Everybody Wants to Be a Censor
(Printed in the Elmira Star Gazette on October 14, 1997)

I have a few comments about Samuel J. Smith's letter of 10/6/97.

He absolutely has the right and duty to act as censor for his seven children. However, I, as an adult, reserve the right to make my own decisions about what I will or will not read, view, or hear.

If anyone wishes to protest a book or photograph, they have every right to do so. They may also protest by not purchasing the item, or by purchasing then destroying the item. However, they have no right to decide for me.

Mr. Smith refers to the Sturges' photographs as "lawfully wrong", ignoring the decision by a grand jury after an 18 month investigation to throw the case out.

He says that statistics show that only child molesters would read such material, ignoring the fact that no such statistics exist. Instead, I claim that anyone who looks at these photographs and claims that they are pornographic or obscene is more likely to molest children that those who view them for what they really show -- the beauty of the human form unadorned by clothing.

Mr. Smith has the right to protest, to censor his minor children, and to make unsubstantiated claims about how society would be better with censorship.

But the problem with judicious censorship is, who decides? The answer -- adults decide for themselves.

John L. Ferri

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