Monday, June 15, 2009

Where Is The Line?


This Calvin Klein billboard is up in New York City.

I have always been a staunch defender of the freedom of speech. I have also always said that with these freedoms come responsibility.

Finally, in our society there are times when we have found it necessary to curb some of these freedoms. Some obvious examples are not allowing child pornography, not allowing children to purchase pornography, limiting inappropriate television on public airwaves or setting standards as to when it can be broadcast, libel or slander laws, etc.

So the question is: What are your thoughts on this billboard being displayed in a public manner? Is there a case to be made for limiting freedom of speech in this case to protect children? I know my stance, what's yours?

27 comments:

shoprat said...

I try to avoid pictures like that.

The 1st Amendment should be understood as the right to tell the truth and state honest opinions, not the right to produce and publish garbage.

LUCKY said...

While I argee that the 1st amendment is was established to protect the right to tell the truth and state your opnions and I believe pornography perverts the sacred relationship that should exist between husband and wife I don't like the idea of limiting what people publish.

Yes, we should limit the audience it goes to, but, at I am sure there are some on the left who would call my ideas, and my opinions nothing more than garbage. I am also sure there exists those who would try to limit the garbage that comes out of Glenn Beck or Rush.

I would personally rather that we has Americans have to much liberty then be over burderned by government telling us what is and isn't trash and having that definition of trash change every four or eight years.

On a seperate note,

This bill board doesn't suprise me in the least. Anyone who watches prime time TV now is confronted by those exact same things. There have been several times I used to like a series on TV until they went to far and introduced things as being okay that I find morally wrong and because they did I stopped watching their show.

I'm not sure if TV is a commentary on where our society is going or if society just mimicks TV. All I know is that some 13 and 14 year olds dress far to immodestly and if TV shows morality are any standard of where we are going to turn off my TV and go talk to my neighbor.

Z said...

The word DECENCY will soon be taken out of the English dictionary because there will be no definition anymore that's understood.

Z said...

just looked at it again.
It's unbelievable!

Always On Watch said...

This billboard too public and too "in your face." Clearly, it isn't suitable for children to see.

BTW, I see material like this all the time in the ads in Vanity Fair. Again, something which should not be in the hands of children. But because the magazine isn't plastered alongside the road, I feel that it falls under First Amendment protection.

Z said...

Always..that's the whole problem.
When does First Amendment go INSANE? Anybody here think our founding fathers ever thought we'd allow that kind of poster?
And how do you think it affects your high school students?
But, our freedoms are protecting this. And who can advocate relinquishing our freedoms:? Hence: we have kids having oral sex at 12 and our church just held a private baby shower for an unwed mother last weekend.

This is supposed to be enlightenment, and it COULD BE were our society, our whole future, was not suffering from it so.

LUCKY said...

I think that as aa society we need to step and raise above the world. Just because they did certain things in Sodom and Gommerah didn't mean that Lot and his faimly had to partake or particpate in them.

There are many things in this world that I disagree with but I would rather have to much freedom of the press than to little.

There are two options with raising children, I can tell them what a deadly snake(evil/ sin) is and tell them how to deal with it and stay away from it or I can keep them away from deadly snakes.

If I keep them away from deadly snakes then one day they will be conflicted as what do do when they find a deadly snake because it will happen. If I teach them about the deadly snakes then I can only hope they will stay away when they are on their own.

Mustang said...

For a long time now, we are living in a hedonistic society whose primary value lies in self-gratification. Even a previous president argued that oral dalliance isn’t sex, and tons of young people agreed with him because it suited them to do so. And of course, the left will argue that there are more important issues than deviant sex between consenting adolescents, gay marriage, or gang banging.

I’m not in favor of suppressing First Amendment rights, but I think there is an important distinction here. We assume that if television programming, or something on the radio offenses us, we can switch stations. We also assume that if we find adult-content magazines offensive, we can simply choose not to purchase them. Many booksellers now limit access to casual viewing of these same kinds of magazines by placing them behind the counter. This is a community standard that the Supreme Court has continually upheld. We cannot switch-off a billboard, nor can we hide it from casual view. It is up to the community to decide what they find offensive, and act upon it.

Let us remember “Sex Sells.” You cannot watch any television at all without viewing ads laced with sensual suggestions: from women’s make up to men hair-dye commercials, it is all about being attractive to the opposite sex … about the “score.” How about the Cadillac commercial with the ‘hot chick’ who offers that if she turns on the car, shouldn’t the car return the favor? Should Calvin Klein decide that this sort of advertising no longer works for them, they’ll switch to some other stratagem … but there is no evidence to suggest it isn’t working, is there?

