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The Man Of The House

Oppression reigns at a Florida high school, where Mother Lieb’s darling son is suffering marginalization over his afterschool job [1]:

Robert Marucci makes no apologies for performing in porn and considers his work like any other job. Until two weeks ago, the 18-year-old was like any other high school senior, but he said when students at Cocoa High School discovered his videos on an adult website, they started showing each other his explicit pictures on their phones at school.

Marucci said he became the target of bullies, and now he said the school wants him gone.

“I feel like I have been treated unfairly and this is unjust,” Marucci said.  “This was completely legal. I didn’t break any laws, and this took place out of the school.”

change_me

His mother, Melyssa Lieb, said she knew her son was working in adult films, adding that he took the roles to support her financially.

“I think he’s the most awesome person in the world,” she said. “He stood up and he was the man of the house when I couldn’t be.”

Her special snowflake is too good to bag groceries, I guess, so he’s going to be a gay porn star. Mother of the Year!

The school eventually let him back in. [2] I guess they couldn’t find any legal reason to keep him out, given that he’s 18. A dozen students staged a walkout to support their porn star pal. Depressing.

150 Comments (Open | Close)

150 Comments To "The Man Of The House"

#1 Comment By Art Deco On January 22, 2014 @ 7:21 pm

[NFR: You really don’t grasp the difference between belief and action, do you? — RD]

He also does not grasp the difference between degeneracy and the resistance to it.

#2 Comment By Art Deco On January 22, 2014 @ 7:23 pm

Given the typical teenager’s view of pornography,

Are your statements on contemporary taste ex cathedra?

#3 Comment By Art Deco On January 22, 2014 @ 7:27 pm

I’m fairly certain that in almost all cases, when you have an 18 year old porn star, prostitute, stripper etc. you’re dealing with a troubled soul who has lead a hard life.

How many Depression babies and Korean War veterans made their living in the ‘adult film industry’?

#4 Comment By Andrea On January 22, 2014 @ 7:29 pm

How exactly would expelling him be right? The school’s job is to provide students with an education. They can only get suspend or expel him if he has done something criminal or is so violent that they have no way of educating him on the campus. Schools must educate kids who have been convicted of crimes, after all, though sometimes it is in alternative settings. It doesn’t sound like he is a criminal. He is engaged in a legal activity, off school grounds. Public schools are legally obligated to provide an education to students up until the age of 21, as far as I know. If they were concerned, they should be talking with this guy about college and alternative career options and any assistance programs his family might be eligible for. If they’re low income, he probably would qualify for grants.

#5 Comment By Doug On January 22, 2014 @ 7:29 pm

[NFR: You really don’t grasp the difference between belief and action, do you? — RD]

“If you work for an organization seeking to restrict or prohibit SSM, you are by character unfit to be in a high school community. Quit advocating against gay marriage and you can rejoin the community. Why is this hard?”

That would qualify as an action that could be seen as morally objectionable, but legal, that a crusading administrator may seek to stigmatize every bit as much this case. Either an administrator is allowed to police their community based on their morality, or they are not.

I’d prefer not.

#6 Comment By Doug On January 22, 2014 @ 7:30 pm

*public administrator, important distinction

#7 Comment By Art Deco On January 22, 2014 @ 7:33 pm

The kid is the VICTIM in this story. He’s been pimped out by his mother. Kicking him out of school doesn’t make sense. You think if we kick him out of school he’s going to wake up and realize that what he’s doing is destructive? Or that if we don’t kick him out of school the other kids aren’t going to realize that making porn is destructive?

He’s probably a ruin, so no harm.

The thing is, you haven’t many choices anymore. Crude administrative means are what you have left when the culture is rotten.

#8 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On January 22, 2014 @ 7:39 pm

There is no good reason for the school to expel him. As he says, he didn’t break any law.

Anyone who stars in films that are disseminated for public viewing should expect that their circle of friends, acquaintances, peers, neighbors will learn of it. Each and every one is entitled to express their own opinion, including “This stinks,” and “How could you do such a stupid, demeaning, obnoxious thing.” This should not, however, be taken into consideration when grading an English paper or a biology exam.

As for calling child protective services, if he’s eighteen, they probably don’t have jurisdiciton, and in my seldom humble opinion, they shouldn’t have.

