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mark
11-20-2006, 11:14 AM
She was saying that people need to not bag on one religion. It shows bigotry.

Kirk Keyes
11-20-2006, 11:19 AM
But then should your avatar be shown? It clearly is offensive to millions of Muslims.

It probably also offends every citizen in your neighboring town of Colorado City, AZ.

(A fundamentalist Mormon town that still practices polygamy - for those that are not familiar with the reference.)

Kirk Keyes
11-20-2006, 11:20 AM
She was saying that people need to not bag on one religion.

There is not enough time in the day to "bag on" every religion. One therefor needs to be selective.

Claire Senft
11-20-2006, 11:39 AM
I am going to suppose that the preceding post was meant is humor.

I believe that everyone is entitled to their own beliefs. I believe that it would be best not to offend others by making light of their belief or by ridiculing those beliefs. I believe that it is best not to look for offense where none may have been intended.

Peter De Smidt
11-20-2006, 11:49 AM
She was saying that people need to not bag on one religion. It shows bigotry.

That's one of the things that she said.

In any case, why does poking fun of a religion entail bigotry? Poking fun of something inherently involves saying something negative about the thing in question. We aren't allowed to do that? Or if we do, we have to do it about a lot of different groups so that one group doesn't feel singled out? So all comedy is immoral?

And that relates to our topic in the following way: being offended does not mean being harmed, at least in a sense that should be illegal, as per JS Mill's Harm principle. Furthermore, actions or images that don't involve inherently harming something shouldn't be illegal. In other words one person should not be able to legally limit the freedom of someone else simply because the first person doesn't like what the other person is doing.) If you're offended by something, don't look at it, or don't let your kids look at it. It's that simple.

All of the various definitions of porn rely on personal taste, and that's it. Unless a good argument can be made that a practice unacceptably harms someone, then there's no basis for illegality. (While harming something is a necessary condition for the limitation of someone's freedom, it isn't suffient for such limitition. Even if a practice does cause harm, it doesn't follow that it should be illegal, since otherwise driving cars would be illegal.) Obscenity or community standards are ridiculous as they are purely subjective, and hence they shouldn't be the basis for limiting someone's freedom, as it would entail the government picking favorites.

catem
11-20-2006, 12:12 PM
As a side-line on this, there have been some very interesting programmes on the telly here just recently on the history of pornography. Pre-Victoria things were, of course, much freer and during the eighteenth century there was a particular 'flowering' of pornographic pamphlets. Pre-photography, of course, but very explicit cartoons, (specially on a largeish colour telly :p )

It's not at all certain their publication would be allowed today. At the time they were also seen as transgressive, but interestingly not because of the sexual content, but because of their ulterior purpose - which was in fact not sexual at all, but social unrest - the drawings were all of the nobility and upper classes and their purpose was to demean them and poke fun at them (preparing the way, eventually for bloody, or non-bloody revolution in Europe). Quite interesting that at this particular part of pornography's history there is a 'given' sense that graphic portrayal of - in this case - the sexual act or naughty bits in anticipation of same - is undeniably associated with the demeaning of those portrayed, and the amusement of those looking at them.
There's a classic story of Pepys pleasuring himself over one of them, and then immediately burning it as sinful/subversive. All recorded in his diaries :)

Cate

Peter De Smidt
11-20-2006, 12:40 PM
Quite interesting that at this particular part of pornography's history there is a 'given' sense that graphic portrayal of - in this case - the sexual act or naughty bits in anticipation of same - is undeniably associated with the demeaning of those portrayed, and the amusement of those looking at them.

Cate

This is a good point. People against certain types of sexual behavior or imagery often claim that the behavior or image is demeaning. Aggie's recent claim that some pictures only have one purpose (Making money? Arousing men? Angering Aggie?) is of this sort. The problem is that people who make these claims have a tough time demonstrating the demeaning nature of the acts or images in question. For example, is oral sex inherently immoral or demeaning? If yes, then why? If no, then why would a picture of oral sex be demeaning or immoral? Just because someone doesn't like something, or someone is disgusted by something, or someone wouldn't personally engage in something, it doesn't follow that that thing is demeaning for others.

On a related example, when I asked my students if homosexuality was immoral, many of them would say "yes!" When asked why, the number one response was "because it's gross." Well, as far as arguments go, that's pretty pathetic, as being gross (to someone) isn't sufficient for something being immoral. Otherwise eating tapioca pudding would be immoral. I mean yuck!

