Brilliant Idea of the Day

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In today's New York Times, Jonathan Knee of the Columbia Business School suggests banning the creation of pornography by making it illegal to give or receive payment to perform sex acts. This, he says, would be "more useful than chasing down wardrobe malfunctions and scolding sophomoric talk-radio clowns." It's "the kind of regulation that does not implicate the First Amendment at all."

The justification? "[S]ociety objects on principle to the commodification and commercialization of sexual relations, even between consenting adults."

(Never mind that "society" actually spends several billion dollars consuming pornography, and, as Knee notes in his own op-ed, that "70 percent of men aged 18 to 34 visit a pornographic Web site at least once a month.")

The professor acknowledges: "one might want more empirical evidence of actual harm from the increased exposure to pornography before taking so radical a step."

NEXT: Lowering the Bar

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  1. It’s so nice to see the Senator posting on this forum!

  2. So then…Jack Nicholsen and Jessica Lange would get locked up for “The Postman Always Rings Twice” (wherein one learns that flour on the kitchen table has such potential), and also Mickey Rourke and Kim Bassinger in “9 1/2 Weeks.” They got paid, and there sure was sex going on.

    What a fucking moron.

    And Sen. Santorum, your posts here have been so entertaining. Now if you’d just read and internalize the magazine…

    –Mona–

  3. maybe once they prosecute every rape that comes down the pike I might care, until then I think think it would be ok to consider it but I found out about someone I know who got raped, and well lets just say the cops didn’t do shit about it. Sure it was a gray area but I would rather see prosecuter’s time wasted on a weak rape case than on a sure fire porn (or other consentual crime) any day of the week. At least then the attacker has to deal with going to court and fighting the charge… Makes me madder than hell. Especially since a friend just got busted for pot in the same county. Prioritites…

  4. Porn performers aren’t paid to engage in sex. They’re paid to act. The sex is just incidental to the character development.

  5. Why don’t we just kill everybody on the planet.

    Then, no one will have sex, do drugs, gamble…

  6. By society, he means him.

  7. Dear Mona,

    Deep down inside I’m a libertarian. (Wait, actually I’m a pretty ballerina trapped in a man’s body, but my wife already knows that.) So are the other Republicans. But we can get more votes if we pander to the Bible-beaters, so I spew hatred of gays. And since I have no soul (well, actually I have the soul of a ballerina who wants to sleep with a big strong man, but that’s another story…), I put my political self-interest ahead of principle, and I promote theocracy and lots of government spending.

    But deep down inside I do agree with you guys. I just can’t say so if I want a political career.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go view some gay porn.

  8. The professor acknowledges: “one might want more empirical evidence of actual harm from the increased exposure to pornography before taking so radical a step.”

    It’s too bad that government is not so careful prior to enacting programs, laws, taxes, regulations, and wars.

  9. Actually, this issue has been faced before. There have been claims that pornography is equivalent to prostitution, thus illegal. Judges properly saw this as and end-run around the First Amendment.

    Anyway, suppose they could make such a ban. We could just CGI the sex in, problem solved.

  10. It’s a felony to run into someone as hard as you can. But if you do it on a football field, you’re a hero. I suggest we get the cops out there and start arresting people every play.

    Eventually, we’ll only have touch football. Then we’ll take off our clothes and have pornography again.

  11. So I spent $200 bucks on a date. If we have sex, who goes to jail, me or her?

  12. How about making it illegal to give any funds collected from taxpayers to dipshit professors who come up with shit like this?

  13. Why don’t we just make tenure for university profs illegal? That would be more useful than having to entertain every idiot idea that comes out of ‘academia.’

  14. Yea Doug!!!

  15. I don’t know which is worse: Liberal condescension toward anybody who doesn’t fit the left’s definition of “sophisticated”, or conservative/libertarian condescension over anybody with a Ph.D.

  16. Look on the bright side: at least he’s not spending his time trying to harvest sunlight from cucumbers.

  17. Thoreau-
    I would say the conservative disdain toward PhDs is worse. How long can democracy stay healthy if intelligence and education are held in disdain? Look at our current president if you don’t know the answer.

    That said, I WILL admit that non-physicians who insist on being called “doctor” in social situations DO tend to be insecure assholes. When I sign my name, I feel no compunction to put a string of degree-related letters after it, mainly because I know that I am very intelligent, and have no need to prove it every second of the day.

