Thursday, December 12, 2019

Is Pornography a Form of Speech?

Believe it or not, that topic has actually been raised in the passed few days.  As a free speech advocate, I'm feeling the need to weigh in on this.  I'm sure most people who support free speech in any way will answer the above question with a resounding "B'DOIIIIII!! YES IT IS!!!!" However, there are quite a few voices who are very adamantly declaring "OH NO IT'S NOT!!!" even insisting that it's somehow a free speech position to ban porn.  How does that compute?
I, of course, am firmly on the side of "yes it is a form of speech" and I will gladly explain my entire position...

Uh huh huh huh huh! You said 'position'. Heh heh heh! Yeah!

[ahem].... that is, I will give my opinion on the subject here.

Pornography itself (as recorded by humans anyway) goes all the way back to ancient Greece.  The images on those pots were depicting events of the day such as battles fought or whatever the kings were doing.  However, some of those images are quite erotic depictions of sexual acts that they may have indulged in at the time.  But it would be a waste of time (and a lot of unnecessary padding) to talk about the entire history of porn, simply because the debate going on right now is only concerned with porn as we know it today.  So I will only go back as far as I need to.
The porn we're most familiar with really started up around the hedonist trend that was happening in and around the late 60's and early 70's.  The hippie counter-culture brought in what they felt was a more open and non-repressed attitude towards sex as well as other pressing issues of society.  They wanted to put be provocative and show the world as it really is rather than some idealized bubble of it.  This affected the movie industry for sure since this flew right into the face of the code that the Hays Office had imposed on them back in 1934.  Hays gave everyone in Hollywood a strict list of things they could NOT put into any of their movies.  For years, the backlash to this had been a film genre called "film noir" which had put all those forbidden elements into their movies in such a covert way that it was virtually impossible for anyone to complain about them.  But, when the "summer of love" came around, the movement was a desire for those elements to be overtly used so as to show the true gritty nature of society.  This lead to break through movies like Midnight Cowboy, The Graduate, and Fritz the Cat to name a few.  It also lead to more gory violent fare such The Wild Bunch and pretty much every other movie Sam Peckinpah ever did.  He introduced a level of bloodshed in movies that has not been topped or matched.
The code didn't disappear at this time, it was just adjusted to work with this change.  This is where the rating system of General, Parental Guidance, Parental Accompaniment, Restricted and of course X Rated were put in place.  And yes, the aforementioned hedonist crowd wanted to make movies with content they like, so the XXX movie category was created.  The basic hedonist philosophy is the indulgence of self-pleasure.  So all of these XXX movies feature people doing just that, pursuing self-pleasure through sexual means.
The hedonist trend subsided somewhat over the years, but pornographic movies still continued to be made.  At this point, the XXX movies kind of flip-flopped their focus.  They started to more-so portray a fantasy.  Everyone in these movies seems to live a crazy fantasy world where sex happens all too easy and very very often.  Sex almost seems to be literal currency in that world at times.  It's basically aimed at people's basic id-like desires.  That's why a lot of them are set in rather mundane and domestic situations such as the classic pizza delivery scenario.  Sometimes a man thinks "Hey, that lady I just delivered pizza to is quite pretty.  What if....?" or a woman sometimes thinks "Hey, that guy who just delivered pizza is quite handsome. What if....?"  Of course, it's very dangerous to be giving your body to ever attractive stranger you meet in the real world.  Very few people (barring the hedonists) would argue against that.  It's to much different than the fantasy provided by movies such as Die Hard for example.  Most people who enjoy that movie and others like it do so because they're thinking "Man! If I was trapped in a building full of terrorists, that's what I'd like to do."  Hopefully none of the people thinking that will ever get the chance to test that theory because it could end badly for them.  But, in the time frame of watching that movie, it's fun to indulge in the fantasy of it all.
If someone were to ban Die Hard from all media, I think we would all consider that censorship of the most Orwellian level and fight against it.  So too must porn be protected under those same free expression laws.  You can't support one form of expression and try to ban another, Marge Simpson.

 Ok, I think we can all see how and why porn movies exist.  However, we still need to answer the question presented in this blog's title: Is it a form of speech?

