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Porn, porn, everywhere... this rant could possibly turn up on some quite inappropriate search results.

But, porn. Or at least its polysyllabic cousin obscenity. Between Renee Cox bringing the wrath of Giuliani thundering down upon the New York art scene (again) by putting her own nude body in Christ's place as she recreates The Last Supper, Utah's emplacement of a "porn czar," and latterly a woman in Britain whose nude photos of her children are being called child pornography in the press, we appear to be up to our eyeballs in material meant to arouse our prurient interest. Who knew?

Oh, and then from the other side you get people like Camille "More Pro-Sex Than Thou" Paglia. She keeps going the way she has been and it'll be, "The porn you get these days can't hold a candle to the porn we had when I was your age! And we had to walk five miles through the snow to see it, too! Uphill both ways, 'cause of all the anti-sex folks blocking the way!"

Well, no, that would never happen. Paglia would never tell a story without referring to her Italian ancestry, for one thing. But anyway, what is up with all this porn? Don't we have anything more important to talk about, no matter which side you happen to be on, what with diseases and wars and even (gasp) politics?

The porn issue, particularly child pornography, seems to avoid the pitch at which mass hysteria can be said to begin. Instead it bubbles constantly, just below the surface, in a way that would be reminiscent of the id if you wanted to make gratuitous Freudian references. Porn seems to be one of those things that, in defiance of what you'd think was possible, we are literally always worried about, and it takes only the barest hint to bring the subject forcefully to the front of our minds. It's rather impressive if you look at it that way. We'll be going along our regular lives, and something trips the old porn-radar, and then we're treated to a week of what passes for news analysis these days, and then the subject goes to the back burner to simmer some more.

Basically, we human beings are so good at multi-tasking that we can go about our daily business of jobs, families, hobbies, and at the same time be ready at a moment's notice to denounce pictures of nekkid babies for the wickedness they so clearly are. Of course, now they've gone and made it a full-time job in Utah. Just think of all the porn she'll be able to recognize, giving it her full attention like that. I bet no naked woman-Christs are going to slip past her. Maybe New York should have a porn czar, too. Or they could start reading Paglia's columns and save themselve the payroll costs (think outside the box, people!). Would save their museums no end of trouble.

We truly are an amazing species. I just wish we were amazing enough to get a grip when it comes to this particular subject.

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© 2000 Rebecca J. Stevenson