May 1st 2010

  Buy Issue 2826

Articles from this issue:

WATER: Government's misspent billions will destroy our farms

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Rudd gambles all on hospital reform

VICTORIA: "Big brother" laws could curb religious freedom

QUARANTINE: WTO apple ruling threatens Australian industries

ECONOMIC AFFAIRS: Privatisation has failed to deliver cheaper electricity

EDITORIAL: Can terrorists really acquire nuclear weapons?

POLAND: Aircraft crash annihilates Polish leadership

CLIMATE SCIENCE: Earth is never in equilibrium

ENVIRONMENT: 'Ship on the Reef': a critical review of this season's rerun

SCHOOLS: Dumbed-down Australian history curriculum

GENDER AND IDENTITY: Help for homosexuals who want change

CULTURE: Is the porn tide finally turning?

TRADE UNIONISM: Why America doesn't have a labour party

Perspective needed on Tony Abbott (letter)

Gratitude for public health system (letter)

AS THE WORLD TURNS: China's shameful massacre of unborn girls; Soft power and no plan for Iran; Countering terror; Scientific establishment forfeits public trust

BOOK REVIEW: WILLIAM CHARLES WENTWORTH: Australia's Greatest Native Son, by Andrew Tink

BOOK REVIEW: NOTHING TO ENVY: Love, Life and Death in North Korea, by Barbara Demick

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Is the porn tide finally turning?

by Bill Muehlenberg

News Weekly, May 1, 2010
Two recent articles in the press offered a glimmer of hope that the porn avalanche may be meeting a bit of resistance. It's early days yet, but these news items may well be the harbinger of more good news to come on this front.

The first piece I noticed recently was just a short article, but a significant one. It had to do with a noted actor actually refusing to do sex scenes because of his concern to put principle ahead of money. Now that is very rare indeed amongst the Hollywood set.

The piece opened this way: "Former Desperate Housewives bad guy Neal McDonough has reportedly been sacked from a new TV series after he refused to do a sex scene. The 44-year-old actor was tapped to play opposite Virginia Madsen in the upcoming US program Scoundrels, but was abruptly replaced just three days before the filming began.

"McDonough, a family man and devout Catholic, apparently refused to do heated love scenes with Madsen because of his principles. Deadline Hollywood said that the actor is strict with his values and won't do sex scenes on camera." (International Business News, April 3, 2010).

For all the sleazy actors willing to put money ahead of principle, this is an incredible turn-around. Well done, Neal! We need many more such actors.

The second item was an article from the Melbourne Age, and it was as encouraging as it was surprising. It said: "More than 30 of Australia's leading child experts are calling for an unprecedented ban on the sale of adult magazines such as Playboy and Penthouse and other 'soft porn' material from newsagents, milk bars, convenience stores, supermarkets and petrol stations.

"The group has also asked Australia's censorship ministers to review the rules by which so-called lad mags - such as People, Zoo and Ralph - are reviewed, arguing that they are becoming increasingly explicit and contributing to the sexualisation of children." (The Age, April 5, 2010).

Now that's something you don't see every day as well. Indeed, for years I and a handful of pro-family activists have been saying similar things, only to be howled down with scorn and derision.

"Wowser" has been a favourite term of abuse hurled at us often, but plenty of other terms - some which cannot be printed here - have been levelled at us over the years. Thus it is amazing to see others finally calling for the same sort of thing for which we have been fighting for so long.

I could write a book about all the flack I have had to put up with simply because I have been concerned about our children and the direction we are heading as a society. To simply argue that children should be protected from readily available exposure to sleaze has raised the wrath of the civil libertarians, the sleaze merchants and so many of the trendy lefties in the mainstream media.

Indeed, consider one interview I did many years ago with the very same newspaper, The Age. In good faith I answered journalist Anne Crawford's questions about how television has a corrosive impact on families. But the next day, when I opened the May 9, 2000 edition of The Age, I saw a very ugly hatchet job on me.

Ms Crawford did her best to try to make me look like a buffoon simply for expressing concerns about how TV standards were falling, with children especially in need of protection. I was representing the Australian Family Association, and several other pro-family groups were featured as well.

All of us were made to look like complete idiots, and the whole piece was one long snide attack on anyone who dared to express such concerns. Ms Crawford had a lengthy piece running over two pages, and it was all an ugly and childish attack on those of us who wanted to protect children and families.

The headline - if you can call it that - said it all. This is actually what it said: "The truth is that TV is probably the most evil force at work in the universe. It is destroying your mind. Trust me." Yes, it even came with those words in bold.

The entire article was one long piece of mockery and contempt directed at the people that she interviewed. She seemed all sweetness and light when she interviewed me, but her fangs were certainly bared in the printed article.

This sort of treatment was quite commonplace; but at other times journalists would not even pretend to be polite and civil with me while conducting an interview.

Those concerned about declining standards and the pornification of culture don't get a very good run today either. But at least here is one high-profile group taking some steps in the right direction. Hopefully more such activities will happen in the near future.

Does all this mean that the stranglehold of political correctness is beginning to weaken, and a return to common sense and decency is on the ascendency? Time will tell, but to have these two articles appear in the last few weeks does offer a ray of hope. Let us all hope and work toward it continuing.

Bill Muehlenberg is a commentator on contemporary issues, and lectures on ethics and philosophy. His website CultureWatch is at:


Rochelle Lu, "Neal McDonough fired from TV job after refusing sex scenes", International Business News (New York), April 3, 2010.

Mary-Anne Troy, "Put soft porn out of view: experts", The Age (Melbourne), April 5, 2010.

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