Rod Dreher

Rod Dreher


The sensitive, patriotic, humanitarian porn star

posted by Rod Dreher

This Salon interview with porn actress Lorelei Lee, who was recently at the center of a court case against a pornographer, contains some rough language, but it is unintentionally comic in its portrayal of human folly and self-unawareness. It’s both dreadful and hilarious, this interview; Ms. Lee is prepared to do, and to have done to her, all manner of pneumatic procedures, some of which involve depraved acts with dairy products, but never let it be said that she lacks a conscience:

This kind of language is so charged and feels naughty to say, and that can be incredibly hot. So it works for me as a reclaiming act. That being said, I still can’t say the N-word myself.

More of the noted humanitarian’s observations below the jump. They are quite idiotic and funny, though she doesn’t intend them to be — but be warned, the language is at times rough:


Here’s Ms. Lee on the strict hygiene regimen on the set, and also her aesthetic analysis of her dirty picture:

Part of my job as a witness was to take the jurors through the process of the film’s production. I would have described the health and safety precautions taken — mandatory 28-day STD testing, the extensive hygiene process before an anal or on-camera enema scene. One of the allegations against John was that these films were scatological — I wanted to be sure the jurors understood that this wasn’t true.
I would have described the art and artifice of the filming process — to emphasize that what we’re doing is creating a performance — with stops and starts and retakes, and hundreds of aesthetic decisions being made throughout — rather than simply going into a room with a camera and fucking.

Here is Ms. Lee, on the feminist rationale for portraying a human pincushion on camera:

We also discussed the possibility of my testifying to the reasons I make these kinds of films. I think this imagery is important as a contrast to the majority of mainstream representation of women’s sexuality.

Lorelei Lee is a patriot!:

I would say that of the many ideals this country is founded on, the freedom of speech is, I think, one of the most cherished. Because we live in a country that presumably doesn’t censor ideas no matter how unpopular, we are able to better cultivate our own individual belief systems — one of the ways we learn what we believe in is by encountering language and imagery that we disagree with or have strong reactions to. The best ideas come out of reckoning with the unfamiliar.

Indeed — but don’t you know, some people — jurors, say — have to have the value of the unfamiliar explained to them. Enter Ms. Lee:

Lastly, I might have talked specifically about the eroticism of some of the less often understood acts in the film, such as enema play and “cum swapping.”

You cannot make this up. It should be noted that Lorelei Lee may be a nitwit, but she’s not stupid; she’s a grad student at NYU.
Sometimes, you think about what humanity is capable of, and you just want to spend more time with the squirrels.



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Al-Dhariyat

posted July 20, 2010 at 11:18 am


Squirrels are evil, Rod. Simply evil. You should NOT be spending time with them unless you want to come out on the wrong side when the Revolution cometh.
[BTW, is this the sort of comment that would get censored at the new site?]



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m.e.graves

posted July 20, 2010 at 11:19 am


If I may indulge in a bit of snark, I seem to notice that sometimes this blog can be as catty as brunch in the Castro.
captcha: another inch… I wonder if that phrase came up at any time during the interview…



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Broken Yogi

posted July 20, 2010 at 11:22 am


I’m not sure what this woman’s crime is, or what crime the producers committed. Are you saying she, or her producers, should go to jail because of her sexual morals and professional choices? Or just be ridiculed for them? She seems like a decent sort, no worse certainly than the kind of people who would throw stones at her, or put her and her producers in jail.



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Leah

posted July 20, 2010 at 11:33 am


I think the rationalizations are coming out of her mouth faster than the milk out of her bottom.
(I wonder if it was pasteurized?)
There are some images that should not enter the brain even via imagination.
That crazy captcha fairy: cesspool for!



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rj

posted July 20, 2010 at 11:39 am


One can only hope she didn’t use raw dairy products…



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Richard

posted July 20, 2010 at 11:56 am


This poor deluded woman is in need of our prayers. And yes, our condemnation for participating in an industry that is centered on degrading humanity and sexuality.



