Sunday, August 07, 2005

Paris anti aids campaign

After Mickey Mouse and Minnie working on their French kiss, I thought I would share this other summer ad campaign with you. This one is run by the Paris town hall and it aims at promoting the use of condoms among the population. To symbolize the phallus here they used a pretty well known tower that is to be found at the Gare de Lyon (the train station that takes you to the south of France). It's funny, not obscene and, well, self explanatory!
We have come a long way on the condoms front (remember, we have a Catholic background, so making love is only for the purpose of having children...) ; until the aids epidemic it was forbidden to sell them anywhere else than pharmacies! Needless to say that advertising for them was not even thinkable!


  1. Hmm, Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, French Kiss, Condoms, Catholic and Aids all in the same post... I bet this gets you a few strange Google hits!

  2. Si je peux me le permettre, I'd just like to say that the Catholic Church doesn't actually say that making love is just for procreation, it is also to enhance the relationship between husband and wife - it's a God-given gift!

    And the whole thing against condoms stems from something much deeper: that the true way to experience 'making love' is if it is free, total, unconditional and fruitful. And I guess condoms and other forms of contraceptives kind of say: "sure I love you, but I don't like your fertility/ability to bear children" - in essence, not a form of total, unconditional love.

    That said, I definitely think AIDS should be prevented from spreading, and if people are going to sleep together without being sure where their partner has been, safe sex is the better option.

  3. There are quite a few concepts here which, if they are not in direct conflict, they certainly encourage division within ourselves. That is probably why we have clowns. They are colorful and happy on the outside, but, for some of us at least, dark and sad or even scary underneath.

  4. > Rock. LOL. In fact, no these posts don't bring me any traffic at all from the search Engines. However, I must say that I get at least 20 people (newcomers) a day after they searched for... "A night in Paris". And something tells me they are not necessarily looking for touristic information about Paris by night!

    > Sophie. Vous pouvez tout à fait vous permettre ! (surtout quand il s’agit de rétablir un fait).Thanks for commenting and explaining that the Church does not consider that making love is just for procreation; it’s something you hear quite often I must say, and I must confess I did not check it.
    I am not a Catholicism specialist (I am not Catholic myself) but I thought that Catholics would still refer to the encyclical Humanae Vitae that Pope Paul VI issued in 1968 (yes, that’s a long time ago now!) in which it was said that any form of modern contraception is “absolutely excluded as lawful means of regulating the number of children.”

    The main problem, I think, is that it is extremely difficult to have a clear idea on the Church position on condoms. From what I understood the Vatican’s position is that ‘the use of condoms implies an immoral sexual behaviour” (quotation from a press release submitted in January 2005). But at the same time, in 1986 the French Catholic Church and more recently (precisely January 2005) the Spanish Church declared that the use of condoms to prevent aids was admissible.

    To be honest I did not want to start a controversy here but I just wanted to show how things had evolved between, let’s say before 1985 and now. In my youth such a campaign was really unthinkable.

    And this shows, once again (same problem with the Islamic scarf that generated so many comments recently) that it is extremely difficult for a religion to continue providing rules to follow while adapting to the world’s changes.

    > Pcpod. That is such a philosophical approach!!

  5. I think that the Catholic Church basically says "do not mess with what nature intends." Thus, even though intercourse does not always lead to procreation, altering nature to make sure that it never does is a no-no. The Church does not fail to acknowledge that sex is the ultimate and most intimate way for man and wife to express their love for each other (I bolded "for man and wife" because, for the Catholic Church, sex has no place outside of marriage.)

    I am not sure that, for condom users, the implied message is necessarily "I love you, but I don't like your fertility/ability to bear children." In the age of AIDS it's certainly more likely to be something like "OK, I do want to make love and experience the 'little death' but I don't want to put myself into the position of experiencing the big one." Those who refuse to use condoms often do because they find them an impediment to genuine intimacy (and I am not sure that the concept of fruitful lovemaking comes into the mental image that they have of "genuine intimacy.")

    Eric, aren't you glad you posted another picture that caused all of this controversy?

  6. "And this shows, once again (same problem with the Islamic scarf that generated so many comments recently) that it is extremely difficult for a religion to continue providing rules to follow while adapting to the world’s changes."

    I agree with you Eric. I think we have a human obsession with laying down rules even when we don't really want to follow them. And especially when religion, or rather faith, is concerned, it seems to be missing the point of the whole thing.

    And btw, I know I didn't say it, but I love your blog! If I ever get myself a digital camera, I'd love to do a "Sydney, one photo a day". I can only hope it'd be as interesting as yours!

    PS: allez, on se tutoie, non?

  7. "pretty well known tower that is to be found at the Gare de Lyon"

    eurh, ouais, not so sure that this tower is so well known. the eiffel tower would have made a better known phallic symbol...

  8. > Sophie, oui bien sûr on se tutoie. En fait je n'avais pas réalisé que tu étais "l'Australienne". I am a little slow sometimes!

    > Charlus. Yeah, right, well, the Eiffel Tower would have been too obvious!

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