Big Brother Censoring You

11 Jan

Don’t look, it’s not good for you

By Elizabeth Shore

Isn’t it nice that nowadays porn viewing can be simple and discreet? No need to truck on down to a seedy video store and rent tapes while ignoring the cashier’s smirking face. Or, worse yet, slink into some stained-filled booth and watch videos in semi-public. With the age of the internet, it’s a piece of cake! One’s porn viewing can be done in the privacy of home. Just launch your browser and go to town. Oh, wait. Maybe not if you live in South Carolina.

Palmetto-state dwellers can watch porn on their computers, too, but if a certain legislator has his way, that might change. Residents will still be able to do it – as long as they pay for permission. State Rep Bill Chumley (R) has put forth a bill that would require all new computers sold in the state to come pre-installed with porn-blocking software. Don’t want it, you say? You like watching naked people online? Good news – that pesky software can be removed as long as you ante-up a $20 fee.

Admittedly, $20 bucks isn’t much, and the money would go toward the state attorney general’s efforts toward anti-sex trafficking. Rep Chumley, who says this is an issue he’s “pretty passionate about,” says the blocker would prevent kids from accessing obscene material or from being exploited themselves (just how that would work Rep Chumley hasn’t elaborated on, but it sounds good). So, in other words, Chumley’s “pretty passionate” about state-sponsored censorship.

This all might sound like a whole lotta public shaming, but South Carolina’s not alone in their war against porn. In April last year, Utah officially declared porn a “public health crisis” by passing a resolution declaring that porn is “evil, degrading, addictive, and harmful” and hoping the resolution will work to unite communities in trying to stop it. After all, if it’s a public health crisis, like obesity, for example, than surely it must be costing communities tons o’ money in lost revenue, right? Except that studies are conflicted as to whether viewing pornography – even at a young age – has a detrimental physical or psychological effect, and therefore it’s unclear what “public health costs” pornography brings about. Details!

Aside from the legislation publically shaming new computer buyers into having to admit they want their porn, the whole issue of free speech comes into play. Isn’t blocking an expression of something equivalent to blocking the right to express it? Courts in the past have struck down proposed laws to block porn, citing First Amendment rights, but South Carolina’s Chumley says  the concern isn’t based on morality or free speech. It’s corrupting people! That’s why it must be blocked.

Exactly what will come of this legislation, if anything, remains to be seen. Nowadays porn is everywhere and filters or not, getting it for free is as easy as a couple clicks of the mouse. According to an article in The Washington Post, porn trafficking website Pornhub had one of its biggest years ever in 2015, so the appetite for porn has only increased. But that seems to be the very reason congressmen (and yes, it’s men behind the legislation), are passionate about starting conversations around the evil ills of porn – because it is indeed so ubiquitous.

Public health hazard? Evil ill of society? Cool thing that millions want? The debate against porn rages on, which is exactly what legislators say is the aim of their resolution: to get people talking about porn.

So…do you like a little government with your porn? Does the South Carolina porn blocking resolution make sense? Sound off in the comments below, and be sure to follow us at Lady Smut, where we’ve always got ways to get people talking.

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