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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Art and NSFW

posted by on February 26 at 10:00 AM

Something to click safely back to when you’re led astray by the links below.

Yesterday I posted an image to Slog that probably is still gathering NSFW protests. It was an artwork by Kirsten Stoltmann called Punk (You Can’t Handle the Truth)—a portrait of the pregnant artist seen from the front, sitting spread-legged on a chair, with the words “You Can’t Handle the Truth” scrawled over her image, covering one of her breasts. Her other breast is exposed and so is a thatch of pubic hair under her distended belly.

At 3:45 pm I got an email from a reader:

Your recent post on the slog almost made me crap myself. I read the slog at work and having a book cover with a totally naked lady on it could have potentially made me lose my job depending on who would have seen it. Please never do that again.

I have mixed feelings about this.

On the one hand, I don’t want anybody getting fired over a work of art (the image I put up is a work of art, not a book cover). If the question is not whether the image is pornographic but whether employers can be conservative jackasses, obviously, the answer is yes.

On the other hand, should I never post a nude except behind a link? That would pretty much have me hiding the history of art behind a curtain.

So what? you say. That “curtain” is nothing more than a technological detail, a run around the censoring bastards. It’s meaningless. It doesn’t matter whether the image is an artwork—with all the intentions of an artwork—or a paparazzi-snapped shot of Britney’s vag as she wobbles out of a limo. They should be treated the same because of said bastards.

Except they aren’t the same thing.

And the curtain isn’t a totally meaningless device. It has not only pragmatic value, but a theatrical effect, too. I’m not beyond using it. In October, I posted a Nan Goldin photograph of two girls at play behind a jump because, I wrote, “It’s not that it’s NSFW. It’s that it’s not safe for adulthood.” One of the girls at play has her legs spread. This was in the middle of a British debate about whether the photograph is obscene (the court decided no). In addition to the drama of using a jump, I thought it was interesting that, by choosing to click to see, online viewers would have a totally different experience from a gallery visitor who simply turns around and comes upon the image (as happened to me at the Henry Art Gallery in Seattle).

Now we come to yesterday’s image of the nude, pregnant Kirsten Stoltmann. It’s a straight-on portrait with nothing sexual going on, and one breast fully showing (it actually reminds me of pre-Renaissance madonnas like this one more than anything else).

Because I think women are ashamed enough of their bodies, I don’t want to put a naked pregnant woman behind a curtain, and I’ll admit that one reason I like working at The Stranger is that I don’t have to. I’d also wager that’s one reason you like reading The Stranger and Slog, even if you protested. It’s not as if we’re pretending the rest of the world doesn’t exist when we make decisions to put things out there; we make those decisions, in part, as a fuck-you to the inanity of people who think a naked pregnant woman is obscene in the first place.

But on top of that is the fact that I’m posting art. Which nudes are OK? Just the old ones? Painted, but not photographed? (How about this classic?) Just the non-pregnant nudes, or pregnant nudes, which Charles claims couldn’t entice anyone anyway? Or just the nudes, like Kirsten Stoltmann’s, that might actually act as sexual deterrents, which are, in fact, making sex look like an event with possibly terrifying results? (Are come-ons like this album cover, which Amazon—a conventional workplace—is happy enough to post to its own web site, more or less SFW?)

I’m sincerely asking:

What are the actual guidelines of companies?

Is everyone who screams NSFW actually afraid of losing a job, or is it just that some things look even less like you’re doing work than others?

If we agree that there’s a substantive difference between art and celebrity shots or porn, then aren’t you in a position to defend the difference?

Has anybody had to have these conversations with their employers? What was that like? Has anybody lost a job over this?

RSS icon Comments


Why is that kitten thinking "Yummy, lunch time"?

Posted by Andrew | February 26, 2008 10:35 AM

Come on people you need to lighten up. I mean I saw that post at work and my world didn't end. If nude art is too risque for your workplace, or your IT policy states you can't look at art, wait to read the slog until you get home.

Posted by drheavy | February 26, 2008 10:46 AM

If we agree that there’s a substantive difference between art and celebrity shots or porn, then aren’t you in a position to defend the difference?

No, this isn't a question of what I think about what I'm viewing; but rather what the person that was looking over my shoulder thinks.

Bottom line, if you work in a place that will fire you over something you viewed on The Slog, you should wait 'til you get home to view it...

Posted by Mike in MO | February 26, 2008 10:46 AM

i think the relevant question is how many people want to RISK losing their job over a slog post. it's not a clearcut lose-your-job-over-one-incident type thing. it's more like one incident can contributes to undermining your legitimacy at work, etc. etc. and your posting this piece before the jump prevents your readers from choosing which battles they want to fight when. it's not your decision to make for us.

Posted by poettree` | February 26, 2008 10:46 AM

"online viewers would have a totally different experience from a gallery visitor".

Yup. Because they're NOT IN A GALLERY.

If you leave aside all the rhetoric about being ashamed of their bodies or whatever, you're left with a simple logistical fact: pictures can be seen from far away. Supervisors and cow orkers can't tell what web page you're looking at from across the cubicle farm if it's just text, but they CAN tell if it's a picture of a naked person.

And yes, it will get you fired. Arguments about the nature of obscenity and curtains and pre-Renaissance madonnas are not going to get entered into the record; you're going to get fired.

You can say, "well, you shouldn't be looking at Slog at work", which is all very fine and good, but people do, and it's easy to get away with. But naked people are a different story.

If you're under the impression that Slog is going to jump in warrior-style and overthrow the repressive anti-sexual hangups of the patriarchy, you're wrong.

At my company, it would not matter one iota what kind of a nude it was -- male, female, classical art or hard-core porn.

Posted by Fnarf | February 26, 2008 10:47 AM

Images get stored on a proxy server which your boss can view at anytime. Technically, it is a grey area but still workers have no rights therefore the company always wins.

When in doubt, use good taste and professionalism (you are getting paid to post this crap Jen) and label it as such.

Posted by bobcat | February 26, 2008 10:49 AM

I've never screamed about NSFW pictures, but I'm surfing this site because no one can see the monitor, and I can tell you that many companies have extremely reactive policies, often (mostly) based on fear of harassment suits.

People at my company have been reprimanded for reading local newspaper sites with side running banner ads for sex shops (no, the ads had no nudity, they simply existed). So if anyone could see my computer, I wouldn't open up the Stranger website at all.

Where's the line? I don't even think they know. I can read Savage Love her or linked to the avclub or any other paper it's associated with, but the podcast is blocked by my company's netnanny thing.

Posted by At Work in Toronto | February 26, 2008 10:54 AM

No HR department in a normal company is interested in having a discussion about art. The rule is no nudity, simple as that. But even if you could get one or two Stranger staff to understand what it means to work at a regular job, there will always be at least one (and probably a dozen) who will never get it, or who get it but don't care.

So once again, at work, tell your browser not to load any images from or from You can't risk your job relying on gonzo pranksters to be responsible.

Posted by elenchos | February 26, 2008 10:55 AM

that's all great and good, but if you would be willing to be held responsible for someone losing their job over viewing an "art" image that you posted, then get ready to pay the bills! can you do that?

Posted by Maria | February 26, 2008 10:58 AM

At my former (corporate) workplace, workers did indeed get fired for visiting heavy-metal websites with sort of typical chicks-with-swords artwork (which weren't photographs and showed less nudity than the post in question.)

If people are worried that visiting SLOG at work will get them fired then they won't risk it, and your hit count will drop. Not that you're worried about advertising revenue when the issue at stake is overthrowing archaic perceptions of propriety, but it's possible that your ad department sees things differently.

The public has a reasonable expectation that NSFW images on a site that isn't specifically designated as adult-only should be displayed "behind the curtain." Yes, it is troubling that so many employers have adopted such heavy-handed methods for spying on their employees and policing their activities, but restrictions against viewing pornography at work have some basis for validity as part of an anti-sexual harassment policy. And as we all know definitions of "pornographic" that attempt to incorporate a distinction between images with and without artistic merit are notoriously difficult.

Posted by flamingbanjo | February 26, 2008 11:01 AM

mike in mo, please don't use the phrase "bottom line". i find it offensive and someone looking over my shoulder at work might take it the wrong way. thanks.

Posted by offensive! | February 26, 2008 11:02 AM

As was pointed out in another thread, if you're sooooooo worried about pictures, you should be able to set your browser to disable them. Or, run Slog through and RSS feeder where you can disable images. A few simple steps on your part (you know, the person with something to lose by looking at Slog while at work), and the problem is solved, without all this squawking at posters who are not beholden only to the at-work demographic.

