June 21, 2010

Facing Up to Porn

Justin Katz

A line from Mary Eberstadt's recent summary of sociological research about pornography includes this telling observation:

Several experts have also noted one more interesting phenomenon that most people who have ever written on this thankless subject will verify: Telling the truth about pornography is practically guaranteed to elicit malice and venom unique in their potency from its defenders.

Citing some extreme examples of the backlash, Eberstadt counts it as evidence of addiction, and a particular desire to believe that it's not a problem. That's surely part of it, but I think pornography is also at a fault line of American political philosophies.

Libertarians, no doubt, would begin to bristle (as, I confess, I did) at the suggestion that First Lady Michelle Obama should take up an anti-porn campaign when she completes her efforts against obesity. Government involvement quickly raises the stench of prohibition, and it's easy to foresee things going horribly wrong on this particular issue.

On the other hand, libertarians are far too quick, in my opinion, to treat every movement against individual liberties — especially those having to do with sex — as if it is government oppression. The can be a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy, in that, as it becomes left to those who don't so much fear the use of government force to address real social problems.

Such quotations as this ride the aforementioned fault line:

Yet with all due respect to the social science, not everyone needs it to know that pornography is more than just a private thing. Imagine your teenage daughter walking down the beach. Half the men on it have been watching sex on the Internet within the last few days, and half have not. Which ones do you want watching her? How can their "private" behavior possibly be said to be confined to home, when their same eyes with which they view it travel along with them everywhere else?

I certainly see Eberstadt's point, and I've made similar arguments about individuals' associations before. (It's bound to affect a man's treatment of a woman whom he's just met if she reminds him of some porn actress rather than, say, a saint in a classic painting.) But questioning the "privacy" of one's own thoughts begins to move toward dangerous ground.

My concern is that, if protectors of liberty push back whenever problems such as pornography are so much a mentioned, then they won't have much leverage should society decide that the problem must be addressed.

Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

It is certainly tough for government to pick and choose what is porn...or more specifically...what is abusive to the "worker" or to society as a whole.

Even if we did so, the rise of the internet has done away with any hope of enforcing such standards or laws.

Besides that, graphic sexual material can be quite engaging........yeah, sure, next thing you know we'll have the men here declaring they don't look at the stuff.

Save me, please!

Life, IMHO, is all about fantasies. I'm sure we all have them - including the ones which say we and our family will grow up and everything will be OK and then we will pass away in our sleep at 90 years old.

Face it, most humans are drug addicts - those drugs being various hormones and chemicals such as dopamine and endorphins. Trying to eliminate the quest for pleasure seems fruitless. The best we can hope for, and probably a decent middle ground, is to draw the line at certain ages and at certain abuses.

To some extent, the world must be accepted as it is, not how we wish it to be.......anything else is just more fantasy, so feel free to have them!

Posted by: Stuart at June 21, 2010 2:10 PM

Justin, I assert that you are a dangerous religious fanatic. If you try to defend yourself against this assertion, it will only serve as evidence of your own indoctrination and intolerance of religious freedom and public debate. On the other hand, if my assertion is not refuted, I will be left to assume that it is accurate. I also assert that your religious experiences have bled over into your everyday life and handicap your ability to use reason and logic instead of taking things on faith, as religion so often requires. There is a serious danger that you will mistake someone as an incarnation of the devil and murder them as they stand before you. I have no evidence of this, but it simply makes sense to infer it based on how I perceive your use of religion. I humbly suggest that the rest of society should "deal" with and contain your problems before they get entirely out of control, although I am unwilling at this point to say whether it will involve actual violent coercion through government action or not. We will just have to wait to see how you respond to our initial attempt to help you.

Posted by: Dan at June 21, 2010 3:03 PM

Do I want people ogling my daughter or having lewd thoughts about her? Of course not. But I can't control that. If they touch her because of a porn addiction, I'm not sure that eliminating porn would have helped that. There's something wrong in their brain that causes them to go beyond looking and thinking.

