Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Google Trends vs. Community Standards On Obscenity

timothy posted more than 6 years ago | from the gotta-worry-about-the-apple-pie-searchers dept.

The Courts 332

circletimessquare writes "Google Trends is being used in a novel way in a pornography trial in Florida. Under a 1973 Supreme Court ruling, 'contemporary community standards' may be used as a yardstick for judging material as unprotected obscenity. This is a very subjective judgment, and so Lawrence Walters, a defense lawyer for Clinton Raymond McCowen, is using Google Trends to show that, in the privacy of their own homes, more people in Pensacola (the only city in the court's jurisdiction that is large enough to be singled out in the service's data) are interested in 'orgy' than "apple pie'."

cancel ×

332 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Petard, meet hoist. (5, Insightful)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 6 years ago | (#23915987)

That is awesome.

Re:Petard, meet hoist. (5, Insightful)

FredFredrickson (1177871) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916079)

In the state that I live (NH), obscene is defined by anything that most likely would cause "affront or alarm." This, of course, leaves a lot for interpretation. My new hair cut could be considered obscene.

The question is simple: why are natural things like nudity, sex, and sexual intercourse considered obscene to begin with? Is it neccessary for society to function? Is it important to have a line drawn somewhere, for fear that if the line gets pushed, even more extreme things may become the norm? (Killing babies, public self mutiliation, goatse)?

I, of course, don't support public obscenities and indecencies- it's just plainly wrong to do some things in public. But then I try to think why it is, and can't seem to find a good answer. Is it because that's how I was brought up, and that's how I learned it should be?

There are a lot of things that I learned as I grew up that don't actually make sense. Is it possible that some things are just the way we've always done it, and that's why it shouldn't change? My parents spoon fed me loads of crap, how am I supposed to seperate the truth (shouldn't run around naked in public) from all the lies (go to church or you'll go to hell)?

As an interesting side note, if he really wants to make a point, he should add a new term to the trends- Google Trends [google.com] . (Additionally, he shouldn't have public news like this- people will skew the trends when they find out about it.

Re:Petard, meet hoist. (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23916159)

In the state that I live (NH), obscene is defined by anything that most likely would cause "affront or alarm." This, of course, leaves a lot for interpretation. My new hair cut could be considered obscene.
What? Do you have a penis and balls shaved onto the top of your head? Next time don't pass out drunk at a party, lightweight.

Re:Petard, meet hoist. (1, Insightful)

Machtyn (759119) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916361)

The question is simple: why are natural things like nudity, sex, and sexual intercourse considered obscene to begin with?

Because it is such a private and special act, despite the act having been demeaned over the past 60+ years. And that's the problem. Sexual intercourse is meant to be an act performed in private for the two parties that love and care for each other deeply enough to create a stronger bond. When you put that on public display, the act is reduced to a trite sensuality.

Nudity is slightly different. Depending on the subject matter it is usually to be demeaning the topic (usually females) or to create a sensuality in the observer that may create conflict in that person's personal life. Certainly, in the Judeo-Christian value system that Europe and the US was brought up in, we were taught that once Adam & Eve ate the fruit and became smart, they put clothes on - to be in public without clothes on is an affront to modesty and morality.

While I realize this is not a popular opinion, I'm not going to hide behind AC on this one.

Re:Petard, meet hoist. (5, Insightful)

mo^ (150717) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916517)

Sexual intercourse is meant to be an act performed in private for the two parties that love and care for each other deeply enough to create a stronger bond.
Citation please. my high-school biology seemed t indicate it was for procreation. I can find nothing to indicate that the point of fucking is to be private.

Do you censure fish who conduct the act of procreation on a mass scale in front of other fish?

Re:Petard, meet hoist. (5, Insightful)

PakProtector (115173) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916531)

Sexual intercourse is meant to be an act performed in private for the two parties that love and care for each other deeply enough to create a stronger bond. When you put that on public display, the act is reduced to a trite sensuality.

Says who? Last time I checked, there were thre reasons for doing something in private: You believe the world has no right to know your private affairs, or you're ashamed of what you're doing, or you fear the repercussions of your action.

Last time I check, Sexual Intercourse was a natural biological function that had nothing to do with mutual love or regard. It can have those qualities, but those are not inherent in the act itself.

Re:Petard, meet hoist. (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23916769)

Last time I check, Sexual Intercourse was a natural biological function that had nothing to do with mutual love or regard.
I'd guess it's been quite a while since you checked? There may be a reason for that.

Re:Petard, meet hoist. (5, Interesting)

James McP (3700) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916833)

You forgot the 4th reason people crave privacy: safety.

People involved in the act tend to be focused on what they're doing, or at least distracted. That puts you at risk for outside threats and our instincts are to do risky things in safe environments.

Some part of the brain starts yelling "Hey, you are very exposed right now!" and it has a very visceral impact on the person depending on their mindset. The sensations range from a thrill (for the exhibitionist) to anxiety ("normal" people) all the way to psyche scarring shame (for the repressed).

Re:Petard, meet hoist. (2, Informative)

PakProtector (115173) | more than 6 years ago | (#23917035)

I include that in the 'repercussions of my actions' category.

Re:Petard, meet hoist. (5, Funny)

jefu (53450) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916535)

Sexual intercourse is meant to be an act performed in private for the two parties that love and care for each other deeply enough to create a stronger bond.

Interesting statement. "meant" - by whom? Who says it should be performed in private (except people nowadays)?

You're assuming quite a bit, I suspect. I, on the other hand, know for sure that the FSM meant for sexual intercourse to be performed in large tubs of grated parmesan cheese by dozens of people at once.

