The battle for control of the sexual discourse

21 Mar

One thing that remains unacknowledged in anti porn literature I’ve read is that classification guidelines in Australia already address the kind of pornographic sexual violence to which the campaigners are opposed. This is well explained in Nick Ross’s article on the classification riddle, with these examples of what the “Refused Classification” category disallows:

No depiction of violence, sexual violence, sexualised violence or coercion is allowed in the category. It does not allow sexually assaultive language. Nor does it allow consensual depictions which purposefully demean anyone involved in that activity for the enjoyment of viewers.

Fetishes such as body piercing [and tattooing], application of substances such as candle wax, ‘golden showers’, bondage, spanking or fisting are not permitted. As the category is restricted to activity between consenting adults, it does not permit any depictions of non-adult persons, including those aged 16 or 17, nor of adult persons who look like they are under 18 years….

Depictions of bestiality, necrophilia, incest, drug use, paedophilia, detailed instruction or promotion in matters of crime, high-impact violence and cruelty

And with regard specifically to violence associated with sex, the following is in the refused classification category: Violence: rough or injurious physical force, action, or treatment. This includes actual violence (shooting, punching, pushing, throwing a person, etc), implied violence (gunshot sound effect, news article, mugshots), aftermath of violence (person with injury, dead body), threat of violence (“I’ll kill you”), and violent behavior (woman holding gun while engaged in sex with man). Note down ANY and ALL violence, even if it looks contrived or unrealistic (plastic swords, etc). Depictions of dead people are also not permitted.

 When we have restrictions such as these already in place, what more can anti porn campaigners want?

In my opinion some campaigners are engaged in a moral battle to control who may desire whom, when and how. Their arguments are founded on conservative moral assumptions about what sex is or ought to be, how it can and can’t be performed, and by whom. To this end they define pornography as not about sex, but solely about violence against women.

Anti porn campaigners conflate sexual violence and exploitation with pornography to strengthen their argument against it, even though there’s a variety of porn available, from the inoffensive to the frightening. They allow no exceptions: their position is that all porn is bad because all porn is inherently violent and exploitative.

They also conflate fantasy with reality. Women who enjoy rape fantasies for example are not usually hoping to be raped. Some 31 to 57 per cent of women are estimated to have such fantasies, and there are other fantasies both women and men enjoy without the desire to act them out, as this article explains. Mentally healthy people know the difference between fantasy and reality. What I suspect anti porn campaigners would like is for people not to have fantasies of domination and submission, or any other fantasy that involves what the activists perceive as contrary to what sex is “supposed” to be. The battle is not only to control how we perform sex, but also to control how we imagine it by casting desire as violent and exploitative if it transgresses conservative boundaries.

For some women the consumption of porn is a radical act, and the acknowledgement that we experience desires not traditionally associated with our sex can be liberating. This doesn’t make us disturbed or bad. One of the dangers of the anti porn campaign is that it seeks to repress desires it considers inappropriate. This includes women’s desires, and as we have not yet entirely clawed our way out of sexual repression we need to be conscious of the possibility of losing what we’ve gained.

Porn undeniably appeals strongly to emotions and desires, otherwise there wouldn’t be so much of it. Pornography conveys a multitude of messages that elicit complicated responses. Sexual emotions are immensely complex. Many of our desires are formed or influenced long before we begin our sexual lives. Pornography, whether those against it like it or not, speaks to us about very real desires. Not all of them are easy to accept, nevertheless we are creatures of the dark as well as the light, and accept this we must, bearing in mind that we have laws in place to deal with real violence and exploitation.

Anti porn campaigners often express a view of sex that is sentimental and euphemistic. Sex should be devoid of messiness, vulgarity, impulses to power and aggression of any kind. Certain sexual acts disgust them, as campaigner Gail Dines makes graphically apparent. What really matters in sex, they claim, is the relationship. Sex as the expression of complicated emotions, not all of them pretty, sex as a performance of erotic power, male or female, and sex as a means of gratifying physical desire without emotional commitment, is apparently abhorrent to them.

As  campaigner Emma Rush wrote recently: “To be anti-porn does not mean being anti-sex. Rather, it promotes sex in the context of loving relationships.”  Yet “loving relationships” are only one avenue of sexual expression. Sex takes place in many contexts, and to imply that unless it is in a context of “loving relationship” it’s violent, destructive, immoral and pornographic is blatantly wrong. For example, is the author saying that couples in the throes of separation ought not to have sex because they no longer wish to maintain their “loving relationship?”  Is she arguing that nobody should have sex until they know they love one another? Just what is her definition of a “loving relationship?” What passes for love may at times be far from what some consider ideal, and love can be as confusing as sex.

Another anti porn activist, Clive Hamilton, makes this observation about “casual” sex: Perhaps this is why many people are left with a vague feeling that each time they have casual sex they give away a little of themselves, that something sacred is profaned and they are diminished as a result. Casual sex truly is meaningless sex.

The construction of a sexual ‘ideal’ or indeed an ideal of “love” that is exterior to the imperfect human condition, complete with prescriptives and prohibitions for its attainment, is not entirely dissimilar to constructing a theology, in that both demand an act of belief in a point of origin, an authoritative external presence, from which instruction on the rightness or wrongness of a practice emanates.

Claims of the rightness of a sexuality confined to “loving relationships” and the alleged profanity of casual sex must refer to the commandments of some metaphysical authority, unless Rush and Hamilton assume an infallible authority for themselves. Alternatively, their positions are social constructs, and if that is the case, we need to be convinced why they ought to have more influence over us than any other social construct. Empirical evidence for claims is the best way to establish this. Rush and Hamilton et al need to prove the “sacredness” of sex, the profanity of casual sex, and the need to confine sex to loving relationships, or risk being perceived as founding their campaign in a crypto theology that is of no real consequence to anyone other than those who believe in it.

While there is no doubt sex can be a powerfully binding metaphysical experience, this is not its only function. And isn’t it possible to have an intensely powerful experience with a “casual” partner? Sex can transport us to an altered and exalted state of consciousness. Sexual emotions can break through inhibitions and boundaries. Does it happen every time we have sex? If it doesn’t, even within a loving monogamous relationship, has sex been “profaned?”

Demagogic moral outrage of the kind exhibited by many anti porn activists is fuelled by emotions that cast any sexual practices other than those they deem acceptable as immoral and violent.  As the law already offers protection, anti porn campaigners are likely on a crusade for social purity based on personal preferences.  It’s a battle for control over sexual expression, for what people do and watch in the privacy of their homes. It’s a battle to control the manifold expressions of desire.  It’s a familiar battle for control over the public discourse on sex, and it’s one that must be contested whenever it reappears. Replacing one dominant representation of sexuality with another is no answer and does little but create another class of “deviance.”

163 Responses to “The battle for control of the sexual discourse”

  1. Ray (novelactivist) March 21, 2012 at 9:50 am #

    They are panicked about the internet, which is not governed by the classification system.


  2. hudsongodfrey March 21, 2012 at 10:58 am #

    When you say that campaigner’s like Gail Dines “define pornography as not about sex, but solely about violence against women” I think that they actually do something a little more subtle, but in a way that is slipperier to deal with. They insert the thin edge of the wedge by making a point that of the face of it is harder to disagree with. Harm is wrong and therefore it is easier to attack aspects of porn that appear to be overtly violent and then to argue that they’re overrepresented in the porn that is being consumed. They also argue other things and in truth I think you’d be pressed to extract from them any kind of statement that agreed on balance that some porn may be okay or even less imbued with the imprimatur of Satan himself that other kinds. However the cleverness of their tactic is to try and have us arguing in defence of “two girls one cup”.

    I strongly identify with what you have to say about their apparent inability to distinguish fantasy from reality even to the extent that quite young children appear to be able to do so in coping with depicted violence. This is the mentality that once generated the statistic that the Roadrunner was the most violent show on TV. I just thought it was funny when the coyote fell off the cliff!?

    Interestingly when it comes to people’s attitudes to sex be it casual or otherwise I don’t think any of us have a great deal of trouble recognising that all kinds of relationships can the alternately pleasant and rewarding or liable to have painful aftermaths. Sometimes we’ll accept that the pleasure outweighs the pain, and often we’ll regret convincing ourselves of that later. Formulating strict rules about those things for others to follow strikes me in equal parts as incredibly arrogant of the rule makers and dehumanising of the rest of us. Such appeals to chastity are tantamount to the kind of thing slave owners imposed on their human chattels, or that institutions have often forced upon the mentally handicapped.

    My real objection to people whose philosophy includes formulaic relationship advice is to being treated in an adult manner as if we were children incapable of exploring and navigating our way in life without their attempts to impose their moral edicts on our moral agency. That kind of so called “morality” subverts any merit obtained from an individual’s moral choice including what that person regards as the right thing to do not only for themselves but for the partners whom they directly affect and wider society at large. To believe that the individual is only capable of navigating sexuality in terms of their own gratification is to set to low a moral standard. One that merely establishes behaviours that might be considered “good” because of customary or social pressure in the hope that people will conform. A pathetic substitute for understanding a moral landscape where one chooses to be motivated by the desire to do “good”, and may even forgiven should they occasionally get it wrong.

    One interesting interlude involving Gail Dines occurred when she appeared in “Penn & Teller’s Bullshit!” on Showtime. For those who’ve never seen it or them, Teller is the silent one while Penn’s shtick is to exclaim a rather entertaining stream of profanities inferring what is generally understood to be accusatory. This was sometimes even done under advice to avoid actually saying anything that might get the show in legal hot water. She tells her side of the story here, and I’ll post that link below allowing those who want to find the show on the internet to do so later, because no matter how she later chooses to spin it, in her own words “there are no good studies”.


    • Jennifer Wilson March 22, 2012 at 6:32 am #

      I resent the attempt by the anti porn crowd to deny people the right to make their own mistakes. They seem to be bent on fencing off every cliff so nobody can slip off, instead of allowing us to exercise our own judgement as to whether or not we should walk there, and to take responsibility fort that decision whether it works out or not. Helicopters for adults, that’s what they are. Well intentioned, on the whole, but missing the point.


  3. Ray (novelactivist) March 21, 2012 at 12:33 pm #

    What I find particularly irritating is that those who arrogate to themselves the right to judge on my behalf often prove themselves to be ignorant and somewhat dim.


  4. samjandwich March 21, 2012 at 1:27 pm #

    “Rush and Hamilton et al need to prove the “sacredness” of sex, the profanity of casual sex, and the need to confine sex to loving relationships, or risk being perceived as founding their campaign in a crypto theology that is of no real consequence to anyone other than those who believe in it.”

    I’m a bit concerned that anti-porn campaigners could equally describe what they see as “deviant” sexual desires or fantasies as social constructs. They might contend that a woman who has submissive fantasies is being subliminally influenced by the patriarchal medium in which she exists. It would be very difficult to prove otherwise through appeal to empirical evidence. Rather, the extent to which people incorporate outside influences is I would argue something that each individual needs to go through a process of self-examination over, in order to establish in their own minds whether their sexual desires are healthy and whether acting on them would be an act of self-affirmation, or whether they have been somehow formed by malicious or malignant forces.

    What I’ve always thought about anti-porn campaigners (and actually this is similar to what HG above said) is that they lack sufficient faith in humanity to comprehend that people (well, the vast majority of them) are perfectly capable of performing this self-analysis and of making their own decisions about what’s right and what’s wrong. That is, they describe the behaviour they observe in pornography as an effect of necessarily dysfunctional thinking… and then cast this as the exclusive, normative way in which the scenario can be perceived – thus implying that anyone involved, including those who are aroused by it, are dysfunctional. Gail Dines’ oft-repeated statement, that men in porn films are simply “amoral life support systems for erect penises”, is a case in point. I would argue this is simply a failure of perception. This is a little difficult to explain without reference to a piece of anti-porn literature (which I’m not going to do because reading it depresses me – though the quote from Clive Hamilton that Jennifer cites will do), but essentially it becomes quite clear on reading this stuff that the commentators, usually unbeknownst to themselves, hold a pre-conception that anyone involved with or using pornography is doing it from a position of diminished responsibility. These commentators simply unfailingly assume the worst of people – and I think that is the key to understanding that what they’re on about… And if I may be so bold, I think this is a bit of an insight into their own (disordered) thinking styles, namely xenophobia, self-loathing, misanthropy (and they’re not ad hominems; just simple analytics).

