Utah Senator Wants To Revive The State's 'Porn Czar' Office To Combat The Threat Of Women's Magazines

from the mortified dept

Todd Weiler, a state Senator in Utah, has appeared on our pages before. When last we checked in with the good senator, he was quite oddly attempting to purge his notoriously prudish state from the dire threat of pornography. His plan was more than a bit heavy-handed in that it centered on mandating porn-filtering software on all smartphones under his stated theory that "A cell phone is basically a vending machine for pornography." This tragic misunderstanding by a sitting state senator of what a phone is and exactly what its primary functions are aside, government mandates that infringe on free and legal expression are kind of a no-no in these here secular United States. Even setting constitutional questions aside, attempts like these are immediately confronted by the obstreperous demands from the public for a definition of exactly what constitutes "pornography."

Well, for Senator Weiler, it appears we may have something of an answer. See, Weiler has more recently decided to try to revive Utah's long-defunct Obscenity and Pornography Complaints Ombudsman position, or "porn czar", that Utah once filled but has left vacant for the better part of two decades.

For the past 14 years, Utah has made do without a "porn czar." The position—officially known as the "Obscenity and Pornography Complaints Ombudsman"—has been vacant since 2003, though it was never officially eliminated. Now state Sen. Todd Weiler (R–Woods Cross) may revive it, even as the Utah attorney general suggests legislators strike it from the books. Weiler suggests that an obscenity ombudsman could focus on things like providing guidance to retailers. But the position also has the power to monitor and punish business owners for daring to display magazines that mention sex.

If all of that seems so broad a mandate that non-pornographic magazines might accidentally be caught up in the fray, you're wrong. Those innocent magazines aren't collateral damage at all, in fact, but rather the primary targets apparently of Weiler's ire.

Weiler's definition of porn is apparently broad enough to encompass mainstream women's magazines. Weiler "says he became convinced that the obscenity and pornography complaints office may be needed because of an ad campaign attacking Cosmopolitan magazine as illegal porn," The Salt Lake Tribune reports.

"I've received some complaints...that stores are selling Cosmo at eye level to a child," he told the Tribune. "There's no blinder rack on it, even though we have some blinder rack language in the state code."

Cosmo is and has been the butt of many a joke, but pornography it most certainly is not. And, jokes aside, the magazine is a source and platform for women to discuss and learn about both women's general and sexual health. Painting a porn target on a magazine such as that says everything about why these sorts of efforts must be defeated. No matter how uncomfortable it might make a Utah state senator for women to be real live human beings with body functions about which they need to learn, and no matter how distasteful that senator might find women discussing their health and sex lives in print, it should be plainly obvious that Cosmo is not remotely pornographic by any traditional understanding.


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Oct 2017 @ 3:25am

    The bible contains the song of songs, so will he also have put on the top shelf because of its pornographic content?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      David, 16 Oct 2017 @ 5:58am

      Re:

      Well, if you are devout, this is basically an allegory for the longing of the pious for the embrace of the church. Something like that: I forgot the details.

      Because Jesus stated that he hasn't come to dissolve the laws and the prophets but to render them complete.

      And if St Jerome saw fit to translate this into Latin, it must have been in concord with what Catholics preach.

      So no, it cannot be smut. Even if it quacks like it and waddles like it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Cdaragorn (profile), 16 Oct 2017 @ 10:55am

      Re:

      Actually, that one is taken care of by many of those who would be in favor of this kind of law. It's not recognized as revealed scripture by the LDS faith.
      Which kind of makes sense, considering the Bible was put together by a bunch of self appointed leaders of Christianity long after the last trace of any Apostle had been killed off. They were bound to get some things wrong.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 16 Oct 2017 @ 3:38am

    Re: Distinction

    Not to a male legislator, it isn’t.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 16 Oct 2017 @ 3:44am

    Ahh to live in Utah where the biggest problem is a child might see a Cosmo cover that says '100 Ways to Drive him wild!'.

    Perhaps its time to stop pretending no one in Utah looks are porn.... here are the numbers from when the Gov. declared it to be a public health crisis.

    https://www.pornhub.com/insights/utahs-porn-viewers

    Yeah tell your boss you went for the articles.

    They like porn, but are unwilling to be judged by their neighbors... ignoring their neighbors are looking for Mormon Yoga porn to watch.