Posted by Aislinn | February 26, 2008 11:02 AM

While I understand what you're getting at in regards to pushing a philosophy, I also understand that employers aren't going to understand that point of view.

Personally, I don't look at the sites I know might potentially get me in trouble, but most people won't change their habits. I think what it comes down to is a kind of internet-etiquette which I understand you don't feel quite responsible for but it isn't really that different than the rules of an ordinary newspaper. The virtue of an online blog is you can publish the pictures you want, but to be fair to your audience there are also some rules of engagement.

Putting a nude behind a cut is not as much a statement against accepting female bodes as it seems--you would obviously do the same for a male nude, as well.

Posted by sharon | February 26, 2008 11:02 AM

Your question boils down to this: "Do I slog poster want my posts to be read by the widest swath of people, or do I want to alienated my readership by posting images of nudity in my blog?"

In every job I have ever had, nudity in the office == bad. Just because you are an online rag posting about art (a subjective matter in itself) doesn't mean HR heads will give you special consideration.

And we could go on about the subjective nature of what is pornographic... but that is besides the point.

Posted by seattle98104 | February 26, 2008 11:03 AM

"(Are come-ons like this album cover, which Amazon—a conventional workplace—is happy enough to post to its own web site, more or less SFW?)"

Amazon is not 'conventional' - they sell BUTTPLUGS

Posted by bobcat | February 26, 2008 11:03 AM

it's really up to you. you have to make slog safe enough for the readership you want. you don't want kids, so you don't have to make it safe for elementary school. but if you do want young professionals, then maybe you should make it safe for work. and maybe push the boundaries occasionally... just to, you know, stay slog.

Posted by infrequent | February 26, 2008 11:05 AM

It seems to me like this is a pretty simple issue. Naked photos are not okay with employers, art or not. Naked photos can be seen and identified from across the room, text cannot.

Obviously, readers want to be able to log on at work, and it seems like it's in Slog's best interests to ensure that people can log on during the day, at work. So, why are you making this so difficult?

Posted by Julie | February 26, 2008 11:07 AM

And to the point of net etiquette, in the photography and other art blogs and forums that I read occasionally at work, they all have adopted the put nudity behind a cut philosophy.

I don't understand what fight you're trying to fight here.

Posted by seattle98104 | February 26, 2008 11:07 AM

i'm allowed to occasionally visit web sites while at work. i'm sure i'm not alone in this. not only that, some of us are salary and can do what we want as long as we get the job done.

i have enough battles to fight at work that i choose not to defend "art" on my monitor. and while i might not get fired, it could certainly taint my reputation. and you don't get to defend that with even the best arguments. i won't get fired. but if i get a warning that i should look at inappropriate images there's nothing for me to argue against. a warning is nothing. you cannot take a warning back. the supervisor has an opinion now that cannot be removed.

and sure, i might have to set images to not display. but i probably won't. most of the images are okay. and the images at other sites are okay. so i'd probably just have to stop.

if the stranger does not want us to view slog... well that would be something else entirely. but i'd like to keep reading if i could.

Posted by infrequent | February 26, 2008 11:07 AM

Why is it such a big deal to have the courtesy to not post nudity on the Slog (but rather, just link to it or post after a jump)?

No one wants to censor you, no one wants to crush your personal philosophy on art. All we are asking for is the courtesy to keep in mind that some of your most loyal Slog readers read it at work and don't want to get fired because you (unexpectedly, I might add) decided to post frontal nudity?

Posted by Hernandez | February 26, 2008 11:09 AM

all we're asking for is a friggin cut. it's not like we're asking you to go way out on a limb and have some kind of existential crisis.

Posted by some dude | February 26, 2008 11:10 AM

My old boss once made me take down a James Bond calendar because the photos were too suggestive. I'm talking a movie poster from 1968. You really have no idea how close to Office Space most large corporations are.

I'm so happy to be free.

Posted by monkey | February 26, 2008 11:11 AM

why are people reading Slog at work? shouldn't they be, um... working?

it's like complaining that someone you smoke pot with in the parking garage during work is telling filthy jokes so loud that the boss can hear from upstairs

Posted by um | February 26, 2008 11:13 AM

Nudity is never good for work Jen.

I understand its art and thats cool but Please respect us enought to not get us fired. We enjoy your blog and I'd hate to have to not enjoy it on my breaks. I agree with the above people saying its proper nettiquet to put the nudity behind the cuts.

Would saying Please don't post nudity pics help?

Posted by CodyBolt | February 26, 2008 11:13 AM

Oh, and in response to your second question, most everybody at my work surfs the net, and many even know that I'm a big fan of the Slog (it's not a huge office). Point is, they already know I'm wasting time. BUT, there is an expectation that, in the course of my time-wasting, I will restrict my viewing to sites that are appropriate to the workplace, and nudity OF ANY KIND is not considered appropriate.

Posted by Hernandez | February 26, 2008 11:14 AM


washington state law requires breaks per hourly shifts, most jobs in seattle involve using a computer. you do the math.

Posted by seattle98104 | February 26, 2008 11:15 AM

Oooooh, such power you wield, wooowooooo. Yeah, some of us have grown-up jobs. And yeah, we can take 5, 10, whatever, and visit web sites during downtime. We're not expected to slog-around-the-clock like you guys are, suckairrrrrrrrrrrs.

Posted by 35 and 35? Poor thing | February 26, 2008 11:16 AM

and i think the #1 website most of you slog authors need to bookmark is here:

Posted by bobcat | February 26, 2008 11:18 AM

I don't expect Slog to change, if you can't bring their newspaper to work with you to read openly (in case someone's looking, you know) then their Slog is the last place you should be while at work.

Posted by orwellian1984 | February 26, 2008 11:20 AM

hey orwell there is a difference between WORK and WORK BREAK

Posted by bobcat | February 26, 2008 11:21 AM

@23 - also, probably like others here, I'm a salaried worker. My job pretty much requires me to work as late as need be (and on weekends) whenever I have a deadline. I am the poster child for no boundaries between work and life. So, I can read Slog all day long if I want, as long as the work gets done. This is why I will comment all the time for 1-2 days (when things are slow) and then not log on for a week.

Posted by Julie | February 26, 2008 11:23 AM

@26, everyone: The onus is on you to make sure you're not doing something inappropriate for YOUR job. This isn't rocket science. You can disable images, or you can risk getting caught. Perhaps "incessant whining" should be added to the list of things you can't do at work: productivity triples!

Posted by Aislinn | February 26, 2008 11:23 AM

The image you mentioned can be seen as sexual if someone wants to see it that way. Just because you say it is art and not sexual does not make it so.
Porn can be viewed as art, porn is made into art all the time.
Your article quickly goes from talking about nudes (a general term) to talking about women being ashamed of their bodies. This is not about attacking women this is about what is acceptable in the work place, male and female nudes that push boundaries.
It is unfortunate that people cant be free to look at whatever they want whenever they want and you know this. You might not like it but I think you have to be respectful of the position of your viewers at some point. So you have to put the image behind a link. I hate that you have to do that too but at some point you have to stop trying to make a point at the expense of your viewers.
The image you chose, to me is mild. There are worse images out there. if you start applying your ideas of showing everything then you head down a slippery slope. Would you show a naked dead person that had been raped? Or naked bodies of children blown apart in a war zone. Maybe a naked picture of yourself or a family member, even if you had permission. Probably not and you would probably not push a censorship agenda based upon those images. But if you think about it this image is generally safe compared to some images. It is one of those perfect images that a point like you are making can be made. Like I said there are worse images out there and they would test you more than this image does when deciding if it is safe or not. So you would have to make a choice if you would post such an image in the first place and if you decided not to then isn't that censoring too. So it is not much of a problem just to place some images behind a link.

Posted by -B- | February 26, 2008 11:27 AM

Dear HR person:

"...but it wasn't HORNY nudity"

"...see, but she was making a STATEMENT on our society"

"...the thing is, USUALLY they'll put stuff like that below the cut, and USUALLY I don't have the office prude looking over my shoulder"

"...I don't think you would be firing me if it was 500 years older and painted"

Posted by Mr. Belding | February 26, 2008 11:28 AM

jesusmotherfuckinchrist. i'm not sure what the issue is here. "NSFW, after the jump." how hard is that?

Posted by brandon | February 26, 2008 11:28 AM

I work in HR, and yes, people get fired for stuff like this. Usually this happens when someone complains, or when the company wants to get rid of someone, they will pull their browser history. Welcome to corporate America.

