Apr 26, 2009

Livingston County has more self-appointed community censors

One thing there is no shortage of in Livingston County is self-appointed community censors, and the latest are Oceola Township resident Mary Pruneau and Iosco Township resident Marta Soto.

The two are urging a boycott of the recently opened Family Video store in Howell after discovering they apparently have a small room in the back where you can rent X-rated videos. Apparently, deciding not to rent one is not enough for the pair, and they want to tell you want you can and can’t rent, too.

The pair wrote letters to the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus, and because it apparently was a slow news day they picked up on it. Livingston County has a history of such self-appointed censors, like the group that tried to censor mannequins at Victoria’s Secret.

A group of parishioners at Green Oak Township's Holy Spirit Catholic Church launched a letter writing campaign against the Victoria’s Secret store in the then new Green Oak Village Place in the fall of 2006 because they were dressed in lingerie. A few days later the group also targeted a new adult video, lingerie and novelties store in Brighton.

At about the same time that group was in full swing, the anti-gay hate group called LOVE - (Livingston Organization for Values in Education) launched its book-banning quest; first with the book “The Freedom Writers Diary: How a Teacher and 150 Teens Used Writing to Change Themselves and the World Around Them” and then it went after Nobel Prize winning author Toni Morrison's first novel, "The Bluest Eye," and an acclaimed memoir written by Richard Wright in 1945, "Black Boy, " as well as the classic Kurt Vonnegut novel "Slaughterhouse Five.”

Like many people, I was surprised the store had an x-rated section. The Family Video store opened just a month or so ago, and I joined shortly after that. I like the inexpensive prices, including free kid’s movies. Since joining I have rented at least a couple of movies every week,

The newspaper helpfully listed the titles of some of the adult titles available, such as Blondage," “Girls Behind Bars,” “Bad Wives" and "Girls Get Hot." After renting movies there, I know anyone would invite the embarrassment of the clerk saying, “Terminator 2 is due back Wednesday and Girls Get Hot is due back Saturday.”

It’s great to see a new business thriving in the City of Howell. For a number of years the location was a sporting goods store, but it moved to a new location a few miles east down Grand River Avenue to a strip mall in Genoa Township. The single building housed a shoe store for a few months, but they left, too.

After sitting empty for some time, the company that owns Family Video gutted the building but for a few walls and developed a beautiful building. I’m not sure how many people it employees, but it would be a shame if a few small-mined people cost employees their jobs.

I have some simple advice for Ms. Pruneau Ms. Soto: don’t rent them. Better yet, go to Blockbuster, but stop the ridiculous boycott.

Pruneau makes the false claim that pornography “increases violence toward women.” That’s simply not true. The problem with that argument is that even though pornography is more widespread and available than ever online, violence against women is down. Since 1993, according to the FBI crime statistics, rape is down 72 percent and other sexual assaults have fallen by 68 percent. Even in the last two years, when the FBI reported up ticks in violent crime, the number of rapes continued to fall.


kevins said...

I'm really not trying to pick a fight here, but I have to wonder about your FBI stats. Down 72 percent? Really? Are these national stats, or for Michigan, or just for Livingston County?

It's just hard to believe any crime is down by 70 percent...really hard to accept. Virtually nothing goes up or down that fast or extreme.

That aside, crime statistics are always questionable since they are dependent on so many factors, including the accuracy of reporting.

Also, how do those stats prove or disprove a link to pornography? Can you tell me how much porn has gone up or down during same period?

Before you start attacking me, I'm not backing the boycott nor do I want to ride Family Video out on a rail. It's a company and they aren't breaking any law. People can choose whether or not they want to shop there and, once there, they can decide what type of videos to rent. Have at it, I say.

But I am curious about your stats. And, while I have (as a much younger person) watched porn, I don't immediately name-call those who find it offensive. It is degrading to women and it's a creepy habit for at least some men. Simultaneously, it depicts the bizarre attitude we have about sex.