Well, as I mentioned earlier, these films present a hedonist philosophy and philosophy is certainly a form of speech.  Therefore, this should absolutely close the case of pornography being a form of speech.
The truth is, every film, every book, every painting, pretty much every work of art created conveys a message of some sort whether the creator intended to convey one or not.  I've heard people griping about comic books with political messages in them and say "I just want something fun, like people fighting zombies."  Well, that fun comic of that zombie battle still has a message, that message being "escapism is fun".  When a 3 year old girl draws a cat, the message that drawing conveys is "I like cats".  Everything ever made has a message and is therefore considered speech.  There are no two ways around that.

However, some people are still not convinced.  Or, more accurately, there seems to be a movement of people dedicated to declassifying porn as a form of speech in order to justify attempting to ban it into oblivion.  The charge seems to be lead by, of all organizations, this one:

Yes, the GAB website.  This is the same website that first advertised itself as the "free speech alternative to Twitter".

They were so dedicated to upholding free speech online or otherwise that they objectively let some of the most vile people, even literal neo-nazis, start an account and post their views uninhibited.  I guess if they weren't making any overt threats of harm to anyone it was allowable.  They turn a blind eye to that, but somehow porn is a problem and should be declassified as speech and thus be suppressed and banned?  How did they arrive at that thinking?

Well that's just stupid.  That's like saying "I dare you to feed someone an apple and see if they come back with 'that was such a delicious orange'".  Of course if one shows a movie with a Restricted rating or higher in a public square where even the smallest child can see it, people will get uneasy.  However, GAB's proposed ban on pornography also extends to private showings where grown adults have to show valid ID and pay money in order to view such a thing.  That is absolute censorship and absolutely flies against free speech and free expression.

Some of the people who support this porn ban take it a little further.

Yikes!  But I'm sure Ron Jeremy has studied the art of "Cock Fu" so he could easily deal with such opponents with one HEYAAAAAW swing of his enormous erection.

Here's someone else that supports GAB's censorious crusade:

How can any of these people claim to be on the side of free speech while spouting so much of the drivel that many of the Cenor Monkeys would say???

Porn does not support traditional values. Ban it!

God hates porn, the Bible says! Ban it!
Porn demeans women! Ban it!
Porn affects the brain of all who watch it! Ban it!
Ban und annihilate porn und pornographers because ov what zose monkeys said! SIG HEIL!!!

At this point I'd like to bring up something that the late Peggy Charren once said.  She was an activist who started an organization that ruined television with too many regulations and a boatload of censorship.  I made a video about her some time ago.  You can check that out at this link for more info about her.
You notice that I attacked her organization as censorious but not her.  That's because her intent was not censorship at all, certainly not regulation of content.  She was just concerned about any block of children's programming becoming one long commercial bombarding the kids with images of toys and cereal.  She knew trying to "clean up" content for children was wrong and antithetical to a free society.
However, through her interactions with people in the television industry and those in her own organization, she made the following observation:

Left wing people tend to want to censor violent content while right wing people tend to want to censor sexual content.

We can certainly see evidence of that throughout history and especially today.  In recent years, we've seen very left leaning people try to equate words they don't like with literal violence in order to justify the banning of those words.  They claim "Oh no no no! It's not censorship because we're stopping violence actually."  It's a huge leap of illogic that makes no cognitive sense for sure, but that is the Orwellian double speak they are trying to push.  So, the obvious flip side of that authoritarian coin is this right wing attack on pornography, trying so bloody hard to convince everyone that it's "not speech" and is therefore subject to banning.

But I think there might be more to this demand for a porn ban.  Here's what another supporter of that ban had to say:

Whoa! Wait! What?  "...controlled by one group of people..."?  "It's a weapon"? What the what huh???  What could any of this possibly mean?

Ah! There it is.  GAB and their cronies consider porn to be a conspiracy concocted by Jews to undermine society somehow.

"What are you gonna do about it, whitey??!!  Just sit there?!!"

There's that big fat straw breaking my camel-esque back.  For real, Jewish people are not some monolith where they all think the same.  No group is.  Granted there are some sleazy people working in the the porn industry, but they consist of people from various walks of life and are of various races, religions, belief systems and genders.  To try to assign one type of toxic behaviour to one group is pretty much the dictionary definition of bigotry.

