As long as my name’s been tossed into the discussion here, I might as well throw in my two cents too.

I do think that a lot of people need a good healthy dose of shame in their lives. When I get papers chock full of misspellings, grammatical errors, and just plain idiocy, I want to scream at them "Aren’t you embarrassed by this astounding display of stupidity? Don’t you take any pride in your work? Don’t you have any shame?" Once, I got a paper with the word "the" misspelled throughout. I am not making this up. What do you do with those kind of people?

But many conservatives (and daynne, I know you’re a conservative, but I have no idea if you believe this or not, so these comments aren’t directed at you) want to bring back guilt and shame as a sort of bizarre social engineering, longing for the glory days of The Scarlet Letter. Teenage pregnancy? Single mothers? No need for health care, welfare, food stamps, college assistance, social workers, or sex education! Let’s ostracize them! That’ll fix our social problems right up! Why don’t we bring back stoning while we’re at it?

You brought up Blake. In spirit, William Blake isn’t that different than William S. Burroughs. If we drew an arbitrary line of taste between the two men, however, we’d jettison a hell of a lot of art. The main difference, in my mind, between Blake and Burroughs is that Blake had 200 years to infiltrate Western culture. Well, that and all the gay sex…

True, I’d be naïve to think there isn’t a difference here in terms of what offends people. Blake didn’t have talking assholes or giant dildos in his work. But back in the day, Blake offended. And so did Walt Whitman, Edouard Manet, Pablo Picasso, D.H.Lawrence, James Joyce… And art keeps pushing the envelope, as it should. Art should challenge and shock and offend, and if it doesn’t, it’s not doing its job. Take Nicholson Baker’s fairly recent novel Vox. Gasp! An entire novel about phone sex! The culture is in the toilet! But if you actually read the novel, it’s a powerful and important work, and why should we be denied that because of some arbitrary definition of taste?

I agree that sometimes people share far, far too much. But different people draw the lines in different places, and I don’t see that as a bad thing. I don’t node about certain things, such as – oh, I don’t know, how about my sex life? – but if other people do, that’s fine with me. If I don’t want to read it, I just won’t, and occasionally I’ll downvote something especially repulsive.

Segnbora-t (who was noding lesbian porn actresses when daynne posted his original WU, which I thought was hysterical), for example, feels differently about sharing elements of her sex life. I disagree with her approach, but I don’t think she’s "wrong" or should feel guilt or shame over it. We’re just different people, that’s all, with different approaches to certain things. I don’t think we should be drawing lines in the sand over such silly things. Too much human angst and energy has been spent agonizing over arbitary rules –cough- Catholic school –cough- during our time on this mudball.