I seem to recall you are a grandfather. Would you advise your grandchildren star in a porn film? As long as it was a non-smoking studio, of course.

Communications guru said...

No offense, brett, but after the insults you have heaped on me, are you really worried about picking a fight with me? But please feel free to question any statistic you see here without a link. Really, that’s kind of what blogs are all about. I wouldn’t write something if I didn’t believe it to be true. If you prove something is wrong, I correct it. The truth is I read that stat somewhere.

Here is a link I hope will satisfy the skepticism you are entitled to. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/06/18/AR2006061800650.html

You know, you may be right about crime stats in general, but I think it’s pretty clear that even though access to pornography has increased with the internet, rape has not increased, and that means there is no link between pornography and violence against women.

You are not alone in your porn watching habits, and there is some disgusting porn that should be banned and those involved arrested, like child porn.

I want my grandchildren to be doctors and lawyers, just like any grandparent or parent, but I would not condemn or disown them if they did. By the way, the studio is already smoke free.

Republican Michigander said...

Kevin, you're railing against censorship? You're the one that supports censoring political speech with the "fairness" doctrine.

As far as Family Video's policies go, it doesn't matter to me.

Communications guru said...

Yes, I am railing against censorship. The Fairness Doctrine doesn’t censor anything; it brings more voices onto the airwaves owned by the public. More is not censorship, but you know that.

kevins said...

No offense to you, but I couldn't get the web link to work.

But for clarification, are you saying that FBI stats say rapes are down 72 percent? Or are you saying that you think you remember reading something like that?

I suspect LACASA, organizations against child abuse, etc., will be surprised to learn that sexual assaults on women are virtually disappearing.

But your logic continues to amaze. If rapes are down significantly...and I doubt it...that proves nothing about a causal relationship between porn and rape. I have to wonder if you use the same reaonsing with your second-hand smoking claims.

I doubt that there is a correlation. The fact that some sexual predators have porn movies, mags, etcs. does not in any way prove a cause-and-effect. It just means they are fixated on the topic and will seek outlets in multiple ways. Plus, many people view porn and don't at all become sexual predators.

Nonetheless, your claim of a 72 percent drop seems far-feteched...but I guess it must be true if you think you remember that you might have read it once.

Communications guru said...

I had no problem with the link. But I went ahead and imbedded it. Just click where it says “rape is down 72 percent” in the body of the main post. Actually, it was 85 percent since the 1970s.

As for LACASA, domestic violence and rape are two different things. Plus, I can’t recall the last time we had a rape in Livingston County.

Are you kidding? I have no idea how you reached your conclusion. If you read the letters from the two women pushing the boycott, they are making the claim that pornography leads to violence against women. That’s simply not true. My point is porn is much more readily available via the Internet than ever before, but rape is down 72-85 percent, proving there is no link, even though they never proved one.

Secondhand smoke kills. That is not in doubt or disagreement about that, and the U.S. Surgeon General said that 20 years ago.

kevins said...

Thanks for the link. That's an amazing story. I think there is reason to somewhat skeptical, since it is relying on a survey rather than hard stats. Still, it's something to ponder. The actual reported rapes also showed a lesser but still major decline, although those numbers are open to debate since they aren't comparing apples to apples.

Don't get me wrong. I don't think porn causes rape. I just don't think your stats -- even if true -- prove anything in this regard. I think you are trying to say that if porn caused rape, there should be an increase because of the prevalence on the Internet. Possibly.

But why in the world would rape decline by 70-plus percent over the decades? Was it over-reported in the past? Under-reported today? If so, why? Or -- and I'm serious about this -- are stronger gender roles for women (and acceptance of this by society) actually making us a better society in this regard?


Communications guru said...

The stats prove rape has declined, that is no doubt about that. The claim you should be skeptical of is that from the two leaders of the boycott that pornography causes violence toward women.

iamwoman said...