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Celebrate Your Freedom to Read During Banned Books Week

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Imagine walking into your local library, wanting to check out Mark Twain’s classic The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.  Not finding it on the shelves, you ask the librarian at the front desk: why would such a great, important piece of literature be missing?  She calmly explains that you do not have permission to read it, as certain community members have deemed it inappropriate for all audiences.  Then she shows you a list of approved books that have been given clearance; you may select something from that list only.

This scenario may seem far-fetched, but similar scenes play out in schools throughout the United States every day.  Various groups challenge, or attempt to remove or restrict access to, certain materials in school libraries.  Taking it a step further, some community members — according to the American Library Association’s (ALA) website, frequently parents — wish to have certain books removed from the curriculum.  If a book is successfully challenged, then it is banned, completely cutting off access to the particular work.  Thankfully, concerned parents, teachers, librarians, students, and other community members have often prevented such outright banning; however, books continue to be challenged.  The ALA draws attention to this important issue through its annual Banned Books Week, this year occurring September 25 through October 2. 

Frequently, certain groups object to certain literature because it disputes their beliefs.  According to the Office of Intellectual Freedom and the ALA, many challenges stem from the desire to protect children from materials containing sexually explicit scenes or offensive language.  Understandably parents and other groups wish to shield children from difficult or disturbing concepts.  Yet the Library Bill of Rights states that “only parents and guardians have the right and the responsibility to determine their children’s — and only their children’s — access to library resources.”  In other words, libraries may not restrict access to material based on “the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.”  Libraries should always carry these books; only parents can determine whether they want their children to read them. 

Banned Books Week

During the 2009-2010 school year, an astounding number of books were challenged, restricted, or removed from school libraries and curricula.  Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings was restricted to students with parental permission because “the book’s contents were inappropriate for children.”  The Culpeper County, Va. public school system announced earlier this year that they will not teach the 50th anniversary edition of The Diary of Anne Frank, due to complaints of “sexual material and homosexual themes.”  Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird, Stephenie H. Meyer’s Twilight series, Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon, and even the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary also received challenges — some were even removed from library shelves.  For a full list of challenged books (and lists from previous years), visit the ALA’s Banned and Challenged Books resources page.

While some may argue that this issue affects only minors, censorship impacts everyone.  Years ago I took an educational research class, and a fellow student who worked in a grammar school learning center brought in an interesting object one day.  It was a book filled with markings: words blacked out with a permanent marker.  The student explained that a librarian who worked at the same school had read the book while wielding the black marker, and crossed out any terms she deemed inappropriate.  One person made the decision for countless others: the librarian alone determined what was appropriate for all audiences.  I’ll never forget flipping through the book’s defaced pages, those deleted words embodying the dangers — and physical destruction — of censorship.

Banned Books Week gives everyone the opportunity to celebrate freedom of speech and the open exchange of ideas.  Reading opinions that may challenge our beliefs is crucial for learning and promoting understanding among different groups.  John Stuart Mill wrote in On Liberty that

the peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error. 

This week, reflect on your freedom to read; read works that have been challenged and experience their beautiful writing or thought-provoking ideas.  If you hear of books being challenged in your school district, get involved.  Help educate others as to the importance of liberty from censorship.  To paraphrase Mill, silence robs the human race of education,  potential civic improvement, and, most importantly, our freedom to learn and simply enjoy a storyteller’s craft. 

To learn more about Banned Books Week and how to get involved, visit the ALA’s  dedicated website.

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About Kit O'Toole

  • http://eclecticlibrarian.net/ Anna Creech

    Kelliko, many school libraries rely on local public libraries to supplement their meager resources, so I hardly see a distinction between the two.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    When I was a fledgling library assistant, back in the early Renaissance, the library service I worked for strenuously resisted the actual banning of books (quite admirably, in the face of frequent objections from a conservative local government), but arrived at a compromise whereby controversial books were kept in a dusty old vault out back known as ‘Pool’. This secluded room served as the repository for items deemed unsuitable for open display, either because they contained risqué, violent or other potentially offensive material or simply because they were old, fragile, valuable or irreplaceable.

    Let’s just say that a prudent librarian would have hesitated before assigning two randy 20-year-old library assistants of opposite genders to shelve in Pool for an hour. Fortunately, prudence among our professionals was in short supply.

  • http://BarbaraBarnett.com barbara barnett

    Three years ago, our high school district considered banning several books from our AP English curriculum. This included classics like Catcher in the Rye and newer books like Freakonomics. The district is in a relatively affluent Chicago suburban area, and the effort was driven by a group of politically and religiously motivated groups from other states and one particular board member.

    The turnout on the night of the board meeting was extraordinary with close to 1000 people turning out to oppose the proposal. The board member lost her seat in the next election. We have to be ever vigilant and fight an increasingly well-funded and active segment of the body politic who would have us return to the ’50s in so very many ways.

    Nice article, Kit.

  • http://www.leavingthelandofwoo.com Bob Lloyd

    Excellent article. As someone who has never experienced library censorship (except once being told by a college librarian that a book was hard core bolshevism – it wasn’t alas) I find it hard to credit that otherwise intelligent people would go along with such behaviour.

    Would they similarly ban Chaucer or Shakespeare, Rimbaud or Baudelaire? And what about ideas that criticised certain historical judgements, certain political and social values, or advanced contentious economic analyses?

    Book banning expresses the visceral fear of open discussion and the flourishing of ideas, and says volumes about the narrowness and indefensibility of the values it seeks to preserve.

    All credit to you for raising the issue and campaigning to stop this nonsense.

  • http://notesfromnancy.blogspot.com NancyGail

    Twilight is definitely a little dark. Then again, so is Harry Potter (especially Book 5). Homosexuality in Anne Frank? The only thing I can think of is the closeness between two sisters.

  • http://www.suelangetheauthor.com Sue Lange

    Yeah, I’m having a hard time with the Anne Frank thing. There was budding sexuality between a boy and girl, that’s all I remember.

    And since when does homosexuality need to be banned anyway?

    Do gratuitously violent books ever get banned?

  • Jordan Richardson

    Twilight is “a little dark?” On what planet? It’s a Mormon allegory for abstinence, for crying out Christmas. It’s hardly “racy” or “dark.”

  • Baronius

    I remember the first time I read “Howl”. The poem was initially banned as obscene, but the Supreme Court found to have artistic merit. I think that both are true.

    According to the standard legal test, a thing can be obscene if it is (a) prurient according to local standards, (b) offensive, and (c) without other value. I can sympathize with the reasoning behind the third part of the test – it blocks science and genuine art from being banned – but still, when I read “Howl”, I can’t help thinking that this is exactly the kind of thing that a community should be able to ban.

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    and why should “Howl” be banned exactly?

  • zingzing

    “when I read “Howl”, I can’t help thinking that this is exactly the kind of thing that a community should be able to ban.”

    ew, baronius. who does it hurt? it’s a great poem.

  • Baronius

    See? This is fun. Anyone can write an article on the internet in favor of free speech, but it takes guts to raise an objection. Things have been so boring on BC lately.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Baronius, you’ve reasoned yourself into a rather pretzel-like contortion here.

    – You think that “Howl” merits being banned, presumable because it is obscene.
    – You present the classical definition of obscenity as including the requisite that the thing to be banned be “without other value”.
    – You think that “Howl” has artistic merit. Therefore, it has “other value”.

    Why then, should a community be able to ban it?

  • http://www.themidnightcafe.org Mat Brewster

    In Berlin at Bebelplatz where so many books were burned, there is now a lovely memorial consisting of empty bookshelves and the immortal words of Heinrich Heine:

    “Where books are burned, in the end people will burn.”

    Nice article Kit.

  • zingzing

    baronius, joyce’s ulysses was also banned on grounds of obscenity, probably for the parts where stephen masturbates, or maybe where bloom takes a dump, or maybe where molly might, perhaps, be masturbating. banning ulysses was still a ridiculous idea. banning howl is also ridiculous. it’s just idiotic, puritanical censorship.

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    guts? from the safety of your keyboard? how brave of you. It takes brains to defend an objection and we are still waiting

  • Baronius

    Dread – Not a contortion; a paradox which I clearly stated. We are told that obscenity and merit cannot coexist. I’m citing an example in which they do. Furthermore, I’m pursuing the topic to its next level: is anything obscene? The text of “Howl” is available online; anyone can find the prurient passages. If it’s not obscene, then nothing is. And that’s the real question. Is anything obscene? Does the word have any meaning at all?

  • Irene Athena

    I first learned about Read a Banned Book week when I saw a poster about it displayed on a shelf in the Children’s Room at the public library. I’m not talking about the Young Adult section—where I DO have a problem with banning, but rather the DANG PICTURE BOOK SECTION. What have people been trying to ban here? Has someone pointed out that the little paper-collage boy in the book (was it about potty training has a visible wee-wee.”

  • Irene Athena

    That is an interesting question, Baronius. Maybe obscenity could be defined as that which is considered shocking to the people whose shock resistance level falls to the left of one standard deviation above the mean for a culture at a particular place and time. Olympians used to run in the nude, and no one was appalled by pederasty either.

    I guess what your real question is, where is the mean for the U.S. in 2010? Relative to the Greeks in 400 BC? or the Americans in 1870? Where should it be? Has the mean always moved around as much as it has in the last century?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Has the mean always moved around as much as it has in the last century?

    Probably not. Thanks to radio, TV and the internet, ideas can move around a heck of a lot faster now than they have been able to for most of human history.

  • zingzing

    for some reason, my tolerance for obscenity is less in books than it is on screen. i started to read a book called steps by jerzy kosinski, but i started to hate it real quick (right about the time some villagers pay to see a girl screw a goat or some other type of livestock). it just seemed to be shock for shock’s sake. the person who lent it to me swears by it. obviously, it shouldn’t be banned, but damn… it’s sick shit.

    on the reverse, i love movies that go well beyond the bounds of good taste in pursuing their meaning or whatever. irreversible is one of my favorite movies, even though it uses images of grimy underground bdsm sex clubs, a person repeatedly getting his face bashed in with a fire hydrant (he. just. won’t. die.), and an unflinching 9-minute (possibly anal) rape scene. the soundtrack is covered in brown noise and the camera swirls around endlessly (except during the rape, where it is set on the ground and rendered motionless), all designed to induce nausea. last time i watched it, i had to pause it and leave the room because i was gagging. excellent, truly horrifying stuff!

  • Irene Athena

    Mmmm. Those are both very interesting comments, too. But…where SHOULD that mean be? I agree with Zing that “Irreversible” probably shouldn’t be banned if for no other reason than its utility as an emetic for zing—but what about stuff that is out in the open, for everybody to see?

    That is a really tricky question in a pluralistic society like ours. I really don’t want to be limiting the freedom of people who are “out there” but not hurting anyone else. On the other hand, isn’t one aspect of avoiding obscenity a consideration for the sensitivities of other people?

    Maybe in a society like ours, a lot of sensitive people have to learn to look the other way, and maybe a lot of other people could keep some stuff under wraps a little more.

    In the end, it’s all about respecting differences.

  • zingzing

    “But…where SHOULD that mean be?”

    it’s more of a line between protecting children (if the adults can’t handle it, too bad) and protecting freedom of speech. unfortunately, creating a distinct line that protects both of those things is nearly impossible. that said, it’s easier for a parent to dictate what is appropriate for their child than it is for the courts to fairly dictate what is and isn’t permissible. so, as a society, we should err towards protecting the freedom of speech, while as parents and individuals, we can censor all we like for our own.

    everything short of a snuff film should be permissible. obscenity shouldn’t be legislated.

  • Baronius

    The Court’s test invokes the standards of the “community”. It’s hard to defend that standard when obscenity is available on wi-fi. There isn’t a local merchant who’s seeking permission from the City Council to open a porno shop. There’s an entire satellite system operating as a plain brown wrapper to keep your neighbors from knowing what you’re watching.

    Unfortunately, the system that keeps obscenity anonymous also makes it ubiquitous. (I didn’t do that on purpose. That’s just the way the sentence came out.) So do you block people’s access? That doesn’t seem right. Do you forbid localities from blocking people’s access? That doesn’t seem right either. Where’s the middle ground between Algeria and Thailand?

    The question of community obscenity standards revolves around two terms whose meaning is debatable, community and obscenity.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    That’s how you would end up with a “community” in Nebraska banning The Catcher in the Rye.

    This article is about some members of some communities trying to clamp down on content they find objectionable. It’s a slippery slope and proceeding on it won’t benefit anyone.

  • Irene Athena

    I wish I could say that parents could “censor all they like for their own.”

    It just isn’t possible, unless you keep your kid under 24 hour surveillance, including leashing them to you while you’re doing the dishes and can’t be looking over their shoulder. (At least when I’m ON the computer, my son is off it. ;)

    Not much was readily available to the 12 year olds of yore was the girdle section of the Sears Roebuck catalog. Acquiring and partaking of racier fare required a lot more in the way of logistics than it does today. There’s so much hard-core stuff readily available 24-7. It’s addictive to young men who are just starting to learn how to manage their hormones, and it doesn’t do a dang thing for their ability to respond properly later on to a real life lover who isn’t air-brushed…or their ability to see women as people to be respected and even protected honorably, rather than used.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    If I were a parent I would censor school. I wouldn’t let any kid of mine near a school, at least until s/he was sophisticated enough to understand what goes on in them.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Oh and forget TV too. TV is ‘the devil’.

  • zingzing

    freedom isn’t free?

    it’ll never be perfect. unfortunately, kids’ll have access to stuff we wish they couldn’t. since you seem to target porn, what’s the answer? ban porn? try to regulate the internet til we can put all porn behind a paywall? good luck with either of those.

    for generations, people have argued that the increasing levels of porn will make men incapable of having a real lover or treating women right. and yet, we men haven’t changed much. trust me, a woman in the bed is still considered the best option. and, i must say, i’ve been (happily) used by women far more often than i’ve used women. because i’m a gentleman. and a sucker.

    are there effective filters and controls parents can use to limit a child’s access? i know they exist, but i’m not sure how effective they really are. i also know you can set up different profiles on your computer, with different filters and access controls in effect. but a smart kid will get around those things.

    a free society is going to produce stuff that exists beyond the bounds of good taste and decency. parents have to try their best… it’s all they can do.

  • zingzing

    28 is for irene, in case anyone gets confused.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    lol, “anyone”?

    i’ll put in my 3 1/2 cents anyhow:

    “what’s the answer? ban porn?”

    no, the answer is–transform the consciousness of the culture.

    a free society is going to produce stuff that exists beyond the bounds of good taste and decency.

    what makes you think this is a free society? do you think you (or most males) got a ‘free choice’ about your response to porn? how old did you get that choice? isn’t a choice like that important to a person’s ‘free choice’?

  • zingzing

    “no, the answer is–transform the consciousness of the culture.”

    that would work. if only it could be done. the “consciousness of the culture” changes in unpredictable, unruly ways. manipulating it or controlling it isn’t easy… it’s barely feasible.

    “what makes you think this is a free society?”

    fleeting optimism. maybe foolishness. but if the society is free, it will produce the kind of stuff i’m talking about.

    “do you think you (or most males) got a ‘free choice’ about your response to porn?”

    not really. it’s animal instinct.

