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Arts and Culture

The Victims of Pornography

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Posted on Oct 11, 2009
AP / Jae C. Hong

Adult film stars pose for photos at the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas.

By Chris Hedges

This excerpt is taken from Chris Hedges’ newest book, “Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle.”

The Pink Cross booth has a table of anti-porn tracts and is set up in the far corner of the Sands Expo convention centre in Las Vegas. It is an unlikely participant at the annual Adult Video News (AVN) expo. Pink Cross is a Christian outreach program for women in the porn industry, run by ex-porn star Shelley Lubben.

In a convention exalting the pornography industry, Lubben’s table is not overrun with visitors, most of whom are male and middle-aged with cameras around their necks. The few men who make it to the far corner of the convention centre look curiously at its pink banner and walk past. The expo is filled with more alluring fare. There are numerous booths for porn producers and distributors, many with women in tiny skirts and bras who, often clinging to stripper poles, gyrate and bend over and spread their legs for groups of men. They simulate masturbation and flash their breasts for crowds of onlookers. Huge banners hang from the ceiling promoting new releases such as Slutty and Sluttier 6.

 

 

Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle

 

By Chris Hedges

 

Nation Books, 240 pages

 

Buy the book

 

A local escort service, VegasGirls, has a booth about 100 feet from Pink Cross. There is a homemade wooden wheel with a flipper that looks like a middle-school shop project on its table. Those who spin the wheel can get various discounts or even a free visit by a “stripper” to their hotel room. Small, glossy cards are fanned out on the table, showing women in evocative poses and not much clothing, all with a first name, the agency’s phone number and the phrase “actual photo” emblazoned on the side of the card.

“You want to take a picture of my boobs, then you have to take my card,” a woman in front of the booth tells a camera-wielding, middle-aged man.

“If I call this number, is it you who will come?” he asks.

“Here, baby,” she says, giving him the card. “I will come.”

Many of the booths at the Sands Expo feature well-known porn stars. There are long lines of men waiting for a signed photo and the chance to have a picture with stars from the Wicked Pictures studio, including Kaylani Lei, Kirsten Price and Jessica Drake. The men usually wrap their arms around the women for the photo, always taken by a friend or someone in line. As they hug the women’s waists, the women sometimes playfully grab the man’s crotch or lick their lips. Huge plasma screens placed in the booths run nonstop porn, often featuring the stars having anal sex with multiple partners or giving blow jobs. The sheer volume of porn blasted throughout the convention floor by the sea of giant screens becomes, very quickly, numbing.

The porn films are not about sex. Sex is airbrushed and digitally washed out of the films. There is no acting because none of the women are permitted to have what amounts to a personality.

The one emotion they are allowed to display is an unquenchable desire to satisfy men, especially if that desire involves the women’s physical and emotional degradation. The lighting in the films is harsh and clinical. Pubic hair is shaved off to give the women the look of young girls or rubber dolls. Porn, which advertises itself as sex, is a bizarre, bleached pantomime of sex. The acts onscreen are beyond human endurance. The scenarios are absurd. The manicured and groomed bodies, the huge artificial breasts, the pouting, oversized lips, the erections that never go down, and the sculpted bodies are unreal. Makeup and production mask blemishes. There are no beads of sweat, no wrinkle lines, no human imperfections. Sex is reduced to a narrow spectrum of sterilized dimensions. It does not include the dank smell of human bodies, the thump of a pulse, taste, breath—or tenderness. Those in the films are puppets, packaged female commodities. They have no honest emotions, are devoid of authentic human beauty and resemble plastic. Pornography does not promote sex, if one defines sex as a shared act between two partners. It promotes masturbation. It promotes the solitary auto-arousal that precludes intimacy and love. Pornography is about getting yourself off at someone else’s expense.

“I was addicted to porn for two years,” says Scott Smith, 29, from Cleveland, Tenn., who is at the Pink Cross booth. He first watched Internet porn as a college student.

“I started out once a day, usually at night, when my roommate wasn’t there,” Smith says. “You try and hide it. Then I started watching it several times a day. I would only watch it long enough to masturbate. I never got why they make these long features since I would always turn it off when I was done.”

Smith says the images crippled his ability to be intimate. He could not distinguish between the fantasy of porn and the reality of relationships. “Porn messes with the way you think of women,” he says. “You want the women you are with to be like the women in porn. I was scared to get involved in a relationship. I did not know how extensive the damage was. I did not want to hurt anyone. I kept away from women.”

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By drew, July 10, 2010 at 4:54 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

By Anarcissie, October 13, 2009 at 6:43 pm #
This discussion seems fairly fact-free.  Perhaps
that’s due to Mr. Hedges’s leadership.

“The greatest American superstition is a belief in
facts”. Hermann Keyserling

While I agree that Hedges arguments are often highly
emotion charged, how much evidence do you honestly
need to see the pervasiveness of pornography in
mainstream culture? at heart Hedges is a social
critic and with this he masterfully articulates what
we already know. Just take a look at mainstream
culture its everywhere, as it was stated porn is the
new rock and roll.

Report this

By "G"utless "W"itless Hitler, June 10, 2010 at 8:40 am Link to this comment

I see where your going with that and I don’t appreciate it.  What if Daddy starts getting a woody, eh?  Man, you’re one sick puppy!  You better just stick to porn and quit imagining stuff like that.

Report this

By christian96, June 9, 2010 at 4:25 am Link to this comment

The next time you are about to abuse someone try
to imagine them as 4 years old sitting on their
daddy’s lap.  Perhaps that image will divert your
selfish attempt to abuse them.

Report this

By Zonie, June 8, 2010 at 6:08 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

When human beings are commodities to be bought and sold….

Like human organ trafficing….

flesh and sex for sale…....

It doesn’t matter….it’s human beings for sale.

This is what the problem is for those who don’t get it…  What is being bartered is a human being.

It seems that somehow it takes something from the individual human being for sale.

Report this

By MoodyBluez, March 26, 2010 at 3:32 pm Link to this comment

It seems to me like a vast majority of these posts display a surprising lack of knowledge about the article mentioned above. Instead there are personal, and worthless diatribes about either how pornography is “freedom of speech” or how “men are perverted”.
I don’t recall a single sentence devoted to the more disturbing truths raised by the article; namely, the physical and emotional abuse these actors suffer as a result of being in the industry—and a core of abuse that has become the root of much of the films in circulation.

Any discussion of freedom should include the fact that we do not, in a great many instances, allow self abuse to function as a form of capitalism or freedom of speech. Drugs are illegal, and conservatives outlaw other forms of speech and self inflicted violence. A stereotypical liberal decries religion, but really Chrisitianity, while maintaining faith in the purity of other religions.

Point being, a discussion of porn as free speech truly ignores what is at the root of the issue—that the industry causes abuse and puts the well-being of the lives of these individuals in danger. And yes, while some jobs are dangerous, many similar professions are outlawed (save for our rescue services).

Just because there is some semblance of choice involved doesn’t mean it’s something we shouldn’t take into consideration—as the abortions, STDs, physical and emotional ills can attest. And addiction to pornography is another related issue, but I won’t touch at the moment.

Stop and ask yourself if you knew a person who was putting themselves through this you wouldn’t try to lend a hand. Chances are, you would. And then ask yourselves if you would help,  why it is that you still watch as a man or woman abuses themselves.

I suggest you read the article three times. Think about it for a few weeks and do some research. Then come back and comment.

Report this

By christian96, January 11, 2010 at 3:10 am Link to this comment

1.21Jiggawhats——

1.  If you read my comments more thoroughly you’ll
notice I never mentioned the word “kill.”  That’s
something that came out of your mind.

2.  If what you say about yourself is true do you
think you represent all mankind?

Report this

By 1.21Jiggawhats, January 10, 2010 at 7:58 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To Christian96

“Most porn is perverted(men with men, women with
women, sodomy between men and women, etc.).  Therefore, the more one watches perverted acts of
sex the more one is going to think about acts of
perverted sex.  The more one thinks the more likely
one is to act.”

Wildly untrue. I’ve played a bunch of online first-person “shooters” in my life, and never have I for even one instant thought “Oh yeah, time to rock and roll and kill everybody in ‘Doom’-like fashion!”

This kind of theme has been echoed many times, the most recent of memory to me being the book-burning of J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” books by Midwestern and Mid-Atlantic evangelical christian groups who worried over the influence of the main character’s use of magic and the future habits and views of their children.

You might want to think your idea over.

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By Anarcissie, December 5, 2009 at 10:01 am Link to this comment

JW: ’... What if we took sex out of the equation?  What if it were just a labor issue?  If we overlaid this conversation onto one of sweat shop labor, a simplified version would look like this. ...’

I don’t think you can take sex out of the equation because the hysteria, superstition, prejudice and sadism involved with sex, and especially commercial sex, are crucial to (generally) depressing the conditions and rewards of sex workers.  People like Hedges contribute to creating the very thing they’re complaining about by complaining about it, which in a way is a very clever way of maintaining a supply of material.

Still, we could continue your analogy about T-shirts.  Everyone wants T-shirts; if some people are injuriously exploited in the making of them, the cure would not seem to be to attempt to outlaw T-shirts and the making of them, but to legitimate the work and encourage the workers to form organizations for self-help and self-protection.  One might think they ought also to receive legal protection from thugs and religious fanatics.  Or is that too rational?

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By Leefeller, December 5, 2009 at 9:17 am Link to this comment

JW

Sweatshops, the working person, the hired help has only value in the opportunists mind as a commodity. Never ending goal of obtaining and pursing riches, the worker at Walmart or the porn star are used like cattle or as pawns in a betting game of chess!

Seediness of porn and associated industries may only be in exposure.  Lack of skill with which participants obtain money may be similar to sweatshops, if porn actors became celebrities, like over paid stars what would that mean, a change in some way?

Abuses abound in society. Opportunists both legal and illegal divided only according to the laws of the land.  From the corrupt politician to the Pimp on the street, the differences seem slight when one steps back and sees beyond individual brush strokes!  One could say a slight difference is the pimp is less deceptive in his pursuit of riches then the politician!

Just my opinion,  for I appreciated your post.

