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About Other / Hobbyist Arbie HeroutMale/United States Recent Activity
Deviant for 8 Years
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Newest Deviations

The Champ Stands Alone by count-herout
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The Champ Stands Alone :iconcount-herout:count-herout 10 0
Belle74 by count-herout
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Belle74 :iconcount-herout:count-herout 2 0
Come to Knock You Out! by count-herout
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Come to Knock You Out! :iconcount-herout:count-herout 11 1
Cover Girl by count-herout
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Cover Girl :iconcount-herout:count-herout 5 0
Karanjeet Kaur ''Sunny'' Vohra by count-herout
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Karanjeet Kaur ''Sunny'' Vohra :iconcount-herout:count-herout 12 0
Bianca Weber by count-herout
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Bianca Weber :iconcount-herout:count-herout 13 0
On Censorship by count-herout On Censorship :iconcount-herout:count-herout 2 0 DebbieAnn_Ashby_01card by count-herout
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DebbieAnn_Ashby_01card :iconcount-herout:count-herout 3 0
DebbieAnn_Ashby_01cr by count-herout
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DebbieAnn_Ashby_01cr :iconcount-herout:count-herout 18 3
Tylene_Buck_01card by count-herout
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Tylene_Buck_01card :iconcount-herout:count-herout 2 0
Tylene_Buck_01cr by count-herout
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Tylene_Buck_01cr :iconcount-herout:count-herout 23 0
Crystal_White_01fwcard by count-herout
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Crystal_White_01fwcard :iconcount-herout:count-herout 1 0
Crystal_White_01cr by count-herout
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Crystal_White_01cr :iconcount-herout:count-herout 9 0
Nikkala_Stott_01card by count-herout
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Nikkala_Stott_01card :iconcount-herout:count-herout 1 0
Nikkala_Stott_01cr by count-herout
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Nikkala_Stott_01cr :iconcount-herout:count-herout 13 0
Angie_Simons_01card by count-herout
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Angie_Simons_01card :iconcount-herout:count-herout 1 0
The Women's Topless Boxing Association is brought to you by Spudweiser, the prince of vodkas -- made with real potatoes for that sweet, crisp finish you can't get with grain-based spirits --; by Blue Agave brand tequila -- the drink of the gods! --; by Princess Belle Diapers 4 Girls! (a "must" for any girl who fights the good fight but cannot go the distance); and by the Democratic National Committee -- for the best in jackass politics, vote Democratic for a change!

Favourites

Winner by Knockout! by count-herout by bprofane51
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Winner by Knockout! by count-herout :iconbprofane51:bprofane51 2 0
In the Neutral Corner by count-herout by bprofane51
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In the Neutral Corner by count-herout :iconbprofane51:bprofane51 2 0
Karin's End  by count-herout by bprofane51
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Karin's End by count-herout :iconbprofane51:bprofane51 3 1
The Advantage of Reach  by count-herout by bprofane51
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The Advantage of Reach by count-herout :iconbprofane51:bprofane51 9 1
Hurty-Gerti Girl  by count-herout by bprofane51
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Hurty-Gerti Girl by count-herout :iconbprofane51:bprofane51 6 0
Not Again!  by count-herout by bprofane51
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Not Again! by count-herout :iconbprofane51:bprofane51 5 0
She Has a Date! by count-herout by bprofane51
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She Has a Date! by count-herout :iconbprofane51:bprofane51 5 0
Beautiful boxer struggles to get back to her feet by freddobbs
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Beautiful boxer struggles to get back to her feet :iconfreddobbs:freddobbs 27 3
Goner by count-herout by bprofane51
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Goner by count-herout :iconbprofane51:bprofane51 4 0
First-time Jitters by count-herout by bprofane51
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First-time Jitters by count-herout :iconbprofane51:bprofane51 2 2
Gerti Langner By Count Herout-dciycmw by bprofane51
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Gerti Langner By Count Herout-dciycmw :iconbprofane51:bprofane51 3 0
Opening Round by count-herout by bprofane51
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Opening Round by count-herout :iconbprofane51:bprofane51 5 0
Lena Soerenson by count-herout by bprofane51
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Lena Soerenson by count-herout :iconbprofane51:bprofane51 10 2
The best boxing attire ever...Angie vs Ute by freddobbs
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The best boxing attire ever...Angie vs Ute :iconfreddobbs:freddobbs 34 2
She who wins shall become my bodyguard. by arosolius
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She who wins shall become my bodyguard. :iconarosolius:arosolius 5 1
Flattened_by_count-herout by bprofane51
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Flattened_by_count-herout :iconbprofane51:bprofane51 5 0
Included in these Favourites are not only deviations by others worthy of mention but also those base photos or drawings that served as foundation for pieces in my own gallery. Also, more recently, B. Profane has been good enough to edit some of the cache photos I have been unable to find the time for. Mostly, that process involves removing the massive amounts of lint that apparently were on the printer when the positive still prints were made. This is not difficult to do but does require a large amount of time, and I trust all appreciate his workmanship!

Finally, a hearty thank you to all those whose work came first!

Critiques


Second try: My Malwarebytes jumped in and shut my system down in the middle of the first one (sorry 'bout that). This is an excellent s...


Not a bad drawing, but girls flat on their backs like that should have their breasts lying flat (unless they're fake tits). But, even s...

by CB1964

Is this a poser, or is she a real girl? Oh, the gloves give it away! (But, I did have to look twice.) Put a pair of boxing panties on h...

Activity


The Champ Stands Alone
Unfortunately, this bout exists solely in my mind (though Erika did win the fight).

I hope everyone appreciates this one, since I literally had to stitch it together from about half a dozen photographs (including the two principal ones courtesy of Darrius "Fitzhugh" Jones over at Hit the Mat). 

It took me all afternoon, but I don't think I've ever seen Erika prettier.

The photo exists in a smaller size, and I'm not yet positive this one will work at the resolution presented.  Viewers may want to cut the print by half with a photoeditor (and please let me know if there are problems).

Update:  I cleaned it up a mite and shrunk it slightly to get rid of some fuzziness.  It's still good enough to hang on your bedroom wall!
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25,000 PAGE VIEWS...

...192 followers (135 still with DA), 34 llama badges, and ALMOST TWO WEEKS without a response since the filing of the first censorship appeal (the one where the censor failed to give a reason -- because he didn't have one).

Can anyone tell me why I shouldn't simply repost the censored work?  (See Journal History:  Art Lesson I, infra, for the underlying, unmodified image).
In the pending appeal of the censorship of Jana's Finished (a photo showing Jana Jensen wetting her panties after she was knocked out in the eighth round of a WTBA title fight), I stated that Deviant Art well might want to revisit its published policies re using urine in art works, upon some realization that, inadvertently, DA had left a hole in its coverage.

I will take this opportunity to argue that such an expansion not only is unwarranted but also an invitation for controversial works to be judged by the stupid. 

More than anything else, censorship of art most likely will suppress the presentations of the deepest thinkers upon the prejudices of the shallowest (what arguably we have here).

