Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Ugliness, Again

I shouldn’t have to write this.

I shouldn’t have to get up on a soapbox and rant about the evils of pornography.

But I do it because right now there are people right in front of that soapbox whose ears are shut because I dared use a phrase like “the evils of ponography.”

Oh, they’ll concede that some pornography is “disgusting” or “gross” or “crosses the line.” Kiddie porn, no, that’s bad, they’ll say. But the rest of it, well, we are human beings. We ought to be able to enjoy the nude form. If it’s done tastefully. If kids aren’t involved. And maybe not animals.


Can’t shake the Devil’s hand, folks, and say you’re only kidding.

I know. More ears shutting. I used the word “Devil.”

Hark at the Christian nut, going on about evil. And the Devil.

Shut up.

Open those ears.

Though I could base this rant on Christian theology – or, if you want to get right down to it, old-fashioned Mormon morality – I’m not going to. There’s plenty of such rants out there.

This one is going to be different.

This one’s about my brother.

I don’t know what’s going on inside his head. I don’t understand the attraction to pornography, let alone his attraction to kiddie porn. I don’t understand, either, the finer shades of grey some see in pornography, saying some is okay while some is not. And I don’t understand how pornography affects the brain, though I could regurgitate studies that show it’s like drug addiction.

I don’t understand drug addiction either.

I do know this: Because my brother possessed child porn images and masturbated to them, he’s going to prison. He’ll be in Boise for at least the next four years and, depending on how he does in prison-based rehabilitation, he might get out after that. He might have to serve more time, up to ten years total.

That’s out of my control.

It’s all in his control. In the mind I don’t understand.

The prosecuting attorney said Monday at his sentencing, referencing letters sent to the judge from my brother’s family – myself included – that porn addicts are manipulators, implying that my brother has told us what we want to hear, not telling us the full story, not revealing everything. Pulling the wool over the fuzz’ eyes.

We didn’t like hearing that.

But maybe it’s true.

“That he has this problem doesn’t negate the good things about him,” my sister-in-law said as we stood in the parking lot of the courthouse in the cold, mentally trying to absorb what had just happened.

There are good things about him, yes. I’ve seen them and the judge and prosecutor have not. They’re going by the textbooks, saying all that.

But the textbooks were written that way for a reason.

We learned some things. His probation officer, just a year ago, recommended that my brother be removed from probation entirely, he’d been doing so well. That was a surprise, because all we’ve heard from my brother is negativity about his probation officer.

So maybe we are being manipulated. Maybe he was trying to play the victim the entire time. Well, he is not. He made the choices he did. He told the judge he is ready to face the consequences of his choices.


I still don’t know what goes on in his head. There are times I don’t know what goes on inside my own head, so how can I think to fathom what goes on in someone else’s?

I still love my brother. He is my brother and always will be. He’ll be the guy who helped me put a sprinkler system in at our new house this summer. The guy on the front line keeping an eye on Mom.

Mom’s greatest fear: She’ll never see her son again.

She’s in her mid-seventies, and in mediocre health. Chances are, she might be right.

The judge said he was protecting society by putting my brother in jail for the next four-some years. I have mixed feeling about that. He said he didn’t want the have to explain to some future victim why he had recommended anything else for my brother but prison time. That I can understand.

But here’s something I don’t understand.

The society the judge is trying to protect, by and large, tolerates way too much crapola.

Crapola of the likes of what Hunter Moore is doing. Short explanation: He’s a creep hiding behind the first amendment.

Here’s his stuff (and fair warnin' lass, there be salty language ahead):

Moore, the 28-year-old proprietor of the gleefully malicious revenge porn site IsAnyoneUp, made headlines for the first time in months last week when he announced plans to launch a new website,, which he described as a sort of deluxe version of his last — that is, a repository of user contributed nude images, often submitted without their subjects' consent, alongside identifying information, like a Facebook account. Imagine a sort of consent-free, extra-malign Girls Gone Wild for the Tumblr set.

Nice guy, right? He gets worse:

Why would he want to return to the Internet that had so violently rejected him? Moore didn't hesitate. "I like boobs, and I like girls. Especially girls that I can, uhh," then he trailed off.

He blamed his last site's troubles on the national attention it had received, and says that illegal content — that is, underage — wasn't a serious problem "until Anderson Cooper."

"I just wanted a fresh start and a bunch of money," said Moore, "and to do a bunch of drugs and party." He continued: "I like boobs. Boobs motivate me."

Moore's favorite self-appointed role is that of privacy crusader: "I'm making the social networking scary, and making people realize they're putting too much info online. Everything is public and everything is online, I'm just going to exploit it."

Yeah, he’s a creep. Getting the support – and money – of other creeps. And hiding behind crusades for privacy by creating web sites for voyeurism.

He’s free, because, technically, apparently, he hasn’t broken any laws.

He’s a hero in his own eyes.

His formal defense for the basic concept of what will do — the moral high ground from which he feels able to attack IsAnyoneDown — is built on a conflation of what's legal and what's right. "No one can do shit to me," he said, "it's all user submitted content, so I'm not liable for anything."

"I don't have to age verify, but I do," he explained. "I could literally post 9-year-olds with fuckin' dicks in their mouths because it's user submitted content." FWD's resident law columnist, Michael Phillips, responds: "No, he couldn't post it — then he's the publisher — and the problem. And his site would need a mechanism to remove illegal stuff. The problem is Moore's entire site is an invitation for illegal stuff — a novel legal gray area."

Moore says he wishes people would recognize what he sees as his contributions to society. "No one gives me credit for putting people in jail, and helping schools block my site. I mean I go out of my way, I hired a team to age verify."

I asked Moore if he feels like a hero. "The thing is is that I am. Dude, the FBI raided me, and [now] I have such an amazing relationship with the FBI for turning in and handing over all this content, underage content or animal abuse or death pictures, or whatever the fuck else."

He repeated his lament: "But nobody seems to want to focus on that."

My brother is in jail because he did break a law. Hunter Moore (and fellow travelers like Michael Brutsch) want to feel that they’re heroes by saying they’re protecting the first amendment or, in Hunter’s case, pointing the FBI to illegal stuff while getting his jollies and his power trip doing it all in an environment that’s no less a sewer than the one he says he abhors.

Which one should society need more protection from?

I make no excuses for my brother’s behavior. He had opportunities to stay clean, outside of jail, and failed to do so. He broke the rules of his probation and thus must pay the penalty. He's broken plenty of hearts along the way, bringing this to mind:

Behold, ye have done greater iniquities than the Lamanites, our brethren. Ye have broken the hearts of your tender wives, and lost the confidence of your children, because of your bad examples before them; and the sobbings of their hearts ascend up to God against you. And because of the strictness of the word of God, which cometh down against you, many hearts died, pierced with deep wounds.

And maybe he’s manipulated us all into thinking he’s the victim here, perpetrator of a victimless crime. I can’t buy that. So off to jail he goes, taking my love for him there as well. Just because he’s made mistakes and has to pay the price is no reason to write him off.

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