Erika Lassen—a Brigham Young University graduate, stay-at-home mother of five, Texas native, Virginia resident and self-described conservative—objects to a Calvin Klein ad in New York. Here is a link to the maybe just "sexy," maybe "borderline pornographic" but definitely "attention-whoring" ad. But a WARNING before you click! Lassen writes: 

I am grateful for freedom of speech. It is because of this right that I am able to publicly disagree with President Barack Obama. However, should there be a line drawn that freedom of speech should not cross? We are free as long as our freedoms do not infringe upon the civil liberties of others, correct?

An interesting thing happens when pornography is viewed. Like a leech, it clings to the brain. The image pops up in our minds at rather random, unexpected times. Even if we don't want to ever see the image again, it sneaks up on you. I do not want the Calvin Klein image in my mind and when I saw it on the front page of Fox I immediately wished I had not, but I did see it. And now I will need to force the image out whenever it springs on me.

Calvin Klein's freedom of speech has effectively infringed upon my freedoms.

Ok. Hmm. I have seen this ad and have never thought about it once. It went in one eyeball and out the other, never springing on my brain again at all. This may be because I don't have lesbian or foursome fantasies, or am totally mature, or jaded and conscience-calcified from living in the city or all of the above. 

Even if it did bother me the bottom line is—I decided to live in New York, so I deal with it. Lassen has chosen to live in Virginia, so why does she care? 

Would my perspective change if I was a mother of one or five? If I choose to raise my kids in New York, I would just have to accept that their childhood will include, along with basketball and hopscotch, walks past sex shops and homeless men screaming the f-word. At the moment, New York is also pasted with pictures of Lady Gaga barely covered in pink bubbles and Nurse Jackie making an obscene gesture with a syringe. If I complained about everything I wouldn't choose to put on my own wall I would just get exhausted and move to … Utah perhaps.

In other words, we actually have choices. The choice to live in a more permissive culture or a more conservative culture, and presumably the moral choice to choose not to think about things we don't want to think about. 

I guess this means I shouldn't mock BYU for not allowing YouTube. But seriously, it might help.

 
About The Author

Alisa Harris

0 Responses to Calvin Klein porn steals freedom

  1. Mark P says:

    Well, if you’re gonna live in a city you have to live with that shit. And, frankly, there are bigger problems with our communities than lascivious billboards. Her statement is pretty melodramatic and self-righteous, and she seems to have a bit of a martyr complex going on.

    Still. Two dudes about to double-team a girl and/or each other while a third guy whacks off to it. That’s pretty damn borderline. Or maybe it just should be.

  2. I like Mark’s summary better than the picture.

  3. Joshua says:

    So, to summarize Mark:
    _________
    Erikka is silly for complaining, and she’s obviously a hypocrite.
    Yet she’s right.
    _________

    Way to go. I love elitism. You can agree with someone and still condescend to them.

    Are there bigger issues than this? Of course. But it’s still perverted.

  4. Phil says:

    Yeah, that’s a pornographic photo, and I understand your point, Alisa, but it isn’t about complaining about all or nothing. It’s about speaking against the foundational ideas of our hyper-sexualized culture. Why should we say ads like these are just part of our chosen environment?

    As I understand it, pornography is the dominate seed bed for sexual crime. I wish we could crush it somehow. I wish we could make the legal argument against it. Liberals are fighting smoking and fast food with all sorts of exaggerations. I wish we could fight this with similar success.

  5. Nathan says:

    obviously the whole part about the woman, from Virginia, complaining about an ad in New York seems a little overreaching, but still, I meant that’s just porn.

    and there’s some things that community standards should play a role in. If you want porn, full-frontal, whatever, displayed in society, then make a case for that, but I think there’s something to be said for leaving those certain images in certain places, not outlawing, just regulating.
    whatever.

  6. The whole “she’s in Virginia; the ad’s in New York” argument is ridiculous, at best. What is acceptable in NY, but outrageous in VA, will be acceptable in VA in 10-20 years (and yet the ad will still be inappropriate). Arguing location is like hearing thunder in the distance, and declaring that it will never rain where you are.

  7. Alisa says:

    My point was just that different cultures have different norms. New York’s culture is different than this woman’s culture, so she’s making a big deal out of something that doesn’t really phase the people who actually have to look at it. I walk past half a dozen sex shops on my way to church each week, so when I saw this ad I never thought of it again.

    Remember that she’s not just arguing that it’s offensive or wrong. She’s arguing that seeing it actually infringes on her freedom. Her whole point is based on the assumption that anyone who sees this will not be able to get it out of their head. I was refuting her point by noting that I (and probably almost all other New Yorkers) saw it and didn’t remember it.

    Of course an inappropriate image is an inappropriate image, wherever it appears. But her contention that it infringes on the freedom of anyone who sees it is ridiculous.

  8. Ms Lassen is wrong to imply that all who see it are somehow tainted. But it’s just as wrong to imply that all (or even most) New Yorkers see it with no effect to them.

    And contrary to your statement in the next-to-last paragraph of the original article, we DON’T all have choices. Perhaps you and Ms Lassen have the means to choose where you will live and/or raise children (real or imagined). But not everyone does. What about the person who has similar values/sensitivities to Ms Lassen’s (or simply isn’t “conscience calcified”), but does not have the means to leave NY? Or even the person who has the means to live outside NY, but whose business takes them there on a regular basis?

    It is certainly arguable whether or not this particular ad infringes on Ms Lassen’s rights. And perhaps her stance is much ado about nothing. But taking the polar opposite stance is no less wrong.

    One cannot argue that, just because a given society is more permissive, then that’s just the way it is, and if someone doesn’t like it, tough skubala. That may not be your argument, but it’s only a half-step away.

  9. Joshua says:

    Pretty sure Brendt just schooled you. Maybe you should give him your job.

    What about the people who, in fact, can’t get teh ad out of their head? You’re making a pretty bold assumption yourself about “almost all other New Yorkers” who saw it.

  10. Alisa says:

    Ok. I may not be able to speak for all New Yorkers and how they feel about this particular ad, but I can confidently and accurately say that any New Yorker sees worse all the time. Of course I can’t speak for each individual, but I can speak to what they see on a daily basis. It’s a way of giving context that I believe the column author lacked.

    And this actually isn’t my job, believe it or not. Like all patrol writers, it’s something I try to squeeze in my spare time. So anyone who would like to do better is always free to email the editor and ask to contribute as well.

  11. Joshua says:

    Alisa,

    While I stand by my statement regarding assumptions of other people,
    I want to apologize for the job comment. It was pretty low of me. I respect that you do this in your spare time.

    Though along with that, the editor isn’t good about returning emails…

  12. Mark P says:

    #3 makes a good point, and amidst the deadly tone of #8 there is good thought too.

    Yet there’s something about “Ms Lassen”‘s response that I can’t take seriously.

    The reason I can’t think seriously about industrial music is because it’s so. damn. somber. They’re so serious about themselves and their message that nobody else can take them seriously. It’s like they’re hogging all the serious in the room.

    Her response has a bit of the crusading-righteous-doing-martyr going on. I believe that the lady was negatively impacted by the image. And I also believe these advertising gimmicks are bottom-feeding enterprises.

    But freedoms? Nobody’s getting water-boarded here.

Leave a Reply

Set your Twitter account name in your settings to use the TwitterBar Section.