[lit-ideas] Re: Torture and pornography

  • From: Teemu Pyyluoma <teme17@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 28 May 2004 08:32:47 -0700 (PDT)

I read this piece twice now, at first reading I was
mildy annoyed and after second reading I am starting
to get upset. Because it looks like something
reasonable and balanced written with best of
intentions, while is at best vague and at worst
dangerous nonsense.

What she is saying is that if we would see pornography
for what it is (torture) we would be as outraged as we
are at the soldiers in Abu Ghraib. We would not
"tolerate it." Perhaps it is just because I come from
a Lutherian culture that I somehow consider moral
outrage non-collective. But I just can't figure out
what would actually change if most of us recognized
pornography as at least morally dubious if not
outright wrong. Because we do already! It's not like
Buttman IV is something you would make smalltalk off.
Those who consume pornography go to great lenghts to
keep it secret. And so on. So maybe she is just

But then again there is a chance that where she is
really heading is that we should treat producers of
pornography the same way we treat the torturers. She
doesn't say that out loud, the closest she comes is
this: "However, regardless of our lack of agreement
about the causal claims [between pornography and
violence] -- and about the political desirability and
the constitutional permissibility of restricting
pornography -- the Abu Ghraib scandal should enable
all of us to see the moral dubiousness of an
industry..." "Consitutional permissibility" is a
colossal understatement, considering that every
previous effort to illegalize pornography has basicly
ended with something akin to Nabokoff, Heffner,
Salinger and the guy who directed Buttman IV at the
same degenerate filth bracket. Treating the
impossibility of providing a legally unambigous
definition of pornography as a mere technical problem
is dangerous nonsense.

Helsinki, Finland

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