I turned eighteen the year that the voting age was lowered to eighteen. In my state, the legislature decided to set the age of majority for everything at eighteen. My birthday was in March of my senior year. My mother informed me that if any notes were needed to be presented in school, concerning absences or anything else, I could write them, because she was no longer responsible. We never had occasion to test that, but it would have been fun, and it would have been legally correct. (My parents did not kick me out of the house, but my mother had mentioned for years that she knew of families who packed a child’s bags the morning after their eighteenth, and put them out on the front porch.)

#9 Comment By Public Defender On January 22, 2014 @ 7:58 pm

The kid does something legal but degrading, and someone thinks denying him an education is a good idea? Really?

This is another example of the Right’s failure to see that not every wrong should be met with punishing resistance. A barely-adult high school student does porn. Let’s kick him out of school! A man marries another man. Let’s fire one and then deny health insurance to his kids! And you wonder why conservatives are losing the culture way?

#10 Comment By Public Defender On January 22, 2014 @ 8:00 pm

I meant to say that conservatives are losing the culture waR, not the culture waY. Sorry. But I guess both are correct.

#11 Comment By Tab On January 22, 2014 @ 8:24 pm

Are your statements on contemporary taste ex cathedra?

Rod’s the one who frequently laments that porn is pervasive, normalized, inescapable. Take it up with him.

#12 Comment By Art Deco On January 22, 2014 @ 8:35 pm

They can only get suspend or expel him if he has done something criminal or is so violent that they have no way of educating him on the campus.

Sez who?

#13 Comment By Art Deco On January 22, 2014 @ 8:36 pm

There is no good reason for the school to expel him. As he says, he didn’t break any law.

We live in an age when men in their 50s think like hellion adolescents. Forward.

#14 Comment By Art Deco On January 22, 2014 @ 8:38 pm

You can complain about “morals” all you want, but public schools are not obliged to follow conservative views of Christian morality. (If schools were to bend to local morality, then San Francisco schools would be justified in expelling students for “homophobia.”)

Dearest stef, if they have a disciplinary code, they will default to someone’s idea of morality.

#15 Comment By RB On January 22, 2014 @ 8:56 pm

Any high school that must act as though unprotected sex is acceptable employment loses any credence as an instructing body in sex ed.

Apparently there are major problems with sex trafficking in my otherwise very nice town, and local high schools are having assemblies presented by the police to teach students how prostitution rings recruit and control their victims. The first high school to do this, did so because two of their (underage) students became trapped in that life. I’m glad the high school is trying to protect its students–but that protection wouldn’t be possible without them taking the stance that prostitution is not jus illegal, but also wrong.

I assume that if an 18-year-old student attending the school were to be known to be a prostitute that refused to stop, they’d hopefuy try to help that student, but for the sake of the other children, they’d have to remove the prostitute student from the other students. If a student (and their parent) sees nothing wrong with making money through risky sex, they likely would likely see nothing wrong with recruiting others. That’s the last sort of person you want around young people who may also be poor. Good grief, people get upset over military recruiters’ presence in high schools, but are okay with porn?

As for the bullying–I’m not sure this falls into the same category of the type of bullying where a girl sends a naked selfie to a boy and has it splashed all over the internet. If students were using images from the film that the porn star student was paid to make, then is his quibble that he’s not being properly renumerated? Yes, people are exploiting the porn he starred in. That’s what porn is.

#16 Comment By Josh McGee On January 22, 2014 @ 10:01 pm

Another profile of a heroic single mother.

#17 Comment By Annek On January 22, 2014 @ 10:22 pm

EngineerScotty:

“If the 18-year old boy were making pornos in which he was having sex with women, rather than with men… would it matter?”

Not to me, or at least not much.

#18 Comment By Andrea On January 22, 2014 @ 10:35 pm

The law, Art Deco, the law. I have covered public schools for a newspaper for more than 20 years. There are laws that govern whom public schools must educate and when they are allowed to expel students. They differ from state to state, but in general a school must provide a free and appropriate education to any student under age 21. That will generally be in the regular school setting unless a kid has committed a crime of some sort or has multiple absences or is a discipline problem, etc. This school tried to kick him out by claiming he was disruptive, when it was actually his classmates who were being disruptive by bullying him and passing around videos of him. Even when I was in high school two decades ago, public schools could no longer kick out pregnant girls for morals violations, as they did at one point. I went to school with a couple of girls who attended right into their ninth month of pregnancy and undoubtedly encouraged younger girls to think being pregnant was the thing to do. And yes, they also have to provide a free and appropriate education to the prostitute, though such a girl is more likely to be in the juvenile justice or foster care system and in alternative education. You don’t get to kick a kid out of school for a morals violation.