Re:Petard, meet hoist. (4, Insightful)

Robert1 (513674) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916853)

Meant by society. There are societal norms present in every culture. Its not so much 'meant' as it is 'what is expected or regular.'

Culturally it's 'regular' or 'expected' that two people have sex alone or privately. I don't think society as a whole believes that 'sexual intercourse to be performed in large tubs of grated parmesan cheese by dozens of people at once' is regular.

Granted, I don't think either choice should be regulated, but I think its naive of you to believe that there is no relative consensus about things like this in every society. That is to say, that society does not perceive 'sex as a private act between two people' and 'cheese orgy' as equally palatable (pun unintended) or socially acceptable.

Re:Petard, meet hoist. (5, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916541)

"...intercourse is meant to be an act performed in private for the two parties that love and care for each other..."

That's your interpretation. It's not everyone's by any means.

Ask most men in their early 20s and you'll find that intercourse is an act performed wherever and whenever they can get away with it with whoever is looking good that day.

Ask a lot of young women of today and they'll tell you much the same (though probably a little less extreme).

Ask polyamourists, swingers, exhibitionists etc, you'll get a different answer every time.

What's "meant to be", that depends on who you ask. To me it sounds like a religious proclamation.

this is not to say I want to see fat people screwing in the streets, just that not everyone thinks the way you do.

Re:Petard, meet hoist. (5, Insightful)

bickerdyke (670000) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916573)

The question is simple: why are natural things like nudity, sex, and sexual intercourse considered obscene to begin with? Because it is such a private and special act, despite the act having been demeaned over the past 60+ years. And that's the problem. Sexual intercourse is meant to be an act performed in private for the two parties that love and care for each other deeply enough to create a stronger bond. When you put that on public display, the act is reduced to a trite sensuality.
And now go and tell that to the Bonobos! :-) You may be right with the last 60+ years, but if you think back say 1000 years, with at least one peasant family living in a crowded hut. If it were *that* private back then, mankind wouldnt have survived till now. Someone here has any clue when it became a private act in the first place? Had to be some time after our anchestors descended from the trees.

Re:Petard, meet hoist. (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23916591)

I'll hide as an AC!

What you are saying is that nudity is taboo and you note the reason is because the fiction novel, The Bible, says so. Not all societies felt that removing clothing is an affront to modesty and morality. Christians, Muslims, and Jews seem to be the ones that have the hard time with this area. Perhaps you should self-reflect over whether the supposed affront to modesty and morality is due to fairy tales (religions) or an actual requirement for good human social relations. Considering that for most of the last 100,000 years that humans have worn barely more than sheepskins (if they were lucky), I'd say that the later reason is unlikely. I'd say that clothing resulted from our need to protect ourselves from our environment, not from each other.

Re:Petard, meet hoist. (3, Interesting)

Mortice (467747) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916597)

I agree with your first paragraph, even if it's not a popular opinion. In spite of all of the arguments from biology - that it's a natural function of living, all animals do it in some shape or form, etc. - it's obvious to me that sex has a special place in human thought and society, and that a large part of the apparatus of modern society depends upon us acting contrary to our animal urges.

On the other hand, I disagree with your second paragraph. You identify two possible intentions for the portrayal of people in the nude (and I question how common the first is as a primary intention - it is undoubtedly a common consequence), but not a great many others. Michaelangelo's David is nude, but not in order to demean the subject or to titillate the observer. The same could be said for a great many works of art and photography.

Re:Petard, meet hoist. (2, Insightful)

Danse (1026) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916601)

Because it is such a private and special act, despite the act having been demeaned over the past 60+ years. And that's the problem. Sexual intercourse is meant to be an act performed in private for the two parties that love and care for each other deeply enough to create a stronger bond. When you put that on public display, the act is reduced to a trite sensuality.
Whole lot of preconceived notions and assumptions in that paragraph. The indoctrination goes deeper than you may believe. Who says it should always be private, or particularly special? Who says it should only be with someone you love and care deeply for? Why do you consider sensuality to be trite?

Re:Petard, meet hoist. (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23916649)

Hey assholes, don't mod down people just because they have a different opinion than you.

Pull your heads out of your asses. For supposed pro-choice, pro-freedom of speech slashdot users you sure are a bunch of whiney pussies when someone disagrees with you. How quickly you turn into the gestapo when someone goes against your group think.

Someone needs to meta-moderate whoever did that into oblivion.

Re:Petard, meet hoist. (5, Insightful)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916779)

Because [sex] is such a private and special act...

Um, no. Sex is not particularly special, the majority of adults have had it. It's considered private in our culture, but in other cultures a couple living in a one room hut with a couple of kids will think nothing of getting it on while the kids are there.

(Sex with someone you love is, hopefully, a special thing. But then, going out to dinner with someone you love is, hopefully, a special thing - it's the "with someone you love" that makes it special, not the act itself.)

Sexual intercourse is meant to be an act performed in private for the two parties that love and care for each other deeply enough to create a stronger bond.

Sexual intercourse is "meant" to be an act performed to make more members of the screwing couple's species. Anything additional is a social or psychological construct. Which doesn't mean that adding to it is good or bad - but seeking "meaning" in biology is not a useful endeavor.

Certainly, in the Judeo-Christian value system that Europe and the US was brought up in, we were taught that once Adam & Eve ate the fruit and became smart, they put clothes on - to be in public without clothes on is an affront to modesty and morality.

Ancient Hebrew mythology about talking snakes, magical trees, and why all the problems in the world are the fault of a woman, is not a good reason for pointing guns at people and locking them in cages if they step outside with no clothes on.