  18. A technicality just occurred to me: even assuming that a law DID pass making it illegal to pay porn actors for their services, couldn’t porn producers get around that by, say, an arrangement wherein porn stars are not paid for their services, but instead become part owners of the films they produce, and then receive royalties instead? That way, nobody is being paid for pornographic services; they are doing it for free in hopes of creating a saleable product. Kind of like the way I am not PAID to go to estate auctions; I do it for free, and then sell whatever I buy.

  19. What a brilliant idea: Just ban it! That will work! Especially when sex is involved…

  20. What a brilliant idea: Just ban it! That will work! Especially when sex AND MONEY is involved…

  21. Don’t you guys worry about a thing. If the government ever bans porn I’ll make sure the porn keeps coming your way. My boys will buy up some studio space in the San Fernando Valley, and we’ll handle marketing and distribution. OF course, I’ll have to charge a little more than the current prices…

    I’m going to tell some of the Senators on my payroll to start working on a nationwide porn ban. I’ll have the market cornered in no time!

  22. I still fail to understand the logic of making illegal the selling of something that it’s perfectly legal to give away for free.

  23. His idea is retarded, but it gave me a brilliant idea.

    Prostitution is illegal, but making pornographic movies or pictorials and paying the participants is legal.

    So when soliciting hookers, bring a camera…maybe a beret, some puffy director pants, and a megaphone for good measure. Bordellos could become film studios. Johns would be producers. All nice and legal. Brilliant.

    Get off and maybe get your SAG card too.

    –Mark

  24. Don’t worry, Don Corleone, you can count on me! I’ll get pornography banned. I’ll just make creative use of the interstate commerce clause.

  25. Mo-
    I have this fantasy where I’m at the theatre, somebody collapses, somebody else screams “IS THERE A DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE?” and I jump up and yell, “Here I am! Stand back and give that man some air, while I tell you about the themes of alienation, despair and loss of faith as found in British Victorian poetry! Christina Rossetti’s ‘Goblin Market’ is really talking about SEX!”

    Except that I only have a paltry Master’s degree.

  26. I have a legal theory (maybe I heard it)..it’s the same prinicple as the internet was built on. The more laws you have, the more loopholes you create (and the more ways crooks find to exploit the law and profit from it). The internet is designed to route around failures. For example, prostitution is illegal, but if you leave a “donation” and “what happens between consenting adults” happens, you don’t have prostitution. A law that interferes with what consenting adults do simply results in routing around that failure.

    The federal tax code is the perfect example of this. It’s friggin tomes of laws that no one knows, but there are plenty of ways to get around it. A straight, 1 sentence flat tax law would eliminate all that crap and the loopholes.

  27. heh. i always tell my wife that when she finishes her phd she can tell people she’s a doctor and offer advice like “unless your husband needs a paper on virginia woolf’s use of objects as commentary, he’s a dead man.”

    which i find a far bit funnier than she does.

  28. Don’t worry. When sex on tape is outlawed, you’ll still be able to watch lots of hot hot frat boys blow their load on my face!

  29. Nobody twits me on how smart /I/ am. *snif*

    Anyway, what makes the lamebrain think that pornography is going to stop just because people stop paying performers?

    I mean, people do post pictures of themselves. At least a few of these people have good Photoshop skills, etc.

  30. “…making it illegal to give or receive payment to perform sex acts.”

    Soooooo… is he suggesting that we ban pornography or marriage?

  31. “What a brilliant idea: Just ban it! That will work! Especially when sex AND MONEY is involved…’

    Now now, RC, don’t forget: there’s also media presence involved.

  32. Jennifer: re: Dr. Originally Ph.Ds held the honorific and extended it to doctors. Now they are seen as less worthy of the title. Persoanlly, I think anyone one, MD or PhD, that gets into a snit over the honorific in social situations is insecure.

    Mo BSc

  33. Oh god, she’s back.

  34. Tell us more about how smart you, Jennifer. Inquiring minds want to know.

  35. Doug-
    Grow up.

  36. “I have this fantasy…”

    That’s no fantasy, that’s an old joke. I heard Fred Willard tell it about 15 years ago. God only knows where he heard it, probably from Leonard Barr, I would guess.

    [A man collapses in a theater.
    A nearby man cries out “Is there a doctor in the house?”
    Another man says “I am.”
    First man says “I think he’s had a heart attack.”
    Second man says “Well, these things happen.”
    First man says “What kind of doctor are you?”
    Second man says “A doctor of philosophy.”
    Ba-da-bing.]

  37. I stand willing to expose myself (sorry) to increased levels of pornography in order to provide empirical evidence for the good professor’s studies. All in the name of “science”, of course . . .

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