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By christian96, December 5, 2009 at 12:01 am Link to this comment

Most porn is perverted(men with men, women with
women, sodomy between men and women, etc.).  Therefore, the more one watches perverted acts of
sex the more one is going to think about acts of
perverted sex.  The more one thinks the more likely
one is to act. Our society is going to have to
answer the question, “Do we want our teen-agers
exposed to perverted sexual acts while they are
going through the psycho/sexual stage of their
development?”

Report this

By ardee, December 2, 2009 at 4:20 am Link to this comment

JW, December 1 at 4:49 am #
(Unregistered commenter)

“I am quite late to this discussion I’m afraid, but feel compelled to comment.”

Better late than never. Your comments are much appreciated, at least by me. It is a pity that, here in the twenty first century, there are those who still live in the eighteenth. To say that pornography is “wholesome” or even “harmless” is to betray a complete lack of understanding of the topic.

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By JW, December 1, 2009 at 12:49 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I am quite late to this discussion I’m afraid, but feel compelled to comment.  I’ve read through most, but not all, of the previous comments, and as usual, am dismayed by the arguments. 

Several commenters used the argument that abuse to women is rampant throughout society, so why pick on porn?  Others presented a similar argument, only paralleling labor issues, rather than women’s issues.  Neither struck me as particularly strong. 

It is startling to me that one could imply that speaking up about the abuses of the sex industry are unimportant because it is happening elsewhere.  What is the point?  Because it’s everywhere, why point it out at all?  In my memory, I’ve read numerous articles on labor abuses, human rights abuses, the abuse of women, and so on, and hardly anyone gets their shorts into a bundle if I want to speak out about sweat shops.  Most people put on their appropriate shocked faces and vow to shop more responsibly, or at least they have the guts to say they don’t really care.  Either way, they take a stand that is related to the abuse, not whether or not the abuse is in fact happening. 

When it comes down to it, people are quite terrified to take a stand on the sex industry.  To be against it puts one in the awkward position of being uptight, churchy, or suffering from a quaint morality that has no place in the modern world.  To be FOR the sex industry means one is “cool” with their sexuality.  And because we get wrapped up in the psycho-sexual meaning of our position (no pun intended), we miss the point entirely. 

The point Mr. Hedges is making, as many before him have (complete with mountains of evidence, from testimony to peer reviewed studies), is that in our quest to be cool with our sexuality, we are sacrificing the well-being of others and we either just don’t care, or are bullied into not caring.

What if we took sex out of the equation?  What if it were just a labor issue?  If we overlaid this conversation onto one of sweat shop labor, a simplified version would look like this. 

The evidence of low pay and abuse is presented.  The response?  “That’s bad, we should do something about that, and in the meantime I’ll be sure to buy my t-shirts only from companies who guarantee decent work conditions.”  OR “Hey, work abuse happens everywhere, so what?  Let them make my t-shirts so I can be comfortable and get on with my day.”  OR “I don’t care, they chose that job, it’s not my problem, just as long as I get my t-shirt.” 

How does it sound now?  Remove sex from the equation, and suddenly it’s all a little clearer. 

I’m not going to spend hours linking to the evidence, but I’ve seen enough to know that the anecdotes Hedges presents are consistent with the actual.  Honestly, watch one or two porn movies and that is all the evidence one needs should one choose to use their mental faculties while doing so.  Also, I think it’s quite valid to consider whether one would want a loved one to enter the sex industry, regulated or not.  If I don’t want my precious daughter to do something, there is much evidence in that by itself.  Sure, I don’t want her working at Wal-Mart either, but I wouldn’t worry for her safety and her soul. 

I speak up, because this issue should be addressed without people’s personal issues around sex entering the argument.

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By Mickey, October 20, 2009 at 11:46 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

My wife might have commented here but she’s too busy in the kitchen cooking me dinner.

Report this

By christian96, October 20, 2009 at 4:43 pm Link to this comment

Leefeller—-Why do you make the comment, “people
visiting you for counseling probably would be more
disturbed after counseling with you?”

Report this
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By Leefeller, October 20, 2009 at 9:37 am Link to this comment

Christian 96 YOur comment below:

“Why are you disturbed about
my doctoral degree in counseling?”

It seems apparent to me, if one visited you and your doctoral for counseling, anyone would very likely be more disturbed after the visit than before!

Report this

By "G"utless "W"itless Hitler, October 20, 2009 at 7:08 am Link to this comment

Methinks I hear a quack eQUACKulating. 

But seriously, you seem a bit obsessed with the proper disposition of ejaculates in our fair society.  Did a role model—a priest perhaps—make you a gift of pearl chin jewelry when you were a child?  Perhaps you should see a lawyer before it’s too late.  But be warned: When you get his bill, it’ll feel like the priest in the rectory all over again.


By christian96, October 20 at 7:21 am #


Gutless Witless Hitler—-Why are you disturbed about
my doctoral degree in counseling?  I can only assume
you may be more disturbed about my comments. Are you
ejaculating into someone’s mouth or is someone
ejaculating into your mouth?  Keep in mind: “YOU
REAP WHAT YOU SOW!”  That’s from The Holy Bible in
case you don’t know.  My concern, as it would be
any counselor(except a queer one) is demonstrating
a role model to young teen-agers during their
sexual formative years a role model in a porn film
of a male ejaculating into the mouth of a male or
female.  Ask the American Medical Association what
they think of that role model. For your information
Adolf Hitler was possessed by Lucifer the leader
of the fallen angels.  Since you have chosen to use
the name “Hitler” you may also be possessed by
Lucifer or one of his fallen angels.  The casting
of Lucifer into a bottomless pit(perhaps a black
hole) by the Archangel Michael is rapidly approaching.  Perhaps you should see a Priest about
an exorcism before it’s too late.

Sincerely,

Your Christian Doctor

Report this

By christian96, October 20, 2009 at 4:21 am Link to this comment

Gutless Witless Hitler—-Why are you disturbed about
my doctoral degree in counseling?  I can only assume
you may be more disturbed about my comments. Are you
ejaculating into someone’s mouth or is someone
ejaculating into your mouth?  Keep in mind: “YOU
REAP WHAT YOU SOW!”  That’s from The Holy Bible in
case you don’t know.  My concern, as it would be
any counselor(except a queer one) is demonstrating
a role model to young teen-agers during their
sexual formative years a role model in a porn film
of a male ejaculating into the mouth of a male or
female.  Ask the American Medical Association what
they think of that role model. For your information
Adolf Hitler was possessed by Lucifer the leader
of the fallen angels.  Since you have chosen to use
the name “Hitler” you may also be possessed by
Lucifer or one of his fallen angels.  The casting
of Lucifer into a bottomless pit(perhaps a black
hole) by the Archangel Michael is rapidly approaching.  Perhaps you should see a Priest about
an exorcism before it’s too late.

Sincerely,

Your Christian Doctor

Report this
Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, October 19, 2009 at 7:48 am Link to this comment

Could it possibly be the real victims of Pornography, are the sad people who watch it because they like to watch Porn, sitting next to those who don’t like Porn so they can complain about it?


Anaracissi wrote:

“What we see instead are articles like Hedges’s, a random collection of anecdotes supporting his prejudices and superstitions, with little or no basis in fact, followed by bottom-of-the-barrel arguments like “Would you want your sister to marry one?””

(Leefeller here, If one did not like their sister and she she was a Catholic, so how would one answer that one)?

Good points Anaracissi, Hedges weekly sermons provide much ado about nothing portrayed as gospel imperatives to follow ones life by, of course depending on perceptions. Could it be Amusement? 

Abuses and victims are in all factions of life, not just pornography,  Hedges going to the Porn convention seems an excuse to go to a Porn convention?

If I did what Hedges did by going some place with premeditated disagreement about something, a something which I believed full of victims forced to partake in it because I know better,  it would seem more prudent for me to set up a table at the local KKK Convention or even on Sunday go down to the local Neighborhood Church, (in my neighbor hood that would be mostly the same people) your know! Those alleged many nice community events.  Maybe one could set up a pink bat table for the victims of Major League Baseball, with hot dogs for fund raising!

Opposition interpreted from ones book of rules or made up rules or play as one goes along rule book must seem noble in the mind of some people, remember it worked for the inquisition?

Thanks interesting comment “G"utless “W"itless Hitler, “I’d much rather have my child involved in the porn industry than in the Catholic Church.  At least in the porn industry there’s less chance for sexual abuse.”

In some ways the mindlessness of both seems similar, where is that persistent hypocrisy hiding in this room?

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By "G"utless "W"itless Hitler, October 19, 2009 at 6:43 am Link to this comment

A doctoral degree?  From where?  I’m betting it’s from some unaccredited wackjob religious school in an old strip mall somewhere in the Florida Panhandle.  Like the University of the Second Coming or The Upstairs Rapture College of Vernon, FL.  I bet that school is on the cutting edge of prayer therapy, known as prayerapy. 

Patient: “Doc, I have low self-esteem, depression, and attention deficit disorder.”

Doctor:  “Oh, so you’re fat, lazy, AND stupid!  Let us pray.”

By christian96, October 14 at 7:35 pm #

I do have a doctoral degree in counseling psychology.

Report this

By "G"utless "W"itless Hitler, October 19, 2009 at 6:19 am Link to this comment

I’d much rather have my child involved in the porn industry than in the Catholic Church.  At least in the porn industry there’s less chance for sexual abuse.


By Outraged, October 15 at 1:47 am #

Hmmmm…...

For me… the elephant in the room is this….

How many of you pro-porn people would like your children to grow up to be porn stars?

Speak up!  Don’t be shy.  Obviously, at least for the most part….. you are among “friends”.  Have at ‘er.

Report this

By ardee, October 19, 2009 at 5:05 am Link to this comment

addendum for Anarcissie,

Look dear lady, this is not a pissing contest and your response, while flabbergasting, is your own to adhere to at peril.

You are, I think, trapped in the ideology of anarchy to some extent with this unsupportable stance that women are not portrayed as subservient sex objects and toys, are not forced to an extent ( not all of course,but enough certainly)through drugs and threats of physical violence in participating in such. ( I am not unaware of the unreality of a debate in which the woman participant defends such) If you understand that this requires regulation and laws then your foundation crumbles as more and more is discovered meriting such.

Thus I begin to see why you take such a position against something as reasonable and necessary as research with pretense to “personalizing” the debate. I have seen such stance as this before, I think we all have, usually when the evidence mounts and the position becomes untenable.

