Are we being assaulted by porn? Is ‘porn creep’ a valid phenomenon, or a sleazy guy in an adult bookstore?
Regina Lynn, sex columnist for Wired News, reviews Smut: A Sex Industry Insider (and Concerned Father) Says Enough Is Enough by Gil Reavill. Reavill started his career at the uber-dirty Screw magazine and has also written for Penthouse and Maxim.
Reavill makes it clear that he sees nothing wrong with sexually explicit material “being available to every consenting adult who seeks it out.” He reminds us – several times – that he opposes government censorship, supports freedom of speech and belongs to the American Civil Liberties Union.
But he objects strenuously to having smut flung in our faces when we’re not looking for it, not consenting to it or not old enough to understand it. He’s not alone. He refers to a Parents, Media and Public Policy poll conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation in 2004, in which 60 percent of the respondents rated themselves “very” concerned about how much sex their children see on television. The internet was a secondary apprehension.
Says Lynn of Reavill’s book:
It’s not a diatribe against the porn machine or an attempt to impose one uniform set of morals on a million other people.
Instead, he presents a well-supported argument about how much sexually explicit content is forced on us each day. And he makes several common-sense suggestions about what we can do to stop it.
Right about now I can sense some First Amendment hackles rising. Let me assure you, this is not about eroding our civil rights. It’s about upholding them.
When you live in a community, you have to make some adjustments that aren’t required if you live 10 miles from your nearest neighbor. It’s rude to let your car alarm blare all day, to play your music at top volume late at night and to send your dog down the street to defecate on someone else’s lawn.
Likewise, it’s rude to force your sexual expression on folks who don’t want to see it. I doubt you would be thrilled if I barged into your house and wallpapered your dining room with Michael Brandon posters without your permission.
Yet that’s what it feels like when you drive down a city street and every billboard leers or propositions you. Or when you check your e-mail and you have spam sporting subject lines about incest, bestiality and statutory rape.
Slippery slope? As always, it comes back to the question of where to draw the line, and who gets to draw it.
Check out the book, and the review.