Last Friday I was invited to appear on WBZ Radio as a guest on the Dan Rae show to discuss the Kevin Hogan-FOX 25 (WFXT-25)-porn brouhaha. I asked for opinions from my Facebook friends. Many of my gay male friends, who had posted to an earlier comment on the topic, restated their opinions on how Hogan should be supported, FOX news reporter Mike Beaudet was on a witch-hunt, etc. A Facebook page supporting Hogan has been a huge success and his students have rallied to his defense. Which is all good. Except I think his porn past should have made him self-discriminate and remove "high school teacher" from his career wish list.
Yes, I’m shocked I have that opinion, too. And yes, my opinion is worth more because I’m a parent. Although you, my childless friend, may feel you have a strong grasp on what it is like to be a parent today, I’m here to say you don’t. The difference between us is like reading a book about Tuscany and actually visiting Tuscany. I spend a lot of time with my child and supervise most of what she sees, but even with all the V chips, parental supervision, and computer security it’s simple for a child to use the Internet for math homework on one screen and see the most disturbing porn on another. Nothing quite prepares you to hear PG-14 bordering on Adult lyrics coming out of your six-year-old’s sweet mouth as he sings along to the radio.
But it gets worse. This past July I found myself agreeing with conservative commentator Laura Ingraham. She was appearing on the Today Show with Matt Lauer and used the opportunity to point out the coarseness of our culture.
She spoke of being on the "...Acela train two weeks ago my daughter and I coming up to New York, a man was watching full-blown porn two rows up from us. We go to the snack car. My mom -- my daughter says, ’Mommy, why are those people swimming with no clothes on that screen?’ And I’m like, ’How did he go to a situation where that’s acceptable?’ Forget snakes on a plane, porn on a plane, if you have kids around you. It’s-this is lunacy."
Ingraham went on to point out that a couple of the stars on the Today Summer Concert Series were not suitable for morning viewing. Woman-beater Chris Brown, and Enrique Iglesias who would be singing a cleaned up version of his hit "Tonight (I’m Fucking You)". She is absolutely right.
My politics have a strong libertarian streak and I believe that prostitution should be legal. I think porn, in the general sense, is a good thing. I’m also much more disturbed by the prevalence of violence in our media and entertainment than sex.
Our free society has to work harder, though, to help parents. The teen years are the most volatile in human development. Teens will bond or join and society prays they make good choices. A great high school teacher is a godsend. The power of a great role model cannot be overstated.
Sadly, it remains a fact that LGBT folk continue to be the subject of witch-hunts, are often viewed suspiciously if we work with children (even though the vast majority of abusers and rapists are straight). Same-sex marriage is portrayed as "all about sex" by conservatives while teaching about "mommy and daddy" is apparently void of sex. It makes sense that our community would rally to the teacher’s defense.
My colleague called me before my appearance on Dan Rae’s show. "You’re wrong on this," he said. He’s the godfather to my daughter. I asked him if he wanted his goddaughter to grow up to be in the porn business. That is a hard question to answer "yes" to.
Ultimately that’s what it comes down to. This was not about porn, per say. The issue is clear, if you feel that starring in porn movies is a good career choice for your niece, nephew, son, or daughter, then it’s okay for a porn actor to be a teacher. If you don’t, it’s not.
The "slippery slope" cliché works here. Who decides what is moral? Let me offer a radical idea -- the individual must self-police. I’m sure Kevin Hogan is as good a teacher as people say he is, but didn’t he think for a minute that this would disqualify him from teaching? This was not an incident of private conduct; this is a movie that is available. He is inadvertently teaching valuable lessons to his students -- every action has a consequence, decisions you make when you are young will affect your life later, and naked pictures and videos never go away.