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Frank I

posted July 20, 2010 at 11:57 am


Rod -
Just a quick note to say that I really love the blog. We were born the same year, so many of the things you say resonate with me. I too remember the opening of the Lucy Show. Do you remember the Doris Day Show, opening with Que Sera Sera, shot with various scenes including Doris driving a convertable, wearing a hundred different hats, and standing on a spiral staircase?
I haven’t tuned in much over the past few weeks, but please include an update of how your sister is doing. Hope you and the family are doing well in metro-Philly.



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Frank I

posted July 20, 2010 at 11:59 am


Oops, just posted to the wrong entry. Should have posted the previous one to the Lucy entry, but you get the drift.



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Loudon is a Fool

posted July 20, 2010 at 12:21 pm


Are you saying she, or her producers, should go to jail because of her sexual morals and professional choices?
If by “professional choices” you mean the choice to distribute via the interstate transport system obscene material then, to the extent illegal, yes. Are you suggesting that laws only apply to those who engage in crime as a hobby?
“Seriously officer, I [run drugs, am a coyote, pimp, prostitute, run numbers, sell merchandise of questionable origin from the back of a truck, etc.] on a purely professional basis. There are no amateurs here so just back off.”
Even Justice Stevens thinks hard core pornography is obscene.



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Broken Yogi

posted July 20, 2010 at 12:35 pm


“If by “professional choices” you mean the choice to distribute via the interstate transport system obscene material then, to the extent illegal, yes. Are you suggesting that laws only apply to those who engage in crime as a hobby?”
You’re evading the question, which is about whether this law is a good idea in the first place. Should what she and her producers are doing be illegal? Should her moral, sexual, and professional choices be criminalized? And for the record, I’d ask the same thing about someone selling pot and any number of things of dubious legal standing.
And whether one considers hardcore pornography to be obscene, should we really be criminalizing obscene materials and those who create them? Personally, I’m against criminal laws based on notions of “sin”. And likewise, I’m against assuming that people who work in fields like this can’t be otherwise decent, caring human beings. Many may not be, but that’s true of a lot of legal endeavors as well, and many are, and we shouldn’t presume otherwise solely because someone is an adult entertainer/sex worker. Remember, the last shall be first and the first shall be last.



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kenneth

posted July 20, 2010 at 12:37 pm


Not everyone’s cup of tea, I’m sure, but that’s why we’re not Iran or Saudi Arabia, making moral choices for adults at the end of a stun gun or whip. Until Ms. Lee gets conscripted as the next GOP vice president candidate, leave her be to do a job which provides more benefit to society.



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Chas Clifton

posted July 20, 2010 at 1:01 pm


Two things about the interview that I found interesting:
1. That Lee felt more degraded when she worked as a waitress and a barista than in porn. Anyone care to argue with her?
2. The final paragraph: “In one version of his closing argument, defense attorney Paul Cambria said, “It’s always about context.” He described how he wouldn’t bring a copy of Playboy to dinner at his grandmother’s house, not because Playboy is obscene, but because it would be out of context.”
What do you say, Rod? Does context indeed matter?



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Hector

posted July 20, 2010 at 1:12 pm


Chas Clifton,
A heroin addict feels happier when using heroin then when watching the sunset with their spouse/girlfriend/whatever, but that doesn’t mean that heroin is really awesome. People want all kinds of things that aren’t good for them, and very often, because of original sin, we have a seriously screwed-up inability to perceive what is really good, true, and beautiful. I’m afraid Ms. Lee is a case in point. As Isaiah said, ‘Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil,’ which I’m afraid applies to all the defenders of Ms. Lee’s lifestyle on this thread.
As the great secular, atheist utilitarian philosopher Mr. Mill once said, it is better to be an unhappy Socrates then a happy pig.



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Hector

posted July 20, 2010 at 1:15 pm


And no, it’s nothing about ‘context’. You ought not to bring Playboy to your grandma’s house, or to possess it or look at it in your spare time. Because all hard core pornography without exception is simply immoral, unnatural and inhuman trash, which ought not to be tolerated by decent people (whatever the gang of clowns on the Supreme Court might say about it.) That’s really all there is to it, whatever kind of rationalisations might spill out of your mouth faster then the milk out of Miss Lee’s bottom (thanks, Leah, for that delightful metaphor.)