    I was in the Q&A audience on Monday, where the California-based priest Craig Gross said “Jesus loves porn stars as much as he loves pastors”. I was quite impressed with this bloke and his approach. He takes the view that, while censorship is unrealistic, the potential does exist for pornography to be damaging *if* it is used irresponsibly – but that this doesn’t necessarily need to be the case. Sensible adults, or even teenagers who understand about mutual respect and the complications of its intersections with sexuality, are perfectly capable of using porn for the purpose of gratifying their sexual curiosities. All we have to do is be educated enough to spot when someone really is dysfunctional, and is using porn in unhealthy ways, and we can avoid having that hurt us. Who’d have thought? A Christian who has faith in the fundamental goodness in people!


    • Jennifer Wilson March 22, 2012 at 6:38 am #

      Yes, well the social construct argument goes both ways. The difference being one is proscriptive and controlling. The construction of desire is a valid perspective – perhaps all our fantasies are pre determined by the public and private environment in which we develop. As you point out, we need to have the skills to analyse and negotiate the sexual landscape we live within, I think that over protective prohibitions don’t encourage the development of such life skills.

      Sam writes: *essentially it becomes quite clear on reading this stuff that the commentators, usually unbeknownst to themselves, hold a pre-conception that anyone involved with or using pornography is doing it from a position of diminished responsibility.* Which for me sums up very nicely what I find so irritating in the moral superiority of these people. *these people* LOL!


    • Rebecca S. Randall March 24, 2012 at 5:49 pm #

      I too was very taken aback by Craig Gross. I was expecting something a lot more fire and brimstone, but he’s very well spoken, and very clever when it comes to communication.


      • Hypocritophobe March 24, 2012 at 7:34 pm #

        ……and he gets to watch a shed load of porn for ‘research’, on the Churches Credit card.

        (Come in Spinner.)

        Bet he has research ‘assistants’ coming out of his ears.
        (That’s ‘OUT’ of his ears.)


  5. Hypocritophobe March 21, 2012 at 1:44 pm #

    Well I think your fears can be alleviated with a simple sentence.
    The conservative prudes have no right to tell anyone how to think, about sexual fantasies or otherwise.

    Get out of bodies,bedrooms and heads,is the message I am sending. Hopefully, loud and clear.


  6. Ray (novelactivist) March 21, 2012 at 6:05 pm #

    Home now, so I have the time for a more considered comment…

    Of course you know from my own blog that I agree with you and I’ve pulled apart Dines, Reist, Hamilton, etc. Yet I think there’s something else, which I’ve been thinking about.

    It comes from some of the things these folks say which seem odd, out of place. It’s when I hear them complain that women are being expected to act like porn stars. What is this complaint really about? I think its about sexual competition and the fear of sexual inadequacy. This is not just a problem for women. Aren’t men expected to perform like porn stars? Isn’t there a growing pressure for men to have bigger penises and be studs in bed? Or perhaps be some romantic alpha male – rich, tall, dark, handsome…

    And what exactly is wrong with wanting your partner to be a better lover (male, female, gay, straight or bi)? I’ve had sexual partners who have been reserved in bed and I’ve had sexual partners who have been open, adventurous and great in bed. I know which I’d prefer. And this isn’t about exchanging intimacy for performance because there has been less intimacy with the timid lovers and greater intimacy with the more open.

    So when I hear Dines, et al, talk about certain types of sex working against intimacy I have my doubts.

    This is also about sexual competition. I reckon they feel threatened. And haven’t women always attacked the alpha females, attacked the sexual competition? Isn’t that what slut shaming and female bullying is all about? Control, and imposing mediocrity, pulling people down to a safe, manageable level?

    If only they knew. The type of female sexuality they seek to impose is very mediocre. It is imposed through sexual shaming. When Dines et al turn up their noses at certain sexual practices they are seeking conformity to mediocrity. They are expecting ‘other’ women to control their sexuality. They turn their noses up at anal sex and presumably do not know about either female or male anal orgasms. I do. So maybe they feel threatened by porn, because porn has reintroduced once taboo topics. I know women who teach other women how to ejaculate and how to give their man a prostate orgasm, who teach anal play as part of an elaborate menu, and who teach how to achieve more profound levels of intimacy.

    There’s a cheap retort that all these women (and Clive) need is a good root, but maybe all they need is a good Tantric workshop or two.


    • Hypocritophobe March 21, 2012 at 9:04 pm #

      An old friend of mine(deceased) would have said,
      ” a good root and a green apple would kill them.”
      Close to the mark,I’d say.


    • Jennifer Wilson March 22, 2012 at 6:42 am #

      The anti porn activists are indeed disgusted by some sexual practices, and seem willing to extrapolate this personal disgust to a universal moral argument. I think the portrayal of sex and bodies in some porn is very narrow and boring, and would argue for a much wider representation. More porn, better porn instead of the domination of plastic people and plastic performances


      • Ray (Novelactivist) March 22, 2012 at 7:25 am #

        Indeed, see my review of the French film Q, which they would no doubt call porn. I very intelligent and sensitive look at sexual desire. Some of this is Anglophone puritanism.


  7. paul walter March 21, 2012 at 6:36 pm #

    I think Jennifer’s fears as to control of the discursive field relate to a determinising Manichean element introduced by those who have been damaged by historically emergent civilisation,or who are as Ray suggests, a little sensitive or timid as to the adventure that sex often is by nature.
    I don’t agree that some of those more cautious concerning sex are wrong in proposing a little more sensitivity for more trepidus participants.
    The real problem is that seizure of discourse on fear or ignorance driven terms is more likely to replicate atavistic elements brought back from the mid Victorian or Puritan closet; that fear and ignorance will return, maintain or build overall emotional, reactive red-neckism throughout society which keeps society at an authoritarian hierarchical rather than free level, based in part on a negative form of artificial sexual economy.


    • Ray (novelactivist) March 21, 2012 at 8:29 pm #


      Actually, the power balance is well and truly in the favour of the more trepidus. I argue for more sensitivity for the marginalised.

      We have an ever widening gap between a growing sex-positive community and the traditional sex-negative community. The sex-positive (SP) community have always been attacked, sometimes viciously, by the sex-negative (SN) moralists. The SP community has had its art, literature and public voice continuously silenced by the SN moralists.

      This silencing has been done for irrational and bigoted reasons. The principle mechanism is shame and fear.

      I have a lot of respect for the Tantric philosophy (a critical respect) and I can assure you, despite claims to religious freedom in Australia, that Tantric religious rites cannot be openly performed because the SN Judeo-Christian tradition (and other SN moralists) have declared them obscene. Obscenity, like heresy and apostasy, is a purely religious crime. Australian law bases its definition of obscenity on the beliefs of SN Judeo-Christians. I should add that Tantra is an ancient tradition/religion/philosophy with its own revealed literature. It is not a new religion, or a cult.

      It is manifestly clear that the SP minority (in all its queer variety) has been consistently persecuted, well, ever since the Judeo-Christian domination of the Greco-Roman world.

      What has this to do with pornography? Simple. The Judeo-Christian tradition has determined that some of the art of both the Tantric and Greco-Roman tradition is pornographic and ought to be banned. Make no mistake, during both Muslim and British Christian rule in India the Tantric tradition was persecuted, its art works destroyed, all because it was deemed obscene. It also needs to be remembered that the word pornographic was created by the German art historian CO Muller to describe some of the art found in the recently excavated ruins of Pompeii. It was thought that such art was designed to arouse the patrons of brothels – hence the term porno-graphia. However more recent research has shown that some of this pornographia was found in upper and middle-class homes. Romans liked depictions of the good life: food, nature – and sex, and so created murals, statues and mosaics; some of them in public spaces.

      The ever growing SP community rejects the SN definition of obscenity and asks that it be allowed to create a sex-positive culture represented in art, literature and the public domain, free from persecution based on prejudice.

      Hmm, well, that turned into a bit of rant 😉


    • Jennifer Wilson March 22, 2012 at 6:45 am #

      Your last paragraph says it well, PW. Censorship never does much good. Personally I’m very bored with the current dominant public representation of human sexuality, and can understand anyone complaining about it, however my complaints are to do with aesthetics and imagination, rather than morality.


      • lola March 23, 2012 at 8:42 pm #

        I’m going to play with my trepidus right now – if I can find it! Is it near the G-Spot????


        • Hypocritophobe March 23, 2012 at 8:51 pm #

          Isn’t a trepidus one of the only 2 species of monotremes on earth?

          Is the G Spot a night club for egg laying mammals?


  8. doug quixote March 21, 2012 at 7:17 pm #

    If the anti-porn campaigners had their way, sexual intercourse would be allowed only between people married to each other and done with the intent to beget children.

    Sheri S Tepper wrote several excellent novels including “The Gate to Women’s Country” examining the issues using a science fantasy vehicle to do so, and Ursula K Leguin’s award winning works have also examined these issues.

    What I have called the bacwa – the banning and censoring wowser agenda – is pushed from the front by the authors and activists prepared to nail their colours to the mast, and from a more hidden place by those who like to pretend that they are presenting evidence based critiques. And we know who those ringleaders are, from this excellent blog site and from the gratifying reaction to the expose and the attempts to stifle debate and criticism.

    The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.


  9. paul walter March 21, 2012 at 8:27 pm #

    Attwood’s Handmaid’s Tale is a good one on this, a very definitive speculation.


  10. afeministmother March 21, 2012 at 9:57 pm #

    The porn industry is a world wide multi billion dollar industry – it cannot be in any real sense contained. So why do you go to such lengths to defend it? What is the point? Why can you not stand by other people and help to mitigate the distress and damage that this industry causes to women and girls – or say nothing? Why defend big business and those who so aggressively exploit the vulnerable? Stop sucking DICK and start thinking about women and girls and the reality of this pornified culture that we live in. The work of people like Abigail Bray will not destroy the industry – it
    will barely make a dent in the proliferation of porn, but it will help people like me – mothers of daughters who have to pick from potential partners whose ideas about sex are based on pornography, which affects the way they relate to women.

    Also, if a woman has the likes of Hudsongodfey supporting her then you know she is doing something that the patriarchy really likes, which should worry any woman concerned with the well being of women and girls.


    • hudsongodfrey March 21, 2012 at 11:59 pm #

      Please do tell how these campaigners are going to help you with your daughters in ways that aren’t possible through good parenting, because I just don’t see it.

      Nobody said all porn was good much less that all sex is, and I certainly don’t see where anybody here is actually setting out to defend the porn industry.

      I don’t know Abigail Bray’s work specifically, so the general comment I’d make is simply that advice is one thing and censorship is altogether another. Advice rests on the substance and merits of what it means to argue. I’d frankly welcome contributions that came from somewhere other than a bald faced expectation that if you say porn is bad everyone in the room is bound to agree with you.

      And of course I don’t need to tell you that prohibition if anything works directly against the outcome you’d probably prefer. That is to say if I can guess you’re a reasonable person and not the internet troll some already have you pegged for. That would be almost as unfortunate as calling people dick suckers, or using risible terms like “pornified” and “patriarchy”!

      It really is a pity because we want to remain civil even in our disagreements so that we can share opinions. Your idea that women and girls need their “well being” looked after by the likes of anti-porn activists is at the base of it a sexist one in that it assumes women can’t stand up for themselves.

      The term patriarchy is also a sexist one directed against men. You know men? We of the mindless tripod persuasion whom you want to convince to be chaste enough to marry your daughters one day! I really don’t know how you mean to convince anyone with that abrasive tone but when the day does come I’ll bet London to a Brick that your daughters won’t be asking you to vet possible suitors.


      • Hypocritophobe March 22, 2012 at 12:25 am #

        Ask yourself this HG.
        Who apart from this newly rehashed version, of the same relentless,repetitive troll has stalked you for interaction for such a long time?

        Now go ahead and ignore it.You’ve earned it.

        As for it


        • hudsongodfrey March 22, 2012 at 12:57 am #

          Thanks Hypocritophobe, I appreciate those sentiments. But!

          I think a person who does that either needs to be answered because there’s something of the cry for help in their behaviour, or alternately because a marketplace of ideas that isn’t allowed to fall into petty bitterness affords the opportunity to answer bad speech with better speech.

          And clever as this person we know by any number of names is, and they are genuinely quite bright, I look at it as if to say if MTR can’t Bully Jennifer then I’m sure as heck going down swinging 🙂


    • samjandwich March 22, 2012 at 12:41 am #

      Fuck it! I just wrote a nice reply to you, my purple dog biscuit shaped friend, but the log-in function deleted it.