    “how old did you get that choice?”

    hmm… maybe a rephrase is in order. if i understand you correctly, and i’m not sure i do, kids get exposed to this stuff randomly and suddenly. it happens when it happens, and it can’t be unseen. powerful stuff.

    “isn’t a choice like that important to a person’s ‘free choice’?”

    not sure. but i’m also not sure that “free choice” is the best phrase to use.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Has Cindy, conflated, schools with porn?

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    What happens to the, Library Bill of Rights, if this is accomplished?

  • Irene Athena

    Yeah, there are filters, but they also filter out stuff a kid really needs to do homework or to enjoy the normal things teenagers like to do, including browsing the web, this huge amazing library and worldwide public square.

    The only thing needed to defeat the best screening software is for a kid to spend some time with other kids — absolutely appropriate behavior–whose computers have even crappier screening software, or none at all.

    Besides, I doubt you’d be surprised, Zing, to know how many young teens are fully capable of reinstalling the OS “sans” any software that cramps their style. (Kids these days!)AND how many parents of such teens would be totally clueless, because they have to ask the kids for help to do most of the stuff on the computer anyway.

    Glad to hear that all systems are “go” for you Zing, but there really are a LOT of men whose normal lives, both in and out of the boudoir, are disrupted by an addiction to porn.

    The same could be said for alcohol of course — and thus we don’t serve it to minors whose temporal lobe development isn’t ready for making “am I being overserved?” judgments. How the same sort of protection for the young would translate into restrictions on the internet, I don’t know.

    None of the decisions regarding freedom vs. protection of the vulnerable is easy. So thanks for hearing me out. :)

    Well speaking of young lads, mine is home and wanting dinner. (Hi Cindy! It’s soup time.)

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    32

    No, Jeannie. Two separate ideas in my responses. One in response to the topic of the thread and the other in response to zing’s comment to Irene.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    31 – part 1, once there was legal slavery, now there is not

    ????

    what kind of argument is this…

    that would work. if only it could be done. the “consciousness of the culture” changes in unpredictable, unruly ways. manipulating it or controlling it isn’t easy… it’s barely feasible.

    …for not trying to change slavery, say? same goes with consciousness about porn.

    “do you think you (or most males) got a ‘free choice’ about your response to porn?”

    not really. it’s animal instinct.

    what makes you believe that? certainly not cultural evidence or historical evidence. porn is not universally regarded as necessary, nor does it appear in all cultures. if it does not appear universally, it can’t possibly be a ‘natural instinct’. widespread and accepted porn use is a relatively new phenomenon as an expression of sexuality. it was begum in the 1950s by the maker of Playboy…it was furthered only as early as the 1970s by the maker of hustler. some instinct! sure took a long time to become mainstream.

    on the other hand, SEX IS a natural instinct, porn is nothing but a manipulation of that instinct.

    “how old did you get that choice?” (me)

    hmm… maybe a rephrase is in order. if i understand you correctly, and i’m not sure i do, kids get exposed to this stuff randomly and suddenly. it happens when it happens, and it can’t be unseen. powerful stuff. (you)

    yes, exactly. and in a way it’s child abuse. it’s really no different than molestation, which also bends and shapes the sexual experience in ‘undoable’ ways.

    “isn’t a choice like that important to a person’s ‘free choice’?” (me)

    not sure. but i’m also not sure that “free choice” is the best phrase to use. (you)

    okay, then it’s not a free society after all?

    if one does not get to make a free choice about the very personal expression of one of the most powerful and socially changing impulses there is, and instead one is forced to be formed by what is foisted upon one, how is that a free society?

  • zingzing

    “once there was legal slavery, now there is not.”

    at least in this country it took a pretty bloody war to get rid of it. and people’s minds about it weren’t changed at the time. yes, a society can change their mind about certain ideas. it takes a long time. however, that society has to know that something is wrong. unlike slavery, there’s nothing inherently wrong with porn. it can be quite beautiful. it’s got its bad side, but that’s not all there is to it. it is what it is.

    “same goes with consciousness about porn.”

    hmmm. i dunno if you can really equate the two or what it will take to change people’s minds about it.

    “it was begum in the 1950s by the maker of Playboy…”

    oh, no, no, no. it’s been around much, much longer than that.

    “some instinct! sure took a long time to become mainstream.”

    first, i didn’t say that porn was a natural instinct. i said that our reaction to porn is a natural instinct. different things, them. second, it’s been around for thousands of years. it’s hard to say how “widespread and accepted” it was back in the day. but i’d bet it was more widespread than people let on. such is its nature. and yes, there is plenty of historical and cultural evidence that porn or its prevalence isn’t some new-fangled thing.

    “in a way it’s child abuse. it’s really no different than molestation”

    that’s taking it a bit far. i disagree with that.

    “okay, then it’s not a free society after all?”

    no, i was just confused by your use of the term because your previous sentence got mangled a bit.

    “if one does not get to make a free choice about the very personal expression of one of the most powerful and socially changing impulses there is, and instead one is forced to be formed by what is foisted upon one, how is that a free society?”

    well, i don’t think it’s really a personal expression, is it? it’s like anything else that kids get exposed to. religion, the lack of a santa, scary movies, cursing, death… we get no free choice about our exposure to that, so why are we suddenly shackled by the existence of porn?

    and there are a lot of things kids don’t make “free choices” about. most of the things that happen in their life as a child aren’t their choice.

    i understand the idea that you’re getting at, but i don’t think it means what you think.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    a child molester’s reaction to children is ‘natural’. you’ll find that i find that THAT reaction isn’t any better than the average reaction to porn (which as i see it–porn–is the sexualization of hierarchy, violence, submission, domination and other nasty stuff).

    since you suggest that my history on the mainstreaming of porn is inaccurate, perhaps you’d care to provide some evidence for your claim. also, maybe you will care to illuminate what you believe MUST be true with examples.

    (i like ya a lot zing, so, try not to hear these requests with any stern tone of voice. they are made in the same tone as an incredulous auntie to her nephew)

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    It hasn’t been that long ago that novels like Ulysses and Lolita and Tropic of Cancer and poems like Howl and movies like Last Tango in Paris were considered porn.

    Even Vivid Video’s most imaginative erotic productions are not art like that, but is Cindy really advocating the banning of some types of expression? I hope not, and I doubt it. Who will do the banning, pray tell?

    And “free expression” certainly included expressing one’s disgust at certain types of expression [say, Rush Limbaugh, or Justin Bieber], whether it’s “porn” or not.

  • zingzing

    “a child molester’s reaction to children is ‘natural’.”

    well… i dunno. it’s not socially acceptable. adults aren’t supposed to be sexually attracted to children. i suppose that if they had a choice, they wouldn’t want to be, but they are. it must suck. (no pun intended… damn…) it’s “natural” in that they can’t help it, but it’s “unnatural” in that it’s an odd thing.

    “you’ll find that i find that THAT reaction isn’t any better than the average reaction to porn”

    again, must disagree. being sexually attracted to another adult is perfectly fine. there are types of porn i find abhorrent, but i ain’t going to judge another persons proclivities. as long as it’s legal.

    “(which as i see it–porn–is the sexualization of hierarchy, violence, submission, domination and other nasty stuff).”

    well, that’s a very specific way of looking at it. it’s images of adults getting it on to me. some porn does indeed fetishicize that stuff you list, but if that’s what gets people off… let them have it, i suppose. but not all porn is like that. seems to me that a good time is had by all, and maybe you could say someone is being exploited, but they are generally well-paid for it. if i could get paid to do it… well, i dunno. i would take something out of it for me. but who hasn’t made their own porn? eh? come on. it’s difficult, but quite the turn on.

    “since you suggest that my history on the mainstreaming of porn is inaccurate, perhaps you’d care to provide some evidence for your claim. also, maybe you will care to illuminate what you believe MUST be true with examples.”

    do you really want me to go and find examples of porn from before 1950? i know you’re using the term “mainstreaming,” but that’s kind of meaningless. no one is wandering around jerking off in public. well, it’s not socially acceptable to do it. it’s still looked down upon in a lot of ways. which is the way it’s supposed to be, i guess.

    porn’s been around since we could depict anything. it certainly increased with the availability of papyrus. then again with the printing press. and so on and so on. it’s like any other human endeavour. porn wasn’t mainstreamed by playboy any more than music was mainstreamed by the invention of the record. it was there before, but its consumption certainly increased because of technologies.

    but still, porn was around in the ancient world. i’ve got a book on the history of pornography, but i dunno where it is. wikipedia will do for now: “By 1864, the first version of the modern definition had appeared in Webster’s Dictionary: “licentious painting employed to decorate the walls of rooms sacred to bacchanalian orgies, examples of which exist in Pompeii.” to a large degree, putting porn underground is a modern attitude. porn wasn’t viewed with the contempt it is today in most societies before the middle ages.

    go look it up, cindy. you’ll find that erotic images have been around for over 10,000 years, and although we can’t know exactly how they were used at the time, you can be damn sure we humans were masturbating. we haven’t changed that much. the fact that we didn’t have a real word for it in the english language for over 1,000 years must tell you something. it wasn’t something that had its own category for a very long time. but it was there.

    “(i like ya a lot zing, so, try not to hear these requests with any stern tone of voice. they are made in the same tone as an incredulous auntie to her nephew)”

    i know. i like you as well, so it’s nice to have a conversation with someone who i can disagree with without them jumping down my throat.

    but i think you’re wrong on this one. i know you are coming at this from a different perspective than i am. still, for a vast majority of porn, you aren’t the audience it’s intended for. i’ve know plenty of women who enjoy porn (horny creatures, women are), but it is, for the most part, made by and for men. as far as i can tell, it doesn’t make me hate or disrespect women. it does, however, do other things for me. oh and how it does it…

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz Alan Kurtz

    Kit, what you’ve done here is clever but misleading. You begin by creating a scenario in which one of us BC readers, presumably an adult, is denied a book at our local library. “This scenario may seem far-fetched,” you admit, “but similar scenes play out in schools throughout the United States every day.”

    Hold on, please, Kit. You’ve situated us, as adults, in our local library. But to lend credence to your imaginary denial of a classic book to a would-be reader, you immediately shift the scene to a school, where the patrons are children, not adults.

    “During the 2009-2010 school year,” you admonish, “an astounding number of books were challenged, restricted, or removed from school libraries and curricula. … While some may argue that this issue affects only minors, censorship impacts everyone.”

    To authenticate this assertion, you offer only your encounter “years ago” with a book brought in by “a fellow student who worked in a grammar school learning center.”

    Kit, how do you prove “censorship impacts everyone” with an anecdote about a book censored years ago by a librarian at a grammar school?

    You’ve sparked a lively and imaginative debate in the comments here about what should or should not be censored. That’s good. But you’ve also done a disservice with your unfounded alarmism that “censorship impacts everyone.”

    Censorship in schools affects children and their parents. That leaves many, many other readers who, like Bob Lloyd (comment #4) have “never experienced library censorship,” and most likely never will.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    If you read the ALA documents that the article links to, you’ll see that the issue is not limited to school libraries — lotsa books, lotsa reasons, many locations.

    Fortunately, most of these censorship efforts get defeated, but it pays to be alert and to take a stand against censorship even before it actually happens.

  • http://www.kitotoole.com Kit O’Toole

    Hi everyone–first off, thank you very much for all your comments and the interesting discussion. I wish I could respond to each of you individually, but as you can see, there are so many comments that I simply cannot. So I’ll just state some of my impressions and address some of the major issues brought up in this debate.

    1. A wonderful thing about this discussion is that it proves my point about free speech. In order to have a truly democratic society, we must be free to express our views. This also involves listening (and considering) other perspectives, ideally reaching an informed conclusion. Extending this idea to books, it is essential that we be exposed to various perspectives, then critically evaluate those ideas to form opinions. If we advocate “silence,” to once again cite Mill, our voices our silenced as well.

    2. A few people have mentioned that they feel banning books in school libraries is not as offensive as in public libraries. I must agree with Anna (comment #2, I believe) that I see no distinction between the two. Yes, public libraries are open to the entire community, whereas school learning centers are used by students and faculty. But banning books in either institution still denies people the right to choose what they want to read. Both involve someone–or a group–judging what everyone “should” read. The decision is taken out of our hands and put into the hands of a select few. This leads to my next point:

    3. Obviously not all reading material is suitable for every grade level. For example, I would not assign The Diary of Anne Frank to first graders–they do not possess enough knowledge about the Holocaust, the vocabulary is too advanced for that level, and they are simply too young to understand Anne’s fate. But I would not hesitate to assign it for upper grades. The point is that no one is censoring the book–instead, it involves making a judgment call as to the maturity level of the readers. From the parents’ perspective, they need to make their own choices as to which types of books are appropriate for their children–they cannot make that decision for everyone’s children, however. I suppose it comes down to the old cliche “don’t like it? Don’t read it.”

    4. I brought up the example of the defaced book to demonstrate how horrifying censorship looks. It was a turning point for me in my decision to support this cause. Seeing the black marker on every page, practically obliterating the whole text, made a huge impression on me. In addition, the extreme scenario at the beginning of the piece just demonstrates how inane censorship of any kind really is. Finally:

    5. A couple of commenters raised the issue of why we should care about censorship in school libraries, particularly if one is not in school or has school-age children. I submit that book banning affects us all in that it robs students–and future active citizens–of the ability to hear all sides of an issue, engage in critical thinking, and make informed decisions. If children are denied the right to read what some may consider controversial works (that may include various opinions or narrate from a particular point of view), how can they be well-rounded individuals? Reading involves many crucial skills, and not exposing them to other points of view, or other life experiences, makes them unable to respect anyone else’s views. Critical thinking applies to so many situations, e.g. voting in an election, or designing something that may improve the community. You may recall that Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle inspired the passage of the Pure Food and Drugs Act as well as the Meat Inspection Act. Exposure to different, sometimes disturbing ideas can ultimately lead to social change. We need to help students become as well-rounded and informed as possible–to use another cliche, they indeed are our future. In my opinion, this view is not “alarmist.” It is a valid, real concern.

    If you are interested in further exploring this issue–and judging from all these comments, you certainly are–I urge you to visit the ALA website to view which books have been challenged (I couldn’t list them all in this article due to space restrictions) and see how widespread the problem really is. Thank you very much for reading and posting your thoughts.

  • http://www.kitotoole.com Kit O’Toole

    @Handyguy–Thanks for the additional clarification. Indeed the ALA mentions libraries everywhere that have experienced this phenomenon.

  • Jordan Richardson

    irreversible is one of my favorite movies

    So twisted. Poor Monica Bellucci went through a lot for that one, that’s for sure. Sort of reminded me of an extreme version of what Isabella Rossellini’s character went through in Blue Velvet. Gaspar Noé is very, very interesting.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Censorship in schools affects children and their parents. That leaves many, many other readers who, like Bob Lloyd (comment #4) have “never experienced library censorship,” and most likely never will.

    That doesn’t mean it doesn’t have an impact. Lots of wrongs in society are never directly experienced, but their impact in a sociological sense (and in a broader moral sense) can be felt by the whole.

    As Kit said, it robs members of our society of a modicum of freedom and that inevitably impacts of the potential for social change. Can you really argue that only parents are impacted by what affects today’s children?