Any purported system of morality that claims public nudity to be immoral has left any vestige of rationality behind. Hundreds of people have seen me naked (at events like this [freespiritgathering.org] and this [rosencomet.com] and this [playadelfuego.org] ) and no one has been harmed.

Re:Petard, meet hoist. (4, Interesting)

Hojima (1228978) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916799)

I do agree with your views on sex and nudity. I'll go even further to say that it is very wrong to live a promiscuous lifestyle (for which there are many reasons). But to impose your morals on someone else and restrict freedom is probably the greatest crime. The problem that people don't realize is that the law exists to keep a society running. Society then exists to keep morals themselves in check. Don't like what one society believes, then move. But distributing such judgment on a large scale wont let you move to stay happy. That's why I believe much more in state government. There should be some cities that allow drug use, nudism, etc. However, a system that allows political experimentation is a long way from happening with the whole of governments acting like some uptight monarchy. If I were more into politics than science, I would start some movement to have these restrained minorities unite on some website and plan to move in mass to desolate areas where their vote counts heavily. However that is one arduous process that I hope someone else takes on.

Re:Petard, meet hoist. (1)

Ravon Rodriguez (1074038) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916815)

Certainly, in the Judeo-Christian value system that Europe and the US was brought up in, we were taught that once Adam & Eve ate the fruit and became smart, they put clothes on - to be in public without clothes on is an affront to modesty and morality.

And that's basically it in a nutshell. We live in a country where the people get to decide what's legal and illegal (mostly), and the people are, for the most part, Christian. If we lived in a world free of religion, chances are sex and nudity would as blase as they are in the rest of the animal kingdom.

Re:Petard, meet hoist. (2, Insightful)

Shoten (260439) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916845)

First off, let me say that I admire your stance on not posting as Anonymous Coward. I wish more people would associate themselves with their views when they know that they're saying something that will be unpopular.

Okay...I'm not sure where sexual acts have been demeaned for 60+ years. Depending on the threshold for "demean," it's either been 10+ years or 3500+ years (when you consider that the "+" is not like a price bid on "The Price is Right," so that you've got the best guess as long as you don't go over the real number). If you're referring to the prevalence of pornography on the Internet, and the explosion of variety that can be found there, then I'd go with the lower number. If you're talking about pornography in general, including group sex, homosexual acts or even acts with humans and animals together, then I'd go with the latter. There are depictions of sexual acts going back to ancient Chinese dynasties and even before that would certainly be considered more extreme than what is being put forth on trial here.

The real question in my mind is this: if civilizations have been depicting sexual activity for thousands of years, then what's the problem? Last I saw, every aspect of mankind has managed to advance during that time...what's the problem that some people are claiming exists?

Re:Petard, meet hoist. (2, Interesting)

Evanisincontrol (830057) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916897)

Sexual intercourse is meant to be an act performed in private for the two parties that love and care for each other deeply enough to create a stronger bond.

What do you mean "meant to"? As far as I know, the only thing sex is "meant to" do is allow for continuation of a species and to pass genes. The only time sex has any kind of emotion attached to it is when YOU attach it yourself. Sex by itself cannot have any special meaning unless you intentionally interpret it as such.

That being said, your interpretation of sex should have nothing to do with mine. Obviously there are conflicts -- i.e. if my interpretation of sex is "I get to rape anyone I want including Mactyn", then there's an issue we need to work out. However, me walking around naked (though I don't) should not directly impact you. If you let my public nudity change your own interpretation of sex, that is your problem, not mine.

Certainly, in the Judeo-Christian value system that Europe and the US was brought up in, we were taught that once Adam & Eve ate the fruit and became smart, they put clothes on - to be in public without clothes on is an affront to modesty and morality.
Didn't those two little harlots get kicked out of heaven for that?

Re:Petard, meet hoist. (1)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916913)

have you ever read anything about the romans? private and special act what a load of bollocks.

Re:Petard, meet hoist. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23916417)

Good call, and holy crap I added another word and it completely outstrips them all by like 10 fold LOL.

Google-Trends [google.com]

all is fair in love and war (5, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916525)

it's not like there once was a time in human history when love was free and sex was easy. there have always been social limits on sex for as long as we have been social apes. sure, we don't have to fight and scrounge for food anymore, but this has only been true for the last century. which, not coincidentally, the last century has seen a relaxation of sexual mores. the other hundreds of thousands of years of human history has been a desperate fight for resources for you and your children against the neighbors and their kids.

prudish social conservatism is not some newfangled judeochristian invention, it is simply human nature. the gut human reaction at seeing someone more successful than you procreatively or materially is anger, and this anger is evolutionarily advantageous: to work hard at limiting your fellow man's success and enjoyment in life, so that you may have some success yourself.

so sex is is fun, sex is pleasurable, sex is good, sex is harmless... unless it is someone else having it. then it is bad. is this selfish? absolutely. and evolutionarily advantageous. and therefore hardwired into how our brains function: there is no way the neighbor's children are going to get more bananas than my children, so there is no way the neighbors are going to freely have sex without my approval

in this perverse way, the urge to prevent other people from enjoying sex is the same urge underlying the desire for social justice, for equality: you can't have more than me, its not fair. community standards on sex is simply the most primitive form of birth control. no, that's not "just say no", that's "you have sex and i'll punish you, because your children are taking resources from my children"

Re:all is fair in love and war (1)

cthulu_mt (1124113) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916639)

Actually, prudish sexual mores in the West are most the result of the Judeo-Christian ethic.

You may want to watch a little film called Caligula for further education.

Re:all is fair in love and war (3, Interesting)

spun (1352) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916811)

I think you have a strange view of human nature. I feel pleasure at seeing someone more successful than I, as long as that success seems warranted. That urge towards justice and fairness you mention works both ways if you let it.

