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  • Susie Bright's Blog

    Here's a blog that gets me where I live...Much food for thought on a regular basis!

    -Susie Bright

  • In the debauched world of INDIEROTICA, the thin bra-strap of a line between the seductive and the obscene is torn, stripped, and ripped off so often that one can have difficulty differentiating between the exploitative and truly erotic. Here to help us connect the dots is the brilliant and sexy REBECCA, author of the clever blog, PORN PERSPECTIVES. "Examining the interplay between pornography, feminism, economics, and technology", it's possibly the smartest sex on the internet.

    -Jess, INDIEROTICA.com

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This is terrifying:

Abortion opponents are sure to be pleased by some of the language in Justice Kennedy’s opinion, including his observation that “the government may use its voice and its regulatory authority to show its profound respect for the life within the woman.”

“It tolerates, indeed applauds, federal intervention to ban nationwide a procedure found necessary and proper in certain cases by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists,” Justice Ginsburg wrote, in a dissent joined by Justices John Paul Stevens, David H. Souter and Stephen G. Breyer....

"In candour, the Partial Birth Abortion Act and the court's defence of it cannot be understood as anything other than an effort to chip away at a right declared again and again by this court - and with increasing comprehension of its centrality to women's lives," she said.

Squirming over Scroti

A New York Times article reported last week on the uproar generated over the mention of the word "scrotum" in a Newbery Medal-winning new children's book, The Higher Power of Lucky. Apparently many librarians are appalled at the anatomically-correct mention of male genitalia, used in this case to locate a snake bite on a dog's body. I mean really, what parent wants their child reading challenging, rich literature when it contains a horrific word like scrotum?

Some school librarians have vowed to ban the "Howard Stern-style shock treatment" from their schools. My reaction is predictably eye-rollingly dismissive, as is Susie Bright's anatomy of the literary sex panic.

My favorite argument against all this bruhaha is the fact that it makes librarians look bad. Thank God there are some cool ones out there to balance out the crazies in this scrotal tizzy.


(Is it offensive to stereotype librarians? Or just kinda hot?)

Kink at the Armory 2

Not sure if this Salon article helps or hurts my case that Kink.com moving into the SF Mission district is utterly harmless, but it's an interesting read nonetheless (thanks to Logan for the heads up!). The writer spends a day on the set of a kinky movie and delights in reporting every detail.

The Internet Takes Away Children's Innocence.

Stop the presses! Breaking news! More kids than ever before are viewing online porn!

This urgent news item has been making the rounds in the press over the past couple days. Who knew that the Internet was an increasingly popular medium? Who knew that more people are spending more time exploring the Web on a daily basis and subsequently viewing the vast variety of material available therein? And that some of these people are under 18?

This is clearly a problem. In case you don't know why, the Associated Press (the Associated Press!) quotes some pediatrician who, you know, has insight about these things. Dr. Michael Wasserman says the Internet is "beyond the wild west" and has "taken away the age of innocence."

That certainly sounds like a bad thing--taking away the age of innocence. The pure bliss that is childhood is apparently ripped asunder by the lewd lawlessness the Internet inflicts on us.

But really...and I mean really....is it such a bad thing for kids to stumble across some naked people on the Internet? Don't all kids make their way into their Dad's (or Mom's) porn collection at some point, even without the Internet entering the picture? And don't they all learn a lot about sex and sexuality in the process? (Be honest...wasn't it a delightfully educational experience for you?)

Sure, I'm against kids seeing troubling sexual scenes depicting hardcore sex, bondage, kink, bestiality, etc. No need to go from zero to 120. But the thing is random pop-up ads and the mass-marketed content that tends to dominate most of the "accidental" porn really isn't very extreme. These sites are going for the widest appeal possible, and frankly, content that appeals to the largest swath of the American public is pretty much your average porn. Certainly not anything to deeply disturb children beyond the terrors normally associated with growing up.

I obviously lack anything beyond empirical personal experience in the way of evidence for my argument, but the other side also has little to bolster their case. That's why articles like this, this, and this have to resort to hyperbole and scare tactics to rouse the public.

One point I will concede is that it is definitely suboptimal that many kids' first exposure to sex comes in the form of pornography which often depicts sex neither accurately nor respectfully. But this is a quality issue, not so much a freak-out-and-banish-porn-from-the-mainstream-Web issue.

Ultimately, it's just not a very big deal. Some kids are curious and will seek out porn; others aren't and will stumble across it. Either way, online porn is not going to ruin children. As Susie Bright aptly notes, there are many bigger problems facing the world's youth.

