The Instigator
brian_eggleston
Pro (for)
Losing
8 Points
The Contender
LiberalHoyaLawya
Con (against)
Winning
18 Points

It's time to rid England's countryside of Neolithic gay porn

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
LiberalHoyaLawya
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/16/2011 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,818 times Debate No: 19835
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (12)
Votes (5)

 

brian_eggleston

Pro

Unsuspecting families visiting Cerne Abbas in Dorset, England, will be sickened to the pits of their stomachs if they happen to glance upwards and see the 180ft figure of a sexually-aroused man that was cut into a nearby hillside by stone age gays. (1,2)

These filthy prehistoric pornographers obviously didn't care about offending decent, law-abiding tourists in the future by subjecting them to the sight of an obscene giant gay with a 30ft erection and, disgracefully, the authorities today have refused to remove the figure from public view, presumably because the homosexuals in the village like to leer at it and they would get all upset if someone threatened to cover it over.

However, I maintain that ordinary people have the right to live in an environment free from huge sexually-explicit hillside chalk engravings and that it's time to rid England's countryside of this Neolithic gay porn.

Thank you.

(1) http://maps.google.com...
(2) http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk...
LiberalHoyaLawya

Con

The Cerne Abbas Giant should not be censored or destroyed because it is a harmless artifact of local culture. Unfortunately, Pro’s hostility towards the Giant seems rooted in little more than juvenile homophobia.

1. The Cerne Abbas Giant is not obscene

In characterizing the Giant as an example of “Neolithic gay porn,” Pro grossly misinterprets a harmless work of art that is actually quite common throughout all human cultures. Nothing about the Giant is remotely gay or pornographic.

To begin with, the Giant is a solitary figure, and he isn’t engaging in any sexual activity. While the naked Giant does appear to have an erection, he isn’t touching or gesturing lewdly toward his genitals. Instead, the Cerne Abbas Giant is a rather innocuous example of a phallus, a “symbol or representation of the penis.” [1] Phallic art and architecture are quite common in cultures throughout the world, [2, 3, 4, 5, 6], so no “unsuspecting tourist” wandering through Dorset would be exposed to anything he or she hasn’t already seen thousands of times before.

Pro makes repeated allusions throughout his opening argument tying the Cerne Abbas Giant to homosexuals and homosexuality. As a threshold matter, these allegations are unfounded. Pro did not offer any evidence to support his claims that the Giant was created "by stone age gays," that the Giant himself is supposed to be a "giant gay," or that local homosexuals are the ones responsible for keeping it on display. More importantly, however, is the fact that such allegations - even if they were true - are irrelevant. The sexual orientation of the people who create or appreciate particular works of art cannot serve as a justification for censorship. Would my opponent support bans on the literature of William Shakespeare or the music of Elton John?

To the extent that my opponent finds the Cerne Abbas Giant itself homoerotic, this probably says more about my opponent than it does about the Giant itself.

2. Local communities have the right to determine their own moral standards

In the leading American case to reconcile permissible restrictions on obscenity with the human right to free speech, the U.S. Supreme Court emphasized that local communities have the right to arrive at their own definition of "obscenity":

"It is neither realistic nor constitutionally sound to read the First Amendment as requiring that the people of Maine or Mississippi accept public depiction of conduct found tolerable in Las Vegas, or New York City . . . People in different States vary in their tastes and attitudes, and this diversity is not to be strangled by the absolutism of imposed uniformity." [7]

If the people of Dorset find the Cerne Abbas Giant to be harmless, that should end the discussion. What right does my opponent have to impose his own prudish morality on others? While people may indeed have "a right to live in an environment free from huge sexually-explicit hillside chalk engravings," they also have the right to live in an environment with sexually-explicit hillside chalk engravings. Every community has the right to choose for itself what it deems appropriate.

