June 13, 2009

The ad hoc Grundyism of the New York Times


The other day I noted that while the web site of the New York Times won't print obscene words like "fart," it will host reviews and explicit trailers for vintage softcore porn films such as the 1974 Belgian farce Erotic Diary of a Lumberjack.

Obviously the site's listings are maintained by some external content provider (the reviews are from All Movie Guide) so the paper could let them stand and simply maintain that it has no editorial responsibility for the occasional flash of bush that might appear in them.

But that's not what it's doing. After Gawker picked up the item, no doubt sending the Times web site more traffic than it's seen in years, the paper huffily took down not only the explicit trailer for Lumberjack, but the entire listing — which was unobjectionable unless the Times intends to convey that even acknowledging the existence of softcore pornography is detrimental to the dignity of its readership.

Mind you, the paper didn't go through all its listings and scrub the erotica genre. It just took down the one listing that people had suddenly found out about. The site still contains information about and skintastic footage from movies ranging from the campy 1960 romp Blaze Starr Goes Nudist to the merely sleazy 1998 Hotel Exotica. Both those links, while they work, are safe for work, though the embedded trailers are not, particularly the one for Hotel Exotica, which depicts everything from hot girl-on-girl action to cold ice-on-nipple action.

Click while you can, but there's plenty more where that comes from. Just for the fun of keeping the IT department hopping, readers are hereby invited to submit the most obscene content they can find on the New York Times web site, not counting Judy Miller's reporting.

Posted by Daniel Radosh


What a fun post. Five Stars! I love it. Delicious.

From an actual NYT headline,
July 16, 1904:

"Pussy Kept Janitor Awake"

Wow, guess this story had legs, eh? Or, uh... anuses? Really, I don't know. But this post reminds me that I still have in my pile of VHS tapes a copy of Blaze Starr Goes Nudist that I really should return to the guy who lent it to me around 10 years ago, but I kept thinking I would eventually watch it first. Looks like no.

The videos here are obscene.

Obscene? I also have a full copy of Blaze Starr Goes Nudist. There is not even full frontal in that.

Or do you mean by "obscene" a sweeping generalization in case the one-size-fits-all terrorism laws don't label everything under the sun, terrorism for total blanket criminalization?

The best authoritative explication that I have to date seen on tawdry cinema, is "What is Obscene?", a seminal educational work on this field of study.

(All except their deference to USC 18 2257, that is.)

Or was that simply snark?

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