some new seeds
December 29, 1997
by Katherine Enos

It's almost New Year's Day and here at pomegranates, we've spat out a few more seeds.
The Tin Drum, a film directed by Volker
Schlondorff Tin Drum Update
In June 1997, the Academy Award-winning film The Tin Drum, based on Gunter Grass' novel of the same name, was banned in Oklahoma County, Oklahoma after Oklahomans for Children and Families (OCAF) complained to police that the video contained child pornography. Judge Richard Freeman made a determination that per Oklahoma State statutes The Tin Drum did in fact contain child pornography, and videotape copies were subsequently confiscated from video stores. The American Civil Liberties Union and the Video Software Dealers Association responded by filing suit in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma. Their complaint contends that The Tin Drum is not obscene and that egregious violations of constitutional rights have been perpetrated by police and Oklahoma city officials in their suppression of the film. In pomegranates' inaugural RAT column we provided an overview of events and links to sources for more information on The Tin Drum controversy.
     According to the Oaklahoma Department of Libraries, a Dateline NBC segment on the growing court battle over the film's suppression will be broadcast this Sunday, January 4 (rescheduled from the Friday, January 2 time originally posted here). NBC spent a week in Oklahoma City researching and chronicling the culture war underlying the censorship campaign. According to a summary on the Oklahoma Department of Libraries website, NBC attended an Oklahoma City meeting where anti-censorship forces went head-to-head against members of a radical right anti-pornography organization.
     The Oklahoma Department of Libraries has been taking a staunch anti-censorship position on this matter from its inception and is intervening in the lawsuit over the film's banning as a plaintiff, charging that the ban intereferes with its legal duty to serve Oklahoma libraries. In its ardent coverage of this censorship mess, the Oklahoma Department of Libraries gleefully quotes from Playboy's December "Forum": "The Tin Drum has so much artistic merit you can barely sit through it. It's dreary, dismal, long and about as sexually titillating as a war crimes trial." For updates on The Tin Drum controversy, see the Oklahoma Department of Libraries website.

pomegranates' first three months
The pomegranates site opened on Sepember 14th after about six months of developing the site and writing and gathering articles and art for its pages. Since then we've won some awards , among them Project Cool's "Sightings" award and the ZDNet/Yahoo Internet Life "Best of the Best." The ZDNet/YIL award came with a review which commented favorably on our ministories, new on the Home page every Monday. We think ministories are great — the idea here was odd or poetic little stories from life or imagination — and contributor John D. Allen's Sock-Hand episodes have been a staple. pomegranates was fortunate enough to open with Tanner & Rhee, a serialized novel by Vivien Lim, now up to some thirty installments and growing. Although we're pleased to continue with Tanner & Rhee, we encourage inquiries from print publishers who might want to talk to Lim about discontinuing publishing on pomegranates in favor of a print publication in book form. If you are one such publisher, write Lim and let her know of your interest.
     You might have noticed the cat's butt graphic and link Leave your mark on this website on the Home page and jumped to the form it links to which allows you to send a message to be displayed at the top of the Home page. Some of our favorite messages since opening pomegranates have been:

Catastrophic fart startled me!
Art is a hermit in rapture.
My duodenum a dilvial rapture!
Scanty vomitus will laminate his viscera.
I am the demon eyeballs.
Photography is smearing my vapid zygote.
Forget the restive mutations in ardor.
Quinoa worship seizes like stagnant hipsters.
Softly gothic blood shall curdle artfully.
Softly frisky is my will.

The least creative messages left on pomegranates' Home page were deposited there by a would-be hacker who realized that we had a security hole in the script which allowed a person to save and modify the form to take any input desired. Before we plugged up the hole with some server-side validation, messages such as "Linux eats windows for breakfast," "Linux eats Windows95 for breakfast," and "Baby, oh, baby. Damn, I'm good!" were displayed on pomegranates' Home page for short periods of time. The latter message was displayed twice (perhaps because of a lack of ideas for further comments), and after the hacker realized how to do it the messages were accompanied by a small graphic from some porn site which no longer seems to exist. That image, no more innovative than the "Baby, oh, baby" mantra and less revealing than some of our art photography, displayed in a closely cropped composition spanning from belly-button to mid-thigh the voluptuous hips of a woman clad in high-cut purple underwear. It's possible that pomegranates was slightly hurt, at least in the short run, by first-time site visitors or reviewers seeing these messages and clicking away, but we found ourselves most disappointed by the utter lack of creativity used in putting some graffiti on the site. Just goes to show that net knowledge doesn't necessarily come with anything worth saying. You can see a full listing of the messages which have been displayed on pomegranates' Home page since we opened the site.

Rip those labels off your clothes!
Tired of seeing everyone wearing Nike shoes, sweatsuits and caps? Amazed by people's willingness to buy clothing which advertises for companies? We are too. We've created a fun and free "Better Naked than Branded" banner you can use on your site, no link-back required. Look for it on pomegranates' banners page.

pomegranates becomes an Amazon.com Associate
We've been debating for awhile on whether to join Amazon.com's Associates Program and have finally decided to go ahead and do it. Amazon.com Associates earn up to 15% on books ordered from Amazon.com when links are provided directly to the correct Amazon.com order form. We believe it's important to support small bookstores, but many of these are offline or are not set up to take online orders. Since we love books and discussion on this site is often related to books that we'd like to make available, we've been linking to online booksellers anyway. It seemed logical to simply join the Associates Program through it's unlikely that it will yield much more than funds to partially cover our ISP expenses When you want to go to a bookstore to buy your books we encourage you to visit a small bookseller. But if you'd like to order online a book which pomegranates links to on the Amazon.com site, we appreciate your support. If we ever managed to get a more lucrative form of sponsorship our first priority would be to pay for quality writing.

Coming soon
In the next few months look for a few new columns, more art photography and more interactive or animated stories. We're looking for columnists, more good photography and creative people with skills who share our interests and would perhaps like to become staff members. Doing a webzine is a lot of hard work, generally with no pay, and it's difficult for a webzine to continue publishing without a core group of devoted workers. We'll do our best.end


All contents © 1997, 1998, pomegranates webzine. All rights reserved.