Jewish World Review Feb. 18, 2005 / 9 Adar I, 5765
Thankfully, I have found a program that helps to keep the wolves
from the Internet door temporarily. The vermin will inevitably design new
ways to get around the blocking technology, and the cycle will continue.
One feels a bit like Mr. Dursley in the first Harry Potter book,
attempting to keep Harry's letters from infiltrating his house. When he
blocked the mail chute, they flew in through the windows. When he nailed the
windows shut, they shot down the chimney.
Pornography, and its close cousin, sexual obsession, has
infected more than our computers. In hard and soft versions, it is simply
inescapable in modern America. Even our historians are not immune. Pick up
the morning paper and read that Lincoln was gay. He's the just the latest.
They're already said it about Eleanor Roosevelt, Alexander Hamilton, Emily
Dickenson, Alexander the Great, and the Biblical David and Jonathan.
The penguins at the Bremerhaven zoo in Germany are into same-sex
frolics, reports The Associated Press. And efforts to get them to mate with
females led to protests from German gay-rights groups. Good grief.
Look, we don't need to be told that some of our heroes were gay
in order to be convinced that homosexuals can be fine people. We already
know that. But we resent this rooting around in the letters of the dead
looking for terms of endearment to people of the same sex. It's tawdry,
unfair and unseemly.
We know that Leonardo da Vinci, one of the greatest geniuses in
human history, was almost certainly homosexual. That is also the least
interesting fact about him. And times change. The loving words men used with
one another in the 19th century are out of style today.
Besides, one hears the unmistakable sound of an ax grinding when
all of these figures are declared gay. It sounds less like scholarship than
But I digress. I was on the subject of pornography the
heterosexual kind. A federal judge in Pennsylvania has declared that federal
obscenity laws are unconstitutional. Judge Gary Lancaster ruled that "public
morality is not a legitimate state interest sufficient to justify infringing
on adult, private, consensual sexual conduct, even if that conduct is deemed
offensive to the general public's sense of morality."
The judge did not rely on First Amendment jurisprudence, but
rather on the Supreme Court's recent Lawrence vs. Texas (the sodomy case) to
rule that the Constitution guarantees a "right to sexual privacy, which
encompasses a right to possess and view sexually explicit material in the
privacy of one's own home."
And what material! Extreme Associates, the defendants in the
case, did not produce garden-variety porn. No, as Lizzie Borden (her
professional name), owner and "actress" acknowledged, Extreme Associates
films actual beatings of women. Favorite plot topics are gang rape, torture
In short, as their promotional material boasts, they plumb "the
depths of human depravity."
Judge Lancaster is at least clear (if out of sync with the law,
which has always excluded the sale and distribution of obscenity from
constitutional protection). Public morality is obsolete. Freedom to indulge
one's twisted delight in watching gang rapes or slow torture is absolute.
This is unsurprising, considering the tenor of the times, but
nonetheless disturbing. Opponents of pornography and obscenity often couch
their objections with the disclaimer: I'm not for censorship, but ...
Well, I'm for censorship. Community standards (remember those?)
should determine what is obscenity and what is not. The First Amendment was
never written for the likes of Extreme Associates and will survive very
well, thank you, even if they do not.
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