Pornography 2 Essay, Research Paper
In April, 1912, the largest and most luxurious vessel ever
built set forth on its maiden voyage. The British liner Titanic
had a double bottomed hull, divided into sixteen watertight
compartments. Because as many as four of these could be
completely flooded without endangering the ship s buoyancy, the
Titanic was considered unsinkable (Winocour 1960: 12). On the
fateful night of April 14, shortly before midnight, the great
liner was steaming through the foggy North Atlantic when it
collided with an enormous iceberg. A 300 foot gash was ripped in
the ship s right side, rupturing five of its watertight
compartments. The Titanic sank into the icy depths, claiming
1,522 lives (Stephens 1987: 51).
A tragic, though often untold story about that night
concerns one man on another ship, less than 20 miles away from
the Titanic. The other vessel was the Californian, and it could
have come to the rescue of the sinking liner, if someone had been
listening. Unfortunately, the radio operator had fallen asleep
on duty. When help finally reached the disaster area it was too
late to save more than a few lives (Wade 1979: 238). The very
greatness of the Titanic had caused her crew and passengers to
feel inordinately confident. Unsinkable was such an assuring
term, but it proved a fatal misjudgment.
Like the Titanic, our great ship of state, America, has
gone adrift and is headed for a potentially fatal collision.
Many feel she, too, is unsinkable; but that assessment is rooted
in feeling, not fact. The truth of the matter is that America
has already run into some icebergs that have damaged her hull
and she is in grave danger.
Each year the industry that produces adult products of one
kind or another chalks up profits in excess of 10 billion
dollars. That is as much as the legitimate movie and record
industries make combined (Wright 1990: 243). Six of the most
profitable newsstand monthlies are now male entertainment
magazines. Over 500,000 children are used as models in the child
pornography industry (U.S. Department of Justice 1986: 654). The
United States Attorney General s publication (1986: 654) on
syndicated child pornography noted that over 2,375 monthly
publications are produced in America on that subject alone.
Pornography is one of the most unselective evil influences
in our society. Gambling and tobacco are restricted to adults.
Alcohol is not to be sold to anyone under legal drinking age.
However, every time you walk past the average convenience store
magazine rack some form of pornography stares out at you. Though
some stores have tried to camouflage the blatant sex magazines by
covering the racks, others have it available at the register.
The aggressive, open marketing of pornographic sex began in
1955. Hugh Hefner, with little money and a center page fold-out
of a nude Marilyn Moroe, developed Playboy magazine into one of
the most amazing financial success stories in journalistic
history. Playboy s successive manipulations and distortions of
the image of women typifies the pornography-conditioning process.
As the most influential and pioneering magazine of its kind, it
laid the ground work for the whole media sexploitation movement
(cited in Morrow and Company 1980: 121). Hefner s magazine has
led the way in communicating pornography through pictures and
carefully planned written articles.
During the 20 years that followed the birth of Playboy, one
hundred competitors followed, crowding other magazines off the
newsstands. Who could have imagined that the competition in
filth would eventually excrete a magazine like Hustler, sold
worldwide and currently boasting a serious challenge to Playboy
The plague of pornography is not limited to the printed page
alone. Can anyone deny that movies are more sexually explicit
than ever? The film industry does not call it pornography, they
call it realism . The movie industries no longer bar perversion
from the screen, opening the door for an even lower level of
decency in the industry. That which has not been barred from the
screen is now no longer barred from the home. Double and triple
X rated films are now available through cable television. They
are being sold in stores on video cassettes and little by little
are filtered into prime-time television. Children left
unattended for even a short period of time could be exposed to
the rawest of pornography, simply by turning the dial in the
We are drowning our young people in violence, cynicism, and
sadism. It can be observed that the grandchildren of the kids
who used to weep because the little match girl froze to death now
feel cheated if she is not slugged, raped, and thrown into a
Police vice squads report that 77% of the child molesters of
boys and 87% of molesters of girls admitted trying out, or
imitating the sexual behavior modeled by pornography. Among
rapists, 55% said that scenes depicting heterosexual intercourse
were transferred from an outside erotic source (photo, book,
film) to their fantasy life. The same held true for 30% of the
male pedophiles (U.S. Department of Justice 1992: 237).
With explicit magazines, sensual movies and video tapes
readily available, our nation is drowning in a sea of sensuality.
One half of all divorce takes place because of adultery, often
encouraged by pornography (U.S. Bureau of Census 1991).
Charles Keating, in a report on pornography to the U.S.