  • zingzing

    “Gaspar Noé is very, very interesting.”

    his new one just came out in america. “enter the void,” it’s called. most of it is from a first person perspective and for most of that time, that “first person” is dead. i dunno how i quite feel about it yet, but it was most certainly beautiful, compared to how ugly irreversible was.

    his storytelling could use some work, or some complexion, i guess, but the way in which he tells his stories is quite original and amazing.

    also, the opening credits are fucking awesome.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Wow, just about had a seizure there.

  • zingzing

    there are multiple points within the movie where there’s nothing but strobes going on. it’s a dream machine, i think. close your eyes, you’ll see things. hallucinations, i mean.

    and that’s the short version of the opening credits. the credits that usually come at the end of the movie are played before that. they all flash by in less than a minute. all you see at the end is the title, and then it’s done.

    i suggest seeing it if it makes it where you are. it’s troubling… both on a narrative level and on a “what the fuck…” level, but it’s incredibly ambitious.

  • Baronius

    Kit is defending the most easily defendable examples. Sure it’s true that exposure to different ideas allows us to develop. I’m a better person for having read 1984. But would I be a better person for having watched Vivid Video?

    It’s deceptive to make a list of Most Banned Books. They’re going to be books that have been viewed as right on the line, books for which an argument can be made both for and against. There aren’t a lot of people trying to get their local library to carry crush videos, though. Certainly not one particular video. If there were, then it would have a chance of making the ALA top ten list.

    Now that would be interesting. What would ALA do if they had to defend The Great Gatsby, The Catcher in the Rye, Underage Butt Buddies 3, and The Grapes of Wrath?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz Alan Kurtz

    Kit O’Toole (#43), as in your article, your supporting evidence is so weak as to be meaningless.

    Proposition (numbered list item 5):
    “I submit that book banning affects us all in that it robs students–and future active citizens–of the ability to hear all sides of an issue, engage in critical thinking, and make informed decisions.”

    Direct Supporting Evidence:
    “You may recall that Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle inspired the passage of the Pure Food and Drugs Act as well as the Meat Inspection Act.”

    Facts:
         • Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle was published on February 28, 1906.
         • The Pure Food and Drug Act and Meat Inspection Act were signed into law by President Roosevelt on June 30, 1906.
         • Time elapsed between cause and effect: four months.

    Kit, your argument is specious. The ability of American schoolchildren to develop into adults capable of critical thinking and informed decision making thanks to reading Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle had nothing whatever to do with passage of the legislation you cited.

    I suspect that if book banning affects us all, as you claim, it wouldn’t be this hard for you to come up with even a single example that holds water.

    Besides, why is it that you and so many of the commenters have to dredge up anecdotal evidence from the distant past when discussing censorship? Dr Dreadful (#2) humorously dates his narrative to “back in the early Renaissance,” but he’s not alone in needing a time machine to resurrect horror stories relating to American adults (not children) being denied a classic book on grounds of indecency.

    Baronius (#8) cites “Howl,” published in 1956–more than half a century ago. He erroneously states that “the Supreme Court found [it] to have artistic merit.” In truth, People v. Ferlinghetti never got near any Supreme Court, state or federal. It was adjudicated by Judge Clayton W. Horn, who presided without a jury in San Francisco Municipal Court. On October 3, 1957, Horn ruled that Howl and Other Poems was not obscene but contained “redeeming social importance” and was therefore protected by the First Amendment. His decision was not appealed.

    It doesn’t surprise me that this thread quickly veered away from books and into films. Let’s face it, book banning at the level of public school libraries does not affect us all. It affects students and their parents. And any attempt to show a causal relationship between reading, say, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn as a child and forming as a consequence “the ability to hear all sides of an issue, engage in critical thinking, and make informed decisions,” is pure conjecture.

  • Jordan Richardson

    So Alan, just to be clear about this: you’re essentially arguing that book banning doesn’t impact “us all?” Is that your point?

    If so, so what? Isn’t enough that a segment of the population is impacted by censorship? Isn’t it a worthy cause even if it “merely” affects “students and their parents?” In that we, as a society, interact with “students and their parents,” how does it hold water to suggest this as something that doesn’t impact society? Society isn’t merely a collection of separate, private groups. It is a whole collective and things, whether censorship or persecution or whatever, can and do impact society on a larger level even if they only practically and specifically impact a smaller segment.

    Your “argument” puts too fine a point on it, causing you to once again miss the forest for the trees because you’re burying yourself in dates and names. You’re rifling through specifics, when I think the larger point (perhaps an ideological or philosophical point) holds more water.

    Oh, and this thread veered away from books and into films because, as you well know, that’s how shit works here.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz Alan Kurtz

    Yes, I agree. It’s easier to buy into an argument if you don’t let little annoyances like facts get in your way.

  • Jordan Richardson

    You know full well that the relevance of your facts with respect to this argument is suspect. And you also know full well that you’re quibbling over minor details at best.

    But whatever.

  • Mark

    some timeline trivia:

    In 1904 Fred Warren commissioned Upton Sinclair to write a novel about immigrant workers in the Chicago meat packing houses. Wayland provided Sinclair with a $500 advance and after seven weeks research he wrote the novel, The Jungle. Serialized in 1905, the book helped to increase circulation to 175,000. When published by Doubleday in 1906, the novel was an immediate success. Within the next few year it was published in seventeen languages and was a best-seller all over the world. Source

  • doug m.

    If a majority of parents don’t want a certain book in their school library, why is that wrong? As a parent in the minority, there’s nothing stopping them from allowing their child to read it.

    Not sure what municipal or school library stocks or is trying to stock porn so I am not sure what Baronius is on about with his bizarre comments.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz Alan Kurtz

    Mark (#55), I doubt that you’ll respond seriously to this, given your fondness for dropping in cryptic micro-comments and then fleeing back into the ether. But just on the off chance, I’ll ask anyway.

    What, if any, point did you intend to make with your “timeline trivia”? Does that paragraph bear in some way on the foregoing discussion in this thread? I’m no good at divination. I honestly wish someone would explain it to me.

  • Baronius

    Doug, I’m saying that the article presents the strongest case against community standards, the wrongness of banning innocuous, high-quality books. And it should try to make its case as strongly as it can. But it’s harder to make the case against the banning of obscene and/or unredeeming material.

  • Mark

    Mark (#55), I doubt that you’ll respond seriously to this…

    correct

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    zing,

    there is a lot to respond to. let me clarify this small point for now. these are pretty descriptive of what i mean by ‘mainstream':

    “Mainstream is, generally, the common current thought of the majority.”

    “something that is available to the general public”

    “something that has ties to corporate or commercial entities”

    (from wikipedia)

    so basically, i am saying that pornography is now a typical part of everyday culture. most men in this culture accept pornography as a given, as natural, as acceptable. i am saying that i can see porn titles scrolling by on my ordinary pay-per-view channels. access is easy. porn is prolific, out in the open and marketed by big business.

    prior to the 50s and the arrival of playboy, and prior to the early 70s and the battle between playboy and penthouse to push the envelope, and hustler stepping in to provide a new raunch market, porn was not considered socially acceptable, it was brown-wrappered and lived underground. that is what i mean by ‘not mainstream’.

    what i am not saying:

    i am not suggesting that we can’t find cave paintings with sex acts or naked women depicted (no doubt carved with the burnt end of a woolly mammoth bone by some grunting, animal-skin-wearing brute with a huge erection.

  • zingzing

    “prior to the 50s and the arrival of playboy, […] porn was not considered socially acceptable, it was brown-wrappered and lived underground. that is what i mean by ‘not mainstream’.”

    and prior to that (by a few centuries), porn wasn’t thought of as something necessarily dirty. our modern conception of pornography wasn’t even on the radar back then, even though the physical product existed. we’ve succeeded in taking a basic part of human life and turning it into something that people hush up. why? i dunno.

    i won’t say that it hasn’t expanded since the 50s, but i wouldn’t posit playboy as any sort of big bang. trust me, porn was pretty damn dirty before playboy came around, and–i think you’ll have to agree with this–classed it up. playboy doesn’t represent the start of something new as much as it does a cultural reset. suddenly, porn was available with less shame, but it was streamlined and cleaned up a bit. that doesn’t mean the dirty dirty stuff wasn’t there the whole time. (and if it wasn’t exactly “mainstream,” it WAS consumed by a great many people.)

    sex, especially as done by those who like getting photographed doing it, is a kinky thing. the bigger the kink, the more interesting it is to a certain subset. we haven’t suddenly become more imaginative in bed over the past 50 years. we’ve been getting nasty for thousands of years.

    pornography has been around forever. it will always be around. so it is a given.

    it was acceptable (there was no one to tell them it wasn’t) for many thousands of years. it’s the puritanical streak in us that created this environment where it is not acceptable. that it is again being “accepted” (i’m not going to wander around in public with a dirty magazine or jerk off with my windows and doors wide open, so it’s still not truly accepted,) again is more a return to form rather than some sort of aberration. puritanism on porn is the aberration as far as history goes.

    “natural” is up to the individual, i suppose. if most people were being honest, they’d tell you they enjoy porn. but some people just don’t like it.

    “porn is prolific, out in the open and marketed by big business.”

    where there’s a profit to be made, you can be damn sure that someone will make it. and someone out there is buying it. i know i’m not. it’s freeeee. thanks, internet.

    tell you what. if we see a sudden explosion of male-on-female sexual violence, and we can directly find that it apes what young men see in porn, then i’ll agree there’s a significant issue. i’ve seen some pretty nasty stuff out there, but it doesn’t take much thought to figure that if you do shit like that, no girl is going to sleep with you twice. the penis as a brain isn’t the best logician, but it can put two and two together.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena Irene Athena

    Cindy, with the clarifications you’ve made about Hefner’s sexual revolution in the mid 20th century making porn mainstream in the U.S., you present a convincing case that making erotica available to children, being neither free to choose nor mature enough to manage their physical reaction to it, is a form of child abuse.

    Perhaps your arguments might hit home with a few more people if you asked them what their reaction to news that a Catholic priest had presented children or young teens with such material. How is the attitude that adults should have thoroughly convenient access to whatever they want to look at whenever and wherever they want to look at it–notwithstanding the fact that children would have the same access–so very much different?

  • zingzing

    do young children have a physical reaction to porn? i found some porn back when i was 10 or 11 or so, and it had absolutely no effect on me. but then one day a few years later, i saw the exact same porn and BOOM, wow, what the hell is this shit?

    i certainly didn’t feel abused and if i was, who was supposed to be abusing me? me? hugh hefner? the hotness in the photos?

    equating porn with child abuse is just ridiculous. unless someone is forcing children to look at porn. then that’s child abuse.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena Irene Athena

    The National Institutes of Health, motivated by anecdotal evidence from family physicians about their young patients, has just commissioned a five year projet to investigate the long term affects of porn on children.

  • zingzing

    empirical evidence (with repeated testing, i can assure you,) tells me that i grew up brimming over with porn and am just fine.

    however, if they’re really going to test the long term effects of porn on children, it’s time to call the po-po. setting up that test has got to be troubling.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena Irene Athena

    The National Institutes of Health will likely be interviewing those parents whose concerns about porn’s effect were serious enough that they consulted their family physicians, who, in turn, expressed their concerns to the National Institutes of Health.

    Perhaps you should direct your concerns about the study to the NIH, Zing, but they might try to set you up for an interview. Have a good weekend!

  • zingzing

    interviewing the parents? that’s a bit of a sideways route.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Irene,

    I think child abuse clarifies what it is nicely.

    zing,

    unless someone is forcing children to look at porn. then that’s child abuse.

    yes, and that’s pretty much our point. after all, you did say you were about 12 or so when you were introduced to porn? (introduced by the culture)

    (next up a few provocations aimed at zing)

  • zingzing

    no one forced me. and it didn’t do anything to (or for) me. and i wasn’t abused by it in any way, shape or form. calling it child abuse is overstating your case and it weakens your argument. no one’s going to pay attention if you use hyperbolic rhetoric.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    so, you were you a grown-up a few years after you were 10 or 11?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    you have discussed certain types of porn with disgust: rape porn is what you mentioned.

    what that different from the porn you defend?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    correction: WHY is that different, or what is different about that

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    have you ever explored the reality behind the the belief that porn involves ‘consenting adults’?

  • zingzing

    “so, you were you a grown-up a few years after you were 10 or 11?”

    certainly not, but i wasn’t a child either. show me an 18 year old that hasn’t masturbated, and i’ll show you a very strange person.

    “you have discussed certain types of porn with disgust: rape porn is what you mentioned.”

    actually, i didn’t mention any specific type. but rape porn would certainly qualify.

    “WHY is that different, or what is different about that”

    the lack of raping?

    “have you ever explored the reality behind the the belief that porn involves ‘consenting adults’?”

    i’m sure there is some porn that is like that. but that would be illegal, wouldn’t it? most porn is made by consenting adults. if it’s not, then it’s not kosher.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    zing,

    I have decided that I will make a couple points and then excuse myself from this discussion. I have spend a few hours preparing some material that was intended to provoke you to question your assumptions. I don’t, now think it will have any effect. Perhaps I am not skilled. I know I become overwhelmed by ideas and can’t seem to get them all down the way I want.

    In any case I have realized that I am not emotionally prepared to face the truths about other people and what they believe–I know what they believe–but actually facing it and confronting it is much more difficult. It is new to me, as I have only come out against porn pretty recently, there being a cultural imperative not to criticize it or risk being ostracized. At least I made it past that hump. That is enough for me for now. I need to limit my discussion to men who are supportive on this issue. But in closing I would like to make a couple simple points. I will not argue about them. You are free to find information if you care about looking at the other side. It is available.

    “I have experienced plenty of porn and I’m okay.” I don’t think it’s okay to become sexually aroused at the humiliation, abuse, and degradation of women. But, I doubt you are any less okay than any other progressive liberal in the US. You draw a line at rape for okayness. That people want to masturbate to women being subjected to inhumanity, violence, and pain is not about freedom or free speech. It is about the domination of what men over women, no matter how warped or antisocial. A situation which is furthered in its aberration by companies which develop and exploit new markets in sexualizing sickness and depravity. Rape appalls you–that is arbitrary, imo. Those who are not appalled will have a defense similar if not identical to yours.

    1) The porn industry functions very much like the street prostitution industry. Men who are agents, directors, producers and now huge mainstream corporations are making money off of women’s pain. Typically women sign on to shoot one type of scene only to arrive and find that, for example, 60 men have shown up to call them a whore and ejaculate in their face. They are threatened with black listing, they are turned into drug addicts, coerced, threatened, and drugged to tolerate the emotional and physical pain of performing the most degrading and dehumanizing acts. Acts which they are to smile for and say they love., sometimes holding back tears. People get used to a degrading, hopeless life of humiliation and addiction to drugs, broken, shamed women come to feel they are nothing and can be nothing more than a jizz-mop for your ejaculating pleasure.

    2) Most women in porn are damaged little girls who never got the love they needed from their fathers. “…contributing to the degradation and abuse of little girls who never had the chance to grow up, that’s what people are doing when they view porn….The next time you watch a porn movie, I want you to ask yourself, “I wonder what her name is? I wonder if her father ever loved her? Where are her parents? Is she a drug addict?” –Shelley Lubben, ex porn star, who has done extensive interviews with other women in pornography and helps them to escape.

    3) Your view on adults and children is skewed, imo. People should be consenting adults to perform porn but not to be exposed to it? You claim that you were both/neither a child and an adult at 14? You seem to suggest that arousal makes one sort of not a child. Let me assure you 4 year old children are capable of sexual arousal., it doesn’t make them ‘sort-of’ adults.