      I’m sympathetic to your point, and I might explain why in the morning when my tolerance for cantankerous IT has returned. For the moment though I’d just like to say that Hypocritophobe, you’re young and smart, but you won’t always be that way, so don’t write yourself off just yet. I think you need to practice what you preach a bit more.


      • Hypocritophobe March 22, 2012 at 1:03 am #

        Two compliments and a piece of advice all at once.
        Thanks Jam.


      • Jennifer Wilson March 22, 2012 at 7:07 am #

        Dear Jam, write in Word and copy. Love Jennifer. 🙂


    • Jennifer Wilson March 22, 2012 at 6:51 am #

      I don’t defend the porn industry, I defend the right of adult individuals to watch whatever they like. I find the dominant representation of men and women in the porn industry offensive, not morally, but because it portrays such a narrow view of physical appearance and sexual excitement. This is the problem, IMO. Not that it is morally wrong but that it fails to come anywhere near exploring and representing the vast range of sexuality. This is the damage you speak of, I think. The only models offered by much porn are one dimensional and far from subtle.


    • Ray (Novelactivist) March 22, 2012 at 7:32 am #

      I don’t defend the porn industry at all. What I argue for is a multifaceted and intelligent erotica that caters to every section of society. What I fear is that those who argue against the ‘porn industry’ are also arguing any use of explicit sexual imagery or discussion.

      The solution to the misrepresentation of the complexities of human sexuality by the ‘industry’ is sex education. Teach your kids how porn distorts. Teach them how to be critical. Same with advertising really. Knowledge is power.


    • helvityni March 22, 2012 at 9:28 am #

      Hi there afeministmother, I knew I’d find you here… you mentioning Hudson is a giveaway of your identity…
      Hope a good partner will make you less angry, allow the daughter to choose her own…we can’t stop them…


      • helvityni March 22, 2012 at 9:31 am #

        My reply is meant for afeministmother, why did it land here?


  11. Hypocritophobe March 21, 2012 at 10:34 pm #



  12. DontSueMeMTR March 21, 2012 at 10:55 pm #

    Okay, this might get me called a moralistic wowser, but I’m going to go a bit against the tide on this one.

    “No depiction of violence, sexual violence, sexualised violence or coercion is allowed in the category. It does not allow sexually assaultive language. Nor does it allow consensual depictions which purposefully demean anyone involved in that activity for the enjoyment of viewers.”

    If this is the law it’s certainly not enforced. Look at any Australian porn catalogue, and I gaurantee you over half the X rated titles will contain scenes of women being choked, slapped in the face, spat on, and called whores, sluts, cunts, bitches, etc.

    There has also been a shift in mainstream pornography towards sex that is “extreme” and “punishing” (for the women). That’s not something I’m projecting. It’s the exact terms they print on the DVD jackets.

    Part and parcel of this has been the rise and rise of all-anal and anal gangbang titles.

    A lot of the arguments I’ve heard made about the problem with porn is that young people watch this stuff, and because it’s the only type of sex they ever see (love scenes have just about disappeared from mainstream movies) they think that that’s the way it should or has to be done — the “correct” way, for lack of a better term.

    I think there’s probably a point to this arguement. Where my opinion differs from the anti-porn crusader is that I do not believe that censorship can or should be any kind of solution. If this is indeed a problem, then I think the best solution would probably be to provide young people with a wider variety (and what in my own personal opinion would be a higher quality) of sexually explicit material and better sex education. In other words, you don’t fight a bad idea with ignorance.


    • hudsongodfrey March 22, 2012 at 12:47 am #

      Well Don’tSue,

      I’m not going to call you a moralistic wowser. I’d just say you’ve probably got better taste than to find what you interpret as abuse rather than fantasy to be entertaining, and I respect that because I personally feel the same way.

      There is a whole conversation we could have as to whether adult entertainment in order to be entertaining needs to present fantasies that are about anything but intimacy. One view might be based around the oft repeated theme of the prostitute who’ll do almost anything, except kissing. Maybe sharing anything too close to true intimacy in porn represents the one thing actors won’t or can’t portray, and that’s why it rarely if ever appears. Maybe it just doesn’t work if it makes the watcher feel ill at ease because we’re not all comfortable with voyeurism.

      Either way the one thing we probably both want to avoid is the kind of analysis that speaks rather to arbitrary judgements than expressions of taste aimed at exploring how or preferences inform our relationship with the subject matter as compared with that of others. There’s no harm in that. In fact healthy adults can as do discuss it more often than I think the mainstream would have us believe.

      Harm, if there is any, isn’t established by the anti porn activists because they’re too wrapped up in whether it hurts them, mainly by playing on unrealistic insecurities around parents’ desires to protect. It almost seems that with some people all you have to do is make up a new threat to induce a state of near apoplectic paranoia. And yet the Harm that is real and comes with a capital H that is still happening to women and children sold into sex slavery or misused by abusive relatives doesn’t even register! Apparently it’s more important that hubby doesn’t slap eyes on some bimbo with a better body than his significant other!

      Can you tell I’m over other people’s shallow judgements. Now pass me the remote, maybe I can distract myself by tuning into News24 to see how many poor bastards got murdered in Syria today, because I doubt some of these people would recognise real harm if it leapt up and bit them on the censored bits!


      • DontSueMeMTR March 22, 2012 at 7:51 am #

        “mainly by playing on unrealistic insecurities around parents’ desires to protect.”

        I’ve said this before, but one thing that’s really bothered me in recent times is this tactic of trying to make just about anything seem palatable by cloaking it in the fight against child pornogrophy. Don’t like censorship? Ah, you must be pro child-porn. etc…

        And as Hypo has brought up time and again, these same people seem to prefer to play down child abuse if it goes on in a church.


    • Jennifer Wilson March 22, 2012 at 6:54 am #

      Exactly. More variety, better quality, better education. Not censorship.


    • Ray (novelactivist) March 22, 2012 at 9:38 am #


      I have a particular interest in this debate and I’ve studied it to a fairly robust degree. Rather than take people’s word for what is in modern porn, I’ve actually looked at what’s available first hand. I often feel as if I’m living in a parallel universe because I’ve never seen the type of stuff you describe being sold in Australia. The only slapping I’ve seen is playful slapping on the bum, sometimes by women on men and women on women. I’ve never seen anyone who has been spat in the face in contempt. The only spitting I’ve seen is mostly on genitalia for lubrication. The only choking I’ve seen is light, playful choking designed to intensify the erotic sensation (erotic asphyxiation is a well-known technique) and the women have always been in control. And whilst there has been a bit of name calling, again this has been playful. I have never seen a woman abused in the way you describe. Never. Btw, I have seen women dish it out to men and play the aggressor. As for all anal, can’t see the problem with this. I know women who like anal.

      However, I have seen some of the more violent content on the internet. The good news is, despite Dines’ views, most men do not like this and it remains an unfortunate niche segment.

      The major attraction to modern porn seems to be curiosity. It is the only place people are likely to see the more extreme and exotic sexual acts. In which case it acts just like cinema. It’s fantasy, make-believe. Most men know its not real.


      • hudsongodfrey March 22, 2012 at 11:12 am #

        Thanks Don’tSue,

        That was a good point that you developed much more clearly that I had.

        I believe the distortion occurs when the issue that is raised could be paraphrased, “younger and younger people are exposed to porn”. These to varying degrees misbegotten and usually misplaced concerns nonetheless have their place in a rational conversation about porn, because any genuine question deserves a good answer. What trips over the divide into the irrational is the act of confusing exposure of children to adult material with the far more seriously condemned adult use of children for sexual gratification. The mistake may be as simple as getting the subject and object of a sentence the around way wrong*, but if they’re conflated deliberately by advocates against porn then would regard that as an outright distortion of the truth and a deliberately anti intellectual one at that.

        I haven’t as it happens seen any actual evidence of anti porn campaigners doing that as yet. Though I have seen the occasional misunderstanding among people who think along lines that would lend support to those kinds of agendas. And it does make you feel like banging your head against the wall doesn’t it?

        I think I’d also concur, depending on how far you intended to take this, with the idea that the “fight against child porn” is only a short step away from having a “war on child porn”. Something that like the wars on drugs and terror give people permission to hate without achieving much other than to make the problem worse. The temptation to the convenient impulse for a quick fix through decisive action belies the nature of problems that require others to be persuaded to accept the need to change their behaviours as part of something more analogous to healing than extermination.

        And before I finish let me admonish myself for the sentence, “Apparently it’s more important that hubby doesn’t slap eyes on some bimbo with a better body than his significant other.”
        I’d have done better to use the clumsier language of missus/hubby, bimbo/tool etcetera. The metaphor seems on reflection stereotypically sexist, whereas that was not in the least my intention. Rather what I meant to do is to point out that we’re often jealous of our partner’s fantasies if we have the same petty shallow insecurities that I even I can faintly recall having when I first realised (shock-horror) that women enjoyed a good fantasy as much as we blokes might do. I was young, impetuous and might I add subsequently delighted…

        *spot the deliberate mistake 🙂


        • DontSueMeMTR March 26, 2012 at 12:57 pm #

          Hudson, one of the worst examples I can readily think of is when Stephen Conroy was pushing for the internet filter and managed to simplify his campaign down to the following argument:

          This filter is all about stopping child pornography. If you don’t think child pornography should be easily accessible, you will support this filter.


          • hudsongodfrey March 26, 2012 at 1:38 pm #

            I not only heartily agree but I’d add that he was shown to be somewhat disingenuous in those representations under questioning from various different quarters.

            I do however draw some kind of distinction between politicians who have to declare themselves and campaigners who lobby the thin edge of the wedge angling for as much as they think they can get.


      • DontSueMeMTR March 26, 2012 at 12:50 pm #


        I am of the same mind. As you may have picked up, I’m pretty passionate about free speech and the fight against censorship, and I too did not see any reason to take the words of others on what was available when it was so simple to go and see for myself. To this end, I’ve sat through hundreds of X rated titles — and my experience has indeed been quite different to yours.

        I first noticed a build up in the availability of this stuff in the late 90’s – early 2000’s with the rise in popularity of the Evil Empire label and directors such as Jules Jordan, Christoph Clark, Rocco Sifredi and John Thompson. Since then there have been many labels established that emulate this style, such as Acid Rain and Harmony. All of it available by mail order from the ACT.

        As I’ve said, I don’t think there is any problem with sexually and socially mature adults watching any of this stuff. The problem comes when young people start relying on it as a guide because it is the only sort of “decent” sex education they can get. No, there is nothing wrong with anal sex, but there is something wrong with people who don’t particularly enjoy anal sex thinking they have to do it if they want to have “proper” sex (I have been told that this is an even bigger issue among young gay males then young heterosexuals). And as I have also said, I in no way believe that you can fight this problem by attacking porn. You fight it by providing better education.


  13. Hypocritophobe March 22, 2012 at 12:18 am #

    I also judge the anti-porn crusade on the motivation, and the rank hypocrisy.
    That they choose to conceal a religious agenda amplifies their irrelevance.
    That they troll shows how threatened they feel.

    “Ooooh,how scary people have freedom of choice,and they exercise it!.”

    There are some who even see oral sex as an evil deviant act.Then simply,don’t do it.
    I’m sure once was enough,for those nay sayers, anyway.

    The repertoire of sexual preference has evolved and will continue to evolve.Freedom has a habit of leading to new experiences.We will never protect anyone, by ideologically driven censorship.
    Quite the opposite.

    I certainly agree with your last sentence DSMMTR .(The rest of my comments are not directed specifically at you per se)
    And I feel a ban on certain types of porn will make the value of said porn, to adolescent novices, (and others) a trophy of sorts.
    Teach youth about ALL the aspects of sexual activity,not the bits WE feel comfortable/socially acceptable with.
    Sex is natural.Porn is a recorded depiction of sex.And yes some of it is raw and primal.That does not make it rape.
    And if (for example) anal sex is ‘all’ damaging, those opposing it need to explain the physiological and psychological reasons why.(Ditto for all legal forms of porn)

    Distaste and preference are value judgements.Let the law deal with criminal porn,it’s not the churches role, or their ‘faceless men and women’.

    There is more than enough to clean up in their own backyards, before they start breaking down peoples bedroom doors.The churches horrific history of sexual abuse and ongoing cover ups.Their preference to avoid WWC permits for all their members/employees/volunteers.