I can't read Slog at work as their firewalls won't allow it. I called off today because I couldn't bear to go in.

Posted by Soo | February 26, 2008 11:30 AM

If you work at a company that's going to fire you for something like that you shouldn't be reading the Slog at work. Alternatively, turn off your images when viewing the Slog and you won't have an issue.

Posted by bob | February 26, 2008 11:30 AM

Best SLOG Post in a LONG time!

Thanks Jen.

My question to folks... who determines "appropriate"? Who 'sets' that limit?

I'm in favor of full nudity any place any time short of work dangerous activities. This includes all viewing of anything on the internet.

The umbrella of "sexual harassment" has gotten so overblown, that is has skewed any logical interpretation of reality.

It is the HUMAN BODY folks. Last I checked we all had one. Who gives a shit? The rest of the world mocks our Puritanism.

And I'm tired of living in a country that is so politcally correct and lawsuit averse that I can't live my life, and do my job as I see fit.


Posted by Reality Check | February 26, 2008 11:31 AM

I really have to take an opposing stance to most of the commentors on this one - if you KNOW your employer would potentially fire you for viewing nudity on the web - DON'T VISIT SITES WHERE YOU MIGHT ENCOUNTER NUDE PICTURES DURING WORK HOURS!

"The Stranger", its employees, advertisers, et al, are not your parents, or, your boss. It's still presumably a "free country" and a free Internet, and legally they have the right to publish any damned thing they want. It's not their obligation or responsibility to prevent your boss from showing you the door if you get caught doing something at work you're not supposed to be doing - YOU know the rules at your particular place of employment, and YOU choose to either abide by or disregard them at your own peril.

Now, if the folks at "The Stranger" eventually decide to establish some sort of policy whereby all potentially offensive or employment-threatening images ARE put below a jump, or, behind a curtain, or whatever, the question I have to ask in response is: how many people out there are STILL GOING TO VIEW THE IMAGES? Adding an additional layer of protection might prevent some percentage, even perhaps a significant one, from doing so, but I'll bet dollars to donut holes it won't stop many people from viewing the images, even knowing they're taking a risk, and that there'll be Hell to pay if they get caught, but that won't stop them.

So, realistically, how many of you is "The Stranger" obligated to protect, and to what extremes do you rationally expect them to go to devolve you of any personal responsibility for your own actions?

Posted by COMTE | February 26, 2008 11:37 AM

so Comte - if you get fired because someone posted the goatse guy on a 'wholesome' site who is to blame? the company or your own damn self. ultimately, the company will win. Workers have NO rights concerning electronic transmissions, or personal property while on the job.

All in all, you are out a job and will be cleaning your weapons with one hell of a grudge on your shoulder.

Posted by bobcat | February 26, 2008 11:43 AM

Why is this so fucking hard to understand? Not everyone works at the Stranger office where, apparently, it's perfectly OK to look at porn (yes, Fleshbot IS porn).

So this image isn't porn. It's art. Right. So fucking what? It's still a naked chick showing off her bush.

What you guys refuse to realize is that it has nothing to do with what is "art" and what is "porn".

Just put it behind the link.

Posted by Jack | February 26, 2008 11:45 AM

The general rule is that if it makes someone uncomfortable, then you can't have it visible on your screen/desk at work. If you get in trouble for an image, they're not going to debate its value as "art." They're going to ask if it made another person uncomfortable. Yes, different people have different levels, and the 60-something senior person will have a different measure of "uncomfortable" than a 20-something progressive.

It's a very fuzzy line, and different bosses/companies will interpret it differently. But they're not gonna give a crap if it's "art" or not. They only care if some tightass could potentially sue for damages if they could claim emotional discomfort. And, sadly, many stupid Americans will claim discomfort after seeing a naked lady.

Posted by mongrel | February 26, 2008 11:48 AM

of course we don't have some strange right to view NSFW sites at work. the sites don't have to change if they don't want to. and yes, some of us may have to stop viewing slog because of the NSFW images.

but there's no harm in asking the slop to follow guidelines widely used elsewhere to allow work-browsing. if slog has to be so "alternative" that they will not allow for that, then they potentially lose those like fnarf and hernandez and gain those like "um". i'd prefer fnarf.

Posted by infrequent | February 26, 2008 11:50 AM

Comte re: your last paragraph.

Putting an image behind a jump is hardly extreme. It's so not extreme that I am suprised it's even an issue.

Also, you're right in that the Stranger is not obligated to protect us. Of course they're not. But, I would think it would be in their best interest to keep their readers happy, and to have Slog be accessible at work (drives up hit numbers). So, I would think they would want to do it since it's such a minor thing and doesn't compromise the content of a post.

Posted by Julie | February 26, 2008 11:51 AM

Where's your ombudsman at times like this? It seems this is a Jen vs. standard nettiquette issue - the public interest has been lost, and the world exists in black and white where you are either for our full frontal nudity as art posts or you are bunch of bastardized pricks working for the tool of a man in corporate America.

Posted by seattle98104 | February 26, 2008 11:51 AM

"workers did indeed get fired for visiting heavy-metal websites with sort of typical chicks-with-swords artwork..."

@10 maybe your coworkers got fired for their bad taste in music?

Posted by slayerrules | February 26, 2008 11:51 AM

@41: Exactly, what is so hard to understand? It's your responsibility to police what images you look at while at work, not The Strangers's. It's your responsibility to go to the lengths necessary to make sure such images aren't on your screen, NOT THEIRS.

Posted by Aislinn | February 26, 2008 11:53 AM

Jen this was a great and thoughtful post. In general I don't really care about after the jump/not after the jump because no one really can see my monitor. But I do know that naked bodies on the interwebs can catch the eye of an idle glance of a co-worker and for that reason I think it's just practical and common courtesy to respect people at work and post after the jump. Even if I think you made some good points in your post.

Posted by arduous | February 26, 2008 11:54 AM

@39, you're missing the point. The point is that the readers of the Slog thought they had some sort of agreement from the Stranger not to post NSFW. And then they did.

I would be pissed, too. But the question isn't about the whineyness of these commentors (they are pretty whiney) but about the Stranger, and whether they made such an agreement, tacit or otherwise, with the readers.

If the Slog doesn't give a shit about getting hits from working folks during the day, that's one thing. Jen Graves is annoyingly verbose but doesn't address that issue, and seems to not actually understand the real world (as addressed by the aforementioned whiney but correct commentors).

If the Slog cares about getting hits during the day from working folks with jobs at evil corporations, like the majority of people, then they should once again embrace the jump.

P.S. When I come home the last thing I want to do is slog. I'd rather, oh, fuck my boyfriend or work out or consume adult beverages. The slog is for work and breaks at work, and I'd guess that many people feel the same.

Posted by Becca | February 26, 2008 11:56 AM

I think a good rule of thumb would be: Would this image be appropriate to appear on the cover of the Stranger?

Granted, you have pushed the envelope on THAT a time or two (Dina Martina as the Virgin Mary cradling a turkey carcass comes to mind) but the image you posted yesterday probably would not make the cover no matter how much Jen begged and Savage and Keck hemmed and hawed.

But, I will say it also depends on the medium. A photograph is going to be far more inflammatory than painting or sculpture. If that exact same image from yesterday had been a painting, you'd have had a lot less controversy.

Posted by michael strangeways | February 26, 2008 11:57 AM

am I the only one that notices that the Slog is dripping with "NSFW" imagery and content even if you're just reading a post about the history of bread? there are vaguely pornographic banner ads and lust lab personals and scatalogical log lines all over the site that are NSFW...

seriously, just wait until you're home for the day to check out the site then, along with whatever other sites you want -- slog is/was never SFW

Posted by um | February 26, 2008 11:57 AM

Elenchos: Gonzo pranksters? Yeah, that's what it is when an art critic posts a work of art.

Fnarf: Don't you work at home?

And as for "crusading" and "trying to change the world" etc etc etc -- wow! Thanks! I'll try to be more cynical, as long as you'll think I'm cooler.

Know it: Editorial decisions do take principles into account. Otherwise they wouldn't be editorial decisions. Don't be obtuse. They also take practical considerations into account. I'm trying to find a balance. Leave off with the bullshit.

Posted by Jen Graves | February 26, 2008 11:59 AM

I'm all for not "putting pictures of naked women behind a curtain." The problem with your SLOG posting is that it removed the choice from the reader. A generally non-explicit pictures blog suddenly includes an explicit picture without warning. Like an exhibitionist who doesn't get the consent of his targets before exposing himself. The problem is a lack of consent.

