will be those amongst you, men and women of the world, who will be unsurprised at porn's infiltration into our collective being. Others might not soon recover on discovering that, for example, Sunday is the most popular day for, well, looking at naked people perform the same script over and over again with various other naked people.
Via: Online MBA
However, those who handle me with a firm face and a soft voice suggested that I might seek out some of these statistics and their original sources. And, indeed, it seems that this stuff is not entirely plucked out of thin air. The sources range from the National Coalition for Children and Families to SafeFamilies.org to the hard endeavors of psychotherapists at the Portman Clinic in London. There's also the fascinating compendium of statistics at Top Ten Reviews.
Perhaps you might not be moved by the idea that 12 percent of all Web sites are, in some way or other, pornographic. Nor would your eyelids be batted at the idea that 8 percent of all e-mails and 35 percent of all Internet downloads are of a pornographic nature. The idea that 28,000 people per second view porn might move you less than an itch. You might even be left indifferent by the thought that one third of porn viewers are women.
But, even though I have been been around the neighborhood more than once, I had trouble with my croissant on learning that the highest online porn subscription rate per thousand home broadband users was not in Gomorrah, but in Utah.
I held Utah in such high regard that I didn't want to believe, so I went to the source. Yes, the Salt Lake City Tribune did confirm very recently that the Journal of Economic Perspectives had calculated that 5.47 of every 1,000 Utahans had online porn subscriptions between 2006 and 2008. One can only wonder whether old habits die hard and Utah's supremacy still holds. That's the trouble with meaningful stats. They often take so long to collate.
Still, given the way the world is trending, with debauchery and lust becoming a way of life for so many (just look at your cable shows)-- even, it appears, on Sundays--one might assume that so many of these figures might actually be on the conservative side.
As oil gushes in the Gulf and emotions of conflict pour out overseas, perhaps we should all truly consider what we have become and where our civilization is headed. Even those in what may well turn out to be America's happiest state, Utah.