I'd like to also address the sleaze within the porn industry that these far right wing pundits use to also justify the banishment of porn.  They talk bout the heavy drug use that causes many performers to die much too young.  Yes, that is tragic.  However, for your consideration, I'd like to introduce you to one Bobby Driscoll.

He was the child star of the very family friendly live action Disney movie Treasure Island.  He was also the voice of Peter Pan for the Disney company around that same time.  Later in life, he was found dead of a heroine overdose in a back alley.  Take also into consideration the lives of Judy Garland and River Phoenix.  There's also Chris Farley, Dana Plato, Mabel Normand, and Carrie Fischer. These were all people who worked within the mainstream film/televison industry and who also got themselves into doing hard drugs which caused them to die younger than they could have or should have.  The entire film industry in general is full of toxic people that one needs to avoid in order to survive.  Just ask Cory Feldman.  To only single out the porn film industry as toxic is prejudicial and silly.  Either none of it's ok or it's all ok.

That last line leads me to my final and basic thought on the matter.  Any prohibition made against the porn industry would lead to the creation (or even recreation) of obscenity laws, the same kind of laws that got Lennie Bruce in trouble so many times.  Food for thought: if your stance on free speech and the basic expression of ideas would've gotten Lennie Bruce arrested, it's not a good stance. You need to check yourself to see just how in favour of freedom and democracy you really are.

Since this blog post's subject is about porn, I will end it with............. PORN!!!!!!

Ha ha! No, I gotcha! The parameters of this blog would have to be drastically changed if I actually embedded some porn on here.  What I will show, however, is some classic hip hip from Salt n Pepa singing about a similar subject.  Just like I did in this post, these ladies are laying it all out there regardless of whatever any censor monkeys might say and speaking frankly on a subject that needs to be talked about.  Enjoy!

Sunday, November 10, 2019

This old man...

...he played one.... and so on.

Anyway, yes I drew an old old man.  I hope all of you people in internet land who stumble upon this post enjoy it.

Friday, October 18, 2019

My daughter's first pumpkin carving

Here's me and my daughter carving a pumpkin together. I'm showing her how to do it step by step because, like this post's title says, it's her first time doing that.

She comes by it honestly though.  In the Philippines, Hallowe'en is observed but not too many people are so enthusiastic about that holiday.  The bigger celebration they prefer is on November 1 called All Souls Day.  It is on that day that they visit the graves of their ancestors.  So, as you can imagine, there are tons of flowers being sold that day.

It's a good and noble holiday for sure.  But, we're not here to discuss that.  We're here to have some Hallowe'en fun with a pumpkin, which is what I and my daughter did.  My first step was to make a sketch of what the jack o' lantern's face should be.

Then came the least fun part of pumpkin carving, scooping out all of the gross insides.

It looks like Jack reverse-vomitted causing all of the puke to be released into his skull.  It feels like it too.  It is the most disgusting and mind-numbingly time consuming part of the whole process.  But, for the carving to go smoothly, this step can not be missed or done half-assed.

When that arduous task is finally done, it's time to make the face.  I drew the face on first with a pen and then with a marker.  Then I carefully carved out the face with destroying the integrity of the facial features.

In the next step, it was my daughter's turn to shine.  I had her do some painting in order to fully enhance the face.  I think she did a great job.

We then tested out what the jack o' lantern would look like at night with a light inside.  As you can see, it looks pretty good no matter what colour light is inside.  Granted this pumpkin is not as "dazzling as the Las Vegas strip" and probably won't win any pumpkin carving contests.  However, for a father-daughter project completed in a little over an hour and one of those people going in completely dark as a first-timer, I'd say we did great.

My wonderful wife documented the whole thing with a video.  She edited it and uploaded it to her Youtube channel.  Yes, I highly recommend you subscribe to it now and tell your friends to do the same.  Enjoy and Happy Hallowe'en!!

Friday, October 04, 2019

Todd Phillips, the Joker, and woke culture

I just got back from seeing one of the more anticipated movies of the year: Joker

I'll give my thoughts on the movie in this blog soon enough.  But first, I'd like to address a little statement that the film's director Todd Phillips made recently.