Among the most controversial works of the late Twentieth Century -- literally magnitudes higher in terms of "offensiveness" than anything one will find here -- is Andres Serrano's Immersion (Piss Christ), a photograph the exhibition of which literally has caused riots in downtown Paris.  Piss Christ is a photograph of a plastic crucifix immersed in a beaker of urine with, apparently, some cow's blood added for heightened color:

Piss Christ by Serrano Andres (1987) edited by count-herout

Andrew Hudgins for Slate said of the controversial work, " If we did not know it was cow's blood and urine, if we did not know that Serrano had for weeks hoarded his urine in a plastic vat, if we did not know the cross was gimcrack plastic, we would assume it was too beautiful.  We would assume it was the resurrection, glory, Christ transformed to light by light because the blood and urine burn like a halo, and light, as always, light makes it beautiful."

But, of course, we do know that the liquid is cow's blood and urine, and not amber or polyurethane, because Serrano, himself has said so and, furthermore, his admission is incorporated into the title of the work.

What are we to make of this?  There are several interpretations one can attach to the work including, perhaps, that blood and urine are the elixirs of life, and that people should drink them.  However, that is not the interpretation Serrano, himself, has attached to his photograph, and if we are to accept his admission that the fluid is urine, I think we also must hold truthful his added explanation of what use of the substance means.  Serrano says he made the photograph to protest the trivialization by contemporary religion of the symbols of its essence.  According to Serrano:  "What it symbolizes is the way Christ died:  [T]he blood came out of him but so did the piss and the shit.  Maybe if Piss Christ upsets you, it's because it gives some sense of what the crucifixion actually was like."

In these sentiments, he was seconded by an art critic also a Catholic nun, who said that, far from a blasphemy, she considered the photograph to express a statement on "what we are doing to Christ."

Against this backdrop, it is difficult to see just how DA could justify this particular work's suppression.  Whatever one thinks of the photo or its explanation, the one ground that does not seem to apply is display of "sexual bodily fluids"  -- as we already have seen, as a matter of biochemistry, urine is not a "sexual" fluid, and there clearly is nothing "sexual" in Piss Christ.

Nor can we condemn it as "hate speech," since such also would require the censor to attach to the image an interpretation at odds with what Serrano, himself, has had to say about it.  Serrano points out that he's been a Catholic all his life.  His photograph is not intended to stir up hatred of Catholics but actually expresses a pro-Catholic position.

Can we call Piss Christ "obscene"?  As DA, itself, admits, "obscenity" is a legal concept, and part of that legal concept is that, before any work can be condemned for being pornographic or obscene, a judgment must be made in terms of the totality of the work and not just some individual component of it.  Hudgins' observation that use of the blood and urine made the primary image of Christ on the cross "burn like a halo" only highlights the possibility that the purpose for using the mixture was to obtain the proper balance of reflection and light.

That leaves us only with such lesser categories as "controversy," and certainly this photograph has generated its share of that.  But, to allow some staff employee at DA to expand the current prohibitions merely to block a work he or she objects to because of his or her perception of what urine is seems to me to be a blanket invitation for all of us to be ruled by the idiots.

Granted we don't want every other photo on DA to be of some woman sucking dick, I think we also don't want DA to become the asylum for the idiots.

But, the principal thing I had in mind, in writing this journal entry (since what we do here is digital manipulation), is to transform Serrano's work, with as little manipulation as possible, to say exactly the opposite of what Serrano intended.  For the purposes of this lesson, I want the photograph to be a condemnation of Catholicism specifically and Christianity in general, in order to show why even that is not a proper subject for censorship.

Serrano's photograph is copyright 1987; to accomplish the transformation, all I'm going to do is first save the photo as "Piss Christ (Serrano)," then pirate the work and give to it a phony copyright (1989) in the name or Robert Mapplethorpe:

Piss Christ Mapplethorpe (1989) edited by count-herout

To understand the significance of this, one has to know a little bit about biology, a little bit about medicine, a little bit about history, a little bit about religion, and a little bit about Robert Mapplethorpe.

Let's take these subjects seriatim:

Biology:  Human beings share the earth with numerous other organisms and pseudo-organisms (since, technically, viruses are not alive).  Among those entities we probably would prefer didn't share our world is the human immunodeficiency virus -- HIV -- that leads to AIDS (acquired immune-deficiency syndrome).  Although HIV has come to our attention only relatively recently, there simply is no reason to believe that something so biochemically complex as AIDS is of recent creation.  The virus has shown a unique capacity to hide within the human body, making it resistant to potential vaccines, and as of this moment, we still don't know how to cut it off or kill it.  It operates by attacking human T-cells and systematically annihilating a person's immune system, making a person infected increasingly at risk for developing other diseases which eventually cause death of the organism.  The death is protracted; the infected person literally falls apart.  Short of crucifixion, there probably are few deaths that are worse.

Medicine:  It is well known that AIDS has been particularly virulent within homosexual communities, and that homosexual men are among those especially hard hit.  In discussing how people become infected with AIDS, the Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy has said: "Infected cells can reach target cells in a new host directly (blood transfusions, injection) or after mucous membrane exposure; ie, by close, direct contact that breaches normal body barriers.  For example, chimpanzees have been infected via vaginal exposure without trauma or coexisting infection.  Presumably, such mucous membrane transmission would be even easier in the presence of inflamed or traumatized tissues; eg, anorectal lesions, which are highly prevalent in homosexual men.  Among humans, heterosexual transmission from men to women has been well documented.  Transmission from women to men appears to be more difficult, but such instances are being increasingly reported.  While transmission by accidental needle stick has occurred, transmission of HIV by this means is much more difficult and much less frequent than is hepatitis B."

I want to stress here what I have and have not said:  Anyone can get AIDS if he or she engages in risky behavior; however, individuals engaging in anal intercourse (and that certainly would include homosexual males as a special class) particularly are at risk.  Furthermore, nature only presents; she does not classify.  Hence, unless one is referring to persons solely homosexual or solely heterosexual, the entire concept of "sexual orientation" is false.  What actually exists among wild humans is a continuum of behaviors that spans the entire gamut of male-female interactions, with some being more heterosexual than homosexual and some the reverse.

Finally, read the Manual carefully:  Humans can get AIDS from sexual intercourse with monkeys -- "beasts."  And, because of the long incubation period that occurs between initial infection and full-blown AIDS, a person infected with HIV can be a particular danger to everyone else in the society around him.  In saying that, I stress:  I'm an atheist and have no skin in this game.  These are just the medical facts. 

History:  Our knowledge of the microbial world dates only from the invention of the microscope by van Leeuwenhoek in 1674.  Viruses are so small that many of them can be seen only with electron microscopes, which date from the late Twentieth Century.  Prior to that time, our knowledge even of the existence of the creatures to be seen in this way was non-existent.

Humans long have known about pandemics and plagues.  Ancient peoples (and not just Christians or Jews) commonly ascribed the causes of these calamities to displeasure on the part of a particular god or goddess, who then punished mankind in some way for the offense.  The entire plot of the Iliad is built around such a claim -- that the Greeks were punished with deadly illnesses because Agamemnon insulted Apollo by defiling the god's priestess.  Needless to say, no one today believes in Apollo; however, ever since the discoveries of Heinrich Schliemann, we have known that the stories of the Trojan War at least are based on fact.  There is no reason whatsoever to disbelieve the claim that Apollo's priestess was defiled or that the Greek armies were ravaged by plague within their camp, or that the two incidents occurred concurrently.

