Porn in the Woods

For proof that the Internet brings people together, see this (one of my all time favourite) 2005 Ask Metafilter Post that asked: “Did you, as a kid, find Porn in the Woods?” To which hundreds of Mefites responded “YES!”  Similar web communities have tackled this same issue (also, a hilarious David Sedaris essay). It seems a that hundreds of kids have shared this communal experience; finding a secret cache of porn mildewing in the wood, behind an out of the way dumpster or under the occasional bridge.

To wit, this is exactly where I found my first ever porn stash, as a seven year old let loose with other seven years olds in rural Moose Jaw Saskatchewan. My comrades and I would bike around aimlessly, playing in construction sites and looking for treasure. And treasure we did find, in the form of a stack of 1970’s era Playboys, rotting away under a giant tree stump in a treed area, just waiting to be found by children. Burned in my memory was four little kids, not sure what they were looking at, but knowing instantly that they shouldn’t have been looking at it, dividing up the few mags that hadn’t decayed too badly. All was good in life for a week or two, with these magazines being the highest form of schoolyard capital, until (predictably) one of my friends was caught with one by his mom, and was grounded for a month. The rest of us, fearing the same consequences, ritualistically ripped up the magazines and let the pieces blow away in the wind.

This all comes up because yesterday, on a walk with Jane and my son, found… porn in the woods. Well, kind of. We were walking through Henderson Lake yesterday afternoon, a man-made lake with a walking path around it that is generally “DESTINATION LETHBRIDGE.” We were walking over this bridge, when something shiny catches my eye:

porn in the creek

Kind of a bad photo, but what you are looking at (the red bits) are a handful of pornographic DVD’s (one with the title “Spring Chickens”) that had been… ritualistically snapped up and thrown under the bridge.  My son, not knowing what he was looking at (or pretending not to), wanted desperately to be allowed to go “investigate further,” to which I had to say no.

This brought up so many questions to ponder:

1. What is behind the porn in the woods phenomenon?

To which I can can think of two possible answers:

  1. To keep pornography hidden in an area that it won’t be found easily, so that it can be used in an accessible, but private surroundings
  2. To dispose of pornography in an area that will not point to one person (i.e. disposing of it in the garbage can out back).

Will the internet age slow (or eliminate) the porn in the woods phenomenon?

  1. Yes. It is easy for kids to access pornography with the Internet.
  2. Kids aren’t even allowed to play outside in the woods anyways.

Which means that we will no longer have stories like these:

Has anyone noticed that smell forest porn always has? Kind of musty, but unlike any other kind of smell in the world. It always smells exactly the same. The forest porn smell….

I will never forget the smell of rained on porn mags that have been dried up. For me, it’s the smell of porn.

What’s f–ked up though, is that to this day, my brain associates the smell of ferns with porn. No lie. We hid our rescued stash in a small cave that was hidden by a blanket of ferns.

What I found the most interesting in our discovery yesterday was the way that these dvd’s were disposed of – in a well travelled area, but out of the way enough that most people would not have discovered the stash. Also – with seven or eight destroyed DVD’s, one was noticeably unharmed. Perhaps an homage to a childhood experience lost to a digital age?

Class divisions reflected in Myspace and Facebook?

A fascinating read (here)

What I lay out in this essay is rather disconcerting. Hegemonic American teens (i.e. middle/upper class, college bound teens from upwards mobile or well off families) are all on or switching to Facebook. Marginalized teens, teens from poorer or less educated backgrounds, subculturally-identified teens, and other non-hegemonic teens continue to be drawn to MySpace. A class division has emerged and it is playing out in the aesthetics, the kinds of advertising, and the policy decisions being made.

IN THE YEAR 2030,THE YOUNG HOTSHOT AT MY OFFICE TRIES TO WALK ME THROUGH “CENTAUR,” APPLE’S NEW MIND-ORB-BASED OPERATING SYSTEM.

BY MATTHEW DUVERNE HUTCHINSON

(more from McSweeney’s here)

ME: For some reason, I can’t get this report orb to beam.

HOTSHOT: Well, go ahead and materialize the topaz orb first. That should launch your facefield preferences.

ME: OK, here goes … Wait, remind me, how do I get to the topaz orb? Sorry, I knew how to do this just a second ago—I imagine a shape, right?

HOTSHOT: Kind of. Defocus your eyes and visualize a beam of light illuminating a rhombus. That will materialize the topaz orb.

ME: Hmm … It’s still not working.

HOTSHOT: OK, let’s back up a step. Which wormhole did you do your push-up in?

ME: I’m pretty sure it was Wormhole Gamma. But I did a sit-up. Does a sit-up not work?

HOTSHOT: Oh, you did a sit-up? (Smirk.) Yeah. That’s probably why it’s not working. Try it again.

(I lie down and do a push-up. Immediately, a lifelike 3-D porno hologram materializes in my cubicle with the volume turned way up. Co-workers begin to gather. The hologram depicts me naked on the plank of a pirate spaceship with our company’s robot intern, Suzanne. The scenario is dirty in a way not yet fully describable in our present age.)

ME: Turn it off!!

HOTSHOT: I can’t. You have to double-imagine the red orb to quit out of iPerv.

(I try desperately to materialize the red orb, but instead accidentally launch a hologram chat with my late grandfather from beyond the grave.)

GRANDFATHER HOLOGRAM: Where am I? Who’s moved my reading chair?

ME: Granddad, I can explain. Hold on a sec …

(Swatting at my temples like a fevered gibbon, I accidentally materialize a mastodon diorama, Dabney Coleman, the color green, and John Coltrane’s Giant Steps album.)

Identity

Last night, someone decided to post some comments here under someone else’s name. I take this very seriously; the whole “online communication” thing starts to fall apart when this sort of thing happens. WordPress logs the IP address of whoever posts on this blog (regardless of the name), and I am using software to help identify the culprit.

If you are reading this, please take some responsibility and own up; otherwise this could get very ugly.