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join the discussion: Is pornography, especially hardcore pornography, too widely available in the United States today? Would you support action by the federal government to crack down on porn?

Dear FRONTLINE,

You did an excellent job. I must agree it would be a good backup show to interview women and men whose lives have been effected by porn.

I was very shocked at AT&T involvement. I would certainly check stocks more carefully before I invest.

The idea that women would be involved in the degradation of other women and children is unbelievable. The actual brutal rape of a woman and then the simulation of her murder is heart wrenching. While this is being viewed, police were out searching for an 11 yr. old abducted girl whose body was found this AM.

Hopefully, the Janet Jackson fiasco will start the ball rolling.

And what the heck was with Janet Reno and her friend Bill? Some leader that guy.

Ft. Myers, Florida

Dear FRONTLINE,

At first I was offended when I clicked on PBS early this morning, however I now understand the goal of the program was to thoroughly inform the public.

Congratulations to the LA attorney in trying to take a stand against the "Gross End of the business". She had it right; let the jury decide. The People must be heard; the "Sick" end of that business must be stopped. Our youth are being heavily influenced to accept and even perform the most sickening of sex acts for money. We the people, must take action to ensure our representatives write, and our judges enforce new laws to end this exploitation of our youth and stop lowering the bar of public acceptance to this kind of sick level.

San Diego, CA

Dear FRONTLINE,

First want to say that i have always admired the way your program tells a story. When it comes to understanding issues, Your program reallly knows how to tell a story with out taking side, yet you do show the interesting facts to an issue.

When it comes to pornography, It is a subject that for to long of a time has been ignored. If something is not suitable for the public than the public can make its own decision as to whether or not they want to see such explicit material. The fact is that the only reason why people will make explicit pornographic movies or material is because people will buy such material. All people have to do to stop the pornography business is to stop buying the material.

Seattle, Washington

Dear FRONTLINE,

Dear Frontline,

The idea that porn can somehow be controlled is laughable; there's simply too big a market for it.

Personally, I feel there is nothing wrong with producing the material. If I find something distasteful or even disgusting, I will simply not watch it. But that's the point isn't it? The burden of the decision to watch rests upon me; I'd much rather it be that way than to have the decision made for me.

Tustin, CA

Dear FRONTLINE,

People should not do anything in thier daily lives that they could not do in Sunday School. We should not have secret activities that we would be ashamed of.

We should be the same on Saturday night as on Sunday morning.

Sorry folks, I'm just a country boy from the Deep South. Down here some of us still believe that Christ Jesus is our Savior. We know we are saved cause we DO WHAT HE SAYS. Many of us also treat our wives, and ladies in general, with respect. Porn is one of the social ills or, devils schemes, that goes against everything we as good Southerners believe is good and true. IT'S JUST NOT RIGHT. CANT MAKE IT RIGHT. NO WAY NO HOW.

Best Wishes,

J. Greg Roberts

Register, Georgia

Register, Georgia

Dear FRONTLINE,

While some children may be traumatized by some encounters with pornography, many more children are harmed in America every year by collisions with SUVs and pollution-induced asthma. The zeal with which right-wing activists seek to smother free expression is matched only by their defense of the automobile culture to the obvious detriment of public health. They are willing to trample on a civil right for the questionable harm caused by porn, but they sacrifice the lives of children every day to preserve the civil liberty of driving obscene automobiles.

If negative externalities justify government intervention, please begin with activities that cause the greatest, most obvious harm. Videos of fisting hardly tops the list of threats to public health or welfare.

Houston, Texas

Dear FRONTLINE,

First of all I would like to say that I am not speaking for or against porn, but lets look at the facts and take a common sense approach.You mention community standards, well that is just plain ridiculous,because the people who watch porn are the people who actually want it and pay for it in the privacy of there own home.People who do not like porn will not watch it, am I right???

If the community said eating meat is bad for you, does that mean that meat lovers cannot have any? I strongly believe that as long as it is between consecnting adults,it is fine,there is big diffeerence between fantasy and reality.Its called acting.Someone please explain the logic here.