    4) i am pro sex. i am likely more pro sex that most people i know. that is, i support teen sexual freedom. i support freedom to choose our sexuality without having some market come along and tell us what it should be for us, because someone wants to make money. that’s not freedom, to me. I support the rights of teens to experience their own sexuality in a non-coerced way. With no one else determining what will arouse them by selling them arousing material. Arbitrary material.

    I will post this one provocation that I worked on, it will probably have no effect, but you may get something from it any way, so here goes:

    provocation #1:

    some scenarios:

    the phrase ‘consenting adults’ is oft repeated as a defense of pornography. however, it is children who are generally conditioned at a tender age–these children now become adults with assumptions they did not have the experience or freedom to arrive at themselves.

    a 14 year old boy is sexually curious, he:

    a) lives in a porn-free society. his sexuality is an expression of his real experience with real girls/boys around his own age

    b) discovers his brother’s playboy (which defines very specifically for him what women should look like and be like and what he should be attracted to and excited by)

    c) discovers his fathers porn film in which women are referred to as sluts and whores, etc.

    d) discovers his uncle’s collection of rape porn

    e) is molested and feels shame at enjoying the sexual stimulation

    f) discovers pornography which validates child molestation

    h) comes across the website called ‘toilet bowl bitches’

    i) lives in polynesia where naked breasts are common–what does his failure to respond to naked breasts like a western boy would, say about what is ‘natural’?

    all of the above scenarios can excite the sexual curiosity and impulses of a 14 year old boy. does this make any of them natural?

    consider the following in parallel to your your argument that goes, roughly: sex was repressed in the past and associated with shame and now porn is an expression of the liberation of sexuality and the relief from shame.

    your evidence that it is that sexual reaction to porn is ‘natural’. that isn’t quite true, even you don’t seem to react to every kind of porn. therefore it is not unanimously appealing (and therefore it is conditioned not natural). you seems to be implying that this ‘natural’ arousal makes porn a healthy and natural outlet. by fact that it is arousing. you further argue that permitting those pornographic images would be promoting what is ‘natural’ and ‘free’ ‘sexuality’ without shame.

    i am suggesting that is a flawed argument. simply because one responds to something does not make it freeing or good. boys and girls have sexual drives, they are warped and conditioned by the interference of the culture that imposes pornography on them.

    the boy who is molested may feel natural sexual arousal and also shame who feels shame at the arousal during a taboo activity. would the way to correct this shamefulness be to make child molestation an accepted part of the cultural perspective on sexuality, so that his sexuality can be freed up? you stated yourself he isn’t a child (quite). so, what makes exposing him, prior to his ability to decide what he wants, to sexualized degradation of women not child abuse? but fondling him to arouse him is not okay.

    and it is very likely that very young boys are now being exposed to gonzo pornography. is that okay with you to have children as you said you did, come upon pornography if it shows rape, and violence, as well as the standard degradation?

    you of course, may respond, i in no way intended to suggest i am done and therefore you should be. i will read your response, but for now i am too vulnerable to continue this discussion. it’s not fair to my husband who is a real live person in my life and has to bear the brunt of the effects of such discussions on my mood and happiness. but, thanks for partaking. maybe in the future i will be better able to emotionally cope with being face to face with the proliferation of what i see as one of the most destructive culturally normative male positions and expressions of patriarchy in existence.

  • zingzing

    cindy, you think far too much about porn. and you obviously have not viewed it enough to come to a reasonable position on it. it’s no different from action movies. i don’t see “predator” and go all arnold on every dreadlocked person i see. neither do you. when’s the last time you murdered whitey because of rap? or jacked a car because of grand theft auto? never? that’s about the last time i choked a bitch* because of porn.

    (*you realize the rhetorical device, i’m sure.)

    don’t take it so seriously. porn isn’t child abuse, it’s not rape, it’s not domination and it’s not prostitution. it’s porn.

    “I don’t think it’s okay to become sexually aroused at the humiliation, abuse, and degradation of women.”

    neither do i. that kind of porn is a turnoff. but what of the poor men? aren’t they going through the same thing? no? why not? because men are… what? is dom porn not porn?

    “You claim that you were both/neither a child and an adult at 14?”

    i was a teenage boy. fair enough? i wasn’t some ignorant little child, but i wasn’t fully adult either. had a few hairs on my… chin.

    “Let me assure you 4 year old children are capable of sexual arousal.”

    bull. maybe physically (because IT’S NATURAL), but not mentally.

    “your evidence that it is that sexual reaction to porn is ‘natural’.”

    yep. naked members of the opposite sex are quite exciting. ask your husband. ask any man. ask any woman. ask your gay friends about what they think about other naked members of their own sex. yep yep. totally. natural as natural gets.

    “consider the following in parallel to your your argument that goes, roughly: sex was repressed in the past and associated with shame”

    never said that. i said porn was repressed in the recent past. nothing else. we used to be much more open. but now it’s all shameful and shit. which is a shame. and shit.

    “it is very likely that very young boys are now being exposed to gonzo pornography.”

    maybe. but don’t forget about the girls being exposed to it as well. where you going to go from there? men certainly aren’t the only ones involved in making porn or in watching it, so i think you’d better nuance your view a bit.

    i think you’ve taken off on a feminist flight of fancy here. i respect and admire feminism for what its stated aims are. but when you equate masturbation with child abuse, rape, humiliation and all sorts of other nonsense, i’ll have to say that’s crap.

    all porn is not bad. there is bad porn. there we can agree. but you’re quite far out on a limb there, cindy. quite far out. one more “rape,” one more “slavery(!)” or one more “child abuse” and that thing is going to snap. you’ve come to a logical end that you can’t back away from any more than you can move forward. there’s no weight under your argument. it’s hyperbole.

    sorry.

    i don’t mean to upset you. but i just feel this energy you have could be put to better use. you ain’t going to stop porn. it’s never going away. and for good reason.

  • zingzing

    let me just say that while we are on opposite sides of the fence on this, i respect your opinion and will take it to heart, even if i do know that my opinions on the various merits and demerits of porn aren’t going to change that much.

    my distaste for the nastier side of porn (given the occasional kinky moment or two) is fairly solid. the boudoir will remain a place of experimentation. porn has lead to several revelations, as well as several disappointments, not so much on an expectation level as on a positioning level. creativity goes only so far before the kama sutra is consulted.

    doing the nasty should be nasty, as well as the expression of love or lust. i like both.

  • Mark

    …fer Pete’s sake, zing. It’s an exploitive, objectifying and degrading industry. Your argument seems to minimize this.

    Enjoy your fantasies.

    I don’t understand the ‘liberal’ mindset that things cannot change.

  • zingzing

    mark, so is politics. and so is “professional” wrestling. i don’t minimize anything. but you can fantasize about what you think my point is all you like. i never even came close to saying things can’t change. but a “war on porn” will turn out no different from the “war on drugs,” and you damn well know it.

    do you think you will ever see the end of porn? do you think that you can even tame it? best of luck, and i do hope you make some progress. where do you even plan to start?

    if you really want something to change, be realistic about it. hyperbole will only make you scorned as a prude.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    you know i have one more thing to say, after all. because you just really pissed me off. and comments like this are reminiscent of those that uphold the imperative for women not to speak out about what they really experience.

    i have lived most of my life questioning what was wrong with ME for feeling injured by the dominating cultural sexual pov. and feeling that i had something to be ashamed about, that i would be considered a prude because i (like most women) have experienced pain because of normative male attitudes about sex. at one time i took the position of seeing my own pov as ‘abnormal’ and trying to adopt and accept the normative male one. (for that i would like to say sorry Melissa, for not supporting you when you told me you felt uncomfortable about your husband’s maxim subscription)

    hyperbole will only make you scorned as a prude

    it is clear you’ve invested zero time seriously considering my pov. you haven’t lived as a woman. and you haven’t explored the other side of the issue. i won’t say to you how i feel about that comment. but part of the reason i have to stop talking to you is i don’t want to end up feeling hatred toward men or attacking you personally.

    so, i will say i scorn you as narrow-minded ignorant person (no different from the right-wing ones YOU disdain, who can’t hear your pov). and don’t you ever fucking tell me i am to be scorned for speaking my truth. try exploring it before you disdain it.

    and also fuck you.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Cindy, have you lived as a man?

  • Jordan Richardson

    By the way, I’ve been forcefed your argument before as well and it’s bloody unfair. Apparently by not aligning directly with your views on any particular topic, the other person hasn’t even “considered” your view.

    What an offensive notion. Couldn’t it be possible that someone else has, in fact, considered the options before arriving at their view? Are your views that spectacular that they’ve never been considered prior to your vocalization? Are you the only “enlightened” individual to grace these glorious pages?

    This notion that most of us men are just shallow lugs drooling our way through life because of cultural conditioning is getting to be a bit much. I’m tired of being told that the only cooking I can do is burning the living shit out of a steak on the BBQ, the only music I can listen to is rock with copious guitars, the only drinks I can enjoy are beer and/or scotch but NEVER one of those fruity or flowery drinks (or else I’m a fag), the only women I can find beauty in are skinny losers that resemble heroin addicts, and the only “feelings” I can express are hunger and/or horniness.

    You, with your assumptions about pornography and sexism in general, continue to promote this notion that gender difficulties all slope one way. And then, to top it all off, you rip into any man (save a select few that have found remarkable favour with you somehow) that dares oppose you with obscenities and condescending sexism.

    This is NOT narrow-minded, Cindy?

    Zingzing never told you that you should be scorned for speaking your truth. He told the truth in suggesting that much of this sort of opposition to pornography is dismissed as “prudishness” by the large majority of people that experience the discussion. He’s not applauding that notion at all, he’s telling you the god’s honest truth because he doesn’t live in a magic bubble. Sorry to speak for him, but when I see this sort of asinine ranting and raving and this sort of blatant hypocrisy, I can’t help it.

  • zingzing

    “it is clear you’ve invested zero time seriously considering my pov.”

    i wasn’t talking to you. i was talking to mark.

    but if you call porn “child abuse,” “rape” and “slavery,” you’re not going to get too far with people. you’re basically calling everyone who enjoys a bit of porn child-raping slave-drivers. is that how you plan on getting through to people?

    “and don’t you ever fucking tell me i am to be scorned for speaking my truth.”

    i didn’t say that. i said tone it down if you want your truth to have any impact. i didn’t scorn you. i had a civilized conversation with you. but tell someone a little more sensitive than i that what they are doing is tantamount to child abuse. you’ll get some rolled eyes. or maybe some litigation, if they’re crazy enough.

    “i will say i scorn you as narrow-minded ignorant person”

    that’s the way to do it. by doing that, you’ve already lost one soldier in your war on porn.

    “and also fuck you.”

    what am i supposed to do with that? we were fine a few days ago. you liked me then. but because i hold that porn isn’t some all-consuming evil, i’m lost to you? that reflects worse on you than it does on me, cindy, and i hope you find your way to figuring that out.

  • zingzing

    and jordan got it right. cindy’s arguments are not unique or new. we’ve heard them all before and they generate the same kind of response almost every time. i was trying to actually engage with that argument, but by doing so, i now find myself in the doghouse. oh well, at least i have a roof over my head.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz Alan Kurtz

    This will be an interesting case study in the double standard applied by BC’s editors to female commenters. Fact is, both Christopher Rose and Dr Dreadful are consistently more tolerant of and protective towards our regular women commenters than they are of men.

    In this instance, after scorning her male interlocutor as a “narrow-minded ignorant person,” Cindy writes, “and also fuck you.”

    Perhaps, since I am here pointing it out, her vulgarity will be edited out, just to prove that I am wrong about the double standard. (Actually it would prove that I’m right about the protective part.)

    But I ask you, under normal circumstances, would a man be allowed to end his post by saying “and also fuck you” to a woman? No way.

    BC’s female commenters, by contrast, routinely get away with unexpurgated personal attacks. Just this summer, for example, women regulars on this site have accused me of being: on drugs (here and here), a douche (and who better than a woman to use that slur), a cowardly weasel, and a psychopath.

    What might have happened, do you suppose, if in my anger I’d replied to any of these insults with a succinct “fuck you”? That post would’ve enjoyed the shelf life of unwrapped sashimi.

  • Mark

    you ain’t going to stop porn. it’s never going away. and for good reason…..i never even came close to saying things can’t change.

    Zing, I’ll start my war on the porn industry in the same place as my war on war — by not participating and recommending the same to others.

    Just say no to porn, boys and girls.

  • zingzing

    “Just say no to porn, boys and girls.”

    eerie how that echoes the failed war on drugs, isn’t it?

    the problem arises when you demonize all porn as one big monolithic thing. if you want a 100% end to all porn, that’s not going to happen. but if you want to draw negative attention to the truly heinous forms of porn, and if you make attempts to ban the worst of it, you can start chipping away at it.

    but the tide is against you, especially when you employ all or nothing tactics. the more you demonize porn, the more people will want their kinks. what makes a kink a kink, after all? it’s hushed up and “dirty.” if you accept kinks, they lose their power. if you demonize them, they just grow. you’re dangerously on your way to becoming your own worst enemy in this fight.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Mark, porn dates back to prehistoric times where early cave drawings reveal depictions of vulvas and exaggerated genitals. Your “war on porn” seems less a war on a specific evil and more a war on nature itself.

    Now were you to partake in a war on the industrialization of sexual activity, for instance, you may have a stronger case. But pornography isn’t just the industry at all. It leads into all avenues of artistic depictions of human sexuality.

    Is this what you mean to oppose and link to sexual abuses?

  • Mark

    I’m not interested in banning anything but rather am advocating for taking personal and individual responsibility. Nancy had it right — all war is personal.

    How is a person supposed to tell the difference between ‘good’ porn and ‘bad’? Subject matter isn’t the issue here, is it? For all I know the actors in what you are calling heinous porn are treated with just as much respect (or lack there of) as those in the more mild “Sally goes to Vegas” types.

    Jordan, it’s not clear to me that the cave drawings are pornographic; porn is a commodity.

  • zingzing

    “I’m not interested in banning anything but rather am advocating for taking personal and individual responsibility.”

    all fine and good. but not good enough. (strange to see how these things flip…) some porn IS, as cindy says, pure exploitation. banning all porn is impossible, as porn will be made regardless of its legality. but if porn is legal, and it is, we should be able to regulate so that we can protect those involved from porn’s worst tendencies.

    “How is a person supposed to tell the difference between ‘good’ porn and ‘bad’?”

    well, not watching it isn’t going to help, that’s for sure. it’s pretty easy to tell, although there is a blurry line, and that line shifts from person to person.

    “Subject matter isn’t the issue here, is it?”

    pretty much, yeah. although it’s not totally that simple.

    “For all I know the actors in what you are calling heinous porn are treated with just as much respect (or lack there of) as those in the more mild “Sally goes to Vegas” types.”

    well, i think simulated rape goes beyond. of course, you can show simulated rape in non-porn movies, and that’s fine. there are types of porn that are very rough and show women being abused (although that might be exactly what the women shown like). so yeah, you may be right. so… where does the problem lie? if the women (and men, don’t forget about the men,) are treated with respect, do you have a problem with it? shouldn’t that be the aim–making sure people aren’t exploited–of properly regulating the industry?

    (then there’s child porn and beastiality and other, obviously illegal shit, but they aren’t really a part of this argument.)

