So Sandra Paterson at the Herald doesn't like porn. My initial reaction was "fair enough -- plenty of people don't," until we get to the bits where she unquestioningly takes our pal Judith Reisman at her word that "viewing sexually explicit material produces a chemical reaction in the brain similar to the high from a street drug" and tut-tuts at the Listener for pointing out that the medical and psychological community says she's full of shit. It all finishes up with:
Pornography is both highly addictive and destructive.
Whether it contributes to crime, offends a spouse or takes away a child's innocence, it is far from harmless fun.
True enough (for a given value of "highly"). But what about when it doesn't do any of those things? Which would be the vast majority of times, going by the fact that there's no difficulty in accessing it these days, and yet the streets are not awash with the fluids of sexual predators and their victims.
The only person whose opinion on porn I trust is Ali Davis, author of True Porn Clerk Stories (the best online journal you'll ever read, by the way). It wrapped up a while ago when she moved on to better things, and in her final post, she says:
I've had rabidly anti-porn people (mostly women) tear into me because I didn't say that all porn ever is inherently evil and I've had ferociously pro-porn people (mostly men) send me frothingly outraged e-mails because I didn't say that all porn ever is healthy, free and wonderful.
When of course neither extreme is the truth. In other words: some porn = good; some porn = bad. Not that any of this matters, because porn is, well it's mostly shit, isn't it? Those bits of it that affect to show actual depictions of sex at least -- your standard pitchers of people what ain't got clothes on are all generally fine until you start getting into the more specific fetishes. And even then, hell, if a person actually wants to see women in PVC licking bugs off of toilet seats, and women are prepared to be photographed doing the same, then Fear Factor will live for another season. Wait, what was my point? Never mind.
But! If a person wants depictions of people actually doing the Underpants Charleston, all they get is what appears to be sex as imagined by people who have never actually had sex before. The porn industry's childish (that seems like the most wrong word I could use in this context, but it's the only one that fits) obsession with penetration means that you end up with something closer to an anatomy lesson than a genuine attempt to arouse:
"Look! Look! It's a penis, right? And it's in a vagina! See that? See the vagina?"
The people attached to said genitalia barely seem worth a mention half the time, so you end up with, again quoting Davis, "[women] just getting poled by some guy who's apparently deliberately avoiding their erogenous zones. Whee."
And then there's our friend the money shot. If you've seen the documentary Rated X (showed here at the Incredible Film Fest in 2002), there's a whole section of porn industry insiders pontificating on the ubiquity of the money shot. Why is it deemed necessary that every sex scene ever filmed ends with the man (or men) of the moment unloading their man goo onto (or into) a random part of the other party (or parties)? Well, um, they don't actually know -- there's a whole bunch of theories (generic male fantasy, male revenge fantasy, makes the man look powerful), but read between the lines and the answer seems to be "it's necessary because it just is".
That kind of lazy thinking pisses me off when anyone else does it -- I don't see why these folks should get off (b-doom ching) any different.
Hey, I just responded to a Herald opinion piece -- does that make this media commentary?