    Its a pity that the pious holier than thou mask so many people wear is fake, but they lack the moral character to admit they enjoy porn & Cosmo for the sex tips that can land you in the ER if you try them.

    Porn exists.
    Forbidding to look at it, makes them seek it out faster.

    While your wasting money on a pointless porn battle, have they solved the problem of all of them young men forced out of those polygamist compounds by the older men who just want 25 young wives?

    If they need things to look at...
    How about a law to protect nurses from cops arresting them for getting in the way of them trying to blame the victim of their actions.

    How about making sure the home of vulnerable children isn't still a hunting ground for pervs?
    https://www.propublica.org/article/yet-another-scandal-rocks-utah-home-for-vulnerable-children

    Maybe get someone into Congress who isn't about using his position to take out rivals and settle scores?
    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/04/jason-chaffetz-oversight-chairman-retiring-congre ss-trump/

    Maybe find an AG who isn't on the take?
    http://www.wpxi.com/news/national-news/ap-top-news/key-figure-in-utah-political-scandal-appeals -conviction/616028684

    But porn... porn is bad...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Groaker (profile), 16 Oct 2017 @ 6:41am

      Re:

      Why is porn bad? At one time porn was a ladies ankle encased in a boot. Bloomers were considered outre when they were first introduced.

      The nations that have the most vile porn also have the fewest sex offenders. That makes porn good.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      JEDIDIAH, 16 Oct 2017 @ 7:41am

      The big blind spot.

      You want to laugh but some of those Cosmo covers are more interesting then some of what's inside of actual porn mags. Publications like that have always gotten a free pass for objectifying women and encouraging the notion that a woman should be judged by her looks.

      They are arguably more harmful as they pass themselves off as feminist magazines pretending to be something friendly and harmless.

      At least everyone knows to be wary of and distrust the more blatant stuff.

      An "objective standard" is really something nobody wants to acknowledge.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That Anonymous Coward (profile), 16 Oct 2017 @ 9:12am

      Re:

      I was out running an errand and I saw a magazine display... it was low to the ground where children could see it!!!!!!!!!

      Would you just look at the November cover of the Food Network Magazine!!!! BREASTS!!! Uncovered and on full display!

      http://www.foodnetwork.com/magazine

      (yes you know its gonna be turkey breasts)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Oct 2017 @ 12:07pm

      Re:

      Hey no picking on Utah as the nanny state. Those 16oz soft drinks in NY are soo much more dangerous.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That Anonymous Coward (profile), 16 Oct 2017 @ 1:20pm

        Re: Re:

        BYU tweeted out the announcement that students would be able to purchase and consume Coca Cola with caffeine (THE HORRORS) from the canteen.

        Maybe they are in competition.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Capt ICE Enforcer, 16 Oct 2017 @ 4:40am

    American dream

    Wait. You mean I can get a job watching filthy porn that people find and then rate it all while working a job that offers benefits and a retirement check after 20 years. Sign me up. "Kids we are moving to Utah!"

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Kasparovski, 16 Oct 2017 @ 4:54am

    Porn czar....

    is that like a porn tsar?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Oct 2017 @ 4:59am

    That senator should be punished

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Gary (profile), 16 Oct 2017 @ 6:25am

    There they go again

    I can't believe Tim is once again crusading against States Rights.
    /s
    Censorship is a tool for the feeble and the power hungry. Or both.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      DannyB (profile), 16 Oct 2017 @ 6:34am

      Re: There they go again

      Censorship is a tool for the feeble and the power hungry. Or both.

      Don't tell that to the orange twitterer.

      Can't states selectively override parts of the constitution, such as the 1st amendment, that they don't like? /s

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    DannyB (profile), 16 Oct 2017 @ 6:26am

    Women's Magazines ???

    So I guess Men's Magazines that men look at to stare at women are still okay?

    Of course, too bad for the men who happen to like Women's Magazines.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      David, 16 Oct 2017 @ 8:49am

      Re: Women's Magazines ???

      Of course, too bad for the men who happen to like Women's Magazines.

      It's bad enough if women learn how to look like harlots. If the men start putting on eye shadow and lipstick, in no time will a Utah town hall be indistinguishable from D.C. Congress.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Oct 2017 @ 9:45am

      Re: Women's Magazines ???

      So I guess Men's Magazines that men look at to stare at women are still okay?

