A small part of the problem
Letter to the Editor | Wednesday, November 14, 2018
“Pornography is only a small part of the problem.”
I am a 1974 graduate of Notre Dame. I have subscribed to the email version of The Observer since it first became available. I read with interest in the Viewpoint section “The Men of Notre Dame request a porn filter” as well as, the follow-up “Women of ND response to men’s request for filter.”
It is an irrefutable fact that pornography is exploitive, demeaning and plays a role in violent sexual crimes (I won’t attempt to cite the vast literature on this subject). However, just exactly what is pornography and what type plays a role in sexual violence? There is a vast difference between Playboy Magazine and snuff films. To paraphrase Justice Potter Stewart, his opinion from Jacobellis v. Ohio: “I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description [of pornography]; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so, but I know it when I see it.” Censorship is not the answer.
In addition, it is my opinion that censoring the Notre Dame servers simply won’t work. Any tech savvy person with an empty Pringles can and some wire can access the internet via any smart phone, notebook, iPad or PC, without going through the University servers. Accordingly, I maintain that censorship is not the answer and goes against the very principles that define Notre Dame.
The real issue that causes much dismay to this “old-timer” is what appears to be the increasing frequency of sexual violence committed on our own campus. What is going on? When you can dissect that problem to its root causes and answer that question, then you can begin to formulate an effective and durable solution. Pornography may play a part, but I suspect only a very small part.
I am extremely proud of my alma mater. Three generations of my family attended the University. Notre Dame students and alumni have always held ourselves to a higher standard. However, when I read about sexual assaults on our campus, which I find so incredibly incongruous, I just feel ashamed.
Richard G. Hoover
class of 1974
The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.