Chuck said...

Good comments.

I think my stance is the same as most mentioned here, what consenting adults do or see is not really our business as long as they are not harming anyone else.

Now, two things about this.

I don't always agree with some of the things other people are doing but I am also not sure that should be relevant to anyone but me. At the same time, I feel I should have the right to disagree.

This my biggest beef with homosexuality, the in your face, "you better accept us" attitude. I personally could care less about homosexuality, I actually don't give it much thought at all. But I want to reserve the right to disagree without being called a homophobe or intolerant. This is one of the biggest ironies from the left, the selective tolerance they practice.

Second, there should be limits on where they can see and/or do these things.

This brings me to the sign. If an adult wants to view pictures like this, have at it. As long as the pictures have willing participants that are over 18 years old, I could care less.

My main issue is the public nature of it.

Mustang summed it up quite well. If the image or language is on television, on the radio, or in Z's magazine, you can steer away from it. As long as you have been given fair warning that the content is present. With the billboard though, it is not possible for a parent to shield their child from it other than literally avoid the area the sign is in. What if this is not possible? Is it next to a grocery store? A couple of blocks over from a school? A public pool?

I am comfortable saying it should be banned from public viewing.

LomaAlta said...

This picture is outside what mainstream America would call decent. We tolerate indecency when the viewer/victim has a reasonable expectation to avoid it (i.e. turning off the TV, etc.). But, in this case the viewer does not have the option because the display is public and not controllable.

Therefore, I have no trouble banning it as a public nusiance and indecency.

On a broader note, it is sad that there are cities in America which tolerate this but would object to the display of an American flag.

LUCKY said...

The question I ask to pose the devils adovocate( and I don't like this bill board either) is if a community finds this offensive who is to say they won't find tea parties offensive.

Its the same with the HOA who found it offensive that someone had Marine Corps bumper stickers to be out of place.

While I don't agree with this bill board or even pornography I am afraid of where the limitations will stop.

Communities have made the wrong choices before on what is and isn't obscene. But at the same time I don't like a National Government decided morality for me either.

I am in a tough spot with this, while I find the bill board distastful, and wrong and in no way art or speech I don't know where the line is to be drawn. I wouldn't want my children to see it but I also want to preserve liberty.

Mustang said...

Democracy works best within small communities. There is nothing wrong with citizens determining for themselves what is not acceptable to them, according to their own sense of morality. There is nothing unusual about it; and why towns and cities create ordinances that keep topless bars a certain distance away from schools, or preclude adult video stores from operating on major boulevards. Both of these examples underscore “restriction” upon individual liberty.

There are likewise, restrictions upon pandering, homelessness, and prostitution. In each of these cases, citizens (not the state or federal government) decide issues that affect their quality of life within that community. The porn-store operator may not agree, nor the panderer, nor the pimps who parade their women up and down Orange Avenue, but there is no such thing as total liberty outside anarchy. Communities imposing reasonable standards, with which most people can, and do agree, is how the system is supposed to work.

LUCKY said...

While I am an advocate of small government, very small city or neighborhood style government I still am worried about a majority group deciding what is right and wrong.

While in this case with the Billboard, or with pimps, pornograpghy, panhandling, or topless bars I think the majority of the community limiting these things is following the truth, I worry what will happen when the majority of a community's view are no longer following the turth.

What if a group of citizens in a community decided it wasn't okay with them for guns to be in their community?

I guess you can always vote with your feet but a democracy can quickly turn into a mobocracy and rights can be trampled.

LUCKY said...

If I am missing the point or talking in circles let me know. I don't mean to be a troll or anything like that. I am simply trying to figure out where the lines shoudl be drawn.

Flavor Country said...

This is Soho Chuck, it's tame compared to the other things in that area. This area is for artist not families.

I'm sure you wouldn't see this in a small town in Idaho.

If this were a sculpture would it even get the attention it's getting?

All the same, my child gets raised by me and will have my values and upbringing without the assistance of Calvin Klein or anyone else who wants to show this crap.

It gets a little tricky when you start messing with the 1str amendment.

Z said...

Chiming in again here cuz this really fascinates me. The only person I agree with `100% here is Mustang.

Flavor Country: I think whatever you teach your children can and probably will be overridden in schools and other public life and, what YOU say and think will stop being cool and they'll be getting all sorts of ideas from friends.
Though I do admire your attitude there..it should come from the parents.

Lucky, I DO see how you come to your point, but THIS BILLBOARD and TEA PARTIES?

There's decent and indecent and to publicly display this stuff isn't decent. It's not at all uplifting, only educatees in a negative and distructive way, and IS able to be seen by all.