There is every reason to believe these two incidents simply were coincidental, and that the real cause of the plague had nothing to do with priestesses.  Furthermore, though none in the ancient world even could know the actual cause, some people back then weren't all that ignorant.  In Deuteronomy, Moses instructs the Hebrews:  "You shall have a place outside the camp, and you shall go out to it; and you shall have a stick [or spade] with your weapons; and when you sit down outside, you shall dig a hole with it and turn back and cover up your excrement.  Because the Lord your God walks in the midst of your camp, to save you and to give up your enemies before you, therefore your camp must be holy, that he may not see anything indecent among you, and turn away from you."

We certainly wouldn't want God to get mad at us for stepping in our shit!

Now, I no more believe in Yahweh than I believe in Apollo; but, I do believe in microbes, and I do believe that Moses was not only a real person but a pretty smart guy.  His name suggests that the reason we cannot find him in history is because we're looking in the wrong place.  The time of the Moses kings -- Ahmose, Tutmose, etc., was a few hundred years before Ramses the Great.  In Egyptian, "mose" and "moses" means "drawn from" -- a way to say "junior" (Tutmose is the son of -- he was "drawn from" -- Tut).  The story of how he was saved from the slaughter of the innocents makes sense, which means that, for being raised in Pharaoh's house, he would have had a first-class education, the best his day provided, in contemporary terms, "a Harvard man."  Josephus tells us that he was an important military commander in the Egyptian army and directed several successful campaigns in the country's south.  The passage in Deuteronomy is completely consistent with what an ancient, educated man guided by experience would require in terms of camp hygiene, even though he didn't really know what he was doing.

Similarly, we now know that the Jewish prohibition of eating pork or snails (not shrimp -- Hebrews did not live on the coast) has a very valid (but then not understood) medical reason attached to it:  Eating pork can get one infected with trichinae worms, and eating snails from the Nile can get one infected with a blood fluke that leads to schistosomiasis.  That won't happen if one cooks the meat, but obviously the Egyptians and Hebrews had become experienced for eating them raw.

The Bible also contains prohibitions against sexual (including homosexual) practices, interestingly part of the Levitical degrees.  The degrees actually are designed to prevent consanguinity in marriage (a genetic danger), and they have no relationship medically to engaging in anal intercourse.  But, there is no way that Moses could have known that 3,500 years ago, so they all get lumped together, for being the kinds of practices (along with "sleeping with beasts" -- monkeys) that lead to nasty-looking results.
    
I submit that our good man, Moses, was aware without being aware of HIV.  Experience had taught the Egyptians that this was not something one wanted spread throughout the society, and not surprisingly, in the Old Testament, the penalty for such misbehavior is death.

Religion:  This is a very long path to get to the transmutation of our picture, but we're almost there.  The critical distinction between the Old Testament and the New, in considering this subject, is that the Levitical degrees prohibit conduct:  "You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.  And you shall not lie with any beast and defile yourself with it, neither shall any woman give herself to a beast to lie with it; it is perversion."  There is no condemnation here of "homosexuals" (whatever that is) but only of behaviors homosexual men commonly engage in.  Similarly, the prohibition against lying with beasts -- monkeys -- applies to men and women, whereas the other mentions only men alone.

This is simply a theologizing and theocratizing of a public-health measure directed at a combination of being and action.

Christianity doesn't exactly see it that way.  In his Epistle to the Romans, Paul says:  "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men who by their wickedness suppress the truth.  For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.  Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made.  So they are without excuse; for although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened.  Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds or animals or reptiles.  Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever!  Amen.  For this reason, God gave them up to dishonorable passions.  Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error."

This is not quite the same as the Jewish view, since central to the Christian ideology is the assertion that "sin" can arise from thought alone.  When Jimmy Carter told Playboy Magazine about lusting in his heart, he was expressing this idea that becoming aroused by the sight of a beautiful woman, though simply a semi-automatic response to a perception, itself constituted some kind of wrongdoing.  The true Christian condemns the homosexual for being homosexual, and not just for doing stupid things in the course of being that.  Christian sin does not require an act to perfect it.  The wrong becomes complete solely with the thought.

Robert Mapplethorpe:  Mapplethorpe is recognized as one of the best homo-erotic photographers; assigning him falsely with the copyright to Piss Christ is not consistent with the body of his work, at least to my knowledge.  But, by so assigning the ownership, the assignment, itself, flips the meaning of the photo to the one that no doubt caused people to riot in Paris.  Mapplethorpe was a homosexual, lived openly that way, and died of AIDS early in March 1989.  No doubt, there will be some Christians who will say he got pretty much what he deserved.  Another way to look at it, however, is that HIV remains a dangerous threat but that, if one day, someone finds a way to combat it, the ancient prohibition against homosexual activity (and specifically anal intercourse) will go the way of the prohibitions against eating pork and escargot.

In the meantime, our society does have to deal with the medical reality, and that's true no matter who ascends to the Supreme Court.

What, then, of the religious views on the subject?  It is sufficient, as a matter of modern medicine, to prevent people from consummating desire with action.  Nothing further need be done.  It is a great escalation to expand the prohibition from a union of thought and action to one of thought alone.  Were Mapplethorpe the creator of Piss Christ, what he reasonably would have been saying is that Catholicism is "waste" that needs to be discarded, and not because Catholics should be hated for despising him but because an essential feature of the theology is false.

An exploration of such a claim is beyond the scope of this art lesson.  What we do learn here is that there can be no such thing as some categorical imperative by which an art work can be judged as "blasphemous," "pornographic," or "obscene."  The Supreme Court of the United States spent years trying to delineate some standard by which at least some censorship could be justified legally.  All its efforts came to nothing, and today it essentially has given up the attempt. 

A private enterprise like Deviant Art, of course, has much greater latitude in terms of writing its own rules.  What I would point out, however, is that it doesn't have an easier problem.  Neither Piss Christ (Serrano) nor Piss Christ (Mapplethorpe) can be classified as "pornography" (neither has anything to do with sex).  Similarly, the term, "obscenity," doesn't really apply since the employment of urine is not done merely to shock or disgust per se.  As for "blaspheming" -- blaspheming what?  There are genuine differences in the tenets of different religions; they all can't be right.  And, Mapplethorpe's end does not confirm the Catholic view.  Mapplethorpe well may have been wrong, but as an artist, he had the right to raise his fist against his oppressors at the last moment.  At the time of his death, homosexuals routinely were fired from their jobs, thrown into jails, and even beaten in the streets, often by the very law-enforcement personnel employed to protect them.  Whether we should go so far as to equate bad health practices with the institution of Christian marriage can be debated.  But, hopefully we are beyond the time when a person's value to society is measured solely by his stupidity in the bedroom.  There is no Piss Christ (Mapplethorpe), and the examination of such a work here is speculative (though I would say reasonably so).  But, to allow a censor (and probably a stupid or ignorant one, given all that appears above) to ax such a work upon some claim it is "hate speech" surrenders our judgment to the judgment of a fool.

That's not what Deviant Art is supposed to be about.
 

MORE CENSORSHIP ATTEMPTED!

In response to yet ANOTHER effort at censorship here at Deviant Art, the following appeal has been filed:

"The notice received from devart said:  'The administrator who deleted your deviation added the following:
A member of staff has reviewed a report concerning this deviation and has found that the content is considered pornographic in nature due to the appearance of sexual bodily fluids in the material.'

