Hey, everybody's doing it, right?

Porn on the internet! It's unstoppable, it's inefficient, it's just plain silly. Well tough luck!

Why would I have this up?

When I was younger, I made this website as an expression of all the things I liked and was proud of. Creative work, collaborations, things to share among my friends. I put it online to amuse other people, to find like-minded people or people who could relate, or in some cases - unfortunately rare - to share useful information or insight with other people.

Instead it's now become more of a liability than an asset. I'm an adult now; in fact I've been an adult for way longer than I was ever a child, and now when I look back at these things I find them mostly disposable. That's not actually a bad outcome relatively, since there are much worse things I could find them as an adult. I could find them sexist or racist or homophobic, I could find them degrading or sickening, or worst of all I could find them totally lacking in any artistic value at all, even as museum pieces for the way I used to think. But instead they're just curiosities to me, like old toys on a dusty shelf. They're around for me and others to glance at occasionally as a reminder of where I came from ... and a check against my judgement of younger people. These things say: Look, you were a buffoon once, even though you thought you weren't, even though you tried your hardest not to be, you still were, at least in the eyes of adults. Now it's your turn to be the adult and make a charitable and kind interpretation of the frivolous or backward things that younger people are obsessed with.

But the liability part is what stings. I could leave these online, unexplained, as the kind of examples I mean. But then I also invite attention from another group. This group has emerged slowly in about the last ten years of the internet and become absurdly powerful. To put it simply, it's the modern-day version of the thought police.

For example, someone could go to the part of this website that I put up as a teenager called "the porn section", glance at the gallery of nakedness that I put there, and my lascivious commentary (unedited since I was 17 or so), and decide that I needed to be "made an example of" for my behavior. No matter that I placed it there about a quarter of a century ago, no matter that I only even remember that gallery exists maybe once a year. The point (they might say) is that I'm turning "The Internet" into an "anti-woman place".

My Liberal-minded sensibilities recognize the point these people would be trying to make. Believe me. As I write this, it was just yesterday that I walked through the breakroom of my office and discovered that the company apparently had a subscription to "Rolling Stone" magazine and left the latest copy in the kitchen for people to read. Nothing wrong with that generally, except this issue had a couple of near-naked female musicians on the cover, arranged provocatively - you know the style, mouths open, legs apart, more skin than clothing, expressions almost as if someone offscreen was about to hit them with a club - and I decided that this image didn't really have any place in the lunchroom of a modern mixed-gender scientific research facility. So I casually slid it into the recycling bin and left the room. That was my choice, made simply, and in general I don't think the local fans of "Rolling Stone" will miss it enough for there to be a problem before the next issue arrives in a few weeks.

But here's the thing. "The Internet" is not like my workplace. "The Internet" is not even one place at all. For just about everyone, it is a highly-filtered and extremely balkanized environment. Perhaps it didn't start that way and maybe people still believe it isn't, but I assure you, it is. You might as well call the solar system "one place", even though for all practical purposes it's a scattering of planets that we mostly just gaze at through telescopes. This situation changes - for the internet just as for the solar system - only when a small, highly motivated group of people decide to pay a lot of attention to something that's usually outside their purview.

So here's the point: It's quite possible that my putting pictures of naked women online could offend a stranger. But the likelihood of that happening is not just a factor of whether I put the pictures online or not. Yes, I could take them down and eliminate all possibility. But if I leave them up, the amount of "damage" they could do is actually relative to the amount of negative attention people decide to pay to them. As my father always responds, when people hassle him a little too much about his clothing style or the grumpy expressions he makes: "If you don't like the way I look, don't look." That advice is now advice from a generation apparently long lost, because these days the common response people make to something they don't like the look of is this:

They reproduce it, comment on it, and call attention to it. They turn their sense of disgust into a call-to-arms and spread the offending material far and wide, with name attached of course, in pursuit of "justice".

It's called public shaming, and it's become a means of actual entertainment for a large enough group of people that it is now dangerous. Not just dangerous to people you might think deserved it if you really knew them, but dangerous to people who simply appear to deserve it, through some accidental - or deliberate - misconstruction of what they did or said, by someone else. For example, there is absolutely no way I would ever take the "porn section" of my teenage website, print it out, and hang it on my cubicle wall. There is no way I would even link to it, or to this website in general, from anything I post on my corporate pages, internal or external, or from any of my corporate accounts. That would be straight-up inappropriate. I don't want anyone, male or female or anywhere in between, to have to stumble randomly across that when they're simply interacting with me at work.

They could always dump my name into Google and find this page, in a matter of seconds, from anywhere in the world where their smartphone gets a signal. But then they would be leaving the sphere of the workplace that I have helped to maintain. They are pursuing information about me personally, in an area that I have personal dominion over. The good thing about adults in my workplace and my neighborhood is that they've basically seen everything already (and those that haven't yet will probably go to Burning Man some year and see it all then) so there is a lot less judgement about what they might find. Plus, I have a highly-employable skill and the first page of my Google search results is pretty respectable even with 17-year-old me jockeying around in it.

That makes me one of the lucky ones. There are plenty of other people who are less able to defend themselves, of course. The biggest example I can think of right now is schoolteachers, who not only live in fear of what their friends and family might say that could be taken out of context, but what their students might say to each other. A woman teaching gradeschool could dress like a catholic nun every day and still be the subject of prurient online gossip from teenage boys that might spin up into a rumor about inappropriate conduct and tank her entire career. That is terrifying. If someone decided to take exception to something I said years ago lingering online (it would have to be years ago, since these days I am quite careful) they could go on a huge tirade but the chances of it ruining my career are pretty low. (Unless it was something totally fabricated that somehow caught on anyway. But what can anyone do about that?)