You should also read up on anthropology, because you have some strange ideas about what humans are like in their 'natural' state. Read The Continuum Concept [wikipedia.org] for another view.

There seem to be only two cultures in the world, the culture of feast and sharing, and the culture of famine and war. You are drawing your conclusions based on only the currently dominant culture. For most of human history, though, it was not.

human nature is human nature is human nature (0)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#23917005)

it has good, bad, and uly qualities. that some of human nature's qualities are ugly or bad does not mean they magically go away, or ever will go away. they are constants, across all time and all cultures. things like envy, jealousy: these are natural aspects of our psychology. ther are not taught to children, they are inherent in how our brains work. they are self-apparent and self-creating. do i like envy and jealousy? no, but i accept them as inescable quantities in the people around me. wishing them away will not go away. furthermore, my view of human nature i balanced, not bleak. there is plenty good about human nature to balance out the bad

and you wish to babble about "the culture of feast and sharing" versus "the culture of famine and war". huh? whatever those constructs are, as most charitably as i can say it is, if such things exist, they are contemporaneous. there is no magical replacement of one or the other. we are our own best friends, and our own worst enemies, all at the same time

Re:Petard, meet hoist. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23916527)

Humans will always be naturally affronted by pretty much arbitrary stuff. If you're making a statement and you for some reason feel it's especially important to go around nude or something, then go ahead (if you're willing to live with the consequences). On the other hand, lots of people seem to think it's especially cool or funny to offend people with everything from religion bashing to foul language, just because they think it's amusing seeing other people get offended. These people, in real life as on the net, are to be considered trolls and griefers.

Short answer: Don't go around offending people unless you are actually have a good reason for doing it, even if there's not really any logical reason they should be offended in the first place.

Re:Petard, meet hoist. (1)

mantissa128 (900471) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916529)

if the line gets pushed, even more extreme things may become the norm? (Killing babies, public self mutiliation, goatse)?

I agree that obscenity laws make no sense. This part of your comment made me uneasy, though.

A popular imageboard I frequent has definitely inured me to the 'extreme things' you mention, and more. For the most part, I'm no longer shocked by these images, and I am uncertain what to think about that. I feel less oppressed by subjects I formerly found unpalatable. At the same time, I find I still have a strong repugnance for certain images, such as animal torture. I feel I have explored uncertain places in myself and come away with a stronger sense of my own morality.

Still - how would this jury react to such extreme images? For us who may be inured, how do we react to the jury's sense of shock? Are ordinary folks just the newfags of the internet age? While I don't accept obscenity laws, I can see where they're coming from. I don't know what the answer is, if there is one.

What do you think about this?

Re:Petard, meet hoist. (1)

PakProtector (115173) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916813)

There are those of us who seek to rule our own emotional responses to things so that we may act reasonably, and then there are those who are ruled by their own emotional responses to things so much that they cannot act reasonably.

It's all about deciding whether you want to have free will or not.

Re:Petard, meet hoist. (1)

FredFredrickson (1177871) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916909)

I've struggled with similar problems- even a few times stumbling upon accidental cp, and suddenly I get an uneasy feeling that:

1. I'm afraid nothing will remain sacred. If increasingly shocking things become normal, I will become desensitized. Am I basing my sense of morality on my ability to become shocked or disturbed? Possibly...

2. The party van will get me. I'm not trying to view CP, but it pops up (if you're talking about the same certain site I am, and I think you are). I quickly report those images and stop viewing for a while. I'm pretty sure I'm safe. But these things happen and I'm less likely to go back each time.

3. I make it a point not to dwell on things that should bother me, so as not to become tolerant, but again, I'm not sure why. The fact that people in general get offended by arbitrary things is surprising. I think people take everything too seriously. But maybe i'm just numb myself.

I tend to get in to philosophical debates with myself, and it never ends well, because in the end there needs to be a meaning, and utilizing logic and reason leaves you with very little with that.

Re:Petard, meet hoist. (2, Insightful)

tgd (2822) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916571)

I, of course, don't support public obscenities and indecencies- it's just plainly wrong to do some things in public.
I disagree. What you think is wrong is an opinion and you should explicitly have no right to influence the behavior of others, where that behavior isn't causing *demonstrable* harm to others, on the basis of your opinion.

My parents spoon fed me loads of crap, how am I supposed to seperate the truth (shouldn't run around naked in public) from all the lies (go to church or you'll go to hell)?
And there's the problem. You're assuming that there's some inherent truth to a claim that people shouldn't be running around naked in public -- when there's pretty substantial evidence from cultures going back to pre-history that there's not a bit of problem with it at all.

This is why your opinion (or anyone's -- I'm not picking on you) should be explicitly disallowed when defining what behavior is acceptable. Prove its causing harm to others in a way that others can't choose to avoid it, or learn to deal with it. You may personally believe you don't want to see others walking around naked (and based on the current obesity epidemic in the US, you're probably right), but if it really bothers you then you can avoid going into those public places. You have no inherent right to be comfortable outside of your home.
 

Re:Petard, meet hoist. (1)

FredFredrickson (1177871) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916949)

I'm sure you can see that I was arguing a point that I personally didn't agree with. It was just a bit of insight on my own thought process. I don't believe there exists an inherent truth, or that my opinion (or my parents) should be taken as one.

I'm merely commenting on the state of society, their thought process, and my struggle with my own though process given to me by society.

Re:Petard, meet hoist. (2, Insightful)

torkus (1133985) | more than 6 years ago | (#23917003)

This is great - in theory (i'd spend +mod points if I had) and I wish reality matched up.

