The porno email scandal — wake me when it’s over

    (<a href=Photo via Shutterstock)" title="shutterstock_172085357" width="640" height="360"/>

    (Photo via Shutterstock)

    Enough, please. No more stories about Pennsylvania state officials passing around sexually explicit emails on their office computers. I don’t care.

     

    Sure, it was fun at first, hearing which officials were outed as passing along digital smut after a search of state computer servers in connection with the Jerry Sandusky investigation.

    And I enjoyed reading the titles of the adult videos in the emails, for the same reason so many people look at porn and don’t talk about it — it’s juicy and titillating.

    But, seriously, it’s time for some perspective.

    What these men did was engage in stupid, tasteless, inappropriate and legal conduct that should have earned them a stern reprimand, period.

    If any of them were sending the porn to engage in sexual harassment, it would be different. But there’s no evidence of that. As Will Bunch of the Philadelphia Daily News noted, this kind of thing would be a lot less likely to happen if women weren’t so woefully underrepresented in Pennsylvania politics and government. That’s something to get passionate about.

    Pornography is not uplifting, and much is degrading to women. But it’s not illegal, and plenty of people use it. A fairly widely cited statistic says 13 percent of women admit to accessing Internet pornography at work. Just a couple of weeks ago, I heard Lena Dunham tell Terry Gross she’s by “no means sort of anti-pornography.”

    I’m not saying pornography is OK. And using government computers to pass it around is definitely not OK. But it shouldn’t be a career-ending offense, and we in the media shouldn’t make it a central issue in the governor’s race just because it’s more fun and easier to understand than pension reform and school funding.

    The most striking thing to me about the story is that anybody in 2008 would still be dumb enough to send anything in an office email they wouldn’t want to become public. But, hey, this is state government. (Sorry, just couldn’t resist that one.)

    I’m sure when the next story about X-rated emails comes out, I’ll read it all the way to the end. But I’ll feel kinda dirty doing it.

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