"Half the men on it have been watching sex on the Internet within the last few days, and half have not. Which ones do you want watching her? "

Also, maybe the porn "satisfies" them. Kinda like if I go have a nice big ice cream sundae and then someone else asks if I want this gorgeous pile of ice cream with whipped cream and all the toppings, I'll probably say "no thanks". Or maybe that second sundae just won't compare to the first. Maybe someone would be so into their porn that after a night 'with' Jenna Jameson or whoever, no real girl or woman could stack up. And maybe the fact that the guy can't get with a real life female is a part of the reason that he needs porn on a regular basis.

We should not "eliminate" porn or regulate it in any way to people over the age of 18, but I have no problem with encouraging people to control it. Blaming porn for sexual assaults is like blaming the gun for a murder.

Posted by: Patrick at June 21, 2010 3:08 PM

"Blaming porn for sexual assaults is like blaming the gun for a murder."

It's more like blaming Duke Nukem games for a murder, since porn can't physically harm anyone.

Unlike the bare assertions and convenient assumptions that opponents make about porn (based on what they've heard, of course), there is no evidence whatsoever that porn encourages sexual assaults or anti-social behavior, and a significant amount of research concludes that it actually makes sexual assault rates fall or at worst does nothing.


Posted by: Dan at June 21, 2010 3:27 PM

Plenty of normal people view porn and handle it resposibly, without going out and assaulting the first attractive woman they see.
Look at the societies (Taliban, fundamentalist Muslim, even fundamentalist Christian) where porn is banned. It doesn't stop rape there, does it?
Rape is not about sex, or porn. It's about violence and dominance.

Posted by: rhody at June 21, 2010 3:30 PM

"Yet with all due respect to the social science, not everyone needs it to know that war is more than just a private thing. Imagine your teenage daughter walking down the beach. Half the men on it have been getting mortared and bombed in Afghanistan within the last few months, and half have not. Which ones do you want watching her? How can their behavior possibly be said to be confined to the operational theater, when their same eyes with which they target human bodies travel along with them everywhere else?"

That's a shot at Eberstadt, not Justin. I think Justin and I are as close to agreement as possible with regards to this post as we've ever been when the topic involves sex.

Porn deserves attention because there are -some- people getting abused and exploited behind the scenes. I wouldn't advocate trying to eliminate porn, or even 'cracking down' on it, because I don't think the industry is inherently harmful. What I would like to see is some sort of minimal licensure required for producers that gross over $10,000/year. I don't want to step on peoples' rights to free expression, but I also want some accountability for the abuses I hear about in the industry.

That said... I fear that by not taking a hard stance on the libertarian side, I'm only letting the likes of Donna Hughes and Concerned Women of America in the door; once they're in they'll flail their arms and scream 'what about the children!', and all sane debate will end.

Posted by: mangeek at June 21, 2010 3:41 PM

That's a common saying, Rhody, and it sounds kind of deep and insightful when people repeat it, but I don't think it's entirely true. The extremely rare "strange man stalks woman and rapes her on the street" rape might be about dominance or some such thing, but the far more common "frat boy rapes girl who passed out at the party" rape is certainly about sex. Either way, it has about as much to do with porn as what is eaten for breakfast in the morning.

Posted by: Dan at June 21, 2010 3:46 PM

"the far more common 'frat boy rapes girl who passed out at the party' rape is certainly about sex"

You would be surprised, my direct observation (which is limited) was that three-quarters of the time those events are an honest drunken mistake/misunderstanding. The other quarter of the time it was about power, perpetrated by the same kinds of kids who torture animals behind their garage.

And I don't think a connection can be made between assault and pornography... The vast majority of men with internet access view pornography, and the ability to get that material has gone from 'high price/low availability' to 'low price/high availability' in the last fifteen years, exposure and availability of pornography don't seem to correlate with violence against women.

