Essay on Censoring Internet Pornography

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Introduction

Pornography engages people on many levels. Some people enjoy pornography while others believe that the world would be best without it. Some would think that a song like It's Nice to be Nude is a cute song that is celebrating the joys of the human body. Others may think that it is obscene and not worth listening to.

Pornography is highly subjective in respect to what it is, how it is defined, and its merits. The intent of this paper is to discuss pornography in a historical context and how it affects librarians in regards to its presence on the Internet.

Definitions: Getting to Know All About "It"

* Pornography:

The word pornography originates from the Greek pornographes meaning literally
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From drawings on cave walls7 to HBOs Sex and the City the depiction of sex appears to be one of the threads that ties the centuries together. Montgomery Hyde, while exploring the roots of Western pornography, found that even in the Bible "there is an abundance of material in the Old Testament on the subject of pornography in its original sense of writing about prostitutes and their patrons, as there are also references which are certainly obscene if not pornographic in the wider sense as it is generally understood today."8

In early Greece, "representations of men and women enjoying various forms of sexual intercourse were even depicted on the bottoms of children's drinking bowls and plates, so that they could have something amusing to look at when they were having their meals."9 About the time of the birth of Christ, Ovid wrote for a Roman audience Ars Amorato ? a work "if not pornographic in the strictest sense, at least highly erotic."10

The pornographic tradition continued in Western culture with works such as "the Decameron, The Canterbury Tales in England, and the Heptameron in France."11 Fascination with the bawdy is also the basis for many a literary classic. Much of Shakespeare's writing, for example, is of "uninhibited ribaldries and obscenities."12 The depiction of the naked, sexual human form is also found throughout the art world.13 Indeed, walk into virtually any museum, art
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