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Richard

posted July 20, 2010 at 1:16 pm


“That Lee felt more degraded when she worked as a waitress and a barista than in porn. Anyone care to argue with her?”
Argue with her about her feelings?! I think the point most of us would make is that if we define morality – in this case degradation – by our feelings, then the idea of degradation (or morality) is itself incoherent.
None of us think that a rapist who feels happy or self-esteem is anything other than deluded, probably mentally deranged.
Her kind of “work” is dehumanizing, period. Rationalization of this kind of thing does nobody any good.



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The Mighty Favog

posted July 20, 2010 at 1:23 pm


Kenneth writes:
“Not everyone’s cup of tea, I’m sure, but that’s why we’re not Iran or Saudi Arabia, making moral choices for adults at the end of a stun gun or whip.”
No, the whip and stun gun will be used in Lorelei’s next “film.”
The difference is that at least the Iranians and Saudis aren’t so perverse that they market their whip- and Taser play as “entertainment” or, God forbid, “art.”



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Chas Clifton

posted July 20, 2010 at 1:48 pm


It is interesting that Hector and Richard know more about Lorelei Lee’s emotions than she herself does.
That is all. Back to gardening.



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Rod Dreher

posted July 20, 2010 at 1:49 pm


Am I the only one who sees it as mordantly funny that we have here a woman who allows herself to be filmed receiving milk enemas as part of a sexual exercise, but who is too prissy to say the N-word? I can only hope she doesn’t use raw milk; that would be positively unhygienic!



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Loudon is a Fool

posted July 20, 2010 at 1:58 pm


And whether one considers hardcore pornography to be obscene, should we really be criminalizing obscene materials and those who create them?
In principle, yes, without question. Whether one believes (1) in natural law (pursuant to which this deviancy is inherently bad and contrary to the public good, whether engaged in publicly or not because every bad apples contributes to a gradual poisoning of the public sphere; which anyone with eyes would recognize is the case as the gradual pornification of the public sphere has followed wide spread personal acceptance of masturbation as the defining characteristic of modern life) or (2) consent theories of political obligation (where communities should have the freedom to prescribe standards of conduct in the public square, which would certainly cover the ubiquitous distribution of obscene material even if it might not preclude the production of obscene material for one’s own personal benefit), obscenity is bad for everyone. No one wants to live in a community where on a trip down to the park we might run into a couple of chicks keistering dairy products. And if you are going to tell me that the crazy person who finds a diary enema to be erotic is in all other aspects of their life perfectly normal I think I’m going to require some empirical data. Because it seems to me that crazy people are are . . . well . . . crazy. So I’m pretty comfortable with that judgment. I’m not really looking for perfection, but the avoidance of filming crimes against nature for public distribution doesn’t really strike me as an unreasonably high standard.
(As an aside, however, what was going on in this case was not a law prohibiting the obscene act itself. But its distribution over state lines. So, although I’m happy to go on the record stating categorically that anuses are not intended for milk consumption or storage and should never, under any circumstances, be utilized for such a purpose, that was not the issue in the case. The issue is whether one state can kindly request that the deviants of another state avoid the importation of evidence of their deviancy past the borders of the second state. Which is a good compromise. If you’re crazy, just move to California and you can be as wacky as you want to be. And there are plenty of wackos there with whom you can share your passions.)



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Michael C

posted July 20, 2010 at 2:33 pm


Sorry, but censorship is evil. Next we will be advocating burning books again.
What consenting adults do behind closed doors is up to them as long as they do no medical harm to each other. Whether you are producing porn or watching porn is a personal choice, and should not be the subject of legal restriction except where minors are involved, because minors cannot make those choices.
Those who are against porn are often quite happy to sit through the most horrific violence, and would be aghast if what they watched was subject to censorship.



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Franklin Evans

posted July 20, 2010 at 2:57 pm


I submit that there’s a simple resolution to the incredulity being generated by Lee’s situation.
What she does professionally she does with personal consent, to herself or to/with other consenting adults.
Using the “N-word” is (in her mind, by implication) doing harm to others.
I don’t criticize finding humor in this. I do, however, find it rather obvious that she refuses to do harm to others, by her standards. I see nothing funny about that. I have no difficulty comparing her favorably to the entertainer who uses self-deprecation to get a laugh, but will tip a server 30% just for being polite.



