Revenge of Maryland's Porn Police

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THE PLANK OCTOBER 8, 2009

Revenge of Maryland's Porn Police

Well, I had thought the University of Maryland's whole porn saga from this spring--in which piety-minded state Sen. Andrew Harris vowed to withhold funding if the campus allowed the student union to screen the skin flick "Pirates II: Stagnetti's Revenge"--ended when the school announced that the show would indeed go on. How wrong I was.

That priggish little nanny Harris couldn't let the matter go. After portions of the movie were shown (certain bits had to be skipped to avoid offending the senator's delicate sensibilities), the general assembly decreed in its April budget that, by year's end, all state-funded universities must submit official policies on "the displaying or screening of obscene films and materials."

Asking around, the university discovered that no other states have such policies, and U Md. officials are understandably unenthusiastic about being the ones to establish such a silly precedent. A "free-speech forum" is on for Tuesday at U. Md. to "gather input from the campus community" on how to deal with this legislative mandate. 

Hey, I'm all for universities choosing to organize discussions about the downside of porn (not to mention the grave cinematic shortcomings of "Stagnetti's Revenge") whenever they show something down-and-dirty. Spirited debate is healthy, especially on uncomfortable topics. And there are plenty of hard questions surrounding hard-core.

But having a sanctimonious lawmaker (and his spineless colleagues) treat college students (virtually all of whom are over 18) and, more broadly, entire schools like naughty children is patronizing, intrusive, and generally pathetic.

Three words for Harris: What a tool.

 

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posted in: the plank, politics, andrew harris, maryland, pirates ii, senator

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