    “porn is a commodity.”

    as i mentioned earlier, before the 1800s, there was no term for what we consider porn today. so what were people jacking off to 500 years ago?

  • Mark

    …if the women (and men, don’t forget about the men,) are treated with respect, do you have a problem with it?

    For me, that’s about it; it’s the reality of the industry for so many of its players that I have an issue with. I have no problem with erotica, as such. Nor would I have a problem with a child running across a graphic depiction of a couple engaged in loving intercourse…in an ideal world.

  • Mark

    oh, and on regulation — forget it. Just more payola will result.

    Individual responsibility. There’s the point to start from.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Your knowledge of the reality of the industry appears to be lacking, Mark.

    The industry itself has evolved considerably over the last few years to the extent that it could be argued that there is more equality, racially and otherwise, in the world of porn than there is in traditional Hollywood moviemaking.

    Where consenting adults are signing contracts, receiving health care and benefits, and so on, I find it hard to consider the modern reality of the industry akin to some of the hyperbole that’s floating around here.

    Sex has become a commodity, you are correct. But so has everything else.

    Isn’t it advisable that we monitor and oversee the means through which these commodities are dealt with in as ethical and fair a way as possible? And doesn’t that take more than a cold opposition to reality and, what’s worse, a blind eye coupled with a moral judgment on how “degrading” something is from afar?

    Instead of condemning an entire segment of society as degrading fools trafficking in exploitative activities comparable to child abuse, isn’t it more responsible and more ethical to seek empathetic understanding in light of modern sexual mores and the evolution of the industry?

  • Mark

    (Jordan, this wasn’t stated properly: Jordan, it’s not clear to me that the cave drawings are pornographic; porn is a commodity.

    I should have written: it’s not clear to me that the cave drawings (while perhaps pornographic) are porn; porn is a commodity.

    Does that make more sense?)

  • zingzing

    “oh, and on regulation — forget it. Just more payola will result.”

    payola? to who? for what? and i’m not sure the term really works in the context. it’s basically pay to play, isn’t it? how exactly are you using it?

    the big business of porn, the industry, if you will, has many regulations and laws it must abide by. you ever seen the legal disclosures at the beginning of a porn tape (ah, porn tapes…)? there’s this law and that law and all sorts of other stuff referenced.

    the world of amateur porn is a bit more of wild west, i’ll admit. but the industry itself is heavily regulated. because amateur porn has become so popular (due to the internet), major porn studios have started to ape the look and techniques of amateur porn. but they’ve done so while remaining under regulation.

    “it’s the reality of the industry for so many of its players that I have an issue with.”

    well, change the reality of the industry for so many of its players then. because you’re not going to change the reality that people are going to make and watch porn.

  • Mark

    I bow to your superior knowledge of the industry, Jordan, though the few people in the trade that I have become close enough to to discuss the topic with have described it as pretty grim.

    Sex has become a commodity, you are correct. But so has everything else.

    Time for a change.

  • zingzing

    to continue a bit on the amateur porn thing… you’d be surprised by how much “amateur” porn is actually a studio concoction. these people are actors. a lot of this stuff is straight-up faked. (seriously, there’s no way anyone could maintain a 17-inch erection without passing out. but that’s the magic of movies, isn’t it? it’s ridiculous.)

  • zingzing

    “the few people in the trade that I have become close enough to to discuss the topic with have described it as pretty grim.”

    talk to a few people in the restaurant industry. or the meat industry. or some people who work in a factory. or are miners. or a host of other industries and occupations.

    not making light, but this isn’t surprising.

  • Mark

    zing, I’m using payola as in pay to play around with the regulations. Who – the porn producers. To whom – the politicians in charge of the regulators and in many cases the regulators themselves.

    talk to a few people in the restaurant industry. or the meat industry. or some people who work in a factory. or are miners. or a host of other industries and occupations.

    How do the negatives of these other industries lessen porn’s?

  • Jordan Richardson

    Mark, now you’re playing with definitions. So let’s clarify:

    Pornography is commonly understood as “portrayal of explicit sexual subject matter for the purposes of sexual excitement and erotic satisfaction.” Can we work from that definition from now on or should we introduce the economics/morals to the fray? If so, that changes the fundamental definition and the entire architecture of the debate.

    Pornography isn’t the buying or selling of pornography. It is the depiction itself. It can be anything from a prehistoric cave drawing to a postcard, believe it or not. It can be sold or given away from free. It can be made by a lover or a stranger.

    That’s the definition I’ve been working from because that’s the conventional definition.

    In terms of the industry, you’d have to provide more details about the grimness of it. I don’t doubt that there is grimness in much of any industry by the sheer nature of industry itself.

    But I also doubt, based on the evidence and the evolution of the industry, that things are particularly dire.

    Should someone be forced to take part in porn of any kind, it is reprehensible just as it is reprehensible for a child to be forced into labour to produce beads or crayons or whatever. But it is not the outcome that bears the moral weight, is it? Because some crayons are produced illegally by children in degrading environs, are crayons in and of themselves the evil? Or are the conditions and the perpetrators of the conditions evil? It’s the latter, clearly.

    So it follows, therefore, that the conditions and perpetrators of pornography deserve the examination and here’s where your individual responsibility proves entirely useful. Zingzing already ably argued against this monolithic viewpoint of porn, but you appear continually interested in it despite its inaccuracy.

    It is time for a change, yes. And on the list of things that must change, depictions of a sexual nature involving consenting, well-fed adults rate very, very low on my list.

  • Mark

    In terms of the industry, you’d have to provide more details about the grimness of it.

    Real life grimness: 19 year old (something of a child) gets roped into what zing describes as ‘wild west’ porn. Signs up for a lucrative blow job and ends up getting fucked five ways from Sunday on tape — can’t figure out how she allowed that to happen to her. Dropped the idea of getting further into it. Remains conflicted a couple of years later.

  • Mark

    Mark, now you’re playing with definitions.

    I think the distinction between pornography in general per your definition and porn as the product of the industry is useful…so, not ‘playing’, Jordan.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    zing,

    i wasn’t talking to you. i was talking to mark.

    we were fine a few days ago. you liked me then. but because i hold that porn isn’t some all-consuming evil, i’m lost to you

    if you notice, my objection to you personally began with your comment to mark that implied something about me. that, was what upset me. i noticed comments you made in the past directly calling women prudes for expressing their feelings.

    try looking at my complaint again. you’ve been reading into everything i have been saying, which is partly why i realize the conversation can make no headway. it’s almost as if you are talking to some other woman who has presented you with a similar argument which you expect is standardized. therefore you consistently missed many points i made, including why i was pissed off at you. and that was for reinforcing the imperative that i have to speak my truth in your terms or it’s not valid.

    the fuck you was because hey, i consider myself a man. that’s another way of saying i don’t expect to be called a prude or discounted or shut-up with even unspoken imperatives even though i have a vagina.

    if you don’t want to look at what i am saying and that mean exploring it, (jordan) not presuming you were innately born with all the knowledge in the world so that you can magically understand marginalized view points you’ve never considered except to immediately disagree with them.

    (zing answered not of my questions which means he did not think about what i said. when i asked him what was the difference between subjecting a 14 yo to two different scenarios, he was silent in explaining the difference. his only answer…..’it’s not child abuse, that’s hyperbole, you will be considered a prude if you say things like that.’ (paraphrasing)

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    short version:

    i am a woman and if you think i am not going to be taken seriously by people who have dicks, because i am not expressing what i feel in a way they approve, i’ll try not to cry too hard.

  • Mark

    But it is not the outcome that bears the moral weight, is it? Because some crayons are produced illegally by children in degrading environs, are crayons in and of themselves the evil? Or are the conditions and the perpetrators of the conditions evil? It’s the latter, clearly.

    yes and no — a further possible evil I’m interested in avoiding is my own behavior.

    If I know some of the crayons are ‘bad’ but have no way of telling the bad from the good, then the conundrum is final. My suggestion is to avoid the store bought crayons unless you’re prepared and able to trace their origin.

  • zingzing

    “I’m using payola as in pay to play around with the regulations. Who – the porn producers. To whom – the politicians in charge of the regulators and in many cases the regulators themselves.”

    got any evidence of this? you’d have to convince a lot of politicians, and a lot of regulators, and that shit is public record, then the evidence is a videotape or a picture. i don’t know how easy that would be to hide. i took a little look around the internet for anything on the subject and i can’t find anything. doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen, but you’d think there’d be some uproar if that was happening. unless they have had remarkable, unbelievable success in covering it up. maybe i just searched the wrong terms.

    “How do the negatives of these other industries lessen porn’s?”

    none. as i already said, it’s not a surprise. if they liked the job, they’d still be doing it. but porn is not the most stable of jobs…

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    (calmer: it’s not hyperbole, zing. i seriously mean what i said. i believe there is something drastically wrong with the world. i try very hard to examine things in ways that challenge the conventional wisdom. if my conclusions sound outrageous, i don’t see how they could sound otherwise. i think the world is fucked up because of what is happening that is hidden, behind what is taken for granted as ‘normal’ and ‘natural’. if those who can’t see that don’t understand it. there’s really nothing i can do about that. arguing with them won’t change things.)

  • Mark

    …got any evidence of this?

    Nope. I have no evidence that regulators in the porn industry behave like those in others. It’s my prejudice.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    and you aren’t lost to me (unless you want to be) i just had to step back.

  • zingzing

    “if you notice, my objection to you personally began with your comment to mark that implied something about me.”

    it was about mark. nothing was implied. mark labeled the whole thing as one monolithic industry. if you start taking this shit personally, you’re going to get upset over nothing. frankly, if i were to react personally, i’d think you were calling me a child molester and a rapist. are you? i think not. don’t take it personal.

    “that, was what upset me.”

    sorry. my apologies. wasn’t intended.

    “i noticed comments you made in the past directly calling women prudes for expressing their feelings.”

    a prude is a prude. it’s not because they’re expressing their feelings. it’s because they’re being prudish. express your feelings all you like. i have absolutely no problem with that. and did i ever actually label anyone a prude? did i really? or did i say that that’s the kind of reaction one’s going to encounter if one uses hyperbolic statements such as mark’s.

    “that was for reinforcing the imperative that i have to speak my truth in your terms or it’s not valid.”

    i disagree with “your truth.” i don’t give a damn how you express it to me. other than cursing me out and shit. that’s a bit much. no need to get angry.

    “the fuck you was because hey, i consider myself a man. that’s another way of saying i don’t expect to be called a prude or discounted or shut-up with even unspoken imperatives even though i have a vagina.”

    that’s odd. i told mark he was in danger of being called a prude. does that make him a woman? no, it doesn’t. it’s got nothing to do with being a woman, so you can stop with that.

    “zing answered not of my questions which means he did not think about what i said.”

    do you think that’s necessarily true? that thing was long. if i responded to all of it… well, you said you weren’t responding anyway, so what was the bloody point? and were there two points, or were there eight?

    i’ll look at it again and get back to you.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    93 – Jordan, I get my information about how people are treated in the porn industry from women who are insiders and even some men. where do you get your information?

    you seem naive. contracts are signed and when the woman shows up for the shoot she expects she discovers her contract is bullshit. one woman was coerced into have 75 men ejaculate on her as she was told she would be sued because she had a contract. (not that the contract said any such thing) btw, the men were not tested for stds in this have sex with your fav porn star promo that the actress did not know was the real shoot.

    are you aware of the fact that the “laws” that you presume are working…are ignored? most porn performers have STDs.
    you criticize me for daring to have the audacity to suggest zing (and by extension you) hasn’t/haven’t examined this…

    you haven’t. and it’s apparent from your lack of knowledge.

  • Mark

    zing, what I wrote was, “It’s an exploitive, objectifying and degrading industry.” Is this what you’re referring to as hyperbole?

  • zingzing

    “(calmer:”

    alright. note that i didn’t see this before my last response, which was a bit testy. if only because i was getting a little flushed. the reason for me getting flushed is because you seemed to want to say i disagreed with you because you are a woman, or wouldn’t take you seriously because you are a woman. which i found offensive.

    “it’s not hyperbole, zing. i seriously mean what i said. i believe there is something drastically wrong with the world. i try very hard to examine things in ways that challenge the conventional wisdom. if my conclusions sound outrageous, i don’t see how they could sound otherwise.”

    well, they do sound outrageous. mostly because they lack nuance. nothing is 100% this or 100% that, and you’ve presented something 100% one way without even a hint that it may be more complex.

    maybe i haven’t seen behind the veil and am blind to the horrors of the world, but i like this place. there are bad things out there, but i’m not for some major change, unless it involves some sort of pleasuredome over which i am lord and master, and the velvet underground plays 6 sets a night and prince teaches me all his tricks.

  • zingzing

    mark: “Nope. I have no evidence that regulators in the porn industry behave like those in others. It’s my prejudice.”

    and yet you have evidence that other industries act like this, correct? so evidence must exist. and yet you have none. porn’s not a complex industry in a lot of ways. it’s video taping people having sex. but there are rules to follow. break one of those rules at any time, even with the help of a regulator, you run the risk of being arrested on some very serious charges. and the evidence of your crime is your product. pretty difficult to hide, isn’t it?

    and what you wrote was this: “it’s an exploitive, objectifying and degrading industry. Your argument seems to minimize this. Enjoy your fantasies. I don’t understand the ‘liberal’ mindset that things cannot change.”

    you took my argument and turned it into something it was not, ignored other parts of my argument and dismissed it in total as a simplistic shrug and a “zing gives up, it’s impossible.” you missed the entire thrust of my argument and created something completely different.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Cindy, I don’t recall suggesting that pornography is a magical wonderland of fun and donuts. I don’t recall ONCE disputing that the industry can be grim. I do recall saying that it has progressed over the years in terms of how they take care of their performers. I also recall saying that it’s responsible to ensure that this progress doesn’t stop.

    Ideally, nobody should be having sex on film for money. Nobody should be prostituting themselves either. Ideally nobody should be having abortions or unwanted children. Or drug addictions. But we don’t live in ideal times, so we work with what we have.

    The rest of your post is offensive, as usual. You imply that my lack of agreement with you, even as I’ve clearly acknowlegded the reality of your points and of the facts, comes down to the “fact” that I haven’t learned about the industry.

    I could go on about the work I’ve done in downtown Vancouver with sex trade workers over the years, the people I’ve met in the industry and in associated industries that have told me their stories, and so on, but why bother? Your mind is made up: it’s a hellhole, it’s degrading, and anybody who watches it and gets a charge is a perverted bastard MAN.

    What’s degrading, Cindy, is your simplistic approach to complex issues like this one. You’re right, everybody else is wrong, there’s no room for anything else. And, what’s worse, everybody else doesn’t care as much as you do.

    Bullshit.

  • zingzing

    “contracts are signed and when the woman shows up for the shoot she expects she discovers her contract is bullshit. one woman was coerced into have 75 men ejaculate on her as she was told she would be sued because she had a contract. (not that the contract said any such thing) btw, the men were not tested for stds in this have sex with your fav porn star promo that the actress did not know was the real shoot.”

    everyone’s heard the horror stories. and they all run just about like that. no one’s saying that stuff doesn’t happen. but that’s why there needs to be regulation. are you saying there doesn’t need to be regulation? make it illegal, and there’s no contract to begin with. there’s no recourse whatsoever, and this becomes even more prevalent.

    to take all this back to the beginning, you say that we need to “transform the consciousness of the culture.” basically, you want to change human nature. people want what they’re told they can’t have. if you try to tell them that what they want is bad, they’re going to want it even more. you’ll ram your head into that brick wall til the end of your days.

    if you really want to affect change within the porn industry and the culture of porn, you’re going to have to be more sneaky.