3. Tourists assume the risk of witnessing uncomfortable things when visiting foreign locations.

My opponent professes a desire to protect the delicate sensibilities of "unsuspecting families . . . [and] decent, law-abiding tourists." No tourist, however, should be "unsuspecting" when visiting a foriegn community. Unless told otherwise, all tourists knowingly assume the risk that they may be exposed to certain cultural works or practices that would be considered taboo or offensive in their own communities. If a tourist wishes to avoid exposing themselves or their children to uncomfortable material, they have the obligation to vet their destinations ahead of time. Tourists have no right - legal or otherwise - to censor material considered acceptable by a local population.

4. Censoring the Cerne Abbas Giant would harm Dorset

Because the Giant is a centuries-old relic of local culture, its censorship or destruction would harm the community of Dorset, England. To begin with, Dorset denizens would be offended if an external governing body determined that such a major part (pun intened) of their local heritage was too offensive or inappropriate to display. Additionally, censoring or destroying the Giant would probably eliminate the primary reason most tourists visit Dorset in the first place, costing the Dorset community untold thousands of valuable tourism dollars.

Whatever inadequacies or insecurities the Cerne Abbas Giant may trigger in my opponent, they certainly don't justify inflicting the kind of emotional and financial harm that would result from censorship.

Sources:

[1] http://www.merriam-webster.com...
[2] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/phallus
[3] Danielou, Alain. The Phallus: Sacred Symbol of Male Creative Power (1995)
[4] Friedman, David A. A Mind of Its Own: A Cultural History of the Penis (2008)
[5] http://www.globalpost.com...
[6] http://cabinetmagazine.org...
[7] Miller v. California, 413 U.S. 15, 32-33 (1973)

Debate Round No. 1
brian_eggleston

Pro

I thank my learned opponent for his eloquent and comprehensive response but would politely refer him to the ‘Comments' section of this debate where, at the outset, I stated that this debate was written "'tongue-in-cheek' and is in no way intended to be homophobic." Nevertheless, I fully accept that my sense of humour might be considered "juvenile" and also that the ‘Comments' section is not part of the main body of the debate and I will, therefore, duly respond to his arguments at face value.

1. The Cerne Abbas Giant is not obscene

Obscenity, like beauty, is a matter of opinion – and much depends on context. To illustrate this point, I would like to draw the voters' attention to case relating to obscenity in Tennessee, as described by Bill Bryson in his book Made in America.

"In 1951, the proprietor of the Hi Hat Lounge in Nashville, Tennessee, purchased a life-sized photograph of a naked young woman lying on a fluffy rug and proudly hung it behind his bar. Even by the relatively chaste standards of the day it was not a terribly revealing picture – only her posterior was exposed to view – and probably nothing more would have come of it except that one day an electrician arrived to do some work and recognized the woman in the photograph as his wife, which surprised him because she had never mentioned that she was doing nude modeling for a local photographer.

The electrician took the Hi Hat to court, and for a short while the matter became first a local and then a national sensation. With the eyes of America on him, Judge Andrew Doyle ruled that as art the photograph was perfectly acceptable, but that as a barroom decoration it was ‘unquestionably obscene'." (1)

A similar view could be expressed with regard to the Cerne Giant - as an antiquity, it should be preserved, but under a cover, with access being made available to scholars and other interested professionals.

With regard to the homosexual nature of the Cerne Giant, I would contend that an image of a naked young woman would, generally, be more appealing to a heterosexual man than an image of a naked man – and visa-versa - whereas women have never been avid patrons of pornography.

2. Local communities have the right to determine their own moral standards

Please let me give an example where a local community argued just this. For years, the members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints led seemingly blameless lives, spending their days raising children, working their land and performing household chores, and they strongly resented the close attentions of law-enforcement officers who were investigating reports of activities lacking in moral standards that they suspected had taken place on a routine basis within their compound. Understandably, perhaps, the community was outraged when 534 women and children were forcibly removed from their homes and their leader, Warren Jeffs, was arrested and subsequently jailed. His numerous offences related to incest and sexual conduct with a minor and being an accomplice to the rape of a 14-year-old girl who wed her cousin in an arranged marriage in 2001. (2)

Clearly, the moral standards this community determined for themselves fell woefully short of those adopted and accepted by the wider population - and that's why they were, quite rightly, obliged to conform with the more robust moral standards that apply to society as a whole.