"This writer not only contests the determination but calls for the dismissal of the said 'member of staff,' who either is totally deficient in terms of his knowledge of biology or perverted for seeing sex in situations where none objectively can be found.

"There is nothing 'sexual' about a woman getting the pee knocked out of her in a prizefight.  Since this was briefed by me in the updated text to the image, a brief fully developed in my referenced Journal entry, 'Art Lesson' [infra], the said 'member of staff' cannot be other than aware of his or her errors -- he or she has acted willfully, deliberately, and maliciously.

"This merits dismissal.

"Furthermore, it goes without saying that personal prejudices, even of employee staff, cannot constitute any OBJECTIVE standard by which controversial artworks can be evaluated.  Deviant Art may, indeed, wish to revisit its published policies concerning the appearance of urine in a work of art, but AS OF RIGHT NOW, it is NOT prohibited EXCEPT in SEXUAL situations.

"As mentioned, getting knocked out in a boxing match is not a SEXUAL situation other than in the mind of the viewer, and I am not responsible for what is in the mind of your employee.

"As for the claim that urine -- essentially urea dissolved in water -- is a 'sexual bodily fluid,' you are referred to Lubert Stryer's Biochemistry (New York:  W.H.Freeman, 1981) at 411-415 (no doubt there is a more recent edition of this), which clearly shows the urea cycle in vertibrates to be the process for removing AMMONIA from cells and then from the body (there is nothing 'sexual' about it other than that sex cells and the organs they compose produce ammonia too).  See also the Subcommittee on Ammonia, Committee on Medical and Biological Effects of Environmental Pollutants, Division of Medical Sciences, Assembly of Life Sciences, National Research Council, Ammonia (Baltimore:  University Park Press, 1979) at 34f. (Ammonia metabolism) and chap. 2 generally.

"In other words, the most generous thing I can say about your staff employee is that he or she doesn't know what he or she is talking about.

"For the reasons stated in the 'Art Lesson' journal entry [infra], as well as the information related supra, your staff member's determination clearly is false, and the censorship of my photograph, for the reasons given, is the action either of a pervert or an ignoramus.

"The work needs to be restored, and the staff member dismissed."

Kudos to Critics

One discovery made in the course of administering the recent forum was that underaged individuals were evading DA's filters by simply switching them off.  There IS some material on this site that is a mite rich for minors; to prevent such evasion from happening again, a large number of photos have been switched from "moderate" to "strict" and will not be visible unless the DA account, itself, establishes the age bona fides of the visitor.

I thank those who brought this to my attention; we do (and should) listen to reasonable objections.
FORUM SHUT DOWN!

Followers and visitors here are informed that someone calling himself "phoenixleo" and posting rainbow colors on his profile page has employed whatever power he has to shut down the forum calling for a censorship rebellion.  According to leo (or is it phoenix?), "I’m afraid that this particular thread doesn’t meet our posting guidelines so we’re going to bring the discussion to a halt."

It's not clear if anyone else is working with him on this or whether he has the moral or legal knowledge to adjudicate "posting guidelines."

Whatever:  The forum harvested large numbers of critics -- people who WANT censorship -- but also some who recognized the danger.  It also, without actually intending to, gained me additional followers and reaped me seven more llama badges (I now have 27).

I'll resist the temptation to claim that what phoenixleo really is afraid of is more of that.

What is clear is that what we do here is, indeed, very controversial -- but, then, that is what all true art is SUPPOSED to be.  The solution for those who don't want to be party to that is not to try to block presentation and shut down discussion or debate but simply to opt themselves out, which DA always has allowed individual deviants to do.  If what you want from DA is a Pollyanna world full of child-like, fantasy creatures, -- dragons that cuddle -- by all means, adjust your settings accordingly.  And, if you're underage or otherwise easily offended AND TAKE YOUR SCREENS DOWN, DA should not be listening to you complain about what your curiosity leads you to.

As for those who have CHOSEN to be here, the censors are abusing their powers, the gauntlet has been thrown down, and whether you elect to step forward at this time well may determine whether this little corner of Deviant Art continues to exist.  With that in mind, recall the words of Martin Niemoeller:

"First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out.  Because I was not a socialist.  Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out.  Because I was not a Trade Unionist.  Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out.  Because I was not a Jew.  Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me."

To some extent, of course, Deviant Art will do what its owners want it to do; but, it's foolish to think they simply can ignore those who actually make their site worth visiting -- if there were no fear here, phoenixleo would not be trying to shut everything down.  And, if you have power to oppose evil and do not use it, no one ever will hear you when the power vacuum you've helped to create gets filled by the very evil you secretly despise. 

Arbie
OK, children:  It's time for your art lesson!

Artists can be held responsible for what is real and for what they actually show.  They are not responsible for what thoughts, assumptions, or conclusions are in the mind of the (likely unknown) viewer.  If the viewer elects to observe a photo of a young girl inflating a balloon:

Woman-blowing-balloon Sbus7q by count-herout

and chooses to find sex in it (for reminding him of the last time he enjoyed fellatio), that's his choice, but what the rest of us see is a young girl inflating a balloon, and the chances are about 99.999999% that the artist was, indeed, showing a photo of a young girl inflating a balloon and not someone practicing for her next performance of fellatio.

A self-appointed "decency guardian" who demands this photo be suppressed for violation of DA's sexual-themes policy at best only shows herself an ass.

The photo that was taken down (as we shall see, by the ass) showed Abbi Taylor sitting on a couch in nothing but her diaper, as part of an advertisement for the Princess Belle Diaper Company (she was helping the company to sell diapers).  The foundational photo for the diaper ad was taken in England in 2010 when Abbi (born in 1986) was 24 years old.  No matter what our personal conclusions about what this photo:

Abbi_Taylor_1280clean by count-herout

"really" means, the one thing absolutely real is that Abbi today and at the time was in excess of eighteen years of age.

Another reasonable conclusion to draw is that the diaper she was wearing at the time the photo was taken was not wet.  Since it was not wet at all, clearly it was not wet with water or pee or sweat or alcohol or cyclohexane.  Anyone who claims that the photo shows bodily fluids or waste has bats in their belfry.

To make the diaper ad that actually was taken down, I colored the OUTSIDE of the diaper (detail):

Belle68detail by count-herout

So, what is real here is that Abbi is wearing a dry diaper that was colored slightly on the outside.  If the viewer concludes that the diaper is wet, then again, the absolute proof provided by the original photo shows the viewer to be mistaken.

And, again, I am not responsible for what is in the viewer's (including the censor's) mind.  If the viewer wants to run around, shouting, "Abbi has wet her pants!" that I suppose is her right, but what the photo actually shows is no more "bodily waste" than the photo of the balloon -- indeed, even less so, since there really is waste gas in the balloon.

1.  The diaper is not really wet -- with anything.
2.  If I really am so good an artist that it genuinely appears wet (and if that can be a consideration), again it is the assumption of the viewer that the wetting fluid is urine perhaps prohibited by the rules (see infra).

But, here, once again, is where the censor has made of herself an ass:

DA's published policy (which we all accept by being here) is that certain things are prohibited when exhibited in connection with or support of a specified theme (sex, violence, hate, controversy, etc.).