Kink at the Armory

The San Francisco Chronicle reported back in January that porn company Kink.com bought the abandoned SF Armory building, and now, thanks to the visceral pleasure I'm sure reporters get from typing out the word "Kink," everyone knows about the purchase and is aghast.

I'd avoided writing about this (something about not adding fuel to fire), but discussion has dragged on long enough that I can no longer hold my silence.

Plus, a Chroncile editorial from Thursday really got me steamed. Purports the editorial staff:

So, we'll simply point out that it's a bad idea to have a massive pornography filming company so close to schools, senior housing and young people who are in need of guidance...

They go on to quote one their resident expert:

"I can speak for the young men that I'm dealing with and tell you that this is going to hurt their behavioral health," said Dr. Kyra Bobinet, who works with incarcerated and high-risk young people at a neighborhood organization called Vision Youthz. "They already have a lot of confusion around seeing women as objects, and having this in their neighborhood is going to color their sense of normal."

What is it everyone is imagining will happen? That naked women will be strolling around the neighborhood? That porn will get flung out the windows on an hourly basis? That the day's footage will be projected on the side of the building?

The fact of the matter is that there are plenty of porn sets in close proximity to schools, churches, even the reader's own home--they're everywhere! In this age of Internet porn ubiquity, suburban porn sets are everywhere. While the kids are at school, while the neighbors are at church, while everyone goes about their daily lives, beieve it or not, porn is getting made. But we'd never know because porn companies can be just as discreet as anyone. In fact, they tend to be excessively private because they know how much they have to lose. 

And you know what? It doesn't hurt anybod, least of all the neighbors. If it weren't for the excessive media coverage, no one would even know about the intended use of the SF Armory building. And if people would tap into their rational selves, they wouldn't care.

Oh the Glory of Investigative TV “Journalism”

Glenn Beck from CNN is in the middle a laughingly amateur 4-part series called “Porn: America’s Addiction.” (Those who visit the series’ website are subject to Glenn Beck’s knowing gaze and prominent finger pointed accusingly at the visitor. Note the wedding ring and air of condescension—who does this guy think he is?)

Three installments have aired so far, and the next airs tonight. The first three installments cover tired territory: porn is a big industry and some people get addicted to porn. Yawn. Why is it that every news story or feature about porn is identical? The CNN reports fall right in step with just about every other mainstream media coverage of porn for the last 5 years:

First Glenn Beck bemoans the success of the industry: “Unfortunately, business is good.” Yeah, it sure is a shame that an industry catering to the high demands of American consumers is able to sustain itself and turn a profit.

The same old statistics are tossed in: “Porn is a $57 billion industry worldwide; in the US, it grosses $12 billion.” To give a sense of scope the writer/reporter notes that in the US, porn profits dwarf those of pro football, baseball, and basketball—combined! (This statistic always irked me; in it, I sense an implied judgment that somehow pro sports are a wholesome, more preferable pastime for Americans when in fact only a limited—and male—demographic tends to be interested in sports, and furthermore sports figures have been known to commit violent and sexual crimes worse than anything found in your average, consensual porn movie.)

Then the technological dimension is noted—porn drives technological innovation. Would the Internet exist without porn? Who knows?

There is always a cautionary tale about children finding porn online. The Glenn Beck story posts that the “average” (how could anyone know?) age kids these days first see porn online is 11 years old. The horror! This seems awfully old to me. Furthermore, it’s not like the kids were immune to porn before the Internet came along—most of my friends (pretty much the last generations to remember a time before the internet) came across a porn magazine or image at a young age, even without the Internet. True, the Internet makes it easy to find porn, but so many parents and school personnel are frenzied in their vigilant monitoring of kids’ use of the Internet that I think the risk is largely mitigated. (What’s more, I’m not even convinced it’s a bad thing for a kid to stumble across a little online porn, but that’s a whole other debate.)

Something I found interesting was that Beck interviewed the current male operator of Danni’s Hard Drive, without mentioning the site’s illustrious roots.

As some of you may know, Danni’s Hard Drive was one of the pioneering porn sites of the newly-created Internet in the eraly-mid '90s. Most interestingly, its founder is a woman, Danni Ashe, who taught herself HTML and launched a site out of the early-Internet newsgroups she’d been frequenting. Needless to say, her site was a huge success and it has become legendary as the archetypal example of women-driven porn in the Digital Age.

But Glenn Beck didn’t seem to find any of this worth mentioning. He apparently prefers to offer viewers the same tired porn run-around.