#19 Comment By M_Young On January 22, 2014 @ 10:42 pm

““If the 18-year old boy were making pornos in which he was having sex with women, rather than with men… would it matter?”

Yes it would. But the scenarios are unequal for an important, non-‘morality based’ reason.

“The risk of HIV transmission during anal intercourse may be around 18 times greater than during vaginal intercourse, according to the results of a meta-analysis published online ahead of print in the International Journal of Epidemiology.”

#20 Comment By Andrea On January 22, 2014 @ 10:48 pm

I’ll qualify that statement. Public schools are required by federal law to provide a free and appropriate education to children with disabilities up until 21. Kids without disabilities who are legal adults probably do not have the same rights. That said, I would be surprised if state or local policy or laws would allow any school to expel an 18-year-old senior without a darned good reason, such as committing a crime or being violent or disruptive in the school setting.

#21 Comment By EngineerScotty On January 23, 2014 @ 1:03 am

“The risk of HIV transmission during anal intercourse may be around 18 times greater than during vaginal intercourse, according to the results of a meta-analysis published online ahead of print in the International Journal of Epidemiology.”

Certainly, I wouldn’t recommend unprotected sex with anyone other than a monogamous partner (or unprotected anal to anyone, really, if that floats your boat)–but the porn industry is frequently “cleaner” than random encounters in bars. For what it’s worth. (Porn actors–why is everyone who appears nekkid in a porno automatically called a porn “star”?–are frequently tested for STDs, given the amount of unprotected intercourse they do engage in).

That said, this has little to do with whether or not he should be educated by the political subdivisions of the state of Florida. As long as he doesn’t bring his work to school, it’s not really the school’s business.

(And if other kids are circulating his videos around the school–shouldn’t they be disciplined?)

#22 Comment By Jonathan On January 23, 2014 @ 1:09 am

[NFR: If you act in a porn film, you are by character unfit to be in a high school community. Quit your porn career and you can rejoin the community. Why is this hard? — RD]

Why? Is this kid going to corrupt his peers? Spread his “sexual deviance?”

[NFR: I find it depressing that porn is so mainstream now that it’s not possible to throw this kid out for moral reasons. Parents in that school have to send their kids to school with a porn star, which is to say, with a prostitute (someone who has sex for money). I find it depressing that pornography is so destigmatized that this is legitimate. Then again, perhaps there’s no law giving the school the discretion to do that. If it were up to me, I would tell the kid if he wants to attend school, he must stop acting in porn films, period. I find it depressing that this is even a controversy. — RD]

Do you know what this sentiment is? Disgusting. Parents have to send their kids to a school with a porn star? Who cares? Parents send their kids to school with drug addicts and gang members, but it’s the adult film actor that crosses the line? Where do you get off being so self-righteous?

You would have this kid feel ashamed and remorseful; you would have the school expel him for reasons of petty morals. You cast judgement and yet you know nothing. Life is more complex than the tunnel vision of orthodoxy. Your sentiments and the comments of other orthodox in this thread are excellent examples of why no one listens to orthodox Christianity anymore. That you can’t even understand why your views are controversial is mind boggling. Orthodoxy passes judgement on a world it knows nothing about.

Robert Marucci should hold his head high; he’s a better man the host of angry white men who condemn anyone who doesn’t bow down before the altar of orthodoxy.

[NFR: So all the white women and black and brown men are all for him? You’re having an oppression fantasy moment. — RD]

#23 Comment By cka2nd On January 23, 2014 @ 3:03 am

Erin Manning says: “There is no such thing as a ‘happy hooker’ or a ‘placid porn star.’ They are all suffering from the worst kind of exploitation, the kind where the sense of self is so dulled that you agree to be an object of use for others, and think your choice is made freely. It is not.”

This is not only presumptuous as all hell, but the worst kind of essentialist thinking, right up there with the old “All gay men are fundamentally unhappy.” I do not question the fact that there is a significant amount of exploitation in the porn industry – I do wonder where porn star rates in the list of most dangerous professions, though – but you have no way of proving this statement, and there is quite a bit of testimony to the contrary.