Your defense amounts to discounting all citations, all direct quotes, all cut and pastes from articles and is simply an unbelievable and impossible position I fear. Surely you can do much better? ( I know, dont call you Shirley).

Perhaps you might deign to tell us all your position on child pornography? Cheap shot? maybe, maybe not.

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By ardee, October 19, 2009 at 4:18 am Link to this comment

“I don’t want to wade through an avalanche of propaganda, which is very likely to be of the same prejudiced, superstitious quality as the article which heads this discussion and many of the comments on it”

Of course you dont dear lady, you might actually be forced to reconsider anopinion. This is so very far beneath you that it requires no further input from me…Are you becoming Outraged in that you cannot bear to be contradicted, however politely?

That you refuse to do the research is simply flabbergasting. That you insist others paraphrase or hand you their own such sweat work is an excuse to remain in the dark.

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By Anarcissie, October 18, 2009 at 6:07 pm Link to this comment

elisalouisa—I don’t consider waving one’s hand at Google to be an argument.  If you want to make the positive assertion that pornography is inherently bad, you should be able to support it with relevant facts and reasoning based on those facts.  Unreasoning belief in the absence of evidence is called superstition.

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By elisalouisa, October 18, 2009 at 2:44 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie: If we can’t defend our opinions we should reexamine them??? If we
agree with a Chris Hedges column such as the one concerning pornography there
is no need for defense. You say it all when you state that you don’t want to wade
through an avalanche of propaganda which is very likely to be of the same
prejudiced, superstitious quality as the article. Then why pray tell would you take
our reasons seriously if you do not want to look up articles written by people
intimate with the subject?  I personally like the Mr. Hedges’ stand. There is no
need to reexamine our opinions rather you should reexamine your rationale as to
not wanting to find the facts for yourself.

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By Anarcissie, October 18, 2009 at 9:47 am Link to this comment

ardee:
‘Firstly, Anarcissie, please be more careful to separate my actual words from your own. That first paragraph is your work not mine.’

I carefully left double-quotes around my words, thus distinguishing them from yours, which followed.


‘Secondly if you are sincere about seeking the truth about the harm of pornography on people then typing : the harmful effects of pornography into any reputable search engine might be a good way to start.’

I don’t want to wade through an avalanche of propaganda, which is very likely to be of the same prejudiced, superstitious quality as the article which heads this discussion and many of the comments on it.  I want to see people I’m discussing something with justify their particular beliefs from evidence, against my particular objections to their beliefs, and vice versa.

There are certain areas in which people don’t seem able to do this, ranging from Israel-Palestine to Polanski; maybe this is one of them.  If so I won’t pursue it, but I will suggest that if you can’t defend your opinions rationally maybe you should reexamine them.

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By ardee, October 17, 2009 at 5:17 pm Link to this comment

Firstly, Anarcissie, please be more careful to separate my actual words from your own. That first paragraph is your work not mine.

Secondly if you are sincere about seeking the truth about the harm of pornography on people then typing :
the harmful effects of pornography
into any reputable search engine might be a good way to start.

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By Anarcissie, October 17, 2009 at 7:40 am Link to this comment

ardee:
‘“But it’s not the people doing pornographic art and entertainment who making a battlefield out of it, it is those who hate and oppose them.”

In my own opinion it is the fact that most porn is a visualization of a mans fantasies about women. Women are made subservient and less than human in many such films.

Perhaps times have changed but many woman were forced into pornography in the past.’

People are forced to work.  That is distinct from sexual desires and behavior.  Some people find it easier to work in what we might call the sex industry because they’re born with the equipment they need.  The injury and oppression these people suffer does not come from sex per se, it comes from their situation as economic and political victims.

As for the power relationships depicted in pornography, I doubt that they are much different from those depicted in material which no one thinks is pornographic, or in the power relations of real life (which, by the way, is laced with explicit sex!)  Since we’re talking about hundreds of thousands of works of art and billions of people, we would have to use a statistical approach, and I’ve never seen one.  What we see instead are articles like Hedges’s, a random collection of anecdotes supporting his prejudices and superstitions, with little or no basis in fact, followed by bottom-of-the-barrel arguments like “Would you want your sister to marry one?”

However, anyone can prove me wrong.  I just want to see the evidence and some reasoning from it.

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By ardee, October 17, 2009 at 6:35 am Link to this comment

But it’s not the people doing pornographic art and entertainment who making a battlefield out of it, it is those who hate and oppose them.

In my own opinion it is the fact that most porn is a visualization of a mans fantasies about women. Women are made subservient and less than human in many such films.

Perhaps times have changed but many woman were forced into pornography in the past.

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By Anarcissie, October 16, 2009 at 6:45 pm Link to this comment

As I said, pornography—erotic material in general—is contested territory.  No one wants to see someone they care about on a battlefield.  But it’s not the people doing pornographic art and entertainment who making a battlefield out of it, it is those who hate and oppose them.

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By Irene, October 16, 2009 at 12:45 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I agree completely with the writer. What man would like to open a porographic magazine or see a similar film with his sister, daughter, wife or mother in it. Those women have such relationships to other men. Porn is sad and no woman wants sex ‘all day long’, whoever said that has never had friction burn.

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By elisalouisa, October 15, 2009 at 6:50 pm Link to this comment

Some of the posts here are outrageous. Speaking of Outraged, I agree with you on this one. Also, I wish to reiterate that I most heartedly agree with Mr. Hedges’ essay. That being said, I really don’t know what more women haven’t posted, except perhaps it is difficult to write a post on a subject that has varying
viewpoints and issues. Also, what they write might be somewhat self-revealing.

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By Anarcissie, October 15, 2009 at 3:00 pm Link to this comment

Leefeller—in theory both sex workers and sex consumers are exploited.  A lot of people are volunteering for the roles of exploitee, however.

I guess self-employed sex workers, and there are a lot of them since the needed means of production may have been provided to them free of charge, are only exploiting themselves.

Most of the women I know think pornography is gross, i.e. crudely unaesthetic, so I don’t suppose they would enjoy discussing it.

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By Leefeller, October 15, 2009 at 2:24 pm Link to this comment

Seems seeing the victims for the porn stars as a special Porn trade problem, seems most empty in perspective, for women are abused in many facets of society and world wide, not just Pornography.  Has anyone noticed few women have posted here or am I the only one?

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By Anarcissie, October 15, 2009 at 2:16 pm Link to this comment

Outraged:
... I disagree.  ... I see the abuse and exploitation they endure in that business.  Your claim that it’s not “intrinsic to the roles itself” ignores facts, yes.. there are victims “in this business” (read the article), and yes, it is intrinsic “to the role itself” ie.. the “role of porn star”.’

And your evidence, your reasoning, for your assertion that there is abuse and exploitation intrinsic to the business of putting on displays of sexual material is what?

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By Outraged, October 15, 2009 at 12:41 pm Link to this comment

Re: Anarcissie

My question, “How many of you pro-porn people would like your children to grow up to be porn stars?”  Is hardly as you claim, “a deceptive, one might even say dishonest question.”

The skewed perspective you elict that, “The question is a variant of the racist’s response to advocacy of equal rights for Black people: “Well, would you want your sister to marry one?””

Racists do unequivocally claim that “you wouldn’t want your sister to marry one”, (in line with their mantra) since OBVIOUSLY they are PRO RACIST.  If I ask PRO PORN PEOPLE if they would want their children to grow up to be porn stars, they should answer… Yes.  It is they who are claiming they are for it, and like their pro-racist counterparts their positions should match their mantra.  Racists would never want their sister to marry someone of any ethnicity other than their own.  Pro-Porn People should have no issue with their children becoming porn stars since they are…. according to their own mantra, Pro-Porn.

When you convolute the issue of one’s children growing up to be porn stars, with them growing up to be police officers that is quite the stretch.  Bizarre is the word that comes to mind…..??

You claim; “In the case of porn stars, as with many others like homosexuals, the contested quality of the life role comes not from anything intrinsic to the role itself but from the unreasoning hatred of others, plus the exploitation of anyone seen as weak or vulnerable.

I disagree.  I DO NOT HATE PORN STARS, but I see the abuse and exploitation they endure in that business.  Your claim that it’s not “intrinsic to the roles itself” ignores facts, yes.. there are victims “in this business”(read the article), and yes, it is intrinsic “to the role itself” ie.. the “role of porn star”.  You confuse the PERSON who might be rejected because they are a porn star with the fact that this business and its customers exploit and disregard the physical harm to porn stars simply because they are porn stars, in turn devaluing them as PEOPLE.

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By Leefeller, October 15, 2009 at 8:13 am Link to this comment

Victims of Pornography, need provide a much larger picture, how about the people being held down and corn holed by opportunistic politicians? Seems, Cheney sort of spit in the peoples faces on a regular bases? Bush seldom told the truth. Seems the Republicans love to play the victim card while screwing the people, but now the Democrats seem to be catching on. In the end the real victims need bend over and spread em and enjoy it.

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By Big Tony, October 15, 2009 at 8:09 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Gmonst wrote: “One final thing, one will find a much greater variety of body types than they will ever see in any fashion magazine or in advertising which uses sexuality to sell the product.  One can find short, tall, skinny, and fat women in porn.  Women of all shapes, sizes, and ages can be found in porn.  That is a far cry from the mainstream uses of sexuality to sell.  I honestly feel that my porn viewing has given me a greater appreciation of the beauty that is the female form in all its variety.”

I agree with this point, and I’m glad you made it. I’ve found porn to be a good tonic to the common depiction or perception of what a ‘sexual woman’ is supposed to be in mainstream society.

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By Anarcissie, October 15, 2009 at 7:21 am Link to this comment

Outraged:
‘Hmmmm…...

For me… the elephant in the room is this….

How many of you pro-porn people would like your children to grow up to be porn stars? ...’

It’s a deceptive, one might even say dishonest question.  Obviously, “porn star” represents contested territory.  One could similarly ask “How would like your children to grow up as homosexuals, members of [a deprecated religion], married to someone [of a deprecated racial or ethnic category], engaged in dangerous military or police work,” and so forth.  No one wants their children to be exposed to danger and abuse, regardless of what they may think about the moral or aesthetic qualities of the work itself.  The question is a variant of the racist’s response to advocacy of equal rights for Black people: “Well, would you want your sister to marry one?”