    When the anti-porn wing nuts choose to distort the porn market place, with projected science, they distort the supply and demand cycle.In short,they are their own worst enemies.

    Nothing but bad news for the self-righteous,chaste,born again virgins.No-one will be stopping dick sucking any time soon.


    • Jennifer Wilson March 22, 2012 at 6:55 am #

      We seem to have an agreement that what we need is better porn, not censorship.


    • DontSueMeMTR March 22, 2012 at 7:39 am #

      “And if (for example) anal sex is ‘all’ damaging, those opposing it need to explain the physiological and psychological reasons why.(Ditto for all legal forms of porn)”

      While I’m sure there are people who are completely opposed to anal sex, most of the arguments I hear is that sexual novices who grow up with modern-day porn as their only reference point end up with a belief that anal is something you are supposed to do every single time you have sex and there is something wrong if you don’t. It becomes a duty to be performed whether one enjoys it or not. As I said earlier, if this is happening, the best way that I can see to fight this misconception would be to increase, rather than decrease the amount of information and reference material available to these novices.

      “And I feel a ban on certain types of porn will make the value of said porn, to adolescent novices, (and others) a trophy of sorts.
      Teach youth about ALL the aspects of sexual activity,not the bits WE feel comfortable/socially acceptable with.
      Sex is natural.”

      Spot on, I reckon.


      • Ray (novelactivist) March 22, 2012 at 12:42 pm #

        The answer is sex ed that addresses this issues. However anal sex is still largely a taboo topic (i’m sure many heterosexuals don’t know much about it, or proper anal hygiene).

        The cat is out of the bag. The best way forward is teach kids to view porn critically and to tell them what’s real. etc, etc.


      • doug quixote March 23, 2012 at 1:14 pm #

        Porn is fantasy; male fantasy for the most part. Any well adjusted adult knows that he or she is watching the equivalent of say Roger Federer playing Rafael Nadal at tennis when they watch mainstream porn with well paid actors.

        Many people have gone away from that level of athletic performance to watch (admittedly attractive) amateurs doing what they do.

        As for those who find certain sexual acts disgusting, it is a fair bet that most of them never came close to trying the acts in question; but I suspect many of them do not trust themselves in this regard, and certainly do not trust others to exercise restraint, without moral taboo and legal sanction.


  14. Julia March 22, 2012 at 1:13 am #

    Part of the anti-porn brigade problem lies in the religious belief that a man’s seed is sacred. In the Bible (and in the Qu’ran) the believer is told Man’s seed must not be spilled/wasted on the ground…or in any other receptacle except in the “clean” living orifice where the seed can do it’s sacred job and fertilise the waiting egg. If the vagina is “unclean” by blood of menstration then this pollutes the seed (sex at this time is supposed to cause the couple’s death)…likewise once male seed has been placed in it, then the orifice (with all its eggs being now contaminated) will pollute any other man’s seed.
    Once a man marries his penis with a woman’s vagina she then become his lifelong receptable, his personal incubator. This is why, in the Bible, it was okay to buy & sell or free a male slave but a female (once her master’s blanket covered her) was not allowed to be freed or sold but stayed as his chattel. The man could screw as many women (and girls) he liked but he was then obligated to making sure his collection of receptacles didn’t get polluted by any other man and if it did then the receptable needed to be destroyed…usually by stoning. In some cultures the rapist still gets to marry his victim, or if she refuses marriage is killed. Her eggs are deemed no longer viable for other men’s use. The burning of the wife at her husband’s funeral in India was based on this too.

    Barren wives don’t do so well either.

    Porn tends to lead to masturbation which leads to wastage…and even one drop must not be spilled. It leads to “unclean” thoughts…about another man’s seed disposal unit…and such thoughts also dishonour (therefore pollute) the sacred seed. So sorry guys…can’t let youse go astray…no porn…or other temptations…Impure thoughts just won’t do at all.

    This basic premise of sacredness is also what lays behind the anti-contraceptive stance of religous nuttery. I have two younger brothers because in Townsville in the early 60s there were only Catholic doctors and NONE would prescribe spermacide. It’s unholy/murder to kill sperm. It’s also unholy/murder to block it…so condoms are out too. And so the logic (if that’s what it can be called) extends to other contraceptives too. Waste not.
    And of course, terminating a pregnancy is dishonouring the sacred seed as well…even if the egg carton isn’t as clean as it should be.

    Chastity in a woman is essential and any means necessary to keep her chaste is justified…chastity belts, castles, marriage vows of obedience, discipline, oppression, judicious beatings, forced submission to keep her from straying…to keep the man’s disposal unit clean.

    Not the whole story…but a rarely spoken about big underlying part of it.


    • Jennifer Wilson March 22, 2012 at 7:00 am #

      Yes, thanks Julia, I think your summary of the religious nuttery behind much of this stuff is spot on. I don’t think a lot of people have the faintest idea about the religious context for so much of this stuff. Indeed, many religious people say they don’t believe it these days, but their churches still peddle it. That’s what I liked so much about the Penn Jillette video Hudson posted here the other day – he asks that question I ask of religious people – they aren’t crazy most of them, so why do they believe this crazy stuff?


  15. paul walter March 22, 2012 at 2:43 am #

    I wouldn’t be going DontSue either. I’ve never claimed I’m fond of porn, including here. To me most of it is erotically valueless and part of that comes from the expressions on some of the faces of those coopted into some of the worse stuff.
    Hypo and Julia do get into some of the underlying material that accounts for subtly commodified men and women: slaves to control, or victims of it.
    I think Jennifer would understand what Tankard Reist’s attitudes to it are and recognise an original underlying reasonable impulse, I just wish Meryl Tankard Reist understand Jennifer’s take, also.
    But it would mean rethinking through the problem and coming up with less simplistic responses and solutions that could make the cure at least as bad as the disease for individuals, society and the future.


    • Jennifer Wilson March 22, 2012 at 7:02 am #

      I do think Reist is well intentioned, especially her concern for children. There must be a line drawn though between how we’re concerned about children, and minding our own business about what adults do. I don’t think the anti porn people necessarily draw that line.


  16. paul walter March 22, 2012 at 2:44 am #

    naffing typos, “would or could understand..”


  17. gerard oosterman March 22, 2012 at 5:40 am #

    Years ago there featured a sex educational movie at a theatre in Sydney’s George Street. It might have been during the late fifties or so. The movie could only be seen by a strictly segregated audience. Women on even, men on uneven days.
    I was still young and very curious about sex, particularly keen on finally viewing the female genitalia. I think the ticket prices were much more than normal. The queue outside was long, but I finally got in. The Hammond organ rose majestically from the bowels of the cinema and a stirring rendition of ‘God save the Queen was oozed out of the organ.
    There was a short introduction by a man on the stage wearing a sparkling white suit, warning all of us to stay calm. We would finally learn the act of human creation! Far out.
    The film finally started and there were lost of ovum and sperms with many arrows indicating where it was supposed to happen and then out of the blue, a baby suddenly appeared being wheeled around a park.
    The trickle of patrons leaving the cinema soon became a torrent, clearly disappointed in the total lack of anything remotely sexy or erotic.
    Then, I have never forgotten this, a very miffed young man shouted at the back of the cinema in a rather lovely strong Australian accent….” has anyone cracked a fat yet?”
    Ha,ha,ha… still makes me smile.


    • Jennifer Wilson March 22, 2012 at 7:05 am #

      Love that story, Gerard. What a disappointment that must have been for all you young chaps. Not a glimpse of female genitalia. See this is what I love about human beings We are so wonderfully curious about one another. Porn should nurture and nourish that curiousity. No there’s a radical thought.


  18. StaggerLee March 22, 2012 at 11:18 am #

    Picking at the extremes edges of the fabric, frayed, loose, and often raggedy, is always easy – easy in politics, history, social studies – easy in everything.
    The challenge is to attempt the unraveling from within.

    From within; where the great, heaving, living, breathing, bulk of US are situated.
    From within; where the extremities, plural, are discounted as rogue and potentially dangerous and disingenuous outliers….. and not held aloft as rallying points for the mindless.
    From within; where the debate moves not in abstract or discursive circles, but circulates
    throughout the experiences and realities of one’s life.

    This debate has (shifted ground somewhat since the suit threat and) found itself firmly in the domain of the former and not of the latter.
    And that is a great shame. It tells me that the populist meme has won the day and exhausted this debate of any real insight or substance.

    I have read from many posters on many articles a desire to seek a “move beyond the oppositional” yet see no evidence of this move. I read instead of deep contradictions, non-sequiturs, unexplored paths, and simplistic analysis.
    The constant drumbeat of Reist’s agenda as “moral arbiter” fills our ears yet nothing more damning on those that do set the cultural perspectives – corporate advertising/marketing – that a gentle admonishment, usually located around the phrase “we can decide for ourselves” or “parental responsibility” without once noticing both the inconsistency and hypocrisy of that position.

    All of the questions asked of Reist are asked of her alone.
    Why the selective bias?
    Do you believe for a moment that Reist is setting the wider cultural/political agenda?
    That Reist can compete with those that are constructing the “morality” or “freedoms” of our culture???
    I find the notion embarrassing, ridiculous, and paranoid.

    And now we come to the heart of my question: I reside in that heaving middle ground bulk – the one never mentioned in this debate. I am neither (fundamentalist) Christian nor am I (fundamentalist) Libertarian.
    I side with Reist AND Wilson.
    I disagree with Reist AND Wilson.
    And, most sadly, my concerns are left unaddressed by BOTH those who purport to speak for me – Reist and Wilson.

    If you wish to address these concerns; to ask where I would locate the site of most tension and profit, I would say here:
    What are the conditions that go toward constructing this or that narrative?
    Who are those that are determining that discourse?
    What does that discourse privilege and what does it marginalise?
    To what ends?

    You have read your Barthes Jennifer, meaning that you’ve read about 4 or 5 others….so who are the scribblers upon our “texts”? Who make the deeepest inscriptions?
    Who? How? Why? Where?

    These are the questions at the core of my concerns (with this, or any, debate).
    There is no purpose in speaking to me, or engaging me, or provoking me, into a discussion without these issues being addressed; seriously and genuinely.
    We have all talked ourselves stupid – and many here are simply rehashing arguments heard ad nauseam.

    Unfortunately, I must now await a collective rebuke or censure.
    It matters little…..
    I’ll just waiting for something new……

    As an aside: to Jen Wilson, anything new on the legal action?


    • Matthew March 22, 2012 at 11:55 am #

      “Do you believe for a moment that Reist is setting the wider cultural/political agenda?”

      Along with her more media friendly collaborators like Julie Gale, Collett Smart and Dr Michael Gregg-Carr and her citizens for censorship group Collective Shout, yes she is. You have to remember that MTR appears on Seven’s the Morning Show, Sunrise, Q and A, and in various other parts of the media. Most of what she says goes completely unchallenged. Same for Gregg-Carr and to a lesser degree Smart and Gale. MTR (as Collective Shout) along Gale (as Kids Free 2B Kids) lobby politicians to change laws in regard to censorship (they even appear at senate committee hearings) as well as petitioning companies to remove products they don’t particularly like.

      So yes, MTR and company are to a significant degree setting the agenda in regards to sexual politics and legislation and law regarding it for a while now. More than a decade and half (especially if you include her time with Senator Brian Harradine), but she’s had the most impact and success in the last four or so years. This why she is so desperate to portray herself as a feminist and plays down her ties to the religious right; she knows all too well that the Fred Niles and Mary Whitehouses are ignored by the public at large due to their religious beliefs.

      I really don’t care what MTR says. I view everything she says with deep suspicion. She has proved herself to be completely untrustworthy in regards to issues to do with women and their sexuality. People should question everything she says.

      Also while MTR claims herself to be an advocate for women and children, I don’t recall JW claiming anything similar.


      • Hypocritophobe March 22, 2012 at 12:01 pm #



        • helvityni March 22, 2012 at 12:07 pm #

          I too agree with Matthew.


          • StaggerLee March 26, 2012 at 8:04 am #

            Matthew, first to you:

            (i) Please provide documentary evidence of the “significant degree [in] setting the agenda in regards to sexual politics and legislation and law”.
            I want the laws, bills, amendments, whatever you can muster. I am in a postion to confirm them all. Fuzzy infomercials on Sunrise with Kochie do NOT constitute “significant legislative” pull.
            (ii) “lobby politicians to change laws in regard to censorship (they even appear at senate committee hearings)”.

