what’s really obscene


Obscenity, obscenity, obscenity. Maybe if I say the word often enough it will lose its meaning and I will no longer be furious when I see community, regional and country leaders describing naked bodies and a completely natural and biological act with that word.
On the other hand, maybe I won’t.
Wired News has an article about the Bush administration and their stance on porn, both online and off. (See? Even when I avoid reading the daily sex news sites this stuff comes to me via my techno geeky news sites.) Only, of course, they don’t call it porn. They don’t call it pornography. They call it obscenity. And they’re not just talking about child pornography and bestiality sites, either. If it’s about sex and it shows it, guess what gentle reader? That’s just obscene. Apparently.
A gentleman named Bob Goodlatte was the most vocal and inspiring. Somehow this man got to be in charge of the Internet Caucus. I’d like to find the person who appointed him to that position and shoot them in the foot. He says, and I quote: “The failure of the (Clinton) administration to enforce those laws has led to a proliferation of obscenity, both online and off. And I am particularly concerned about the safety of our children on the Internet, where they’re subjected to child pornography and solicitation in a massive way.”I’m still really amazed at the number of pundits who swear that our kids are bombarded with child pornography and solicitation online. It’s really amazing. Because I’ve been online for seven years, am an adult, happen to quite enjoy porn, and don’t get bombarded with it online. Sure, I know where to go and look for it (and I do) but it very rarely comes to me without my asking. Perhaps 1-2% of the spam I receive is about sex. But I don’t read it; I delete it. I should think it would be relatively easy to also teach kids to be completely disgusted by spam (regardless of the nature of the message) and get them so used to deleting it that they don’t notice the sexual messages either. Because spam is disgusting. But I digress.
I was also reading online about the 1986 obscenity raid on Adam and Eve, a sex merchandise retailer in the US. Why are these raids called obscenity raids? What is really so obscene about a small plastic toy that takes batteries, or a movie where people enjoy their bodies and are one hell of a lot less self-conscious about it than the average Joe or Jill?
[shakes head] I’ll never understand.
I realize these are US examples, but as mentioned in my diary entry yesterday, Canadian and Ontario laws, while not mentioning the word “obscenity” so much, strike just as harsh (if not harsher) a chord against the freedom to enjoy sexually oriented material in the privacy of your own home.
Most of all, I’m concerned with the kids. Yes, from my end of the soapbox it’s still all about the kids. But my angle’s a little different. I’m worried what message we’re sending to kids when we tell them that we’re doing this for their own good, hiding obscenity from them. Of course, eventually, they’ll get a hold of this “obscene” stuff in one fashion or another. And how will they feel about their sexuality when they realize it’s just naked bodies and sex that has been declared “obscene” and that this is the nasty and horrible stuff from which they’re being protected?
I’d far rather the message be that yes, pornography exists. That’s not everything there is to do with sex. It can be better, it can be worse, but just like most things you see in the movies, it’s rarely real and real life tends to be a whole lot more satisfying.Or is that just me?

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Vikki McKay
By Vikki McKay

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