3. Tourists assume the risk of witnessing uncomfortable things when visiting foreign locations.

This is true, but I never sought to deny it. However, when they return to their native lands and report that they had seen: child prostitution in Thailand; extreme poverty in India; gangland violence in Mexico; public executions in Yemen or Neolithic gay porn in England, it may deter potential tourists from travelling to those countries in the future.

4. Censoring the Cerne Abbas Giant would harm Dorset

I am pleased to report that Dorset has many tourist attractions, so many, in fact that the Cerne Giant doesn't even feature on the list of the top 18 (3) so the economic impact of censoring this piece of stone age porn would be minimal.

Thank you.

(1) http://www.tucson.halversen.com...
(2) http://www.msnbc.msn.com...
(3) http://www.dorsetforyou.com...
LiberalHoyaLawya

Con

First of all, I apologize for failing to realize that this debate was originally intended as a joke. Had I known of Pro’s true intentions, I guarantee that I would have posted an equally silly response full of innuendo and double entendres. After such a genuinely impressive Round 2 argument from my opponent, however, I feel obligated to respond with a commensurate level of effort. Let me say for the record that, while I am pleased to hear my opponent is not a homophobe, I now harbor strong suspicions that my opponent may be a "hustler." [1]

Returning to the argument at hand. While my opponent certainly made a valiant effort in Round 2, Abraham Lincoln himself couldn’t save such a ridiculous resolution. Namely, the Cerne Abbas Giant simply isn’t offensive enough by any objective moral standard to justify trampling over the local preferences of the people of Dorset.

1. The Cerne Abbas Giant does not violate any objective moral standard

Certain moral truths may be characterized as “objective,” in that they exist “in the rhealm of sensible experience perceptible to all observers." [2] Objective moral standards are those which are universally or almost-universally recognized, such as the human rights codified in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (approved by a 48-0 vote by the UN General Assembly). [3] My opponent refers to objective moral standards as "robust moral standards that apply to society as a whole."

Analogizing to the practice of child marriage common in the former religious sect run by cult leader Warren Jeffs, my opponent argues that the Cerne Abbas Giant violates an objective moral standard serious enough to disregard the non-conforming views of Dorset residents. While an interesting argument in theory, my opponent's argument falls flat in practice because the Cerne Abbas Giant simply does not violate any objective moral standard.

There is no universal "right" to be free from possible exposure to offensive artwork. By contrast, arranged child marriages clearly violate at least two of the human rights codified in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Article 4's prohibition against "slavery or servitude" [4], and Article 16's command that "[m]arriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses." [5] By comparing the artistic depiction of the Cerne Giant's erect penis with the abomidable practice of child marriage, my opponent is comparing bananas to oranges.

As further evidence that the Cerne Abbas Giant violates no objective moral standard, please refer to the following comprehensive compilation of penises as depicted in art throughout the course of human history:

http://www.circumstitions.com...
http://www.circumstitions.com...
http://www.circumstitions.com...
http://www.circumstitions.com...
http://www.circumstitions.com...;

At one point, my opponent suggested that the Cerne Giant could be preserved as an antiquity, but with limited access rights. According to the logic of this compromise solution, my opponent would endorse covering up almost all of the artwork linked above, including such famous works as Michelangelo's Statue of David [6] and Sistine Chapel Ceiling, [7], respectively. As the prevalence of such artwork attests, however, no objective moral interest would be promoted by such draconian censorship.