      No, those would be in the "blinder racks" he mentioned.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Oct 2017 @ 6:34am

    cant he and other politicians ever think of something worthwhile to go against instead of some useless item like this? does he really think it will get him anywhere? think about the money the USA makes from the making and sale of porn! mans a friggin idiot!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Dale and Brennan, 16 Oct 2017 @ 7:06am

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Capt ICE Enforcer, 16 Oct 2017 @ 7:12am

    Oh crap

    If porn becomes illegal. How will I pay for my drug habit?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Oct 2017 @ 8:00am

    Vending machine

    "A cell phone is basically a vending machine for pornography." This tragic misunderstanding by a sitting state senator of what a phone is and exactly what its primary functions are

    By "misunderstanding", you mean the idea that one would have to buy the pornography?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Jeffrey Nonken (profile), 16 Oct 2017 @ 8:16am

    I know it when I see it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    John85851 (profile), 16 Oct 2017 @ 9:10am

    When is censorship due to religion good?

    Are they trying to block adult sites and magazines because of Sharia law? This is the United States! How dare they try to force their religion on us! The nerve of these people! It's called "separation of church and state"! I'm going to protest and maybe get violent!

    Oh, wait, it's Mormon law that's being forced on everyone? Never mind. There's nothing to see here since this is a "good" religion.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Oct 2017 @ 9:53am

    American Taliban are everywhere

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Oct 2017 @ 10:50am

    fun fact, the AEI is one of the most profitable and powerful industries in the world, between the number of its employees and who they pay for various goods or services (such as medical care and research), it won't happen with out a fight.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Cdaragorn (profile), 16 Oct 2017 @ 11:03am

    Traditional understanding is actually part of the problem

    Cosmo is not remotely pornographic by any traditional understanding.

    Actually, traditional understanding of pornography put men or women walking around in long sleeved "underwear" as pornography. So Cosmo absolutely does qualify under some traditional definitions of it.

    This of course only serves to expose the problem with trying to legislate it. Whose definition do you accept? I personally feel that complete nudity should not be on public display, but then there are many that would argue against me on that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Oct 2017 @ 11:46am

    So another IDIOT trying to ban something that's protected by the constitution. So it gets passed, and then thrown out by the supreme court!! Wasting time and taxpayers money like always.

    Is PORN on phones even a thing? I don't recall ever having any type of porn on my phone To small of a screen. Besides I want to relax in my own place in front of a big screen. A smart phone just seems silly. Maybe VR Porn. I assume there's even less of that. Do people want to be VR porn outside the home? Clearly no one can glance over and see that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Oct 2017 @ 11:57am

      Re:

      it's more likely to happen if your normal internet is slower than your phones speed...that's not to say that people don't stream to their laptops through their phones either...;)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Oct 2017 @ 11:57am

    We need an Idiot Czar... Because the government is just a big idiot vending and we need to weed out the idiot.
    Of course that would leave maybe three or four people in office, but it's a dream worth dreaming.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That Anonymous Coward (profile), 16 Oct 2017 @ 1:33pm

      Re:

      (with no apologies)

      There was a time when models were kind
      When their voices were soft
      And their words inviting

      There was a time when they told me self-love would make me blind
      And the world was a song
      And the song was exciting
      There was a time

      Then it all went wrong

      I dreamed a dream in times gone by
      When porn was hidden and procreation not mentioned
      I dreamed, that love would never die
      I dreamed that God would be forgiving

      Then I was young and unafraid
      And porn was made and used and wasted
      There was no ransom to be paid
      No lube unsqueezed, no handgrip untested

      But the Mormons come at night
      With their voices soft as thunder
      As they tear your porn apart
      As they turn your fetish to shame

      Victoria Secrets catalog slept a summer by my side
      and filled my nights with endless wanking
      Nat Geo took my childhood in his stride
      But the czar outlawed it when autumn came

      And still I dream PornHub will come to me
      That we will live the years together
      But there are dreams that cannot be
      And there are moral panics we cannot weather

      I had a dream my life would be
      So different from this hell I'm living
      So different now from what it seemed
      Now the Czar has killed the dream
      I dreamed

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 16 Oct 2017 @ 1:39pm

        Re: Re:

        Not just mormons though. Other faiths say the same thing. It just seems the mormons will act on their belief. Kind of reminds me of Saudi Arabia and their filter and laws.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 16 Oct 2017 @ 5:36pm

    Where Do You Think Girls And Women Get Poor Body Image From?

