BLACKOUT NOTICE: If you reside in a community where your elected and law-enforcement leaders have indicated that responsible, verified adults like you should be forbidden to view explicit content depicting the actions of other responsible, verified and consenting adults, some content on this page may be censored for your protection.
That ominous warning is taken verbatim from a typical adult-oriented archives page at iFriends, the megasite where sluts, swingers, sadists, and amateurs of a similar stripe do their thing on webcams for the world to see . Some of them even make a buck or two while they’re at it. If you read the “Blackout Notice” closely, you’ll see it has nothing to do with informing the reader that he or she needs to be of a certain age to view the material, perhaps because the viewer has already provided a credit card and is thus a “verified adult.” No, this warning is letting you know that even though you have ponied up your plastic and proved your maturity, you still may not be able to view some of the material contained therein because your “elected and law-enforcement” leaders don’t think it’s good for you – a verified adult – to watch other verified, consenting adults bump uglies. As if to say, “Fuck the First Amendment and the Constitution it rode in on,” these hardworking officials are making it clear that they wouldn’t watch such filth, and by God, that means you’re not going to either.
And while some communities are indeed less tolerant of your inviolable rights than others, this hateful attitude starts right at the top and trickles down from there.
Such an Orwellian moment begs the question, “Where did we go wrong?” When did the Land of the Free turn into one giant Gladys Kravitz? When did we become a nation of prudes and busybodies who can’t keep their noses out of their neighbors’ pants? When did America turn down this frightening path? The sad answer is that we never had to hang a right to get where we are today. Like an inebriated Cary Grant in North by Northwest, we’ve been careening down the same dangerous mountain road for decades, swerving back and forth between the side rails of repression and indulgence with a muddled sense of white-knuckled self-preservation and a throbbing boner in our slacks.
Today’s hoopla over smut began in earnest in the early ’70s when porn reared its head from our cultural lap with the singular accomplishment of a conditioned gag reflex. Nixon tried to rig a commission to conclude that porn was bad, but their findings – based, oddly enough, on scientific fact rather than religious prattle – proved the opposite. Deep Throat took down Tricky Dick in more ways than one.
Porn’s golden era continued to flourish under Jimmy Carter, who, bless his soul, “committed adultery in [his] heart many times.” One glance at Ron and Nancy Reagan’s righteous mugs, however, and it was clear the party was over. Ironically, by the time the legacy of the Meese Commission came to pass, Dutch was well into his first drool cup, Bush the Elder had already been tossed out of office, and the country was about to enter eight years of laissez-faire domestic porn policy that would blow its wad with an Oval Office sex scandal.
After Ken Starr failed to legitimize a veritable grocery list of sins and accusations concocted to bring down Clinton, the right finally succeeded in nailing the president for lying about a blowjob that was no one’s business in the first place. Gladys Kravitz, meet Linda Tripp.
Sound familiar? For all their puritanical bluster, conservatives, not liberals, are the ones who are morbidly obsessed with sex. It’s a formidable weapon in their big bag of dirty tricks, a political cudgel so irresistible they’ll even use it on each other. That’s how the Bush camp stopped John McCain’s juggernaut in the 2000 South Carolina Republican primary with rumors of his fathering a “black love child.”
Now they’re gearing up to do it again as Dubya lays siege to the familiar windmills of the adult industry with Alberto Gonzales as Sancho Panza by his side. It’s the perfect Weapon of Mass Distraction, a sleight of hand on a global level with a not-so-subtle secret message: Forget the war we cannot win, forget the environment we’ve trashed, forget the ever-widening gap we’ve created between the haves and the have-nots. Forget our lies, deceit, and hypocrisy. And while you’re at it, get your goddamn hands out of your pants and your minds out of the gutter--and everything will be just fine.
This editorial has been censored for your protection.