Friday, May 12, 2006

When the perfect is the enemy of the good

This just barely qualifies as religious--well maybe it's only moral. But here goes: Under pressure from conservative and "industry" groups alike, the agency that regulates Internet domain names has dropped plans for a .xxx suffix (like .com, .gov, .edu) for pornographic websites. Ironically, .xxx was opposed by both Larry Flynt of Hustler magazine fame (it would segregate porn sites) and Christian groups like the Family Research Council (who said it would legitimize the industry).

Well, on the one hand, perhaps it's not a bad thing that porn be segregated to certain areas of the Internet; a .xxx suffix might allow parents to block those sites. And groups that offer sex education and other information about sex and sexuality could still, one would think, retain their .com, .org, and .net addresses. I hardly think the porn business would suffer.

As for "legitimizing" porn, and here's the business part, I hate to tell you this, but online pornography is now an $11 billion (yep, that's a "b") a year industry. Whether you think it immoral or not, it isn't going away. It seems better to acknowledge that, protect those who should be or want to be protected from that content with reasonable regulation, and move on. There are other fish to fry. (I could go on about Christians' obsession with sex, but I've been criticized by one commenter already for focusing too much on bedroom politics. Best to acknowledge the plank in one's own eye, I guess.)

Of course, the ACLU may revoke my membership card. Don't have to worry about that with the Family Research Council. Phew!


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