Porn business not something to be proud of

By Contributor Diane Kipp

Diane Kipp

Rick Santorum is concerned about pornography and its affects on Americans. His website states he, “believes that federal obscenity laws should be vigorously enforced,” and, if he is elected president,  he vows to appoint an attorney general who will do just that.

According to Chris Moody, in an article on Yahoo’s “The Ticket” some of the main producers of American pornography claim not to be concerned about Santorum’s ability to impact their industry. Indeed, they seem to strongly disapprove of  Santorum’s plans, apparently based on their deeply held philosophical beliefs.

One Porn Titan (a title used in the headline of the article), obviously an earnest student of American political history who possibly minored in psychology, offers this insight, “This is not what the Founding Fathers envisioned. This is what Rick Santorum envisions. And I think the guy is crazy.” Does the Porn Titan think anything he produces is what the Founding Fathers envisioned? Does he imagine any of the Founding Fathers would feel satisfaction in knowing pornographers  appropriate the freedoms and protections of the United States Constitution to further their industry?

Another Porn Titan believes that even if Santorum wins the election and directs prosecutions of those in the pornography industry, the industry will prevail because, “People are more comfortable with hardcore pornography than ever before.” (Yay for us!  And yes, I’m being sarcastic.) An attorney for the pornography industry agrees, “Fortunately, we become a more tolerant society over time . . . we don’t want others telling us what we can and can’t do.”

Has our prevailing characteristic as a people become “neener neener, you can’t make me?” We will tolerate an epidemic of filth wallowing and all its subsequent consequences, we will look at the addictive, misogynistic face of pornography and say, “that’s ok, it can stay,” rather than have someone else “tell us what to do”?!  Is that the price we are willing to pay in order to have the satisfaction of stamping our little feet, sticking out our tongues, and yelling “you can’t make me”?  Of all the values I associate with the American people, that is not one I would choose to define us or to be a determiner in where we are headed as a nation and as a people. Would you?

Advertisements

19 responses to “Porn business not something to be proud of

  1. Can you address your thoughts about law and policy on this matter? Who gets to decide what “porn” is, and by what criteria? If Santorum as president wants to create a national censorship board (I assume that is what he is referring to), whom do you think should staff it and what forms of expression should come under the board’s purview (art, film, literature, interactive media, etc…)?

  2. Hi Sam – My overriding concern is the greatly increased acceptance of pornography by the American public. I don’t have any level of expertise, I’m not pushing any specific laws or policies, and I have not read/heard anything about a national censorship board. I don’t as yet support any particular presidential candidate but because I am acutely aware of the consequences of pornography use and especially pornography addiction, I appreciate Santorum addressing this issue specifically. I’m not pro-censorship in general, as The Book of Mormon, a book I hold sacred, could easily land on a ‘censored’ list if one existed, and I realize that anyone who values freedom has to put up with other individuals’ uses of that same freedom. But I do feel pornography is in a separate category from any other form of expression. I’d be very interested in hearing your thoughts on this complex issue if you care to express them.

    • Legally, you’re right — “obscenity” (porn) is in a separate category from art. I can’t recall specific examples but from time to time, people are prosecuted on obscenity charges, and not just for child porn. The distinction, though, between legitimate expression and pornography has historically been extremely difficult to define. What someone might consider art, someone else would consider pornography, and vice versa.

      I certainly wouldn’t want to come out as an advocate of the adult entertainment industry but I would definitely be an advocate of free expression. I have seen several very powerful, affecting films that have at some time or another been banned under stringent moral code laws, or otherwise would have if censorship boards were still in place. So I know the ways our laws work, for the most part, makes sense in a practical way in allowing free expression and participation in the marketplace of ideas.

      Without some peer-reviewed scientific research, I’m honestly not sure about your claim that pornography is harmful to society (and I’d really like to know how it compares in harmfulness to, say, insufficient minimum wage, the lack of universal health care, increasing poverty, the war on drugs, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and runaway military spending). I do know that it can be helpful to the love life of couples sometimes — or so say some psychologists.

      Bear in mind my ethical school of thought is heavily utilitarian. 🙂

  3. I agree, the art/pornography distinction is difficult to impossible to define. But instead of being concerned about that gray area of legitimate disagreement, I’d like to focus on the content found at the far end, the content that the vast majority of people would be repulsed by.

    There is research that shows that pornography is harmful to individuals and to society in general, and I’d like to say “I’ll look it up and send you the link” but given my to-do list, I realistically won’t actually do that in the near future 🙂

    As far as psychologists recommending porn to couples as therapy, can I respectfully say that there are kooks in every field? Seriously, I know you’re right, some professionals use that as a tool, but others feel it is counterproductive-to-harmful to a relationship and use other methods.