Posted by: mangeek at June 21, 2010 4:08 PM

In any case, it's all just speculation. The inconvenient reality (I almost said truth) for the law and order fear-mongerers like Justin and Wallin is that sex crimes have below average recidivism rates, tend to take place between people who previously knew each other, and have been falling for decades in this country just like the overall violent and property crime rates. It's terrible and sad, but the hypothetical "teenage daughter walking down the beach" is far more likely to be sexually assaulted by her own father than she is by some sunbathing porn-addicted stranger.

Posted by: Dan at June 21, 2010 4:22 PM

Don't forget, with the frat boy scenario you're usually talking about copious amounts of alcohol. If the power play doesn't involve rape, it will involve some other type of violence.

Posted by: rhody at June 21, 2010 4:23 PM

My concern is more for the women who feel they have little choice - or are driven by bad upbringing, abuse, etc. - to enter the industry. I think it is clear social science that many of these porn actors were abused, etc.......

At the same time, making 150K a year for screwing might beat working as a waitress and getting abused in different ways...for 20K.

I'd be satisfied with just 10,000 naked women on the net as opposed to 100,000....so I'll sacrifice for the cause!

I will admit, though, that much of that stuff is really really really really nasty! In an ideal world, we might not have it as much or as crazy.

I subscribe to the idea that we humans can easily get jaded. That is, a man or woman might get excited thinking about another person. They might get excited at suggestive pictures or partially naked ones. They might get excited at couples having sex......

But it can go too far....and some tend to need more and more input to get excited...

So, as the Buddha said, everything in moderation.

BTW, Dan, good post.....and probably true although you may have meant it facetiously. It is just possible the Justin poses a bigger threat to himself and society than he imagines. Given the choice, I would outlaw fundamentalist religion way before I took the Bra pics out of Victorias Secret.

Posted by: Stuart at June 21, 2010 4:28 PM

About the "beach" example. It has been a few years since I regularly took my daughter to the beach. However, I can well remember the "suits" on some of the 13-15 year old girls. If their parents allowed that, I think the parents had been hardened by pornography.

Posted by: Warrington Faust at June 21, 2010 6:22 PM

Porn made with adults for adults is not a problem.
Kiddie porn is evil.
Rape is about power ,domination,and ROBBERY.The rapist robs sexual gratification because it's something he can take.Virtually every rapist takes something from the victim,often of no intrinsic value.
I realize I'm a disgrace to law enforcement and all that but I've locked up rapists and they're more predatory than they are sexually desirous.
I think porn might be the ultimate safe sex-those actors and actresses are taking more risks than the guys who were cleaning up Chernobyl.
You can tune in and watch and guess what- no copays for antibiotics,or worse yet for HIV"cocktail".
I caught a type of super-gonorrhea called NSU back in the day in Vietnam(or maybe Singapore)and it took a year of penicillin to get rid of it because it spread-I'l spare you all the details,but I'd wish it on Rhody(it's painful but non-fatal).
Stuart has probably had an STD or two himself.No shame there.

Posted by: joe bernstein at June 21, 2010 6:36 PM

The consequences of porn don't have to be rape and sexual assault for it to be of concern to society, acting as such. Put simply, especially when widely available during formative years, pornography affects adults' capacity for healthy relationships, and healthy adult relationships are a valid concern for a social culture. We can address this (and other cultural illnesses, related and unrelated) via social mechanisms — beginning with broad consensus that people should begin reining in their behavior — or the consequences will become fodder for those more willing than I to use the government as a mechanism for social change.

Posted by: Justin Katz at June 21, 2010 6:45 PM


Interesting paragraph, above, with the religion switcheroo. There are a number of reasons why it doesn't logically work, as a rhetorical parry, including the practical question of whether criticism of particular religions draws an equivalent degree of malice as criticism of pornography.

More interest, though, is the insinuation that you consider the viewing of pornography to be a religious experience. I wonder: Is it a central, constituent part of your identity?

Posted by: Justin Katz at June 21, 2010 6:49 PM

Religion has nothing to do with pornography, except that they are both private experiences that can be drawn upon responsibly or abused, or which can develop into dangerous behavior by an unstable person, just like anything else in life including novels, movies, music.

