Friday, April 3, 2009

Two Significant FTW's From AVN: Mark Kernes on "Sexting", And Adelia From Digital Playground on College Censorship

With all respect to the Iowa Supreme Court for the most progressive decision this side of Brown vs. Board of Education in Topeka, I found two articles today that really give me some hope for this world.

First off, there is the irrepressible Mark Kernes over at AVN, who just released a column that basically smashes the debate about teen "sexting" and cuts through the bullshit arguments for censorship thereof. Snippage:
There is a growing segment of society that is creating pornography involving children. Children in underwear. Children partially or completely nude. Children having sex with other children.

That growing segment of society is ... children.

The first reports of "sexting" have been making the news pretty consistently recently, and while adult companies have been providing cellphone downloads of adult content for at least five years, the concept has only now captured the mainstream public's imagination because a growing number of those doing the sexting are minors. Kids in Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, New Jersey, New York, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Utah have all been busted for it. And there's even been one suicide reportedly traced to "sexting remorse."

MySpace, Facebook and other personal contact sites have found that an increasing number of minor teens - 54% , by one study - have been discussing sex, drugs and posting sexually explicit images to their pages. Sexting, because it's a bit newer - the first news reports of it surfaced in 2005, though a pair of underage teens were busted in '04 in Florida for emailing photos of each other having sex - hasn't attracted quite as many followers; just 20% of 13- to 19-year-olds , according to a survey by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, which sadly includes legal sexters with the underage ones.


Conservative writer (and anti-porn activist) Maggie Gallagher posed what may be the most important question on this subject in a recent column - and in the process, admitted something that conservatives spend their entire careers trying to deny: "Right now we have a decision to make: Is underage porn (these aren't really children) a crime or not? If so, how do we treat girls and boys who engage in it 'for fun' and not for profit?"

First, the admission: "these aren't really children." Aren't they? The law says they are. Various religions have long claimed that kids are too "innocent" to think of doing such things. As for the "crime": When it comes to "adult porn," using a performer who is 17 years, 11 months, 30 days, 23 hours and 59 minutes old gets you busted, but if the producer waits one more minute to shoot her, she's perfectly legal. That's clearly insane.

If there's one thing that this "sexting" brouhaha ought to teach us, it's that "18" is even less of a magic number now than it's ever been. Kids don't suddenly become sexual at the stroke of midnight on their eighteenth birthday. They become sexual when their bodies start producing estradiol (in girls) and testosterone (in boys), and when something called the gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) starts pulsing from the hypothalamus area of their brains. For girls, that can be as young as 9; boys take a year or so longer. The kids may be unclear what to do when that happens (gosh, thanks, abstinence-only education!) but they'll figure it out soon enough. That's why sex is an instinct, not a learned behavior. Nobody had to teach the first humanoids how to mate; they figured it out quite easily for themselves, and even though modern humans' instincts have atrophied, they still procreate well enough to (over)run the whole fucking planet.

It's this instinct that the Deeply Religious deny, even as they themselves produce families with ten or 15 kids. They know that sex is so pleasurable that unless they invent a God to decree that sex can take place only between certain people of a certain age (and gender) under certain conditions, it would be (is!) humanity's favorite pastime ... and then who'd milk the cows and build the widgets?

(Emphasis added by me .)

The full column by Kernes can be found here.

Quick shoutout to Vicky Vette: What's that you say about raising the age of eligibility in porn?? How will that work when we already have 15 and 16 year olds who probably know more about sex and making sex flicks through "sexting" than most 25 year olds??

FTW #2 is also from AVN, but on a similar but different, the big controversy is over an aborted screening of the feature porn flick Pirates 2: Stagnetti's Revenge at the University of Maryland-College Park due to objections from right-wingers and fundie conservatives.

Yesterday (Thursday), CNN's Prime News took on the controversy, featuring the state senator (Andrew Harris who threatened to cancel state funding for the college unless they canceled the screening, and Adelia, the marketing director for Digital Playground, the production company for Pirates 2.

Considering that the moderator of the "debate" happened to be a right-winger, Adelia might have felt double teamed...but it must not have deterred her from doing some serious damage, according to this roundup from AVN:

CHATSWORTH, Calif. — Digital Playground marketing director Adella appeared Thursday evening on CNN's "Prime News" to discuss the controversy surrounding a canceled student screening of Pirates II: Stagnetti's Revenge at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Right-wing anchor Mike Galanos moderated the face-off between Adella and state Sen. Andrew Harris, the GOP politician who pressured the school into canceling the show by threatening to deny state funds to any school showing a porn flick outside of a classroom setting.

Galanos made his position clear when he proclaimed that X-rated movies are worse than crack cocaine. He leaned heavily on the argument that porn is "addictive" and "ruins lives" of innocent viewers.

Harris compared watching porn to smoking cigarettes. If smoking is banned on a campus where porn is screened, then the school's priorities are clearly askew, Harris argued.

Adella handled this hysterical blast of outraged rhetoric with pointed out that contrary to the knee-jerk attitude that porn degrades women, Pirates II does not cater to fantasies of degradation.She went on to mention that the movie is the product of a female-operated company.

Adella also pointed out that neither of her ideological opponents had seen the movie, making their arguments a clear case of contempt prior to investigation. Galanos dismissed this argument by claiming that he'd "seen the trailer".

"I had a great time on CNN and relished the opportunity to engage in a discussion with those responsible for censoring consenting adults," Adella said. "It was empowering to educate the senator on the modern era of adult entertainment, including female owned and operated studios, female viewers, and the need to embrace sex.

[full story here]

More folk like Adelia would only be a good thing.

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