September 1, 2006

A View from Riverside Drive, Commentary by Ed Hynes, September 2006

Clarity from Cardinal Pell on addictive pornography

In a pastoral letter to his flock in July, Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney, described the addictive nature of pornography in these unambiguous terms:

Sexual addiction is real. We have long recognized drug addicts, alcoholics, compulsive gamblers, but only recently has public attention begun to focus on compulsive and disordered sexuality. It is still among the least understood of all the addictions, although now a major social problem and public health issue.

A sexual addict cannot break free from escalating sexual behaviour which brings increasingly damaging consequences to self and to others. They become addicted to the neuro-chemical changes in the body produced by sexual activity.

Cardinal Pell went on to voice support for an Australian government initiative he said will “combat pornography especially among children as every Australian family will be offered free internet filtering software to block X-rated sites and offensive words.”

Would you believe this sow’s ear is a silk purse? Please…

Putting aside the low-life nature of their illegal racket, the pornographers go shamelessly about seeking mainstream status and acceptability, and the news media sometimes obliges.

Newsweek did this twice in six months in 2003. The January 14 issue reported that something called Adult Sites Against Child Pornography “will soon start reviewing their members’ sites and – if no child porn is found – bestow what [Joan] Irvine [of ASACP] calls a ‘Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval’ so visitors know there’s nothing illegal on the site.”

Nothing illegal? People have gone to jail for selling obscene adult pornography, which is what “adult sites” do.

The July 2 issue of Newsweek that year reported that “Porn has gone mainstream.” The story ran under a headline the folks at Newsweek no doubt thought was clever:

XXX-ceptable

Frank Rich of the New York Times has gone so far as to say pornography is the mainstream. He told Times readers on May 20, 2001, “At $10 billion, porn is no longer a sideshow to the mainstream like, say, the $600 million Broadway theater industry — it is the mainstream.” He called pornography a “closeted entertainment behemoth,” an “enormous branch of show business,” and a “major industry.”

Some behemoth.

Let’s be real. Ten billion dollars – which may or may not be the right number – is less than eight hundredths of one percent of America’s thirteen-trillion-dollar economy. That’s 0.0769%

Americans spend more on ice cream than we do on pornography. We spend more than twice as much on our social clubs and fraternal organizations. We spend nine times as much for tobacco.

The pornographers want us to ignore the sales figures and swallow the idea that porn is mainstream and has public acceptance. They want that because if pornography is perceived as acceptable to the public, enforcement of federal and state obscenity laws, which depends ultimately on community standards, would become more difficult.

The public is not buying this idea any more than they’re buying the porn. Sales figures don’t lie.

But pornography has a presence and an influence in our culture out of all proportion to the low volume of actual pornography being sold. We see this influence in the pimp ‘n ho rap that passes for music. (Cosby ’s right. Kids are brain damaged until their 20s at least.)

We see porn’s influence in the immodest clothing being marketed to the young, and in the way that clothing is advertised.

And we see it in the basic assumption that is implicit in early childhood sex education in the schools, which is that unmarried sex is inevitable and okay if only the kids are taught how to do it “safely.”

What’s next? Kid-sized condoms, of course

Not surprisingly, we now learn that “condoms for kids” hit the shelves in Germany this summer, marketed by Durex, a subsidiary of SSL International, which is a multi-national conglomerate. A Durex spokesperson said, “It is aimed at youths between 13 and 16, where a not insignificant number engage in unprotected sex.”

Will someone please explain to our enlightened educators that kids discover orgasm on their own, and all that talk in class about how it works carries with it the strong suggestion that sexual intercourse is okay outside of marriage.

Durex is motivated by a concern for the kiddies, you understand.

Citizens beat back porn dealers in Nyack, New York

The porn dealers seem to believe it when they hear the lie that pornography is mainstream and acceptable to the American public. A few of them ran into the truth this year when they tried to open a 24-hour x-rated video shop with “viewing booths” on the main road leading into Nyack, New York, a residential community in the hills overlooking the Hudson River.

The Nyack Village Planning Board had approved plans for Fama Video and DVD Center last January. It was to be operated in a former auto dealership.

Nyack residents organized a group called Catholic Citizenship, took the village and the business owners to State Supreme Court and won a ruling in April that the Planning Board had failed to conduct required environmental and socioeconomic impact studies.

The business closed four days after the decision and the building now has a for-rent sign on it.

Score one for the people.

American consensus: Pornography is morally unacceptable

In the most recent poll done for Morality in Media by Harris Interactive, in July, 73% of adult Americans said that viewing pornographic websites and videos is morally unacceptable.

That’s UN-XXX-CEPTABLE. It’s fair to assume most Americans don’t read Newsweek.

FCC spokeswoman: CBS doesn’t get it

When CBS asked a federal appeals court in Washington to set aside the $550,000 fine imposed on it by the Federal Communications Commission – for airing Janet Jackson’s breast-baring performance during the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show – FCC spokeswoman Tamara Lipper made this important point: “Millions of parents, as well as Congress, understand what CBS does not: Janet Jackson’s ‘wardrobe malfunction’ was indeed indecent.”