The point I was going for was that you shouldn't make bare assertions about other people's private activities and hobbies, because nobody knows what goes on inside their heads except those people themselves, and it is egomania to think that you can make such judgments based on stereotypes and extremely limited information. To go even further and claim that you have the right, based on those one-size-fits-all assumptions, to intervene into their lives and force them to abandon their behavior before they have harmed anyone is authoritarian madness and thought policing. If you want to take government action permanently off the table, then I'm sure that most civil libertarians will be willing to debate the pros and cons of easily accessible pornography with you. Absent that stipulation, don't be so surprised that we reject how much violence you should use against us to be a legitimate subject of public debate, because it is about as friendly as a shotgun aimed in our direction.

Posted by: Dan at June 21, 2010 7:13 PM

"when widely available during formative years, pornography affects adults' capacity for healthy relationships, and healthy adult relationships are a valid concern for a social culture"

Agreed, but the fear amongst most of us (and forgive me for speaking for most of us, but I've been here a while) is that the same tools that could be applied by the government to limit access to pornography could be used to limit access to all sorts of other things, like non-mainstream religious views. Keeping kids safe from pornography is squarely in the domain of parents. As an uncle and a 'computer guy' for many people, I do a lot of 'parent training' on how to properly use and monitor filters, showing parents how to block what they can and review what got through so there can be a parent/child discussion before a habit develops.

I just read the article entirely, and I have to say that a lot of the examples ring my 'correlation is not causation' bell. Some of us are more aggressive, more bizarre, more open, and more experimental than others; that's been going on long before porn was available 24/7 on a screen. Someone who has a high drive might be more compelled to engage in 'riskier types of sex' as well as viewing pornography, the porn isn't the definite cause of the risky behavior. I wonder how many of these 'relationships ruined by porn' are relationships that would have been ruined out of boredom or adultery two decades ago.

Posted by: mangeek at June 21, 2010 7:16 PM


The point is that (even accepting an assertion of parallel responses from religious zealots and porn addicts), different activities, interests, and social spheres allow for different responses. Religion, like some other individual associations and qualities, is a matter of personal identity, significant to how we see ourselves as people. I'd be very disconcerted to hear somebody equate their desire to view porn as a religious experience (or, for that matter, similar to ethnicity, race, gender, etc.). If I insult the latest teeny-bopper Disney star, I think we'd all be suspicious of an adult who reacted personally and with malice. (Apple products also come to mind...)

As for your continuing inability to read what I write so as to comprehend my views vis-a-vis the use of government force, I'm sorry, but it's clear that I can't assist you, there.

Posted by: Justin Katz at June 21, 2010 7:27 PM

If those SEC bureaucrats who spent so many hours of taxpayer-paid time surfing porn on the internet had real jobs that required them to produce something for someone in order to get paid, they might not have spent their time that way.

Justin I can't agree with you on your apparent approval of government involvement in regulating society's interests regarding porn. To me it simply is not a legitimate function of government under our system. How is the porn issue different from tobacco, or trans-fats, or soda pop?

It is entirely appropriate for other groups or institutions in our society to campaign against it, but not government. Let's just not allow the porn-surfer, or the smoker, or the stoner, to claim he has "a 'right' to keep his job because his behavior isn't illegal".

If government had a legitimate claim to choose what parts of citizens' lives it can control, then we would have achieved the Progressive Utopia.

Posted by: BobN at June 21, 2010 7:39 PM

You can most certainly assist me there by making it unequivocally clear whether government coercion is on the table or not in correcting what you perceive (with no evidence) to be a problem in other people's lives. If you've taken that gun off of the table, then we can have a friendly conversation about anything under the sun. If it's still on the table, then you are a violent aggressor against us and you will be treated with justifiable hostility.

Posted by: Dan at June 21, 2010 7:43 PM


I don't approve "of government involvement in regulating society's interests regarding porn." (Although it's provision and marketing to children represents an exception, and various laws related directly to health and employment shouldn't be diluted for porn alone.)