#24 Comment By education realist On January 23, 2014 @ 3:21 am

It was relatively late in the thread before someone pointed out there are strict requirements for expelling students.

But then, he wasn’t expelled. He was suspended. The school says he was suspended for threats. It’s the mother who says he was expelled. The notice appears to be for a suspension.

I’m not sure if I believe the school about the threats, but then I’m also not sure I believe the boy about the bullying. If, as is reported by ABC News, the situation came to the school’s attention because a campus monitor heard kids talking about it, there’s no evidence of the bullying.

My thought, upon hearing the kid had been *expelled* was that his age played a part. As someone pointed out, most parents would not want their kids attending school with a porn actor, particularly one who is at high risk of getting AIDS. Kids at school get involved, have sex, and the presence of 18 year olds is already a small legal risk schools have to deal with. His activity and risk of getting AIDS make that risk even larger. I thought that they might have grounds to expel him because they can’t ban him from taking on legal employment, but that employment puts the other kids at risk.

Because rest assured, if he has sex with some girl, and they met at school, and she gets AIDS, the school will be sued.

But then all this is an aside, because the school only suspended him. The mother–I grant you, a towering figure of credibility–is the only one saying he was expelled.

#25 Comment By M_Young On January 23, 2014 @ 3:54 am

“I’d happily rather my kids go to school with a porn star than say, the fraternity brothers that recently got in trouble for having an ‘MLK Day’ party that involved a watermelon eating contest.”

Remember when the Left was all into being ‘transgressive’?

#26 Comment By Doug On January 23, 2014 @ 7:03 am

“Because rest assured, if he has sex with some girl, and they met at school, and she gets AIDS, the school will be sued.”

Would the school actually have any legal liability about this? Seriously? That’s just patently ridiculous.

You Americans are so litigious. Always looking for ancillary people to blame when you or your kids screw up.

#27 Comment By Andrea On January 23, 2014 @ 7:52 am

And, if we believe the school, they investigated and determined there were no threats and are letting the boy back in school. I tend to believe the mother here, but in either case the boy would have a right to a hearing before the board if he disagreed with expulsion or suspension. There are also some strict rules regarding suspensions and a limit on the number of days a kid can be suspended. Making threats would qualify as a reason in most school handbooks, though I doubt being a porn actor would. A lawyer would make mincemeat of the school if the tried to suspend or expel him solely on that basis. They might get away with assigning him to alternative education if he is considered a distraction.

#28 Comment By Art Deco On January 23, 2014 @ 10:28 am

And yes, they also have to provide a free and appropriate education to the prostitute, though such a girl is more likely to be in the juvenile justice or foster care system and in alternative education. You don’t get to kick a kid out of school for a morals violation.

Oh, but these people keep emphasizing he’s an ‘adult’. Which is to say he can arrange for his own schooling.

#29 Comment By Art Deco On January 23, 2014 @ 10:29 am

Public schools are required by federal law to provide a free and appropriate education to children with disabilities up until 21.

Andrea, no federal statute can coerce a state or local government into providing a service. What federal statutes can do is place conditions on federal aid.

#30 Comment By Art Deco On January 23, 2014 @ 10:31 am

Remember when the Left was all into being ‘transgressive’?

They still are. You just have to be playful with someone else’s pieties.

#31 Comment By Franklin Evans On January 23, 2014 @ 10:32 am

I apologize for the delay in responding. 14 inches of snow will do that sometimes.

Thursday and Rod, you addressed half my point. Beyng provides a more respectful rebuttal. 🙁

Beyng,

I admire your response. It covers the most important aspects of the situation, and provides me with easy points to respond and clarify.

Firstly (in no particular order) the potential income is very pertinent, given that we all need to make unsupported assumptions about their local situation. Stipulating the variations, if the boy had ample opportunity to work up to the weekly limit of hours permitted to public school students (20 hours here in Philly) at “ordinary” jobs, but dismissed that opportunity, then your moral objections would carry more weight with me. The current employment situation nationally contradicts that possibility, with people with bachelors and masters degrees lining up to serve coffee and bag groceries in many places. If, on the other hand, his choice was money for sex and no money at all, your moral objections carry less weight with me.