Now, there's an argument to be made that Slog readers implicitly gave consent. And there's an argument to be made that we shouldn't have to get consent prior to doing every little thing. We don't get permission to introduce ourselves anymore like we might have in a Victorian age. There's something to be said for moving *discussions* of sex from a presumed non-consensual status to a presumed consensual status. If The Stranger wants to take up that fight, more power to you.

But the current cultural climate is that we get consent from listeners before we dump our sexual issues on them. I do not jump into descriptions of Robert Mapplethorpe's work without knowing if that is acceptable to other participants in the discussion.

If you aren't going to try to change the climate, then be far more clear about the Slog's content generally or put things like that behind a jump.

I thought it was an awesome piece of work though. I never read Slog at work, so I don't personally give a rip where such images or discussions appear in Slog.

Posted by King Rat | February 26, 2008 12:00 PM

What Julie@44 said.

Posted by Big Sven | February 26, 2008 12:03 PM

Everyone should just do what elenchos@8 suggests. It's pretty clear that many of the Stranger staff won't put pictures that could get you in trouble at work behind a cut, whether because of some strange notion that it compromises the quality of the post, or because they think it sends some message other than "We don't want our at-work readers to get fired", or because they're just too lazy.

But, at the very least, I'd ask that, if you're going to opt to stick it to The Man and continue intentionally posting naked pictures cut-less, at least put a little message at the top of Slog about how it may contain NSFW content, out of courtesy to new readers.

Posted by tsm | February 26, 2008 12:10 PM


It's better to be safe than sorry. I got burned on your last post too. And the Vagina scent thing yesterday as well.

Tag it was NSFW if it's got nudity or something that has an image that might possibly be objectionable to the average person in an average work environment (The Stranger editorial office is NOT average).

Post it "after the jump" or through a link that you have to acutally click on--not embedded in your slog post.

It's really not that hard. But it's better to have err on the side of caution because some of use may be open minded and able to deal, but just happen to work in places that are not.

We in Cubical land appreciate the forethought.

Posted by curtains | February 26, 2008 12:11 PM

Anybody who's afraid of losing their job over shit like this should just quit. Seriously, that's no way to live.

Posted by reason | February 26, 2008 12:17 PM

I think it's bizarre that people are saying that they should be protected so that they can read blogs at work. I don't think reading blogs at work is a right, even on a break. Why, I remember the day when reading blogs at work would have been considered a luxury! Or at least the unimaginable future. I say put a big disclaimer at the top of the Slog that the whole damned blog is NSFW and don't worry about putting stuff behind a cut unless the post gets too long otherwise. Let people read the New York Times at work if they need to slack off.

Posted by Ramdu | February 26, 2008 12:21 PM

Aislinn is the only poster on here with any common sense. You're reading the SLOG for God's Sake! Get real, People!! The Stranger is an ALTERNATIVE weekly paper. Of course you're going to have "controversial" subject matter/artwork/photos/etc. You read it at your own risk when you're at work. Get a life and stop demanding that The Stranger censors your web browsing for you.

Posted by DanFan | February 26, 2008 12:23 PM

@57, hahahaha oh man -- you are truly the voice of the people!

thank gawd america is full of bold workers like you speaking up for the inalienable right of people to piss away their employers' payrolls and bandwidth staring at trash websites

this generation sure is full of movers and shakers! not a useless chair-moistener in the bunch

Posted by um | February 26, 2008 12:24 PM

@52 Jen Graves

I do understand that you are trying to be reasonable about this. I didn't mean that you were doing this as a prank. It's the rest of the Stranger staff I don't trust.

My point was that you work with an awful lot of people who have no interest in being reasonable. Dan Savage for one, and how can he not influence everyone else's attitude? So even if you and the majority of the Slot writers put the nudity after the jump, it only takes one immature Slogger to get a reader busted. That's why blocking the images is the only safe option.

Posted by elenchos | February 26, 2008 12:26 PM

@58 - "I don't think reading blogs at work is a right, even on a break."

For fuck's sake, NO ONE THINKS IT'S A RIGHT. The point is: does the Stranger want us reading Slog or not? If we cubicle slaves have to worry about it costing us our jobs every time we pay a visit, we won't read it.

Posted by yeesh | February 26, 2008 12:29 PM

Every argument on here along the lines of "why don't you just..." is utter bullshit. Bottom line for you people : "We want to be able to do or look at whatever we want whenever we want, and we expect you to assist us in being able to do so."

I sincerely hope every one of you gets winged by a stray bullet or mauled by a pit bull on the way home tonight.

Posted by Utterly disgusted | February 26, 2008 12:30 PM

@41 wins.

Posted by Will in Seattle | February 26, 2008 12:32 PM

@63 - yeah, the audacity of a journalistic outlet's readership daring to express their views on what they want to see there. Fuckers!

Posted by tsm | February 26, 2008 12:32 PM

@57 - that attitude is pretty ridiculous. At my old job, my boss had something akin to a personal vendetta against open-toed shoes in the workplace. She hated them.

Is that absurd? Yes. Should I have quit my job (which I absolutely loved, and which paid very well) in protest?

Sometimes you have to put up with some crap to get what you want out of a job -- quitting because your company has an anti-naked picture policy at work would be ridiculous.

Posted by Julie | February 26, 2008 12:33 PM

57 - Please let us know who your sugardaddy is so we can get in line.

The bigger issue with the image in question was that it was also slightly vomit-inducing, making any art tag irrelevant.

Posted by wbrproductions | February 26, 2008 12:34 PM

My employer is not concerned if I read the Slog at work - I take breaks, I multitask, and as long as I get done what I'm expected to, what I'm reading isn't an issue. It becomes an issue if someone walks by my desk, sees something they feel is pornographic and reports me. It doesn't matter that it's not pornographic. It doesn't even matter if the HR guy I end up having to talk with agrees with me that the person complaining is being absurd. I probably wouldn't get fired, but the report's been made, I've had to have a conversation I didn't want to have, and my reputation at work has been damaged.

Was the situation avoidable? Sure. I didn't have to read the Slog at work. But I like reading it, and 99% of the time it's not an issue. I could configure my browser to hide all images from, but then I'd miss SFW images accompanying other posts and the Slog would lose a lot of value for me.

So how hard is it to put a potentially NSFW images below the cut? Do it out of respect for your readers. The ones that aren't at work can click the link and see the rest of the post without really going out of their way, and the ones who are in an environment in which it could cause problems can make a decision. No one misses out on content they wanted to see, and no one gets shit because of something they didn't expect to have come up.

Posted by Brian | February 26, 2008 12:35 PM

@65 - Or the audacity of the journalistic outlet's readership to DEMAND that everything be delivered to them in a hermetically sealed, kid-friendly little wrapper, lest they somehow get in hot water with someone over the content.

Here, Rover - KILL!!!

Posted by Utterly disgusted | February 26, 2008 12:36 PM

It's been said before -- nothing about the Slog is safe for work, if you work at a place where they might have opinions on such things. Maybe you should just refrain at looking until you're at home. Then you only have to worry about your born-again spouse.

Posted by MonkeyNose | February 26, 2008 12:36 PM

@68 - Or, re your last paragraph, how about a statement on the top of the page that The Stranger occasionally publishes material of a controversial nature - and some of you slacking jack-offs might just have to wait until you get home to read it?

Posted by Utterly disgusted | February 26, 2008 12:39 PM

I don't read Jen Graves's posts so I would prefer that they all be put behind a jump.

Posted by An anonymous jerk | February 26, 2008 12:39 PM

The Slog is the best resource in Seattle for local news, political analysis, music listings, etc. When I'm working in a corporate office I check the Slog several times a day during breaks. I use an RSS reader so that I don't have NSFW ads on my screen. Every job I've had was perfectly OK with this. But none of those jobs would tolerate full-frontal nudity regardless of its purpose.

It would be a shame to lose all that the Slog offers in service of making a statement about corporate culture and art. From a practical standpoint, not reading the Slog during the day means I probably won't read it much at all. I'm at the office 10+ hours a day and when I get home it's usually too late to wade through 40 posts to see if anything interesting happened.

I humbly request that the Stranger editorial staff formalize a policy of putting nudity behind a jump with a "NSFW" verbal description. That way people can make their own decision about whether looking at the image is a risk in their current environment.

To do otherwise gives one portion of the Slog the ability to sharply curtail the readership of all other areas. For example, all that work you do reporting on Seattle politics and advocating for change will have far less impact if your many readers who work in an office environment disappear.

