compulsory reading, oddly enough, USA

Pornopixel absurd.

Angesichts der Ubiquität von Nacktheit in westlichen Gesellschaften finde ich es überaus erstaunlich, welche Kontroversen Pornographie immer noch hervorrufen kann, und wie sehr man sie immer noch zur politischen und sonstigen Provokation heranziehen kann.

Gestern informierte die Süddeutsche Zeitung darüber, daß die Jungen Liberalen Niedersachsen in Person ihres Vorsitzenden Christopher Vorwerk ihr Organisationsestablishment und die Parteiobrigkeit mit einer politisch unbequemen Version von „make love not war“ konfrontierten. Ein Unding sei es nämlich, daß

„[d]er Gesetzgeber den Geschlechtsakt zwischen 16-Jährigen [legitimiere, es ihnen aber] bis zur Vollendung des 18. Lebensjahres [untersage,] dabei zuzusehen.“

Auch sollten Fernsehsender ab 24 Uhr Pornografie ausstrahlen dürfen. Denn

„[e]s geht darum, dass in den Medien mit zweierlei Maß gemessen wird. Gewalt und Leichen, aber kein Akt der Liebe.“

Auch wenn diese Forderung, den Jugendschutz zu lockern, politisch trotz des offensichtlichen Koalitionsangebots an das Privatfernsehen zur Zeit zweifelsohne chancenlos ist, rechtssystematisch ist sie meines Erachtens nicht a priori von der Hand zu weisen, wenngleich ich die Behauptung des jungliberalen Vorstands Florian Bernschneider –

„Jugendliche sind mit 16 Jahren alt genug, um selbst zu entscheiden, was sie ansehen“ –

für eher abenteuerlich halte. Allerdings sind auch die meisten Erwachsenen damit deutlich überfordert, so daß das Argument sowohl für die eine als auch für die andere Seite unbrauchbar ist. Ein Schelm übrigens, wer den beiden im Artikel zitierten Jungen Liberalen unterstellt, sie verfolgten ein spezifisches Eigeninteresse: Herr Vorwerck ist laut der Webseite der JuLis Niedersachsen 23 Jahre alt und somit sicher mehr Li als Ju, und auch Herr Bernschneider darf die Früchte der Volljährigkeit bereits seit einem Jahr genießen.

Ganz andere, deutlich gravierende Probleme mit Pornographie hat übrigens eine Lehrerin aus Norwich in Connecticut, wie Spiegel Online unter dem literarisch wertvollen Titel „Porno-Pop-Ups“ berichtet:

Die Aushilfslehrerin in einer Mittelschule von Norwich (US-Bundesstaat Conneticut) habe die Elf- und Zwölfjährigen absichtlich oder – vielleicht – fahrlässig mit Pornographie statt mit Englischunterricht behelligt, so der Vorwurf von Behörden. Jetzt hat der Norwich Superior Court die Lehrerin für schuldig befunden – weil sie den Kindern Pornographie gezeigt habe und diese somit seelischen Schaden erlitten haben könnten. Am 2. März soll über das Strafmaß entschieden werden – Amero drohen bis zu 40 Jahre Haft.

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oddly enough, sex

The Glorious Eight 1

I just found this Washington Post article about The FBI finally joining the Bush administration’s War on Porn.

As Barton Gellman reported yesterday on page A21 of the paper,

„… the bureau’s Washington Field Office began recruiting for a new anti-obscenity squad. … The new squad will divert eight agents, a supervisor and assorted support staff to gather evidence against „manufacturers and purveyors“ of pornography — not the kind exploiting children, but the kind that depicts, and is marketed to, consenting adults.“

It’s got a lot to do with attorney general Alberto Gonzales ambitions and his acceptability to Christian Conservatives and thus isn’t really interesting – the US has a history of obscenity vs. free speech conflicts, just ask Larry Flynt. But politically motivated initiatives like this seemed to have been out of fashion since the Reagan presidency. Clearly, the new top-priority unit consisting of 8+1 porn-fighters will keep America’s thriving porn industry from further subverting „family values“… although, the recruitment may turn out to be harder than expected, as an agent told the reporter – on condition of anonymity-