Child Porn fight heats up

A Congressional committee has referred files on hundreds of child porn purchasers to attorneys general in 46 states for possible prosecution. The referrals were made in June by the House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee on child sexual exploitation and pornography. Justin Berry, a 19-year-old Californian who ran his own pornographic web site for years beginning at age 13, has provided information to the subcommittee.

President George W. Bush signed H.R. 4472, the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 , in a Rose Garden ceremony July 27 with John and Reve Walsh looking on. The Act is named for their young son, who was abducted and killed 25 years ago. Mr. Walsh is the host of the popular television show, “America’s Most Wanted,” which profiles cases and encourages the public to help catch criminals. The Act authorizes 200 new federal prosecutors and a number of federal agents dedicated only to child exploitation cases. It increases penalties for predators and substantially increases FBI resources targeting child prostitution.

Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover have agreed to report child porn sites they find are accepting their cards as a means of payment for the porn. They will also block these transactions or help law enforcement officials track sellers and buyers.

A federal district court judge in Newark, NJ, sentenced two Russian men to 25 years in prison August 8 for their participation in a child pornography and money-laundering ring. Yahor Zalatarou, 27, of Minsk, Belarus, president of Regpay Co. LTD, and Aliaksandr Boika, 30, also of Minsk, the company’s technical administrator, were each also ordered to pay a $25,000 fine. The AP reported that Regpay “had thousands of paid memberships to dozens of Web sites featuring children. Along with operating several of its own Web sites, the company earned millions of dollars by processing credit card fees for more than fifty other Web sites. The Regpay Web sites were operated from Minsk, Belarus, and were hosted by Internet service companies in the United States and abroad.”

The U.S. Senate on August 4 ratified an international treaty , the Council of Europe’s Convention on Cybercrime, which will strengthen the ability of law enforcement and the intelligence community to prevent acts of terrorism and protect children around the world from predators. The accord has been signed by 38 European nations, as well as the United States, Canada, Japan and South Africa.

International treaty on obscenity law enforcement

In a letter drafted by MIM President Robert Peters, more than 50 national, state and local leaders urge President Bush to “take a leadership role in addressing the international dimensions of the ever-expanding obscenity problem.” The letter was signed by Concerned Women for America, Coral Ridge Ministries, American Family Association, Focus on the Family, Traditional Values Coalition, Family Research Council, Citizens for Community Values, National Religious Broadcasters, Liberty Counsel, Enough is Enough, Center for Reclaiming America, and others.

Another message from the front

This site was hacked by people who believe in censorship. We’re working to restore it. Please be patient.

This statement was posted at www.nopornpledge.com a few weeks ago. It was another message from the front in the pornography wars, and says a lot about the enemy.

The people who believe in censorship in this case are fans of pornography, which is a telling irony. Pornographers wave the “free speech” flag and shout “censorship” whenever it suits their purpose. Now, their fans have tossed the spirit of the First Amendment aside and done whatever they can to shut their opponents up.

Nopornpledge.com said it was “hacked on Friday [July 28] by members of a website. . . for fans of anime, hentai, and pornography. . . . [They] replaced the legitimate signatures we had amassed with giant penis-n-vagina photos, as well as charming sentiments like ‘Irapekids’ and ‘I f[**]ked a cow.’ Because they also altered the database settings, we are currently unable to remove all of their handiwork.”

The rest of the statement is worth a look. Here is some of it.

Keep in mind that NoPornPledge.com is not a site which advocates censorship or another legal solution to the problem of pornography, but merely a public record of individuals who have VOLUNTARILY decided to eliminate porn from their lives. But apparently, even that’s too threatening to some porn users. As always, the concept of free speech seems to apply exclusively to pornographers and their clientele. . .

This site was created as an answer to those who claim that “everyone uses porn,” and to those who try to make you feel isolated and weird because you’re uncomfortable with pornography use. One of the goals of pro-porners is to get you to think you’re uncool or asexual because you don’t like porn, like you’re the one with the problem. As a result, far too many people – especially women – go around thinking they’re the “only ones” who dislike porn, and we know that simply isn’t true. Our goal is to make you feel more comfortable about your discomfort with porn. You are definitely not the only one.

Could it be that the year 2000 was porn’s high water mark?

The Wall Street Journal of October 23, 2000, reported that major companies were becoming involved in an “emerging home pornography market. . . . Time Warner, EchoStar, General Motors and AT&T all say they are simply responding to a growing American market that wants pornography in the home.”

Bryn Pryor of Adult Video News, the pornographers’ trade paper, told the Journal, “… it’s not just technology that made the big boys get into it. . . This just happens to be a business where you can’t lose money.”

AT&T and General Motors must have seen something that escaped Mr. Pryor’s notice. Both have gotten out of the business. Maybe they read the polls, which show consistently that large majorities of adult Americans think pornography is a moral problem for the country and that federal laws that make it a crime to distribute obscene materials on the Internet should be vigorously enforced.

Author: Ed Hynes   09/01/2006

Further Reading