|Watching an abortion may have an impact on one's views about the status of the foetus.|
... Showing an abortion doctor at work and the bloody fetus removed from the womb must therefore, undeniably, say "This is what happens when you abort a fetus."
OK, guilty, then; perhaps abortion isn't quite a topic in which showing the images are entirely spectacle, as yes, one's opinion on, say, whether or not the foetus could be considered "human" or whatever could be influenced. I was previously working on the reckoning that basically, anyone arguing about abortion would already know what the result of the abortion would be (i.e. removal/death of a foetus), what a foetus is, and the implications for the mother, and therefore all that showing images would achieve would be to equate the procedure with an unpleasant feeling they feel because of the aesthetics of the situation, in the same way as showing the gory details of any surgery, which I consider to be rather arbitrary. I still consider this to be the main effect, but granted, there is that matter of the "status of the foetus" with regards to which actual images could be informative.
Actually, this is an academic disagreement, since I don't personally find gay sex disturbing, though I'll take for granted that yours is a common position... However, I would think that a tolerance of homosexuality which was unable to contemplate any form of gay sex is a very shaky tolerance indeed.
Christ, that's rather putting words in my mouth. Disturbing? Tolerance? Unable to contemplate? I merely said that "I'd find images of sexual acts involving one or more men [incidentally - "any form of gay sex?" I'm sure that last I looked, heterosex involved a man as well] extremely unpleasant to watch and be rather squicked"; likewise, I'd find images of people being cut open during surgery or even just receiving an injection to be extremely unpleasant, but I think you'd be hard-pressed to extend that discomfort to saying that I find such things "disturbing" and merely "tolerate" them.
I think it is relevant that people find gay sex icky, though only marginally so... I would say that this reaction could be used to justify decency laws of some description, though I see no reason why these should be exclusively about gays, when you factor in all the other considerations... Likewise, I think that moral positions need to be able to contemplate their possibly graphic effects in order to be more than abstract exercises.
So... why is it relevant? If you found something unpleasant to watch, then you think that the default position should be against it rather than neutral until any further arguments can be given either way, even if you'd never have to be subjected to watching it? You comment on decency laws, but surely that's only relevant if it's to actually protect people from having to be subjected to things they'd rather not see, not to prevent certain acts from happening at all. In the same vein, in what way is, say, gay sex a "graphic effect" of homosexuality? If one were to videotape and broadcast it, then yes, perhaps it could be argued that it might have a negative effect on some people by giving them slightly unpleasant feelings, but otherwise, I don't see how the fact that it involves things which people would rather not watch could be seen as any basis for morality.
[T]he fact that one can fetishise graphic images is insufficient to argue that they are irrelevant.
True. However, images which are purely fetishisation and contain no information are certainly irrelevant. For example, someone arguing against, say, heart surgery (whyever anyone might do that) could show graphic images of the procedure which are nothing but images of, well, lots of blood and guts; this would be the sort of thing likely to sway people's opinions just because of their gut reaction to the unpleasant images, but it doesn't mean that the images actually contain any information which should be considered relevant.
Basically, because it's not making anyone better informed as to the effects or implications of the abortion.
Showing an abortion doesn't show anyone of the effects of an abortion? That's like suggesting that showing someone stuffing a live grenade down a throat and showing the resultant explosion and decapitation doesn't inform anyone of the effects of having a live grenade shoved down a throat.
Well, apart from the point conceded above (that it could give an indication of the "status" of a foetus) all it shows is that a foetus is removed from its mother, and that all this gore is involved. The former I would assume that anyone arguing about abortion would already know, and the latter is pretty irrelevant, as the gore only really affects the doctor (I'm assuming it's all pretty well cleared up by the time the patient is conscious), who I'm assuming doesn't have much of a problem with it. It doesn't show anything about the effect it has on the mother's life or help explain any of the moral arguments behind abortion.
These individuals aren't out to justify a philosophy to you, they're out to justify a philosophy to themselves. They may not care what you think or what you believe is a justified position. These individuals work by filtering information in their own way and come to different conclusions as a result. Same input, different output.
As I said, I don't think that basing their morality on their gut reaction is justifiable. That they might think it is doesn't really affect my view of morality. And I can't say that I think, "Some people think that this is immoral," without arguments should affect my morality either. So what's your point?
If spectacle or propaganda, and the resultant emotional reaction, is not a challenge to a philosophy, would it not stand to reason that a philosophy would not not be challenged by viewing said spectacle or propaganda? And if a philosophy is unchallenged, why would anyone change their philosophy after observing a spectacle?
Well, by that argument it's justifiable for a person's moral position to be altered by outright lies. One could say, "All people who have abortions go on to become depraved baby-eaters," and if someone bought it, it'd probably influence their judgement, but to say that it's a legitimate challenge would seem a bit ridiculous.
As a result, it stands to reason that spectacle is important and should be allowed to influence our positions IF they cannot be addressed within our existing philosophy.
Again, surely that's saying that one's default position on anything which one might find at all unpleasant to watch (even if one never actually has to) must automatically be "against"? Doesn't seem a terribly convincing argument to me.
(Yes, you then follow it with the example of images of death camps, but I think it's fair to say that those're images of actual horror, actual bad things happening to other people, rather than just images one finds unpleasant to look at, and therefore certainly don't count as "pure spectacle".)
"And again, I say that the abortion images, unless they, say, show the doctor involved in emotional pain, are entirely useless for providing information about how the procedure affects those involved."
sorry that's nonsense - A woman does have the right to decide whether she bears a child to term.
Society has a duty to ensure that her decision either way safeguards either her or her+child.
An individual doctor has to make the decision whether to participate in the abortion consequently emotional pain must be irrelevant.
Sorry? I don't quite understand your argument. Are you saying that one shouldn't take the effect performing a procedure might have on a doctor into account, because they agreed to do it and therefore must suffer the consequences if they turn out to be pained by their decision later? And why is a woman's right to decide whether or not to keep a child relevant to my statement? To clarify, all I meant was that the people involved (apart from the foetus if you wish to consider it a "person") are just the doctor (and nurses) and the mother. If the mother's under general anaesthetic, then I doubt one could tell much about what effect the abortion is having on her. So the only conscious people a video would show would be the doctor, so unless ze is crying or something, the images aren't particularly informative re: the effects on those involved.