You can read the article here.

I'm somewhat disappointed in what Mr. Phillips said here.  He went about it all wrong.

First and foremost, I do agree with him that political correctness is one of the most voracious brain diseases to plague mankind, certainly in this modern era.  The phrase "political correctness" was first coined at a place called the Frankfurt School in 1924 by a weaselly little nebbish named Leon Trotsky.  When he said that phrase, his idea of being correct politically was basically to be just as communist as he was. So there you have it.  This entire pc movement got started because about 100 years ago, some yappy little shit was so marinated in his own hubris that he insisted the entire world should think exactly like he does.  Add to that his willful ignorance or sinister avoidance of his ideology's perpetuation of the deaths of 100s of millions of people and the complete and total loss of freedom, and you have the makings of one of history's most shitheaded pricks.  This unfounded arrogance and willful ignorance are of course still present in the pc culture's loudest pushers to this day.
Todd Phillips was certainly right to speak out against this unfortunate trend.  However, the way he did it was counterproductive in my opinion.  He actually said the words "I CAN'T make comedy anymore BECAUSE of [what he called] the woke culture".  He's pretty much rolling over, exposing his jugular vein and letting all of these "woke" scolds make them his bitch.  This assertion that he CAN'T do something because of them gives them way too much power.  He also says something like "how can you argue against 70 million people on Twitter?"  Well, for one thing, you don't do that whether that number is 70 billion or less than 7.  If you're the creator of some artwork, be it a full movie, a graphic novel, a broadway play, or even a simple tweet that had some planning involved, it is an exhausting and pointless endeavour to argue the merits of your work with packs of braying jackals who don't care who you are and just want to take pleasure in getting you flustered.
Mr. Phillips, when you seem to be getting endless comments about your work being "problematic" or any other such spillage of verbal masturbation, you need to keep yourself above that rabble.  You've just got to say...


That's all.  Then keep making all of the artwork you want to make no matter how loud and ugly their noise gets.  I remember about 10 or so years ago when the first Hangover movie came out.  It was a big hit but I did see some bile from politically correct scolds at the time.  They claimed it was a heavily racist movie because............................................ wait for it..................................... white people were having fun.  Try to wrap your head around that shit.  They were the ones projecting their own racial notions into a movie about 4 men having an adventure and then claimed that everyone involved in making that movie was the filthy racist.  The hypocrisy and stupidity of that more than deserving of ridicule.  Those people are not right in the head and so their opinions should mean as much as an infinite number of farts emitting from an infinite number of livestock.

Although, I think Mr. Phillips' fear is not just that of the social media mobs.  It's quite possible that he's getting similar pressure from producers and executives in Hollywood who are insisting that he try to appease the Twitter mobs.  Tim Allen said the climate in 'tinsel town' these days resembles nazi Germany.  I'm sure that was just exaggeration of course, but it certainly reflects the vibes he gets being there.  If Phillips is working in this kind of an atmosphere, then I wish him all the best of luck and good wishes.  Hollywood managed to survive all through the McCarthy era, it can survive this equally stifling era too.
I certainly intend to keep raging against all of this with my Censor Monkeys...

...and/or any other projects I plan to work on in the near future.  I've already had one critique of these monkeys telling me to change things in order to appease the mobs.  I blogged about it a few years ago here.  So, I can sympathize.
With some perseverance, we can all get through this passing of moral panic authoritarianism together.

Ok, so that's out of the way.  Now on to the review of the movie.

(I'm not going to put any big spoilers in this review for the simple reason that this movie needs to be seen with fresh eyes to fully appreciate it.  It would diminish the full experience if, at any part of watching this movie, you regarded it as "oh yeah, I read about that" or "my friend told me about this part".  You need to not expect any of the events that unfold.  They need to surprise and shock you.  If you follow this advice, you will have a much more thrilling theatre experience)

First things first.  Joaquin Phoenix did an amazing performance.  At first he's presented as a Pagliacci figure, the clown that appears happy but is soul crushingly sad on the inside.  But from that point on, things get, as Heath Ledger's Joker said, serious.  We delve into the Joker's psyche and over time we see why he became so crazy.  To not spoil anything, it was a combination of past childhood trauma and the perils of living in a big city.