In the case of porn stars, as with many others like homosexuals, the contested quality of the life role comes not from anything intrinsic to the role itself but from the unreasoning hatred of others, plus the exploitation of anyone seen as weak or vulnerable—behavior often associated with religious fanaticism.  It’s not a pretty picture.

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By no mans land, October 15, 2009 at 4:06 am Link to this comment

christian96:

What I mean is that christianity has an inherent negativism toward sex unless a very strict set of rules is followed as was reflected in your conclusions about masturbation. To believe that masturbation is “wrong” is to abandon any sense of objective, scientific observation of human behavior. 

It dismisses the individual and opts for a one size fits all policy. If, when you get into any sort of sexual counseling, I’m sure you will see this all the time. Young people, especially women, are raised with this same negativity toward sex and sexuality. Any sort of sexual “deviance” is frowned upon. Then, because they go through a marriage ceremony, they are finally alllowed to be sexual. Problem with that is a ceremony doesn’t erase the lifetime of guilt and shame they bring into the relationship. Serious problems arise and that’s about the point they show up in your office trying to save their marriage.

Any system that is one size fits all and relies on guilt, or worse, fear (of being a sinner) to remain relevant is a false system. If we were all the same, it might make sense. We are not and yet you are tyring to apply a one size fits all philosophy to a field that, since Freud, has come to almost near consens in its recognition of individuality.

By the way, Freud is the father of “modern” psychology. The early founders, including Freud, of the discipline relied heavily on classic literature to developp their theories (with a prticular emphasis on Shakespeare here).

And if none of that gives you food for thought, how about reconciling with your belief in the wrongness of such things as masturbation, with the bible’s claim that “Man was created in God’s image.” Implicit in that passage is that God is all things and if so, he is both sexually repressive as well as masterbatory. If you choose to say that God is reflected in all mankind, then you must recognize individuality and if you recognize individuality, you must therefore recognize the wide variety of sexualities as they are simply because they exist.

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By Outraged, October 14, 2009 at 10:47 pm Link to this comment

Hmmmm…...

For me… the elephant in the room is this….

How many of you pro-porn people would like your children to grow up to be porn stars?

Speak up!  Don’t be shy.  Obviously, at least for the most part….. you are among “friends”.  Have at ‘er.

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By christian96, October 14, 2009 at 10:14 pm Link to this comment

best of luck in melding religion with science. While I don’t disagree with that our sexual identities are formed at very young ages and that they MAY be influenced by it, I take issue with a tone that discusses the subject from an point of inherrent negativity and wrongness which is meant to provoke guilt unless a very strict regimine of rules is followed.

speaking of that. how do you plan to reconcile christianity’s reliance on and provocation of guilt with psychology’s need to help people overcome the destruction of guilt? sounds like a hanster wheel to me…

No_Man’s_Land——I do not know what you mean by
“I take issue with a tone that discusses the subject
from a point of inherrent negativity and wrongness
which is meant to provoke guilt unless a very strict
regimine of rules is followed.”  Please clarify!

Sigm. Freud the founder of modern day Psychology
believed in the necessity of guilt within the Superego to control thoughts and behaviors.  Are
you inferring that all “guilt” should be done away
with?  What do you mean by “psychology’s need to help
people overcome the destruction of guilt.”  If a
young teenage boy or girl is watching a man ejaculate
sperm into someone’s mouth I would hope they would
feel guilty about watching such a perverted act
which if imitated could not only ruin their physical
health but also their psychological and sociological
health.  If any psychologist is telling you the
contrary get out of your chair and run out of that
psychologist office as fast as you can.  You are
talking to a blind idiot who is leading people down
a road of destruction.  That is both a scientific
and Christian point of view.

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By no mans land, October 14, 2009 at 7:28 pm Link to this comment

christian96

best of luck in melding religion with science. While I don’t disagree with that our sexual identities are formed at very young ages and that they MAY be influenced by it, I take issue with a tone that discusses the subject from an point of inherrent negativity and wrongness which is meant to provoke guilt unless a very strict regimine of rules is followed.

speaking of that. how do you plan to reconcile christianity’s reliance on and provocation of guilt with psychology’s need to help people overcome the destruction of guilt? sounds like a hanster wheel to me…

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By berniem, October 14, 2009 at 7:15 pm Link to this comment

Let’s see, porn is bad because it is violent, degrading, anti-social, etc., etc. I should not, however, feel a similar aversion to endless military recruitment ads extoling the virtues of war and destruction as these are necessary to the survival of our glorious, rightous, peace-loving, and equitable society. Sieg Heil! my blessed and devout right wing, lunatic fellow americans.

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By christian96, October 14, 2009 at 4:35 pm Link to this comment

I just watched ABC News at 6:30 p.m.  It was reported that a painting by Leonardo DeVinci is
believed to have been found and it may be worth
millions of dollars.  With all the problems in the
world ABC chose to spend national airtime to discuss
a painting.  I wouldn’t pay a hundred bucks if they
found a painting by Moses.  As far as pornography
goes, I have been studying it for several years.
Somebody’s got to do it. I do have a doctoral degree
in counseling psychology.  My conclusions will be
reported in a book I am writing for teenagers about
the Bible and how it relates to everyday life.  When
I was a 14 year old in a coal mining town in West
Virginia our(young teenage boys) pornography was
the panty section in the Sears and Roebuck catalog.
At least Sears didn’t show a male ejaculating sperm
into a female or male’s mouth.  Now’s there’s a
real safe behavior to use as a role model for young
boys and girls during their sexual identity phrase
of development.

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By "G"utless "W"itless Hitler, October 14, 2009 at 2:00 pm Link to this comment

I’d imagine that evidence of prostatitis among priests is largely anecdotal rather than empirical, which is to be expected so long as there are plenty of hairless little choirboys around.  You see, back in the day, the Church very much wanted to make the case for its prevalence among the clergy to allay suspicions concerning certain unwholesome proclivities.

By No_Man’s_Land, October 14 at 9:48 am #

Prostatitis, or inflammation of the prostate, is also known as “Priest’s Disease,” which would tend to suggest that going a very long time without ejaculating carries with it at least some potential for negative health effects.

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By Nephologic, October 14, 2009 at 12:12 pm Link to this comment

I’m trying to understand what the purpose of this story is.  Is it attacking the perceived immorality of the pornography industry, or is it a utilitarian argument about the societal and psychological damage that follows from involvement with porn?

In a free society, (or at least relatively free), people are bound to do some unfortunate things, but there are much greater threats to our collective good than films of two people VOLUNTARILY having sex with each other.

For a much more thoughtful and thorough investigation on the subject, check out David Foster Wallace’s essay Big Red Son in Consider The Lobster.  He treats the pornography issue as more of a sad fact, a more accurate and appealing view than this article’s “abject evil” spin.  Western civilization has much bigger problems.

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By ricky webb, October 14, 2009 at 11:19 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

so the thumpers are leaving the potter tirade and revisiting an old standard.

how busy was the ‘save-your-soul’ booth again? there’s money in porn. i know there are exceptions; i’ve read those books too when i was still idealistic and thumping. but it’s a business decision.

talk about intellectually dishonest. if you don’t like porn, don’t watch it. why must the religious right always bang the war drum and whine about losing their nation? it was never yours. give a control freaks a platform and a cause and then explain to the congregation why atheism is on the rise…

change the method, change the suit. take the last dime from the collection plate. it’s dollar night at the naughty bar. where’s your pastor?

glass houses, hypocrites.

oh, and thanks for reading. lol

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By Leefeller, October 14, 2009 at 8:56 am Link to this comment

As a person who ended up with a house full of bibles when my wife ran off with the door to door bible salesman, I believe I know a few things about bibles, mainly the large ones do not make good coasters for my Tequila bottles. 

Thanks for quoting your 3000 year old overly worn thread bear accounting of Romans 1:28. Living ones life fearfully while attempting to self-righteously full fill such a contingent list of requirements must be most pleasant, especially in the telling.

It would be interesting for everyone here to address at least one of your Romans accounting’s, I could start with unrighteousness!

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By no mans land, October 14, 2009 at 6:48 am Link to this comment

Christian96:

How then do you explain why medical doctors will actually prescribe masturbation if a person goes for a length of time without ejaculating?

Prostatitis, or inflammation of the prostate, is also known as “Priest’s Disease,” which would tend to suggest that going a very long time without ejaculating carries with it at least some potential for negative health effects.

I take it God wants us all to have inflamed prostates? I suppose masturbation is perfectly fine as ling you aren’t watching something? Is it ok to masturbate while watching a woman if she’s your wife? Its time for a little diversity in your literary diet. I do not subsicribe to the “wash it and forget” mentality of sex police.

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By Leefeller, October 14, 2009 at 6:36 am Link to this comment

The problem with the kids today is boom box music,  Joe The Plumber skin head look, tattoos on sexy women and nose rings with nose hairs.

Disgusting is sponge bath Bob and Barney the Dinosaur who is guilty of don’t ask don’t tell.  Disgusting are Politicians who display less brain power then the kid with nose hair rings.

Disgusting is watching monkeys playing with them selves at the zoo, while watching people watching them. And most disgusting of all is having to watch people run squealing when the Hippopotamus splatters manure 80 feet, by flapping it’s tail, splattering onto the same people who were just watching the monkeys.

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By Leefeller, October 14, 2009 at 6:34 am Link to this comment

The problem with the kids today is boom box music,  Joe The Plumber skin head look, tattoos on sexy women and nose rings with nose hairs.

Discusting is sponge bath Bob and Barney the Dinosaur who is guilty of don’t ask don’t tell.  Disgusting are Politicians who display less brain power then the kid with nose hair rings.

Disgusting is watching monkeys playing with them selves at the zoo, while watching people watching them. And most disgusting of all is having to watch people run squealing when the Hippopotamus splatters manure 80 feet, by flapping it’s tail, splattering onto the same people who were just watching the monkeys.

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By christian96, October 14, 2009 at 5:36 am Link to this comment

Chris Hedges hit the nail on the head associating
masturbation with pornography.  One problem with
that combination is that it contributes to the
“narcissistic” wave overwhelming extant America.
For those of you who criticize the Bible without
reading it let me enlighten you to a verse related
to masturbating while watching others.  Romans 1:28
through 32: “And even as they did not like to retain
God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a
reprobate mind…being filled with unrighteousness,
fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness;
full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity;
whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful,
proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant-breakers, WITHOUT NATURAL AFFECTION, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgement of
God, that they which commit such things are worthy
of death, not only do the same, BUT HAVE PLEASURE
IN THEM THAT DO THEM.”  The way I interpret that
last sentence is TO HAVE PLEASURE IN THEM THAT DO
SEXUALLY IMMORAL ACTS.  During Roman times people
masterbated while watching other people engage in
sexually immoral acts.  Today, it means masturbating
while watching pornography.

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By Anarcissie, October 14, 2009 at 5:09 am Link to this comment

ardee:
’... That there are women who make porn sans the influence of pimps and violence, that some women make a decent living from this industry doesn’t excuse the overall harm caused.’

Clearly, though, the harm is not in the sex itself, or in the production or consumption of sexually-based art and entertainment, or no one could do these things without harm.  So what does that tell you?

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By ardee, October 14, 2009 at 2:58 am Link to this comment

archeon of thrace, October 14 at 1:10 am #

Most internet porn is homemade.  It is not
airbrushed, or surgically enhanced.  It is Joe and Jane down the street getting off on showing others how they suck, lick, poke, and cum.

Despite the shallow interpretation of this rather oddly named poster the real debate here concerns a thriving and still very large Industry that generates commercial products. There is, this poster should understand, much data as to the harm porn does, not only to the individuals involved but to the health of the community through the demeaning of women.

It is sad to see folks conflate their own love of sex and prurient interests with women who are drugged, beaten and forced to make films showing women as objects of desires rather than as equals. High School locker room quips notwithstanding there is a real problem with a culture that fails the test of nuance.

That there are women who make porn sans the influence of pimps and violence, that some women make a decent living from this industry doesn’t excuse the overall harm caused.

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By Leefeller, October 14, 2009 at 12:44 am Link to this comment

Beerdoctor, you just reminded me of Woody Allen in the movie (Bananas?) at a magazine stand trying to cover his porn mags from a lady, with Engineering Life! We had a magazine and tobacco store in our town years ago, I had forgotten all about it.

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By archeon of thrace, October 13, 2009 at 10:10 pm Link to this comment

Most internet porn is homemade.  It is not
airbrushed, or surgically enhanced.  It is Joe and
Jane down the street getting off on showing others
how they suck, lick, poke, and cum.

Seriously porn causes men to hate women?  Yes in
those years past when porn was virtually unheard of
or unavailable women were not being raped, beating,
or murdered.  In those years husbands respected the
right of their wives to have orgasms, were interested
in intimacy, and wanted to share their feelings.

In those long lost days of perfection before the
ready availability of porn men and boys didn’t sit in their rooms and beat off to “fantasized” unattainable
images in their head.

Seriously, how does one get “addicted” to porn?

Everyone needs to finally accept that humans are
sexual creatures, and that the sex drive is
ultimately our primary drive.  It is after all the
one that ensures that generations will follow this
one.

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By P. T., October 13, 2009 at 8:46 pm Link to this comment

There is also the issue of gay and lesbian porn—not to mention the ever-popular transgender porn.

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By thebeerdoctor, October 13, 2009 at 8:39 pm Link to this comment

When this article was first posted, I could have been the first Truthdigger to put up a comment. I did not, and a full day later, I see all of the reaction to Reverend Hedges’ concern over the degradation found in the “porn’ industry. Included in this analysis is the assumption that masturbation achieved at someone else’s expense, is the ultimate ‘sin’ of all.
Chris Hedges rather puerile assessment of the sexual explicit adult entertainment industry, reveals that the former foreign correspondent of the New York Times has a very narrow and indeed distorted perception of what the so-called pornography industry is about in the 21st century.
Hedges assumes, for the sake of his victimization advocacy, that all ‘porn’ is about the degradation of women. Therefore it is not surprising in the least, that Hedges would spice up up his diatribe about women having to undergo multiple ejaculations in the face, from insensitive and thoughtless male group participants,
But of course that completely ignores the lesbian segment of the porn industry: a very profitable niche that is now (surprise surprise)  being produced and marketed by women.
Since looking at sexual explicit materials that go way beyond what Mr. Hedges deems to be normal, is an act of masturbatory sin, there is no room for the argument that looking at such gauche material provides a kind of relief for those to shy and awkward to have that “intimacy” that Hedges extols; or for that matter, in a situation such as a long term prison time, helps provide a vent for the sexual violence that Mr. Hedges seems so worried about.
Pornography on the Internet has deprived through immediate access, much of the revenue stream that once was the provenance of the so-called ‘smut’ peddlers, when forbidden images were found in the back rooms of newsstands. I wonder if that is the kind of world that Chris hedges seeks to return to?

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By glider, October 13, 2009 at 7:42 pm Link to this comment

I apologize but I just can’t…seem…to ...let….this….one…..go!!

My award of the day for the most retarded post of the day goes to Dar:

By Dar, Oct 12 at 10:17 pm.

“that sex and masturbation are natural, is obvious, but so is eating, but that doesn’t justify gluttony”

Hey buddy, you live in America I presume, tell me how many here both justify gluttony and then condemn “sex and masturbtion”.  Use your brain.  It does not take a study and see if there might be a direct inverse relationship.  Hahahahahaah.  Thank you for this precious post.  I am laughing so hard it hurts!

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By TAO Walker, October 13, 2009 at 7:05 pm Link to this comment

Institutionalized degradation is the entire point and purpose of the “civilization” CONtraption.  It tenderizes and adds ‘flavor’ (by a process of more-or-less CONtrolled rotting) to ‘the meat’, which is all homo domesticus is or ever has been to our tormentors.

People appalled by industrialized “porn” should be warned they “....ain’t (in those memorable words from the great CONfabulator) seen nothin’ yet.”  It’s a good thing the damned device is running well over the redline….and hell-for-leather, too.  “Lest those days be shortened, etc., etc….”

This IS the actual emergency, tame Sisters and Brothers.  Don’t be distracted by the gaudy (and bloody) displays designed to “....keep (you) hangin’ on.”  Like this Old Indian’s Grandma likes to say, “Life helps those who help each other….and god-help those who only help theirself.”

HokaHey!

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By Ouroborus, October 13, 2009 at 6:19 pm Link to this comment

GW=MCHammered, October 13 at 12:14 pm #

Fair enough.

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By frank1569, October 13, 2009 at 4:10 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“What does it say about our culture that cruelty is so easy to market?”

Er - “Saw 1,2,3,4,5,6,and 7.” Over $700 million box office domestic and counting…

If watching porn causes mental and behavioral changes - which it obviously does - then watching torture-tainment (or lots of violence, generally,) does the same thing. And, guess what? Watching lots of romance fantasy causes changes, too - how many end up disappointed their marriage wasn’t like ‘the movies’? The divorce rate remains around 60%, so…

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By glider, October 13, 2009 at 4:04 pm Link to this comment

Hello boomprof139,

Thanks for you thoughtful analysis.  You are right on!  And maybe I am not alone grin

“It never ceases to amaze me how intellectuals of a progressive mold, typically given to critical self-reflection, can resort to the same reflexive puritanical arguments they usually scorn when the subject in question is sexual expression”

Yes, it is amazing how easily logical thinking can be discarded.  It is also unsettling and says something deep about our conditioning IMO.  If I try to analyze what is responsible for this conundrum I come up with the idea that social norms and moral structuring of our lives goes much much deeper than we even imagine.  Maybe you have some additional insight?

“despite Hedges own distorted assessment, not all porn is about violence”

I think what is characteristic of “moral bigotry”, which is what Hedges is guilty of here, is that the arguments resorted to loose all sense of objective assessment.  The typical rhetorical tool used in these cases is to focus in on a narrow element of the target that can be seen by most readers as being negative.  Then take that negativity and expand it to cover the whole issue that you are targeting.  So to take an outrageous example, if suppose I wanted to target Safeway I would find a isolated piece of rotting meat with a film crew, get an expert on infectious bacteria to comment, and then show a deathly sick individual vomiting blood and their bereaved relatives mourning.  After that setup I would then condemn the whole operation and incite revolt in the minds of the uncritical.  Obviously I am making fun here but just describing the essence of Hedges rhetorical argument.  I must admit to now taking a 2nd look at what is driving Hedge’s opinions.  It may be more religious and conditioning oriented than it is rigorous thinking.

Thanks again for your insight.

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By Leefeller, October 13, 2009 at 3:29 pm Link to this comment

boomprof139, at first your comment seemed unfair, but then I realized you were talking about Hedges and his one sided sermon. 

Pornography as most things is in the eyes of the beholder.  Abuse or victimizing women is nothing new, religion has done a good job of abusing women throughout history, it seems most prejudicial when Hedges ignores women abuse in the world and points at pornography!

Some men are abusive and show their hate and fear of women in many more ways then pornography. Hedges focuses on a fraction of the real problem.

In a sense I do not believe pornography is the problem, it is the people behind it as in any other abuse. How about this? (pornography does not victimize, men do!)

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By boomprof139, October 13, 2009 at 2:48 pm Link to this comment

It never ceases to amaze me how intellectuals of a more progressive mold, typically given to critical self-reflection and nuance in their views, can resort to the same reflexive, puritanical arguments they usually scorn when the subject in question is sexual expression.  Perhaps the illicit, sinful nature of sexuality in the Judeo-Christian tradition makes forthright appraisals difficult in our culture.  Still, I wonder what Mr. Hedges and so many others find so threatening in what are simply filmed acts of coitus that they feel it necessary to trot out this tired litany or unfounded smears and moralizing assumptions. 

Its telling that the only voices quoted are from avowed opponents to the industry because the opinions above don’t stand up to thoughtful critique.

Porn, like it or not, is an art form – with no requirement for realism. That pornography frequently portrays sex that has currents of violence and emphasizes themes of degradation is beyond debate, but what, exactly, is the problem with that?  Perhaps it’s outside of Mr. Hedges experience or tastes, but rough language and plays on power and dominance are well within the realm of healthy sexual expression, provided all parties are consenting. They do not preclude intimacy and, in fact, may represent deeply intimate experiences. If critics cannot understand what the men and women involved get from such acts, that’s fine, but condemning their portrayal smacks of the same moral imposition the religious right seeks against homosexuals. 

Moreover, despite Hedges own distorted assessment, not all porn is about violence. There are numerous titles that feature pretty middle-of-the-road sex, even –gasp!– tenderness.  Girlfriend Films, which specializes in lesbian porn, comes to mind as does the entire amateur genre, which present actual couples – and more often than not their benign intimate exchanges. Perhaps this one of the reasons that millions of couples watch adult films - another fact undermining the view that porn negates our capacity for intimacy.

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By Anarcissie, October 13, 2009 at 2:43 pm Link to this comment

This discussion seems fairly fact-free.  Perhaps that’s due to Mr. Hedges’s leadership.

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By Rob, October 13, 2009 at 11:55 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Porn serves as the canary in the coal mine.  The more it grows, the more men and women sink into the abyss of self degradation and addiction.  Addiction to porn is no better or worse than addiction to heroin.  It ruins generations and places those who subscribe to it in the very bottom rung of society.  We see it as well in our advertising and occasionally the way we dress and treat our children.  It’s as if most have given up on the idea of having a little bit of class in their lives.

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By sindel, October 13, 2009 at 10:15 am Link to this comment

as per usual with this subject, i’ve noticed the overall reaction has been typically and tiresomely uninformed, self-righteous or downright mean-spirited (with only a few exceptions).

Mr. Hedges (and a fair few others) is now understanding what the late and great Andrea Dworkin pointed out years ago.  the violence that is typical in porn is scary, hateful and destructive. 

and because (a) most of the destruction is wrecked upon women’s lives (and therefore, not worthy of attention - this also applied to many gay men whose lives are affected adversely), (b) there is (what passes for) sexual imagery, and (c) money is typically exchanged; most believe that those who participate in and are adversely affected by the industry “get what they deserve” or “they made their choices in life, so live with it” or some other rubbish that insures the real damage done remains firmly invisible and/or “passé.”

with all of the other issues that amerika (yes, misspelled purposely) and the world are dealing with, some consider this one to be lower on the rung of importance.  however, it points to some disturbing and pernicious social, sexual and even economic mores that many refuse to understand or deal with in any substantive way. 

what a shame.  sexuality is one of the truly beautiful gifts that humanity has…porn is one of those things that continually pisses (and sometimes poops) on this gift.

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By Carl Spackler, October 13, 2009 at 9:55 am Link to this comment

Based on this article, Mr. Hedges must be a big fan of vintage porn. For all the traits of modern porn that he finds objectionable he will find the opposite in the classic work of days gone by.

Kay Parker, Seka, Annette Haven and other adult film pioneers were true artists and represented all that is good and wholesome in the genre. It is understandable that Mr. Hedges finds today’s “adult” film industry so ugly when it is measured against the artistry of days gone by.

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By Gmonst, October 13, 2009 at 9:37 am Link to this comment

I just wanted to say a few more things on this.  I noticed that Chris Hedges makes no mention of the ever increasing role women have in the production of porn.  There are a lot of women directors, and producers making porn these days.  The number is increasing all the time and the girls are becoming directors at a younger age too.  It won’t be long before the industry is dominated by women.

When a woman like Belladonna shoots a rough scene with anal sex with herself as the star and the director, and her husband acting as the camera man, who is the victim?  I guess she was broken goods and can’t make up her own mind at this point.  Or the bad husband behind the camera.  I guess she encourages the males to rape the other women that are in her films too? It can’t be that some women actually like working in porn.

I am not saying everyone will have positive experiences, but this article doesn’t even address those that do, or even suggest its possible.  Bad men make porn, force woman to make porn, bad men buy porn is the gist of this article.

Strangely, I feel the anti-porn rhetoric has a misogynistic tendency in that is continually insinuates that women can not speak up for themselves or determine what they do with their bodies or their lives. It is the victim mentality that takes a woman and makes her afraid to say no or determine her own way in life.  I would be willing to bet that on virtually every modern porn set if a woman says “No” that will be respected.  Porn is not institutionalized rape, its a product meant to pull money from consumers, a product.  It isn’t real life because it is meant to be fantasy.  No amount of porn viewing has done away with my desire to connect intimately with my wife.

One final thing, one will find a much greater variety of body types than they will ever see in any fashion magazine or in advertising which uses sexuality to sell the product.  One can find short, tall, skinny, and fat women in porn.  Women of all shapes, sizes, and ages can be found in porn.  That is a far cry from the mainstream uses of sexuality to sell.  I honestly feel that my porn viewing has given me a greater appreciation of the beauty that is the female form in all its variety.

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By GW=MCHammered, October 13, 2009 at 9:14 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

re: By Ouroborus, October 12 at 1:00 pm
“Not to be unsympathetic; but 3 times? Whose fault is that really?”

My lawyers, my 3 spouses’ psychologists and psychiatrists all concurred that elements of the medical and legal systems are quagmire with healthcare’s relentless misdiagnosis and misprescribing, and the justice system allowing the psychologically stressed and mentally ill too much legal influence on the public. I’ve read at Truthdig where others have experienced the same.

All these ladies were hard working, wonderful women until years misdiagnosis and misprescribing snapped them. And all I did is what any caring spouse would do - I stuck by them until I couldn’t anymore. As one crisis counselor (a spouse’s) told me, “Most people can’t do what you did. They run instead. And leave the sufferer to the streets, to the prisons, or to die.” Now to me, that’s vile pornography. BTW, we had health insurance and I won each time in court yet still lost all.

My current lady came about this in reverse - she thought she was crazy but was found absolutely sane. Decades of escalating emotional and physical abuse by her husband made her feel crazy. I hope others screwed by these sometimes obscene systems post their stories. Thanks for listening.

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By Leefeller, October 13, 2009 at 9:07 am Link to this comment

One persons religion is another persons porn!

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By no mans land, October 13, 2009 at 9:00 am Link to this comment

I guess to me, not everyone is cut out for marriage and monogomy. Yet, that is the expectation placed on every person in this society. If we were to start slicing and dicing the American public into who is ‘allowed’ to be sexual in this society, we quickly see how many people are left out. To be sexual without ANY social criticism we must:

-be married
-be in love
-be monogomous
-be young, but not too young
-not have had too many partners
-be male
-neither pay for it, nor accept payment for it
-be heterosexual (and certainly not transgender)
-remain racially consistent
-be healthy (and especially not handicapped)
-be comparable in age
-not be too poor (else we risk the ‘baby mama’ effect)
-be pretty/attractive/stylish
-use sex for procreation—not enjoyment
-keep it to yourself
-keep it to the bedroom
-keep it tame (missionary position only)
-be drunk
-be sober
-be American (if you’re a politician)

The list goes on and on. I think once we’re done, everyone is exlcuded because some of these standards clearly conflict. Some of this has eased over time and some of it is making a comeback. If you don’t believe me, take a trip to Kansas or Oklahoma some time.

Surely all of this can drive a certain amount of anger. I’m not trying to justify the degradation of women, but let’s be honest, not every woman wants to be treated like Betty Crocker either. There is a reason some men are angry. And there is a reason some nuns are angry too.

I feel bad for the people Hedges interviewed. Really I do. I think its a travesty of our culture and our educational system that they were sucked into a life that did them so much harm. Not every porn star claims to have been damaged though. Some consider it a perfect fit. We can debate why all day long, but any psychologist will tell you that the measure of healthy vs unhealthy behavior is mainly how much it affects how you feel and how much it interferes with daily life.

In many ways, I see porn/prositution as the most transparent industry we have. Capitalism, as Marx points out, turns all workers in to commodities. The sex industry unabashedly accepts this, while the others all pretend there are limits to their dehumanization. If only the health insurance industry were so honest…

Like I said before, change the sytem and change the education or change the channel.

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By prole, October 13, 2009 at 7:31 am Link to this comment

“The porn films are not about sex.”....then what are they about? For someone who claims to be so appalled by “porn”, Hedges seems to have watched quite a lot of it, judging by his graphic descriptions. But despite such intimate knowledge of such intimate matters, he never offers a concrete definition of what it is. Perhaps it’s really “porn” if “lighting in the films is harsh and clinical.” Or if there “are no beads of sweat, no wrinkle lines, no human imperfections”? Or maybe if the “scenarios are absurd? Or can you tell it’s really porn because it “does not include the dank smell of human bodies”? Lovely! But if Hedges doesn’t define ‘porn’ he does vaguely define sex as a “a shared act between two partners.” Which would seem to be elastic enough to cover a lot of ‘porn’. However, the catch is, “It promotes masturbation. It promotes the solitary auto-arousal that precludes intimacy and love.” Which is also about the safest form of sex you can have in this era of AIDS. Whether all, or most, “shared acts” of rutting “between two partners” promotes true intimacy and ideal love is another question better left unasked. “Pornography is about getting yourself off at someone else’s expense.”...it’s not clear here whether it’s the actor’s who are “getting off” here at the paying customer’s expense or vice versa. All we really know from this sketchy depiction is that ‘porn’ is strictly heterosexual and that the males – especially the consumers – are the villians, and the females are the helpless, unwitting victims. No ‘happy hookers’ anywhere in sight. All true to the politically correct script. Not only that but “many men—maybe a majority of men—like it.” Yes, sure, let’s have a show of hands out there, how many of you incorrigible perverts like this disgusting filth? It’s no use, we know you “get off” on it, even if you won’t own up to it You’re just like all the rest of those rotten hetero males. We “can always tell if a man is a porn addict.” You’re shut down. You can’t look me in the eyes, can you, huh?! You can’t be intimate.” Gotcha! This started in the 1980s, with anal sex as a way for men to dominate women”...but please be careful now, that isn’t to say “anal sex” between men is in any way to be questioned, that wouldn’t be very politically correct now, would it?  Perhaps “the reason porn is so difficult for so many people to discuss is”...that our culture is saturated in political correctness, and must be confined to sweeping allegations about “most [heterosexual] men”. Females and homosexuals must be seen exclusively in the perennial, blameless victimhood role. “We accept a culture flooded with images of” hetero men who are sexual predators and other distorted vilifications. And if you’re squeeky politically correct you can fall in line with the radical feminist orthodoxy that all forms of ‘penetration’ are rape and anything that may even suggest such thoughts - such as a picture of nude ankles on stage as above - is subliminal ‘violence against women’. There’s more than one set of victims of porn.

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By Virginia777, October 13, 2009 at 7:21 am Link to this comment

This degradation of women and “legalized” cruelty, is so scary. Chris Hedges is right, it points to something deeply wrong with America.

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By Ouroborus, October 13, 2009 at 5:31 am Link to this comment

ardee, October 13 at 8:01 am #

Ahhh what did Plato know anyway?
===================================
Indeed. Thanks. For our present time, I had thought of
the Ouroborus as a metaphor for our behavior; somewhat
self consuming.  wink

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By Anarcissie, October 13, 2009 at 5:02 am Link to this comment

Outraged:
’... Strangely enough… so many comments have ignored or skewed these realities.  While it may soothe THEIR consciences, it doesn’t affect reality. ...’

No, it doesn’t, but a bunch of free-floating, unsupported anecdotes are not “reality”.

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By ardee, October 13, 2009 at 5:01 am Link to this comment

I never fail to read an Ouroboros post…..

Plato described a self-eating, circular being as the first living thing in the universe—an immortal, perfectly constructed animal.

The living being had no need of eyes when there was nothing remaining outside him to be seen; nor of ears when there was nothing to be heard; and there was no surrounding atmosphere to be breathed; nor would there have been any use of organs by the help of which he might receive his food or get rid of what he had already digested, since there was nothing which went from him or came into him: for there was nothing beside him. Of design he was created thus, his own waste providing his own food, and all that he did or suffered taking place in and by himself. For the Creator conceived that a being which was self-sufficient would be far more excellent than one which lacked anything; and, as he had no need to take anything or defend himself against any one, the Creator did not think it necessary to bestow upon him hands: nor had he any need of feet, nor of the whole apparatus of walking; but the movement suited to his spherical form was assigned to him, being of all the seven that which is most appropriate to mind and intelligence; and he was made to move in the same manner and on the same spot, within his own limits revolving in a circle. All the other six motions were taken away from him, and he was made not to partake of their deviations. And as this circular movement required no feet, the universe was created without legs and without feet.

Ahhh what did Plato know anyway?

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By Ouroborus, October 13, 2009 at 3:43 am Link to this comment

ardee, October 13 at 6:18 am #

See my answer to Timothy1119, October 12 at 9:04 am #;
it’s way down the string of posts. I think you might
like it.

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By johannes, October 13, 2009 at 3:30 am Link to this comment

To Unchineko

Emotions and expectations, the first bibliotheek wil teach you otherwise, in every book you will find citations over and over again its up to you to make the just distillation.

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By ardee, October 13, 2009 at 3:18 am Link to this comment

Timothy1119, October 12 at 9:04 am #

Give it a few more years and all porn will be virtual.  This ‘problem’ will go away.

Perhaps the most significant post among the many found here. This illustrates how absolutely abysmally ignorant this poster is, on this topic at least.

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By johannes, October 13, 2009 at 2:59 am Link to this comment

I told you about Hemp, now about Cocaîne, some Dutch shipped some Cocaplants to the Dutch East Indiês, to make coca leaves, they shipped them to Holland and started making Cocaîne in a small building outside Amsterdam this took place in the year 1900 to 1915, in the first worldwar they started to sell this Cocaîne product in tablets to the German, Frence, and Englisch armys, so lots of soldiers probable toke this Cocaîne drug and well to make it short its a dirty history.
Than in second worldwar the Germans came in to Holland and the same people started to make Amfitamine or know as speed drugs for the German army, well its the same soldiers fithing like machines, I think its not that much bether now.

This history tels also the story of our noble royal famelie who wash the biggest share holder, its a story by a lady Conny Braam, the facts are absolute authentic.

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By johannes, October 13, 2009 at 1:58 am Link to this comment

Its the same with a good cup of caffé, we ath home by caffé beens burn them grind them and make caffé with it, some visiters dont beleef us that this is real caffé why they dont even know the tast of real caffé, wath they drink is brown tast like nothing and gives a nasty bitter tast on the end, something as a bad love affaire, played feeling on the end a bitter tast no thank you give me the real thing, less buther much much bether.

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By UnchiNeko, October 12, 2009 at 11:36 pm Link to this comment

outraged—-with that many quotations, how much are “you”
actually saying? it’s like a freshman, highschool, student trying
to fulfill column requirements…500 word essay due in five
minutes… every level of mass communication has become
pornographic in the sense that it’s goal is to create a visceral or
emotional response…you just skeet-skeet-skeeted all over the
place with no egg in sight…  there are no facts about
expectations or emotions… thus, no lies.

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By Outraged, October 12, 2009 at 10:25 pm Link to this comment

Article quotes: What does it say about our culture that cruelty is so easy to market?” Jensen asks. “What is the difference between glorifying violence in war and glorifying the violence of sexual domination?”

Porn messes with the way you think of women,” he says. “You want the women you are with to be like the women in porn. I was scared to get involved in a relationship. I did not know how extensive the damage was. I did not want to hurt anyone. I kept away from women.”

Her outfit seems calculated to be exactly what a porn star should never wear in public. She looks like a schoolteacher.”

“Roldan would endure numerous penetrations by various men in a shoot, most of them “super-rough.” As she talks of her career in porn, her eyes take on a dead, faraway look. Her breathing becomes more rapid. She slips into a flat, numbing monotone. The symptoms are ones I know well from interviewing victims of atrocities in war who battle posttraumatic stress disorder.

“What you are describing is trauma,” I say.

“Yes,” she answers quietly.”

Strangely enough… so many comments have ignored or skewed these realities.  While it may soothe THEIR consciences, it doesn’t affect reality.

Additionally, what of “mates” who just can’t quite “get it together” like their porn star counterparts.  Don’t they “know how or what to be in bed”?  Why… “haven’t they heard”, and “they just don’t get it” or the ol’ mantra of “let’s watch this porn for the heck of it”, you know… just for kicks”.....

The tiresome mantra of porn apologists and puritans prefer to protect THEIR EXTREME at the expense of the other, more REALISTICALLY they feed off each other. Both claim to have “the facts”... in reality they offer… ONLY the one or the other.

Both are FLAT OUT LIES.  In fact, they skew a natural, at times passionate or otherwise genuine sexual life between two people.  BOTH ideologies prefer to paint in EXTREME TERMS.  Porn and its counterpart puritanism abuse the facts, disregard intimacy, and skew the reality of what we commonly call “sex”.  Their mantras are one and the same.  This is “the dirty little secret”.

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By elisalouisa, October 12, 2009 at 9:24 pm Link to this comment

Good poetry Fat Freddy. Cannot help it. I like it. What a good reader could do with
that poem. Would go great on Youtube. Probably be one of the most watched
videos.

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By UnchiNeko, October 12, 2009 at 9:11 pm Link to this comment

was reading this earlier:

http://gothamist.com/2009/10/12/nyu_grad_student.php

Lorelei Lee is a porn star who has used said profession to pay
for her education—- within the comments someone asks:

“chicks have porn, what do guys have?”

well, within this forum, i will answer that.

cops. the, non-porn, male equivalent of a female porn star is
law enforcement. hired meat. that is, unless one is of a
‘minority.’....in such case your best bet is cannon fodder, so
be all you can be- join the army.

this brings up bataille’s ‘accursed share’-and, to a lesser degree, gender studies-due to the different opportunities awaiting each sex-

the whole general economy rests on waste/sacrifice, non-procreative sex/art, versus plunder/theft, murder/war.

based on the title from which this piece of porn about porn
was taken, i was expecting insightful post-debord situ/crit.
theory…instead, we have been presented with more
“spectacle”—-more porn—schlock—- fifteen minutes better
spent masturbating than watching/reading the writer do it—-
all whilst he has a tear in his eye…and misplaced guilt across
his forehead.

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By Jean Gerard, October 12, 2009 at 8:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Long, tortured, interesting, important discussion.
Summary:  1.  Okay if its consensual.(interesting word; not “consentual or concentual!)
2. Child porn despicable (presumably because kids are not in a position to refuse).
  Raises a host of questions:  Is it okay if the women (or men) in the situation are “not in a position to refuse”—financial, emotional,sold as chiidren, enslaved?  Is it okay to judge adults on the basis of their “consent” or lack of it?
What about those who want to get out and can’t?  What about the “habituating” effect?  The impact on society, if and when? Should it just be ignored and shoved under the rug?  Or treated, if and when? Or punished because of its tendency to lead to other cruelties?  What about the apparent fact that women are victimized much more often than men?  And younger women oftener than older women?  And we haven’t even scratched the surface yet! Is war a kind of “porn of violence” same as film violence?  Why does that appeal to so many in our society?  More so than in other societies?  Or less” 
  Fact is, it’s a huge, exhausting subject, depressing because discussion leads nowhere.  Yet somebody needs to face it, obviously.  I guess we should thank Hedges for opening up a Pandora’s box—or maybe not?

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By Fat Freddy, October 12, 2009 at 7:44 pm Link to this comment

elisalouisa

For the record, I consider myself Agnostic. And, I don’t consider myself a Humanist:

There may be an om in moment
But there’s very few folk in focus
Not the first, not the last, not the least.
You needn’t be well to be wealthy
But you’ve got to be whole to be holy
Fetch the rope, fetch the clock, fetch the priest.
Oh this planet of ours is a mess
I bet Heaven’s the same
Look the madman said, “Son,
As a friend, tell me what’s in a name,”
Hallowed be thy name.

I give you the state of statesmen
And the key to what motivates them
On the left, on the right, on the nail
Still, I don’t see a man in a mansion
That an accurate pen won’t puncture
Go to town, go to hell, go to jail.
And there’s bars and saloons
Where the jukebox plays blues in the night
Till the madman says “Son,
Time to go we could both use some light”
And thy will be done.

We live in an age of cages
The tale of an ape escaping
In the search for some truth he can use
But many a drunk got drunker
And mostly a thinker, thunker
Set the place, set the time, set the fuse,
The optimist laughed and the pessimist cried in his wine
And the madman said “Son,
Take a word they’ll all wake given time”
Let thy kingdom come

The madman and I got drunker
Till both thought the other thank you
And we laughed all the way to the stars
The optimist asked for a taste of the pessimist’s wine
And the madman said “Son,
How do you feel?” I said “Me? I feel fine
Lead me into temptation
Into temptation
I said into temptation
I need my allocation of recreation
I want a revelation in degradation
No hesitation, give me variation, give me inspiration…”

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By Inherit The Wind, October 12, 2009 at 7:29 pm Link to this comment

FF:

I consider it a crime because it is NOT a business transaction.  “Consequence of her actions?”  Who are you trying to kid?  If I am walking down a street and get mugged, do you say “tough shit—that’s a consequence of your actions”????? 

If a woman enters a bar and some @$$hole spikes her drink with the “date-rape” drug and rapes her is THAT a deserved consequence of her actions?

I’m sure there are SOME high-end call girls out there for whom this IS a business transaction.  But if you don’t recognize that they are the exceptions you are either a fool or intellectually dishonest.

Perhaps you ought to READ Linda Lovelace’s story. And the guy that turned Marilyn Chambers into a porn star had been Lovelace’s abusive husband.  All 3 are dead now, too.

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By Dar, October 12, 2009 at 7:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I think many here are over-reacting and misunderstanding Mr.Hedges’ point.

The point is about excess and de-humanization and extreme hedonism, all hallmarks of modern Western society.

The proliferation of porn, even onto mainstream entertainment, is a symptom of that.

That sex and masturbation are natural, is obvious, but so is eating, but that doesn’t justify gluttony.

The same people who have no problem with the current state of the pornography industry, probably also feel that spending $600 on the iPhone if fine and that Paris Hilton is a great thespian.

Again, it’sall about excess and extreme hedonism and the “lowest-common-denominator” mentality.

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By Fat Freddy, October 12, 2009 at 7:05 pm Link to this comment

Inherit The Wind

What you consider a “crime”, I consider a business transaction. If either party isn’t completely aware of the implications and possible consequences of that transaction, it’s not my problem. Let me ask you a question. How many women do you think, use sex to get what they want? Why are we only talking about women, anyway? At the end of his career, John Holmes was doing gay porn because he could make more money to support his cocaine habit. Was he being exploited? Aren’t we all being exploited in one way or another? Was Vanessa Williams exploited? Did those early pornographic photos make or break her career? Were they a help or a hindrance?

I have to restart this f-ing computer.

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By elisalouisa, October 12, 2009 at 6:49 pm Link to this comment

D.R.Zing,
Your post makes good sense. A surprising revelation also. Thanks for the upbeat
response.
As to Mr. Hedges and his porn statements not being backed by statistics, let me
give you an example of why statistics tell you nothing. The first post by Forty
Years in the Desert states that in the US, since porn has become more
mainstream, rape statistics have gone way down. That may or may not be true as
to rape statistics going down. However, could it be that during that period women
have also become more consenting and casual sex is part of a date so rape is not part of the picture? The conclusion being that porn has nothing to do with rape statistics going down.
ITW brings up some good points in his post. All in all I agree with much of what
Chris Hedges is telling us.

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By Inherit The Wind, October 12, 2009 at 6:17 pm Link to this comment

Barf:

With your views, you picked a good handle.

Blackspeare: TMI.

Fat Freddy—you tangle mixed ideas.  If a woman (or man) is happily engaging in porn even giving anal, and you enjoy it, not my business—I’m not the moral police.

But that’s the rub:  If a woman enters porn thinking she’s gonna make bucks and have fun and finds her vagina and anus are being ripped and it’s out of control to which she can’t say no, it’s no longer consensual, but rape.  Some of the performers can say “no”, that they have limits, but many, many others, like their prostitute sisters, find that sayng “no” is either very, very dangerous, even deadly, or simply flat-out ignored.

So, FF: If you are getting off to porn, how do you know if the woman you see is happily consenting, or is being coerced, or even forced to do what you see?

I’m OK with it if she’s happily consenting.  But I’m not OK with it if she’s not. 

I suspect the higher-end performers, like the Jenna Jamisons, get to pick and choose what they want to do and will do (and Jenna isn’t making porn anymore). 

But I also suspect too many of the others don’t get that choice.  And, if you choose to ignore the OBVIOUS victims, and pretend they chose what’s happening, that’s your moral failing.

I also have NO tolerance for those who believe prostitution is a victimless crime.  Even in the legal and regulated brothels of Nevada, girls find they must exhibit themselves and perform for customers no matter the hour of the day or night, whether they are healthy or sick, and that they get cheated out of their money too, just like their sisters on the streets.

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By D.R. Zing, October 12, 2009 at 5:58 pm Link to this comment

Dear elisalouisa,

Don’t you fret none. Some of us who fall in the atheism category were raised Catholic as well and in fact do not consider ourselves to be atheists. 

To me, atheist is a pejorative; something meant to be an insult and meant to convey that those of us who don’t believe in the old man with a beard believe the universe is meaningless and there is no right and wrong. no point in living, yadda, yadda, yadda. 

Buddhists don’t believe in the old man either, but they don’t go around calling themselves atheists. Deists (see: Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson) believe that a god created the universe and then left it alone.  That idiot Albert Einstein believed the universe itself is god and to understand the laws of physics is to understand the will of god. 

Native Americans believe that everything is alive and a part of The Great Spirit, and modern physics just might prove them right. 

Of course, that means we don’t have the comforting afterlife concept where we get to keep all our memories and all our senses, but that does not mean there is no afterlife, for surely, after you and I are dead, other people, other things will still be alive.

For all my atheist friends out there who are quite happy to be called an atheist, that’s fine. The literal meaning of the word is not to believe in the Christian deity. I’m just quibbling about connotations and historical prejudices. 

But what the hell does any of this have to do with porn anyway?  ATM perhaps?  I think not. Disgusting. 

Ya’ll take care now, ya hear?

With a smile—

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By elisalouisa, October 12, 2009 at 5:29 pm Link to this comment

Thanks for sharing that poem Fat Freddy. It really does tell it all. As I have said before your views and beliefs are just that, yours. There is much hatred toward Catholicism and that’s in style. Belittle Catholicism and no one will raise an eyebrow. When you take away the Church Catholics are everyday people. Although I was raised Catholic I am not a practicing Catholic, still the spiritual side of Catholicism is part of who I am. That is a scary thing to admit on this forum where atheists rule the day.  I am glad you have a very tight knit family. When you have that nothing else matters.

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By Paolo, October 12, 2009 at 5:23 pm Link to this comment

A libertarian view:

I have no doubt that the social problems Chris Hedges enumerates here exist to some extent. But I don’t see a suggestion from him for laws outlawing pornography, thank goodness.

If adult men and women choose this as their lifestyle and their source of income, they have the right to do so, reaping the rewards or suffering the consequences.

They are, after all, adults.

And that’s really all there is to say in this matter.

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By glider, October 12, 2009 at 5:12 pm Link to this comment

We are both the most violent and the most Christianized nation in the western world and it is no coincidence. Glorify pain and suffering, toss in curtailing a basic biological drive as much as possible, and it is not a surprise that we sublimate its expression into acts of violence.  Church authorities would like nothing better than to control access to sex because that would provide ultimate power over people.  And so Chris Hedge’s religious background is rearing its ugly head in this piece.  At least he takes a morally correct stance against war, unlike some of the hypocrites in his faith that get so upset at natural sexual expression yet have no problem sending 18 year old boys to their deaths with their holy blessings and “support the troops” speeches, even for wars built on lies. 

Prostitution should be legal and taxed as a legitimate business and its rights protected by the police and state.  The government and the church have no legitimate business telling anyone what they can do with their own body once they become adults.  These bad associations made between effects on individuals and being in this industry is of course a self fulfilling prophecy of the moral code and legal laws directed against it by society.  The fact is that the suppression of our innate biological sex drive is the biggest enabler for the pornography industry and the sex based advertising agencies that exploit this repression for profit.  If Chris’s type ever succeeds in blocking all such activity he can look forward to even greater opportunities to rail against the barbarism of human warfare.

If anyone cares to have a truly enlightened outlook on the biological basis for our sexual nature and how it arose in the development of mankind from our early ancestors do not look to Hedges baseless religious-centric “moral” rhetoric.  Rather, look at a really fascinating read called “Sperm are from Men, Eggs are from Women”  by Joe Quirk.  Don’t worry this read is nothing like that psycho-babble book from which the author extracted his title.  It will give you a much deeper understanding of what is really going with this sex stuff.

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By Fat Freddy, October 12, 2009 at 4:36 pm Link to this comment

elisalouisa

I was raised a Catholic. My Great Aunt received the highest award a layperson can receive from the Bishop. I am a member of a very tight knit Italian family. The Priest who performed my parents wedding ceremony was one of “those” Priests. As far as I’m concerned the Catholic Religion could drop off the face of the Earth and I wouldn’t give two shits. It is the wealthiest organization in the World.

I have no guilt. None at all.

When I was young and they packed me off to school
and taught me how not to play the game,
I didn’t mind if they groomed me for success,
or if they said that I was a fool.
So I left there in the morning
with their God tucked underneath my arm—
their half-assed smiles and the book of rules.
So I asked this God a question
and by way of firm reply,
He said—I’m not the kind you have to wind up on Sundays.
So to my old headmaster (and to anyone who cares):
before I’m through I’d like to say my prayers—
I don’t believe you:
you had the whole damn thing all wrong—
He’s not the kind you have to wind up on Sundays.
Well you can excommunicate me on my way to Sunday school
and have all the bishops harmonize these lines—
how do you dare tell me that I’m my Father’s son
when that was just an accident of Birth.
I’d rather look around me—compose a better song
`cos that’s the honest measure of my worth.
In your pomp and all your glory you’re a poorer man than me,
as you lick the boots of death born out of fear.

-Ian Anderson

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By Fat Freddy, October 12, 2009 at 3:54 pm Link to this comment

“G"utless “W"itless Hitler

“If an adult wants to be photographed eating human feces to make a buck it is wrong for outsiders to object.


I love John Waters and Divine

Don’t forget, John Waters was the one that made teabagging mainstream.

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