My point is that those who react with violent aversion to personal disapproval of porn culture and think that our society has to admit that it has a problem risk giving leverage to those who would involve government in it. To my experience, a fair parallel would be vicious personal attacks against a person who merely suggests that perhaps gorging on junk food should be avoided.

Posted by: Justin Katz at June 21, 2010 7:57 PM

"Justifiable hostility"? Sheesh.

I've been perfectly clear about my position. What you don't like is that I deny my own ability to "take it off the table," and I don't think the federal government should have that ability with regard to states, and I don't think state entities should have that ability when it comes to voters.

I believe in small government, but I also believe in democracy and a right to self governance.

Posted by: Justin Katz at June 21, 2010 8:01 PM

We can only fairly be held responsible for our own actions. If you would ever be willing to vote for such a prohibition, then you are just as much a violent aggressor as the person who ultimately kicks in the door. If you would vote against it, but actively support the right of other people to vote for it and use such violence against peaceful people, then I suppose that would be analogous to watching somebody drown in front of you while offering no assistance. It's not quite as bad as throwing the person in the water yourself, but there are some serious moral and philosophical issues in play.

Posted by: Dan at June 21, 2010 8:17 PM

>>"when widely available during formative years, pornography affects adults' capacity for healthy relationships, and healthy adult relationships are a valid concern for a social culture"

One might say the same about consumerism, glorification of war, nationalism, materialism and lots of other legal pursuits.

The very point is....that no one can change others. Justin, I just read the new book written by Father Gregory Boyle....who I assume you know about. He's the guy who helps the poorest of the poor and the gang member in LA.

He makes it clear a number of times that there is no changing people...he used to try to help make peace between gangs and go out of his way to change folks...then he finally understood that he has to wait until they come to him (and Homeboy industries, his org).

Same goes here! Whether or not candy, ice cream, porn, ipads, TV, etc. it is not up to you or I or Big Daddy Government to regulate or change.....in general. Sure, we can outlaw porn and candy in school....I assume we already do.

When we can go one month without hearing about hundreds abused by Priest, then maybe we could start to discuss self-gratification and the ins and out (ha ha ) of it.

Posted by: Stuart at June 21, 2010 8:25 PM

Wow, Dan. You really are a fanatic. Assenting to other people's right to vote on behalf of laws that would restrict pornography is akin to watching somebody drown.

Q.E.D.: Your fanaticism will only ensure that a majority feels more comfortable backing prohibitionists than people, like you, who don't believe in a substantive right to define the governing regime under which one lives.

Posted by: Justin Katz at June 21, 2010 8:29 PM

Akin in kind, Justin, not in severity.

I have stated that I hold people responsible for their own actions, no more, no less. If the magical, mystical 51% that gets to determine whether I should be deprived of life, liberty, or property votes (in their infinite wisdom) for an immoral law, they are responsible for that immoral decision. Anybody who supported giving them the right to wield violence over me in the first place is responsible for their own separate immoral decision. I neither endorse nor facilitate violence against peaceful people, which means I do not vote for it, nor will I support a right for other people to vote for it. Imagine a state senator who introduces terrible bill after terrible bill, but votes against each one or abstains at the last moment. Aren't they morally culpable in some way for the harm that ultimately befalls the state? An individual who gives a gun to a known criminal who then commits a crime with that gun?

Posted by: Dan at June 21, 2010 8:47 PM

>who don't believe in a substantive right to define the governing regime under which one lives.

Justin, I still have to wonder if you "get it" when it comes to the pursuit of happiness and the basic ideas of human rights.

The US Constitution does not say "Congress can make any laws which the majority support".

The way our system works is that we have basic ground rules - one of them being you don't invade peoples heads, wombs, penises, etc. - another one being you don't torture. Another one being that if an ethic or religious majority votes to kill or otherwise subjugate the minority.....that is verboten.

Your idea of "defining the regime" we live under, sounds more like REDEFINING it.......no thanks, it's already been defined to my satisfaction in our constitution and basic system of human rights.