My moral and ethical view of friendship is simple. I don’t stop loving my friends. I will judge myself first, and if I’m prepared to offer my support over an issue, then I don’t second-guess my friends. I work from actual information. So, yes, my statement concerning being in the shoes of the boy’s friends carries unstated assumptions, and yes I would need to clarify them or offer explanation for the details. Having said that, my initial statement stands.

I have a friend serving time for child molestation. He never stopped being my friend or receiving my love, even while I supported both his conviction and sentence. I have another friend serving time for murder. Same statements for him as well. Please respect my lack of details in both cases.

My moral choices are mine to make for myself. I can agree or disagree with the choices my friends make without changing my status as their friend. If you find it necessary to change that status as a response to those choices, that is your decision to make, and I will make the effort to objectively judge your decision on its own merits. All I ask is the same effort in return.

The shaming/stigmatizing part is very simple from my POV: they can shun him, they can passively exile him from their social structures, but the moment they actively harm him physically they’ve stepped over a line I draw in these cases and they get zero tolerance or respect from me. Bullying per se is tantamount to vigilantism in this context. I will take action to fight it, even if the victim of it is a perfect stranger. The rest is in the details.

#32 Comment By Art Deco On January 23, 2014 @ 10:36 am

I tend to believe the mother here,

Andrea the reporter of 20 years standing, why? The mother is on record as telling the world her son is ‘the most awesome person in the world’. My mother’s contemporaries seldom referred to their children with superlatives and had different aspirations for them than the exalted role of porn-industry bitch, but that was before our enlightened times put paid to the h8ters.

#33 Comment By M_Young On January 23, 2014 @ 10:57 am

“Robert Marucci should hold his head high;”

A bit hard to do while on knees and elbows.

#34 Comment By icarusr On January 23, 2014 @ 11:33 am

Art Deco:

“He’s probably a ruin, so no harm.”

Ah, I love seeing Christian charity in action.

#35 Comment By Franklin Evans On January 23, 2014 @ 11:43 am

I have zero respect for the parents who believe that the only way to raise their children to comply with their chosen moral standards is for the public schools to provide them with a pristine environment strictly compliant with those moral standards. I vehemently oppose those parents who apply pressure of any kind to the public schools to condemn individuals who spontaneously raise a morally objectionable threat to that environment on the grounds that their children’s morals will be corrupted. In the end, this attitude is morally bankrupt in that it requires the world to do their parenting for them.

Any parents who expect perfection from themselves and their children are idiots. Any parents who demand perfection from themselves and their children are sociopathic threats to themselves, their children and their community. Any parents who believe they must have complete control over their children are delusional.

I am a parent. I’ve made mistakes, and rectified them to the best of my ability, starting with being personally accountable for them. I cannot and will not be accountable for the mistakes of others. I taught my children to approach life the same way. When they made mistakes, they stood up and accepted the consequences. When their peers made mistakes, they either were reinforced in their understanding of those mistakes or had sufficient warning to not make the same mistakes. At no point could they find any sympathy from me with making a mistake and saying “but so-and-so did it”.

#36 Comment By Maximus On January 23, 2014 @ 12:32 pm

I’m kind of surprised that the comparison between making a porn video and participating in high school football hasn’t come up.

Young men who participate in football regularly subject themselves to the risk injury (broken bones, ACLs, concussions), sometimes lifelong injury, and occasionally death. And as new brain trauma research is showing, brain damage from repeated blows to the head can be seen as early as 16-17 years old.

More anecdotally, there is evidence that some young men who participate in football may be more aggressive, more prone to violence, and more likely to engage in sexual assault (than band nerds).

And what motivates them? For the most talented, the reward is a chance at a college scholarship, the chance at a free or largely subsidized college education. For the micro-subset of these most talent, the motivation is a chance at a professional career, the chance at economic betterment. But of course, the longer young men participate in football at any level, the more the subject themselves to the risk of greater and greater injury.

So where is the moral objection to young men who have developed their bodies to high levels of physical condition hurling themselves at one other at high velocity, ramming their heads into one another in an attempt to tackle or block, all the while subjecting themselves to known medical risk that will result in dementia?

The objection certainly doesn’t come from the schools, who sponsor and encourage participation in extra-curricular activities. Nor does it come from the parents of young men who participate. Young men are often subjected to peer pressure to participate, and are labelled as ‘sissies’ or ‘nerds’ if they decline.

