By Chris Hedges
Truthdig via ICH via ICH
An edited abridgement by Lasha Darkmoon
updated with an introduction and added commentary
February 25, 2021
“Pornography is what the end of the world looks like.”
— Robert Jensen
LD: (by way of introduction) As an anti-porn campaigner for over 15 years, it concerns me deeply that the appetite for pornography has grown exponentially over the last year.
The horrendous consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic will be with us for years to come. I won’t discuss these here: mandatory vaccination, the growth of authoritarianism and surveillance, the erosion of free speech, the impoverishment of millions who have lost their jobs and a reason for living, the spike in the suicide rate among the young. Others have done this already and I have nothing to add to their discussions. It is clear to me that we must finally bid farewell to the relatively halcyon past. It’s gone forever. The happy days are no more. A dark cloud has descended upon the human psyche, and no one knows when it will lift.
Lockdown has apparently driven many people to seek consolation in pornography. Being bored and on their own all day, dissatisfied with the pabulum offered by television and sick to death of bingeing on endless Netflix box sets, these hapless souls have turned to masturbation to dull the sorrow of their days.
It comes as no surprise to learn that the market for sex toys has surged over the winter months, especially for super-silent vibrators. Retailer Ann Summers reports that sales for the quietest vibrator, the Whisper Rabbit, are up by 60 per cent compared to last year. Women obviously feel guilty using these contraptions to pleasure themselves. Otherwise why would they insist on vibrators that do the job silently? What could be more embarrassing, after all, than your teenage son tapping discreetly on your door and saying, “Hey mom, keep the noise down!”
With no pubs and restaurants to spend money in, people have “evidently developed expensive tastes in the bedroom,” according to a shock report in the Daily Mail, “with sales of adult toys priced £100 ($140) or more up 160 per cent. Figures suggest that the rise in sales is largely driven by women in their twenties.”
Tragically, it turns out that the same group — young females — are responsible for the highest spike in the suicide rate in living memory: taking overdoses, hanging themselves, jumping out of high windows, or throwing themselves under the wheels of express trains. All the masturbation in the world, it seems, is not helping to cheer them up one little bit. If anything, it’s having the opposite effect.
Against this sordid background, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, with various not-so-nice female celebrities cashing in on the sexual weaknesses of their frail sisters.
Model Cara Delevinge, co-owner of sex toy retailer Lora DiCarlo, now has a “premium robotic massager” priced at £270 ($382). She’s laughing all the way to the bank. Same with Gwyneth Paltrow who sells an expensive “wand vibrator” described as “beauty on a nightstand”. Ms Paltrow also peddles vagina-scented candles which apparently sell like hot cakes to adventurous males (and females) with a taste for the more exotic olfactory pleasures.
Where will it all end? I have no idea. We’re not in Imperial Rome yet, with Nero and Caligula throwing Christians to the lions. But we’re getting there. Fast. [LD]
Yucky picture contributed by the Incorrigible Lobro
(G-d bless him! )
— § —
CHRIS HEDGES BEGINS
We are blinded by self-destructive fantasy. An array of amusements and spectacles, including TV “reality” shows, huge sporting events, social media, porn (which earns at least twice what Hollywood movies generate), alluring luxury products, drugs, alcohol and magic Jesus, offers enticing exit doors from reality. We yearn to be rich, powerful and celebrities. And those we must trample to build our pathetic little empires are seen as deserving their fate. That nearly all of us will never attain these ambitions is emblematic of our collective self-delusion and the effectiveness of a culture awash in manipulation and lies.
Porn seeks to eroticize this sadism. In porn women are paid to repeat the mantra “I am a cunt. I am a bitch. I am a whore. I am a slut. Fuck me hard with your big cock.” They plead to be physically abused.
Porn caters to degrading racist stereotypes. Black men are sexually potent beasts stalking white women. Black women have a raw, primitive lust. Latin women are sultry and hotblooded. Asian women are meek, sexually submissive geishas.
In porn, human imperfections do not exist. The oversized silicone breasts, the pouting, gel-inflated lips, the bodies sculpted by plastic surgeons, the drug-induced erections that never subside and the shaved pubic regions — which cater to porn’s pedophilia — turn performers into pieces of plastic. Smell, sweat, breath, heartbeats and touch are erased along with tenderness. Women in porn are packaged commodities. They are pleasure dolls and sexual puppets. They are stripped of true emotions. Porn is not about sex, if one defines sex as a mutual act between two partners, but about masturbation, a solitary auto-arousal devoid of intimacy and love. The cult of the self — that is the essence of porn — lies at the core of corporate culture. Porn, like global capitalism, is where human beings are sent to die.
A new wave of feminists, who have betrayed the iconic work of radicals such as Andrea Dworkin, defends porn as a form of sexual liberation and self-empowerment. These “feminists,” grounded in Michel Foucault and Judith Butler, are stunted products of neoliberalism and postmodernism. Feminism, for them, is no longer about the liberation of women who are oppressed; it is defined by a handful of women who are successful, powerful and wealthy — or, as in the case of “Fifty Shades of Grey,” able to snag a rich and powerful man.
A woman wrote the “Fifty Shades” book, as well as the screenplay. A woman directed the film. A woman studio head bought the movie. This collusion by women is part of the internalization of oppression and sexual violence that have their roots in porn. Dworkin understood. She wrote that “the new pornography is a vast graveyard where the Left has gone to die. The Left cannot have its whores and its politics too.”