Posted by: Stuart at June 21, 2010 8:48 PM

Voting to determine your system of government is not a crime, especially when those with whom you disagree are free to (1) work in political opposition, and (2) escape.

Posted by: Justin Katz at June 21, 2010 8:55 PM

Venturing out on the limb of a response to Stuart...

But the Constitution does leave non-enumerated rights to the states and the people. Folks on your side of the aisle have been much more active in arrogating responsibilities to Congress and the federal government.

The Constitution also provides for the people of the United States to rewrite the basic ground rules (which you restate in about the most absurd fashion conceivable) through the process of amendment.

Funny how that whole "living document" thing evaporates when progressive policy and social mandates are on the defensive.

Posted by: Justin Katz at June 21, 2010 8:59 PM

Opportunity to work in opposition to a law is irrelevant because all that consists of is attempting to change the mind of the person who is aggressing against you, which is usually a fruitless endeavor. It doesn't convey any meaningful ability to defend oneself.

Opportunity to escape is similarly only meaningful if there is somewhere to which one can actually go. Governments have violently occupied all of the usable land on this earth, and no government currently allows individuals to live peacefully and independently provided only that they do not harm anyone else. This makes perfect sense - why would a government ever cede its own power and authority? If the United States allowed New Hampshire or another territory to peacefully secede and establish a voluntary society, then I would agree that it would be silly for somebody like me to stay put here. Whether the violence would then be justified at that point, I don't know, that depends on when you believe inaction can constitute consent.

Posted by: Dan at June 21, 2010 9:06 PM

I think my position on government and porn can be surmized, so I won't bother.

I noticed that well above here, there was the usual discussion of porn and rapists. Assuming that those rapists are male, what is the effect on women? Women are rather large consumers of porn, what is the effect on them? Back before "Block Busters", when every video shop had an "Adult Section", I always noticed that a large segment of the women at the register had "adult tapes". I have noticed that women seem to be right up on the latest sexual fads? It may be that they talk to each other more, but I have always assumed it was access to internet porn. In my younger days, I regularly stuck my hand under the mattress to see what kind of porn magazines they were reading.

For those of you who are not married, have you noticed that the "request rate" for anal intercourse has skyrocketed right along with its ascendancy on porn sites? Sometimes this is thinly disguised as "I used to have a Greek boyfriend".

Posted by: Warrington Faust at June 21, 2010 10:33 PM

Rhody writes:
"Don't forget, with the frat boy scenario you're usually talking about copious amounts of alcohol. If the power play doesn't involve rape, it will involve some other type of violence."

I am a few years removed from the "frat boy" stage. But I can remember the startlingly high number of women/girls who would start taking off their clothes at parties after only one drink, or two. Naturally, the next day they would plead drunken frivolity and they didn't remember any of it.

I can also remember before heavy security when it wasn't all together uncommon for women to jump on the stage and attempt to "perform a sex act" on the performers? Were these women rapists?

Posted by: Warrington Faust at June 21, 2010 10:47 PM

One of the funniest things I have ever seen was a porn made for women called "The Best Sex Ever." It aired late at night when I was getting free promotional HBO and it was such a strange title that I had to see what it was. The "story" followed a rich woman who lived in a mansion and male suitors would come to her door with wine, jewelry and flowers. Then they would have slow, satisfying sex on the designer furniture by the fireplace as they told her how beautiful she was.

My, um, girlfriend's "friend" is into lesbian porn. Straight as an arrow and very conservative, but likes lesbian porn. Go figure.

Posted by: Dan at June 21, 2010 11:34 PM

Mary Eberstadt lamenting about “America the Obese” which most likely can be traced to excessive non-physical activity and over indulgence in franchise fast food restaurants serving high fat and salt foods (Denny’s Restaurant chain has a class action suit against them for serving food so loaded with salt it is near poisonous and Olive Garden; Red Lobster are in close pursuit). Plus her relating “sexual obesity” my interpretation of this is overloading on sexual content from commercial TV, movies, rock shows, music lyrics, music videos, magazines and books (that is constant 24/7 media bombardment) plus her contention of high “Internet-pornography consumption” if you are under 18 and your parents or adult supervision has set the proper access controls on the computer or media access device then access should be denied and enforced because schools and libraries have the filters enforced makes me wonder what this “Facing Up to Porn” by Justin is all about?