            We all have the right and the privilege to lobby for our concerns. All of us. That is not an argument. You want to convince people that Reist is a legislative cannonball because she/her group propose submissions to senate hearings and that that constitutes “evidence” of her wielding a “significant degree [of influence] in setting the agenda in regard to sexual politics and legislation and law”?!?!?!
            You must be joking? Surely you see the disconnect here? Surely?
            Do you realise how many submissions are tabled for hearing? Do you have any idea?
            It’s very clear you do not understand the process.
            These shrill and hyperbolic perspectives warp your sense of proportion.
            And it ruins the debate.

            Ask a group of teens who wields greater influence – Reist or their immediate and unrelenting corporate/media/market environment.
            And ask yourself who set THEIR agenda.
            Was it Reist, or me, or you? Did anyone ask you Matthew, for your thoughts on such matters?
            No? Should I then expect to see your indignation about such a conspicuous omission typed up on a blog soon?
            So, who was it Matthew? You? Me?
            Or was it a boardroom on Madison Ave?
            Alcopops and the Tweenage bra have had more impact in 6 months that Reist in 6 years!

            Reist is a molehill.
            You grant her, and I imagine to her inestimable delight, the status of a mountain.

            To Sam, you are quite correct; they are both contesting that middle ground. So why then is the rhetoric from your side so tilted toward the strawman of capital “F” fundamentalism? How does a legitimate concern about billboard content and placement, for example, transform into a fatwa on freedom?!?! How does it turn one from a concerned parent into an American Religious Nutter Honk If You Love Jesus, Roll Out The Barrel Three Chord Hammond Organ Ecstacy?!?!
            The grade on that slippery slope must be almost 90 degrees!! And yet we pushed off it on EVERY occasion……look at how many times it appears here, right here in these very comments . I ask myself, how on earth is this an argument?
            All I see it achieving is alienation and embarrassment….and antagonism and a reinforcement of the “oppositional”. This is elementary stuff. Sam. No one likes to be misrepresented.
            No one.
            Isn’t THAT the very thing Wilson is unfortunately and painfully suffering from with the legal action against her??
            It is an utterly appalling argument.

            So yes, Sam – the middle ground is contested – but the Wilson supporters are using the language of extremism and hypocrisy to make the case. It should not be that way. More importantly, it need not be that way. Their critique of Reist is legitimate – why corrupt it with such garbage?!?! It IS that way, I would contend, because arguments constructed around extreme positions are ALWAYS the easiest. Considering the multitude of variables would require too much thinking…..and citing youtube videos is so much more fun!!
            It is one of the reasons that my colleagues who have taken an interest in this debate view it now with such disdain. It is not because they support Reist……it is because the bulk of the arguments against her are couched in such juvenilia.
            I repeat for emphasis – the level of argumentation MUST move beyond fallacy, extremism, and the puerile, if it is to be considered credible.
            No-one here is taking you seriously.
            I mentioned this earlier…..but no one was listening. Everyone had stopped listening……their attention had turned from debating the salient issues to swapping youtube videos.

            My concerns? My concerns are the same as they were when the first of these arguments lit brightly; defending MY position from those, who on the one side were solely concerned with corporate greed and riding roughshod over my intrinsic right to raise my children according to MY conscience, and from those on the other side who saw every syllable uttered in defense of those rights as “wowserism”, “troll” or “ivory tower”. In the end the martial rhetoric from both sides, or should I qualify and say, your side, swallowed completely the middle ground I occupy. It was an awful strategic blunder, as much the responsibility of Wilson as each one of her vocal supporters.

            And finally, to you Hudson. Yes, you have tried. Often you have succeeded better than most.
            And often you have failed. I am little concerned with the fact of “failure” – there is nothing remarkable about that aspect of our lives, so commonplace are its examples. No, it was what that “failure” revealed.
            Your large post in the article “Changing Behaviour”I found to be remarkable….. quite remarkable. It signaled clearly to me several issues that I had long suspected but hoped were not true; one, how little the debate has changed from our initial clashes on the Drum a year ago; and two, that you saw the role of your side as NOT needing to forge a path “beyond the oppositional” but instead to re-calcify the dogma of “Us versus Them”!
            Your final paragraph was breathtaking in its admission; I found the revelation it contained simply astounding.
            It signaled the end for me. I was the last one here willing to engage and now I too had finally been shown the door.

            To be perfectly frank Hudson it was the impetus for this post, this last hurrah as it were.
            I knew where it would lead……your warm invitation, that I believe to be genuine and considered, and for which I would like to thank you for now, is not shared by Ms Wilson.
            I find her curt response, via your post, cynical, defensive and symptomatic of that…..temper…which defines the latter stages of this debate.

            I am just back from Queensland. It was very ugly and I am tired, upset, and angry. Everyone has so much work to do. And I can tell you now – watching youtube videos or referencing links to American Nutters or Penn Jillette isn’t one of them!
            And to those here that are inclined toward such pastimes I say to you – each video or link is a step back. 5 steps back.
            It’s the reason why Reist doesn’t respond. Why should she?
            Would you?

            And so I shall take my cue –
            Cheers Old Man Hudson, thank you for the conversations. I hope you enjoyed the “kernels”.
            And to Helvi and Gerard, for the second and final time:) , I say thank you and goodbye.
            Helvi, I am so happy you are reading “Voss”.
            So happy.


            • helvityni March 26, 2012 at 10:10 am #

              In my culture the right thing to do is to give a little gift for those who depart, so here it is in words of the mystical poet, Han-shan:

              A scholar named Wang
              Laughed at my poems,
              The accents are wrong,
              He said,
              Too many beats;
              The meter is poor,
              The Wording impulsive.

              I laugh at his poems,
              As he laughs at mine.
              They read like
              The words of a blind man
              Describing a sun.


            • hudsongodfrey March 26, 2012 at 12:51 pm #

              Its a pity that you want to throw in the towel like this Staggers. I don’t understand why?
              I’d miss your counterpoint to others whose sense of the debate denies the nature of the real tensions that exist around these issues.

              Sad to see you articulate the substance of your concerns then flee the scene as if putting that out there seemed certain to elicit a response do unacceptable to you as to be too painful to even entertain.

              The more disappointing for the fact that I’m sure I join others here in saying that some of the concerns you raise indeed the kinds of things that we’re all aware that parents have to deal with. In fact if I understood you correctly throughout then to some degree how you’d deal with them significantly diverges from Reist’s approach. She tries to link concerns about the culture and products being offered to kids and teenagers with certain kinds of harm for which her evidence is unpersuasive. It is a different thing altogether to say we think those things are less harmful than to demand instant prophylactic remedies.

              Now you may see those concerns as oppositional, but the problem is that whenever censorship is championed these people are on the bandwagon. They’re there because they believe things we don’t in ways that we don’t. So the oppositional nature of the debate has to do with the drawing of lines in different places and the reasoning behind doing so.

              I think we need to be talking more about how choice is exercised and encouraged the upcoming generation by way of recognising that it is in fact a matter of their choices and how they make them in the future that shapes the society their kids will have to confront. I happen to think that people apparently questing for social homogeneity as defined by a singular definition of the social good are completely missing the point. That point (for what it is worth, should you ever choose to read this) is that diversity is the norm and the choices made by others don’t need to be seen as influential unless you’re inclined to process choice in terms of following others rather than leading your own life.

              Granted you can’t teach kids those things in a single step fashion but should you want eventually to have them reach their own conclusions then at some point rule following has to give over to decision making. Campaigners who basically see most expressions of sexuality as anti-social aim to sanitise our outlook to a degree that should be worrying in that regard. Parental urges to protect if they flow over into public policy take the very unsound step of abdicating their parental responsibility to whomever else is to be the appointed moral arbitrator.

              So you see while I might want to persuade you to a different view and indeed be wiling to have you persuade me that doesn’t mean that should we agree I’d readily assent to concocting a set of arbitrary rules for others to follow.

              You should know by now that I believe the limits of reciprocity are set by harm to others, and that undesirable though some cultural expressions are if they’re largely harmless then they’re best avoided by choice.


            • Matthew March 26, 2012 at 12:53 pm #

              Are you unable to use Google StaggerLee? Here’s just a few of the times she’s appeared as a witness to federal Senate public hearings. You’ll also notice a lot of her mates are invited too;

              Reference: Regulation of billboard and outdoor advertising
              MONDAY, 4 APRIL 2011
              FRANCIS, Mrs Wendy Joy, State Director, Queensland, Australian Christian Lobby (Collective Shout Member)
              GALE, Ms Julie, Director, Kids Free 2B Kids
              TANKARD REIST, Ms Melinda, Founder and Spokesperson, Collective Shout: for a world free of sexploitation

              Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee – 27/04/2011 – Australian film and literature classification scheme
              GALE, Ms Julie, Director, Kids Free 2B Kids
              TANKARD REIST, Ms Melinda, Founder and Spokesperson, Collective Shout: for a world free of sexploitation

              Wednesday, 19 July 2006
              Jubilee Room, Parliament House, Sydney
              Inquiry into
              Transparent Advertising and Notification of
              Pregnancy Counselling Services Bill 2005
              Women’s Forum Australia (Sub 43)
              Ms Melinda Tankard Reist (Sub 3)

              Inquiry into Therapeutic Goods Amendment (Repeal of Ministerial responsibility for approval of RU486) Bill 2005
              Ms Babette Francis, Endeavour Forum Inc****
              Dr Renate Klein
              Southern Cross Bioethics Institute – Dr Greg Pike, Director
              Women’s Forum Australia (WFA) – Ms Katrina George, Director and Ms Melinda Tankard-Reist, Director

              Inquiry into the sexualisation of children in the contemporary media
              Tuesday, 29 April 2008
              St James Court
              12 Batman St
              Kids Free 2B Kids (Submission No. 63) Ms Julie Gale, Director
              Women’s Forum Australia (Submission No. 123) Ms Melinda Tankard Reist, Director
              Young Media Australia (via teleconference) (Submission No. 141) Ms Barbara Biggins, Hon. Chief Executive Officer & Associate Professor Elisabeth Handsley, Vice President

              You may think Tankard Reist is a mole hill, but she has the ear of many politicians.


            • StaggerLee March 27, 2012 at 7:01 am #

              Hudson – Did you not understand my post and my position? Was I not clear?
              Why are you doing this?
              I’m not “fleeing the scene”. There is no “scene”. There was once….but that’s now gone.
              All that’s left is this incessant and counterproductive rubbernecking.
              I would welcome a “response”! I would throw my arms around it and hold it dear! I see nothing as “too painful to entertain”……I’m just waiting on something TO “entertain”.
              Can’t you see that? Look at your response to my post: it holds nothing that I haven’t already read (from you) 10, 20, times before……..and it steadfastly refuses to address the issues I’ve raised.
              Which is the very point I’m making – the debate has devolved and finally settled into a default position of simply reiterating positions. The desire for understanding or for dialogue is clearly absent.
              Come now Hudson – please.

              Look at Matthew’s response to me.
              Look at it.
              He made the claim , “[So yes,] MTR and company are to a significant degree setting the agenda in regards to sexual politics and legislation and law”.
              I asked for evidence of that agenda setting in “legislation and law”.
              And he returns with a handful of……….witness stamps?!?!
              This is his trump card?!? This is the argument that will expose and cripple Reist’s influence?!?!
              I am embarrassed for him, to be honest.

              My colleagues would run a mile! And rightfully so. Who Hudson, who would stand in support of Wilson against Reist with these cards?? Who would risk their friendships, influence and credibility on these articles of “evidence”??
              That’s right. No one.
              I’m sorry Hudson.
              It is over.
              I ‘m just the last guest to leave…….
              And all that’s left now are a bunch of blogging friends railing at the “injustice of it all”.
              Matthew, take that before an Inquiry and you’ll be told to take a number.
              Number 4, 457 to be precise.

              Hudson, I’ve returned for this quick reply out of courtesy. Please don’t write, I won’t be here to read it.
              There are other issues calling for attention.

              Helvi, I am hurt and disappointed and surprised that you would disrespect me at the very moment of saying goodbye. I just don’t understand it.


