The Adult Entertainment Association of Canada has, according to an article in the Toronto Sun, “Naked aggression at clubs, Feb. 9, 2012, received a number of complaints from women working in adult clubs as exotic dancers. Apparently, many patrons are pressuring the dancers to go further and take part in sex acts because of the open sex, orgies and wife-swapping that goes on in many swingers clubs in the GTA. Swingers clubs are run like brothels. Customers can buy a membership to these clubs and can then watch or take part in the sex acts or other activities. One Toronto location recently featured an “Army Sluts” sex show to attract patrons, and in Windsor one club had a dwarf tossing contest to fill the place. This is part of a greater moral malaise infecting our city.
The Catechism of the Catholic church teaches that pornography is one of the offences against chastity:
“Pornography consists in removing real or simulated sexual acts from the intimacy of the partners, in order to display them deliberately to third parties. It offends against chastity because it perverts the conjugal act, the intimate giving of spouses to each other. It does grave injury to the dignity of its participants (actors, vendors, the public), since each one becomes an object of base pleasure and illicit profit for others. It immerses all who are involved in the illusion of a fantasy world. It is a grave offense. Civil authorities should prevent the production and distribution of pornographic materials.” (2354)
Evidence of the pornography problem in our city can, also, be seem by the numerous X-rated shops renting, selling and screening graphic adult videos and films. If the service is there, people must be using the product. Then, think of all the other stores and services in Toronto where pornographic materials are so readily available. Of course these adult actitivities are also fuelled by the thousands of pornographic websites and television stations. Did you that in Canada the CRTC will not grant a licence to broadcast all day Christian programs, but has given it to a porn channel?
This should not surprise anyone with some level of awareness living in Toronto. We have tried for three years to have the adult Now magazine removed from being distributed in newspaper boxes in our city streets. I have repeatedly written to the Mayor and my own councillor, but so far little has been done, except for sending me an email telling me that they are looking into my concerns. We have even written several letters to corporations that advertise in the magazine in order to bring the moral issue to their attention.
My latest letter was to Dr. Tim Rutledge the CEO of North York General and Branson Hospital. I asked him why would a hospital would want to distribute a magazine on its property that degrades the human person. Isn’t pornography an injury to the dignity one’s heath? Hospitals are there to cure people not make them sick. His answer in a letter sent to me was that he would look into the issue. Here’s some good news: when we approached the Columbus Centre on this tissue, management agreed that the magazine was offensive and the Now box was removed within days. We applaud those that made that decision at Columbus Centre.
Sadly, however, from the responses we have received, the rationale from advertisers seems to be that business and profits trump morals. The weekly magazine contains several pages of adult entertainment classifieds and this brings clients and money. We all know that “adult ads” is merely a euphemism for selling sex and sexual services. But as a city we should not tolerate what will not make us better persons or help families raise good children. Parents do you know that this magazine can even be picked up in our local libraries?
Here’s an example of how companies and government institutions that have the responsibility to build the common good are instead rationalizing their need to advertise in the Now magazine. We sent an email to express our concerns to the Art Gallery of Ontario. We wanted to know why the AGO was buying and supporting, with taxpayers money, advertising space in a publication that contains explicit adult classified. Here’s their response to try to explain it away.
Good morning Lou,
Thank you for your feedback. I wanted to take the time to provide you with our rationale for advertising with Now magazine.
To start, I want to let you know that I am a mother so know the challenges of keeping my children sheltered from adult material that is not age-appropriate all too well.
That said, we advertise with Now magazine for many reasons, chief among them:
-Now is Toronto’s number one source of entertainment news and information – it is where people go to find out about all things culture: art, music, film, dance, theatre etc.;
-Now reaches a culturally aware and active urban Torontonian; 27% of Now readers visited the AGO in the past 12 months – much higher than any other publication’s readers;
-Now magazine remains one of our top cited mentions of where people have heard about us and our exhibitions;
-To be absent from Now magazine would greatly jeopardize our ability to reach a key audience within the city – the cultural consumer – and would remove us from their consideration set of options for how to spend their leisure time;
-Now also reaches a younger demographic, which is essential for us in order to cultivate the next generation of AGO visitors;
-Now has a weekly circulation of 363,000 readers who are well educated, have high incomes (79% are post-secondary educated, and have a HHI of $74,990);
-We are in good company: others who regularly advertise in Now, are the CBC, Roy Thomson Hall, the ROM, Harbourfront Centre, TIFF Bell Lightbox, U of T, the City of Toronto, the National Ballet, Masey Hall.
However, where and how Now magazine is distributed, is outside the purvey of any advertiser and I would recommend you speak directly to Toronto Public Libraries and Now magazine on how they came to this arrangement.
I agree that Now magazine has edgy content, but as an art gallery, so too do we at times. It is critical to our role as an art gallery to push boundaries and explore the various forms artistic expression can take. However, to remain a destination for families, it is our mandate to inform visitors of content that they may find offensive and allow parents to chose the content to which their children are exposed. I would encourage you to contact Now magazine directly to find out about their policies for editorial coverage.
Thank you for your support.
Art Gallery of Ontario
From her strong defence for advertising in Now, you would think Seaborn works for the magazine and not in the interests of the AGO and Ontario families. Notice the appeal to our emotions: “I’m a mother so know the challenges of keeping my children sheltered from adult material.” We disagree. Then the herd mentality argument in, “We are in good company”. Again, we disagree. Immorality is always evil whether done alone or in the company of many. You cannot mask what is wrong by calling it, “edgy content”. Seaborn should take a good look at the back pages of Now, and surely she would realize that the graphic photos have nothing to do with “various forms of artistic expression”, but everything to do with degrading the human person for the sake of sexual gratification and money. Pornography on television, video or cyberspace and sexual acts for selfish pursuit of carnal pleasure can ruin lives and destroy families.
Parents, in spite of what the AGO believes, should speak up and let their councillors and Mayor Ford know that we want the distribution of the magazine stopped from our city streets and public libraries. Tell the head librarian at your branch library how you feel or send a respectful email to Seaborn expressing your disagreement. Ask any of the companies named in Seaborn’s email to explain why they support Now with their advertisements? To say and do nothing about the moral issues affecting our city is to let the immorality continue. Together we can make a difference. Don’t let anyone convince you that this is a private matter: it belongs front and centre in the public square.