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On strange love and cannibals of the Caribbean - Ed Brock

Through the haze of my sleep-deprived mind, two topics have penetrated and insist on my answer.

First is the impending marriage of Mary Kay Letourneau to Vili Fualaau, the young man with whom she had an affair when he was 12 and she was his 34-year-old teacher.

Second is the protest of the Caribs, natives of the island of Dominica, against their portrayal as cannibals in the upcoming sequel to "The Pirates of the Caribbean."

Now, both of these stories may seem amusing at first. But really, they're quite serious.

For example, the Letourneau wedding calls into question the very basis of statutory rape laws, under which Letourneau was convicted shortly after her romance with Fualaau was discovered.

She served more than seven years in prison. She also bore two children by Fualaau

At the time I was not alone at questioning the portrayal of Fualaau as a "victim." I mean, Van Halen even wrote a song called "Hot for Teacher" that's all about the very common fantasy of teen-age boys in which they lust after some relatively young, pretty teacher.

But the story has gone beyond such juvenile musings. Fuallau, now 22, has had plenty of time to realize that he was just being manipulated by that nasty older woman. Instead, contrary to society's presumption, his feelings have persisted and deepened, and now he's about to take the plunge with the woman so many people insist essentially took him against his will.

Somehow the Letourneau case is a little easier to accept because it's an older woman with a young man. Frankly, I'm more unhappy with the fact that they both have far too many vowels in their last names.

Also, I'll say that I also think most men who cruise Internet chat rooms looking for young girls are sleazy creatures at best.

But there could be exceptions that I think should be considered.

For example, under the current law a 17-year-old boy who has sex with a 15-year-old girl is guilty of a crime, even though their action is perfectly natural. And that crime can follow the boy for the rest of his life, even if later in life the couple gets married and spends that life together.

That hypothetical young man is made to register as a sex offender and considered a high risk to molest children, even though there is a profound difference between his psychology and that of a true child molester.

All I'm saying is that a distinction should be made. After all, people used to get married at 12, and while that's certainly not a good idea, I think we need to be a little more realistic about what goes on in the minds of young teens.

Now for the somewhat lighter but still interesting case of the Caribs. It would seem that in the aforementioned film, set to be shot on the island itself, is supposed to include a scene with Johnny Depp, as Capt. Jack Sparrow, being roasted on a spit.

Chief Charles Williams is reportedly calling on his people to boycott the production of the film because of the scene. It would bring up the Caribs' old stigma of being cannibals in previous centuries, an accusation most modern Caribs call unjustified.

Other Caribs on the island saw Williams is taking the scene too seriously, and they want the exposure the movie offers for their island.

It seems to me that this problem can be overcome with a little creative writing, such as having a pair of Caribs saying something along the lines of "We don't usually do this, but this guy is already so full of rum he's hard to resist."

Anyway, I'll just go on record as telling all of you that, if you see the movie, bear this column in mind when the scene in question comes on. The Caribs are not really cannibals.

Now I'm going to get some sleep.

Ed Brock covers public safety and municipal governments for the Daily. He can be reached at (770) 478-5753 ext. 254 or at ebrock@news-daily.com .