JESUSLAND—Over the weekend, we received word from Morality in Media PR flack Dawn Hawkins—in the form of a solicitation for donations, natch!—about a terrifying flight she took from Baltimore to Detroit where <gasp!> some old guy who was in the seat "directly in front" of her was looking at "violent child-themed pornography," the sight of which rendered her "speechless for a moment."
Of course, we should pause for a moment to ponder just what Dawn considers to be "violent child-themed pornography." We already know that Morality in Media (and likely Hawkins herself) considers anything that depicts nudity to be "pornography," and if those in the photo or video are young-looking, to them that's "child-themed" no matter what age the performers actually are. And of course, people engaging in consensual BDSM activity, whether clothed or unclothed, are bad, bad, BAD no matter how you look at it.
So when Dawn writes that, during the moment that she was speechless, the guy had "enough time to... flip through at least 8 images of very young Asian girls, one of them was of a girl whipping another girl," it's probably worth taking that description with a grain of salt—as is the concept of how she could see this guy's iPad screen if he was sitting directly in front of her. Who knows; maybe she has x-ray vision?
But as a good Right-thinking American, Dawn leapt into action, because she "couldn't help but say something."
"I asked, somewhat loudly, 'Are you really looking at pornography right now? On an airplane at 6 am [sic]? Are you really looking at porn right here?'"
It will probably come as a surprise to Dawn, but normal folks think about naked people a lot of the time—even as early as 6 a.m. and sometimes even after midnight... or as late as 4 or 5 or—oh, what the hell?—6 a.m.!
So when the guy told Dawn she didn't know what she was talking about—and it's certainly possible she didn't, since her idea of "pornography" would probably encompass half the billboards in Los Angeles—she doubled down and said loudly, "You are! You're looking at porn! I can see it on your screen."
For some reason, we're reminded of the (probably apocryphal) story of the woman who called the police to report that her neighbors were "having sex right out in the open!" When an officer arrived and asked to see what the woman was talking about, she led him to her upstairs bathroom and pointed to the small window above the toilet, saying, "There they are! That couple next door has no sense of decency, having sex in the middle of the day with the window open and the shades up where anybody can see it!" So the officer walked over, took a glance out the window and said, "Lady, you're crazy—I can't see anybody doing anything out there." "Stand on the toilet!" the woman exclaimed. "Stand on the toilet!"
Anyway, by this time, everyone in the cabin was looking at her, so Dawn told a nearby flight attendant, "Sir, this man is looking at pornography right now. Will you please do something?" Supposedly, the guy refused, saying there was nothing he could do, but if this were a true story rather than an apocryphal one to solicit cash for MiM's shrinking coffers, the attendant's more likely response would have been to ask the guy either to better shade his screen or switch to some different material—or if the images had been actual child porn, the attendant probably would have reported the guy at least to the other attendants and possibly the pilots and/or airline staff at the landing gate. However, according to Dawn, the guy did put his iPad away while she was ranting.
But of course, that wasn't enough for a True Defender of the Faith™!
"A few seconds later, in a quieter voice directed at the man in front of me, I said, 'I am on my way right now to speak at a conference about pornography and sex trafficking. You are contributing to the problem. You are victimizing and exploiting thousands of women. I cannot believe you would do that right here on an airplane.'"
Yeah; actually, we can't believe this guy was "victimizing and exploiting thousands of women... right here on an airplane"... and apparently at least one other passenger felt the same:
"THEN, an older woman in her 50s stood up, turned around and said to me, 'Be quiet. No one cares.'" [Emphasis in original]
"Words cannot explain how I feel right now," Dawn writes. "It is bad enough that a man was looking at violent child-themed pornography in public, right in front of me. It is bad that the airline would do nothing about it. But, I cannot believe that a middle-aged woman would be so ingrained with this pornified culture, that she would say 'No one cares.'"
Yeah, Dawn, it's just amazing that some people (dare I say "most"?) find depictions of nudity and sex unremarkable—though I can understand how someone who makes her living trying to censor other people's access to such depictions would be shocked that someone would actually tell you the truth to your face. And again, we only have your word that the material was "violent child-themed pornography"; it could just as easily have been adult women going topless and practicing a bit of domination play—and which scenario seems more likely to have been displayed on a commercial airline flight?