So, for example, one is not allowed to show Abbi masturbating or engaging in sexual intercourse.

Fine, let's put that in computerese so we all are on the same page:  A computer runs its program sequentially -- step by step.  When it reaches a conditional statement, it executes the command when the condition is true and doesn't execute the command when the condition tests false.  When we computerize the DA policy, what the program looks like is something like this:

0001     Start;
0002     href = page1;
0003     if(sex) href = page2; [execute commands on page 2];
0004     if(violence) href = page3; [execute commands on page 3];
0005     if(hate) href = page4; [execute commands on page 4];
0006     if(controversy) href = page 5; [execute commands on page 5];
0007     else href = page1; [execute commands on page 1];
0008     End;

Using this program, we now can see why the photo of the girl inflating the balloon does not wash out for violating the published policy.  Yes, a reasonable inference is that the balloon is full of carbon dioxide, and any medical text will inform us that carbon dioxide is "other bodily waste."  The problem (and what the censor clearly ignored in the case here) is that the prohibition against "other bodily waste" can be found solely on the sex page (page 2).  If you are not on the sex page -- if the command, if(sex) tests false -- there is no way to reach the prohibition.  So, once again, the censor shows himself an ass because what he has to say to reach the prohibition is:  "Inflating the balloon is 'sexual' because it reminds me of fellatio."

Well, I do hope you're all laughing by now -- at the censor!

I could, if I chose to take the time to go on the internet and find one, post here a photo of Usain Bolt sweating while setting the record in the 100-meter dash.  Oh, horrors:  There is display of bodily fluids!  And, yes, people do sweat when they engage in sex (and when they run the 100-meter dash).  But, the complaint simply is irrelevant.  Again, the first (and most crucial) test returns "false" -- running a race is not "sexual" --and none of us who are normal ever even get to page 2.

Now, I have surfaced a 16-year-old critic who fancies himself an expert and, despite the mature label on the picture, has found the photo of Jana Jensen wetting her panties after having been knocked out in a prizefight.  Here's the photo:

JanaCatrina Jensen 590767 edited by count-herout

While our juvenile critic was quick to latch onto the discovery that Jana is, indeed, wetting her panties, again we have the censor's fundamental error up front and on display:  The critic assumes that, because Jana appears bare breasted, this display somehow is "sexual."  Well, maybe to some people it is, but what it actually shows is a woman who got the pee knocked out of her in a prizefight, and my guess is that the last thing on Jana Catrina "I have a headache" Jensen's mind is getting me into bed!

The sex here is solely in the mind of the critic; this photo of Jana is no more on the published prohibited list than would be a photo of Usain Bolt sweating or, for that matter, the adolescent exhaling into the balloon.  True, DA might someday change its policies to make this photo illegal, but it has not done that yet.  Not unless the owners of Deviant Art are prepared to step forward and say that the proper way for a man to have sex with a woman is for him to knock the pee out of her first, then take her by force.

It is no different with the diaper ad featuring Abbi Taylor.  Let us look at the text accompanying the ad and add to it Abbi's likely replies:

Ad:  "Oh, Abbi:  Are you wet again?"

Abbi:  "No, I was playing with a hi-lighter and only colored the plastic on the outside."

Ad:  "What am I going to do with you!"

Abbi:  "Nothing.  I'm 33 years old; I can take care of myself."

Ad:  "It's a good thing you were saved by the Belle!"

Abbi:  "You know very well I have a hemorrhoid, and the diaper keeps me from bleeding all over the couch."

Ad:  "You can count on Princess Belle when your girl gets counted out:..."

Abbi:  "Yes, they make a good product."

If my censor sees sex in that, she's daft!

For those who bothered to read the policy, the underlying intent is clear:  Deviant Art does not want to attract every prurient pornographer seeking to stuff every nook and cranny on the website with the usual (and absolutely tasteless) porno junk.  They don't want every other photo on the site to be of some girl being forced to suck some guy's dick, and neither do I.  DA does not allow depictions of sexual intercourse, masturbation, or other, similar sexual conduct, which is fine with me (but there is none of that here).

It is not a violation of the published policy to show an adolescent girl expelling waste gases into a balloon.

It is not a violation of the published policy to show Usain Bolt sweating while running a race.

It is not a violation of the published policy to show Jana Jensen leaking because she got knocked out in a prizefight.

It is not a violation of the published policy to show Abbi Taylor wearing a diaper in an ad for a diaper company directed at the 50 million women in America who can't keep their panties dry, irregardless of whether she were captured in the act at age three or thirty, and that's even if she's wet with something more sinister than water or cyclohexane.

NONE of these activities have anything to do with sex except in the mind of the censor.  And, if I happen to be so good an artist that I successfully can employ optical illusions to manipulate the mind of a censor, obliging her to confront her own secret fascination with the prurient, then I'm the one in the right place!
DA recently removed a submission of mine for claimed "policy violations" but did not bother to say what the claimed violation was.  This, of course, made totally meaningless the appeal the policy itself says we all have a right to.

See my journal entry on this subject at  www.deviantart.com/count-herou… , then let DA know, either here or by submitting your own ticket via the help desk, that you want such arbitrary behavior to cease.  It is not wrong for DA to block material that turns its site into a trashy dump; however, it is critical to keeping censors within the bounds of actual policy to oblige them to specify claimed policy violations when they block or remove submissions.  In addition, the appeal you have, as a matter of policy should you be the target of such action, becomes meaningless to the extent you are not informed of the specific, claimed violation and thereby are prevented from responding to it.

How does one speak to a claimed policy violation when DA's employees won't say what the violation is?
Please:  To all those watching the WTBA on Deviant Art (and anyone else who happens to trip over this), read the following, then write to DA NOW, contact.deviantartsupport.com/… , and tell them you oppose this new, expanded and aggressive practice of censoring submissions without the censor having to declare a particular "policy violation" by which the censorship is justified.  As a participant in this community, you have a right to review of any adverse determination on any submission you make, and that right is made meaningless if someone blocking your work does not have to specify precisely the policy violation claimed.  Allowing such misbehavior on the part of the censor to go unchallenged only will invite further abuse on their part, once they discover that they can block publication of art work they simply don't like as a matter of their personal taste by invoking vague claims of "policy."  You do NOT have to approve of the work banned here to become part of this effort.  All you will be demanding is that Deviant Art adhere to procedures which implement the policy its owners actually have declared.  Those procedures do NOT include allowing self-appointed "decency guardians" to hide behind the vagaries of language by which their own personal preferences or interpretations become garbed in the sheep's clothing of "policy." 
As of 1:15 p.m. today, the most recent posting here, Belle68, has been censored by someone at Deviant Art who does not like the submission.  The only claim said individual made is that the posting was a "violation of Deviant Art policy."

The problem is that no reference to any specific policy was included in the notice of censorship.  This makes it impossible for anyone to contest the determination (a right everyone here has per the very policy claimed to be violated).

Without doubt, Belle68 was controversial, but no more so than similar postings one can find both here and elsewhere on Deviant Art.  Belle68 is an Andy Warhol type advertising spoof in which Abbi Taylor is shown, wearing a wet diaper for the Princess Belle Diaper Company in Pisinet, New York.  The fake advertisement is part of the Princess Belle series (there are some 70 ads total) attached to the Women's Titlebout Boxing Game being developed, and other components of that game also have been featured here including several of the boxer profile cards and their blanks.  MOST of the submissions here (including Belle68) carry a "mature" tag to them, so the claimed "policy violation" could not have been failure to keep the work restricted.