Toronto, Canada

Dear FRONTLINE,

In this era of almost overwhelming entertainment choices, the question of how to deal with pornography is fairly simple: if you don't like it, don't watch it. Although there are always exceptions (and they should be dealt with appropriately), most pornography is sold under controlled conditions to consenting adults and nobody is forced to watch it.

Just the fact that this is a multi-billion-dollar business proves that, despite what religious leaders and right-wing zealots say, there is obviously quite a demand for this stuff. Personally, I don't really care for porn; in fact, when I did finally watch it I found myself laughing at the ridiculous dialogue and nonexistent plot. But I also dislike rap "music", any movie in which a vehicle is the focal point, and most of what's on TV these days, but I don't think the government or the "community" has the right to tell anyone they can't watch or listen to it.

Of course, this is where you hear "concerned" parents wail, "But how do we protect our children?" Again, it's simple: watch what your children are doing and don't rely on everyone else to do it for you. If you dislike porn or anything else, that's fine, and by all means keep it out of your children's hands. But I am a legal adult, not your child, and you have no right to keep it out of mine.

Norfolk, VA

Dear FRONTLINE,

While I appreciate the idea of limits, bounds past which behavior is not... moral, I also understand the inherent flaws in these arguments. We as a nation have from our very beginnings allowed the narrow minded to set standards because we are too concerned about our own images. Why should the conservative front decide what is moral, after all are not the fine points of morality granted to individuals.

Finally, while I sympathize with those who are truly victimized, this country was founded on the idea of freedom. The whole idea should be to grant citizens every single liberty that can be granted to them, so long as those do not encroach on the rights of others.

Instead today we find the whole idea has become fitting the standards of the conservative Christian majority simply because democracy allows for it. Why? How? Well if you were in a room and asked what people wanted for dinner, pork or beef, and fifteen of the twenty were Jewish, there would be a resounding call for beef. Yet this does not represent the other five diners’ right to eat pork.

What am I really trying to say? Simply this, if you need to pass laws in order to feel responsible for your community, then pass laws that make it harder for those who have not yet reached the age of consent (I suppose it will always be for the majority to decide that one, although I have known many a young adult with more sense, responsibility, and morality than many adults,) to access these materials. Past this, it is a simple matter of choice whether you choose to view pornography. To each his own.

Washington, Illinois

Dear FRONTLINE,

Porn is given more importance than necessary. I think it should be available for all adults, meaning anyone 18 or older. I do have an issue with young girls doing porn scences, as those in Barely Legal. I think that the minimum age for a porn actress/actor should be 21.

I also deeply frown upon extreme porn scences out of the mainstream in the industry as violent crime scences, cruelty to women, or underage scences. Other than that, there is absolutely nothing wrong with porn. I must say it does enhance the sex life of many in a safe and gratifying way.

NY, NY

Dear FRONTLINE,

After watching Frontline's program, my views have changed. I have become more determined to support the Constitution. This Country (United States) was founded on freedom of art, religion, and speech. At times, it seems that other countries (ie European) seem to possess more freedoms then our Country which is suppose to be the torch bearer for Democratic freedom.

Like it or not, pornography is protected, and should be protected, by the Constitution. Censor pornography and who is to say what will be censored next? Will religion be censored? Or maybe certain political views will be censured?

In the end, any attempt at such censorship amounts to fascism. So I would like to ask, is the United States a democratic or fascist state?

Chattanooga, Tn

Dear FRONTLINE,

I think the prosecutors are missing the boat. The question should be “why are so many people interested in watching porn?” or “Why is it becoming such a large, money making industry?”. Additionally, I wonder why so many women and young girls are interested and even happy to sell their bodies in this way. It sounds like it’s much more than just for the money - they seem to enjoy the pain and degradation

To solve this problem our society doesn't need more laws and regulations, but perhaps more understanding of this widespread social issue. Laws and restrictions will not solve the problems, but just force producers and consumers underground. When we start to look at the why’s behind the porn industry we might find some solutions.

