Porn in the USA

I could write a book about the smut Iíve seen at the library.

I must be getting soft in my old age. Because there I was, in the children's section of the downtown Denver Public Library, surrounded by happy kids who love books and learning — and yet for some reason, I could not force myself to sit at one of the public computers and start looking at pornography on the Internet. I know, I know, total copout, but God help me, I didn't want to expose those innocent young toddlers to the world of filth readily available with one sweaty click of the mouse.

If only the rest of the library-goers were so considerate.

Every morning I wake up, grab some coffee, then come into the office and spend three hours dutifully trolling right-wing blogs. CNN? Too liberal. New York Times? Go plant a tree, you fucking hippies. When What's So Funny wants his news and wants it accurate, he turns to the blogosphere, where conservative pundits — or, as I like to call them, heroes — reveal the day's truisms from their mothers' Midwestern basements. And one such blog, Face the State, recently informed me of a grave situation far more important than those monks in Myanmar: rampant pornography at the downtown library. The library! The place where we went as kids to pen book reports and study microfiche photographs of Marlene Dietrich in back issues of Variety is no longer immune to the bawdiness that pervades modern-day society. Because on the computers that most of us use to discover why clouds are so beautiful, other people are watching porn clips dark enough to make a lady-boy blush.

After seeing a letter in the Rocky Mountain News from some woman who freaked out after she caught people looking at porn on library computers, Face the State did some research and concluded that you could, in fact, look at porn in the library. The blogger did so by going there and googling "porn," like an amateur. Clearly, more exhaustive What's So Funny research was in order.

"Is there a room where people can do Internet research?" I asked the 339-year-old librarian on the ground floor, imagining a steamy den full of rail-jumpers furiously jerking into trash buckets.

"Tippecanoe and Tyler, too!" the confused geriatric bellowed.

Ignoring her incoherent sputtering, I ascertained from signage that after making a reservation on any of the library's computers with my DPL card, I could surf the net to my heart's content. I signed up for a twenty-minute sesh and then moved to my allotted computer area at "2nd Floor North." The gaggle of computers to which I'd been assigned were all occupied save one, so I slid into the empty seat and, slyly typing addresses that I often use when I'm...uh, writing papers about, like...uh, the Objectification of Women, I determined that you could, indeed, access pretty much anything free of charge on these city computers. Anything. But it embarrassed me to be surfing porn while surrounded by teenagers checking their MySpace pages, so I resorted to googling things that sounded dirty but aren't. Swashbuckling Asian Teens. Lumber Dykes. Hilarious, yet surprisingly clean!

Soon I realized that voyeurism might be more entertaining, and I started wandering around the library, checking out what the good people of Denver were looking up online. Most searches were legit — used-car prices, google maps, music videos on YouTube — but littered here and there were sketchy dudes getting their pure, unadulterated smut on. The first one I spotted had some pretty tasteful porn on the screen — a topless lady, panties on, downright adorable, really — but when he saw me watching him, he quickly minimized the screen and pretended to check e-mail. I kept searching, and when I reached Periodicals on the third floor, I finally found the creep I was looking for: Eazy-E, who was bumping DMX from his headphones and rocking a black skullcap, sunglasses and a backpack that I was afraid to know the contents of. I sat at the desk next to his and pretended to surf, but really just watched him. His next visit was to a site titled (I kid you not) "White Boy Stomp," with the slogan "We hunt down black sluts and force them to taste our white boy load!" Classy. I watched Eazy-E study filthy, filthy porn in full view of the entire room, and disgusted as I was, part of me had to admire his brazenness. When E's wheezing picked up in intensity, however, that admiration quickly dissipated, and I retreated to the bathroom to wash my hands.

When I came out, I took one last glance back at Eazy-E, who was now enjoying some whimsical 69-ing footage, and then happened to catch the reaction of a librarian, who looked over at E, frowned in disgust, then turned and began some busy work. No reprimand, no admonishments, nothing. And that librarian's silent defeat said it all: It's disgusting that this man can do this, but until porn filters catch up with the needs of earnest researchers — aka never — scenes like this are going to take place. In America, freedom of information means freedom of masturbation. But at least we can be comforted by the fact that not everyone is going to indulge in library porn; it takes real balls to look this stuff up in public. We just have to pray that the Eazy-Es of the world don't try to touch them.

 
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