            • helvityni March 27, 2012 at 8:30 am #

              SL, I was the ONLY one who invited you back to the ‘other’ blog, no thanks of appreciation ,but a flippant remark about my picture.
              I found your comment about me reading Voss patronising…
              How often have you told other commenters that you like the second last WORD in their long post…
              Do you remember the discussion about lost friends, I don’t think you heard a word about what I was saying 🙂
              We have totally opposing view of friendship: If I like people I invite them back, if your friends do not agree with with everything yow say you bit farewell…

              PS Isn’t it nice that Hudson wants to keep the coversation going with you 🙂


            • helvityni March 27, 2012 at 8:33 am #

              …bid not bit :), there are other mistakes, the post did not go at the first try


            • Macabre March 27, 2012 at 9:49 am #

              “beyond the oppositional” = agree with me and we will all be much better off.

              Jubilate that you Stagger Lee are finally gone from hence forever.

              Do not darken this door with your sophism again.


      • Ray (novelactivist) March 22, 2012 at 12:45 pm #

        Aargy, Carr-Gregg, don’t get me started. That guy is an idiot. He advocated that the authorities step in to stop Jessica Watson from sailing around the world. She’s now been celebrated as a young Australian of the year and in this years Australia Day awards.


      • Jennifer Wilson March 22, 2012 at 5:04 pm #

        I’m not an advocate for anyone, you’re right Matthew, I’m just an opinionated woman. Although someone at On Line Opinion today accused me of being a “leading feminist who influences millions of women.”


        • Hypocritophobe March 22, 2012 at 5:22 pm #

          Can you name the millions of women,JW?
          (It does not have to be in alphabetical order.)


    • Jennifer Wilson March 22, 2012 at 3:31 pm #

      No Stagger Lee, nothing new.

      I think the answer to your questions is capitalism.


    • samjandwich March 22, 2012 at 3:40 pm #

      Quick answer to your question stagger lee: I would contend that both Reist and Wilson *are* the middle ground. They are both decidedly representative of quite mainstream, centre-of-the-bell-curve-type views, and I think that in terms of the overall implications of what they say there is actually a lot in common.

      I’m pretty sure you’ll find your concerns get addressed as long as you look hard enough. And may I ask what they are exactly?


    • hudsongodfrey March 22, 2012 at 4:10 pm #

      Okay Staggers,

      I think Matthew makes a fair fist of saying where he thinks the agenda sits within the mainstream media. I join others in preferring Craig Gross (the self styled porn pastor), who appeared on Q&A last week to the likes of MTR, Gail Dines et al. And it isn’t just one lone campaigner who people are at issue with it’s anyone who takes the step beyond giving advice towards arbitrating content who comes in for the same criticism from various quarters. In this the realm of matters adult people are apt to bristle when they’re not being treated as adults. MTR just comes in for the lion’s share of late because she’s threatened Jennifer.

      But you’re right we’ve both lamented that the substance of the matter isn’t brought to the fore nearly enough while everything gets filtered through the twin prisms of ideology and politics.

      I’ve tried. Haven’t I? Can I do better? Can you? Start us out by putting yourself on the line with a few primers. You know we may not agree but I think anyone risking the derision of others by actually being open enough to risk being wrong deserves a fair go, and I for one think you’ve earned that from me. So please feel free to speak as if you’re among friends.


      • Hypocritophobe March 22, 2012 at 4:26 pm #

        And I doubt I am alone at being totally insulted by the inference that my judgement should be questioned,based on what she thinks, I think (or anyone else) about personal issues like sex.(Remember her ilk are lobbyists-I am not)

        That lobbying subsequently takes place to legislate ‘around’ that basic concept is even more disconnected from reality.

        And then we head deeply into La la Land when anyone thinks they have a right ‘not’ to disclose their motive,their supporting evidence to harm or their political / religious affiliations, when they actively lobby to enact change.

        MTR is heading for a high-er profile media or political appointment IMHO.

        She is currently a political figure in the Australian public landscape.
        You don’t have to be an elected politician,to be a political figure.
        Whether she believes ‘that’ or not,is irrelevant.
        Even the High Court would not see ‘that’ fact, in any other way.


      • Jennifer Wilson March 22, 2012 at 4:56 pm #

        Very good idea, Hudson. Let’s hear what’s to be said about the substance of the matter.


      • Matthew March 23, 2012 at 4:58 pm #

        If you look at Craig Gross’ XXXChurch website, it’s the same old dodgy shit that MTR, Dines and their ilk go on about. Just look at the slideshow on this page; In particular the statement that the most destructive force in US culture is pornography and the previously discredited “child porn is a $3 billion industry” statistic. Half of divorce is about porn issues? 11 million Americans have sexual addictions? Where is the evidence for this? And my favourite; “Porn addiction is one of the most difficult addictions to overcome”. The “confessions” are the usual (rambling) stories you’d find on a site like this. Those confessing usually can’t determine normal sex drive with sexual addiction. And praise Jebus, the XXXChurch saved them. Sure Gross isn’t pushing the censorship line like MTR and co, but it’s the same message really, just delivered a different way.

        And XXXChurch’s Pete the Porno Puppet is just so freaking creepy;


        • Hypocritophobe March 23, 2012 at 5:25 pm #

          The guy is crock.
          You will also find this whole Porno Priest thing is a new strategy to give a reason the Churches ongoing child/adult sex abuse.
          They are trying to infer that the crimes have been perpetrated by ‘innocent priests’ and novices lured by the scourge of porn.
          It would not surprise me one iota if the brothers were running around, right now,stuffing porn mags under pillows to firm up their alibis.
          Nothing twists and turns more, than the socially-toxic, many-headed serpent of conservative Xian religious hypocrisy.
          If ever there was evil…..


        • doug quixote March 23, 2012 at 5:42 pm #

          It is just another strategy to control the debate. The fire and brimstone types will never get any traction with the non-believers, so some activists try to infiltrate the web sites and chatrooms with a more reasonable approach, and apparently Gross and his XXXChurch is one of them.

          There is more than one way to skin a cat . . .


          • Hypocritophobe March 23, 2012 at 5:44 pm #

            B I N G O


        • hudsongodfrey March 23, 2012 at 7:10 pm #


          Yes, I’d dispute his facts and much of the content of his advocacy. But the very fact that he’s into advocacy rather than censorship makes a world of difference to me as it should to anyone. We can disengage from his ideas any time we like, as can he and his people from ours.

          I probably have as many issues with those people who posted Black Helicopter websites in the aftermath of 9/11. The content is equally misguided and just as worth ignoring.

          I am of course always interested in the conversation around issues that Craig and others raise because as with most things there’s a usually a kernel of merit to their ideas.

          I don’t on the other hand maintain a stance that says there is an optimal answer out there to be discovered somewhere, somehow to the question of life the universe and everything (no, not even forty two). So if somebody’s world view works for them and does no harm then I’m able to be okay with that, even if I wouldn’t adopt their code of morality for myself.


  19. doug quixote March 22, 2012 at 11:23 am #

    There is a lot of rubbish on the net, more available now than ever before; dreadful disgusting stuff of the worst kind.

    Just look at Tankard-Reist’s website (no, stop, don’t do it!) the Rick Santorum website or the Sarah Palin or Michelle Bachmann website.

    Horrible, degrading mind-numbing stuff.


  20. doug quixote March 22, 2012 at 11:57 am #

    Then there is porn. And there is porn to suit all tastes : from straight to gay to bondage to almost any sort of act which a fertile imagination may invent for a human body to do.

    It is up to the person surfing the net to decide if he or she will look at those acts, or not. The way out is one mouse click away.

    The issue really is that the bacwa (banning and censoring wowser agenda) types do not trust themselves, their neighbours, their fellow churchgoers, their children, or anyone else to be able to discriminate enough to use that mouse click.

    The bacwa types demand that all of us accept the legal restriction of everything we may or may not enjoy, dislike or care less about, just so they can rest in the righteousness of their high ground. Because they trust no-one, not even themselves.

    The likes of Fred Nile have to look at the nasty porn videos several times just to make sure it is as disgusting as they first thought, before they take up the cudgels in their thin edge of the wedge campaign : that innocent children may be corrupted or exploited as a result.

    And nearly everyone will agree with them on that point : that young children should not be exposed to the worst of the material. Whether or not they may be corrupted is another matter, and there is at least some anecdotal evidence that young children do not realise what they are seeing, that it does not register, that it is irrelevant to them, that many think it is ‘funny’ or boring etc etc etc.

    The bacwa will always seek to conflate adult porn with child protection issues, to muddy the waters and widen their appeal. Some will pretend to evidence based logical argument and ignore or deny their real agenda.

    Now it might be best if the genie could be put back in the bottle, and everyone adopts good old Victorian morality, and bowdlerise Shakespeare once more, along with most of the literature and art of the last hundred years, but it is impossible even if it was desirable.

    Parents need to educate their children at an early age, and keep in touch with just what they are doing and accessing, and explain as much about human sexuality as their children can understand. In this regard they might bear in mind that children seem to undergo a quantum leap in understanding between 8 and 11 years of age, depending on the child.

    Educate your children; trust them; trust your neighbours; trust yourselves. Be vigilant by all means, but do not try to tell everyone what they can and cannot watch, read or do, based upon your mistrust of yourself.


    • Hypocritophobe March 22, 2012 at 12:03 pm #

      Agree here, as well.


  21. helvityni March 22, 2012 at 12:23 pm #

    The Booker winner Howard Jcobson writes about a lousy family holiday somewhere miserable in England:

    “I might have been no more than seven or eight with not the slightest idea of what sex comprised but I needed it. Holidays do this………To be honest, what I think I longed for even more than a girlfriend was a mistress”

    I found that most amusing, would a today’s eight year old be getting all his sex information by watching porn. A bit of a worry, so glad I don’t have eight year olds anymore….


    • Jennifer Wilson March 22, 2012 at 3:24 pm #

      I’m just reading “The Finkler Question” Helvi. I think Jacobson is a very good writer. The book is such an explosion of love, hate and confusion about being a Jew, and full of humour. I also think he’s the best talking head ever to appear on QandA


      • helvityni March 22, 2012 at 5:47 pm #

        Wow, Jennifer, I’m also reading Finkler, Finkler at night time and Voss in the morning…
        Jacobson’s book ‘Whatever it is, I Don’t Like It’ is also very good, very funny, I read snippets to Gerard and disturb his reading…


    • hudsongodfrey March 22, 2012 at 2:22 pm #

      Batteries not included?


  22. rubiginosa March 22, 2012 at 5:43 pm #

    Waleed Aly interviewed Emma Rush on RN, and asked whether feminists could reclaim and reinvent pornography. Emma Rush replied,

    “My own view on that, is that, you know, sex is about intimate relationship with a, you know, unique other, with whom you have, you know, some depth of relationship and I just don’t see how the objectification of sex in porn, gets to the heart of what sex is about. So, to my way of thinking it’s always, you know, it’s a distraction at best.”

    I can’t claim to have understood this, but why so prescriptive?


    • Hypocritophobe March 22, 2012 at 5:58 pm #

      This is how read it.
      She is totally lost.
      She has confused love,lust, intimacy and sex.

      ‘If’ she is claiming to be a feminist,she states that feminists must be monogamous.
      Porn is not beneficial to monogamy or her version of satisfactory sex,because it objectifies.
      She must shag with her brain(not mind) so all imagination and fantasy must be taboo.
      Porn caters for(and dimensionalises) fantasy. It’s just a video version of an imagined encounter,using real people,real sex.

      If she is a feminist then so is John Elliot.


    • Ray (novelactivist) March 22, 2012 at 6:10 pm #

      You know, that’s fine if that’s what she prefers. I say good luck. But why oh why does she think that everyone must conform to her ideal? Sigh.


  23. Fitzroyalty March 22, 2012 at 8:46 pm #

    The RC ban on fetish content effectively makes it impossible for people to freely discuss their desires. Censorship does more than ban publication, it interferes with free speech about sexuality. See and


    • Hypocritophobe March 22, 2012 at 9:17 pm #

      Which is why I am convinced MTR has converted to Catholicism.
      And why she shies away from discussing it.


      • Ray (novelactivist) March 23, 2012 at 11:59 am #

        And also, there is much about Rush’s ideas that are very close to Catholic doctrine.


  24. Hypocritophobe March 22, 2012 at 9:51 pm #

    And this needs to be here too:


  25. Hypocritophobe March 23, 2012 at 5:32 pm #


    Somebody call Melinda!


  26. gerard oosterman March 24, 2012 at 7:16 am #

    Food for thought:
    There are over 32 million entries (within one ninth of a second) on VAGINA when googling, yet a miserable 9 million on the PENIS.