„Honestly, most of the guys would have to recuse themselves.‘ …

I guess this means we’ve won the war on terror,’said one exasperated FBI agent, speaking on the condition of anonymity because poking fun at headquarters is not regarded as career-enhancing. ‚We must not need any more resources for espionage.‘

Among friends and trusted colleagues, an experienced national security analyst said, ‚it’s a running joke for us.‘

A few of the printable samples:

„Things I Don’t Want On My Resume, Volume Four.“

„I already gave at home.“

I suppose one of the perks coming with this job would be government sponsored tickets to the annual San Francisco Masturbate-a-thon.

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Iraq, oddly enough, USA

The Most Disgusting Porn Spam Ever

I just received the most disgusting spam mail I ever saw. It read

„Iraqi Whores. People attacked in their homes and savagely raped at gunpoint. Footage smuggled out of Iraq by the troops who did it. Sexually deviant soldiers run wild. CNN would not play that footage.“

In all likelihood, this never happened. CNN would not play the tape, but they would certainly grill anyone who tried to cover that up. Certainly this is an advantage of embedding journalists with military units. If there had been embedded journalists in Eastern Europe in 1945, the Red Army’s soldiers would in all likelihood not have gang-raped two million women.

So if people invest money to shoot a film in which actors disguised as soldiers rape actresses disguised as Iraqi civilians there must be a) demand for this kind of material and they must b) have decided that the dollars they will earn are sufficient to bribe their conscience.

I am all for capitalism. And I have no ideological problems with pornography. But this is just disgusting.

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oddly enough, USA

Of course, No One Will Have To Burn Books…

when suppoedly indecent material cannot even be sold at first place. Today, the NYTimes reports that Wal-Mart is banning 3 men’s magazines (Maxim, FHM, and Stuff, of which I have never heard) because of the allegedly offensive nature of their cover designs.

According to the NYTimes

„[t]he decision to stop selling the so-called lads‘ magazines is the latest in a series of moves by the company to limit distribution of entertainment products it judges too racy for its shoppers.The company has refused to sell CD’s that carry warning labels about explicit lyrics; instead, Wal-Mart Stores sell sanitized versions of albums.“

So this is what „lad’s magazines“ might look on Wal*Mart shelves in the future should they too decide to honor Wal*Mart’s decision and market power with a special edition –

FHM cover, 'Wal*Mart edition'

Of course, Wal*Mart Stores, Inc., is a private entity and therefore, technically, no legal constitutional issues are at stake in instances like these. But that does not make things easier at all, as Nadine Strossen, a professor of constitutional law at New York Law School and the president of the American Civil Liberties Union explaines to the NYTimes –

„[w]hen you have a store that in many parts of the country has a dominant position, so that if you can’t buy a magazine at Wal-Mart, you can’t buy it at all … [i]t has literally the same practical effect in many communities as outright government censorship.“

If that were indeed the case, then the sheer market power of retail gatekeepers like Wal*Mart may make it necessary to rebalance their – and their shareholders‘ – discretion with respect to other people’s ability to exercise their rights –

„[t]he Timothy Plan, a mutual funds management firm that invests in companies based in part on whether the companies share its values, has been pressing Wal-Mart to pull women’s magazines like Cosmopolitan and Glamour from checkout lanes and put them back into the magazine rack. Arthur Ally, president of the Timothy Plan, said that he saw magazines like Maxim and FHM as ‚a level worse. It is soft-core pornography,‘ he said. ‚It’s very addictive and leads to harder stuff.'“

Speech can only be free if it can be heard. And „censorship“, legal and/or de-facto always starts by prohibiting something not too many people won’t object to. The shifting of acceptance boundaries is what makes this process so dangerous.

But Wal-Mart’s decision may not prove to become a cultural disaster. Maybe, their decision will even foster digital literacy in those regions where the retailler does indeed possess the power to prevent people from buying the magazine of their choice.

For in the internet, there will always be a free shelf.

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