North Carolina Newspapers

Carolina Gay And Lesbian Association Newsletter
Volume 11, Number 4
April 1985
Pornography: Obscenity or Entertainment?
Pornography, judging from the recent
issue of The Front Page which featured a
number of articles and opinions on the
subject, threatens to become one of those
unfortunate issues that serve to divide
the lesbian and gay male communities which
otherwise have so much in common in their
struggles for justice, freedom, and social
acceptance. I realize that the possible
role of certain forms of pornography in
inciting violence upon women might well
lead to some legal limitations on "artis
tic license" and (more seriously) consti
tutional rights of free expression. It is
not my intention to address this explosive
issue directly but rather to make a small,
contribution to a less heated discussion
of the problem by exploring the appeal
(and limitations) of erotic pornography as
seen by a gay male.
A U.S. Supreme Court justice once
admitted his inability to define porn
ography and yet asserted confidently, "I
know it when I see it." Just what con
stitutes appealing (as opposed to offen
sive) pornography seems to be a very sub
jective matter too.
If one considers pornography to be a
representation of sexual acts, then the
acts themselves, the actors, the setting
and the medium are all crucial to whether
the material at hand seems arousing,
repulsive, or simply uninteresting. For
the moment, we need not concern ourselves
with the substantial body of public
opinion which is adamantly opposed to the
portrayal of sexual acts of any sort. For
those who are not opposed on principle,
the portrayal of sexual acts which the
observer would not like to imitate can
stimulate only curiosity, if that.
At this point, heterosexuals and homo
sexuals part company. The perceived
desirability of the actor(s) is usually
only slightly less important a considera
tion than the acts themselves. Here,
individual preferences for physical types
become important. Even if these choices
happen to be appealing, a setting, badly
chose, or simply not to the tastes of the
beholder, can easily ruin everything.
Attractive partners engaged in acts
congenial to the observer can still
produce a reaction of repulsion if the
observer finds, say the props of sado
masochism or a theme of violence repug
nant. Here often is found the point where
the respective gay communities split
company on their reactions to some erotic
pornography, the point where indifference
can harden to enraged repulsion. To
complete the picture, so to speak, is the
medium. A ridiculously written or badly
photographed article of erotica badly
undermines the elements of pictorial
realism, plausibility, or (alternately)
(see PORNOGRAPHY on page 6)
CGLA History—Part III \
Reflections on Three Years in CGLA
get entertained by some great acts, such
With graduation almost upon me, and the
"real world" looming ahead, I find myself
looking back on my college years. A good
portion of those years, three in fact.
Were spent involved with the Carolina Gay
Association. Summer 1982 I was just
coming out and knew no one. How do I meet
other gay people? I saw in the Daily Tar
Heel an announcement for a CGA potluch
dinner. So, I went to the Castle for the
potluck, met a bunch of people, ate some
good food, and got involved with CGA.
hater that summer, CGA and Stephen s...
After All (a now defunct restaurant and
night club in Village Plaza) began co
sponsoring a Monday night get-together
that was loads of fun and very popular.
Folks would visit, chat, seat, drink, and
as the comedy team Herb and Potatoe,
trumpeter Michael Murphey, vocalists
Constance Prince, and House singer Carole
Fall 1982 — Things got off to a slow
start that semester. CGA seemed in a
state of transition. Most of the older,
active members were gone, and I was one of
the few new members who seemed very enthu
siastic. Because of my enthusiasm, and
also my naivety, I got talked into become
treasurer for the gorup, taking Randy’s
place. So, Kevin was chair, and I was
treasurer, and CGA remained pretty much
invisible on campus. Daily trashing ses
sions went on in the office, while
Sapphire, Cassiopeia, Ouida Mae, and Annie
(see CGLA HISTORY on page 5J

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