    The Lomonosov Moscow State University enrolls over 40.000 students annually with another 4000 foreign students. Its library alone has over 9.000.000 books with 2.000.000 in foreign languages. More than 6000 professors and lecturers are employed plus scores of researchers…

    Now, they are impressive numbers that surely matter more than the 32.900.000 vagina Google entrees .You would have thought that the world’s interest in sexual matters would now have subsided, calmed down a bit and shifted away to more pressing needs.

    While the interest in the female genitalia continues unabated, it’s a different kettle of fish with penises. Amazingly, there are only 9.440.000 penis entrees on the internet. What do we make of that? Are we men not good enough? Are there some design flaws or the aesthetics unappetizing? We men need to feel secure and strong, you know.


    • Jennifer Wilson March 24, 2012 at 8:00 am #

      I’m sorry Gerard, but the penis, while sweetly endearing, just does not have the complexity of lady bits. It’s either up or down, hooded or exposed, and tenderly vulnerable to shrinkage in water and cold weather. That’s about it. But look at what Georgia O’Keefe made of lady bits!

      Personally, I like the penis, however I wouldn’t go looking for one on Google because it has to be attached to someone I’m interested in. When my boys were infants I loved their little willies, and grieved when they started to shut me out of the bathroom.

      An aside: I feel a twinge of fear writing that last sentence, lest somebody take me for a sexual abuser of infants. This is what we have come to.

      As far as I can tell after years of experience, there are no design flaws in the penis. The penis is a beautiful thing. Just because it isn’t Googled as often means nothing. Relax, Gerard, and enjoy yourself. 🙂


      • gerard oosterman March 24, 2012 at 9:00 am #

        Ah, thanks Jennifer. Much relieved and my confidence walking tall again. It’s all so reliant on praise at times.


    • hudsongodfrey March 24, 2012 at 9:38 am #

      Ah Gerard,

      I know whose fault this is..


      • doug quixote March 24, 2012 at 8:21 pm #

        I beg to differ. The male genito-urinary system is a masterpiece of design compared to the female plumbing system, with its urethral opening so badly located as to be derisory.

        I think it is one of the best arguments against intelligent design – anyone who designed that ought to have His licence revoked. And I do mean ‘His’ because no female god could have been so derelict in design efforts. The plethora of female genito-urinal problems deriving from the design flaws speak for themselves.

        I’ll admit that the aesthetics favour the female vulva hands down.


        • hudsongodfrey March 24, 2012 at 9:35 pm #

          Hey Doug,

          Mine was basically a joke. So if you’re going to go with that response then at least segue to that dreadful old line about putting a sewer through a playground, properly!

          As for urinary tracts and things I gather that prostate cancer ranks right up there on the list of design defects most likely to end male lives, while sadly for women the cervix is matched only by the breast in the culpability stakes. As Hitchens would have said “some design!”

          As for your second comment about entries… in Google I hope, the aesthetic virtues of obelisks, irises and indeed the human body itself, treat that it is in the eye of the right beholder, may be entirely offset by those fatal design flaws as you and indeed I just mentioned. Because you see when I checked using Google there were in round millions 147, 256 and 749 entries for Vagina, Penis and Cancer respectively. Although I didn’t manage to read them all….


          • doug quixote March 24, 2012 at 10:53 pm #

            Gerard supplied the figures. I do now expect you to read them all, and verify the figures. Gerard might be right!

            Report back in 2112 – a hundred years should do it.


        • paul walter March 25, 2012 at 12:06 am #

          Doug, Doug…
          Tech mentioned, only sufficient resources for one internal self-cooling unit. Which infers, equally, only one of two with external fixtures. The design faults you mention only emerged post manufacture, it was decided on the basis of cost factors to continue the internal unit, on the basis of “out of sight, out of mind”.
          Or was that, “I don’t mind, you don’t matter?’
          The malfunctioning and subsequent loud grating noises emanating from internal cooling units at regular intervals during a (lunar) cycle were felt inconsequent, since these primarily affected the units themselves, plus any externally outfitted unit unfortunate to be within proximity during the approximate week’s duration of the monthly lube change process, on the basis that since the external unit’s intelligence was located in the bolt-on, no permanent avoidance would occur.
          Hence the hard-wired opportunistic anticipation of better times ahead after the hormonal distribution unit again kicked in, meaning that unit reproduction. would, indeed eventually take place.


          • Hypocritophobe March 25, 2012 at 12:14 am #

            I know it’s easy to do,BUT, hey I’m confused.
            Which bloody bone is connected to the hip bone?

            And it’s not a penis,it’s a bed-flute!


            • paul walter March 25, 2012 at 10:25 am #

              Whatever turns you on, Hypo…


    • doug quixote March 24, 2012 at 8:05 pm #

      The reason ‘vagina’ gets 33 million entries and ‘penis’ gets 9 million is that men are positively fascinated by Georgia O’Keeffe paintings of Irises, and that women are not nearly so driven as regards say, the Eiffel Tower.

      And gay men are probably responsible for many of the entries on ‘penis’ come to think of it.


  27. paul walter March 24, 2012 at 9:23 am #

    It’s no surprise, of course, that the wondrous indeed Jewel in the Lotus; the delicate, petite and self effacing tiny Mouse’s Ear, the most loquacious Honey-pot of sweet and slippery bliss, should sweep the pool.
    A dork is a dork, but the Hidden bounty of the Nether Regions, the mischievous and elusive treasure of Down There, the Silken Purse rising Phoenix-like from a porcine ear, the hidden petalled and fragrant garden of Unearthly Delights; there is absolutely no doubt that the admiration and rapture the velvet vessel inspires, transcends all else…


    • Jennifer Wilson March 24, 2012 at 10:52 am #

      Sheesh, but you’re good, PW. Transcendental.


      • paul walter March 24, 2012 at 12:50 pm #

        Jennife, you too, can rise above it.


  28. gerard oosterman March 24, 2012 at 10:45 am #

    Even so, the penis ought to be admired for its simplicity of design, uncomplicated. It is the Alvar Aalto chair of the male body. While, the vagina, granted very beautiful and overarching in sheer decorativeness (with all its dados and cornices) to the bold penis, can (at times)be complicated and difficult to navigate. I am not suggesting a GPS when getting close, but gentle directions giving by partners have often been (still are) most helpful.


  29. Hypocritophobe March 24, 2012 at 10:56 am #

    Well, this conversation appears to be ‘far distant’ from the narration in the ancient film, Gerard suffered as a horny youth on a quest for knowledge.

    The extra ‘vaginal’ entries at Google could be Gerard’s co-adventuring theatre-goers playing catch-up. (Albeit over and over and over again!)

    Has anyone cracked a fat yet!!


    • Jennifer Wilson March 24, 2012 at 10:58 am #

      Please do not answer Hypo’s last question. Please do not. TOO MUCH INFORMATION!!!! LOL.


    • paul walter March 25, 2012 at 10:27 am #

      As usual with Gerard, a smile rather than a fat!


  30. helvityni March 24, 2012 at 11:18 am #

    Gerard, a pity your penis story wasn’t appreciated by Jonathan Green, you and Hetty would have made a nice couple on the Drum come Monday..


  31. Hypocritophobe March 25, 2012 at 12:44 am #

    Speaking of arse holes


  32. hudsongodfrey March 27, 2012 at 1:01 pm #

    At the risk of ingratiating myself here the thread I was following has been closed after StaggerLee despaired of the discourse for reasons I couldn’t understand but would desperately have liked to.

    That thread has I note now been closed perhaps to avoid any further unpleasantness. Be that as it may I think somebody has to at least mention that if we’re to do things like priding ourselves on defending free speech here that we have to maintain a level of tolerance that at least one person wasn’t completely happy with.

    I’m am on the other hand as happy as the next bloke to argue that sometimes people have to “suck it up” and take their strokes in vigorous debate. I just don’t necessarily see the advantage in narrowing the discussion to like-minded banter by pointing to the pavilion as it were in admonishing tones whenever somebody expresses a perspective we seem to think wavers from our adopted paradigm.

    To me at least the whole point of resisting the anti porn campaigners and apologists for other extreme views isn’t to define the world in terms of right and wrong or indeed along the lines of political right and left. It is instead to support diversity by meeting bad speech with better speech, by making an argument for tolerance that says people who are disconsolate with aspects of the mainstream culture have a space in which to create something better for themselves. Indeed they may very well have a responsibility to do so if they believe in the rightness of the values that they hold.

    That is to say that I advocate both the exercise of freedom of expression and its use for the purposes of persuading others to the merits of their views. I’m even prepared to back that principle so far as to say I wouldn’t censor those who are calling for censorship, even while I’m scathingly critical of their attempts to shut others up by any means possible.

    When you really believe those kinds of things I think you have to feel sorry when people leave the debate, and a certainly feel even sorrier when I find people supposedly on my side of the debate celebrating their departure. I’m sorry to have to mention it, but they’re wrong to think we’re on the same side if they behave as such.


    • Macabre March 27, 2012 at 1:15 pm #

      Pompous sentimentality. Who said I’m on “your side” whatever that might be. The enemy of my enemy is tolerated, during good behaviour.


      • hudsongodfrey March 27, 2012 at 2:54 pm #

        We disagree.

        The limits of tolerance should be set by reciprocity. Meaning your freedoms can be guaranteed only up to the point where they impinge on mine, and vice versa.

        I don’t argue to lay claim to some kind of righteous path, but to defend people’s freedom within the tolerable limits I described above to follow their own path.

        The source of my disagreement with religion for example comes about when some of them believe things which inform intolerant behaviour. I would describe believing that apostasy is harmful to be such a form of intolerance. It means to justify sanctioning other people for expressing a difference of opinion that it is most difficult to see as impinging on their right to follow their own traditions.

        In the lesser and more subjective charge of blasphemy there are those who would accuse people who meant no offence, and there are also those whose utterances are designed to give offence. Here the later are as bad as the former and I see no reason to defend those who seem to take pleasure in causing others even mild discomfort. Nor would I support action against the taunters beyond a commensurately potent verbal reminder of how shameful their behaviour is.

        In my view man created god not the other way around. So as human behaviours go it is hardly surprising that intolerance isn’t limited to religion but can apply to any ideology which struggles to cope with dissenters.

        If you think those values are worthwhile and want others to reciprocate by withdrawing their claims for censorship and the like, then I think you’re better to join me in trying to be as persuasive as possible than to limit your application of tolerance to what you arbitrarily regard as “good behaviour”.

        That’s what I have to say to you about this and you may consider it a polite but commensurately potent reminder of how shameful your words towards another poster were. And if you expect them to accept your ire then you may equally be up to wearing mine!


        • Macabre March 27, 2012 at 4:03 pm #

          Your shameful is my apposite. commensurate and accurate.


  33. Hypocritophobe March 27, 2012 at 4:45 pm #

    And the battle for controlling who can visit schools goes on….

    Why does this appear to have a whiff about the faceless people behind the scenes?


    • Jennifer Wilson March 27, 2012 at 5:43 pm #

      Presumably the speaker isn’t proposing to speak about weight loss to the girls. Nobody objects when war criminals like Tony Blair are invite to speak.


      • Hypocritophobe March 27, 2012 at 6:16 pm #

        Just look at who’s objecting (profile raising) in the link, and as a consequence, who she occasionally gets back pats from.
        It does look like a bullying pattern, yet again.

        “Hands off!!!”

        Jenny Craig has obviously stepped on toes.
        “Damn those obesity campaigners.Curse you Scary Spice.”

        It seems only ‘certain people’ get to enter the sacred turf (schools) of the anointed few.Can’t have the $$$ being impacted.
        Greed masquerading as concern,perhaps?

        I mean is it altruism? No, doesn’t look like it.
        Is it the work of God? Apparently not.(If it is it’s a hush-hush God-job)
        Speaking of mystery religious affiliations, MTR is on the Teev tonight on that bastion of credible journalism, Today Tonight.She’s gonna ‘give it’ to Kyle, I think.
        Expose him as a dork?I mean wow,how did she uncover that hot news flash!
        There may even be a segue to the story about Jenny Craig.
        This could be good.I wonder if any of the MTR camp submitted anything in writing to ACMA.
        I think a lot of legal folk will be watching this show with much interest.
        (By the way:
        She’s probably crammed between a shonky car salesman and a seven legged cat story.
        Looks like she’s finally made the BIG TIME!
        I’d love to watch it,but I need to alphabetise and colour code my socks.)