  • Mark

    you took my argument and turned it into something it was not, ignored other parts of my argument and dismissed it in total as a simplistic shrug and a “zing gives up, it’s impossible.” you missed the entire thrust of my argument and created something completely different.

    If that’s what I did, which I doubt, then I must have missed your point. Care to restate what it was when I made the statement?

  • zingzing

    “a) lives in a porn-free society. his sexuality is an expression of his real experience with real girls/boys around his own age.”

    he could, a) be like my sister-in-law’s sister and her rabid christian/awful person husband, who had to call her mother up crying on her wedding night because neither of them knew how to make love, or b) end up stable and happy, or c) any number of other things.

    “b) discovers his brother’s playboy (which defines very specifically for him what women should look like and be like and what he should be attracted to and excited by)”

    well, without the parenthetical, that’s my intro to porn right there. playboy models certainly aren’t the type i go for. and every other male i know is currently NOT dating or married to a playboy-type, so they escaped this certain fate as well. so what’s going on? i have a few requirements, but they don’t include anything double-d. proportion is the biggest thing. as in, does it all fit together. but it’s got nothing to do with playboy. they’re too tall, the boobs are too big, the shaved crotch thing is a little much, i don’t prefer blondes… in fact, just about everything notable about a “playboy-type” is what i DON’T look for (physically) in a woman. what do you think about that?

    “c) discovers his fathers porn film in which women are referred to as sluts and whores, etc.”

    or his father’s action movies where the answer to everything is to kill kill kill. or his mother’s romance novels, where love can only blossom on an island paradise. or his mother’s sex and the city episodes where they call each other by such names and revel in their sexuality. or they catch an episode of “beverly hills 90210″ or whatever show snooki is on. or his brother’s comic books, where people can fly without being on pcp. what i’m trying to say is that you seem to assign ultimate causation to one thing, rather than realizing that there’s a host of other things involved. like parenting.

    “d) discovers his uncle’s collection of rape porn”

    well, that’s fucked up. not that i’ve ever known anyone with a collection of rape porn. i’m sure they exist. they should do a better job hiding it.

    “e) is molested and feels shame at enjoying the sexual stimulation”

    this is getting outside the bounds of what we were talking about.

    “f) discovers pornography which validates child molestation”

    that’s already illegal.

    “h) comes across the website called ‘toilet bowl bitches'”

    man, you’re twisted. or woman, excuse me. i don’t know how many people get off on women pooping, but whatever. that one’s just too funny.

    “i) lives in polynesia where naked breasts are common–what does his failure to respond to naked breasts like a western boy would, say about what is ‘natural’? ”

    that he’s totally missing out. and that he’s been desensitized and i feel sorry for him, because i know no other way. (and if you try to take boobs away from me, i will declare war.) but that’s the way things go.

    there. all two (eight) points answered.

    “all of the above scenarios can excite the sexual curiosity and impulses of a 14 year old boy. does this make any of them natural?”

    well, if it “excites the sexual curiosity and impulses,” …yes? some of them are disturbing, but it’s natural to recoil from scary shit, and it’s natural to vomit when you’ve eaten something rotten. not all natural reactions are good. some of them aren’t even legal. but that doesn’t make them less than natural.

  • zingzing

    mark: “Care to restate what it was when I made the statement?”

    do you really think you accurately reflected my position on porn?

    here’s what i said: “all porn is not bad. there is bad porn. there we can agree. but you’re quite far out on a limb there, cindy. quite far out. one more “rape,” one more “slavery(!)” or one more “child abuse” and that thing is going to snap. you’ve come to a logical end that you can’t back away from any more than you can move forward. there’s no weight under your argument. it’s hyperbole.”

    does that sound like i’m living in a fantasy where all porn is just fine and there’s no bad side and that she has no chance whatsoever of affecting any miniscule amount of change? or does it sound like i’m saying she needs to adopt a more nuanced view if she’s going to make any progress?

  • Mark

    Miscommunication. The fantasies that I suggested you enjoy were your sexual ones, zing, generated by porn — about which, I suspect, you have no idea whether or not the actors have been mistreated as in the ‘horror stories’.

    And considering the number of time that you and your fellow liberals use human nature to explain the way things are, I hardly consider my statement, “I don’t understand the ‘liberal’ mindset that things cannot change.” to be hyperbolic.

  • zingzing

    i don’t tend to watch that kind of porn, mark. but yes, i, as you, do enjoy my sexual fantasies, but they don’t include gangbangs and stds flowing left and right.

    dan savage, my fellow libtard, editor of seattle’s “the stranger” and author of “savage love,” has proclaimed that a man who claims he never looks at porn is “either a liar or a castrate.” i wouldn’t put it that bluntly, nor that definitively, but a vast, vast majority of men, and people in general, look at porn. you’re really taking on a large enemy, and you’re outnumbered, so i’d be less aggressive and condemning.

    and are you really suggesting we can change human nature? that’s kind of the thing ABOUT human nature. it’s incredibly hard to change. especially when it concerns sex. and liberals are all about changing things. there are, however, limits. you know it as well as i.

  • Mark

    …and are you really suggesting we can change human nature?

    Yes.

    it’s incredibly hard to change

    I never said that I thought that it would be easy.

    Always outnumbered, zing. It’s like a whole way of life.

  • zingzing

    well, you can’t change human nature. you can force people to deny their nature, but they’ll eventually revolt and hang you. we’ve been trying to curb the more violent sides of human nature for thousands of years, but it still sneaks through. our sexual side is a raw biological imperative. trying to change that, especially stuff we do privately, is probably the most ambitious, possibly evil plot i’ve ever run across. if you can do it without becoming public enemy #1 and the greatest dictatorial evil genius to walk this earth, i applaud you. however, your idea will, inevitably, pervert itself and turn into something far beyond what you envision.

  • zingzing

    and really, you say it’s impossible to properly regulate the porn industry, but you want to tackle changing the very nature of what it is to be human?

  • Mark

    zing, I doubt that you are seriously suggesting that I should be less aggressive and condemning of the exploitation, etc, etc. that does exist in the industry. So, what are you talking about?

    Everybody’s doing it, so don’t make waves…? no comprendo.

  • zingzing

    well, no. but if you say the whole thing is evil and therefore must be destroyed, and you think the best way to do that is to change the perverse ways that people think and express their sexuality, you’re going to run into some overwhelming opposition. change the inner workings of the porn industry. don’t try to do away with it completely.

    it’s like abortion, i suppose. we can try to do away with the underlying causes, but it’s never going to work 100%. it has to be legal, because if it’s illegal, you can’t regulate it. abortion is not a yes or no problem. it’s a question of when and how you can get one. same with porn. it’s not yes or no. and you’re never going to get rid of the demand. so regulate it.

  • Mark

    I’d maintain further that comments like, “we’ve been trying to curb the more violent sides of human nature for thousands of years, but it still sneaks through” are pure supposition and that we have little idea what ‘human nature’ was like thousands of years ago. I suspect that many of what we claim are natures carried over from the distant past are projection onto the past.

  • Mark

    …but if you say the whole thing is evil and therefore must be destroyed…

    I say this of commodity production, generally.

  • zingzing

    human nature was pretty much the same thousands of years ago. just like most other creatures, we have instinctual territorial and violent sides that the rest of our brain tries (with a large amount of success) to suppress. survival impulses, including sexual impulses, were among the first bits of our brains to evolve. the brain evolved layer upon layer, and our most base emotions and motivations have remained completely unchanged since before we were human.

    since the development of modern (meaning the last several thousand years) social structures, we haven’t changed that much. we were fully formed (or as much as we are today, give or take very minor differences) on an evolutionary scale. we’ve learned to live together a little better (that’s an arguable statement), but our basic nature remains the same.

    10,000 years isn’t enough time for us to significantly change our nature. sex is at the most primal level of that nature. to change that in a short period is a pipedream. especially trying to take away something that we’ve grown used to. if you were trying to introduce something new, that might happen. but to take something away…

  • zingzing

    “I say this of commodity production, generally.”

    sigh. well. do you type that on your mac or your pc?

  • Mark

    The paradigms of evolutionary and revolutionary change are not in conflict with each other.

    —-

    human nature was pretty much the same thousands of years ago.

    What makes you believe this? How do you know?

  • Mark

    sigh. well. do you type that on your mac or your pc?

    So, commodity production is the only way to organize things? Computers can exist only as commodities?

    We exist in different worlds, zing, and will not convince one another.

  • zingzing

    “What makes you believe this?”

    evolutionary science. history. what we’ve written. how the basic strictures of life have remained consistent. how so many things that were once true remain true. our basic sympathy for people of other times. the continuity we can all feel with the past. universal concepts and ideas that transcend time and place.

  • zingzing

    “We exist in different worlds, zing.”

    nope, same place.

    “and will not convince one another.”

    that might be true.

    “So, commodity production is the only way to organize things? Computers can exist only as commodities?”

    well, how are you going to change it? from within? or from without? one method is far more effective and far more probable.

  • Mark

    evolutionary science. history. what we’ve written. how the basic strictures of life have remained consistent. how so many things that were once true remain true. our basic sympathy for people of other times. the continuity we can all feel with the past. universal concepts and ideas that transcend time and place.

    All of which beg the question of projection that I raised.

  • Mark

    well, how are you going to change it? from within? or from without? one method is far more effective and far more probable.

    As there is no ‘without’ at this time, you question has no point.

  • zingzing

    “All of which beg the question of projection that I raised.”

    but you raising it wouldn’t negate it. why do you think human nature has changed in any significant way? chemically, biologically, we remain the same. there’s so much of history and the arts that resonate with us, and we see them repeat over and over again. we can understand basic emotional responses echoing over thousands of years. nothing comes from nothing. everything we do has precedent, either in incremental history or in direct repetition. even the most revolutionary of ideas were based in pieces of older ideas. there’s nothing new under the sun.

  • zingzing

    “As there is no ‘without’ at this time, you question has no point.”

    of course there is a “without.” the outside would outside of a commodity culture. you simply wouldn’t sell computers for profit. (there are companies that do this.) and if there was no “without,” you’d have absolutely no hope. so you’d just give up and admit that no change was possible.

  • zingzing

    hrm. “the outside would BE outside of a commodity culture.”

  • Mark

    but you raising it wouldn’t negate it.

    And your repeating what could as well be explained by what we put into history and our notions of the past rather than as any reflection of some reality doesn’t make it accurate.

    …there’s nothing new under the sun.

    novelty happens all the time

  • Mark

    and if there was no “without,” you’d have absolutely no hope. so you’d just give up and admit that no change was possible.

    Welcome to the postmodern world.

  • Mark

    “the outside would BE outside of a commodity culture.”

    So, as I understand your question, you’re asking if I’m looking for a tribe somewhere from within which to combat commodity production…?

    In a sense that’s correct — I’m interested in all of the experiments with alternative methods of producing and exchanging things going on now.

  • zingzing

    “Welcome to the postmodern world.”

    …with its empty sloganeering. i’ll counter with we can change the world, but the world won’t change us. it’s stuck.

    “novelty happens all the time”

    only briefly and superficially, by its nature.

    “your repeating what could as well be explained by what we put into history and our notions of the past rather than as any reflection of some reality doesn’t make it accurate.”

    yeah, true, but i’d be willing to bet that, at a basic level, we’re pretty similar to what we were 10,000 years ago, and we’re pretty similar to what we’ll be in another 10,000 years from now, should we still exist. our needs and our emotions will remain the same.

    if you can provide just one example of a significant change in human nature, i’ll be surprised. if you can find a way in which we’ve, as an entire people, changed something basic to our nature within the course of one average lifespan, i’ll shit.

    i might put on a diaper. it would certainly be novel to shit myself. not that i haven’t done it before or anything.

  • zingzing

    “So, as I understand your question, you’re asking if I’m looking for a tribe somewhere from within which to combat commodity production…?”

    not really. you could go live among them and reject commodity culture, but you’d not have much chance to impact the larger culture. i’m saying that changing the commodity culture from within is a far more likely method. changes would happen slowly, if at all, but if you want to make any progress, that’s the best way.

    and obviously, for all your talk (noble though it may be), you live within the commodity culture and participate in it. you’re not going to change the human nature that created the culture, but you might could present ever-better ideas within that culture and get it set on a path that creates the world you’d rather live in. although that world isn’t going to exist any time soon.

    on a basic level, i agree with you. we use and exploit each other for selfish reasons. some people think that’s all good and the best way towards societal growth, if, as a whole, our economies and standards of living continue to grow. but there’s always those left behind. and our selfishness makes us blind to that.

    i’d rather we gather up those other people as well. but i realize there’s no easy fix, and that our society has been like this for a long time. there’s little hope of changing the basic structure, and all our attempts at massive societal change so far have only reinforced the idea that we are power-mad, selfish beings.

    what started as democracy has become capitalism. what started as communism has become despotism. the initial impulses are fine, fine things. what they become shows that we are really bad at implementing our ideals.

    we need a nice mix of the two, but we need to change from within our current systems. revolution has made messes of things. evolution is the better way to go about it. accept that we will not see utopia tomorrow. learn from our mistakes. work towards a better tomorrow instead of burning everything down.

  • Mark

    Well, if you’re willing to bet, then it must be true. But I’ll chance it and take your bet. See ya in 10,000 years.

    I’ll work on your challenge to come up with examples of ways that human nature may have changed. But not tonight.

  • zingzing

    no “may haves.” significant change. basic-level shit.

    in 10,000 years……. or tomorrow.

  • Mark

    Keep in mind that my argument is that we don’t have access to some given true picture of the past, so any of my examples will necessarily be ‘may haves’. I’ll be forced to work with contradictory patterns that exist today and to argue that it’s likely that one form dominant in the past gave way to the other.

    Later.