Why is this form of gladiatorial sacrifice not only considered ‘moral’, but glorified as building character, and romanticized as developing the ability to work as a team, create lifelong camaraderie and a sense of esprit de corps?

And how different is participating in football in hopes of winning a college scholarship (with the lottery-like odds of having a professional career)from prostitution or participating in a porn video? Dangerous and distasteful as they may be, at least with the latter two the participants get remunerated sooner.

And how different are the parents who coerce their sons into participating in a dangerous sport from the pathetic mother who blubbered about her son being the ‘man of the family’ for making a porn video?

#37 Comment By Ben Cohen On January 23, 2014 @ 1:55 pm

You don’t have to approve of porn to know that universal education is a right, which is all that really matters in this case. People can’t be denied basic rights for engaging in perfectly legal conduct.

#38 Comment By Hector_St_Clare On January 23, 2014 @ 2:15 pm

Re: This is not only presumptuous as all hell, but the worst kind of essentialist thinking, right up there with the old “All gay men are fundamentally unhappy.”

I agree with this. I disapprove of pornography, but there’s no reason to think of this fellow as a victim. He made his choices, and if the school wants to give him an ultimatum I think they should have that right.

#39 Comment By Hector_St_Clare On January 23, 2014 @ 2:19 pm

There are plenty of reasons to (morally) oppose prostitution and pornography, without having to assume that everyone involved in them is unhappy or being harmed.

#40 Comment By Annek On January 23, 2014 @ 2:38 pm

EngineerScotty:

“…but the porn industry is frequently “cleaner” than random encounters in bars. For what it’s worth. (Porn actors….are frequently tested for STDs, given the amount of unprotected intercourse they do engage in).”

My understanding is that it takes about 3 months after exposure to HIV to test positive for it. That means there is a window of time during which it is not possible to accurately determine one’s HIV status. Does anyone know if this is still supposed to be true?

#41 Comment By Erin Manning On January 23, 2014 @ 3:58 pm

cka2nd, not presumptuous at all. You do realize that outside of the first world the vast majority of sex workers are slaves? Not “like slaves” or “analogous to slaves” but slaves. Quit thinking like a first-world imperialist, where all the nice, sweet hookers and porn stars are autonomous and independent and no different from the lawyer next door (and probably less promiscuous)…

…oh, wait. Even in the first world porn stars and prostitutes suffer from exploitation, disease, abuse, domestic and other violence, poverty, drug addiction, and too many other dysfunctions to list. I’m sure you can excuse all of that by saying that they freely chose it and are autonomous and happy individuals who simply choose to turn tricks or film themselves engaging in perverse sex acts for a living and that there are never any negative consequences for doing so except for the scolding of biddies like me…just like when this young man ends up a homeless drug-addicted wreck in about ten years you’ll be right there to insist that the homelessness, drug addiction, and mental health problems have *nothing* to do with his past as a sex worker.

#42 Comment By Christopher Burd On January 23, 2014 @ 4:26 pm

If it’s legal and consensual, that’s all many (but not all) liberals need to know about it before granting their imprimatur.

It seems to me that in a society with few strongly enforced social norms, there’s a tendency for legal norms to take their place in the minds of many people. This has at least two bad effects. First, which we see here, people start to think that anything not explicit illegal is therefore morally acceptable.

It doesn’t get more hilarious than this: “Work has inherent dignity, and a man who sits by idly and lets the women in his life support him is behaving shamefully”, so how can you possibly object to an 18-year-old boy acting as a “bottom” in gay orgy porn? WHAT PART OF THE WORD “WORK” DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND, BIGOT?

The second point is people, often the same ones, press to make illegal everything they disapprove of, such “hate speech” and so on.

Older societies often had moral codes about things like sexual behaviour that were generally accepted but not encoded in law. Back in the 1960s, the English legal theorist H.L.A. Hart pointed out that adultery was not illegal under English common law, even though social attitudes has long condemned it. The moral and legal codes were separate. In the United States, however, he saw a tendency to collapse the distinction, which he traced Puritanism but found in even 1940s laws making it an offence to rent hotel rooms to unmarried couples, so this is not a new problem.

