There's a journalism aphorism that goes: when a dog bites a man, that is not news. But if a man bites a dog, that is news.
In following that same concept, I'd argue that the story of a scruffy-looking guy jacking off to porn in a public library is hardly new. And yet, after the recent arrest of a 46-year-old man who was watching porn and fondling himself at the Laguna Beach Public Library,the topic has garnered some hearty media coverage. An opinion piece on the Laguna Beach Patch site
called it "media madness" and said the story had "aroused the loins of L.A. television and radio news orgs."
Saturday afternoon, after seeing Joseph Clarence Cormier II
masturbate to porn at the library, a man went to the Laguna Beach police station to report it. The police and the reportee returned to the library. Cormier was arrested for lewd conduct and possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, according to a Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot story,
, president of Friends of the Library, tells the Coastline Pilot
she thinks the issue must be addressed, because kids could be nearby and see explicit images on the screen. Lydick says she plans to contact the county librarian to suggest that adults be barred from using computers in the children's area if there's not a kid with them.
Jenny Gassett, the library branch manager in Laguna, however, says there are various factors at play in the issue. Gassett is reported as saying: "It's a delicate issue because we do uphold people's right to free access to information. We try to balance it ... while making it a place where everyone is comfortable."