Sunday, January 25, 2009

I Seek Britney

Being away from a regular dose of entertainment gossip, I almost lost track of a great Britney Spears story…then almost missed a piece summarizing a pornography study on the FOXSexpert column. The timing of these stories is just perfect and I wanted to comment on them as a follow-up on my previous post praising the timely and thankful rejection of an absurd anti-porn law by the Supreme Court.

Although we’re in the twenty first century, I still feel the urge to scan the headlines every few days in case there might be the public burning of a witch. Or maybe the red-lettering of an adulteress. Today I just got my almost-missed story of something equally as stupid: the brain trust of the Parents Television Council is threatening to file obscenity complaints against radio stations playing Britney Spears’ song “If You Seek Amy.” Now I’ll have my school radio station to play it completely uncut, I think.

Their reasoning is explained here, on their web page. Some delicate, impressionable young child might accidentally be exposed to it while listening to the radio. The horrors of playing a silly double-entendre that most junior high school kids would be embarrassed to say! Most would be embarrassed because it’s so tame and silly, in fact, that other kids might laugh at their lack of sophistication in matters of sex. I know when I was in junior high, or grade school for that matter, that’s probably what would have happened to you. “If You Seek Amy? Come on, you can do better than that!”

Now would I really would urge anyone to check out the Sexpert article’s summary of a study on teen attitudes on pornography. It is brief, it summarizes the study well, and it’s clear enough with its numbered points for even a member of the Parents Television Council to understand. Or maybe they might want to invest time in a second reading. But the point is that if this is how teens react to pornography, it really is an absurd waste of time to listen to the PTC’s harping about the pernicious threat Britney Spears poses for America’s impressionable, innocent young children.

The study is a remarkable outline of what active and critical consumers teens are of pornography. Far from being stupid, mindless, thoughtless sponges that see images in the media and imitate them, teens process information from even the hardest, most explicit pornography “critically, (compare) it to life experiences and information from other sources. Young people are able to evaluate the materials as overstated, distorted or incorrect. The ultimate reaction: They tune out or distance themselves from the source.”

Furthermore, “hardly any of the participants (in the study) considered the pornography actors as celebrities, but rather as ‘cheap’ and ‘ridiculous.’”

Kids, or adults or any of those audience members in whose name the meddling do-gooders of the PTC usually advocate censorship are not as passive, weak, and pliant as the PTC usually argues.

This should be something to think about for all those admiring the PTC for their efforts to protect America’s families: These people think you are stupid, you can’t run your own family or raise your children, and you need the hand of big government bureaucracies to tell you how to live.

So just relax and let the kids listen to Britney!

Barna W. Donovan, Ph.D.

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