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TTT

posted July 20, 2010 at 2:59 pm


Am I the only one who sees it as mordantly funny that we have here a woman who allows herself to be filmed receiving milk enemas as part of a sexual exercise, but who is too prissy to say the N-word?
Maybe it’s because she views her career as one that’s meant to make people feel good, and views racial slurs as being meant to make people feel bad.



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Loudon is a Fool

posted July 20, 2010 at 2:59 pm


Sorry, but censorship is evil.
Sorry, but I don’t think you can construct a rational argument that supports that conclusion. I suppose you can say “evil=censorship.” Or with greater particularly in the current context “prohibiting the distribution of milk enema videos = evil.” You could also say “red=blue.” Or “4=5.” But I’m not sure it means anything. Judging something to be evil requires a moral discernment that is lacking in any conscience for which the propriety of the milk enema is not self evident.



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Loudon is a Fool

posted July 20, 2010 at 3:19 pm


Maybe it’s because she views her career as one that’s meant to make people feel good, and views racial slurs as being meant to make people feel bad.
You miss the point, TTT. In the pornographer’s universe of “what I want to do = morally correct act” racial slurs do make people feel good. Or at least some people. Which is good enough. For the niche voyeur who wants to see black men engage in sexual acts with women who dispense milk from their nether regions, the n word helps them achieve orgasm. In the crazy world of consent morality all you need is an agreement. We have that plus an orgasm, which totally seals the deal. Not only is the n word in this context licit, but a moral good. How dare you judge otherwise.



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John E. - Agn Stoic

posted July 20, 2010 at 3:33 pm


Am I the only one who sees it as mordantly funny that we have here a woman who allows herself to be filmed receiving milk enemas as part of a sexual exercise, but who is too prissy to say the N-word?
The Onion already did that gag – in 2007. Life imitates art, I guess…
http://www.theonion.com/video/use-of-nword-may-end-porn-stars-career,14174/



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Broken Yogi

posted July 20, 2010 at 4:20 pm


Loudon,
In the porn star’s world, it’s about making other people feel good, by letting them do all kinds of sexy and kinky things to you, and letting people watch. So it’s natural that a porn star would be concerned about how what they say might make others feel. They are actually in the business of pleasing others. Now, maybe there’s a market for racial epithets in porn, but it’s probably a pretty narrow one. Most of the porn industry is not racist, and most of them wouldn’t enjoy using racial epithets unless there was some sexual titillation involved. Which might be the case in some small segment of the industry, but it would likely not be the case in most porn films.
The general problem here is that you are equating pornography with some moral ethic of “doing what feels good”, and you also somehow equate making racial epithets with “something that feels good”, and are making a crude equation between the two. The problem is that the real world of pornography doesn’t go by your moral ordering, and you don’t seem capable of comprehending that reality, nor I guess do you want to.



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Loudon is a Fool

posted July 20, 2010 at 4:38 pm


Now, maybe there’s a market for racial epithets in porn, but it’s probably a pretty narrow one.
Is it larger or smaller than the market for sex acts with dairy products?
The problem is that the real world of pornography doesn’t go by your moral ordering . . .
True nuff.



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Lucas

posted July 20, 2010 at 4:39 pm


That Onion video is a classic. Really brilliant satire. A line very relevant to the point of what’s wrong with this sort of hopelessly untethered reality:
“It’s filthy and disturbing… you know, in the *bad* way.”



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TTT

posted July 20, 2010 at 4:45 pm


Not only is the n word in this context licit, but a moral good
And since she wouldn’t have been using it in that context during the interview, she didn’t use it during the interview. Thank you for proving my point.



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Loudon is a Fool

posted July 20, 2010 at 4:57 pm


Fair enough, TTT. You think that use of the n word is a moral good if it helps someone achieve orgasm. But our prissy porn star is not comfortable using that word in her pornography (which is what is being discussed in the interview, not her willingness to use the word in the interview). Because she has standards. And because it lacks the erotic flavor of the c word.



