Saturday, December 03, 2005

Money and sex, sex and money

When I first saw it listed on the contents page, I knew right away. Anybody who regularly visits conservative sites would. "The Porn Tax at Carnegie Mellon" — minimal deductive reasoning required here: porn = adult movies (which apparently not a single conservative, excluding Clarence Thomas, ever views); tax = student association fee; Carnegie Mellon = the locale du jour.

If only the rest of life were so easy to figure out.

Sure enough, that's what Mike Adams's column is all about (plus a handy form letter of outrage for e-mailing to Carnegie Mellon).

Okay, let's see how we're being lied to on this one.
I just read a very disturbing report from your local CBS News affiliate (KDKA) indicating that more than 1,000 students at a time are showing up at the Carnegie Mellon campus auditorium to see movies with XXX ratings. Even more disturbing is the CBS report that these movies are all paid for with student fees….

According to my sources, which have informed me in seemingly indisputable Microsoft Word documents, the movie "Pirates" was among the XXX films shown recently at Carnegie Mellon. “Pirates” is a hard core porn movie. The contents are too obscene to be described in this column. If you have read my columns before, you know that is really saying something.

I'm not quite sure how to interpret that last sentence. Have Mr. Adams's previous columns pushed the envelope on e-writing obscenity?

Not that Adams provides it (for some reason, writers rarely provide links to the primary sources that fuel their outrage), but here's the link to the original KDKA story. The KDKA story is pretty much as Adams describes it.
More than 1,000 students at a time are showing up at a campus auditorium to see movies with ratings as high as XXX and it's all paid for with student money.
My first thought was: Gosh, that would make for a really terrible first date.

My second thought was: hey, private university — none of my business.

My third thought was: There is no such thing as a XXX rating. The "porn" movies in question are either unrated or rated NC-17. The CMU students are over 17 — so again, this is none of my business.

My fourth thought was: wow, a 1000+ audiences per showing!

And my final thought was a question: Is it really all paid for with student money?

So it was off to the Carnegie Mellon University online student newspaper, The Tartan. And guess what? The movies — not all of which are NC-17 or unrated — are not paid for with student money. Not only that, they are indeed a profit-making venture.
First of all, the ticket revenue exceeds the costs of showing the film, so only the film-watching students end up paying for it. Additionally, this year’s film rights were not bought with Student Activities money, but rather bartered for by agreeing to post websites on advertising posters.
Well now.

Links are dangerous things, aren't they. I can understand why writers (and even KDKA reporters) don't go out of their way to include them.

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