        • Jennifer Wilson March 27, 2012 at 6:44 pm #

          Oh go on, Hypo, you watch it and tell me about it then I won’t have to. BTW I’d never heard of that other campaigner. Don’t think MTR has anything to do with her, probly because she’s openly religious.

          And if they’re going to ban speakers because they work for the body image industry that means everyone from women’s mags, fashion, cosmetic industry…..

          PS You made it up about a seven legged cat.


  34. Hypocritophobe March 27, 2012 at 6:50 pm #

    Now JW you could throw MTRs name and the other name together in Google, you know?
    (Be quick)

    Yes they pick away at modelling from the outside.
    Seriously,it’s sad.
    Girls can’t aspire to anything but to be Bride of Christ apparently.

    As a trade off I WILL watch the show,if you lick Tony Abbott’s chest hair while looking up into his eyes.
    I think those two tortures are pretty closely matched!

    Yeah the cat is a bit imaginatry?


  35. Hypocritophobe March 27, 2012 at 7:04 pm #

    Another report, 6 hours old


  36. Hypocritophobe March 27, 2012 at 7:09 pm #

    “Petition organisers say regardless of what Ms Smith is talking about, having the Jenny Craig CEO speaking at the conference “legitimises the diet industry and sends a strong message to educators that weight is what matters most. One could just as easily have the CEO of a tobacco company present an “inspiring” talk on their business success”.

    Where some people deliberately read “promoting thin’ other read ‘addressing obesity’.

    I ask, Is this sort of comment damaging Jenny Craig’s brand or not ?


  37. Hypocritophobe March 27, 2012 at 7:22 pm #

    The Petitioner

    The petition

    I sure hope the statements and statistics on the petition are backed up with solid proof or Jenny’s lawyers may start getting fidgety.(Especially given the ‘petitioners’ demand for independent data from Jenny Craig (is it OK to call her JC? Is that where she really went wrong?)

    Such as :
    “Eating disorder experts report dieting to be the biggest predictor of eating disorders, with unhealthy weight loss practices becoming the norm in schools.”

    “By the age of 12-17, 90% of girls will have been on a diet of some kind. 8% of teen girls smoke to control their weight, and many compete to see who can eat the least number of calories during lunch at school.”

    “Global giant Jenny Craig thrives on women’s body dissatisfaction and the idea that their bodies are ‘not good enough.’ To date, there is no independent research to show that the Jenny Craig approach leads to sustainable outcomes for the majority (>3 years). ‘Before and After’ shots do not count as evidence: what is really being sold is weight cycling for most.”

    and this borderline insult;

    “It beggars belief how the Jenny Craig brand could possibly be seen as an appropriate choice for educators of young girls, and certainly not a “champion of women’s health.”

    Whilst I support the ideal of reducing or eliminating eating disorders,the campaign needs to be honest at all times.I hope for their sake it is.I also hope their strong desire to have ‘independent research’, catches on elsewhere in the shady world of profit by women and girls.

    I think you may have another article here JW.
    Please read the petition when you have time.
    Crikey, now I’m almost tempted to watch MTR and see if you arcs up.


  38. Hypocritophobe March 27, 2012 at 8:23 pm #

    I mean see if “SHE” arcs up.

    HEY! Anyway,

    Where’s Hetty Johnston’s ‘please explain’, Drum come-back article???????

    it’s Tuesday.Not a peep.


    • hudsongodfrey March 27, 2012 at 8:47 pm #

      Don’t worry Hypo there’ll be the usual swag of Easter Articles on the Drum for you soon enough.

      There’s also a rather incendiary piece the the religion and ethics section. The old warhorse “abortion” arguments are being rehashed by a fellow who equates it with involuntary euthanasia. The offence being given mainly by the egregious affront to our intelligence!


      • Hypocritophobe March 27, 2012 at 9:11 pm #

        The R & E area is a like an overflowing septic tank,with the overwhelming contents appearing to emanate from one major source.Suffice to say the solids are comprised of decomposing wafer and cheap red wine,which has been interlaced with an apathy inducing agent 😉

        As previously mentioned I cannot penetrate the monogamous force field with my alternative view no mater how temperate the contents.

        The likes of Snigg seem to own the place.
        (He must have a serious Frequent Deniers Points stash by now.)

        It’s, as previously stated, a book launch area.
        It’s also an advertorial advocating the mind numbing obedience of the masses.
        The latest Ad (below) from OUR *Catholic* ABC Religion and Ethics Area,from the pamphlet you mentioned about the Catholic Churches obsession with controlling women’s bodies,minds and virtues.
        Anthony Kelly CSsR is Professor of Theology at the Australian Catholic University. This article forms part of “That’s Life!” – a week-long event at the Melbourne campus of Australian Catholic University aimed at raising awareness of major social issues and promote the dignity of all persons. During the week, there will be talks from experts in their field on a range of topics, including health care ethics, euthanasia, understanding Church teaching and whether the early Christians were pro-life.
        No doubt some of our Trolling friends will be parked in the front row with 9 litre buckets of pre-blessed popcorn.
        Don’t be surprised if 99% of the so called ‘advocates’ for women and girls are there with neck to knee cheer leaders outfits on,getting as many photo opportunities in ,as they can.(Not ALL advocates will be that keen on such a spotlight though 😉 )

        Imagine a whole week of it.


        • Macabre March 27, 2012 at 10:50 pm #

          ‘Whether the early christians were pro-life?’ WGAF?

          Which articles at RE are you trying to comment on – I love a challenge!


          • Jennifer Wilson March 28, 2012 at 7:31 am #

            I’m not sure which article they are referring to, Macabre, but I’m guessing its something on the ABC Religion and Ethics website.


  39. Hypocritophobe March 27, 2012 at 11:13 pm #

    The one sided pro Catholic,anti-women,patriarchal,inflexible,Vatican approved,’personal favourite’ type topics of Scott Stephens, of course.
    See how YOU get on.
    I don’t usually bother with the other 3% of topics in R&E, because they seem to have a human touch to them.


    • hudsongodfrey March 27, 2012 at 11:26 pm #

      Cheer up there’s a piece by Stephen Pinker that nobody will touch.

      Because he’s right about most things 🙂


      • Hypocritophobe March 27, 2012 at 11:35 pm #

        This IS me being cheerful!

        I’ll check out the Pinky.


        • Hypocritophobe March 28, 2012 at 12:56 am #

          He appears to be a 3% er


      • doug quixote March 30, 2012 at 8:36 am #

        HG, Pinker’s article and John Gray’s rebuttal over at R & E caught my interest :

        “The world changed in 1928. But no-one really believed it until the Nuremberg Trials. For the first time the leaders of a major nation were put on trial for waging aggressive war (and of course for crimes against humanity) and several were sentenced to death and hanged.

        What happened in 1928? All the world’s leading nations negotiated and signed the Kellogg-Briand Pact. The Pact effectively outlawed aggressive war. But only since the Nuremberg Trials have the world’s statesmen believed it.

        It does focus the mind, that one may be hunted down, arrested , put on trial and executed for the waging of aggressive war. Any war started since 1945 has carried this risk to the leaders. And it all changed in 1928. A pity no-one believed it until Nuremberg.”

        I posted something like this, and was ignored; I’ve reconstructed it and tried again, but it may be pearls before swine.

        Perhaps this may get published. I wait with ‘bated breath.


        • Jennifer Wilson March 30, 2012 at 10:04 am #

          John Gray? The Professor of European Thought at LSE?


          • doug quixote March 30, 2012 at 1:26 pm #

            None other. He makes several excellent points, but Pinker’s thesis is certainly interesting.

            To HG : We expect a synopsis by April 1, and a review by Anzac Day!


            • Jennifer Wilson March 30, 2012 at 1:38 pm #

              I’m just reading Gray’s “Black Mass.”


            • Doug Quixote March 30, 2012 at 2:10 pm #

              Then you should enjoy his criticism of Pinker at :


              He argued in “Straw Dogs” that the belief in progress, commonly imagined to be secular and liberal, is in fact derived from an erroneous Christian notion of humans as morally autonomous beings, and different in kind from other animals.

              This belief, and the corresponding idea that history makes sense, or is progressing towards something, is in Gray’s view merely a Christian prejudice. It is hardly surprising that he dislikes Pinker’s thesis.

              I’d love a report on “Black Mass” (at your leisure!)


        • hudsongodfrey March 30, 2012 at 10:45 am #

          As you may have seen I’ve now purchased Pinker’s book, on audio book in five parts, it must be very long..

          Don’t expect a book review within the year, but what Blackford seemed to like and Gray to dislike in equal parts alerted me to the fact that Pinker who I already admired in passing may well have a really interesting case to be made.


          • Doug Quixote March 30, 2012 at 1:52 pm #

            I’m in shock, HG – Not once but twice on the same article at R & E. They must have misplaced the first incarnation for 2 days!


            • Hypocritophobe March 30, 2012 at 1:59 pm #

              An appropriate place (R&E) to be caught red-handed being a two-timer!


            • hudsongodfrey March 30, 2012 at 3:29 pm #

              I saw I saw…

              I even posted a brief response. The R&E section is staffed by part timers I think the advertised gap between posting and publishing is on a predictably Biblical scale 🙂


            • Doug Quixote March 30, 2012 at 5:48 pm #

              I had a look at Blackford’s bio. He seems an interesting fellow. Metamagician, eh?

              I doubt that you can claim celebrity yet, HG.

              Weigel’s friend is seriously askew, and so is Weigel :

              “Mary Eberstadt is our premier analyst of American cultural foibles and follies, with a keen eye for oddities that illuminate just how strange the country’s moral culture has become.”


              I liked ‘Pam’s’ comment best, after Snigg’s strange post (no, don’t bother) :

              “I am lost for words after reading this.
              So, I’ll turn to a favourite author, Lewis Carroll. From Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland:

              ‘Reeling and Writhing, of course, to begin with’, the Mock Turtle replied, ‘and the different branches of Arithmetic – Ambition, Distraction, Uglification, and Derision.’ “


    • Macabre March 28, 2012 at 9:17 am #

      I claim success vis a vis Paul Oslington’s article :

      Macabre :

      28 Mar 2012 12:53:24am

      Why don’t you just come out and say it :

      “What we want is government money to subsidise our religious-based provision of services.”



      • Hypocritophobe March 28, 2012 at 10:21 am #

        Your Cupee Doll is in the mail, Mc.

        Make sure you do a few laps in the sheep dip,though.
        (Now you’ve done a walk through R&E.


        • Macabre March 30, 2012 at 1:30 pm #

          The kewpie doll arrived ok, thanks Hypo. That sheep dip is rugged stuff, especially after 2000 sheep.


          • Hypocritophobe March 30, 2012 at 1:43 pm #

            No whuckers Mc.
            Last ‘qp’ doll in the stall!
            Just be bloody cheerful,you did NOT get swept up in that flock of 2000.
            I hear a few were off to mulesing!


  40. paul walter March 28, 2012 at 4:04 am #

    Talking about Jenny Craig and women’s fretful dissatisfaction with their own bodies appearances, I suppose at least some here saw yet another marvellous Media
    Watch, on faulty breast implants, that examined some of the contributing factors to this sort of psychological problem for women, particularly when induced, exacerbated for selfish reasons, or exploited for base political reasons as part of arguably, a brain washing ploy.
    Commodification as understood by both folk here and Tankard Reist, to a degree, is a traditional notion to do with sociology and cultural through lifestyle, individuation rather than deliberate micro- conditioning, but the message I got from MW was that I was watching was an example of a conscious tinkering with the wiring, so to speak, to induce a commodifed audience.How close to the cracking of the psychological genome, for want of a better term, are manipulators getting; what I witnessed was conscious employment of techniques of aesthetics, imagary and language, including Kafka-esque refusal of crucial information?
    Seven and Nine, you turned my stomach.


    • helvityni March 30, 2012 at 10:24 am #

      It was riveting Media Watch, I never watch any of the Commercial Channels..


  41. progressivescan1 April 9, 2012 at 11:10 am #

    TV, radio and newspapers will be dead soon.:)


  42. Hypocritophobe July 14, 2012 at 10:55 am #

    Sorry to blow the dust of an oldie,but i was struggling to find the appropriate parking space.

    What will the moralista sistas think?
    Read some of the comments below the article at the link.



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