Unfortunately in the USA people seem to feel they deserve to be comfortable, protected, and coddled anywhere and everywhere they go. How about the FCC complaints about radio (much less TV) in the past few years? Seriously, turn it off or just change the station. Instead, certain people feel the need to impose their own moral views on the greater population.

As far as 'truths' - some people would emphatically argue that !church == hell *IS* 100% true. Those same people would probably also suggest that walking around nude would land you in hell as well. What it comes down to is your beliefs are your own. If they work for you, that's great. Just don't try to impose them on anyone else because, honestly, as strongly as you feel about them there's someone who feels just as strongly opposite them.

Wasn't the USA supposed to be the land of freedom? Tolerance? Well that's the theory I suppose but the vast majority of laws seem to either 1) protect you from yourself (seatbelt or helmet laws) or 2) force you to live your life according to someone else's moral standards - which can vary *greatly* between individual states anyway (e.g. age of consent varies from 14 to 18 if memory serves).

Re:Petard, meet hoist. (2, Insightful)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916581)

The question is simple: why are natural things like nudity, sex, and sexual intercourse considered obscene to begin with?
Simple answer: They don't make the rich richer.

Suppressed sexual energy can be canalized for profit.

Is it possible that some things are just the way we've always done it, and that's why it shouldn't change?
That's what conservatism is all about.
Except that it isn't even that things have always been like that, just that they are perceived that way. Take the pledge of allegiance, "under god" was added LONG after it was first uttered, but conservatives want to keep it because this is the version they heard first, so they assume it's how it always was. They oppose change because it's different from what they were told was right, therefore it must be wrong.

Re:Petard, meet hoist. (5, Insightful)

Tom (822) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916603)

The question is simple: why are natural things like nudity, sex, and sexual intercourse considered obscene to begin with? Is it neccessary for society to function? Is it important to have a line drawn somewhere, for fear that if the line gets pushed, even more extreme things may become the norm?
No. To control a society through fear (of terrorism, eternal damnation, or whatever the meme of the day is) you need to make sure that said fear is present at all times.

Sexuality is an excellent choice for a religion-dominated control-through-fear approach. It's one of the strongest natural drives, but contrary to hunger, thirst or the opposite bodily functions, you can actually suppress it for a long time. Thus you can have "good" examples to tell all the normal people that they are abnormal, evil, and will certainly go to hell unless... and the unless is what puts you in power.

Worked in Europe for almost two thousand years. In some more primitive parts of the world, including certain regions of Europe and the US, it still works quite well.

It is precisely because nudity and sex are such normal and natural things that they are made taboo.

Re:Petard, meet hoist. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23916729)

It's all about laws of cooperation vs. laws of morality, to use some terms a friend of mine coined (or at least introduced me to).

Certain laws (or rules in general) are required for society to function: for example, the rule that you have to stop at a red traffic light, the rule that says you can't just deprive someone else of their property (or life, limb, liberty or whatever) against their will, and so on. These are laws of cooperation.

Laws that are enacted to make a person's or group's moral views obligatory are laws of morality; these, in essence, are bad, because they not only restrict others' freedom (something that all laws do) but because they do so NEEDLESSLY (unlike with laws of cooperation, where the restriction is arguably necessary for society to function).

Bans on pornography, sexual acts between consenting partners etc. are generally laws of morality and therefore wrong.

To solve your dilemma regarding public obscenities and indecencies, ask yourself whether these bans are necessary for society to work.

Re:Petard, meet hoist. (1)

MMC Monster (602931) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916751)

My parents spoon fed me loads of crap, how am I supposed to seperate the truth (shouldn't run around naked in public) from all the lies (go to church or you'll go to hell)?
Interesting. I'm not sure why running around naked in public is a bad thing. You might get a cold, but no worse that if you go running around in swimming trunks. Maybe because there's a risk of snagging yourself on something?

Re:Petard, meet hoist. (1)

Nushio (951488) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916873)

I, of course, don't support public obscenities and indecencies- it's just plainly wrong to do some things in public. But then I try to think why it is, and can't seem to find a good answer. Is it because that's how I was brought up, and that's how I learned it should be?


I bet you also don't take a crap in public, you do it in the privacy of a bathroom stall.

It's the same logic. Some things aren't meant to be done in public, like picking your nose, for instance.

Re:Petard, meet hoist. (1)

Draek (916851) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916981)

he question is simple: why are natural things like nudity, sex, and sexual intercourse considered obscene to begin with?

Because inmature people may be tempted to practice them before comprehending the full ramifications of such acts, and a world filled with 16-years-old parents who can't even take care of themselves, let alone a newborn, isn't something we want.

Yeah, hasn't really worked so far, but that *was* the intention.

Re:Petard, meet hoist. (4, Insightful)

Potor (658520) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916131)

Not really. FTA:

The Google service does, however, show the relative strength of many mainstream queries in Pensacola: "Nascar," "surfing" and "Nintendo" all beat "orgy."

Lawyers can select any word combination that is helpful to them. Nothing here more than a new way to load an argument.

Re:Petard, meet hoist. (1)

herring0 (1286926) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916797)

Too bad this isn't in Gainesville...at least the lawyers there would have an interesting choice.

According to this pair [google.com] presumably the students at UF are at least as interested in goatse as apple pie.

Strange college kids hehe

Who farted? (3, Interesting)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916695)

A little almost on topic background to the cliche "Hoist with his own petard" [wikipedia.org] before getting entirely ON topic:

A petard was a small medieval bomb used to blow up gates and walls when breaching fortifications. In a typical implementation, it was commonly either a conical or rectangular metal object containing 5 or 6 pounds of gun powder, activated with a slow match used as a fuse. It was often placed either inside tunnels under walls, or directly upon gates. When placed inside a tunnel under a wall and exploded, large amounts of air would often be released from the tunnel, as the tunnel collapsed. By securing the device firmly to the gate, the shape of the device allows the concussive pressure of the blast to be applied entirely towards the destruction of the gate. Depending on design, a petard could be secured by propping it against the gate using beams as illustrated, or nailing it in place by way of a wooden board fixed to the end of the petard in advance.