  • zingzing

    well, if you don’t know (or have a damn good guess of) how the past worked, how can you know that something’s changed?

    i’m certainly not saying that our knowledge of history is perfect. but i do think we’ve come to understand our own basic nature, and it remains fairly constant.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    (i haven’t read the whole thread yet, so i might be missing something…just the last few comments)

    zing, my own view on history and basic nature is that we can’t get a clear picture of it, or at least we can’t until we recognize that we construct our reality

    this reality (what we are exploring AS IF it is our nature) has been constructed by males, as they have held the power to do so (to have their way) for millennia

    they haven’t done a bang up job, imo

    (this is partly why i focus on things like pornography because it replicates this reality. one in which women are ‘lesser than’)

    my friend john says that until he understood me, he would have held approximately the same opinion as you. he also said that my points were subtle and not immediately clear. so i should not assume you really understand what i mean. he said that this encapsulates the best of my point. maybe you will see something in it:

    liberal men support a woman right to be just like a man.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    human nature is nothing if not open and adaptive. it is potential.

    don’t consfuse what we are with the conditions that have determined what we have expressed

    it is clear that we can live in cooperative groups that are not ‘territorial’

    if human nature were simply ‘terrritorial’, then we could not do this

    what about non-territorial cultures and groups, cooperative societies and groups?

    if what you are saying is true, then what do we say upon finding these kinds of behaviors? that these people are not human?

    what you are calling human nature is just one expression, one possibility, that has been focused on. this discounts that there are other possibilities

    and i bet you personally know there are if you come form a loving family. that is you don’t all compete but likely cooperate and share.

    if a family acted territorial in the sense you mean (not like hey i am using the bathroom now, please wait then you can have it–which is sort of an expression of positive and limited territoriality), but if a family

    what would be the imagined purpose of territoriality? is it use of a resource? i don’t know, but that seems about right, to me. so, how is it best to use a resource, by sharing it or by aggressively taking it? if you wish to use the bathroom do you break down the door and toss your roommate out or do you wait and take your turn? does your family put the food on the table and then you all fight to see who can get the most, or do you cooperate?

    in both of these scenarios, bothe behaviors achieve the needed result. however, one seems pathological.

    it is about time for new aspects of human nature to become the focus, those that highlight the cooperative–it is becoming clearer all the time that if we don’t make this change then we will become extinct

    adaptation is a part of evolution–oui?

    perhaps some of us are working in that direction and some are not.
    ———-

    on another note:

    here is an example of a change in what you are calling ‘human nature’

    the development of private property (as in land ownership) is a very recent phenomenon in human history. what of all the years humans lived as hunter gatherers? nomads? humans lived like that much longer than they lived as ‘territorial’ in the sense that you suggest.
    ————–

    a short story:

    once there were some humans. they moved around and found food where they went. they lived like this for 29,000 years. then some of these humans decided that they needed private property, they saw they could hog all the resources, so for 1,000 years these hoggers of everything flourished. soon these hogs owned everything as they wiped out all the people who were cooperative. now when we look around we see hogs everywhere, and we say, well, it’s just human nature to be a hog, and it always has been.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    i goofed it up around the family using the bathroom part (somehow i sensed you could relate to bathroom examples–you sometimes remind me of when my nephew was about 13 and just loved a halloween play i chose because i knew he would love that farting jokes were the highlight–you seem very young at heart :-)

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    I’m not sure where gay male porn fits into this discussion, since by definition it contains no treatment of women at all, degrading, uplifting, or neutral.

    [Have you seen “The Kids Are All Right” — written and directed by a lesbian — in which a lesbian couple watch gay male porn for kicks? It’s a great movie, but that one element is a little odd.]

    As a young man, I was curious about porn and watched it occasionally. But really I find it anti-erotic.

    The exploitation that is a part of the porn business is disturbing. But I object to lumping all erotica into one pile and condemning it wholesale.

    And are Cindy and Mark actually advocating censorship [based on what standards? and who is to do the enforcing?]?

    Or is this just another hypothetical discussion several steps removed from the actual world and any likely actual events that might occur in it? All ideas, without practical application?

  • zingzing

    cindy: “if human nature were simply ‘terrritorial’, then we could not do this”

    that was actually the first thing i mentioned… “just like most other creatures, we have instinctual territorial and violent sides that the rest of our brain tries (with a large amount of success) to suppress.”

    it’s how we form societies. doesn’t mean we don’t have territorial instincts. how would you feel if someone invaded your home? or messed with your kids? or tried to steal your husband from you? these are all territorial impulses. in order to live together, we have to suppress the more violent, animal-like bits of our nature. but we aren’t altogether successful at doing that, now are we?

    “liberal men support a woman right to be just like a man.”

    i would hope not. they have a right to equality in every way, but the day women (in total) turn into men… not looking forward to that. there are some differences in the sexes, and i do like it that way, but women should have every legal and social right that men have, plus a few of their own.

    “this reality (what we are exploring AS IF it is our nature) has been constructed by males, as they have held the power to do so (to have their way) for millennia”

    that’s quite a lot of power you give us men. wish i could construct my own reality. that’s a little too black and white again. we all created this reality. i will admit, begrudgingly, because i haven’t been taking enough advantage, that men have held a large advantage. but things are evening up. your day will come. i, at least, am ruled over by women. my boss, my supervisor, my gf, my roommate, my mother… even my best friend’s gf has significant impact on my decision-making… it’s ridiculous how little control i exert over my own existence.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    And are Cindy and Mark actually advocating censorship [based on what standards? and who is to do the enforcing?]?

    Mark, will correct me if I am wrong, naturally. But allow me to propose that Mark, much like me, is not much for censorship, banning, regulating, etc.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    zing, i will be back to read this thread asap, tonight, latest tomorrow.

  • Jordan Richardson

    What Cindy and Mark appear to be advocating is individual responsibility – so long as it aligns with their worldview, that is.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    while Jordan thinks freedom means things don’t need to align with any particular (read HIS) worldview. thus if men decide his daughters need to wear burkas, or be burned alive, he will likely go along with that, not wanting to be unfair to men who disagree with him, after all, it’s all about equality of whatever POV you have, no matter what that may be. that is a legitimate pov.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    zing,

    i am going to put this here. it;s a short idea. but it’s a big idea.

    when you say humans have always been this or that, i want you to divide humans into sexes.

    have women waged war? are women ‘territorial’ in the way that you suggested?

    okay, if you suggest that women are different, then the next question is this:

    are women not human? when we discuss HUMAN nature, are we allowed to automatically, and without thought, leave out what women think?

    if we do that, think about that, do you think we do that? then what does that say?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Jordan,

    reading my own reply to you, i realize it won’t be intelligible to you without more thinking than you are likely willing to engage in.

    it is not MY way, that is important, it is the way of people YOU hold not important. people I do hold important.

    and yet i hold you innocent as you are brainwashed–[personal attack deleted] (–and maybe one day you will understand why i say that, and know that i would LOVE you the instant i KNEW you cared for a woman’s pov)

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    but you can’t because women have to deal with more than conservatives, they have to deal with liberals.

    [personal attack deleted] more men understand what mark has tried to tell you, every day. and one day we (women) may decide to pick up kitchen knives and have done with those who would make films where assaulting us is sexy.

  • zingzing

    “have women waged war? are women ‘territorial’ in the way that you suggested?”

    yes and yes. women are just as capable of violence and war as men are. they might not have had the opportunities to do so that men have had, but you’ll find plenty of examples throughout history of women waging war. and, oh mother of god, yes, women are territorial as hell. STAY AWAY FROM MY MAN! yeah? YOU HURT MY KID, I’LL RIP YOUR FUCKIN’ SPLEEN OUT. yeah?

    “are women not human? when we discuss HUMAN nature, are we allowed to automatically, and without thought, leave out what women think?”

    no and no. women are a part of humankind, and while there are some different things about basic male and female psychology, they’re both included in the overall heading of “human nature.” some facets of human nature are more feminine or more masculine, but no facet of human nature is exclusive to either sex.

    “if we do that, think about that, do you think we do that? then what does that say?”

    no and nothing. i don’t know how you got the idea that women aren’t included in “human nature.” so i dunno what it says, as it’s not something i’d consider as occurring.

    women are just as capable of good and evil as men are. don’t get yourself confused about that. no one is better or worse simply because they are male or female.

  • zingzing

    cindy: “thus if men decide his daughters need to wear burkas, or be burned alive, [jordan] will likely go along with that…”

    you know that’s nonsense.

    “one day we (women) may decide to pick up kitchen knives and have done with those who would make films where assaulting us is sexy.”

    ah-ha! perfectly capable of violence, are you? have you ever seen “i spit on your grave?” disturbing movie, but i think you might get a kick out of it at this point…

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    ah-ha! perfectly capable of violence, are you?

    not perfectly. though if i was it would surely be easier.

    and no zing, i haven’t seen that. i saw the title in passing, of course. but i never looked at it, should i?

    i am not sure how facetious i am being some times.

    i think mark may very well be right, in what he predicted for me, i may find myself ‘knitting justice’, in the way he suggested. i feel destructive (in real life i would faint at the sight of blood as seen whilst watching it being drawn by a nurse…but what does that mean if i have a murderous heart? won’t i likely get used to it?) i am angry and fed up.

    if i am honest i am almost always on the border between pacifism and ‘i want to blow up half the human race’. i do not want to hate men. and yet i want to incinerate them and be done with the problem just marginally less than i want to keep trying to reach out to them.

    zing,

    if you say that ‘humans’ are territorial, do you remember any women starting territory wars?

    aren’t women part of ‘humans’, which part? the part that doesn’t count?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    and i mean that seriously, not as hyperbole. when i hear people discuss what is human, they almost always resort to explanations of typical male behavior and they do not seem to include female behavior.

  • zingzing

    “not perfectly. though if i was it would surely be easier.”

    dunno about that.

    “and no zing, i haven’t seen that. i saw the title in passing, of course. but i never looked at it, should i?”

    it was banned in many countries for many years. when it was released, some critics were dumb enough to think it “glorified violence against women.” and while the beginning is one big, long gangrape and beating, it’s all a set up for the violent feminist fantasy that follows. it’s brutal. i wouldn’t really suggest watching it… it’s a crap movie with very few redeeming qualities, but it is an experience worth having once if you’re so inclined. i couldn’t really take the beginning, but the end was fun in a sadistic sort of way. i dunno if you want to see it. but you can’t deny it’s a visceral, affecting movie.

    “i am angry and fed up.”

    i can tell.

    “i do not want to hate men. and yet i want to incinerate them and be done with the problem just marginally less than i want to keep trying to reach out to them.”

    unfortunately, being “done with the problem” would only mean destroying the human race. what you gonna do? set up a massive amount of sperm banks, then commit genocide? not a solution. also, if you try to kill me, i’ll run away. you’ll never ever find me. and i will begin again. and i’ll raise an army of baby boys to cute your ass to death. you’ll be all like “awwwwww” and then BOOM! i’ll lock the door and you’ll be surrounded by pooping baby boys, killed by their vile shit smells and constant hollering and the filth, the filth, the filth! killed by male shit! REVENGE! then i’ll be the last man on earth. oh my, i’ll be in demand.

    “if you say that ‘humans’ are territorial, do you remember any women starting territory wars?”

    sure. hapshepsut, a female pharaoh, captured plenty of territory. catherine the great conquered se europe. maggie thatcher in the falklands. the list goes on and on. go look it up. women have held positions of power throughout history, women have fought wars and women have captured territory, tortured prisoners, enslaved the conquered and everything else that men have done.

    “aren’t women part of ‘humans’, which part? the part that doesn’t count?”

    no idea why you’d say that.

  • zingzing

    “when i hear people discuss what is human, they almost always resort to explanations of typical male behavior and they do not seem to include female behavior.”

    well, that’s kinda dumb. and surprising. if that were true, all they’d talk about is guzzling beer and ogling girls. although women do that as well. i dunno how you can have a conversation about humanity without including women, unless you’re just being some sort of negative nancy.

  • Mark

    Cindy hangs her hat on the undeniable narrative of a history of male domination to explain our constructed and therefore (happily) impermanent natures. I was going to try a different tack.

    The scenario: A distraught father breaks in on his underage daughter and her unacceptable lover. He drags her into the street where he kills her.

    Some people today would say that this response is only natural, others that it is inhuman.

    —–

    But zing, I see from your response and your interaction with Cindy that my approach laid out in 147 won’t result in evidence that you will view as convincing. So I’ll need to come up with some other argument; maybe you’ll give me a hand.

    So far, you’ve made a couple of statements on this thread about what you view a essential to unchanging human nature:

    All humans are pornographers, and
    All humans struggle with their instincts.

    Can you give me 4 or 5 more of what you would agree with other liberals are essential human traits of human nature?

    (btw, I’ve always found the peel and reveal approach to the human brain odd — peel a brain all the way down to the ‘lizard brain’ and you don’t get a lizard, you get a vegetable.)

    Handy:
    And are Cindy and Mark actually advocating censorship [based on what standards? and who is to do the enforcing?]?

    While the thread might be a little disjointed and tedious, I think that if your read it through you’ll see that the answer is clearly no.

    and Jordan:
    What Cindy and Mark appear to be advocating is individual responsibility – so long as it aligns with their worldview, that is.

    You put this unjustified bullshit forward as a distraction for what purpose?

  • zingzing

    mark: “Some people today would say that this response is only natural, others that it is inhuman.”

    that’s rather extreme. you’d find that something’s desperately wrong with that man, and with the person who found it natural.

    “All humans are pornographers”

    well, that’s not quite true. not everyone owns a video camera and not every couple thinks it would be fun to record themselves doing it. too bad for them. a person who looks at porn isn’t a pornographer just because they look at porn. they’d have to actually make porn. and obviously, not everyone looks at porn. but a large amount of people do.

    “All humans struggle with their instincts.”

    true.

    “Can you give me 4 or 5 more of what you would agree with other liberals are essential human traits of human nature?”

    all humans are jealous
    all humans have free will
    all humans are habitual
    all humans have a survival instinct
    all humans are flawed
    all humans lie

    “(btw, I’ve always found the peel and reveal approach to the human brain odd — peel a brain all the way down to the ‘lizard brain’ and you don’t get a lizard, you get a vegetable.)”

    it’s more about how the human brain developed. of course you can’t take away bits of our brain and suddenly have a lizard. not that i’m thinking that’s what you’re saying.

  • zingzing

    “You put this unjustified bullshit forward as a distraction for what purpose?”

    i know you weren’t talking to me, but jordan’s not the only one guilty of such tactics so far in this discussion. i wish such things would stop, because we could be having a perfectly reasonable discussion between people. no need for the “fuck yous” and the bits about how jordan would burn his daughter alive and other stuff that’s just unnecessary.

  • Mark

    She’s angry, zing. I understand what she’s doing but not Jordan.

  • zingzing

    jordan’s angry as well. cindy has been pushing his buttons, and she’s done a good job of it. are you saying anger is understandable in her and not him?

  • Mark

    Maybe I should reread the thread; my hit was that she was being ‘aggressively reactive’.

  • Mark

    mark: “Some people today would say that this response is only natural, others that it is inhuman.”

    that’s rather extreme. you’d find that something’s desperately wrong with that man, and with the person who found it natural.

    You mean they’re not western liberals and come from like whole other cultures?

    “All humans are pornographers”

    well, that’s not quite true.

    But you would agree that all humans create erotica (if only as mental images) to stimulate arousal and are in that sense pornographers?

    all humans are jealous
    all humans have free will
    all humans have a survival instinct
    all humans aall humans are habitual
    re flawed
    all humans lie

    Thanks for the list. I’ll process a bit…I assume that ‘all people are greedy’ on the list as well?

    “(btw, I’ve always found the peel and reveal approach to the human brain odd — peel a brain all the way down to the ‘lizard brain’ and you don’t get a lizard, you get a vegetable.)”

    it’s more about how the human brain developed. of course you can’t take away bits of our brain and suddenly have a lizard. not that i’m thinking that’s what you’re saying.

    That was a joke, son.

  • zingzing

    “You mean they’re not western liberals and come from like whole other cultures?”

    like EEEEEE-vile cultures? i see what you’re trying to do here. don’t think i don’t. to say that culture can put things (good or bad) into human brains that clash with their underlying nature is one thing. killing one’s offspring is not natural (at least in humans). getting turned on by sexually suggestive material certainly is. good luck turning that spigot off.

    “I assume that ‘all people are greedy’ on the list as well?”

    i thought about that one, or at least with the less automatically pejorative term “selfish.” but i decided against it. i don’t quite know why. history is full of selfless acts.