People often claim, for example, that stripping is demeaning. But if you interview strippers, most don't think they are being demeaned. The same goes for models, actors and actresses, investment bankers... "I'm not being demeaned." "Oh yes you are!" "Really? How?"

catem
11-20-2006, 12:48 PM
Peter, you have a right to make your point of course, but may I suggest that this discussion now be steered away from remarks relating to Aggie? It's beginning to make me uncomfortable.
Just a thought....
Cate

blansky
11-20-2006, 01:05 PM
Most religions by their very nature are about social engineering and control of people. So naturally the more fundamentalist that they are they more they are the supressors or repressers of sexual expression, and well as "art."

So religion usually ends up in the arguments about art/porn/erotica because they are usually the crusaders against it. However many societies in the past revered the sex act and it's many variations partly because sexual expression led to more population, which was a good thing. Besides, it was fun.

Even today fundamentalist religious types love to spout things like Sodom and Gomorrah stories and myths like the reason Rome fell was because of sexual decadence. So, deeply ingrained in any Judeo/Christian society or its descendents is the notion that sex is bad, demeaning, and evil.

Keeping religion out of the debate is pretty difficult.

Michael

catem
11-20-2006, 01:18 PM
So, deeply ingrained in any Judeo/Christian society or its descendents is the notion that sex is bad, demeaning, and evil.
Michael
That's true, or certainly post-puritanism. Though not consistently so. Life pre-Victoria was pretty licenscious, and we are still recovering from the hypocrisy of the Victorian age, where double standards and a split between public and private life was the norm. Also those working classes were always at it, weren't they, throughout the ages.....

The Kama Sutra is often quoted as an example of an alternative approach and culture/religion. But it's also often forgotten that only 20% of the Kama Sutra concerns sexual positions; the rest is about how to be a good citizen. Even the sexual bits are (touchingly) about how to please your partner, and the original title of the whole was "Vatsyayana's Aphorisms on Love". Hardly pornography, then.

I find it amazing that tradition has it that the author was a celibate scholar. ;)

Cate

Aggie
11-20-2006, 01:36 PM
Peter you have no idea what I can express sexually. I just know when it is common decency to do so. I choose not to do so on the internet where the world would read it. I hope your students are of legal age. All it takes is one parent to be upset about the subject matter a child underage is taught in school, even sex ed classes, to get you in serious trouble. I kept my kids of the school sex ed classes simply becasue I felt I could teach them better. I also did not agree with the curriculum they taught. Yeah I read it all before denying my kids be taught at the school. Now you are probably smiling thinking I have kids that are sexually repressed or worse know nothing. My kids are far from that. In fact one Dr. when my daughter was 10 asked her in my presence if she had been taught about sex at school. She said no. The Dr. started yelling at me for it. Then my dauighter chimed in and asked him what he would like to know about it. After about 10 minutes of explaining to him in embarrasing frankness he blushed and shut up. a 10 year old taught by her mother (me) embarrased a medical dr. with her frankness and knowledge.

bjorke
11-20-2006, 02:27 PM
Now, I know that APUG is international, and that its administration is not required to follow any particular code other than that imposed by Sean et al.

However, I hope Americans realize that 'freedom of religion' is specifically worded in the constituion as freedom FROM religious authority:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.Meaning that 'offense to religion or religious groups' should bear no legal weight at all. In perfect post-David-Hume style, the framers here declare religion merely an opinion, and of no more substance than, say, flying spaghetti monsters. Note that in the very same sentence the framers of the constitution included protection of that annoying 'freedom of speech' idea -- weird, huh? You don't suppose that they thought that religious privelege might be abused by some people as an excuse to make others shut the heck up? And that it was such a common and important issue that the framers made it the very first part of the Bill of Rights?

Hmm, could be....

jd callow
11-20-2006, 02:42 PM
Excellent post kevin.

Can Pormography be art? Maybe, but probably not to those who think it is pornographic. Can the depiction of sexual acts be art? I think so. Can images of war, death, cruelty, and other such things be art? Yes, but probably not to those who are being warred(sp?) upon, killed, etc...

Just my 2c. In the US you (should) have the freedom to speak as well as the freedom to ignore.

haris
11-20-2006, 02:44 PM
Speaking very freely, much of what I would call pornography is incredibly crude and demeaning. It's obviously produced by men, for men, for the purpose of arousal, period. There is no intimate artistry in this type of production. I'm sure everybody knows exactly what type of material I am referring to. (It's obvious that the producers of some of what I have seen have no {f-bomb}ing clue, pun intended, as to what intimacy really is.)



