Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The Battle for the New Pornography

from the DCPost: (free registration required...)
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/19/AR2005091901570.html

Recruits Sought for Porn Squad
By Barton Gellman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, September 20, 2005; Page A21

The FBI is joining the Bush administration's War on Porn. And it's looking for a few good agents.

Early last month, the bureau's Washington Field Office began recruiting for a new anti-obscenity squad. Attached to the job posting was a July 29 Electronic Communication from FBI headquarters to all 56 field offices, describing the initiative as "one of the top priorities" of Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and, by extension, of "the Director." That would be FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III.

((SNIPPED))

"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."

"Honestly, most of the guys would have to recuse themselves."

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This makes me wonder - I've always thought of porn as an easy target. Not since the late comic Bill Hicks has their been an eloquent voice in support of pornography - or, at least another comic stealing his bit. Every few years, some ambitious young member of Congress gets all uppity about porn, promises a big crackdown and make it harder for the merchants of smut to peddle their filth, blah blah blah. Some punk junior A.G. who wants to be a Cabinet member one day will launch a crusade that will end porn and throw Hugh Hefner in jail and make the world safe for the children. Remember, in America, if you want to pander...er, I mean, get votes, always do it for the CHILDREN! Because children always need protection from (insert evil thing here).

Truth is, they'll rattle a couple of cages, see if they can find any RICO, forged birth certificates on the performers, make any prostitution connections, bring in a couple of scuzzy dudes who deal in some illegal crap, and make a big deal of it. Then, something else will come up and this will go under the rug. The porn industry is just one of those politically-safe targets a politico can go after when needing a boost in the polls. No politician comes out and says they can't wait to cut school budgets, raise taxes, let the roads go to crap, pour toxic waste into Lake Woebegone and slap a copy of "Juggs" in every backpack.

But, cleaning up pollution is hard, raising taxes never raises popularity, it takes years for roads to be repaired, and school budgets are practically untouchable - unless it's for sports or the arts - yet millions are wasted in school administration. So, porn becomes the easy target. After all, what politician has run a successful campaign on a Pro-Smut agenda outside of Southern California?

Mary Carey, alas, I hardly knew ye.

But, with the internet, all you need are a couple of firm-bodied teenagers with little-to-no-career goals, a digital camera and a PayPal account, and you too can become a master in the online smut world. More people - men, especially - are familiar with the backgrounds used by "Next Door Nikki" and "Young Anne" than Christiane Amanpour's from CNN.

Good luck, FBI. Have fun busting into college dorms across the country as young students try to earn an extra couple of bucks. Have fun storming some 19-year old girl's classroom to confiscate her picture phone and web cam. Sounds a lot easier than breaking up a terrorist cell or Mafia family.

It boggles my mind that the more close-minded think they can ban something so directly regulated to the human condition. Porn is subjective - what I find pornographic is not what others think is pornographic. Full-frontal or tasteful shading? To cleave, or not to cleave; that is the question.

Dog collars? Because my personal hot black bitch on all fours - my border collie mix Bubby - really wants to make sure she's not breaking the law when being publicly displayed in such a manner. I'd hate to see the FBI bust Dogster.com.

The arbitrary judge-and-jury bothers me - are nude pictures ok, but nude moving pictures not? What, if any, weight will "artistic merit" play in any of this? Will there be a difference between "Perfect 10" and "Hot MILFs Caught on Tape?"

If what "Playboy" displays each month is "porn," then so are half the frescos in Italy. Will the FBI storm in the Louvre, guns drawn, and yank down a Henri Matisse? Or will they let INTERPOL take that gig?

I actually wouldn't mind if they stormed the offices of these dudes who take pictures of pre-op transsexuals and post them in full nudity, though. If you want to change your sex, that's fine, if not a little odd to me, but when I see a picture of a hot girl, I don't want her to have a penis. Nothings quite as sad as seeing a woman with great hair, nice make up, and testicles.

Then again, I am funny like that.

Also, I'm not a fan of aggressively fake breasts. But I would never restrict somebody's ability to look at aggressively fake breasts on a pre-op transsexual - my biggest fear, but also somebody's right. If that's what floats your boat, go ahead and sail it, but don't expect me to be your first mate.

But you should always be allowed to sail.

As a society, we really need to decide which way we're going. We allow technology to rule our lives - the omnipresent cell phone, a major crisis when the office Internet connection is down, yelling at the cable company if HBO isn't coming in right - and then fight it tooth-and-nail when it comes to anything vaguely questionable - if you want 400 channels of TV, surely three or four can show boob, right? If you want medical science to extend the average lifespan 40 years, then don't gripe about stem cell research.

To this point - if you want to use sex in everything - fashion, advertising, marriage, reproduction, careers - then be prepared to deal with sex honestly. Ancient societies made rudimentary sculptures and drawings of nudity; don't hate on them because Mr. Foto hadn't been invented yet.

There are more women than men in America; more men than women in China. With STDs becoming more dangerous, especially AIDS, we're going to need to have effective, open communication and outlets for basic human needs. 30 years ago, bad sex itched. Now, it can kill.
Unless we want to have a big singles' mixer in the middle of the Pacific for all our single, unwashed masses, and ban any travel to Africa, we need to have *MORE* self-expression, not less.

In my world, Cyberskin would be bigger than Microsoft. Or, at least in a limited partnership making devices for all the people of the world. We need cheap computers AND cheap release!

In any event, according to the tone of this article, it doesn't sound like the FBI field agents are taking it too seriously. And I can't imagine a multi-billion dollar industry rolling over and taking this softly. They'll fight hard until the end, and, I will guarantee you, in porn, somebody always meets a messy end.



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1 comment:

astroboy said...

MY G-D, WON'T SOMEBODY PLEASE THINK ABOUT THE CHILDREN.

I hate that agrument. If we didn't make sexy dirty, we wouldn't have to protect children from knowing it exists.