"During the flight, I went through a million emotions," Dawn continued. "I felt hopeless and as though there's just nothing we can do to stop this."
Gosh, that's a lot! We're guessing that even in the most stressing of circumstances, most of us would go through about 999,900 fewer emotions than you did. And you definitely should feel hopeless: Sex and porn are here to stay.
And then comes the pitch:
"But, then, I remembered, that even though I felt alone, I know that millions of Americans are on my side," Dawn imagines. "I am not alone in feeling like this is extremely exploitative of women. I am not alone in feeling like this is wrong. I realized that we just have to fight harder. We have to be louder. We have to make sure people understand that pornography harms. This woman has no idea that pornography is wreaking havoc in the lives of millions, tearing apart countless families, destroying our kids' chance of having a normal relationship, contributing to the demand for sex trafficking and so much more. She is WRONG! Millions care. You care."
Yeah, but what we care about is know-nothing religious busybodies trying to be the "porn police" for all of society, so FUCK YOU for claiming that sexually explicit material made by, for and with consenting adults hurts ANYBODY who doesn't already suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder—one symptom of which might be standing in the middle of an airplane aisle ranting loudly about what some other passenger is looking at on his iPad.
Uh-oh! Looks like the anti-porn crowd is reading our stuff again:
"Soon after the video was up, the porn industry, through their trade magazine, Adult Video News, attacked Dawn in an editorial, not the man looking at porn on the plane, for being uncomfortable at being forced to look at porn in a public place," wrote Dawn's boss, former Obscenity Unit prosecutor Patrick Trueman, in an email sent to supporters today.
The "video" Trueman's referring to is this one, which we didn't see before writing the article—but check out how emotional Dawn gets about this incident, even a full day after her flight. We mean, she appears in the video to be in her mid-20s, yet she's still crying about this! Talk about lack of emotional maturity!
Here are some of the more interesting details from the video, which mostly shore up the concepts that A) this is a tempest in a teapot, and B) Dawn is even more shameless than her email in shading the truth... if not outright lying:
"I sat back for enough time for him to flip through about eight images," Dawn reported. "They were all of very young girls. I couldn't tell if they were 14 or 18; they were definitely young. They were all Asian, and a couple of the photographs were very violent in nature. One even had one girl whipping the other girl with a whip."
Isn't it important, when you're accusing someone of looking at "child-themed" sexual imagery, that you ascertain whether the images are of actual minors? Because if they're not, it's just regular porn, which has received Supreme Court protection at least since their 2003 decision in Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition, which said that for something to be child pornography, it has to involve actual children.
"The flight attendant, he just stood there, did nothing," Dawn stated. "He said there was nothing he could do. He could have just asked the man to put it away, not look at it. I was astounded. I couldn't believe that he refused to do anything, especially because it was making me and other passengers so uncomfortable, and I'm sure it was making the other passengers uncomfortable as well."
We can only wonder why Dawn is so sure "it was making the other passengers uncomfortable as well." After all, no one said anything in support of Dawn's position, at least as far as Dawn reported in her video, so how does she know? Or could it just possibly be a little projection on Dawn's part? After all, she's anti-porn, so she apparently assumed that most other adults shared her view.
"A few minutes later," she continued, "I leaned forward and in a much quieter voice directed just at the man, I said to him, 'Sir, I'm heading right now to speak at a conference about pornography and sex trafficking. You're contributing to the problem. You're exploiting millions of women and children. You're creating the demand. You're the one contributing to all this harm."
Yeah, a guy looking at "dirty pictures" of what are most likely adults engaged in some domination play is "exploiting millions of women and children" apparently by "creating the demand" for images of adults engaged in sex play with other adults, with no evidence that the women in the photos were coerced in any way—so how in hell is the guy "contributing to all this harm"?!?!? What harm? People—adults!—getting paid to have sexual fun? That ain't harm, lady!
Also, it turns out that the lady who told Dawn to "Be quiet. No one cares," was "probably in her 50s"—certainly old enough to have a better sense of what's accepted in modern adult society than the hyper-emotional 20-something Dawn.