I suspect that this modern form of entertainment has roots in "reality tv" shows, where the participants were goaded into making all their worst qualities public, to invite the viewer to feel either sympathy, or much more often, moral superiority. Feeling morally superior, and demonstrating that to others publicly, has become a kind of national sport. And a kind of self-defense. After all, what better way to prove that you are a good citizen, than by making a grand "public" rejection of someone who is clearly wrong? You place yourself on the safe side of the line, and become anonymous in a crowd of the righteous. Good for you. Bad for your target - but they deserve it, right? Ah, who cares. They appeared to deserve it, and that's enough for you to feel good and safe. Better not dig too deeply or you might lose those feelings, and maybe even feel ashamed of yourself instead.

So that's my disclaimer. If you want to dig this up and make a stink about this, then it's you with the problem, and you who should be ashamed. I've placed this here as an example of how my mind worked when I was young, and I think it serves that purpose. If you want to make it the subject of a Twitter war or a Facebook tirade to impress your friends, leave me out of it.

Or as my Dad says, "If you don't like the way I look, don't look."

July 29, 2015

My old favorites:

This was swiped off alt.binaries.picutes.erotica. It's from a series on www.webvirgins.com, as far as I can tell. I especially like it because the subjects are clearly having a lot of fun.


"It's sometimes a trial being ticklish there, I bet"

This is Roberta Pedon, an artist and model from the early 70's. No one is sure of her real name, and she was in modeling for only a few years before vanishing to pursue other interests. Some thoughtful young man scanned this old photo to the newsgroups, and lucky for us, digital media never fades. As of 2000, she is estimated to be in her late 40s, but such trivial facts have no signifigance in the fantasy world of porn! Drool on!


"Fun fact: Both of those combined weigh more than her head."

This picture demonstrates the qualities that elevate porn into the realm of "erotica". A teasing pose, intimate and realistic lighting, subtle makeup, and a healthy body. I find it interesting that, to me, the sexiest part of this picture is the girl's stomach. Another one snagged from the newsgroups, fittingly, alt.binaries.pictures.erotica . I assume that it previously belonged to the website stenciled in the corner, but porn websites are notorious for filtering scans out of the newsgroups and affixing their labels as advertising, even if it means editing out the name of another site.


"Is it possible to get lost in a belly-button?"

Playboy Playmates:

Nearly every erotic photograph Playboy has taken can be obtained on the internet, primarily in the newsgroup alt.mag.playboy. I think it has something to do with Playboy's own website. These are my favorite pictures, condensed from the several thousand available.

Hentai:

A pretty big industry in Japan. In the specific sense, hentai is sexy comics, drawn anime-style. The sexual subtext of most hentai goes beyond the obscure and into the assumed. What I mean by that is, in the world of hentai, anything at all is sexual. Flower pots, doorknobs, candlesticks, sandwiches...

If a female is anywhere in the picture - it doesn't matter how old or young she is, what she's wearing, how she appears to be feeling - a reader of hentai is assumed to want her for sex. Oh look, a girl in an apron! Yow, you want to have sex with her. Here's a waitress introducing you to two women! You must have sex with them all. If you don't, they'll obviously just end up having sex with each other.

Yeah, lesbianism is big in hentai. If girls resist your overloaded sexual urges, why, it must be because they're too busy exploring other girls. In fact, they're probably as casual about it as you are on your lunch break. They could go from a light chat to a spiritual experience in a few short minutes. On good days, the experience will be a prolonged and sweaty one. Along with depravity, innocence is also a big draw in hentai. The schoolgirl uniform has come to represent innocence with a power no other symbol can match. Nobody knows just what hentai girls actually study in school, they apparently just go there to wear cute skirts for part of their lives. Perhaps they learn how to cook.

Like any well-developed media, hentai has evolved it's own sense of humor. It has ranged from the blatant to the blatantly self-aware. Commercial success has resulted in translations to other languages, as well as a healthy crop of local-language imitators. This is not to say that hentai is the original sex-comic, but it remains the hub of an otherwise obscure media. The transition to computer games was, of course, effortless and profitable in a sexually repressed society.

Despite the generally sordid nature of hentai, I have found a few scraps that I can genuinely enjoy as art. This short list has been distilled from gigabytes of drek streamed off the news servers and promptly deleted.

Furry Artwork:

If you don't know what furries are, here's a quick definition: Lively genetic crossings between humans and furry animals. Furry fandom is large and diverse, and has been on the internet long before the net was commercially known. Furry art is often sexy, and often up-front about sex in a refreshingly animal way.

Miscellany:

This is a picture I drew on my Apple IIgs in 1992 when I was thinking lustful thoughts about a character in a Xanth book. Piers Anthony was always populating his world of Xanth with fantastically endowed magical creatures, and my smoldering imagination knew no bounds.
This is a bit of net porn I produced myself, scanning a magazine through a video camera with a rudimentary piece of hardware known as "CompterEyes GS" back in 1993. The colors are the result of adapting the image to the 16-color "double-high res" mode of the earlier Apple IIs.

Back to the rest of my junk