CLOUD CUCKOO LAND—Last week, the Morality in Media (MIM)/PornHarms.org crowd, always hot after those donations to rescue innocent Americans from the scourge of seeing someone else do on TV what they do in their own bedrooms, mounted a "Phone the Justice Department" campaign to try to cajole anyone who picked up the receiver to prosecute more "illegal pornography," even if no one knows just what that is until a jury renders a verdict.
Well, AVN readers know how that turned out!
So now, eager to get even more donations press their case, MIM CEO Patrick Trueman has come up with another stunning idea: Petition President and Mrs. Obama to urge Attorney General Eric Holder to find more innocent businesspeople to persecute waste more tax money and valuable employees' time order the FBI to mount more sting operations in an attempt to snare even more adult producers into sending sexually explicit material somewhere where even classy storyline features can find disfavor with 12 sexually repressed jury members.
"We are writing to you because we know that you, like all American parents, are concerned with the protection of your children from the scourge of sexual exploitation in our pornified society," MIM's petition begins. "Hardcore adult pornography is pouring into our nation’s communities and homes through the Internet and elsewhere and causing great harm.
"We want to express our concerns about the U. S. Department of Justice and your Attorney General, Eric Holder, who, to date, has failed to enforce our nation’s federal obscenity laws against commercial distributors of illegal hardcore adult pornography despite court decisions upholding these laws and overwhelming public support for prosecution."
Actually, there's virtually no public support for prosecuting sexual materials except among religious conservatives, unless one counts the weasel-worded polls conducted by anti-porn activist groups. On the other hand, a Time magazine poll conducted in 1986 just after the Meese Commission had issued its final report found that, "Only 38% of those polled agree that sexually explicit movies, magazines or books have 'harmful effects upon people' (48% of the women do so, but just 27% of the men). More surprisingly, 45% believe that such materials either do not 'change what people are like' or actually have positive effects on them. A plurality (47%) agree that sexually explicit materials 'can be healthy as a marital aid' (44% consider this not true, while 9% are not sure). Similarly, 44% concur that pornography can 'provide a useful outlet for people who are sexually frustrated' (41% disagree and 15% are uncertain)."
More to the point, though, that same poll found that, "Whether or not they consider some forms of pornography to be harmful, 78% of the respondents agree either strongly or in part that people should have a right to buy it. A solid 66% agree with the statement that 'pornography is a fact of life. Most people like to look at pornography at least occasionally.' They split equally on whether 'most pornography is acceptable to me' (49% agree, 49% disagree)."
(Of course, First Amendment advocates do not agree that a person's speech rights should have anything to do with public opinion polls.)
Still, more recently, a Kinsey Institute survey conducted after a PBS Frontline broadcast on porn in 2002 found that of 10,453 respondents, 86 percent felt that porn "can educate people"; 72 percent felt "it offers a harmless outlet for unconventional or other private fantasies"; 68 percent thought "it can lead to more open attitudes about (one's own) sexuality"; and 55 percent felt "it can improve relationships."
Finally, in The Porn Report, a study conducted by two researchers at the University of New South Wales and an associate professor at the Queensland University of Technology and published in 2008, the top three "effects of pornography" listed by the 1,023 respondents—all themselves consumers of porn—were, "Makes them more relaxed and comfortable about sex," "Makes them more open-minded and willing to experiment," and "Makes them more tolerant of other people's sexual pleasure."
Of course, supporters of porn prosecutions have never let facts stand in their way. The Obama "petition" makes the usual claims about sexually explicit content: That it leads to "increased prostitution and sex trafficking"—including the ludicrous claim that "many of the performers in pornography [are] trafficked individuals"; that porn leads to an increase in child porn "because consumers of adult pornography nearly always move to harder, more deviant pornography to attain sexual excitement" [emphasis added]; that porn is addictive; that it leads to violence against women "because much mainstream pornography contains material that sexualizes extreme violence against women";and that it "conditions men and boys to view women and girls as sexual objects, and grooms girls to be compliant victims."
Those actually familiar with the adult industry and its products can be forgiven for failing to see themselves in any of those claims.
But the lies keep piling on: "Attorney General Holder acknowledged many of these harms in his recent testimony before the U. S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary," the petition states. "Specifically, General Holder agreed that adult pornography is leading to trafficking, violence against women, and an increase in child pornography."
No, in answer to specific questions by Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA), Holder said porn "probably" did that, but when asked about the information he had that led to those non-conclusions, he said he had none but would research it.
Finally, the petition approvingly cites the "wealth of peer-reviewed studies" that can allegedly be found on the PornHarms website—in fact, there are barely any that have been subject to actual scientific scrutiny—and the much-ballyhooed collection of non-peer-reviewed studies, "The Social Costs of Pornography," conducted by associates of the fundamentalist Witherspoon Institute and published as a booklet in 2010. And of course, the petition notes that the U.S. Supreme Court, in contradiction to the clear wording of the First Amendment, has declared "obscene material" to be "unprotected by the first amendment."
"Mr. President, we call upon you to immediately order Attorney General Holder to begin vigorous prosecution of the major commercial producers and distributors of illegal hardcore obscene pornography," the petition concludes. "Mrs. Obama, we urge you to speak out for the dignity and respect of every woman and child and help those exploited and harmed by pornography."
Hopefully, the President and First Lady will give this "petition" all the attention it deserves—possibly while sitting in front of their own TV set and enjoying the fine fare sold by "the major commercial producers" of quality adult content.