Seems to me I lived through this damming of all who looked at a women’s bare ankle way back when. As a matter of fact, I think that law is still on the RI law books! Under RI state law women’s bare ankle was considered “Porn” and the female can be jailed!

Back in the 50s, 60s, and 70s certain performances were called art and they were well done. We dressed up in jacket and tie; ladies in dresses and went to the “FEI Club” in Central Falls to have a few drinks, food and be entertained by national performers or to Lincoln for the “Boys will be Girls” stage show then the younger crowd started pushing the limits till shows have become the norm of pole, lap and you name it dancing (Foxy Lady is a tame show).

Playboy magazine was a coffee table book with intellectual writings and even top Washington, DC interviews plus photography showed less than a Catholic Church fresco then when the younger female Heffner took control it became a closet magazine competing with Larry Flint’s magazine.

So Justin for those of us who read this blog, would you define what “Porn” is for us and what “pornography” is because both words can be interpreted differently and how they relate to an individual’s (18 and over) freedom of expression, verbiage, writings, songs, ability to read uncensored books, printed materials, photography or videos!

Posted by: Ken at June 22, 2010 2:59 AM

>>ave you noticed that the "request rate" for anal intercourse has skyrocketed right along

You are correct, and personally I don't see the draw. Years ago there was a show about real sex (HB0?) which showed a young and good looking loving couple doing that and other things in a hot tub. That was pretty cool.....yet I find myself completely turned off by the thought and by the advertised porn regarding it.

I guess it has to do with the crudeness vs. what I consider good taste. Such definitions would say that beer is for low lives and champagne is for those who are better.

Justin, I have no problem with amending the Constitution. But the chance of doing so in relation to the pursuit of pleasure ranks up there with us living on Mars in this generation. It's not going to happen. However, be my guest and give it a shot.

See? I don't attempt to put my values on you, but rather champion your right to change the living document.

Just as with the War on Drugs, the parading of crimes (rapes, assaults) as blame for the results of actions (porn, drug addiction) is not exactly accurate. In fact, porn probably stops or moderates more deviant behavior than it creates.....IMHO.

Posted by: Stuart at June 22, 2010 9:12 AM

There goes Bernstein again...every thread has to be about me. Sorry, I was a little more careful and never had an STD...it's a little tough to plant on me LOL.
Back on topic...more than 40 years later, we still haven't moved beyond the Potter Stewart definition of pornography. I know it when I see it, too, but that's no basis to legislate.

Posted by: rhody at June 22, 2010 9:51 AM

I would have commented earlier but I found www.SwedishBeautieswithBigButts.com and don't know where the last two days went.

Posted by: michael at June 22, 2010 3:09 PM

I'm sure you were careful Rhody-probably wore a bike helmet,didn't cross against the light,avoided joining the military,and masturbated thinking of Hillary Clinton.
No law against that.
Oh yeah,and used an alias to hide behind.

Posted by: joe bernstein at June 22, 2010 3:52 PM

I agree with Justin. Porn is bad and is a corrosive on his religious interpretation of human sexuallity. I agree with Dan. Justin is a flaming zealot. Actually, I agree with everyone when it comes to porn. Porn is so ingrained in the human that all these things can be purported as true. Porn also has been and is the engine of change and innovation. In some ways it sums up the human condition. Onward Ho!

Posted by: David S at June 22, 2010 6:20 PM

David writes:
"Porn is so ingrained in the human that all these things can be purported as true."

"ingrained"! Try the Bible. Angels demanding sex with boys (most biblical angels are male). Job's daughters getting him drunk and then using him to impregnate them. The list goes on.

