the eyes have it

When I was a freshman in college, it was during the Reagan administration, and the Meese Commission on Pornography was in full swing. Porn was in the news almost daily, and, for that reason, someone on my campus had arranged to have Larry Flynt, the publisher of fine magazines like Hustler and Cat Fancy, come and visit us. I got to see him the evening of his visit, as he took command of the stage in his solid-gold wheelchair, and went head to head with a defender of the Meese Commission report. I can’t recall who it was now that the paraplegic pornographer debated, but it was either a southern televangelist, or someone like Donald Wildmon, the preacher who’s since made a name for himself going after the likes of Howard Stern though his ominously named organization, The American Family Association. As I watched the debate unfold, I became concerned about the Meese Commission and what it might mean to First Amendment, and, a few weeks later, when asked to choose a topic for a term paper, I chose pornography.

During the course of my research on that paper, I not only wrote to a number of smut publishers, asking for their thoughts (and free samples), but I read a great deal of dry, scholarly work on obscenity. One book that I read, that was neither dry or scholarly, was a short 1928 novel by French librarian, George Bataille, called The Eye. As it had been referenced in a number of other works, I’d felt that I should be familiar with it, just as I felt I had to be familiar with “Big Tit Ass Dildo Bondage,” one of the magazine titles mentioned frequently by Edwin Meese as he toured the country calling for limitations on free speech. (I recall Larry Flynt thanking Meese for ferreting out such titles that he and others might not otherwise have found on their own. I remember him suggesting that we all go buy a copy of the report and use it as a reference guide.)

I don’t remember much about The Eye, but there was one scene that was burned into my mind. In it, the two protagonists, a man and a woman who you might say had an issue or two with sex, go into a Catholic Church, sexually torture and rape a priest, then dig out one of his eyes. The woman, as I recall, then proceeds to insert his eye repeatedly into her vagina to the point of climax, while he’s forced to watch her with his one remaining eye. Ultimately, he’s killed. It was just one of many such scenes, each designed to be more shocking than the one that preceded it… So, you might be wondering why I’m bringing this up now. Well, I was reminded of The Eye yesterday, while reading the New York Times. It would appear as though some daring young director has made a film version. As I don’t think that it’ll probably be family friendly, I was wondering if one of you could go and see it and report back.

Oh, while we’re on the subject of using current technologies to breathe new life into old obscenity, I just noticed this blurb in the Ann Arbor News.

A serial flasher who has exposed himself near the University of Michigan Central Campus area struck for the ninth time this morning – but with a new twist, Ann Arbor Police said. This time, the man – who pulled a T-shirt over his head as he has in the past – used a light from a cell phone to illuminate his mid-section while he fondled himself, reports said.

Thank God for technology.

And, while we’re discussing the obscene, did you hear that Ashcroft is using the recommendations of the 911 Commission as a cover to sneak through further legislation (not suggested by the commission) that runs contrary to the Bill of Rights? Here’s a clip from the article:

The new bill, called the “Tools to Fight Terrorism Act of 2004”, would increase the government’s powers to secretly obtain personal records without judicial review, limit judicial discretion over the use of secret evidence in criminal cases, eliminate important foreign intelligence wiretapping safeguards and allow the use of secret intelligence wiretaps in immigration cases without notice or an opportunity to suppress illegally acquired evidence.

And, almost equally obscene… AT&T just sent me notice of their new platinum card. The impressive 3-D design of the mailer made me think that something substantial must be inside (as they’d intended it to), but, guess what? It was just a block of Styrofoam. That’s right, there’s nothing in the package but a small sample card and this Hickory Farms cheese-sized block of Styrofoam. It pissed me off, and, instead of taking advantage of the offer for a new account, I intend to cancel the account that I already have with AT&T. Junk mail is bad enough. When they go the one step further to add an unnecessary substance that contributes to global warming, I have to draw the line.

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  1. Anonymous
    Posted September 26, 2004 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    Hello…. I’m just testing the comments function. Sorry for the interuption.

  2. Posted September 27, 2004 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    Did the package inspire the color of your webpage banner? Or is God trying to tell you something?

  3. Posted September 27, 2004 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

    Shit. You’re right, Dirtgrain. I hadn’t noticed that. I guess their campaign is working.

  4. Posted September 28, 2004 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    Now be fair. That styrofoam is good eating in lean times. You may want to hang on to it in case (God forbid) Bush wins.

  5. Tony Buttons
    Posted September 28, 2004 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    “Dear AT&T, I don’t know if this was your idea of a joke, but this has to be the most poorly thought out dildo I have ever seen. Next time, at least sand down the sharp edges.”

  6. joseph blow
    Posted October 8, 2004 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know if you’ve ever looked at the imdb entry on this film, but if you notice disney seems to be connected to it.

    notice the “if you like this title, we also recommend…” portion

  7. mark
    Posted October 8, 2004 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    Hmmm…. It doens’t look like there are any actors in common. I wonder what “The Eye,” a pornographic art film about sadistic sex, has to do with “Walt Disney World Summer Jam Concert 2000.” I should rent them both and watch them back to back.

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