Seattle, WA

Dear FRONTLINE,

One of the most destructive features of porn is the tendency for users to become addicted. I've read through the Internet board where porn users explicitly descrive themselves as addicts, unable to control the desire to view porn. Further, they usually feel very guilty about their addiction and feel that it seriously impairs their lives. When trying to refrain from watching porn they report withdrawal symptoms, and declare that porn gives physical and emotional high.

In this sense porn is similar to drug abuse - it makes miserable addicts out of perfectly normal people. Users have little if any control over their addiction. Finally, there is a view that it seriously impairs their ability to have normal sexual life and healthy relationships.

The common argument against all anti-porn pretenses is the First Amendment. However, I wouldn't be much mistaken to state that porn addicts are regarded as weak, weird, irresponsible people. Why should we allow the underlying root cause of their addiction (adult industry) to prosper?

Whatever the ideological argument might it often is employed to protect the vested interest. & that one has become pretty big, and able to defend itself using whatever methods.

Westport, Missouri

Dear FRONTLINE,

I watched American Porn when it aired the other night. I watched it because I am an anti-pornography activist as well as a violence prevention educator.

PBS and Frontline have never been great at bringing in the point of women/feminists so I knew what to expect. I will be using your film to educate others not just about the porn industry's assault against women but also how corporations and the media can talk a good talk but in the end leave us with nothing more than a sugar coated idea.

A great show would have included the hundreds of thousands of women and girls whose lives have included torture, beatings, and rape by the men in their lives who read, watch, and produce porn. In almost all cases of incest, rape, and violence porn has always been present.

When your viewers talk about freedom of speach and choice it is almost always from men who enjoy having the privelage of watching women being degraded and no doubt they are in no way ready to give that up. When men degrade women

it makes them feel more like men.

It amazes me that people just don't put the clues together. Porn hurts everyone. It hurts that men that watch it because it sets them up to believe that women are a certain way. It hurts the women and girls by humiliating and degrading them by the men who are supposed to love them. How many of your viewers after watching the show knew that Hustler, 2 weeks prior, to the gang rape of the woman in New Bedford MA, had portrayed in their magazine the SAME EXACT scenario. Now, that would have been good reporting.

It is time that we stopped using the arguement of freedom of speach and no cencorship because that is so self-centered and individualistic. It is time that we start caring about the well being of our children and using porn which depicts young females as sexual objects is wrong.

Andover, MA

Dear FRONTLINE,

Why is it OK for Hollywood to produce films such as "Terminator" "Hannibal the Cannibal" and distribute them. I find these films far more offensive than anything I can see in the porn industry. Why is it Ok to kill, cook, eat other human beings than to show two consenting adults fornicating.

I am a firm believer in the free market system. If there is an audience available for it so be it. I do however feel there must be some restrictions as with all thing regarding children and animals. Remember in "Silence of the Lambs" it was a teenage girl who was kidnapped. As for a priest representing religion, give me a break, I was one of the young people abused by a "Catholic" priest. Did it contribute to screwing up my life? You bet. It took me many years to come out of the closet and much heartache after losing a faith and trust and feeling dirty.

Let's clean up Hollywood as well of the violence and mayhem first, then go after porn. If we are not willing to do that first, then stop the hand wringing.

Waterford, CT

Dear FRONTLINE,

You have missed one gigantic part of the porn problem As a small Internet Access Provider, we have about 20,000 emails a day that caught by our various anti-spam activities. I was away for 4 days and when I returned almost 150 porn messages had been trapped. These email ads are sent even to children. I had received 6 of one of them from different bogus email addresses. These websites are hosted mainly in foreign countries.

There are powerful congressman who receive lots of money from the mass mailing industry opposing any limits on mass emailers. This is a delivery medium that costs the sender next to nothing. Can you believe how much junk mail we would get in our mail boxes if US Snail allowed junk to be mailed for 1 cent per envelope?

There is only one organization that I can find which is actively fighting this scourge - Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial E-mail cauce.org

It should be absolutely illegal for this trash to come into our homes unbidden. E-mail has wonderful uses; it should not be taken over by the hawkers of Viagara and naked teens.

Keep up the good work!

Southern Pines, NC

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