This afternoon, Smitty called to check in and I mentioned my little jest at Donald Douglas's expense about the Florida guy who lost his job because he married a woman who, in her professional career, is a porn star known as Jazella Moore. This led to a discussion of Donald's "Erin Andrews nude" Google-bomb stunt and the outraged reactions of such lady folk as Cassandra:
Don't get me wrong. I understand the impulse to look. We all have impulses -- often powerful ones -- that conflict with our values. What I don't understand is the cynical decision to repeatedly exploit someone else's misfortune . . .Well, the impulse to enhance one's blog traffic is surely powerful. It is generally agreed that Donald should not have linked this criminal peephole video. However, as I have tried to point out, if Donald is "repeatedly exploit[ing] someone else's misfortune," is he more guilty than CNN and Howard Kurtz?
This is not to engage in moral relativism, but rather to indicate a serious question: Why can the MSM "respectably" exploit tragedy -- e.g., the death of Princess Di -- and overcrowd the airwaves with ads for Cialis and Levitra and all manner of lurid programming, without any real criticism? And yet if an individual like Donald tries to grab a small slice of this commercialized concupiscence, he is condemned as a vile sub-human pervert. Do the stockholders and executives who earn money from CNN and other MSM behemoths ever have to face the kind of condemnation that Donald Douglas has recently endured?
Understand that I don't mean to defend what the professor did. I merely point out that he is being condemned primarily because he said, "Hey, look, I'm exploiting the prurient interest of porn-Googlers!" rather than adopting the kind of bogus "respectability" porture that leads to Greta Van Susteren standing on a tropical beach telling us about the tragic circumstances surrounding the disappearance of the innocent teenage blonde who was (it is insinuated, though never explicitly stated) viciously raped and forcibly sodomized before being brutally murdered and fed to the sharks.
"Nothing grabs an editor's eye like a good rape."To condemn only those who engage in exploitation that is purposefully transparent and self-conscious, you see, is to let off the hook all the respectable peddlers of what Thompson condemned as "hired bullshit."
-- Hunter S. Thompson, Hell's Angels
February is "sweeps months" in TV ratings, and a couple years ago, I saw an hour-long Fox News SPECIAL REPORT about the dangers encountered by college student during Spring Break in Daytona Beach, Cabo San Lucas and other resort locations.
Yes, indeed! Until I saw this SPECIAL REPORT, I had no idea what evil could befall beautiful coeds as they run around the beaches and bars, get sloppy drunk, in bikinis, in wet T-shirts and -- sometimes, as extensively documented by this fine team of investigative journalists from Fox News -- in nothing all.
Nice work, if you can get it, eh? While I don't pay much attention to journalism awards -- if the Pulitzer committee insists on overlooking me, I'll return the favor -- I would argue that this Fox News SPECIAL REPORT was one of the most brilliantly conceived projects in the history of television. Imagine the scene as the producer went to his boss to pitch his idea:
BOSS: You want to do what?Say what you will about the ethics of this project, but that producer certainly deserves some kind of award for moxie.
PRODUCER: Fly down to Daytona Beach with a camera crew during Spring Break and get a week's worth of footage of 19-year-old girls in bikinis guzzling draft beer and flashing their breasts.
BOSS: And you want me to pay you to do this?
Well, this background was not discussed with Smitty. Rather, we discussed Cassandra's thighs -- no, actually, what happened was that mention was made of that classic pinup of the lady whose garter-clad thigh lends a touch of enticing glamour to Villainous Company. Guys dig the stockings-and-garter theme, Cass -- don't go changing.
It seems rather an odd assertion of feminine privilege, however, to say that only ladybloggers can employ pinup glamour as a decorative motif, while guys who display a bit of stocking-clad cheesecake on their blogs are guilty of some horrible evil.
To gain mastery over one's impulses is certainly a worthy goal, especially -- as Smitty and I discussed -- considering the dire warnings from porn expert Ross Douthat:
"Today, the Internet and DirecTV are normalizing everything, from group sex to bestiality to darker things that decency forbids mentioning. And as for pedophilia -- why, any erotic website worth its salt promises links to images of the 'barely legal,' 'young teen sluts,' and all the rest. Today, Nabokov's Humbert would need not be a tragic figure; instead, he could have spent his years ensconced in front of a glowing computer screen, with a thousand Lolitas for his delectation."We are grateful for Douthat's years of being so "ensconced." Certainly, it took intense research for a college student to develop such a sophisticated understanding of this baleful phenomenon. And as we discussed the attacks on Donald Douglas, the rationale of Rule 5 was defended by reference to Douthat's findings. This discussion I paraphrase from memory:
"What the fiddlesticks? It's just cheesecake. And it's the gosh-darned Internet, for crying out loud! Everybody's just one click away from all the dadgum porn they could ever want."Indeed, this is the shocking discovery made by Douthat -- and he went to Harvard, you know. Far be it from a mere blogger to attempt such research. But Cassandra is right about those powerful impulses. Some guys can't resist a redhead. Some guys can't resist a chick in black stockings.
Me? I can't resist a joke. So, while this post is certainly disqualified from competition in the Rule 5 BikiniFest, I'm thinking that if Ross Douthat is the sort of person who has a Google Alert for his own name, he's definitely ensconced now. Or he soon will be. Research, Ross, research! Oh, Smitty has picked the Monday winner! (We're sure Cassandra will approve.)