"I could not believe that a woman of all people would stand up and tell me to be quiet," Dawn sobbed. "She didn't tell the man to stop looking at pornography; she didn't say anything about that; she just said no one cared that he was looking at pornography, what was likely child pornography, on the airplane, right in front of all of us. She said to just let it go."
Of course, since Dawn was the only one to make a big deal out of the guy's in-flight entertainment, there's a good possibility that the 50-ish woman was right: No one cared. And again, Dawn accused the guy of looking at child porn with no evidence whatsoever beyond her own jaundiced opinion of what the images depicted.
After going through her "million emotions, most of which were disbelief and extreme sadness and hopelessness in the fight against pornography," Dawn continued, "I couldn't believe that a woman of all people, an older woman, wasn't on our side, didn't see anything wrong with the exploitation and degradation of women and likely children right then and there."
Well, Dawn, perhaps the woman was old enough to have heard that we have this thing in our country call the "First Amendment," which even the Supreme Court agrees guarantees each person's right to look at sexual imagery, and even to possess obscene materials in the privacy of his/her own home! And again, Dawn couldn't seem to make her point without another claim, still without proof, that the photos were of children. In fact, as the response video by "JordanOwen42" (whom Trueman refers to as a "foul-mouthed man") notes, many Asian women look younger than they actually are, so one should be extra careful in assuming that they're kids.
After that, the assumptions come quickly and furiously:
"We know that pornography is so addictive, and that man was likely very addicted to where—that's why he was looking at porn right then, that early; he couldn't help it. I feel really bad for him, part of me does, just because I understand that he must be struggling with these urges and I'm sure that he doesn't [understand]. He's not happy and he doesn't want that, but it hurt even more that a woman would tell me that people don't care about this. It's a danger to children, pornography, especially if children were going to be exposed to it on an airplane. It is no place for pornography, on an airplane. I feel like even most porn users would agree that there's no place for pornography on an airplane. A wealth of research today demonstrates that pornography consumption is the leading cause for sexual violence and sexual assault. This is a safety hazard also. [chuckles] In a public place as tight and small as an airplane, we can't have that."
Where to start? Where to start?
OF COURSE porn is not a "danger to children," whether on an airplane or anywhere else, and if children were being brought up by parents who are sexually sane and who would explain what sex (and porn) is about from the earliest age the kids are developed enough to understand it, they'd barely notice it when they see it—and "a wealth of research today" shows that until children begin puberty, they have little or no interest in porn (or sex) at all—unless some assholes like Trueman and Hawkins and their ilk make a big deal about it.
And of course, it's a lie that ANY peer-reviewed scientific research has "demonstrate[d] that pornography consumption is the leading cause for sexual violence and sexual assault." Alcohol and an upbringing that teaches kids (as most religions do) that women are second-class humans are the main causes of that!
But contrary to our previous assumption, apparently Dawn did do something about the "problem" when she got off the plane.
"I got off the airplane and I reported it to a police officer, who promised to investigate. He went to the man's next gate, especially because the likelihood it was child pornography was pretty high[!], but he said that if it was adult pornography, there was nothing he could do because Delta and many other airlines have no policy about this kind of content on their flights."
And since, according to our internet search for child porn arrests, none was reported as occurring at Detroit Metro Airport over the weekend, we guess we can assume that either the porn on the guy's iPad was not child porn, or (more likely) the officer Dawn spoke to simply shined her on and told her what she wanted to hear, and didn't see any point in bothering the other passenger over that kind of horseshit.
"Needless to say, airlines need to have a policy; it needs to be spelled out that obscenity and pornography is not allowed on airplanes; this is a danger to all passengers, to flight attendants. It would be a very unhealthy working place, workplace; that would be sexual harassment anywhere else."
Well, it might have been sexual harassment if the porn-viewing passenger had been a fellow airline employee, but one suspects that flight attendants have generally been trained to ignore pretty much anything a passenger does that doesn't directly harm others or cause actual problems for the flight or the crew.
But no; the only "danger" porn causes—or, at least, caused in this instance—was to make poor little fundamentalist-minded Dawn Hawkins shed a few tears, which sadly weren't about lamenting her lack of understanding of the proper place(s) of sex and porn in the modern real world.
Pictured: Dawn Hawkins, in between sobs.