Thursday, December 18, 2008

Historically, due to ever changing public tolerances and appetites, the definition of pornography has been hard to pin down, but Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart summed it for many people when he famously said of porn, "I know it when I see it"

Your Honor, I respectfully disagree.

I've looked at a fair number of web pages in the last couple days for my latest work assignment, attempting to tag each one as porn or not. Sometimes it's pretty obvious. That page called MothersInSperm? Yeah, it's pretty much what it sounds like.

What about this page though? (the link is safe for work)

I'll describe it for those of you too scared to click on the link. It's a fictional story, written by a fan of the original Star Trek, and it centers around a romance between Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock. There are no pictures, it's just gay Star Trek fan fiction.

Is that porn? I wasn't sure. I had to read a bunch of it to find out! It seemed like pretty generic romance novel stuff (assuming that the type of romance novels you read feature Starfleet's finest), but then the clothes came off and suddenly Kirk and Spock's genitalia were prominently featured.

There was only one way to figure this out. I sent an instant message to my wife:

Me: gay Star Trek fan fiction featuring Kirk and Spock: Porn or not?
Hank: DO NOT involve me in your new hobby.
Hank: Wrong number! Crack call! Crank Call!!

No help! I was forced to fall back on the classic metrics and I counted up the number of times I found the word "scrotum" in the story: Twice.

I marked it as porn. Best job ever.


Sue said...

Are you serious? Your job is to look at websites and determine if they are porn? Whoa. What kind of company do you work for?

patsy said...

speaking of porn,needless to say I don't have much knowledge, being female and 70 years old but I get emails from people supposely women that want me to look at these web sites that are surely porn .
the next time I get one I will forward it to you.

Mike said...

Sue, that's really my task at work right now. Since there's no way I can actually go look at tens of millions of web pages, I need to find an automated way to do this. That's where the computer programmer part comes in.

Patsy, I appreciate your help, but I am fully stocked up on forwarded emails. Many thanks though.

The 4th Sister said...

it appears this job was custom made for you....a man enjoying his work!

Mike said...

4th sister, hey it beats working the fields.

Rrramone said...

scrotum not equal porn.

Mike said...

Rrramone, that's true but when you come across that word multiple times when reading a story about Captain Kirk, it needs to be flagged somehow, no?

Avery Gray said...

You want my semi-(not at all)-professional opinion? It's not lewd enough to be considered erotica, which would definitely be considered porn. It would probably be considered romantica, since it's actually pretty tame. Scrotum is a medical term, so that doesn't really count as a reason to mark it as porn, though the reference to his "proudly arching" cock probably would. (That's so awesomely bad, BTW. I'm gonna steal it.) Personally, I don't think it's any worse than mainstream romance. Well, okay, it's wordy and drones on a bit, but sex-wise it didn't even mention any penetration of any orifices. What kind of porn is that? But if you can only mark it as porn or not porn, I think you did the right thing.

Mike said...

Hey Avery, thanks for your analysis! Truth be told, I didn't really care about the scrotum references, but it's a funny word, so I had to blog it. It was really the multiple "cock" references that made it seem like the sort of site that many parents wouldn't want their kids to read.

Meg said...

I'm laughing too hard to even create an interesting or thoughtful comment. You ARE living the life Mike, I hope you realize and appreciate it.