Posted by Kerry | February 26, 2008 12:43 PM

@52 - I think it's kind of funny that you ask us "Has anybody had to have these conversations with their employers? What was that like? Has anybody lost a job over this?" And we tell you yes, it sucks, and yes, but you don't seem to care. I agree that the world shouldn't be like this, but it is. And the fact that you don't know it, exposes you as ignorant. Like the supreme court said about obsenity, we know it when we see it. And us folks with shitty real jobs (while we're on our break for all you puritanical work ethic people) know when something crosses the line and could get us fired. Please appreciate the fact that you DON'T know when something crosses that line and take our word for it. If everyone in the comments yells for you to move it after the jump - just do it. Then post your art/obsenity debate thread and scold us for being too sensitive. I don't understand why you're picking this fight.

Posted by skweetis | February 26, 2008 12:46 PM

Jen's blasé attitude and absolute childish refusal to own up to her mistakes/misjudgments/whatever only further cements the fact that I fucking hate her writing, opinions, perspective, taste in art.

Posted by *gong* | February 26, 2008 12:50 PM

Man, I really don't understand why this is such an issue. Why do you put really long posts after a jump? Out of consideration for your readers. It's not a big deal at all for a long post to not be put behind a jump (and staffers are free to not do it), but, it annoys some readers to have to page through a long post they're not interested in, so general etiquette is to put a jump in.

This is the SAME THING. NSFW images are not really that big of a deal to many readers, but they are to some, so just put a jump in, already. We're not asking you to censor your posts, just to take into account the desires of your readers on this incredibly minor issue.

Posted by mscanard | February 26, 2008 12:50 PM

I never in my life thought I'd actually defend the pathetic, stick-up-the-ass, academic gobbledygook crapola that Ms. Graves writes - but after reading this mess, I hope she makes nude pictures a regular feature of her posts.

But just post 'em - don't actually, like, talk about them - OK, Jen? : >

Posted by NOW look what's happened... | February 26, 2008 12:51 PM

An interesting topic.

I always laugh at the freaks screaming "NSFW! NSFW!!!" But that is because I'm self employed, and I have sole discretion over what is, or is not, safe for work. I don't have to worry about some asshole boss firing me over reading Slog (I have lots of other things to worry about, but that isn't one of them).

But this post made me think about the issue seriously for a few minutes. There are several competing and overlapping issues.

First, the "art vs. porn" issue will never be resolved this way. An HR department policy isn't going to give a shit at all whether it is art or porn. If it is nude, it is NSFW, period. And really, I would think the Stranger would support a strong no-harassment policy at workplaces. They are usually there mostly to protect female employees from harassment. That is a good thing. Sure, they are heavy handed sometimes, but in this lawsuit-centered culture, it is a wise business practice to err on the side of caution. So, much as I pity and laugh at the poor cubicle slaves, I fully support HR departments enforcing a policy like this.

So given that the Stranger cannot, indeed should not, change HR department policies, you have to decide if you want to alienate and loose viewership from office drones. Yes, yes, people can install image blocking software, but most people won't or can't. Most IT departments forbid workers to install any software not approved by them. So that really isn't an option for a lot of people either. It is simplistic to say that people shouldn't read Slog if they're working. Many jobs aren't that tight assed, and most allow you to browse or read your personal email at work while on a break or lunch.

One thing the Stranger should do is have a clear policy on the issue. Slog has long been vague and inconsistent. Sometimes you put NSFW content behind the cut or link it. Sometimes you don't. That leaves viewers confused and unsure. Sometimes we can go a couple of weeks without a NSFW image popping up on Slog. People are then lulled into a sense of security, that Slog is safe. Then something like yesterday's picture hits, and everyone freaks out. You should have a clear policy of putting all NSFW content behind a cut or link, or clearly state on your header that you will not censor Slog for NSFW content, and that people must read it at their own risk.

That way cubicle slaves can make a rational decision based on clear input, rather than having to guess as to whether or not Slog will be safe to look at today.

Posted by Reverse Polarity | February 26, 2008 12:51 PM

All of this "well, obviously, we can't change the way things are" debate - anybody who espouses that lame ass rationale should be slapped silly the next time they even remotely try to complain about anything related to the status quo.

If you think something is ridiculous - either fight for it, or roll over - but if you choose to do the latter, then please keep your mouth shut while doing so. Because whatever you say is even more pathetic than you rolling over in the first place.

Posted by And another thing... | February 26, 2008 1:00 PM


Wrong. YOU are responsible, end of story. Any site that would post the "goatse guy" can't really be as "wholesome" as you ASSUME it to be.

I reiterate: the site is not obligated to abide by your, your boss', or your company's standards of what is or isn't acceptible graphical content. So long as what they post is legal, protected speech, they have every right to display it.

The idea that anybody needs to curtail, censor, or otherwise sanitize their web content, just so that you don't get in trouble isn't THEIR problem; if your place of employment has a policy against viewing those sorts of images, it's YOUR PROBLEM, not the site's. You, as the employee have the choice to view or not view the site; nobody's forcing you to do one or the other, so any consequences that occur as a result of you seeing something your company disapproves of, even inadvertently, is solely on your head.

Posted by COMTE | February 26, 2008 1:01 PM

It comes down to You can post NSFW with out a jump but are you really reaching more people that way? If you do this then the people that will have to stop viewing Slog ae now definatly not going to see any of your images or posts.

Jen maybe put yourself in other shoes. Would you appriciate it if you were in another job and had to stop viewing slog because a sloger refused to put NSFW images behind a jump?

I know I will be sad to have to stop my slogging if you continue doing this.
I've really enjoyed some of the safe for art work you have posted and it would be a shame for me to lose that but it would be a bigger shame for me to lose my job because of it. I'm afraid Id have to vote with my feet Er clicker.

Posted by CodyBolt | February 26, 2008 1:13 PM

Comte & Aislinn, you're forgetting (or ignoring) that the Stranger wants people to read their blog. They can take the "defend free speech" route and post everything they want and watch their hit count drop, or they can do what other sites and blogs do and post NSFW images after the jump and maybe see their hits continue to rise. Business and freedom often collide this way. You may be fortunate enough not to work at a corporate job (it would be surprising to me if you do and still hold the opinions you expressed) but most people do.

Something everyone should also keep in mind about Slog is that 95% of the posts are put up during normal work hours, not at night, not on weekends. So if you want to keep up with the posts and the discussions those are the times you need to check out Slog. Participation will drop way off if most of us need to worry about NSFW images. And it does seem like most of us do need to worry.

Posted by Matt from Denver | February 26, 2008 1:21 PM

for the people who think slog shouldn't change... do any of you work at places where you cannot view traditionally NSFW items when there?

Posted by infrequent | February 26, 2008 1:26 PM

The way the word "safe" is used in this discussion appalls me.

Posted by Kiru Banzai | February 26, 2008 1:33 PM

If SLOG cannot be counted on to put a veil over images which might upset a co-worker who looks at my screen I must regretably refrain from reading SLOG. My job has non-hostile workplace, anti- harrassment policies which do not include a rider excepting art.
We are allowed to look at the internet in our free time, much as we would look at a magazine or read a book on break. We are not allowed to use our email or internet access to sell anything or forward any political agendas, and are on our honor not to use it to go to sites which could be upsetting if seen by a co-worker. We also have a "safe workplace" policy which essentially means we must refrain from causing harm to our colleagues. For example, looking at white supremist sites and letting a black colleague know that I am doing so could be seen as harrassment, and rightly so. Reading a magazine which has pictures which could be viewed as objectionable by another, within the view of another who found them so can be viewed as harrassment. This is work, and the 1st Amendment has certain restrictions here, as supported by several rulings of the US Supreme court, so I haven't much choice.

Posted by inkweary | February 26, 2008 1:37 PM

even Perez Hilton puts stuff behind a jump and he's the Queen of All Media...

Posted by michael strangeways | February 26, 2008 1:38 PM

yes, even at theoretically image aware companies (advertising agencies) people do get fired for such images, yes I have been told by a boss explicitly not to go to such sites (even though I was not going to them) , yes, all browsed locations can be saved and in fact companies do sample the locations browsed.
Consider yourself samizdat. If you put the image behind the link, the network is safe and the viewer gets the information. If you don't the network is not safe and the viewer does not get the information.
if your mission is to subvert by not respecting the office secret police you should warn the viewers. If your mission is to disseminate your information you should play by the rules.