    Thank you for responding!!

  4. That’s right, I don’t. Even if they offered me the job of deciding what is allowed and what isn’t 🙂 Have there ever actually been national censorship laws? (Yes, I know that question shows how uninformed I am.)

  5. I went to the link, I’ve been educated, thank you. I know artists were jailed for political expression in the past, but not for “moral” or sexual expression, in the last 50 years, right? And the Hays Code wasn’t law, but a self regulating code for the motion picture industry, right?

    • The Hays Code was a complicated ‘fourth estate’ set of regulations whose end result was that either a) a film comply with the censorship rules of the studio or b) the film could be banned and the artist(s) potentially fined or imprisoned for violating state or local “public decency” statutes.

      Lenny Bruce is the only name that comes to mind at the moment, but I know there are more.

  6. As a pastor, my experience with individuals, marriages and families and pornography is enough for me to say the material is corrosive, polluting, and destructive.

    Its damaging to the soul, the mind, the heart, the gift of innocence, the boundaries of healthy sexuality and abuse, the defilement and disillusionment of sexual norms and expectations in a marriage relationship, issues of mental and emotional betrayal, deep wounding of self esteem among partners, proclivities to more and a stronger porn that porn consumption creates.
    Not to mention the horrific views of women that develop from porn, the illusion of beauty, practice, and treatment is ugly.

    Pointing to fearful extremes in policy making shouldn’t govern the discussion of protecting, women, children, men and art.

    Tolerance can be a societal Trojan horse…and porn is an example such an assault.

    The categories of porn are clear to porn consumers…the “what if” argument is a straw man, in my opinion.

    • If I may paint with a broad, over-generalizing brush, it seems many Americans, Europeans, and Muslims who reside on the more rightward side of faith often forget that protecting the rights of others is essentially protecting the rights of oneself. If there’s a Golden Rule in American-style democracy, it’s this: “The rights of one end where the rights of another begin.” I think that rule is why our democracy has lasted for so long.

      If you can ban someone else’s book through a law, what’s to stop someone else from making a law banning your book? If you can ban someone from getting married with a law, what’s to prevent another law from coming around banning you from getting married? If you can make a law silencing an idea, who’s to say that later one won’t come along to silence you?

      So we stand up for free expression, even though we might find it repugnant, false, or distasteful. We do it not because we condone the expression, but because we conserve and protect our own right to free expression.

      I would hope that, in the future, we would also protect these rights because we’ve learned the painful lesson that repression and prohibition are incompatible with the human psyche. Instead of the penalties, stigmatizing, and far-reaching repercussions of legal action, we would realize instead that our priority should be treatment, and the knowledge that should one stumble and fall with regards to how they treat their body or mind, the societal attitude will be repair and forgiveness.

  7. Eric, thank you so much for your response. I wish every adult and teenager in the country could read it.

  8. Sam, I agree with the Golden Rule of American Democracy but believe it cannot be sustained unless Americans do their part and self-govern. A love of pushing the moral envelope, purely for its own sake, is counter-productive to the freedom we all value. I also value forgiveness, and support repair and treatment, but I value prevention even more highly – preferably not by more laws and not by taking away freedoms, but instead by education and example, by an increased willingness to self-govern, and by citizens, especially role models, being willing to speak up for virtue instead of glorying in that pushed envelope.

    Benjamin Franklin said: “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become more corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.” And John Adams said: “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

  9. As an artist, I deeply hold to the constitutional right to freedom of speech and expression. I’m not in favor of a sacred law but a secular law in such matters. But I think there is a civil sphere of understanding the line between the celebration of sexuality and the degradation of pornographic extremes. I think our culture has worked out a good playing field for constitutional freedom. I’ve sought to educate people within my sphere of the difference between nakedness and nudity in matters of art. One celebrates the holy and good, where the other commercializes and has bastardized the gift of sexuality. Impost of my work with men and women with this subject surrounds relearning the difference biblically, holistically and relationally.

  10. Because I believe you can’t do wrong and feel right I often question how we get to the point of debating morality? To debate the definition of pornography or to struggle to differentiate acceptable, or what is “soft-core” and “hard-core” pornography (actually, one leads to another) is not reasonable. For me Alexander Pope’s classic “Essay on Man” applies here:

    Vice is a monster of so frightful mien
    As to be hated needs but to be seen;
    Yet seen too oft, familial with her face,
    We first endure, then pity, then embrace.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s