Thinking back to the Church-run city states of medieval and early modern Europe, some of them legalized and regulated prostitution. This didn’t mean they approved of prostitution or were indifferent to it. They knew what their moral values were: prostitution was deplorable, but from a civic point of view it might be necessary evil that was better to regulate than to try to suppress.

When “enlightened” countries legalize prostitution today, it’s from a different standard. Like many commentators here, they have a very weak sense of non-legal morality, so legalizing prostitution tends to turn it into just another kind of legitimate work. The was a story a few months ago of a German woman who would have lost her unemployment benefits if she didn’t accept a “legitimate” position as a sex worker. It was supposedly an urban myth, but the logic is sound. What I did notice in my last trip to Germany was call girls used as imagery in advertisements, suitably apparently for luxury products. You didn’t used to see that.

#43 Comment By Ben Cohen On January 23, 2014 @ 6:39 pm

Rod,

“I find it depressing that porn is so mainstream now that it’s not possible to throw this kid out for moral reasons.”

People cannot be denied basic rights for engaging in legal conduct, and a high school education is a right. It’s this kind of authoritarian thuggery that makes social conservatives so hard to sympathize with.

#44 Comment By Franklin Evans On January 23, 2014 @ 9:32 pm

Emphatic agreement with Maximus, and dear Erin I cannot avoid throwing a stone at the mountainous strawman you created: just like when those young men pushed into violent sports, at the expense of their future health and present academic growth, end up homeless drug-addicted wrecks in about ten years you’ll be right there to insist that the homelessness, drug addiction, and mental health problems have nothing to do with their past in sports.

Hyperbole aside, drug abuse and brain damage are quite common. Just ask the plaintiffs in the suit against the NFL, or read the latest revelations about Major League Baseball and steroids, or watch the ever-changing list of names on the professional and college sports lists of suspensions for violation of drug use policies.

It’s not you personally, Erin. It is the vast majority of this country’s conservatives who implicitly — many explicitly — laud violence from one side of their mouths while damning sex from the other side. Exploitation doesn’t have to be obvious to be true, Erin, and the case can be made that college athletes and porn “stars” have much in common.

There is the smallest quantum gap between approval of violence and condemnation of sex. That’s the way I see it.

Alas, that really does resemble your Corollary to Godwin’s Law, and I concede that readily… but in this culture, right now, the contradictions and hypocrisies far outnumber the rational and reasonable. All I can think of is this movie quote appended with an ironic shrug:

“Does believing you’re the last sane man on the planet make you crazy? ‘Cause if it does, maybe I am.”

Detective Del Spooner in “I, Robot”, screenplay by Jeff Vintar

🙁

#45 Comment By Erin Manning On January 23, 2014 @ 11:54 pm

Franklin, I have no idea what you’re on about. I hate sports. I’d gladly agree that football in particular ought to be banned, because not only are these young men risking their physical health but also quite a number of them turn out to be morally stunted as well, violent, unstable, serial baby-daddies who beat the mothers, and so on. You won’t find me encouraging people to go for that nonsense.

But as much as I dislike sports, I think there’s a magnitude of difference between a young man or woman signing up for baseball or basketball or gymnastics or ice skating or even some kinds of football (the kinds that don’t produce concussions) in an effort to be strong and healthy and learn teamwork and whatnot (even if sadistic coaches and monomaniacal parents and the like have more or less ruined youth sports, as I think they have) and another young man who happens to be 18 stripping naked and prostrating himself on the floor so some other man can sodomize him on camera, or a young woman of 18 being filmed as she’s beaten and penetrated and sodomized (consensually, of course!) and frankly I find it rather sickening that hardly anybody commenting on this thread would agree with me.

Hell, if there’s no difference, why not encourage all your sons to service the rich gay men in your community and hook your daughters up with a couple of pimps or Internet porn kings to pay for their college educations? Lots of girls, in particular, are taking the “sugar baby” route to pay for college these days, and I’m pretty sure from the comments here that a lot of people are just wistful that that wasn’t seen as a respectable choice back in their own undergrad days. And while we’re at it, why don’t we sign up the local pimps, professional whores (both sexes), porn stars and directors, and others who make their livings selling themselves for the local high school career day? So long as the kids can’t put in an application till they’re 18, what’s the harm?

Seriously, people. What’s wrong with you?

#46 Comment By Franklin Evans On January 24, 2014 @ 9:09 am

Erin, you know I know you well by now. You are the obvious “target” for responses here, but unlike some others I am well convinced of your heart.