The word remains in modern usage in the phrase to be hoist by one's own petard, which means "to be harmed by one's own plan to harm someone else" or "to fall in one's own trap", literally implying that one could be lifted up (hoisted, or blown upward) by one's own bomb. Shakespeare used the now proverbial phrase in Hamlet.

In medieval and Renaissance siege warfare, a common tactic was to dig a shallow trench close to the enemy gate, and then erect a small hoisting engine that would lift the lit petard out of the trench, swing it up, out, and over to the gate, where it would detonate and hopefully breach the gate. It was not impossible, however, that this procedure would go awry, and the engineer lighting the bomb could be snagged in the ropes and lifted out with the petard and consequently blown up. Alternately, and perhaps a more likely scenario, if the petard were to detonate prematurely due to a faulty or short slow match, the engineer would be lifted or 'hoist' by the explosion.

Thus to be 'hoist with his own petar' is to be caught up and destroyed by his own plot. Hamlet's actual meaning is "cause the bomb maker to be blown up with his own bomb", metaphorically turning the tables on Claudius, whose messengers are killed instead of Hamlet. Also note here, Shakespeare's probable off-color pun "hoisted with his own petar" (i.e., fart) as reason for the spelling "petar" rather than "petard".

My thought on using google trends is that perhaps the petard hasn't yet detonated, and may well not detonate at all.

The only reason one would look up "apple pie" would be to get a recipe for it. And "orgy" could mean, according to wikipedia, asecret cultic congregation at nighttime in Ancient Greek religion; a synth rock band from Los Angeles, California named "Orgy"; or a musical marathon radio format created by WHRB 95.3 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Perhaps the defense should look up some other words besides "apple pie" and "orgy". Perhaps "vinyl siding" and "anal sex" would be better search terms. Surely the prosecution will see this and counter.

The reason for this is obvious (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23915993)

As American Pie demonstrated, it just doesn't work as well as they claim.

American pie (3, Funny)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 6 years ago | (#23915999)

are interested in 'orgy' than "apple pie'."
And even if they were interested in apple pie, this could still be spun the right way.

Re:American pie (2, Funny)

GroeFaZ (850443) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916163)

Maybe the submitter meant to write "'orgy' then 'apple pie'"?

Re:American pie (1)

sharkey (16670) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916801)

So, um, what DOES third base feel like?

Yeah (4, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916005)

Yeah, but did he try "warm apple pie". I bet he'd get very different results! :-D

Re:Yeah (1)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916031)

Well, its really more like cherry pie anyway... one would hope, anyway.

Re:Yeah (4, Funny)

houghi (78078) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916307)

I have tried it. Don't try it with hot apple pie. Indeed completely different result.
Oh, you were talking about trying it on Google. Sorry, no experience there.

Re:Yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23916487)

http://www.googlefight.com/index.php?lang=en_GB&word1=warm+apple+pie&word2=orgy Yep, warm apple pie is less popular globally than orgy

wow (1)

madcat2c (1292296) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916029)

mmmmm.....pie.

Re:wow (0, Redundant)

Lars T. (470328) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916585)

hmm, Π

Hyprocrisy in the South--film at eleven! (0, Flamebait)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916041)

Has anyone with even the slightest bit of observational ability EVER doubted this? Small town hicks surf nasty pron just as much as anyone else.

Other startling revelations from small town Southern life to anyone without half a brain:

  • Most people sitting in church services don't really believe most of that shit in the Bible and are just there for the social and networking aspects of church activities.
  • Married pastors are just as likely to cheat as married laymen.
  • The girl in high school who most loudly proclaims herself a virgin isn't.
  • The redneck politician who yells "family values" at every opportunity has no values.
  • The people that use the term "college boy" derisively are the same people who were too stupid for college--and they know it.
  • Etc.

Re:Hyprocrisy in the South--film at eleven! (2, Informative)

daspriest (904701) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916155)

Taking Pensacola's data as a baseline will offer skewed results. Pensacola has a large Navy population, so would have higher porn related searches then the rest of the communities in the area from the Navy personnel stationed there alone.

Re:Hyprocrisy in the South--film at eleven! (5, Funny)

caffeinemessiah (918089) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916237)

Taking Pensacola's data as a baseline will offer skewed results. Pensacola has a large Navy population, so would have higher porn related searches then the rest of the communities in the area from the Navy personnel stationed there alone.

As a navy semen, I reject your pornosition that sex is always on our minds.

Re:Hyprocrisy in the South--film at eleven! (1)

daspriest (904701) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916411)

I spent a good 10 years in the Navy. I think I have done adequate research on the naval community.

Re:Hyprocrisy in the South--film at eleven! (1)

Mortice (467747) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916635)

You obviously spent so long in the Navy that HUGE SEXUAL ORGANS you don't even notice sexual terms embedded in ORGY text. ;)

Re:Hyprocrisy in the South--film at eleven! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23916637)

I think I have done adequate research on the naval community.

Doing a lot of naval-gazing?

Re:Hyprocrisy in the South--film at eleven! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23916659)

That crack you heard, was something flying over your head at the speed of sound.

Re:Hyprocrisy in the South--film at eleven! (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916259)

Last time I checked, the naval population was still considered part of the community.

