The University of Maryland has shut down plans to screen a pornographic movie in the student union Saturday night. Duh. How did it ever get on the schedule?
In the past few months, the XXX-rated film has been screened with administrative approval at the University of California at Los Angeles, Northwestern University and Carnegie Mellon University. Most of these screenings, however, have incorporated outside groups to provide what some call an “educational setting” for the adult film. At the UCLA screening, for instance, stars of the film answered critical and comical questions about the role of the adult entertainment industry.
Christopher Ruth, spokesman for Digital Playground, said the production company adopted a college-specific marketing technique after the original film generated so much buzz on campuses. He said a number of students groups at institutions around the country, including Carnegie Mellon, preemptively asked the company for copies of the film before they began offering it up for free to others.
An “educational setting!” What a joke. Are there any adults in charge at universities any more? (Roxie, I’m dying to hear your views on this one.)
Maybe this generation of undergraduates are so accustomed to being subjected to marketing campaigns that they think it’s perfectly acceptable to be used to promote a trashy for-profit film, but you’d think that some faculty and administrators might object. What a shame that it took a Maryland state legislator to notice this and threaten the university’s funding before an administrator pulled the plug:
Earlier in the day, The Baltimore Sun reported that a state legislator threatened to amend Maryland’s annual budget to deny funding to any institution that allowed a public screening of a XXX-rated film. Those screened as part of a class, however, would have been given leniency. Coincidentally, The Sun also reported that discussion on the matter had to be delayed on the Senate floor because groups of elementary school-age students were in the viewing galley at the time the matter was brought forth.
Give the state legistlators more credit than the people at the university: they recognize the difference between legitimate viewings and discussions of pornographic images in a classroom versus movies screened purely for prurient interest. Ariel Levy is right–or maybe even she didn’t realize how right she is about the reach of ”raunch culture”: Pr0n is mainstream, it’s not limited to the under-30 crowd, and too many women as well as men think this is A-OK. Empowering, even! I can’t decide which is more disgusting: the obliviousness to the sexual politics of these images and their objectification of women, or the obliviousness to being used as part of a marketing strategy. Stupid, stupid, stupid.