The 401st Blow :: Thoughts On Media

Raging Against The (Anti-Porn) Machine?

Posted in Content, Rant, Theory by Noah Harlan on June 10, 2010

Scott Macaulay wrote the following on the Filmmaker Magazine blog today:

Looks like Banksy’s Exit to the Gift Shop is influencing folks out there. This viral campaign by a group of San Francisco artists, Freedom From Porn , who are protesting the ban on adult material within Apple’s walled garden, clearly cops a few licks from the British artist’s great new movie.

And includes this video from that site:

It seems so rebellious, no? It seems so “we’re gonna teach the big machine something from the streets because we’re cool and subversive…”

The problem is that they don’t know the device very well or aren’t very smart with their examples. Let’s take a look, shall we?

First, they start with this statement:

Dear Steve,

You dont’ want people looking at vaginas on the tablet you named after a feminine hygiene product? Something smells fishy.

Sincerely,

Dude who like porn

How witty… how clever… Aside from the mildly offensive implication that women’s genitalia smells like seafood (hohoho, that’s so cool… *sarcasm*), they’re not being accurate. Steve (Jobs) has never said he doesn’t want porn on the iPad. He said he doesn’t want it in the iTunes store. The store that Apple hosts on their servers. The store from which they sell things to people of all ages. Putting aside the issues that Apple might have if someone put child pornography in an app that Apple hosted, there’s a better issue:

Shouldn’t you be equally upset that Toys R Us doesn’t sell porn either? I mean they sell books and games for kids (and adults if you’re like me and still love legos) but aw, gee, shucks, they don’t sell me my porn! Of course not, they want families to feel comfortable in their store.

So Steve doesn’t want porn in the store. If you want porn on your device, feel free to browse the web and you’ll find plenty of it. Do you have porn applications on your computer now? I highly doubt it, I suspect you browse the web and find it, no? Well you can still do that.*

And that leads to the other part of why these guys are less than the sharpest knives in the drawer.  Let’s look at their ‘radical’ images:

Dirty Pictures On An iPad! *Gasp*

Oh wait, that’s not a porn app, that’s Facebook from a browser and, wait for it, that works on an iPad…

Maybe the next one:

Porn Dating Sites On The iPad *shock!*

It’s a dirty dating site! What’s that? It’s a website again? And what’s that? When I just went there on my iPhone it turns out they have an iPhone optimized website? Oh… guess that one doesn’t work as an example of Evil Steve’s Mind Control™. Let’s try one more image, ok?

Dirty Words, Sent Dirt Cheap!

Ok, now they’re just being funny. That’s dirty stuff in email… on the iPad’s email software… that can show you any porn your friends want to send you.*

I’m down with Social Protest®. It can be clever. I loved these set of posters that were in the city a few years back:

Genuine Subversion

Now that is a real message, well delivered and truly subversive. These guys? Well they’re just cheap impressionists of much smarter subversives.

* Yes, yes, I know. Most porn is in Flash video that won’t play on the device but I think that is a separate issue. They weren’t protesting for Flash, they were protesting for porn. Besides, HTML5 video will be pervasive in another 12-18 months.

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