Like most such discussions, it had its high points and its low points,
unraveled relatively quickly, without much in the way of resolution or closure.
I'm sure many of us continued the discussion in person, or via private
I'm sure many others of us never even gave it another thought after it ended.
But one participant chose to write about it, in a Chapel Hill zine
Diane Wininger, one of the major participants in the discussion, cut-n-pasted
short excerpts from the discussion, removed any indication as to who wrote
what, and falsely presented them as the unified voice of alt.music.chapel-hill.
Unfortunately, she didn't really capture the full flavor of the discussion.
insistence on removing the names of the original authors makes it difficult for the
average Ha! reader to apply his or her critical skills to the mishmash of varying
voices and opinions. In short, she did a poor job of representing the debate.
In the interest of fairness and completeness, here
are the quotes excerpted by
Diane in her article. (The sections printed in a contrasting color were omitted
from the quotes in Ha!) They're linked to the complete posts which they were
excerpted from, with all original author and date information intact.
It should become quickly apparent that the bulk of the quotes (14
of the 22)
were taken from a mere 3 posts by one person: Margaret Campbell. In fact,
Diane's whole article would be better titled: "Tidbits from an Argument with
Margaret." In addition, all 22 of the quotes were taken from only 10 posts,
which were written by a total of 5 people. Hardly representative of anything.
Due to the amount of correspondence involved, we don't currently
have the full
text of *every* message posted during the course of the discussion. However, at
the bottom of this page, there is a list of the main threads involved. Clicking on
any of them will take you to the DejaNews archive of that particular thread.
"If you can definitively define the difference
between erotica and porn, I'd
love to hear it. Those that I have heard usually boil down to what *I* like
is erotica, that stuff s/he likes is porn. One of my favorite examples is
Preston's Flesh and the Word, widely hailed as a masterpiece of gay male
erotica. Problem is, most of the stories in it were originally published in
magazines such as Drummer that almost no one defines as anything but
pornography. Preston's take was that erotica is hardcover, porn is
paperback. Which works about as well as any other definition I've heard."
"I don't want to get
into too much trouble, but can we better define
exploitation of women? Granted, Flynt was an asshole, and made a job of
it. However, Hustler magazine and all of the others like it don't
really exploit women, do they? The women do get paid as far as I know.
People should explore sexuality however they feel most comfortable.
Some men (and women) dig the two dimensional stuff. If you want to talk
about objectification, talk about it. But sexually explicit material
should be available to those who want it and are willing to pay whatever
price there may be. If you want to change the image of women, boycott
beer and jeans and perfume, etc."
"I'm sorry, but I really don't see a
whole lot of difference in the rhetoric of
the anti-sex and anti-porn so-called feminists. Most of the anti-porn feminists
I've read *do* object to nondegrading images. The claim seems to be that
any sexual image of a woman objectifies her, and therefore degrades her.
"A few years ago, I used to collect Hustler
magazines (before I got
a membership to the Video Bar ;). I remember getting that 16th analversary
issue. Don't act like you guys (and some of you gals) don't remember
it...... OK maybe the gay guys (and straight gals) don't really have a
reason to remember it. hmmm.... HOW 'BOUT THIS? For those of you who
read such smut and maybe don't wanna really admit to it, it was the one that
featured in one of the pictorals two S&M lesbians in the bathroom with the
one getting rough and flushing the other's head in the toilet.
that was probably the best bunch of artistic raunch that I
have ever had the pleasure of reading. I remember spending many hours in
the bathroom... um... admiring the photography and reading the interview
and history of Larry Flint.
That guy is one asshole
that I like. He pissed off the world and
organized religeon. And even though he paid very dearly for it, he never
stopped pissing on the establishment. He said exactly what he wanted to
say and he loved who ever the he wanted to love WITHOUT giving one
gosh darn about what the world thought."
"As for women and porn, the study that is trotted out is the one
college males "violent" pornography (an entirely undefined term) and that
found the men were then more violent. Things that are left out of the
reference--someone did the exact same study, using your standard blow-em-up
movie, and found exactly the same reaction. IOW, it isn't the porn, it is
the exciting violence. Also, when the subjects were re-tested a short time
later, the more violent urges had passed away."