Nor can the violation be that the person depicted is under age.  Abbi Taylor is a well known model in England born on 26 August 1986; the photo serving as Belle68's base was taken in 2009 or 2010, making Abbi at least 23 years old at the time and a middle-aged woman today.

As for the rest, the fake ad does NOT (1) depict masturbation, (2) show Abbi engaging in sexual intercourse, (3) show Abbi being penetrated in any way by any object being inserted in her vagina or anus, (4) depict any semen or vaginal lubricants, (5) show a penis at all (erect or otherwise), (6) contain sexual toys, (7) show Abbi spreading any orifice of her body (even her mouth), and (8) does not actually depict "urine, feces, or other bodily waste."  Since no other prohibitions are declared on DA's policy page (see www.deviantartsupport.com/en/a… ), we all are left at sea concerning just what the violation is.

Now, it is true that Belle68 contains a photo-manipulation by which the diaper in the area of Abbi's loins was darkened to suggest she wet her pants.  This, however, cannot be a violation because neither DA nor anyone else can say how the diaper got wet -- since in the actual photo, she isn't wet at all, how can DA say she didn't deliberately wet her diaper by dipping it in a full bath tub -- of water?

Certainly, I have seen that happen before!

Beyond that, there is a clear difficulty with DA's own policy (or at least this particular application of it).  Included with this journal entry is a photo of a young woman, probably less than eighteen years of age, fully clothed but blowing up a balloon.  If showing a diaper that may be wet inside be a violation, is not the balloon photo also a violation?  After all, the balloon must be rich in carbon dioxide, and carbon dioxide is, indeed, "other bodily waste."

Woman-blowing-balloon Sbus7q by count-herout

DA's policy, as written and if taken literally, makes no sense at all and only makes the censors at DA look silly.

What, then, precisely, is the objection?

One perhaps could claim that Belle68 is "obscene," which Webster's Twentieth Century International defines as "...offensive to modesty or decency; lewd; impure; foul; filthy; repulsive; disgusting..."  But, clearly, any such equation of Belle68 with obscenity requires some linking, solely in the mind of the observer, of a woman in a wet diaper with something "offensive to modesty," etc.  And it is the very essence of art that the artist does not (and cannot) control what is in the mind of the art critic.

Can it be a "violation of policy" whenever an art critic the artist cannot control and probably doesn't even know discovers his or her fascination with the prurient? 

Furthermore, what is the standard to be applied here of "decency"?  Belle68 is an advertisement (though a fake one) for a woman's diaper company (though a fake one) located in Pisinet, New York.  That diaper company is a sponsor of the Women's Topless Boxing Association (WTBA), as is Spudweiser Vodka, Blue Agave Tequila, and the Democratic National Committee.  In these days when boys fucking boys up the arse is declared, by demodonkey and republicrat alike, to be not just a constitutional right but a right obliging inclusion in the sanctity of marriage, it is difficult to see just how showing a woman who has wet her pants qualifies as "offensive to modesty or decency."

Somebody here is pulling our leg.

Finally, what are the facts?  What statistics consistently show is that, at least in the English-speaking world, one in four women regardless of age or condition, and one in three older than 35, can't keep her panties dry.  The medical and psychological reasons for this vary, but the numbers do not lie, and the proof of the numbers can be found in the shopping aisles of any supermarket or drug store.  Belle68 at worst does no more than attempt to make more acceptable and sell what actually is being sold on a massive scale in every city, town, and borough in America.

Something being done that openly hardly can qualify as or properly be called "obscene."

But, we are told, by Deviant Art, itself, that "obscenity" is a "legal" concept -- and so it is.  But, as any editor of any skin magazine can tell you, determination of a publication's legal qualification as "obscenity" requires consideration of the publication as a whole, and not just a selected portion of it.  And, in this little corner of Deviant Art, the whole consideration is stated explicitly in the introduction to the Gallery:  

"The Women's Topless Boxing Association is brought to you by Spudweiser, the prince of vodkas -- made with real potatoes for that sweet, crisp finish you can't get with grain-based spirits --; by Blue Agave brand tequila -- the drink of the gods! --; by Princess Belle Diapers 4 Girls! (a "must" for any girl who fights the good fight but cannot go the distance); and by the Democratic National Committee -- for the best in jackass politics, vote Democratic for a change!"  [Emph.add.]

Anyone who saw Belle68 before some moron at Deviant Art took it down knows poor Abbi was, indeed, in need of a change!

Especially after the last several elections.

Could it be that the real reason Belle68 was taken down was because "a Democrat I have offended"?

A Democrat I have offended,
So my advocacy must be ended;
But, we're still around,
and so at the sound,
leave a note.
We'll get back when we're mended!


Naw, couldn't be:  That's expecting a demodonkey (or a republicrat for that matter) to be far more intelligent than the evidence shows they are!

Oh, who is John Galt?

deviantID

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count-herout
Arbie Herout
Artist | Hobbyist | Other
United States
Commissioner in residence of the Women's Topless Boxing Association; trainer and manager of Jana and Candis Jensen.
Interests
In the pending appeal of the censorship of Jana's Finished (a photo showing Jana Jensen wetting her panties after she was knocked out in the eighth round of a WTBA title fight), I stated that Deviant Art well might want to revisit its published policies re using urine in art works, upon some realization that, inadvertently, DA had left a hole in its coverage.

I will take this opportunity to argue that such an expansion not only is unwarranted but also an invitation for controversial works to be judged by the stupid. 

More than anything else, censorship of art most likely will suppress the presentations of the deepest thinkers upon the prejudices of the shallowest (what arguably we have here).

Among the most controversial works of the late Twentieth Century -- literally magnitudes higher in terms of "offensiveness" than anything one will find here -- is Andres Serrano's Immersion (Piss Christ), a photograph the exhibition of which literally has caused riots in downtown Paris.  Piss Christ is a photograph of a plastic crucifix immersed in a beaker of urine with, apparently, some cow's blood added for heightened color:

Piss Christ by Serrano Andres (1987) edited by count-herout

Andrew Hudgins for Slate said of the controversial work, " If we did not know it was cow's blood and urine, if we did not know that Serrano had for weeks hoarded his urine in a plastic vat, if we did not know the cross was gimcrack plastic, we would assume it was too beautiful.  We would assume it was the resurrection, glory, Christ transformed to light by light because the blood and urine burn like a halo, and light, as always, light makes it beautiful."

But, of course, we do know that the liquid is cow's blood and urine, and not amber or polyurethane, because Serrano, himself has said so and, furthermore, his admission is incorporated into the title of the work.

What are we to make of this?  There are several interpretations one can attach to the work including, perhaps, that blood and urine are the elixirs of life, and that people should drink them.  However, that is not the interpretation Serrano, himself, has attached to his photograph, and if we are to accept his admission that the fluid is urine, I think we also must hold truthful his added explanation of what use of the substance means.  Serrano says he made the photograph to protest the trivialization by contemporary religion of the symbols of its essence.  According to Serrano:  "What it symbolizes is the way Christ died:  [T]he blood came out of him but so did the piss and the shit.  Maybe if Piss Christ upsets you, it's because it gives some sense of what the crucifixion actually was like."