Sometimes, when Justin is on a roll about Catholic philosophy and dogma, I wonder if he has ever read the Bible. Catholic philosophy and dogma do not encourage that. Ever seen a Bible in a Catholic household?

Posted by: Warrington Faust at June 22, 2010 6:59 PM

Surely, Warrington, this is another instance of your throwing out lines that you know to be false.

Posted by: Justin Katz at June 22, 2010 8:46 PM

Jeez, Bernstein, it seems like getting some strange in a strange land and picking up a strange disease is a strange way to prove your masculinity.

Posted by: rhody at June 22, 2010 10:03 PM

Rhody-I "proved my masculinity"by carrying out such obligations as serving my country,working hard to support my family and keeping them before all else,and dealing with adversity(in my case a lifetime of disease)without sh*tting my pants over it.
I got an STD by being drunk and careless.
You punk.

Posted by: joe bernstein at June 22, 2010 10:22 PM

Surely, Warrington, this is another instance of your throwing out lines that you know to be false.

Posted by Justin Katz at June 22, 2010 8:46 PM

Justin, not sure what you mean. If it is Job impregnating his daughters, that is incontrovertible.

If it is a scarcity of Bibles in Catholic homes, that may not be correct, but is not imagined. Google Martin Luther, what got him into trouble was translating the Bible into German so that Catholics might read it. That was definitely verboten.

Posted by: Warrington Faust at June 22, 2010 11:04 PM

Martin Luther was on the Pope's s**t list long before he translated the Bible. I also am lead to believe that Rome's attitude towards Bible translation has evolved somewhat since the sixteenth century.

Posted by: David P at June 23, 2010 3:30 AM

David P writes
"Martin Luther was on the Pope's s**t list long before he translated the Bible. I also am lead to believe that Rome's attitude towards Bible translation has evolved somewhat since the sixteenth century."

Yes, that's true, Luther did object to those troublesome indulgences to finance St. Peters. that particular Pope had become a Cardinal at age 13. I think that Pope had an "imvestment" in the system. He had also begun St. Peters in reliance on the revenue from those indulgences. St. Peters almost bankrupted the church.

But, consider how recently it was decided to celebrate the Mass in English, which the parishoners might actually understand.

About the change in attitude. I'm not so sure. My mother's side of the family is Catholic, in conversations I have never encountered one who had ever even glanced at the Bible. Have you ever heard of a Catholic "Bible Study" group? Do you know a Catholic family with a "Family Bible"? Try this on the next ten Catholics you meet, ask them to name the books of the Bible.

At my mother's insistence, I had a year of Catholic education/training. My father pulled me out because he thought the physical punishment the nuns inflicted was "unladylike". They were Dominicans, I underatnad that other orders are better able to keep their hands to themselves.

In any case, the only references to scripture that I can recall were repeated warnings not to read anything which did not bear the "imprimater" (sp?)

I am not intending to disparage Catholics universally, they have done much good work in education and among the poor (but only lately). Often there is a little "holier than thou" which goes down a little hard.

I think attitudes are very different between those who grew up where "everyone was Catholic" and those who grew up where "no one was Catholic". My father saw his first priest when he was 24. I think my mother had him "blessing the house". My father was conpletely taken abock when he came home and found a dark skinned man, wearing a black suit and "talking in tongues".

For those who grew up in New England, religion is associated with the "organized" religions. In many places most people are "non denominational protestants". For instance, my North Carolina grandmother's family had belonged to Bear Swamp Church, for a 100 years or so. If these people are asked "what religion they are", the answer is simply "Christian". In the South, many consider themselves "Baptist". There are more varieties of Baptist than there are varieties of bottled water.

How did I get on this topic?

Posted by: Warrington Faust at June 23, 2010 8:22 PM

Porn is becoming a problem to a number of couples around the world presently. Whenever a partner is addicted to porn, the passion towards the relationship would tend to be diminished. It's really sad to hear such kinds of stories.

Posted by: Gregory Underwood at August 2, 2010 7:57 AM