By Christina Cuevas
By Christina Cuevas
“Pirates II: Stagnetti’s Revenge” has kicked up a storm of controversy on college campuses across the nation.
This XXX pornographic parody of Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean” has conjured debates on freedom of speech and sexism as it has already been screened at several campuses and more are preparing to do so as well.
To the dismay of lawmakers and skeptical administrators, college students might be winning this battle.
Production company Digital Playground’s spokesman Christopher Ruth offered free copies of “Pirates II” to more than 100 colleges in the United States and Canada after its release last fall. It has since received about 50 requests for the film.
The original student union screening of “Pirates II” at the University of Maryland’s College Park Campus was canceled when state senator Andrew P. Harris threatened to deny future funding to the university after learning about the planned screening on April 2, just two days before the event.
According to the Washington Post, Harris offered a budget amendment stating: “Any public university that allowed screening of a triple-X film would forfeit state funding.”
It was estimated that the college would lose up to $424 million if administrators let the screening take place.
Soon, pornography had little to do with this predicament.
Students were stripped of their rights to freedom of speech and assembly. What is most baffling is how easy one statesman threatened an entire university’s funding over his personal objections.
Legally, punishing an entire institution for the act of a few hundred people sounds like a fair way of handling the problem, doesn’t it?
For a pornographic film to have a proper place on college campuses, educational purpose, ethics and entertainment validity must reach an appropriate point.
One major misconception surrounding this dilemma is that tax payers’ money is being used to sponsor college kids to sit around and watch pornography.
That is simply not the case. The film was free to many colleges, including the University of Maryland, with the intention that it would be screened.
The student union charged a fee of $4 per ticket which would help fund the student-run theater.
For the student union screening at the college to be viewed as educational, Planned Parenthood was going to hold an open discussion on safe sex.
These presentations include the usual information on abstinence, sexually transmitted diseases, condom use and emergency contraception.
This knowledge was to be put forth, not because college students don’t know about these things, but as a reminder that there are real life consequences to promiscuous sex.
Laura Meyers, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington told the Baltimore Sun that the organization agreed to take part “because it would be a chance to reach a population that it doesn’t normally have access to…though it does not endorse or support the making or showing of pornography.”
Then, since the screening was to be viewed as educational, the argument for the violation of the First Amendment and freedom of assembly is sustained.
The following Monday, a group of determined students and supporting faculty hosted their own private “teach-in,” as described by TIME, which “drew media coverage from as far away as Thailand and Austria.”
They discussed the ongoing debate and viewed the first thirty minutes of the two and a half hour film.
The resulting lesson is how to exercise freedom of speech with responsibility, while also finding an educated resolution.
The student union was said to normally screen a broad range of films in order to attract a large range of people.
Not to mention that another XXX film, “Deep Throat,” had been screened at UM in the past with little to no protest. People now might ask what makes “Pirates II” any different.
Other than being the most expensive adult film ever made, at $10 million, it wins the contest for greatly exceeding traditional pornography.
Exceptional production and engaging storylines are hard to come by in adult films, however “Pirates II” has it all, complete with special effects.
Though one thing is left to tradition: the acting is dismal. However, the animated skeletons make up for it.
“Pirates II” is even introduced as “the world’s biggest adult production in history” in the world premiere trailer, also found on YouTube.
With a soundtrack CD in the process, this novelty franchise also owns 15 Adult Video News awards.
The underlying accusation here is that college kids are porn junkies, accepting pornographic media through a false animalistic fixation.
These accused “college kids” are adults however, and are able to hold educated opinions on controversial subjects surrounding their own environment.
No matter how many times or in which scenarios, debate over censorship versus academic freedom may arise. But where there is a will, there is a way.