Beliefnet
Rod Dreher

Alan Jacobs gave up on a book he was reading because the author made so many porn jokes and references that Jacobs got fed up with it. He observes how many of us, when criticizing stuff like this, can’t help making ironic reference to our own out-of-touchness, as if we were somehow embarrassed by our disapproval (even if we really aren’t). Jacobs cites a line in Roger Ebert’s dismissive review of the immoral film “Kick-Ass.” Excerpt from Jacobs’ blog entry:

I think the self-deprecation, the near-apology, comes in because we know that there is simply no point in arguing with someone who’s happy with a world in which porn is thoroughly mainstream and there’s some value in watching films [e.g., “Kick-Ass” — RD] that depict children being beaten and then killing (and, by the way, conscripting actual children to act out those fantasies). I cannot discern any point of commonality that would allow me to formulate an argument that such people would recognize as valid, or perhaps they would even be able to make sense of. I sympathize with Ebert’s simple statement — “You inhabit a world I am so very not interested in “– but I doubt its sufficiency. I may be “so very not interested” in a particular world, yet still have to live in it and experience its consequences.

Tell me about it. I worry about my kids having to come of age in a world in which their potential mates will have been coarsened and corrupted by ubiquitous pornography and a pornographic mentality. This, by the way, is the world one of the most influential Americans of our time bequeathed to us. Here’s Algis Valiunas writing in Commentary about Hugh Hefner:

Hefner’s way of living–and his private life has essentially been lived in public–has shaped who we really are, whether we see transcendent gladness or only doom in the freedom he has brought about. Hefner’s signal achievement is in making not just pornography respectable but also the grab-it-and-go sexuality it bespeaks. For years now most porn has been far lewder than anything one can see in Playboy; serious degradation is only a mouse-click away. Some say Playboy is so tame that it is not porn at all. But it is Playboy’s vanguard role inpromoting sexual license as the ethical norm, in touting promiscuity as the essence of urbane distinction, that singles the magazine out. We all live in Hef’s world now. In Hooking Up (2000), Tom Wolfe reported that junior high schools both in slums and in the toniest suburbs were having to deal with “a new discipline problem. Thirteen- and fourteen-year-old girls were getting down on their knees and fellating boys in corridors and stairwells during the two-minute break betweenclasses. One thirteen-year-old in New York, asked by a teacher how she could do such a thing, replied: ‘It’s nasty, but I need to satisfy my man.’ Nasty was an aesthetic rather than a moral orhygienic judgment.” Hygienic, if not moral, concernsinevitably do enter the picture, however, even for the obliviouslypubescent: gonorrhea of the throat now rivals mononucleosis as a diseasea fflicting sophisticated adolescents.

Valiunas goes on to quote a passage from Martin Amis’s The Rachel Papers, citing Amis as “Hefner’s worst nightmare–a child of the sexual revolution who knows all its piggishness and cruelty from the inside.” Here’s the Amis paragraph:

“The so-called new philosophy, ‘permissiveness’ if you like, seen from the right perspective, is only a new puritanism, whereby you’re accused of being repressed or unenlightened if you happen to object to infidelity, promiscuity, and so on. You’re not allowed to mind anything any more, and so you end up denying your instincts again–moderate possessiveness, say, or moral scrupulousness–just as the puritans would have you deny the opposite instincts.”

Exactly. While there may be little as pathetic as an octogenarian satyr shuffling around his mansion sporting drug-induced tumescence, the old goat has won the cultural battle. You know this because of the phenomenon Alan Jacobs observes. Valiunas says people like Jacobs are fighting a “hopeless rearguard action.” He’s right. You have to fight, because it’s the right thing to do, and because you cannot surrender your children to this degraded culture. Still…
UPDATE: Folks, if you respond in the combox, please try not to use the word “porn” — it’s all but guaranteed to get your post held by Captcha. Just try p***. I’m freeing up these posts as fast as I get to them, but I’m not going to be at the computer all day.
UPDATE.2: Hey, look, Steve Jobs is happy to keep porn off of iPads. That makes me even more excited about buying an iPad one day.

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