Posted by LMSW | February 26, 2008 1:43 PM

@ 83, Uh, yeah. I do. I'm a civil servant. I'm sure Uncle Sam has that picture right up there on his list of forbidden things to look at while at work. That's a risk I take. If I get caught, it's on my OWN head, not Miss Grave's and not SLOG's. I seriously doubt that SLOG is going to lose much readership over this innocuous posting of art/porn/nudity/whatever you want to call it. I think most of the people protesting this are more interested in the debate over it than they are in common sense.

Posted by DanFan | February 26, 2008 1:46 PM

@73 FTW. i think kerry laid out exactly how i feel in a very rational manner.

@83 that's interesting. i'm surprised you wouldn't want a safer way to browse while at work. like you, the rest of us in a similar situation are taking a measured risk (that i'd rather not have to take). if the risk increases, i might have to reevaluate my initial choice.

Posted by infrequent | February 26, 2008 1:56 PM

For all those saying, in effect, "get over it," let's return to the wording of the original post:

I’m sincerely asking:

What are the actual guidelines of companies?
Is everyone who screams NSFW actually afraid of losing a job, or is it just that some things look even less like you’re doing work than others?
If we agree that there’s a substantive difference between art and celebrity shots or porn, then aren’t you in a position to defend the difference?
Has anybody had to have these conversations with their employers? What was that like? Has anybody lost a job over this?

This sounds like Graves is genuinely curious if there is an issue with the image she posted (she even includes the word "sincere," although she apparently doesn't mean it). A number of posters then respond with sincere answers to the questions (roughly, "Most corporations have zero tolerance for any nudity in any context whatsoever," "Yes the people complaining do have a legitimate fear of losing their jobs," "No, we are not in a position to defend the difference between art and porn to our HR department" and finally "Yes, people have been fired for this.")

If you don't want to hear the answers to your "sincere" questions, don't ask them.

Also, as a point of order: Yes, many employers can be conservative jackasses, but sexual harassment policies were largely promoted from the liberal end of the political spectrum. It's a bit disingenous to chalk up such workplace policies to "puritanism" and leave it at that.

Posted by flamingbanjo | February 26, 2008 2:06 PM

I'm guessing you've never worked in a corporate office, so I'm suggesting that you STFU and put nudity behind a link with a nice NSFW warning.


Posted by K | February 26, 2008 2:16 PM

Would you all calm down? If you lose your job--guess what!--you can get another one.

Asking anybody at the Stranger to censor themselves is retarded. That's like anybody at the Stranger asking us to stop being "mean".


Posted by Mr. Poe | February 26, 2008 2:21 PM

Seriously, little ones, my heart veritably bleeds for you-all. All this kvetching is just another example of people trying to kill something for the very qualities that drew them to it in the first place.

Slog has been around for - what? - three or four YEARS now. And during that entire time, not a single day has gone by in my estimation that there hasn't been at least one post that hasn't contained an image that either bordered on, or has been patently NSFW.

But, it's only NOW that many of you have realized this might potentially cause you a problem at work? And now that you've suddenly had your little epiphany, you want The Stranger to take on the role of your own personal at-work nanny to protect your sensitive co-workers eyes from the naughty images you-all have been oh-so furtively viewing for all this time, all apparently without having previously had the least clue as to the possible consequences of your at-work slackertude?

Is it little wonder some of us ADULTS have little or no sympathy for your predicament?

If you can't handle the content, go read "Hi-Lites" online or something of a similar nature. I'm sure the loss of the fifteen or twenty daily individual site visits you-all represent really won't have that much of an overall impact vis-a-vis online advertising revenue, and it'll save the rest of us from the annoyance of being inundated by your peurile "protect me from myself" whinging.

Because, seriously, if The Slog becomes as bland and sanitized-for-your-protection as a fucking roll of shrink-wrapped toilet paper, full of "cute, little baby fucking animal pictures all the time!", then there's no fucking point in having it around anyway.

Posted by COMTE | February 26, 2008 2:31 PM

@82, 83: I work in an office, but one that is open-minded, and I'm very unlikely to get in trouble for viewing any image that is posted on here. However, I've been Slogging for over a year, and at my old job the rules were much more strict, especially after someone (who was slacking in other areas) was fired for getting caught looking at porn. The only site I ever got in trouble over? An impotent IT guy told me it was inappropriate, and tattled to my boss, but she never talked to me about it. The point is, even at the type of job that had sexual-harrassment training, I still read Slog. Because I was careful about it, and because it was a risk I was willing to take.

As Ari said yesterday, Slog has never been safe for work. Yet somehow, readership is still increasing. I really don't think a naked pregnant lady every once in a while is going to break the bank.

Posted by Aislinn | February 26, 2008 2:44 PM


Because you have to click one extra time to see the NSFW or ten pages long article?


Posted by Will in Seattle | February 26, 2008 2:44 PM
Because, seriously, if The Slog becomes as bland and sanitized-for-your-protection as a fucking roll of shrink-wrapped toilet paper,

Christ, Comte, we're not asking the Sloggers to stop posting pictures of naked pregnant women and such. We're just asking for the courtesy of a fair warning. The Slog's potential for debauchery will not be significantly decreased by you having to click a link first.

Posted by tsm | February 26, 2008 2:45 PM


I went back through the last 4 pages (everything before it sent me to the archives), which covers all the posts since noon on 2/21, and there's nothing I'd object to appearing before the cut except the picture from Jen's post yesterday. Ari's from yesterday afternoon is a close call, but probably wouldn't cross the line in my work environment.

I don't want the Slog to be "bland and sanitized" either, and I'm not concerned about problems at work with 99% of what's posted. Nudity is a different story, fair or not. Keep the nudity, but put it behind the cut. It's not too much to ask.

Posted by Brian | February 26, 2008 2:52 PM

Will, stop being such a pussy. Don't ruin the amazingness that is Slog.

Posted by Mr. Poe | February 26, 2008 2:54 PM

@90: I am sincerely interested. It's those comments I'm listening to. The other ones are distractions, but not much more.

Posted by Jen Graves | February 26, 2008 2:56 PM

COMTE, I love you. I would look like the woman in the pic for you any day.

Posted by Utterly disgusted - but somewhat cheered now | February 26, 2008 3:06 PM


It's the fucking SLOG - what MORE warning do you require?

Posted by COMTE | February 26, 2008 3:06 PM

Jen, I've been your fan since you were back at TNT, but my god!

Elenchos: Gonzo pranksters? Yeah, that's what it is when an art critic posts a work of art.

Fnarf: Don't you work at home?

And as for "crusading" and "trying to change the world" etc etc etc -- wow! Thanks! I'll try to be more cynical, as long as you'll think I'm cooler.

Know it: Editorial decisions do take principles into account. Otherwise they wouldn't be editorial decisions. Don't be obtuse. They also take practical considerations into account. I'm trying to find a balance. Leave off with the bullshit.

Are you fucking kidding me? Fnarf makes a point you should read, understand, and use as guidance when posting in the future. Who gives a shit if he works from home or not? I don't, and neither do the majority of the commenters here.

How insulting for you to dismiss these very real concerns in such an assholey way. I'm almost 30 and have been reading The Stranger since I was 15, when I had to ride my bike to the Lakewood Barnes & Noble to get my copy every Thursday. But really, please fuck off if that's the amount of credit you give your readers (did you even read the comments from Julie?).

I don't live in the Seattle area anymore and can't read the print copy, but you don't have to worry about me complaining about your online content any longer.

Posted by brad | February 26, 2008 3:08 PM

"I don't live in the Seattle area anymore and can't read the print copy, but you don't have to worry about me complaining about your online content any longer."

I'm reminded of the old Cheap Trick title - Everything Works If You Let It.

Posted by The Slog Police | February 26, 2008 3:11 PM

Someone said it above, but it deserves repeating: The ads that often run on SLOG and The Stranger's site that feature half-clad women are also NSFW. Fucking duh.

Seriously, complaining about seeing a naked image on SLOG is like bitching about running into a drunk person at the Oregon Brewer's Festival.

Posted by Superfurry Animal | February 26, 2008 3:12 PM

some of us never see the ads because adblock plus blocks them, 104.

so for us, there *aren't* any nsfw images on the page unless they come up in the body of a post. fucking duh.

Posted by some dude | February 26, 2008 3:22 PM

102 Nailed my biggest grievance here:

Jen's "Fuck you" attitude to her readers.

Posted by You know what? Fuck YOU, Jen. | February 26, 2008 3:42 PM

Awww, poor widdew kiddies got dew undies all bunched 'cause somebawdy don' take dew cwys of, "PUHWEEZE MAKE YOUW 'NSFW' WEB SITE SAFE FOW ME TO WASTE MY BOSSES' TIME WIF!" sewiouswy.