Re:Hyprocrisy in the South--film at eleven! (1)

daspriest (904701) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916401)

True, but Pensacola's Navy community will skew the results if they are trying to prove an average of their jurisdiction.

Re:Hyprocrisy in the South--film at eleven! (1)

street struttin' (1249972) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916753)

Try changing the drop-down to various other locations. Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, etc. Orgy comes out on top everywhere. I'm thinking maybe it's not the geographic region that puts "Orgy" high in the list, but rather the fact that it's what people are using the internet for. People in general probably have different interests than the internet population.

In fact, in Pensacola, I'm pretty sure there's a large retirement community that never uses the internet for anything. And they'd probably not be too thrilled about orgy talk.

Re:Hyprocrisy in the South--film at eleven! (4, Insightful)

D Ninja (825055) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916345)

Hypocrisy isn't just the south - it's people. I have yet to meet a person that did not have some sort of hypocrisy going on in their own life - myself included. This is the reason for the entire Biblical passage, "Take the log out of your own eye before you remove the speck from your neighbors." If people spent time fixing themselves and not worrying about other people's problems, the world would be a much more beautiful place.

I've said it before and I'll say it again - people are extremely motivated by their own self-interest and will do whatever it takes to protect that self-interest, even if it means lying to themselves about their actual flaws. Only when people can admit their flaws are they ever going to have a chance of actually fixing things in their lives.

Re:Hyprocrisy in the South--film at eleven! (4, Insightful)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916523)

  • Most people sitting in church services don't really believe most of that shit in the Bible and are just there for the social and networking aspects of church activities.
Or they are there to feel better about themselves after an online porn all-nighter.

Re:Hyprocrisy in the South--film at eleven! (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916885)

Yes, that's true of "small town hicks", but it's also true of New Yorkers, Californians, and everybody else.

more interested in orgy than apple pie? (1)

OglinTatas (710589) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916099)

I know I am. And apple pie sure is tasty!

On the other hand, you already know where to get apple pie, but you have to use the internet to get porn, or post in the swingers classifieds. The comparison is skewed.

Re:more interested in orgy than apple pie? (0, Troll)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916427)

Ahhh Apple Pie so typically American

Originally from Europe, Not Native
Done exactly like they have done it in Europe for 500 years ... So typically American

 

Re:more interested in orgy than apple pie? (2, Funny)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916609)

The comparison is skewed.

I knew that when I saw the word "lawyer" ;-)

Is that only in Pensacola? (2, Funny)

MMC Monster (602931) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916107)

Can anyone put up a picture of the U.S. (and world) that highlights areas that find apple pies more interesting that orgies?

Re:Is that only in Pensacola? (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916689)

Can anyone put up a picture of the U.S. (and world) that highlights areas that find apple pies more interesting that orgies?

No, but I can put up a picture of the US that would show the entire Southeast as claiming to have community standards that frown upon pornography all the while having the most "adult" bookstores and strip clubs per capita of any region in the US. (NO, no citation, just need to live there for a few years yourself to see what I mean.)

More interested in what than apple pie? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23916111)

Looks like its time to plan a trip to Pensacola!

How the hell are obscenity laws still there? (1)

kalirion (728907) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916115)

You'd think they'd've been struck down a long time ago. But I guess that'd give the Supreme Court too much common sense credit....

but then... (1)

AmishElvis (1101979) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916583)

...you'd have people doinking each other willy nilly in the streets. Chaos!

Weird spike (4, Funny)

rhombic (140326) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916127)

O.k., I can understand "Apple Pie" spiking every fall, presumably people looking up recipes. But wtf is up with the enormous spike in searches for "orgy" in Sept. 2006? It's as if everyone in Pensacola had a mass orgy meme sweep through the community. Must have been a mess month.

Re:Weird spike (5, Informative)

Paranatural (661514) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916227)

There's a big swinger's convention in New Orleans in November. Also the fall tends to be the time of year when such parties and whatnot get underway.

Hey, you asked. And now you know more about me than you ever wanted to.

Re:Weird spike (4, Funny)

bickerdyke (670000) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916611)

we need "-1 informative"......

Re:Weird spike (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916255)

Blame it on Hurrican Ernesto [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Weird spike (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23916343)

It must have been me. I was in Pensacola for my birthday Sept 2006. With only Navy kids and old people, there is not much to do at night.

Sadly enough, our house off of Cervantes has no internet connection, I had to "borrow" the neighbors wireless connection.

Re:Weird spike (1)

BForrester (946915) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916471)

I've heard of "hump day" -- apparently, Pensacolans have made a month of it.

2006 Disney Mouse Orgy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23916829)

There was apparently an incident at Euro Disney where the costumed characters simulated sexual activity. People caught cellphone video of it, and it infected the news cycle as the "Mouse Orgy". This seems to have caused the spike.

"What is more American than apple pie?" (5, Informative)

MRe_nl (306212) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916153)

Group sex and orgies apparently. (From the courtcase)

"We tried to come up with comparison search terms that would embody typical American values," Mr. Walters said. "What is more American than apple pie?" But according to the search service, he said, "people are at least as interested in group sex and orgies as they are in apple pie."

Chris Hansen, a staff lawyer for the national office of the American Civil Liberties Union, called the tactic clever and novel, but said it underscored the power of the Internet to reveal personal preferences -- something that raises concerns about the collection of personal information.

"That's why a lot of people are nervous about Google or Yahoo having all this data," he said.

Subscribe to Google Blackmail now: Because We Know You Know We Know.

Re:"What is more American than apple pie?" (2, Insightful)

Iamthecheese (1264298) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916593)

Thats aggregate data son, and used correctly, its useless as a tool to violate privacy.