In these sentiments, he was seconded by an art critic also a Catholic nun, who said that, far from a blasphemy, she considered the photograph to express a statement on "what we are doing to Christ."

Against this backdrop, it is difficult to see just how DA could justify this particular work's suppression.  Whatever one thinks of the photo or its explanation, the one ground that does not seem to apply is display of "sexual bodily fluids"  -- as we already have seen, as a matter of biochemistry, urine is not a "sexual" fluid, and there clearly is nothing "sexual" in Piss Christ.

Nor can we condemn it as "hate speech," since such also would require the censor to attach to the image an interpretation at odds with what Serrano, himself, has had to say about it.  Serrano points out that he's been a Catholic all his life.  His photograph is not intended to stir up hatred of Catholics but actually expresses a pro-Catholic position.

Can we call Piss Christ "obscene"?  As DA, itself, admits, "obscenity" is a legal concept, and part of that legal concept is that, before any work can be condemned for being pornographic or obscene, a judgment must be made in terms of the totality of the work and not just some individual component of it.  Hudgins' observation that use of the blood and urine made the primary image of Christ on the cross "burn like a halo" only highlights the possibility that the purpose for using the mixture was to obtain the proper balance of reflection and light.

That leaves us only with such lesser categories as "controversy," and certainly this photograph has generated its share of that.  But, to allow some staff employee at DA to expand the current prohibitions merely to block a work he or she objects to because of his or her perception of what urine is seems to me to be a blanket invitation for all of us to be ruled by the idiots.

Granted we don't want every other photo on DA to be of some woman sucking dick, I think we also don't want DA to become the asylum for the idiots.

But, the principal thing I had in mind, in writing this journal entry (since what we do here is digital manipulation), is to transform Serrano's work, with as little manipulation as possible, to say exactly the opposite of what Serrano intended.  For the purposes of this lesson, I want the photograph to be a condemnation of Catholicism specifically and Christianity in general, in order to show why even that is not a proper subject for censorship.

Serrano's photograph is copyright 1987; to accomplish the transformation, all I'm going to do is first save the photo as "Piss Christ (Serrano)," then pirate the work and give to it a phony copyright (1989) in the name or Robert Mapplethorpe:

Piss Christ Mapplethorpe (1989) edited by count-herout

To understand the significance of this, one has to know a little bit about biology, a little bit about medicine, a little bit about history, a little bit about religion, and a little bit about Robert Mapplethorpe.

Let's take these subjects seriatim:

Biology:  Human beings share the earth with numerous other organisms and pseudo-organisms (since, technically, viruses are not alive).  Among those entities we probably would prefer didn't share our world is the human immunodeficiency virus -- HIV -- that leads to AIDS (acquired immune-deficiency syndrome).  Although HIV has come to our attention only relatively recently, there simply is no reason to believe that something so biochemically complex as AIDS is of recent creation.  The virus has shown a unique capacity to hide within the human body, making it resistant to potential vaccines, and as of this moment, we still don't know how to cut it off or kill it.  It operates by attacking human T-cells and systematically annihilating a person's immune system, making a person infected increasingly at risk for developing other diseases which eventually cause death of the organism.  The death is protracted; the infected person literally falls apart.  Short of crucifixion, there probably are few deaths that are worse.

Medicine:  It is well known that AIDS has been particularly virulent within homosexual communities, and that homosexual men are among those especially hard hit.  In discussing how people become infected with AIDS, the Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy has said: "Infected cells can reach target cells in a new host directly (blood transfusions, injection) or after mucous membrane exposure; ie, by close, direct contact that breaches normal body barriers.  For example, chimpanzees have been infected via vaginal exposure without trauma or coexisting infection.  Presumably, such mucous membrane transmission would be even easier in the presence of inflamed or traumatized tissues; eg, anorectal lesions, which are highly prevalent in homosexual men.  Among humans, heterosexual transmission from men to women has been well documented.  Transmission from women to men appears to be more difficult, but such instances are being increasingly reported.  While transmission by accidental needle stick has occurred, transmission of HIV by this means is much more difficult and much less frequent than is hepatitis B."

I want to stress here what I have and have not said:  Anyone can get AIDS if he or she engages in risky behavior; however, individuals engaging in anal intercourse (and that certainly would include homosexual males as a special class) particularly are at risk.  Furthermore, nature only presents; she does not classify.  Hence, unless one is referring to persons solely homosexual or solely heterosexual, the entire concept of "sexual orientation" is false.  What actually exists among wild humans is a continuum of behaviors that spans the entire gamut of male-female interactions, with some being more heterosexual than homosexual and some the reverse.

Finally, read the Manual carefully:  Humans can get AIDS from sexual intercourse with monkeys -- "beasts."  And, because of the long incubation period that occurs between initial infection and full-blown AIDS, a person infected with HIV can be a particular danger to everyone else in the society around him.  In saying that, I stress:  I'm an atheist and have no skin in this game.  These are just the medical facts. 

History:  Our knowledge of the microbial world dates only from the invention of the microscope by van Leeuwenhoek in 1674.  Viruses are so small that many of them can be seen only with electron microscopes, which date from the late Twentieth Century.  Prior to that time, our knowledge even of the existence of the creatures to be seen in this way was non-existent.

Humans long have known about pandemics and plagues.  Ancient peoples (and not just Christians or Jews) commonly ascribed the causes of these calamities to displeasure on the part of a particular god or goddess, who then punished mankind in some way for the offense.  The entire plot of the Iliad is built around such a claim -- that the Greeks were punished with deadly illnesses because Agamemnon insulted Apollo by defiling the god's priestess.  Needless to say, no one today believes in Apollo; however, ever since the discoveries of Heinrich Schliemann, we have known that the stories of the Trojan War at least are based on fact.  There is no reason whatsoever to disbelieve the claim that Apollo's priestess was defiled or that the Greek armies were ravaged by plague within their camp, or that the two incidents occurred concurrently.

There is every reason to believe these two incidents simply were coincidental, and that the real cause of the plague had nothing to do with priestesses.  Furthermore, though none in the ancient world even could know the actual cause, some people back then weren't all that ignorant.  In Deuteronomy, Moses instructs the Hebrews:  "You shall have a place outside the camp, and you shall go out to it; and you shall have a stick [or spade] with your weapons; and when you sit down outside, you shall dig a hole with it and turn back and cover up your excrement.  Because the Lord your God walks in the midst of your camp, to save you and to give up your enemies before you, therefore your camp must be holy, that he may not see anything indecent among you, and turn away from you."

We certainly wouldn't want God to get mad at us for stepping in our shit!

Now, I no more believe in Yahweh than I believe in Apollo; but, I do believe in microbes, and I do believe that Moses was not only a real person but a pretty smart guy.  His name suggests that the reason we cannot find him in history is because we're looking in the wrong place.  The time of the Moses kings -- Ahmose, Tutmose, etc., was a few hundred years before Ramses the Great.  In Egyptian, "mose" and "moses" means "drawn from" -- a way to say "junior" (Tutmose is the son of -- he was "drawn from" -- Tut).  The story of how he was saved from the slaughter of the innocents makes sense, which means that, for being raised in Pharaoh's house, he would have had a first-class education, the best his day provided, in contemporary terms, "a Harvard man."  Josephus tells us that he was an important military commander in the Egyptian army and directed several successful campaigns in the country's south.  The passage in Deuteronomy is completely consistent with what an ancient, educated man guided by experience would require in terms of camp hygiene, even though he didn't really know what he was doing.