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Peterk

posted July 20, 2010 at 7:57 pm


luv the squirrel closer. had to share it with my FB friends, have also added to my collection of pithy sayings and aphorisms



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Broken Yogi

posted July 20, 2010 at 8:51 pm


“Because all hard core pornography without exception is simply immoral, unnatural and inhuman trash, which ought not to be tolerated by decent people (whatever the gang of clowns on the Supreme Court might say about it.)”
Hector, I think you are of course entitled to see things this way, but that’s basically a religious view, and not something that we can or should require our police and courts to enforce. If you don’t want to tolerate it, fine, don’t. But trying to get everyone to not tolerate it and criminalize it is something our culture has generally decided against.
The real problem I see with this view, and the views of some in this thread, is that because they believe porn to be utterly dehumanizing, they are shocked and surprised to see that a porn star can exhibit signs of human concern about others. This sort of refutes the premise that porn is utterly dehumanizing, because here’s a porn star full engaged in these acts, and yet the porn itself aside, she seems quite human and caring for others. You, and others here, seem to want to dehumanize her just to prove that your own views on porn are correct. So you want to deny that she’s actually sincere and cares about other people, because that would mean she’s still human and that porn doesn’t necessarily de-humanize those who are immersed in that lifestyle. One doesn’t have to defend her lifestyle to notice that she’s still very much human and very much a feeling person who in her own way remains concerned for others. So while her lifestyle might not be anywhere near the human optimum, it’s still very much a human activity. Which shouldn’t be surprising, really, since sex is about as human an activity as there is. One more example of dogma confronting reality and trying to win by insisting that reality go away.



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MH

posted July 20, 2010 at 10:09 pm


The Onion video was a riot. As far as the topic goes, I lead a sheltered life as I didn’t know this particular kink existed until I read this thread.



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Hector

posted July 20, 2010 at 10:16 pm


Broken Yogi,
You’ve got to be kidding. There’s nothing religious about the point of view that pornography is immoral. Indeed, it’s something that nearly all civilised and decent human beings- of many religions and of no religion at all- would have agreed on, prior to the middle decades of the last century (and it remains illegal in many countries today).
If you showed Miss Lorelei Lee’s films to Malinowski’s free-love Trobriand Islanders, how do you think they would react? If you showed them to one of the medieval poets of courtly love, how would they react? If you showed them to a group of polyandrous Tibetans, or polygamous Africans, how would they react? If you showed them to someone young enough or innocent enough that they hadn’t ever encountered porn or been told what it was, how would they react? And if all those people from such different cultures with such different views about sex would all react the same way, and you would react a different way, has it ever occurred to you that you- and by ‘you’ I really mean any porn-happy denizen of 21st century, late capitalist America- might be wrong?
The case against porn depends on natural law, and on reason, and really not at all on religion. I’ve never been tempted to look at porn, and I wasn’t a Christian for much of that time. Sexuality has a relational aspect related to love and to mutual self-giving and exchange, and it has a procreative aspect. That’s the context in which sexuality is intended to exist. The emotional changes that sex causes in us is a testament to the fact that it’s naturally directed to a relational, mutualistic end, as well as (sometimes) to a reproductive end. To separate it entirely from either a reproductive or a relational context, such as in pornography or in solitary vice, is a sin. (I’m not pleading any particular holiness here; there is no man righteous, after all). And when that kind of separation and denaturation of sexuality is done as part of a commercial, commodified activity, it becomes even more damaging, not just to the individuals involved but to the broader society.
Really, anyone who denies that sex is inherently and by its very nature directed to forming relationships, to mutual self-giving, and to love, is simply p*ssing into the wind, and deserves to be taken no more seriously then a fellow who insists the moon is made of green cheese. Sex is not merely ‘what we choose to make of it’, any more than astronomy is what we choose to make of it. You can insist that the tail of a dog is a leg (or that the moon is made of green cheese, or that sex is just like shaking hands, with no more meaning then going bowling) all you want, but it doesn’t make it so, and at the end of the day you’re still p*ssing into the wind. It is simply just that obvious.
Sexuality was made for something much deeper and better then wh*cking off to ‘Debbie Does Dallas’.