Re:"What is more American than apple pie?" (1, Interesting)

Lars T. (470328) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916883)

Interesting, when you switch to all regions: the gap between orgy and apple pie widens (so Americans are more prude it seems). But Tampa, FL, USA is still the #1 city searching for Orgy, the Czechs beat the Greece, and Polish is the second most used language to search for Orgy.

The Great Orgy Spike of 2006 : Correlation (4, Informative)

djdavetrouble (442175) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916169)

I wonder if the great orgy spike of 2006 had anything to do with
the subsequent surfing decline and what was the net overall effect on Apple Pie-ism?

For even more fun with statistics, I recommend
How to Lie with Statistics [wikipedia.org] .

Even the chapter titles are funny:

The Sample with the Built-in Bias
The Well-Chosen Average
The Little Figures That Are Not There
Much Ado about Practically Nothing
The Gee-Whiz Graph
The One-Dimensional Picture
The Semi-attached Figure
Post Hoc Rides Again
How to Statisticulate
How to Talk Back to a Statistic

Re:How to lie with Statistics (1)

KevinColyer (883316) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916881)

This is one of the few books I remember clearly and I read it at school over 20 years ago! Highly recommended.

The internet is (1)

JimCDiver (1217114) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916209)

for porn.

Re:The internet is (1)

the_fat_kid (1094399) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916483)

don't forget pirated music.

and stolen software.

yep, Porn, Free Music, and Free Software that pretty much covers it.

I'm sure that nobody on /. would use it for anything else...

Pick your words carefully (2, Informative)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916231)

Mr. Walters might like to know that Walters is more popular than apple pie [google.com] but less popular than orgy.

FTA (4, Interesting)

stainlesssteelpat (905359) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916331)

Mr. Walters is defending Clinton Raymond McCowen, who is facing charges that he created and distributed obscene material through a Web site based in Florida. The charges include racketeering and prostitution, but Mr. Walters said the prosecution's case fundamentally relies on proving that the material on the site is obscene.

How exactly is google trends going to clear him of racketeering and prostitution? Just curious.

Re:FTA (4, Informative)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916745)

Mr. Walters is defending Clinton Raymond McCowen, who is facing charges that he created and distributed obscene material through a Web site based in Florida. The charges include racketeering and prostitution, but Mr. Walters said the prosecution's case fundamentally relies on proving that the material on the site is obscene.

How exactly is google trends going to clear him of racketeering and prostitution? Just curious.

You got me curious too, the article linked was light on details, so I googled the guys' name:

See, all this activity is stemming from things that occurred in the past. We had moved production from Pensacola almost three years ago. We moved to Tampa for a little while and then to Vancouver.

You were shooting everything in Vancouver?

One hundred percent. Weâ(TM)ve been up there almost two years. Thatâ(TM)s why they chose racketeering. They couldnâ(TM)t charge us with prostitution, because it has a one-year statute of limitations. They could have charged us with obscenity, but I think as a whole, we have an extremely good chance of beating the obscenity charge. What they do is use the catchall: Any two predicates combined can equal racketeering, so thatâ(TM)s what they charged us with. That looks better on paper. [wordpress.com]

P.S. the new comment system has character encoding issues... I'll go tell our overlords about that.

When was the last time Orgy played Pennsicola? (1)

jrmcc (703725) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916369)

Maybe people there are just trying to get the band [punkstatikparanoia.com] back together and tour?

What the frilly heck is a "community standard?" (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23916413)

I'm really tired of the "influential-prissy" inflicting their moral code on us by defining regular adult erotica outside the mainstream. I'm sorry, we the people LIKE erotica. It's in our nature and it's natural. If the prissy side doesn't want to partake, then they are free to refrain, but they shouldn't be able to tell the rest of us what we can and cannot do based on their narrow prejudices. Furthermore, I'm tired of these vague and nebulous laws which specify "community standards," as if we all got a say in the matter (which, evidently, we don't).

This is suppose to be the land of the FREE, not necessarily just the PRUDES.

Grump!

Were did the peak come from? (3, Funny)

Lars T. (470328) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916507)

The pattern for "Apple Pie" is clearly seasonal, but where did the peak for "Orgy" around October 2006 come from?

Penis owns (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23916509)

all of them...

The Chewbacca Defense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23916565)

So lets consider the Wookiee [google.com] in all of this. I tell you it just doesn't make sense.

The defense rests.

Utah (4, Informative)

chill (34294) | more than 6 years ago | (#23916719)

I seem to remember a case in Utah where a local obscenity ordinance was being used to try an shut down a video rental store. The argument was local values in the town didn't truck with XXX videos.

The defense got anonymized records from one of the big hotels right across the street from the video rental. It showed that in-room, adult movie rentals were quite popular -- well above the national average. It also showed that the majority of those renting were from the local area, and not out of town perverts.

The defense showed that the "local values" were, in reality, not in line with the stuffy, Victorian puritanism that was being touted publicly. The defense won the case.

This Florida case strikes me as very similar.

Re:Utah (2, Informative)

KokorHekkus (986906) | more than 6 years ago | (#23917029)

You remember correctly, here is the year 2000 New York Times article covering the case: http://www.nytimes.com/2000/10/23/technology/23PORN.html?ex=1214452800&en=6a4a8bd6fbec1199&ei=5070 [nytimes.com]

According to the article it only took the jury a few minutes to find him not guilty.

Anal Sex Epidemic! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23916893)

As it turns out, 2006 showed a pretty big uptick in "anal sex" hits.

http://www.google.com/trends?q=surfing%2C+orgy%2C+apple+pie%2C+anal+sex&ctab=0&geo=US&geor=usa.fl&date=all&sort=0

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>