What a bunch of puking, mewling crybabies.

Posted by Fifth Age | February 26, 2008 3:59 PM

As an employee, cooter at work is never, ever OK.

As a gay male, cooter on my computer is never, ever OK.

I was, quite frankly, grossed out (if I may use such early 80s terminology) at the image you posted in the first place. That's just nasty.

Posted by wolf | February 26, 2008 4:14 PM

Jen barely has any readers. This is probably the biggest comment count she's received.

Don't ruin this for her.

Posted by pencil riot | February 26, 2008 4:15 PM

@104, "The ads that often run on SLOG and The Stranger's site that feature half-clad women are also NSFW."

I disagree. There is never nudity in the ads as far as I can remember. Shirtless twinks, yes, NSFW, questionable, but I say no. Explaining to a coworker/boss "Oh, yeah, it's an alt weekly, they sometimes have some racy ads" is a lot easier than trying to explain "Um, it looks like they posted full frontal with bush. They don't usually do that." (which is true).

I've been reading Slog regularly for about 6 months, and I can't recall more than 2 cases of genuine nudity. This post was one of them, I can't quite remember what the other was. The vagina scent thing was borderline, but there was no bush/nipple/vaglips so I let it slide. I did get it the fuck off my screen ASAP, anyway, though.

Trying to pretend that Slog always posts nudity is simply absurd. Someone just called that bluff and looked back several days and found nothing. I know I could go back further and find nothing. Other authors, like Dan, consistently give a NSFW warning before they link or before the jump. Since he is the editor of this blog, this sort of creates an expectation that NSFW stuff will be similarly hidden. When some fat chick's bush comes up on your screen without the warning you are used to, I think you have a right to at least complain.

No one is trying to force Slog not to post nudity. They are just asking for some common courtesy. If they're going to be posting nudity before the jump, they should just say so, and I will stop reading the blog from work.

What is the point of Dan giving NSFW warnings if other authors aren't going to do the same?

Posted by w7ngman | February 26, 2008 4:21 PM

Seriously, if people were spending more time doing work rather than reading Slog this should be an issue.

Oddly enough, I get to read Slog as PART of work, so I'm arguably in the clear here.

But if you people are having an issue ... you have a choice as to whether or not you should be visiting SLog during the day at all.

The Stranger and Slog is not a Democracy. It's a corporate business. They are not beholden to your whining because YOU are at working doing something other than what you should be doing.

Posted by Sam | February 26, 2008 4:26 PM

@111 - If Slog is a business, then it should listen to its customers, the vast majority of whom are asking for NSFW warnings. If you have a problem with the NSFW warning - and nobody, including Jen, has articulated any coherent reasoning about why they have a problem with the warning, then why don't you go read another blog and let this blog respect its customers. If the Slog doesn't want the business of people with office jobs, just let us know. This blog will be real exciting with the 3 commenters on this thread that enjoy scolding people for trying to have some fun at work instead of working 100% of the time. You guys are a total fucking party!

Posted by skweetis | February 26, 2008 4:58 PM

Funny how narrow some people's interpretation of "NSFW" is, as if ONLY full-on nudity would get them into trouble at work.

Just today alone, we've got several images of firearms, cartoon condoms, condom applicators, phallic-looking abstract art, the word "bust" (twice!), some chick doing questionable things with her tongue and a Frappuccino (tm), the word "Bush" (as in, Laura), a Frenchman fellating a baguette, and turban-mockery, any of which, using the presumed standards most of the whiners here seem to be compelled to work under at their jobs, namely, "could a co-worker standing several cubicles away possibly misinterpret this image as something potentially offensive?" might get them into hot water with their HR Dept.

Seriously, it's a wonder many of you still HAVE jobs after spending a day or two on this clearly dirty, filthy, offensive, and totally NSFW web site.

Posted by COMTE | February 26, 2008 5:00 PM

I can't read through all the comments so far (I don't want to miss the debates), but I take the risk. I'm considerate of those who might be looking over my shoulder and try not to view the Slog when the chance is highly likely.

I am well aware of my company's policy in regards to internet viewing, and I'm confident that I can easily defend my visits.

I guess, in the end, all I can say is, "Right on."

Posted by In MN | February 26, 2008 5:29 PM

this thread reminds me of this older one:

but instead of the hippie saying, “If you took your shoes off you could do this, too," we have some sloggers writing, "if you quit your job you could read NSFW posts, too."

Posted by geoffrey | February 26, 2008 5:46 PM

COMTE, I love you.

Posted by DanFan | February 26, 2008 6:16 PM

Comte @ 113, you seem to be seriously missing the point, although I'm starting to think it's a case of being deliberately obtuse.

When you go to non-approved sites like SLOG at work (something that everyone with a work computer does, except for the most follow-the-rules-no-matter-what types), it's generally safe in spite of the examples you cite because THEY'RE NOT DISCERNIBLE AT A DISTANCE. Someone has to literally walk into your cube and get right over your shoulder to see that stuff, and if you're unfortunate enough to have such a rude coworker you're probably ready to jump back to the app your job depends on and hide the offending page from view.

You have yet to offer any explanation as to what's lost by posting these images behind the jump. Explain that and then you'll have contributed to the discussion.

Posted by Matt from Denver | February 26, 2008 6:20 PM

i'm genuinely shocked that people feel so strongly *against* an NSFW jump. what's the big deal?

personally, the last thing i want to see when i'm scrolling through a blog is a pregnant woman's happy trail and hubcap-sized nipple. hey, i'm no prude, just a big fag. and i don't see why giving readers a little advanced notice would is such a huge compromise to your journalistic integrity. again, what's the big fucking deal?

Posted by brandon | February 26, 2008 6:55 PM

Comte - no one is trying to censor Slog or alter its content. At all. Jumps are a courtesy (whether for NSFW or long posts). Courtesies are not mandatory. But, they are preferred by many of the readers.

Posted by Julie | February 26, 2008 7:51 PM

Why do I get a pretty strong vibe that the main reason the whiners here want their NSFW protection is so they can have a minute to look behind them - maybe raise their lard asses up from their chairs - peek over the cubicle wall to make sure all is clear - and then sit back down and CLICK THE DAMN THING ANYWAY.

Which means that "NSFW" is not really the correct term in the first place, is it? Maybe something more like "FYSLAF" - "for you spineless lazy ass fuckwads?"

Posted by And yet another thing... | February 26, 2008 8:30 PM

@ 120, you describe a calculated risk. That's not the same as just going to SLOG and maybe or maybe not bringing up a job-threatening picture - or, for that matter, having to do what you insultingly describe EVERY SINGLE TIME you check on SLOG. But you don't have a real job anyway, so why you bothered commenting is a mystery.

Posted by Matt from Denver | February 26, 2008 8:59 PM

Speaks for yourself, Julie.


Posted by KeeKee | February 26, 2008 9:37 PM

I'm somewhat amazed by the level of douchebaggery and condescension achieved on both sides of the discussion here, particularly from several otherwise generally reasonable people. Perhaps I shouldn't be.

Some of us are working mind-numbing entry-level jobs as a stepping stone to something better, or to support some other less financially fruitful thing we are more passionate about, e.g. theater, or writing, or music, or, say, ART. That doesn't mean we have poor work ethics or are otherwise lazy, as I've read so many times above. We're young. That doesn't mean we're not adults, Comte. Have some compassion, or at least a little respect.

When I read from work, it's because I'm the most productive one in my group and have to pause to let business catch up. It's a small pleasure in my day. I generally wouldn't care if any of my coworkers walked by while I was reading, and several times they have. I sure scrolled this particular post off the screen in a hurry, though. I don't feel the right or need to be particularly indignant about it, but I also don't feel like Jen was being bold or courageous by refusing to "hide" it behind a link. I just think she was a little out of touch.

Nobody is calling for Slog to become a blog of "cute, little baby fucking animal pictures all the time" in lieu of actual content. But warning readers when there is material that could run afoul of HR is a common courtesy adhered to by many, many other "edgy" sites. Regina Lynn wrote in Sex Drive Daily last year:

...I've never thought about it as censure of any kind. Or dumbing-down, either. It's simply a convenience for you, even though I trust that if you are reading a blog or column about sex-tech, you are as aware as I am that any link you follow might (if you're lucky!) have something racy at the other end. As far as I'm concerned it's a heads-up that whatever I'm linking to might be something you'd rather not have your kid or your boss walk in on. End of story.