"The surveys that included such things as being whistled at as sexual
harrassment (rape was overstating my case) are usually touted by TBTN.
And speakers at TBTN marches frequently define the harrassment as a
form of rape."
"I can't remember where I encountered the study, but it was a study
correlation between the availability and domestic spousal abuse. The
researchers were rather horrified to find that in areas where porn was more
widely available, there was less spousal abuse."
"And if you still think porn made those boys do all those wrong things,
heck. It isn't their fault. Let's let all the rapists out of prison. They
were misled by nasty pictures."
"Snuff films are trotted out as the ne plus ultra of the argument.
is, no one has ever seen one, and no researcher or politico or
investigator has ever found one. They appear not to exist, to be an entirely
"Short form is that I've worked on the
fringes of porn since 1988. The *only*
harrassment I've seen or gotten has been either from anti-porn self-described
feminists or the post office. (I was to be a witness for Adam & Eve at one
point, and during the opening discussions with the post office people, I said
I also rejected movies I found misogynistic. The postal inspector honestly
did not know what the word meant.)"
"What is context?
Should any given man think twice before approaching a
woman in a bar? How do people get together these days? If a guy
instigates a conversation, how does he do it? Should we all adopt an
Antioch College introduction protocol? Men are and should be afraid that
anything they say or do can be held against him in a court of law. So how
do we meet Mr(s). Right?
I'm not the expert at debate (obviously).
Maybe my agenda is ultimately
wanting to meet a person that I really feel comfortable with. Actually I
have. But I hate to think about what would have happened if she had taken
anything I've said over the years as harassment. That would have really
"Now that's just mean. Who decided a whistle
was a sexual advance? Who
gets to decide this? Is a compliment a sexual advance? Is a whistle a course
compliment? If I think calling a whistle sexual harrassment is silly, does
that automatically mean I think rape is hype? Woooo Wooooo."
"I think this is terrible. I do. But if I
get thrown in jail for whistling
at a female because some asshole tried to assault you, it would be a
terrible injustice. We try to punish the guilty, but the law is designed
to do just that, punish the guilty. You cannot remove every chance of an
attack without removing the rights of all people."
"Of course the ACLU uses porn to raise money. So does Dworkin
Sex sells. But I wouldn't accuse Dworkin et al. of being in it for the money
they get from porn. Why is it different when the ACLU does it? The ACLU
also defended the KKK--did they get money from them, or was the hate
mail they got payment enough?
And the churches funded a lot of anti-porn propaganda. This
is the nature
of propaganda--if you have money, you can usually get your message out.
It says nothing about the truth or falsity of your message."
"Wow. I don't know
if I know who you are (and I'm not sure I need to) but
I feel I ought to tell you to take a deep breath when trying to make a
rational point or two in a public debate. I've never read anythig that
seemed to want to be read as rational on ch-scene that read as outraged
as your response. I actually think everythign Margaret wrote makes pretty
good sense and I knw there's nothing she would vouch for in public that
she couldn't back up - she is the consumate 'netperson' and knows her
stuff. Try to take a few more scans over your responses before you hit
the send button.
Just as an extra barb, why don't you call Dworkin and ask her how
her bills? The research factor is on the rise here, y'all... look out."
"I'm afraid Dworkin *is* using porn to make
money. She could have written on
the sexism inherent in, say, the fashion industry. Or the fast food
industry. But she chose porn, and as a result, she gets book contracts, and
people pay to hear her speak, and to see her slides of bad, evil porn.
The main difference between what the pornographers sell and what
sells is that the pornographers have releases from the models, and they pay
them. Dworkin, to the best of my knowledge, doesn't.
As for the ACLU, I do suppose you know that it stands for American
Liberties Union, yes? Are they to turn down constitutional cases because
they might make money? Saying that they sometimes work for people who can
pay them is *not* saying that they are for sale to the highest bidder."