Similarly, we now know that the Jewish prohibition of eating pork or snails (not shrimp -- Hebrews did not live on the coast) has a very valid (but then not understood) medical reason attached to it:  Eating pork can get one infected with trichinae worms, and eating snails from the Nile can get one infected with a blood fluke that leads to schistosomiasis.  That won't happen if one cooks the meat, but obviously the Egyptians and Hebrews had become experienced for eating them raw.

The Bible also contains prohibitions against sexual (including homosexual) practices, interestingly part of the Levitical degrees.  The degrees actually are designed to prevent consanguinity in marriage (a genetic danger), and they have no relationship medically to engaging in anal intercourse.  But, there is no way that Moses could have known that 3,500 years ago, so they all get lumped together, for being the kinds of practices (along with "sleeping with beasts" -- monkeys) that lead to nasty-looking results.
    
I submit that our good man, Moses, was aware without being aware of HIV.  Experience had taught the Egyptians that this was not something one wanted spread throughout the society, and not surprisingly, in the Old Testament, the penalty for such misbehavior is death.

Religion:  This is a very long path to get to the transmutation of our picture, but we're almost there.  The critical distinction between the Old Testament and the New, in considering this subject, is that the Levitical degrees prohibit conduct:  "You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.  And you shall not lie with any beast and defile yourself with it, neither shall any woman give herself to a beast to lie with it; it is perversion."  There is no condemnation here of "homosexuals" (whatever that is) but only of behaviors homosexual men commonly engage in.  Similarly, the prohibition against lying with beasts -- monkeys -- applies to men and women, whereas the other mentions only men alone.

This is simply a theologizing and theocratizing of a public-health measure directed at a combination of being and action.

Christianity doesn't exactly see it that way.  In his Epistle to the Romans, Paul says:  "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men who by their wickedness suppress the truth.  For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.  Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made.  So they are without excuse; for although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened.  Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds or animals or reptiles.  Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever!  Amen.  For this reason, God gave them up to dishonorable passions.  Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error."

This is not quite the same as the Jewish view, since central to the Christian ideology is the assertion that "sin" can arise from thought alone.  When Jimmy Carter told Playboy Magazine about lusting in his heart, he was expressing this idea that becoming aroused by the sight of a beautiful woman, though simply a semi-automatic response to a perception, itself constituted some kind of wrongdoing.  The true Christian condemns the homosexual for being homosexual, and not just for doing stupid things in the course of being that.  Christian sin does not require an act to perfect it.  The wrong becomes complete solely with the thought.

Robert Mapplethorpe:  Mapplethorpe is recognized as one of the best homo-erotic photographers; assigning him falsely with the copyright to Piss Christ is not consistent with the body of his work, at least to my knowledge.  But, by so assigning the ownership, the assignment, itself, flips the meaning of the photo to the one that no doubt caused people to riot in Paris.  Mapplethorpe was a homosexual, lived openly that way, and died of AIDS early in March 1989.  No doubt, there will be some Christians who will say he got pretty much what he deserved.  Another way to look at it, however, is that HIV remains a dangerous threat but that, if one day, someone finds a way to combat it, the ancient prohibition against homosexual activity (and specifically anal intercourse) will go the way of the prohibitions against eating pork and escargot.

In the meantime, our society does have to deal with the medical reality, and that's true no matter who ascends to the Supreme Court.

What, then, of the religious views on the subject?  It is sufficient, as a matter of modern medicine, to prevent people from consummating desire with action.  Nothing further need be done.  It is a great escalation to expand the prohibition from a union of thought and action to one of thought alone.  Were Mapplethorpe the creator of Piss Christ, what he reasonably would have been saying is that Catholicism is "waste" that needs to be discarded, and not because Catholics should be hated for despising him but because an essential feature of the theology is false.

An exploration of such a claim is beyond the scope of this art lesson.  What we do learn here is that there can be no such thing as some categorical imperative by which an art work can be judged as "blasphemous," "pornographic," or "obscene."  The Supreme Court of the United States spent years trying to delineate some standard by which at least some censorship could be justified legally.  All its efforts came to nothing, and today it essentially has given up the attempt. 

A private enterprise like Deviant Art, of course, has much greater latitude in terms of writing its own rules.  What I would point out, however, is that it doesn't have an easier problem.  Neither Piss Christ (Serrano) nor Piss Christ (Mapplethorpe) can be classified as "pornography" (neither has anything to do with sex).  Similarly, the term, "obscenity," doesn't really apply since the employment of urine is not done merely to shock or disgust per se.  As for "blaspheming" -- blaspheming what?  There are genuine differences in the tenets of different religions; they all can't be right.  And, Mapplethorpe's end does not confirm the Catholic view.  Mapplethorpe well may have been wrong, but as an artist, he had the right to raise his fist against his oppressors at the last moment.  At the time of his death, homosexuals routinely were fired from their jobs, thrown into jails, and even beaten in the streets, often by the very law-enforcement personnel employed to protect them.  Whether we should go so far as to equate bad health practices with the institution of Christian marriage can be debated.  But, hopefully we are beyond the time when a person's value to society is measured solely by his stupidity in the bedroom.  There is no Piss Christ (Mapplethorpe), and the examination of such a work here is speculative (though I would say reasonably so).  But, to allow a censor (and probably a stupid or ignorant one, given all that appears above) to ax such a work upon some claim it is "hate speech" surrenders our judgment to the judgment of a fool.

That's not what Deviant Art is supposed to be about.
 

Journal History

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:iconfreddobbs:
freddobbs Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2018
Thanks for the "watch"!
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:iconcount-herout:
count-herout Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2018  Hobbyist Artist
See my new colorized photo of Ute Weber.
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:icon79big:
79big Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2017
1 Message from Hungary. Happy Birthday :-).
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:iconnswayne:
nswayne Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2017
I wish I could meet some of these women.
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:iconcount-herout:
count-herout Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2017  Hobbyist Artist
Many of these women would be quite old today -- ladies like JoAnne Latham and Judith "Puppa" Armbruester were models in the Sixties and Seventies.  However, you might check out the Perfect Tem magazine site (join Perfect Ten, and one of the side benefits can be participation in their model dating service).

And, if you mention my name, don't be an ass!
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:iconcount-herout:
count-herout Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2017  Hobbyist Artist
Some follow-up on that:  A lot of the women Norm employs are from Russia or Eastern European countries where the standard of living is much lower than here.  And, a lot of these ladies are looking for a chance to make a big improvement in their lives, and why shouldn't they?  You look at a woman like Melania Trump, and of course without The Donald she's not much; but, she's very beautiful and she's VERY bright -- speaks about six languages, which is five more than me.  And, if you want to make it with a lady like that, you need to approach her with that in mind.
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:iconabboxer:
ABboxer Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
Happy birthday.
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:icon79big:
79big Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2016
1 Message from Hungary. Happy Birthday :-).
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