It's simple and pragmatic. I don't understand how some of the posters above are so virulently opposed to this, or why they have to be such pricks about it. Thank you, Julie, for getting it.

Posted by matthew e | February 26, 2008 10:53 PM

@121 - Not only do I have a job, I have one where I really don't have to worry about situations like all the poor saps here seem to. No wonder I'm so much happier, freer and less paranoid about my life in general. (Besides simply not being a fear-of-public-opinion pussy, that is.)

Robins! I hear robins, I tell you!

Posted by Sorry - nice try, li'l Matty | February 26, 2008 11:17 PM

First, I'd like to admit I did not read the 124 posts before me. So, I won't comment on them, I'll only answer the questions.

I work for a County office and I would never read The Stranger at work. I read the NYTimes, the Washington Post and the local paper, but not The Stranger bc of NSFW concerns.

Also, what occured to me when I saw the art post was that if this woman were not pregnant and thin, it would probably not have been posted before a jump. What I saw was that pregnant, "regular" bodied woman is not considered "sexy" enough to be porn. To me, showing her naked like that was in essence calling her not porn "material," as in no one would find her attractive so it can be "art." To me, that was offensive.

Posted by Papayas | February 27, 2008 12:08 AM

@ 124, you prove my point. Not about having a job (my comment was intended to bring about the response you gave) but that you don't have to worry. You're the kind of twerp who would sing the exact opposite tune if you did work in a corporate setting.

On the other hand, I'm completely in the free and clear like you, but I still hold my viewpoint, especially in light of the fact that no one espousing your viewpoint, including Jen Graves, wants to address - that there's nothing lost in putting NSFW stuff after the jump. Nothing. That's why you resort to petty little insults - because you have no good reason for feeling the way you do. Prove me wrong if you can.

Posted by Matt from Denver | February 27, 2008 12:22 AM

I don't know if anyone has asked this yet, but if we were in Spain or France or any other land where flesh is not viewed as obscene, would we even be having this debate?

It's just skin. The USA can be a very sad place. Really.

Anyway, besides that-- based on some comments, it seems there are some people who have deemed Slog too adult-oriented to visit while at work. So they don't. That seems rational to me. I'm not sure that I sympathize with the the NSFW complainers who aren't willing to give up their Slog habit. I'm not virulently opposed to jumps, and if Savage & Co decide to start doing this (more) regularly, I would still visit the site. But a sanitized version of Slog is not so appealing to me. The fuck-off attitude is what I like about The Stranger. Anyone else?

Posted by Jamey | February 27, 2008 12:48 AM

I love the #125 point that flips it on the "what is porn/nsfw" Stranger line. If it was Belladonna pregnant in that pic, I feel that it would have abso-fucking-lutely been Slogged after the jump. My question for The Stranger staff is why? or why not?

Posted by Abe | February 27, 2008 2:40 AM

Li'l Matty - you. like most people here, have seemed to gradually take this argument in a different direction (which is hardly surprising, all things considered). If you read what I, and people like COMTE, have said, it's not that we have anything against the "self-censorship" angle that a writer might employ here. The problem is the vehement "Hey, don't fucking do that!!" attitude that the NSFW'ers seem to take. If a few of them had nicely requested a warning, that would be one thing. (Or even better, had a better self-realization regarding some of the following points, and had decided not to say anything at all.) It's the self-righteous, "This is what you MUST do" stance adopted by most of them is what's arrogant, self-centered, repulsive, and far, far more offensive to some of us than some (ultimately pointless) little picture and post.

So, no, there's nothing "lost" in her using a jump. But neither is it something she MUST do because of the environment one (or more) of her readers happens to be in, or because of the little foot-stamping outburst this has spawned.

Also, the fact that I choose NOT to work in a corporate setting insulates myself from several strains of "twerpdom". Once again - you make your choices, you live by the rules those choices then make available to you. And if someone comes along with something you can't (or shouldn't) have, yell at yourself - not the offer(er).

Finally, all these little "threats" about not reading Slog anymore are possibly the saddest grasp of all in this. Major corporations and entities deal with threatened boycotts by huge swaths of people and society all the time, and rarely if ever suffer any serious damage from it (Since ultimately, "stances" in today's world have little or no chance winnning out over the base desires of most people - just like all these people threaening to stop reading Slog are, as we all know, going to do no such thing.) And even if they did, Slog is going to get upset about losing maybe 15-20 regular ONLINE readers because...? It's going to utterly wreck their ad position? Somehow, I don't think so.

Hope my "proof" content was high enough for you there, li'l buddy!

Posted by For Dearest Matt | February 27, 2008 9:34 AM

@129 - in college there was a certain dorm room was where all the stoners hung out. the common courtesy was that you always knocked before you just barged in the door. they had fans running and damp towels along the door. you know. the usual shit.

there was this one kid who would ALWAYS just come barging in, swinging the door wide open giving everyone else who happened to be passing through the hall a full view of everyone in the room.

invariably we would all yell at the kid and tell him to not be such an asshole.

that's the same kind of thing here. we didn't yell at the kid because we like to shout people down. we yelled at the kid because HE was the one that was being selfish and inconsiderate.

had the dude retorted with some kind of "well then maybe you shouldn't go to college if you want to smoke pot" line, I think we would have, justly, administered a beating.

Posted by some dude | February 27, 2008 9:51 AM

Stoners are too stoned to beat ANYONE up.

Tweakers, on the other hand...

Posted by COMTE | February 27, 2008 10:00 AM

having someone fling the door wide open when you have a bong in your lap is a sobering moment. :p

Posted by some dude | February 27, 2008 10:15 AM

@130 - "we didn't yell at the kid because we like to shout people down. we yelled at the kid because HE was the one that was being selfish and inconsiderate."

May I refer you to the quote : " the "This is what you MUST do" stance adopted by most of them is what's arrogant, self-centered, repulsive, and far, far more offensive to some of us..."

Toke up, stoner boy. My guess is you probably need it just to function on any level at all at this point. (Maybe you too are stuck in a corporate hell, and you need it to deal with "the man"? You poor, poor.......pussy.)

And too bad you didn't get in on that beating. I would've loved to have read your expulsion report.

Posted by But duuuuuuuuuuuude........ | February 27, 2008 10:16 AM

College/Corporate Logic 101

1. I'm in college, and I'm doing some drugs, which could get me in trouble - therefore, you MUST warn me when you're coming in the room. Because the rules don't matter - what matters is ME.

2. I work in a corporate office, and I sometimes look at websites that have controversial subject matter, which could get mr in trouble, therefore you MUST alert me to particularly sensitive images before they appear. Because what somebody chooses to post in a public forum doesn't matter - what matters is how it makes ME look.

3. After I eat food, I usually have to go take a shit, therefore you MUST be waiting nearby with some toilet paper to wipe my ass, because I'm probably too stoned and spun out fromn those wild website images to function properly. Because what matters is ME. ME ME ME!! Do you hear ME yet?

4. (Insert YOUR lame ass argument here! Fun for all ages!)

Posted by Princeton Review | February 27, 2008 10:25 AM

@ 129, 133 (if anyone is still bothering with this thread...)

You get an E for Effort. You admit that the problem is with the tone that only a couple of the people who support posting pix after the jump have, and lump all the rest of us in with that. Keep in mind that Ms. Graves began this whole thing by asking "sincere" questions about how this affects all the SLOG readers who are surfing from work, then being petulant when she got real answers that makes it look like most SLOG readers would rather this stuff go after the jump.

No one is "threatening" to "boycott" SLOG - they're saying that they'll have to stop coming to SLOG so as not to get in trouble at work. Big difference if you think about it.

Yes, it's up to Jen Graves and the other Stranger writers to decide what goes and what doesn't, but they'd be fools if they don't take into consideration how that will affect SLOG's readership. I presume that they want it to grow, not shrink.

It's great that you chose not to work corporate. When that choice eventually becomes unpalatable and you start going to work with grownups you'll see things differently then. Too bad you're too selfish to try that now.

Posted by Matt from Denver | February 27, 2008 12:24 PM

"It's great that you chose not to work corporate. When that choice eventually becomes unpalatable and you start going to work with grownups you'll see things differently then. Too bad you're too selfish to try that now."

"(if anyone is still bothering with this thread...)"

Well - when you "put" it like that...

Posted by Bye bye now Li'l Matty | February 27, 2008 12:40 PM

Bye bye too, cowardly sockpuppet.

Posted by Matt from Denver | February 27, 2008 12:47 PM

Could you beat a dead horse any harder? Let it rest.

Posted by sharon | February 27, 2008 12:53 PM

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