By Matthew Yasuoka, Berglund Student Fellow
The Change.org petition entitled, “Seattle Public Library: Stop allowing pornography to be watched on public library computers,” claims that it stands “for everyone who does not want to participate in viewing the disenfranchisement of others.”  The petition represents only a recent development in the Seattle Public Library’s ongoing interactions with pornography. In 2012, “A Seattle librarian refused to force a man watching hardcore porn on a computer to move to a more discreet location, even after a woman with two children complained.”  This was even after in 2010 the Washington Supreme Court in a six to three decision held that the library can block porn if it chooses. 
However, the Seattle Public Library has chosen not to block porn, much to the chagrin of certain patrons. Earlier this year, Julie Vanderburg asked a man at the Beacon Hill Library to stop watching porn, which led the librarians to ask her to “stop approaching patrons.”  The conflict facing the Seattle Public Library system stems from the divergent perceptions of what role libraries play in society. Todd Anten writes in the Texas Journal on Civil Liberties and Rights, “While some view libraries as public spaces with a duty to be ‘family-friendly,’ others view libraries as research centers obligated to provide constitutionally protected information.”  The conflict between public and private spaces lies at the core of the Internet.
In this article, I intend to analyze the interactions of individuals in the comments section of Vice magazine. I have chosen to study Vice because the magazine is both a part of “counterculture” and “’trendsetting metropolitans,” resulting in its position as “the number-one tastemaker” for the 21- to 34-year-old demographic.  Further, the Alexa Rankings, a leading monitor of web traffic, shows that “people who went to college are over-represented” in Vice’s readership, there is also an overrepresentation of males and an underrepresentation of females. With Vice’s readership in mind, I had a few research questions. First, does the readership of Vice support bourgeois views of sexuality? Second, how do its readers interact with distinctions of class? Third, what does Vice reveal about the relationship between the Internet and special politics?