2. In the absence of any violated objective moral standard, Dorset's local autonomy should be respected

While I concede my opponent's point that the financial impact of censoring the Giant would probably be negligible, I maintain that Dorset residents would be hurt psychologically by the censorship of such an important historical landmark. My opponent acnkowledged that "obscenity . . . is a matter of opinion," but whose opinion should matter more than the residents who actually live by the Giant? In the absence of any core moral wrong, Dorset residents alone should have the cultural right to decide what they think is appropriate to display in their own town.

In summary, my opponent has failed to establish that the Cerne Abbas Giant is actually obscene or harmful in any way, much less harmful enough to warrant some form of imposed censorship. Accordingly, Dorset has every right to continue displaying the Cerne Giant and his glorious masculinity for all the world to see!

Sources

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] http://www.merriam-webster.com...;
[3] http://www.un.org...
[4] http://www.un.org...;
[5] http://www.un.org...;
[6] http://en.wikipedia.org...;
[7] http://www.1st-art-gallery.com...;

Debate Round No. 2
12 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Man-is-good 5 years ago
Man-is-good
(continued) to refute Pro's counter-claim about objective moral standards that override the villagers' ability to determine such moral claims by noting the disparity between the case of the Cerne Abbas and that which he provided, and so on.
Posted by brian_eggleston 5 years ago
brian_eggleston
One of my favourite ever debates and I am truly indebted to my opponent for devoting his valuable time (as a former lawyer myself, I know just how valuable it is!) to respond to my debate challenge with such magnificent insight.

Just for the record, I grew up only a matter of ten miles or so from the Cerne Giant and it is one of my most cherished features of the English landscape.
Posted by kyro90 5 years ago
kyro90
I really would rather NOT look at pics of those... *_____*
Posted by 16kadams 5 years ago
16kadams
XD but really who would say no. and he argues its not graphic look at the pics :{
Posted by kyro90 5 years ago
kyro90
Lol ^_^
Posted by 16kadams 5 years ago
16kadams
ew someone said con
Posted by kyro90 5 years ago
kyro90
Con lol Jk, I just wanted to say that for fuzziez...
Posted by 16kadams 5 years ago
16kadams
if anyone says con then they should be banned lol
Posted by caveat 5 years ago
caveat
You are my hero.
Posted by brian_eggleston 5 years ago
brian_eggleston
Quite.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by Man-is-good 5 years ago
Man-is-good
brian_egglestonLiberalHoyaLawyaTied
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Total points awarded:15 
Reasons for voting decision: One point of conduct to Brian for another well-served debate, though I do have to contend that in terms of arguments, Liberal was far superior. In addition to successfully challenging Pro's contention that the Cerne Abbas was obscene or even pornographic (citing it correctly as an example of phallic art, a common image seen in traditional art), Con proposed a number of contentions--including the right of the villagers to determine their own moral standards and managed (see comments...)
Vote Placed by seraine 5 years ago
seraine
brian_egglestonLiberalHoyaLawyaTied
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro didn't show the Cerne Abbas to be obscene, or that if it was that it should be removed.
Vote Placed by Stephen_Hawkins 5 years ago
Stephen_Hawkins
brian_egglestonLiberalHoyaLawyaTied
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Total points awarded:13 
Reasons for voting decision: Although it was tongue-in-cheek (which makes Liberal lose a conduct point in my opinion, though some will disagree, I class "conduct" as synonymous with "form"), the "gay" part was what required proof for me. Liberal did point it out, and it was not defended adequately. Therefore, Liberal wins the argument point.
Vote Placed by Deathbeforedishonour 5 years ago
Deathbeforedishonour
brian_egglestonLiberalHoyaLawyaTied
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro had better arguments.
Vote Placed by InVinoVeritas 5 years ago
InVinoVeritas
brian_egglestonLiberalHoyaLawyaTied
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Although I appreciate Pro's creativity, Con made the stronger argument and had better evidence to support it.