Thursday, June 23, 2005

Camille Paglia, eh?

At last count, we had Ashcroft covering up Justice's boobies, Ben Shapiro arguing that his own generation is so sex-addled that we'll be meeting the fate of the Romans and its all Bill Clinton's fault, and you have Brent Bozell arguing that television is the downfall of Western civilization. It would seem that porn was fighting a losing battle against the rising power of the religious right. But I don't think that is the case.

Why the obsession? What harm does porn really do? I mean, it has been around since the beginning of art, which is close to the beginning of history as we know it. There are all of the old arguments about the denigration of women, the de-personalization of sex, blah blah. But I would argue that the entire porn industry doesn't do half the damage to feminism that is done by such lovely programs as "Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire" and "Desperate Housewives" because porn is direct. Porn is about sex and it has the singular purpose of getting people off.

The mainstream programs that are billed as entertainment are more insidious because they are more or less supposed to represent a certain reality and reinforce society's idea of gender roles. Women will marry for money. Women are spiteful, irrational golddiggers. Women are shrill nags that are only worth tolerating because they do your laundry and are available for sex. These are the ideas that are put forth by nearly every sitcom and reality show on TV. And advertisements- how many variations on the "guy pisses off woman, guy buys woman something, all is forgiven" plot can there be? Every Valentines Day, we are reminded that women are whores for diamonds. How many products are sold using this concept?

More dangerous still is the fact that while one usually has to seek out porn on the web, at the video store or through Pay Per View, stuff like "Fear Factor" is beamed into homes for free. And what kinds of ideas does "Fear Factor" promote? That people will do anything for money, and that women will do anything for money while wearing bikinis.

Porn is alive and well. It's not going away, no matter how much -ahem- research Ben Shapiro does.

I see the anti-porn crowd as yet another group being played by the so-called "Moral Values" face the current administration likes to wear. If you are on the side of censorship, you can be seen as promoting a moral culture and casting out decadent, sleazy elements from the society. If you are on the side of free speech, you can be painted as a smutmonger and a moral degenerate. It's another issue the Republicans can use to garner heartland votes and limit First Amendment Rights while having no real intention of doing anything to slow the multibillion dollar porn industry.

Need proof? Ask Mary Carey how the chicken was at the White House.


  1. shapiro reminds me of zap rowsdower's sidekick.

  2. I think a lot of pornography objectifies women and may well lead to violence against women.

    Now, a lot of other media does that as well, but I would suggest that it is the predominating attitude of the pornography industry.

  3. See I think porn is fine as long as all parties involved are consenting adults. (Can you call a 17 year old an adult?) Women are objectified and simplified in the media, but so are men.

    I have more of a problem with the concept of women being stripped of their rights and being forced into the sex industry. Personally I think my moral line is drawn at aquiring porn from from known sources where there are safe guards and measures to protect the women involved rather than from random 'Hot Asian Teen Sluts XXX' sites.

  4. I get iffy on the term 'violence against women' because it's so often rooted in a neo-Victorian notion of the genders -- that women are fragile and need to be protected, while men are meaty fleshbots or Captain Champions, charged with protecting their helpless coevals.

    It calls up the same argument that Gould levied against The Bell Curve: That differences among people of each gender are generally greater than the differences between the genders.

    But apropos porn, I honestly find a lot of it disturbing in a way I can't pin down -- and my own bona fides include a lot of things that would look really bad if I were to try running for office. There's something about it psychosexually that, I think, demeans both genders. There's something about it that seems anti-mystery, anti-playfulness -- anti-fun.

    And I think, yeah, you're right, it has that in common with Desperate Hosewives and a bunch of other lurid, non-nude entertainment.

  5. hey i just linked you on fear_of_sushi.

    porn is funny. haaa ha. even the word is funny. porn. reminds me of corn. porn. the next iowa xxx flick: CORNography.