Senate Judiciary Committee, reports that a recent study by the
Michigan State Police, using a computer to classify over 35,000
sex crimes committed over a 20 year period, found that 43% were
pornography related (U.S. Department of Justice 1986: 655).
Pornography gives a distorted view of human sexuality. It
stresses the erotic without giving so much as a hint of where its
path will lead. A sense of right and wrong is necessary for the
life of a civilization. In its absence society will destroy
itself. History shows that the loosening of moral bonds is the
first stage of disintegration.
Pornography constitutes a direct attack on significant
relationships because it helps create a mind-set which encourages
the treatment of people as sexual objects. Modern pornography is
an education system. It teaches. Its message is: Human beings
are mere animals; the highest value is immediate pleasure; other
people may be used, abused, and then discarded. It teaches that
sex is divorced from love, commitment, morality, and
responsibility. That perversion is to be preferred to normality,
that women are fair game for anyone who cares to exploit them.
No one can accurately calculate the number of divorces,
emotional scars, the bondage and the guilt that pornography has
brought to society. Only a massive effort on the part of
thousands can possibly cure the disease of pornography.
Fortunately, there are groups such as the National Federation for
Decency which help to wage the battle against pornography. There
are cities in America where adult bookstores have been closed
because of the insistence of citizens that the laws be applied.
Millions of citizens could, if they wished, boycott those stores
where pornography is sold. In a perfect world the U.S. Attorney
General s Office would receive a blizzard of mail requesting the
enforcement of the federal law which prohibits obscene materials
from moving in interstate commerce.
For many citizens the movie theater used to be taboo.
Today s generation, by and large, regard it as neutral. A place
that can show good or evil. Gradually it has become more
difficult to draw the line. Movies that are more risqu often
leave people with the knowledge that they could have been better
had some scenes been cut. Offenses are tolerated, often with the
excuse that it is no worse than what you can see on television.
Fueled by the explosive power of sexuality, the invisible
line has been pushed farther and farther down the path of
sensuality. Young people particularly are bound to find ways to
view sexually provocative movies. Many parents wonder why their
children s moral views and behavior seem looser than previous
generations. Now with the video and cable television explosion
everything is up for grabs.
The issue of legislation governing pornography remains a
major debate on the American scene. Shall legislation be further
framed to abolish pornography or does such legislation become
censorship and a violation of civil rights?
Freedom of speech does not give any person the right to walk
onto the floor of Congress and speak their mind. Their liberty
is limited not only as to where they can say it but what he says.
No individual has a right to slander others, nor do our laws
allow him or her the liberty to do so at will. This does not
mean that he or she lacks freedom to speak, if it be done
decently and in order.
Freedom of the press means the liberty to publish, but it
does not mean liberty to publish libelous or inflammatory
statements. Nor has anyone the right to publish another person s
property, to publish stolen or copyrighted materials. No one has
the right to publish materials violating the privacy rights of
Can we give anyone unlimited liberty to do as they please?
Can people rob each other whenever they see fit? Kill at will?
If permitted, soon no one would have liberty. Even liberty
itself is under law. The basic premise of American law calls for
liberty of speech and freedom of press, subject to the necessary
restrictions of law and order. The purpose of current
legislative proposals concerning pornography is not the
destruction of liberty but its furtherance.
Pornography demands a world of moral anarchy, a world in
which anything and everything goes, especially if it is
perverted. It is hostile to law and order itself. Pornography
denies the very concept of law. It believes in a world without
law and is dedicated to creating it. It must destroy liberty in
order to usher in anarchy and a world without law.
Under the cloak and name of liberty, the pornographers are
out to destroy liberty. The defense of our historic American
system of liberty under law requires that we wage war against
Morrow, William and Company. 1980. Interview with Judith
Bat-Ada by Laura Lederer. Pp. 121 in Take Back the Night.
New York: Free Press.
Stephens, Patrick. 1987. Disasters at Sea. Ed. by Milton Watson.
NewYork: Wellingsborough Press.
U.S. Bureau of Census. 1991. Statistical Abstract of the
U.S.. Washington, DC: Author.
U.S. Department of Justice. 1986. Attorney General s
Commission on Pornography. Washington, DC: Author.
U.S. Department of Justice. 1992. Crime in the U.S.
Uniform Crime Reports. Washington, DC: Author.
Wade, Craig. 1979. The Titanic- End of a Dream. New York: Rawson
and Wade Publishers.
Winocour, Jack. 1960. The Story of the Titanic. New York: Dover
Wright, John. 1990. The Universal Almanac. San Francisco, Ca.: