Not only murdered, but dismembered

Posted on March 1, 2008

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… Sorry, that was the last line from the anchor on the new program my sister’s watching.

I’m partly proud of myself, partly not. I’ve worked more hours this week than I think I ever have. I did my normal job, then I stayed til between midnight and 2 a.m. putting together lists of polling places for Tuesday’s paper. But the week’s over, and I’m through. Extra Metro freelance, bay-bee.

Speaking of, I’m about to take on one more police blotter, bringing my number of weekly freelance jobs to eight. Two Good Kid columns and five blotters. That will increase to 10 if two other ones come through. I’m excited about the money, but, honestly, wary about my life.

The family gathering at mom and dad’s on Sunday was fun. Keena’s 18 now. Me and Janiece the other night were lamenting that there are no “children” in our immediate family anymore. I was like “one of y’all better get busy!” Cause it sho ain’t gon be me.

Nightline is about porn tonight. Martin Brashear moderated a debate at Yale with a topic of, essentially, porn-good vs. porn-bad. The two sides were a guy that started the XXX Church and some guy who used to be a porn producer vs. some porn star chick and Ron Jeremy. At first I thought, “What’s the news peg here? It’s not sweeps. How cheap.” But it’s great having this discussion. With hand-held phones and 24-hour accesible internet, you’re just a couple of clicks to porn anywhere you are. No one hides it like their dirty little secret anymore. Porn is here, so discussions about it should be, too.

I’m hardly an objective viewer. But even though Ron Jeremy is a surprisingly articulate guy, there’s nothing you can say in support of the porn industry that can’t be shot down. The idea that porn doesn’t exploit women and contribute to the already universal view that women exist in order to pleasure the other half of the world population is ludicrous at best. When Ron Jeremy was asked if he’d be happy for his daughter to star in some of the movies he’s starred in, the stuttering commenced. Of course he wouldn’t. Wherein lies the point.

I’ll be the first to tell you that suppression of all things sexual is a problem. No, God never meant for us to turn sex into a shameful, hidden mistake that only dirty whores and male degenerates partook of. Trust me, I know of this harmful distortion, being raised in a well-meaning but bizarrely strict evangelical environment. But the strictest of Pentecostal traditions doesn’t have anything on the distortion created by porn.

The sex industry (film, images, strip clubs, etc.) really does create smoke and mirrors about the most important, consequential activity two people can share. With sex comes facts. Whether we want it to be or not, sex is a big deal. It’s huge. It makes babies, even when you don’t mean for it to. It bonds you to another person, even when you don’t mean for it to. It’s personal. When regularly consuming media that turns sex into something it’s not, something that purposefully strips it of its essential elements in order to create a deceitful fantasy, you’re altering your perceptions of you.

Sure, Disney and others in the entertainment industry serve up the same fantasy-making. But when someone allows their reality to be altered by Disney, the worst that happens is that they turn into a annoyingly perky, suburban Stepford drone.

Never mind the feminist angle. The whole argument of “the women engaging in porn are making their own ‘choice'” is insulting. I didn’t exactly make the choice for her to help propagate and industry that makes bodily fluid receptacles out of women. We Americans, especially, like to think we live in an individualistic Wild West of a bubble, but the choices we make do in fact affect others.

It’s along the same lines of the language revolution, where now it’s not the norm to use the male pronoun (“him,” “he,” etc.) when referring to a population in general. “He or she” has become more commonplace, and why is that good? Because language matters. It forms how we perceive the world around us, whether we realize it or not. It helps shape what you believe to be important and what you believe to be irrelevant. It helps shape your values.

It’s the same with media consumption. I’m totally on board with countries that are trying to severely restrict advertising (there are at least two that I read about in Adbusters magazine, but I can’t remember offhand which), especially outdoor advertising. It completely retards growth of an independent intellect and forms a society of consumers, not thinkers. In the formation of you and your very essence, media consumption matters. That’s why porn matters.

More disheartening is that the biggest stylization of porn is the whole fantasy of doing a 14-year-old, the “Barely Legal” brand of the trade. The question of, Would you want men undressing your 14-year-old daughter in their heads, is a no-brainer. If you don’t have children and cannot therefore empathize (like me), ask yourself the same question about your nieces. It would be hard to regard the abstract masses as nameless faceless nobodies if we adopted the village approach and tried to view each other as family, as God intended. Porn would take a completely different shape, in which case.

Should basic porn be outlawed? Absolutely not. I stand by the First Amendment and will fight for it to the death. I’m a journalist. Is that in contradiction with me cheering countries trying to restrict outdoor advertising? Maybe, but that’s another blog.

Is the world going to explode in a big ball of hell-fire if you’ve viewed porn? Um, no. I’m just challenging what’s considered acceptable consumption. The discussion of sex? Let’s have it. Celebration of sex? Let’s have it — but of sex, not of the denigration of people.

The porn industry will always exist in one form or another. But choices can reshape it. We can at least relegate the industry and its consumption more toward where it used to reside — in whispers, on the fringe.

Huh, look at that. I didn’t mean for this to turn into The Sex Episode, with Your Host, Christy Robinson. But that’s what happens when you freestyle. Time go night-night.

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Posted in: porn, sex, work