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Franklin Evans

posted July 20, 2010 at 11:38 pm


Hector, I have some sympathy for your position, but religious morality has played and continues to play a role in this. You left out some ancient cultures, whose sexual proclivities rival those found in a Lorelie Lee film. Case in point: The term “temple prostitution” is a Christian corruption of a sacred fertility practice. Those women and men were performing holy offices by their beliefs, as were the believers who came to them.
Really, anyone who denies that sex is inherently and by its very nature directed to forming relationships, to mutual self-giving, and to love, is simply p*ssing into the wind, and deserves to be taken no more seriously then a fellow who insists the moon is made of green cheese.
I know some polyamorous people who would respond: Anyone who denies that we view sex as just one of many ways of expressing love, and that we can love more than one person in that way and be loved by them, is denying us the truth of our love and our relationships. I further observe a key difference out of antiquity: Sex has long been viewed as a primary expression of ownership. There is no prostitution in a culture that views sex as a mode of expression open to all.



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David

posted July 21, 2010 at 4:32 am


Loudon: “a diary enema”?! I hope a pocket diary rather than a desk one.



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TTT

posted July 21, 2010 at 9:50 am


[pornography is immoral] is something that nearly all civilised and decent human beings- of many religions and of no religion at all- would have agreed on, prior to the middle decades of the last century (and it remains illegal in many countries today)
When was the Kama Sutra written? Or the Arabian Nights? The dirty postcards that boys would pass around at the turn of the last century–did those fall out of a time-warping Delorean?
And yes, it remains illegal in many countries where many other personal freedoms–including anything having to do with the female body–are illegal.



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Broken Yogi

posted July 21, 2010 at 12:53 pm


“There’s nothing religious about the point of view that pornography is immoral. Indeed, it’s something that nearly all civilised and decent human beings- of many religions and of no religion at all- would have agreed on, prior to the middle decades of the last century (and it remains illegal in many countries today).”
First, this is simply not true. Many cultures in the past had very different attitudes towards sex and the depictions of sex. You are just creating a tautology by defining “civilized” to mean “cultures which condemn pornography”. And many religions have had depictions of sexuality as central elements of their faith. Take a look at the statues of Shiva-Shakti, or the stories of Krishna and his 20,000 concubines for example. Or Buddhist statues of yogis engaged in coitus. Or the temples of Karnaka. I guess you can define such people as “indecent”, but again, that’s a tautology of your own making.
Second, in our culture there certainly was a taboo against porn for a long time, but it’s not as if decent people didn’t look at porn. There was a thriving underground market for it for a long time. And in the present day, a whole lot of very decent people use porn, enjoy it, and don’t seem to become depraved and inhuman fiends as a result.
And yes, you are definitely coming from a place of religious conviction. There are people who condemn porn for other than religious reasons, but your insistence that all decent people everywhere must condemn porn or they are not decent people just flies in the face of reality. There certainly are good reasons to not use porn, or to think lowly of the practice, but to make it into some kind of absolute evil, well, that comes from religious faith rather than actual evidence. And a rather distorted sense of religious faith in my view.
Sex was made for a lot of things, and can be used for a lot of things. None of it is inherently “evil”. It’s just sex, whether your purpose is a high one or a low one. Sex is actually about reproduction, and we form relationships around sexual partners simply because human children have such a long period of vulnerability that we have evolved our sexuality in such a way as to form long-term relationships to care for those children until they mature. One can certainly engage that in a sacred manner, but it’s not inherently sacred. The sex impulse itself is just for pleasure and gratification of desire. Porn is too. It’s there to make us want sex so much that we ensure the reproduction of the species. Culturally we can use religion and morals to guide that process, but there’s many, many ways it can work out, and there’s no Divine judgment that the pleasures of sex are immoral or evil or that those who pursue them are going to hell or depravity, etc. There’s certainly some intelligent and wise ways to engage sex, and some stupid and destructive ways to engage it, and porn can certainly fit into either category, and it can definitely be destructive, but it’s not inherently so, nor does it mean that someone is an ruined and indecent person all around if they work in the porn industry. This woman seems pretty decent, and I certainly know plenty of decent people who use porn, and they don’t seem to be on the road to becoming inhuman monsters, despite your beliefs.



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