My point is one of focus. We focus on the many forms of violence with “competitive” as a high priority value underneath it all. Competition is a form of violence — a hyperbolic reference to be sure, but in this context I see no reason to soften it — and the dividing line in our cultural and social conscience between violence and sex is my target here.

I suppose it’s not clear yet, so let me be explicit: I in no way condone this boy’s choice. I understand it without the default attitude that understanding must always lead to agreement. I reject that particular notion out of hand.

Violence and sex are the primary modes in the US. Sports is mock violence that still results in actual injury (and thankfully rarely in death). Sex on the other hand remains a mish-mash of moral ambiguity.

I really and fully believe that personal choice is the starting point. The problem is that we no longer place any value on consequences, as you and many others have validly pointed out in this and other threads. When the focus is on sex, the litany of consequences (and complaints) is consistent. When the focus is on violence — a focus I personally find to be much to infrequent — consequences take second place to the results of the activity. Sports is not the only such thing, just the most prominent. Indeed, my biggest peeve is that the inherent violence of our economic stratification is barely mentioned, let alone debated.

The days are long gone when a man (or woman) could get paid for using an idiot stick (esoteric: a pole with a spade at one end and an idiot at the other end). The off-hand dismissal of the paltry opportunities for basic work angers me. When someone gets creative in finding such work, we get stuck on superficialities (not meaning to demean that boy’s choice here) instead of examining the root causes.

#47 Comment By Annek On January 24, 2014 @ 1:50 pm

Sports have changed in recent years and many people don’t even like sports as much as they used to. I used to love the Olympics, but the athletes have become ever more annoying, as they seem to think more about “branding” themselves than simply focusing on the thrill of their sport. The numbers of hours per day that top athletes must devote to practicing is insane. The over-the-top hype that accompanies Olympics and other sports is tiresome. The steroid and other drug use that many athletes engage in makes it difficult to relate to the athletes, as the drugs make their appearances look unnatural. Lastly, the vulgar victory dances (or whatever they’re called) and lack of apparent sportsmanship make many sports virtually unwatchable. They’re not inspirational, they’re depressing.

(Okay, I may have engaged in a little hyperbole here, but generally I stand by what I said.)

#48 Comment By Annek On January 24, 2014 @ 1:54 pm

Having stated my disapproval of the state of many sports, I think that pornography should not in any way be normalized nor should excuses be made for anyone who participates in it. On so many levels it’s simply wrong.

#49 Comment By cka2nd On January 24, 2014 @ 5:36 pm

Erin,

Given that I said “I do not question the fact that there is a significant amount of exploitation in the porn industry – I do wonder where porn star rates in the list of most dangerous professions, though –” I don’t know where you got the idea that I think that in the First World, “all the nice, sweet hookers and porn stars are autonomous and independent and no different from the lawyer next door (and probably less promiscuous)…?”

Nor do I excuse any exploitation, abuse, violence, etc. suffered by sex workers in the First World, nor the outright slavery of sex workers in the Third World. I favor the decriminalization, regulation and unionization of sex work worldwide. And if you’ve ever read anythign else I’ve written on this website, you should know what I think of the mistreatment of workers of any kind and of the increased dehuminization, oppresion and exploitation of the working class.

You, on the other hand, by saying that “There is no such thing as a ‘happy hooker’ or a ‘placid porn star.’” not only ignore the folks who have been able to make it work for them, including organizing for their rights both within the industry and in the law, but have nothing to offer the jailed hookers and the sex workers who, one day, may find themselves on sex offender lists right next to the teenager who had consensual sex with his barely underage girlfriend or boyfriend. No slippery slope, there!

#50 Comment By Ben Cohen On January 25, 2014 @ 12:30 am

“Seriously, people. What’s wrong with you?”

I could say the same about the people who want this kid expelled. We don’t deny people their rights for engaging in lawful conduct, duh.

More to the point, if you think a porn actor is even close to the worst person your kid will meet in high school you don’t have a clue. If your kid goes to a public high school he/she likely goes to school with gang members, hard core drug users, and all sorts of assorted scumbags. A guy who graduated a few years before me went on to commit multiple homicides, and I went to the best public high school in Illinois. If a porn actor is the worst person your kid meets in high school consider yourself lucky.