Well, having cable I can wach every day on my TV porn. And I can say it is BORING. And very disgusting. It is produced by men, for men, but if producers made it to arouse, they missed the point... And I am a man. Or, maybe, female in man's body... lesbian...

Saying that, ARTE had few nights ago themathic evening about pornography (ARTE is French/German artistic satellite TV channel, and they have on evenings broadcastings about specifis themes. They broadcast from 20.00 (8PM) till about midnight different programmes (documentaries, feature movies, interviews, etc...) about that evening theme).

According to what I saw that night, pornography is here to stay, become mainstream (like digital :)), and some parts of pornography, especially from 1970es or 80es (movies and magazines) could be seen almost as art.

One can agree or not, but when one see what happens on Cannes film festival (Hot d'Or award), I think it is not far from true...

So, what is pornography and can it be art? Well, everything is possibile in this valley of tears we named the Earth...

arigram
11-20-2006, 02:49 PM
Considering that pornography means "the works of prostitution" and that eroticism is one of the expressions of love, for me is simple:
pornography is pure commercial, made just to make money. Erotic art is an expression of our humanity, if money is involved, its not a priority.
Its not really a matter of your personal beliefs or opinion on aesthetics, its a matter of the goal of the creator: if (s)he just wants to make money, (s)he is a whore.

Peter De Smidt
11-20-2006, 02:51 PM
Peter you have no idea what I can express sexually. I just know when it is common decency to do so. I choose not to do so on the internet where the world would read it. I hope your students are of legal age. <snip>

One person's "common decency" is another person's... oh never mind. The students in question were university students taking such classes as Contemporary Moral Issues. I hope that it's ok to talk about moral issues with them?

jd callow
11-20-2006, 02:58 PM
Considering that pornography means "the works of prostitution" and that eroticism is one of the expressions of love, for me is simple:
pornography is pure commercial, made just to make money. Erotic art is an expression of our humanity, if money is involved, its not a priority.
Its not really a matter of your personal beliefs or opinion on aesthetics, its a matter of the goal of the creator: if (s)he just wants to make money, (s)he is a whore.

The purely commercial does not exclude it from being art, nor do I agree with your definition of what is pornographic. I'm pretty sure being a 'whore' does not preclude you from being an artist or your work from being art. I am really sure that 'expression(s) of our humanity' are not always beautiful to observe.

Peter De Smidt
11-20-2006, 03:07 PM
Even today fundamentalist religious types love to spout things like Sodom and Gomorrah stories and myths like the reason Rome fell was because of sexual decadence. So, deeply ingrained in any Judeo/Christian society or its descendents is the notion that sex is bad, demeaning, and evil.
Michael

To be fair, though, Christianity got this idea from Plato via Augustine. Plato's idea, as expressed for example in the Phaedo, was not so much that sex is bad, but that anything having to do with the body or corporeal nature in general is bad. It's bad, he thought, because all such things are impermanent; and the purpose of life is to rise about the corporeal and contemplate the eternal and unchanging Forms. The problem, according to Plato, is that when one tries to contemplate the eternal, the body is a constant distraction. For example, someone might be minding his own business contemplating the Form of circularity, but then a beautiful girl walks by. ... So much for circularity.

All of this is especially funny because Augustine was quite the Lothario.

arigram
11-20-2006, 03:09 PM
The purely commercial does not exclude it from being art, nor do I agree with your definition of what is pornographic. I'm pretty sure being a 'whore' does not preclude you from being an artist or your work from being art. I am really sure that 'expression(s) of our humanity' are not always beautiful to observe.

I won't disagree with you, but I need to clarify that any artist that makes money is not necesseraly a "whore" or his artwork pornography, but most often when the only and I mean the only goal of production is money, what you have is not of any artistic value. This comes from my observation, its not a theory or a rule. After all I stayed that is my own personal viewpoint and part of it is the literal interpretation of the two greek words.
Considering the last line, I don't mind things that aren't beautiful. Eroticism can be crude, violent and disturbing as it is in reallity. I don't restrict art only to pleasant and happy themes, I can take a bit of ugliness.

TheFlyingCamera
11-20-2006, 03:10 PM
All of this is especially funny because Augustine was quite the Lothario.

"Lord, grant me celibacy... but not yet." So saith the great sage Augustine.