Perhaps a more telling aspect of this is: HOW DOES THIS SELL JEANS?

Can't see the style, the color, the fit........get my point?

Ya, I think I'm on to something that backs my and Mustang (and some of your) points:

WHAT's IT SELLING?

Z said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chuck said...

LomaAlta, no small irony there huh? Allow a picture of an orgy but put up a flag or a picture depicting the evils of abortion and people go bananas

Lucky, you actually bring up a good point with your slippery slope argument. I think though that the answer to it is the notion of community standards.

I think your later argument about guns confuses the issue. There are certain issues that are either globally or constitutionally recognized. For instance, a community could not legalize murder or rape (a little faecetious, but an easy example) because this is recognized as left to the state/federal government to regulate. Same as gun ownership. While the SCOTUS has allowed some local control, communities have to abide by the US Constitution (at least they are supposed to). On issues like pornography and billboards, the SCOTUS has allowed leeway for local governments to apply community standards.

The slippery slope argument can, and should, be a concern anytime one of our freedoms is restricted

Flavor, there has to be some families in the area or there wouldn't be any new little artists to repopulate ;-)

Actually I can't dispute your argument. It is essentially the point Mustang made in his last comment. I admit, I look at it through the eyes of a person who lives in small-town, Michigan.

In a way this is a risk of democracy in that if you have a minority, such as the few families in a community of artists, they have to accept the community standards set forth by the larger majority. While I may not enjoy it were I to live there, it is fair.

Z, chime away.

I have to go with Lucky on his billboard v tea parties analogy. While I'm with you in that I find the notion of finding tea parties offensive to be idiotic, I could imagine where the majority of some community may.

I am right with you though on the connection between a threesome and jeans.

I think the fact that a billboard like this being tolerated anywhere speaks to a moral decay in the country. If you look around, some of our biggest role models right now are brain-dead, trampy actresses, millionaire sports atheletes that split their time between whining about not making enough money and abusing women and drugs, on and on. One would be hard pressed to find a widely revered celebrity that has not been in rehab or had a DWI. More people can name the contestants on American Idol than can name the Vice President of the US.

While I disagree with the billboard and think it should be banned, it is really more a symptom than the disease.

Roslyn said...

It is quite unsuitable for underage viewing & should not be on a public billboard.I find it blatantly disgusting & horribly suggestive - in my opinion it borders on "soft porn". I certainly would want to cover my grandsons' eyes!This level of sexual display should not be allowed where it is impossible to protect children from seeing it.It offends me.I will NOT buy Calvin Klein products!

mksviews said...

That's like group sex or something, ban it. Freedom to say anything and do anything is not allowed in public.

Larry Durham said...

Great comments here. I echo Z's comment that the "schools" and popular culture are powerful forces to overcome. And despite our good intentions...and our open mindedness, we are letting the enemy come right through the front door if we don't stand up and identify crap such as this billboard as....the crap that it is. The first amendment gives Calvin klein the freedom to do this type of advertising, but the enterprise behind it is garbage...and only the intellectually vacant among us would not condemn it.

Khaki Elephant said...

Unfortunately, the only way to stop Calvin Klein (and companies like them)is to hit them in the pocket book. Simply refuse to buy their products. Of course, if you try to organize a boycott you'll be accused of trying to squash their 1st Amendment rights . . . Your right to call for a protest isn't as important as their right to give offense.

LUCKY said...

I've been thinking about this and I think my solution is that I am not buying anything from Calvin Klein. I don't think a boycott is destroying their 1st amendment rights. They can post any billboard they choose but I still have the freedom( for now) on where I choose to spend my money. For me choosing not to buy from Calvin Klein and informing them in the form of a letter, email or phone call why I'm not buying their products solves my problems with the government mandating things but at the same time letting Calvin Klein know their bill board is sleazy trash.

Chuck said...

Roslyn, thanks for stopping by.

I agree that the best way to combat stuff like mthis is to not frequent the offending business. AT the end of the day, money is the only language most businesses understand. I think in this case I agree with a comment in the article itself in that this smacks of a desperation move by a company that has fallen on hard times. They get publicity because we are talking about it but I wonder if it ultimately helps their business or makes them look like idiots?

sue said...

I am totally against the billboard.

Loren Christie said...

Hi Chuck,
It makes me mad as hell. This kind of advertising is a slap in the face to American women who view themselves as more than just objects, and all parents for that matter, who care about what their children learn from media.

Chuck said...

Sue, thanks for stopping by. It is disgusting.

Loren, it's kind of sad