It's too easy just to dismiss this character as an "incel" as so many pundits have done already.  Like I said, this guy has many many psychological problems.  Lack of an active sex life is way far down on his list of concerns.  For him it's hard enough to just hold down a job or even just make it back home without getting harassed or beat up.  Like most comic book stories since their inception, this one is holding up a mirror to society and showing everyone just how ugly it can be.  That could be why so many people in the media are scared of it.

They keep trying to scare the public into fearing a shooting spree at any theatre where Joker is showing, even to the point of having the military and FBI involved.  Too many powerful people do NOT want you to see this movie.  They are desperate to keep as many eyeballs and eardrums away from it as possible.  They're citing that old news story of James Whatshisface shooting up a theatre where that other Batman flick The Dark Knight Rises was playing back in 2012.
Anyone with a functioning brain can see right through this crock o shit fear mongering.  Everyone knows that James' rampage had nothing to do with Batman.  He had problems that only the most professional and experienced psychiatrists can handle.  Nobody will watch this Joker movie and say "Oh HuRr DuRr JoKeR mAkEs ViOlEnCe LoOk FuN".  That's not how being inspired to commit violence works.  The power people who run the media know full well that this movie's message is an indictment of them and a damn good and powerful one at that.  Just their attempts to suppress it alone should be reason enough to go see this movie any and every chance you get.  Don't let them control you or keep you afraid.
Hell, the manner in which the media is carrying on you'd think this was a two hour Marilyn Manson video or something.  Remember the fear mongering around that guy?  Wasn't that just fucking stupid?
When I was in that theatre, I saw absolutely no potential maniacs preparing to shoot up the place.  All I saw were either couples on dates or groups of friends enjoying a movie, which is how pretty much everyone has enjoyed movies since they began.  No theatre staff took any extra precautions either.  In short, fun was had by all.

Regardless of what one thinks of Todd Phillips, he made an amazing piece of cinema here.  I urge all to see it and I wish him success in all of his future endeavours.  Peace out and keep smiling.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Stick a fork in Sask Expo 2019 for it is done (I scared a little girl)

That's right.  The Sask Expo in Saskatoon wrapped up just a few hours ago.  I and my family have now completed our long journey back to Regina.  They are both in bed while I am still (barely) awake blogging about my experience.
There was one very curious thing that I found rather odd at this event.  It wasn't so much what happened but rather what DIDN'T happen.  When last I blogged about the Fax Expo here in Regina, I talked about how I was almost kicked out of the venue for material I was distributing.  However, at this current venue, I distributed that same material but received no complaints whatsoever.  Some individual ladies even commented at it was "cute".  To refresh everyone's memory, here's what I was giving away at my table:

Although I did change the graphic on the other side.  Last time it contained an image of Jordan Peterson.  This time it had this:

I'm not sure what to make of this development.  Could it be that Saskatoon is more chill than Regina?  Or perhaps censor monkey/cancel culture is starting to die and we will be seeing less of these outrage monkey mobs from now on.  I sure hope so.

Oh yes. I'll never forget one young girl's reaction to seeing the Censor Monkeys.  She first exclaimed "I don't get it."  So I asked her if she knew what censorship is.  Her answer was "No" followed by an "I'm scared".  Yes, censorship can be a very scary thing.  Although, instead of running away from it like this girl did, it's better to confront it and defeat it once and for all.  But on to more pleasant matters.

One big and pleasant change of pace for me selling my books at this expo is that for the first time, my wife and child were with me.

From the looks on their faces, I think they had lots of fun.  I know my daughter Raianne loved playing at the Lego display they had set up.

She even made a friend which is always a good thing to do.

Besides the Lego, Raianne really enjoyed seeing so many people in great and elaborate costumes.  She and my wife took pictures of as many costumes as they could.  I'll post some of them below in no particular order.

So that was our first comic con type experience together.  Hopefully we can experience many many more of these events, especially when my next Censor Monkey book is finally done.  Until then, we'll enjoy the memories we had of this one.  It's late and I'm going to bed.  Good night everybody.