— § —
I met Gail Dines, (pictured below), one of the most important radicals in the country, in a small cafe in Boston on Tuesday. She is the author of “Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality” and a professor of sociology and women’s studies at Wheelock College. Dines, along with a handful of others including Jensen, fearlessly decry a culture that is as depraved as Caligula’s Rome.
“The porn industry has hijacked the sexuality of an entire culture and is laying waste to a whole generation of boys,” she warned. “And when you lay waste to a generation of boys, you lay waste to a generation of girls.”
“When you fight porn you fight global capitalism,” she said. “The venture capitalists, the banks, the credit card companies are all in this feeding chain. This is why you never see anti-porn stories. The media is implicated. It is financially in bed with these companies. Porn is part of this. Porn tells us we have nothing left as human beings — boundaries, integrity, desire, creativity and authenticity. Women are reduced to three orifices and two hands. Porn is woven into the corporate destruction of intimacy and connectedness, and this includes connectedness to the earth. If we were a society where we were whole, connected human beings in real communities, then we would not be able to look at porn. We would not be able to watch another human being tortured.”
To keep the legions of easily bored male viewers aroused, porn makers produce videos that are increasingly violent and debasing.
Extreme Associates, which specializes in graphic rape scenes, along with JM Productions, promotes the very real pain endured by women on its sets. JM Productions pioneered “aggressive throat fucking” or “face fucking” videos such as the “Gag Factor” series, in which women gag and often vomit. It ushered in “swirlies,” in which the male performer dunks the woman’s head into a toilet after sex and then flushes. The company promises, “Every whore gets the swirlies treatment. Fuck her, then flush her.”
Repeated and violent anal penetration triggers anal prolapse, a condition in which the inner walls of a woman’s rectum collapse and protrude from her anus. This is called “rosebudding.” Some women, penetrated repeatedly by numerous men on porn shoots, often after taking handfuls of painkillers, require anal and vaginal reconstructive surgery. Female performers may suffer from sexually transmitted diseases and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
And with porn mainstreamed — some porn video participants are treated like film celebrities by talk show hosts such as Oprah and Howard Stern — the behavior promoted by porn, including stripping, promiscuity, S&M and exhibitionism, has become chic. Porn also sets the standard for female beauty and female comportment. And this has had terrifying consequences for girls.
“Women are told in our society they have two choices,” Dines said. “They are either fuckable or invisible. To be fuckable means to conform to the porn culture, to look hot, be submissive and do what the man wants. That’s the only way you get visibility. You cannot ask adolescent girls, who are dying for visibility, to choose invisibility.”
None of this, Dines pointed out, was by accident. Porn grew out of the commodity culture, the need by corporate capitalists to sell products.
The VCR, the DVD and, later, the Internet allowed porn to be pumped into individual homes.
The glossy, still images of Playboy, Penthouse and Hustler became tame, even quaint. America, and much of the rest of the world, became pornified.
The income of the global porn industry is estimated at $96 billion, with the United States market worth about $13 billion. There are, Dines writes, “420 million Internet porn pages, 4.2 million porn Web sites, and 68 million search engine requests for porn daily.” [To see excerpts from Dines’ book, click here.]
Along with the rise of pornography there has been an explosion in sex-related violence, including domestic abuse, rape and gang rape. A rape is reported every 6.2 minutes in the United States, but the estimated total, taking into account unreported assaults, is perhaps five times higher, as Rebecca Solnit points out in her book “Men Explain Things to Me.”
“So many men murder their partners and former partners that we have well over a thousand homicides of that kind a year — meaning that every three years the death toll tops 9/11’s casualties, though no one declares a war on this particular kind of terror,” Solnit writes.
Porn, meanwhile, is ever more accessible.“With a mobile phone you can deliver porn to men who live in highly concentrated neighborhoods in Brazil and India,” Dines said. “If you have one laptop in the family, the man can’t sit in the middle of the room and jerk off to it. With a phone, porn becomes portable. The average kid gets his porn through the mobile phone.”
The old porn industry, which found its profits in movies, is dead. The points of production no longer generate profits. The distributors of porn make the money. And one distributor, MindGeek, a global IT company, dominates porn distribution. Free porn is used on the Internet as bait by MindGeek to lure viewers to pay-per-view porn sites. Most users are adolescent boys. It is, Dines said, “like handing out cigarettes outside of a middle school. You get them addicted.”
“Around the ages of 12 to 15 you are developing your sexual template,” she said. “You get [the boys] when they are beginning to construct their sexual identity. You get them for life. If you begin by jerking off to cruel, hardcore, violent porn then you are not going to want intimacy and connection.
Studies are showing that boys are losing interest in sex with real women. They can’t sustain erections with real women. In porn there is no making love. It is about making hate. He despises her. He is revolted and disgusted by her. If you bleed out the love you have to fill it with something to make it interesting. They fill it with violence, degradation, cruelty and hate. And that also gets boring. So you have to keep ratcheting it up. Men get off in porn from women being submissive. Who is more submissive than children? The inevitable route of all porn is child porn. And this is why organizations that fight child porn and do not fight adult porn are making a huge mistake.”
“Pornography has socialized a generation of men into watching sexual torture,” Dines said. “You are not born with that capacity. You have to be trained into it. Just like you train soldiers to kill. If you are going to carry out violence against a group you have to dehumanize them. It is an old method. Jews become kikes. Blacks become niggers. Women become cunts. And no one turns women into cunts better than porn.”
“No one turns women into cunts better than porn.”