    Where do you think there are all these pictures of the infamous “Size Zero” models that make girls and women feel inadequate? They are in the women’s magazines.

    If you want to complain about male-oriented internet porn, first note that it comes in every conceivable variety. Basically, whatever shape a woman is, some group of men will find her attractive.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Atkray (profile), 16 Oct 2017 @ 6:46pm

    Well that explains it

    In the Salt Lake Valley one of the major outdoor advertisers will periodically post billboards with random trivia facts along with phone numbers and or website url's.

    They do this so they can show prospective clients how effective their advertising is.

    On a recent trip into the city I saw a billboard that said Cosmo is porn! with a phone number.

    Silly me. I thought it was one of the signs from the advertising company.

    It never entered my thought process that it might be a legit attempt to convince people to support Todd Weiler.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Oct 2017 @ 6:50pm

    Sorry Senator Weiler, but you were the product of sexual intercourse yourself. (Obligatory xkcd: https://xkcd.com/830/)

    Most likely you also saw a vagina when you were born and breasts when you were breastfed.

    Women, lady parts and sex exist. You can't regulate that away.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Oct 2017 @ 8:18pm

    My kids went to school in a primarily rural Mormon area. No sex-ed and in its place people would come tell the high schoolers that porn will make them addicts and murderers.

    This full well knowing that 90%+ of kids have already seen porn images by the time they are in high school. So they are basically telling them they are all guilty and will become mass murderers like Ted Bundy.

    But they are good people right? I mean only some of their kids kill themsevles when they can't take it anymore and their women are all only cowtowed and act like abused animals.

    Good people stuck in a bad religion is the best and the worst is rampant molestation, spousal abuse, and rape covered up to keep them looking pure and ready for the temple.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    MyNameHere (profile), 17 Oct 2017 @ 2:37am

    The porn czar is the leftovers of the concept of the "community standards" way of judging if something is obscene. Essentially, what was acceptable in, say, San Francisco, may not be acceptable in Salt Lake City.

    That. of course, came pre-internet. It came when communities were defined by physical location, and not by how people group together. So that standard has pretty much evaporated. No sane prosecutor would be willing to work on the basis of community standards.

    But hey, SLC and Utah are special, in that short bus kind of a way. They are sort of like the Amish, stuck in another century.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Tanner Andrews (profile), 23 Oct 2017 @ 12:26am

      Re: [prosecuting porn judged by community standards]

      No sane prosecutor would be willing to work on the basis of community standards.

      Of course he will, that is the only basis on which he can bring a case. In some areas, he will bring it, because a large portion of the population there are blue-noses. Sure, that can turn out to be a mis-calculation; does anyone remember [Fla. 7th Cir. SA] John Tanner?

      And an enthusiastic state's atty can get convictions, too. Remember that the jury pool is drawn from the same crop of blue-noses that elected him.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    GEMont, 18 Oct 2017 @ 11:14am

    Public Engineering: the Morality Con

    The downfall of all human civilizations:

    Religiously indoctrinated Morality;

    How I think You should act-
    How I think You should dress-
    How I think You should speak-
    How I think You should think-

    -Made law.

    We never learn from our mistakes.

    In ancient times, when shit went south - famine, drought, plague, pestilence - the leaders ALWAYS claimed 'the Gods were angry because the public was acting, speaking, dressing, thinking immorally'.

    A large portion of the public has always willingly fallen for this line of BS, because it lets them blame all the bad shit on those who dress, speak, or behave in ways they consider improper, as taught by their religion.

    The Authorities love this BS line, because it places the full responsibility for whatever fiasco happens to be affecting the society at the time, squarely on the shoulders of the public. And once the public is pushed by its "morally responsible members" into a regimen of legislated "See and Tell" to root out the immoral evil doers, authority gets to become more ruthless and intrusive (and profitable), "as demanded by the public."

    Authority knows from experience that the regimen of anti-immorality legislation never actually lessens the problems faced by the society, but this is good for business-as-usual because the authorities now have a publicly acceptable "rationale" for all their oppressive tactics, going forward.

    Time has had zero effect on this con and today its being used for everything from vaccines to terrorists.

    Stoopid Hoomuns.

    ---

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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