Irvin Kristol in the article, pornography, obscenity, and the case for censorship is looking at the current situation where what was considered to be personal and private has become public. It is with much concern that people have no regard for privacy especially when it comes to the issues of sexuality. Pornography has become acceptable to people of all ages which and thus having a lot of impact on the moral standing of the people. The author makes a comparison on how the same issue was looked at some years back and the drastic change that has taken (Kristol, p. 3). These days, it is not strange to find children reading books and watching movies that were considered to be for adults.
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Parental supervision and the general concern that was shown to children when watching television or when they visit public libraries and theaters has greatly reduced as people seem to be concerned more about what directly affects them. The author feels that there is a need for certain obscene images to be censored and only allowed for an appropriate audience.
Some of the main issues that have been highlighted by Kristol are the way people are handling images that are considered to be obscene and those that are pornographic. There is a distinction between pornography and obscene. Despite the difference that is in it, it is to be agreed that anything pornographic is obscene. On the other hand, not everything that is obscene is pornographic. There is a lot of public protection when it comes to scenes that are regarded as obscene which in today’s world, pornography is not included. An example that has been identified by the author is in consideration of scenes that are considered to be personal and at the same time dangerous. For instance, there are no public scenes whereby a dying person is aired in public even as they slowly lose their breath. This is a scene that is considered to be against humanity which has to be censored by all means. This is done in consideration of the psychological effects it may have on the viewers. It may cause a certain kind of disturbance that may haunt and even affect the viewers.
On the other hand, the author observes the denial that is within the people about the effects of pornography on the psychological well-being of individuals. Emphases of obscene images and art pieces that are not allowed for public view have been limited to those that involve human life and bloodshed while those that have an impact on people’s morality have been ignored. It is usually assumed that pornographic literature has a less diverse impact on the people that access it which makes it less harmful. It is thought that the pleasure and relaxation that may come with such literature is not harmful to the viewers as much as that which directly affects humanity. The author has for instance mentioned the impacts that the reading of books has on people. When it comes to books and pornography, people tend to deny the impacts that it will have on them. It is assumed that reading such literature is less harmful and will not have diverse effects on the readers. This assumption is made forgetting the fact that many people have admitted that reading literature has positively transformed their lives (Kristol, 2). If books can transform people’s lives, then it goes without saying that pornographic literature will also have diverse effects on the viewers and readers.
National magazines like the New York Times and common television channels have become bases where filthy entertainment scenes are being advertised. Nobody seems to care about the wide coverage that the magazine has and the vulnerable people that would access it. This is simply because advertising companies look for avenues that will ensure such messages reach as many people as possible. The excuse that is usually given for such advertisements is that they are mainly adverts that cannot corrupt the minds of people (Kristol, 5). This is being assumed without, proper consideration of rising immorality in America, especially among teenagers. The advertisers forget that a simple image can stir up wild imaginations in the mind of an individual. The fact remains that it is what we visualize and read that will fill our minds and subsequently shape our character. When every product has to be advertised with a rather obscene image, it shows how much corrupted the world has become that every marketer has to entice them with an obscene image.
Publicizing sex is like turning human intimacy into more animal-like. Even though an animal and a human being have certain similarities like the compulsory of death, there is the idea of intimacy that distinguishes us from the animals. As much as animals can publicly have sex without having to feel ashamed of the same, human beings have to do it in secret where they are only two for them to enjoy its benefits. However as things are appearing, man has demoted himself to the level of an animal by showing that they can comfortably uncover and have sex in public. This can not be considered as a way forward but backward. True liberation will only come when we realize the importance of censoring the essentials so we to save the future generation from public obscenity. According to Kristol, pornography should be completely banned and made inaccessible to the public. This could probably be the only way that the government can assist in liberating the generation to come from it.
Kristol, Irving. “Pornography, Obscenity and the Case for Censorship.” New York Times magazine (1971):1- 5
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