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Letter misguided; pornography can be educational

In regards to Liz Smothers’ prudish question on why the Bijou would have screened the 1977 porn Disco Dolls in Hot Skin, there are many reasons. I’ll just list three.

First, our art (even skin flicks) reflects our culture. This particular film, shot in 3D, fits perfectly in today’s film market where even a two-hour biopic about a young pop sensation will be put in 3D. Did either of these films need or deserve to be a 3D theatrical experience? Clearly not. The porn was done as a gag (no pun intended), while the biopic’s five minutes of 3D was nothing more than a cash grab. But the fact that they’re both in 3D says something about our culture.

Second, seeing a movie such as this with an audience can be an interesting event well outside of the UI student’s typical theater experience. Sharing the movie with 100 other people can teach you about how we deal with sexuality and social norms in our society.

Finally, to my knowledge, nobody was forced to go see this film. If you bought a ticket and attended, you probably knew what you were getting into.

I never knew about this tradition before a current film student told me about it, but I think it’s wonderful. Not sure I’d attend, but it does have value.

Ben Bessman
UI staff

Pornography is not inherently bad

I did not discern Liz Smothers’ point in her letter to the editor Monday, except that she is opposed to the well-publicized “porn film” she does not name. Has she even seen the pornography film she is referring to?

I myself have not viewed the film in question. Pornography ranges from so subtle that it is boring to graphically demeaning to the actors, and there is pornography so uncivil and inhumane in depicting fantastic harm that it is much like television commercial wrestling, except it is sex. And some pornography is legitimately illegal but is just being used as a law-enforcement entrapment tool.

Some pornography, however, is actually beneficial for developing personal sexual relationships between affectionate partners. I really cannot imagine the Bijou presenting “raunchy” or harmful pornography, and the film is advertised as pornography, so it is up to the viewer to decide what kind of pornography we are referring to. Smothers did not say in her letter what she thinks it is, or if she has even seen it.

Not all pornography is bad.

Libris Fidelis
Iowa City resident

Spreading awareness about volunteer need

I am a University of Iowa student who has volunteered at the Neighborhood Center of Johnson County and has seen the benefits these centers have provided to our community. The mission of the Neighborhood Centers of Johnson County is clear, “Our Purpose and Commitment: Whether it is getting children ready for kindergarten or preparing new parents for life with a baby, Neighborhood Centers is committed to helping our neighbors find their place in the community and use their talents to bring them success and happiness.”

The Neighborhood Centers of Johnson County has a community-development program that strives to build healthier, safer, and more vibrant neighborhoods. Volunteers work with individual families to help address neighborhood-wide issues such as crime, economic development, and access to many needed resources. Not only do they work together to help improve the image of the neighborhood, but they start from the inside out by reaching out to families in need.

There are many diverse opportunities available and scheduling is extremely flexible. If you prefer working with small children or older kids, there are many programs and opportunities to do so.

Some of these programs include (but are not limited to) photography groups, drop-in game nights, science groups, music lessons, and craft groups. If you are interested in education, becoming a volunteer tutor is always an option.

Even if you cannot commit to a schedule, Neighborhood Centers can still use your help in other areas, such as neighborhood events, neighborhood cleanups, and various neighborhood-improvement projects.

If this sounds like something you can fit into your schedule and you want to make a difference in someone’s life, please contact the Neighborhood Center of Johnson County at (319)354-2886. Walk-ins are also welcome at the administrative site at 2651 Roberts Road, Iowa City.

Catherine Hogarty
UI student

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