    “That was a joke, son.”

    you keep pitchin’ ‘em ‘n i keep missin’ ‘em. got a hole in ma glove.

  • Mark

    EEEEEE-vile cultures?

    ?

    As I said above, my plan in #147 to work from contradictions existing today in human nature won’t convince you — you have defined them out of existence.

    But it’s a destructive ploy; it leaves your decision procedure open to question. Thus, greed is left off your list because ‘history is full of selfless acts’. But ‘selfless acts’ could be socially conditioned aberrations of underlying nature not totally unlike honor killings.

    Like I said , if I want to play on your field, I’ll have to come up with a different type of argument.

  • Jordan Richardson

    You put this unjustified bullshit forward as a distraction for what purpose?

    Because it’s not the least bit unjustified.

    When I take individual responsibility and suggest that I want to improve the existing architecture of porn, I get trashed. When I say that things have improved through the years in porn, I’m suddenly justifying rape and, better still, I don’t know ANYTHING about the subject I’m talking about. Nothing. My disagreement with your views, Mark, is tantamount to ignorance, not disagreement.

    The inference here is that I don’t care about women, that I hate women, that I’m a disgusting creep, and so forth. Even better, I’m ignorant and know nothing!

    And what to what destructive evil do I owe these distinctions? My desire for nuance, for understanding, for colour. Because I refuse to see things as the ultimately destructive entities you two do, I might as well be burning children and women at the stake.

    This is how you conduct a conversation? This is how you tell people to be responsible individuals?

    Based on how I’ve been treated and based on how I’ve seen you two jackals treat others around here, I’d say my apparently “unjustified bullshit” is incredibly apt. In fact, I think I let you off easy.

    You’re damn right I’m angry. I’m pissed off every time I wander on to threads with you two condescending farts jawing on it. I can take Dave Nalle and Baronius. I can even take Alan Kurtz. But by god, if there’s one thing I can’t stand it’s two charlatans masquerading as though they care about the masses while pooh-poohing every shred of humanity as some sort of cultural and societal misgiving.

    Enough already. I get it. You’re better than everyone who’s blindly bought into whatever machine it is this week. Now it’s porn because porn is child slavery. Next week it’s television. The week after that it’s probably reading the wrong books. The week after that it’s probably pets. Who knows.

    It’s all absolute crap.

    That you don’t “understand what I’m doing” but do get Cindy’s unmitigated gall is just more proof of that.

  • Jordan Richardson

    And by the way Cindy, what you’ve said to me about not understanding a woman’s POV is deeply offensive to my marriage, to how my mother raised me, and so on.

    That’s not just some dumb statement you make on a message board about a soul you don’t know, Cindy. That’s something deeply personal and deeply important to me.

    And to make such a vile statement, something that calls into question how I treat my very FAMILY, over the fact that I’ve asked for more CARE AND NUANCE when discussing this issue is just fucking asinine.

    Not because you’re a woman, either. Because you’re a jerk.

    I’ve read through this thread to try to figure out what, SPECIFICALLY, I’ve said that is so ridiculous to deserve such treatment. I can’t find it.

    I did, apparently, have the evil and perverted approach to say something as extremely sexist as this:

    Ideally, nobody should be having sex on film for money. Nobody should be prostituting themselves either. Ideally nobody should be having abortions or unwanted children. Or drug addictions. But we don’t live in ideal times, so we work with what we have.

    Oh. My. God.

    What a horrifying thing to say! To suggest we “work with what we have” to create progress, to create change! What a monster I must be! I must hate women! I must not get their point of view AT ALL!

    Earlier on, I said that Mark would have a case for war on the “industrialization of porn.” After this, he elects to get into a semantic discussion instead even though I essentially suggest that I AGREE with “war on the industry of porn” but disagree that porn can be painted with a broad fuckin’ brush. Oh, the horror!

    After that, I state that “Sex has become a commodity. But so has everything else.” Again, nearly flat-out agreement with Mark.

    And then, this must’ve really pissed somebody off, I have the gall to say this:

    Isn’t it advisable that we monitor and oversee the means through which these commodities are dealt with in as ethical and fair a way as possible? And doesn’t that take more than a cold opposition to reality and, what’s worse, a blind eye coupled with a moral judgment on how “degrading” something is from afar?

    Instead of condemning an entire segment of society as degrading fools trafficking in exploitative activities comparable to child abuse, isn’t it more responsible and more ethical to seek empathetic understanding in light of modern sexual mores and the evolution of the industry?

    Ethics? Empathy? Fairness? Understanding?

    Wow. I must support honour killings, genital mutilation, rape, burning women at the stake, and every other gender evil conceivable! How DARE I suggest we deal with reality by ensuring that we protect those who feel they have to engage in the porn industry! How DARE I support other absurdities like the legalization of prostitution so that we can better protect the PEOPLE that engage in the practice. How DARE I suggest that we not wholly condemn people for their choices!

    What a knuckle-dragging Alpha Male I am! Grrr, get me a beer, bitch!

    Then I present my shocking thesis:

    It is time for a change, yes. And on the list of things that must change, depictions of a sexual nature involving consenting, well-fed adults rate very, very low on my list.

    And that’s it. That’s where the trouble started between this cave-dwelling woman hater and Cindy.

    Now is my “unjustified bullshit” clearer? Doubt it.

  • Mark

    Geeze Jordan. You’ve conflated Cindy and my position. I accused you of nothing.

    You want to control the porn industry — I suggested that boycott would be an effective tool. So, what’s the problem?

    And I do understand your reaction to Cindy’s aggression — she and I don’t talk much these days. But do you understand how she gets to where she gets?

  • Jordan Richardson

    Mark, I apologize. I was mostly letting off steam and you are correct, I did conflate your positions and the two of you as individuals.

    Boycotting the industry would be an effective tool, absolutely. But I think there’s more to that as well in that porn would still exist somewhere and, what’s more, it would likely exist in more dangerous, more troubling formats underground.

    The healing, as I’ve been saying all along, has to come from a different direction rather than from finger-pointing. Making sure those producing pornography follow a set of regulations rather than hollow promises is a good start to stopping what is a juggernaut industry.

    In terms of Cindy’s aggression, I absolutely understand how she gets to where she gets. But sometimes a brick through a window is just property damage.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Oh, and the reason I’ve been bringing up some of the “positives” in the industry is because I believe it serves as evidence to the fact that things can change with more eyes on it.

    If more people cared about the health and well-being of the performers in the field, real change could be made to ensure that those consenting adults who elect to participate in the industry would be better taken care of.

    Mere years ago, the porn industry was a veritable wasteland of seedy men taking advantage of women. Fast-forward to today and you’ve got more female-owned production companies than you do in traditional Hollywood, plus it is one of the few industries on earth where the women get paid more than the men. Add to the mix that there are more female directors working in adult film than there are in Hollywood (How long did it take for a woman to win the Best Director Oscar? Oh right, it just happened!) and I believe you’ve got fertile ground for progress and change.

    I’m with zingzing: porn isn’t going to go away, even with a boycott on a large scale. To paraphrase a character from Scrubs, if you took all of the porn sites off the internet there would be just one site left and that site would be called “Bring Back the Porn.”

    It is, like it or not, part of our culture and it always has been. Now that it is an industry, we can start to impact that industry through positivity and through compassion. We can discourage porn, sure, but it’s not going to go away in a month of fuckin’ Sundays. I think we need to make more logical movements.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    161 – zing,

    my question was not, ‘are women capable of violence’, my question was: have WOMEN as opposed to men, arranged and waged war–in an historical sense. or have women IN FACT (not hypothetically) waged wars throughout history. have they dominated the planet, in other words? if you agree they have not, do you notice that that says something?

    I mean is it mere coincidence that in every single case it is always males who have dominated the planet? why would that be? do you think that might say anything at all (and i will go along with your presumption that human nature can be a certain thing) about the ‘nature’ of women…or do you think it’s just 30,000 years of coincidence?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz Alan Kurtz

    Jordan Richardson (#176): I can even take Alan Kurtz.

    Zounds! I must be losing my touch. I’ll have to work on that.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    zing,

    maybe this will help:

    perhaps women are supportive, rather than territorial, in the sense that men are territorial

    in a culture where males are territorial, women have played a supporting role, if the vikings were conquering territory, i imagine the viking women supported them

    if the inuits did not conquer territory, i imagine the women inuits supported them

    in cultures where males are not territorial, we don’t see females taking up that role and waging wars against other tribes

    from what i have looked at, in true matriarchal-type societies we see a sharing of responsibility and decision-making among men and women not a domination by women

    men are not territorial in all cultures

    (when i say women and men, i mean the social constructions, which i do not see as innately male or female. this behavior is learned, as far as i can see, not ‘natural’)

    yet it is interesting that when we say human nature we say things like, ‘humans are territorial’, etc. we do not say…human nature is supportive (even though this is the ‘apparent’ nature of 50% of humans)

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    i’d be willing to bet that, at a basic level, we’re pretty similar to what we were 10,000 years ago, and we’re pretty similar to what we’ll be in another 10,000 years from now, should we still exist. our needs and our emotions will remain the same.

    our needs and emotions might remain the same, but does that mean that we have to act on every single one of them?

    if human ‘nature’ is responsible for creating this society, as you said, isn’t it also responsible for creating societies where conquest is not in evidence?

    trying to put this fine point another way: if we are capable of violence and conquest and competition, does that mean we are ONLY capable of creating cultures where those elements are highlighted?

    are we ONLY territorial, aggressive, etc?

    are there not other things we are that could be the focus for a society?

    that we have a society that has roots in territoriality is evidence, imo, that those who have embarked on on the path of domination–those who have expressed that nature–have more power and therefore have, well, dominated.

    if my way is peaceful and your way is to shoot me, does it mean that shooting people is the ‘natural’ expression or that having shot everyone and having raised all the new people to be shooters, we see lots of shooters in evidence?

    (as we destroy the world, those who believe in ‘survival of the fittest’ may be about to face the irony that might does not necessarily make for ‘the fittest’, perhaps cooperation and peacefulness are actually ‘the fittest’)

  • zingzing

    cindy: “my question was not, ‘are women capable of violence’, my question was: have WOMEN as opposed to men, arranged and waged war–in an historical sense.”

    yes, as noted in my examples. i’ll get to the rest of this stuff later.

  • zingzing

    mark: “But ‘selfless acts’ could be socially conditioned aberrations of underlying nature not totally unlike honor killings.”

    could be. i dunno. that’s very likely true. maybe i was feeling optimistic. maybe all humans are selfish should be on the list. but i just didn’t put it there.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    but things are evening up. your day will come. i, at least, am ruled over by women. my boss, my supervisor, my gf, my roommate, my mother.

    that is the perfect example of what i meant when i said, liberal men support a woman’s right to be like a man.

    you support women to become like men by giving women the right to rule over others. but you don’t understand that women may wish to be something different. women may be inclined to structure the society differently. women may wish to foster nurturing and cooperative society not one where they also get to wear armor, but one where armor is unnecessary.

    thank you for looking out for me, but i don’t want to have the right to be equal to you in a world where you decide what equal means. that is i can be the president or a soldier or wear pants or smoke a pipe…i am permitted by males to fit into the social order they have created–based on their adoption of a socially constructed masculinity of toughness and power, territoriality and violence.

    i want to be free to have the society work differently, not free to adopt the ways men have decided things should work.

  • zingzing

    cindy: “I mean is it mere coincidence that in every single case it is always males who have dominated the planet? why would that be?”

    but that’s NOT the case. are you ignoring what i said? go look up the history.

    “perhaps women are supportive, rather than territorial, in the sense that men are territorial”

    that’s just too simple an explanation. and it doesn’t take into account the facts.

    “we do not say…human nature is supportive (even though this is the ‘apparent’ nature of 50% of humans)”

    you could very well say that it is in human nature to be supportive of one another. and men do it as well. do you think men are never supportive? what’s this “provider” thing i keep hearing about?

    “from what i have looked at, in true matriarchal-type societies we see a sharing of responsibility and decision-making among men and women not a domination by women”

    rosy, isn’t it? i wonder why it’s called “matriarchal” then. will have to investigate.

    “are we ONLY territorial, aggressive, etc?”

    no… i never came close to saying that. just because i say “i like rock music” doesn’t mean i don’t like jazz. and you know that. the rest of your argument reduces my argument to a soundbite. it’s taken out of context.

    “(as we destroy the world, those who believe in ‘survival of the fittest’ may be about to face the irony that might does not necessarily make for ‘the fittest’, perhaps cooperation and peacefulness are actually ‘the fittest’)”

    you’ll get no argument from me there. that’s the dream, no?

  • zingzing

    “you support women to become like men by giving women the right to rule over others. but you don’t understand that women may wish to be something different.”

    fuck if i support it. it doesn’t matter. and if they wish to be something different… well, tell that to them. oh, fuck, the whip!

    “thank you for looking out for me, but i don’t want to have the right to be equal to you in a world where you decide what equal means.”

    i have no decision-making powers. talk to the women above me. alright, enough of my snark… i understand what you’re saying, which isn’t any different from what i would hope for. i’m surrounded by strong-willed women. women who’ve grown up in the modern world. and that’s the way i like them. they aren’t just like men. they’re most certainly women. and that’s the way i like them.

    ugh… this thought is incomplete, but i must go. maybe i’ll pick it up again when i’m back round hea.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Other women who’ve “arranged and waged war in a historical sense:”

    – the Muslim princess Amina Sukhera
    – al-K?hina (war leader of the Berber tribes)
    – Anita Garibaldi (tremendous story here, well worth checking out)
    – Fu Hao (a military general, she controlled her own territory too)
    – Li Xiu (a military commander)
    – the Trung Sisters (notorious heroes in Vietnamese history, awesome stuff)
    – Boudica
    – Queen Gwendolen (fought her husband for the throne)
    – Margaret of Anjou (arrange conscription and gathered armies during the Wars of the Roses)
    – Razia Sultana (trained to lead armies)
    – Hangaku Gozen (female samurai, raised an army of 3,000 to fight the Kamakura Shogunate)
    – Bibi Dalair Kaur (rallied 100 Sikh women to fight against the Moghuls)
    – Tarabai (skilled in calvary movements, led armies against the Moghuls as well)

    I could go on and on, of course, with all sorts of fantastic examples of female warriors and leaders commanding and leading armies throughout history. There are terrific stories of female-led wars, invasions and the like peppering human history. These are sadly ignored in favour of a male-dominated view of historical events, of course, but these women did exist and they did engage in wars and combat with the ferocity and command of their male counterparts. They did wage war and arrange war. In fact, they were quite skilled at it.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    zing

    if i don’t respond to some comments (like 118) i have not been able to take them in yet calmly or entirely. i will try to respond when i feel capable of responding without being reactive.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    zing,

    you said it’s incredibly hard to change referring to human nature.

    what it think is hard to change is the normatively constructed society

    (to clarify: if we lived in afghanistan we would see reality and truth through that social organization, as inuits we would see social reality and truth a different way, westerners another way, australian aborigines, and so on)

    on the other hand, human nature is changed instantly and easily the moment you raise a child in another type of culture. if the normative masculinity did not require and reinforce ‘toughness’, say, then you would not see masculinity defined by ‘toughness’.

    another story: some anthropologists studying australian aborigines, administered an iq test. one of the aborigines, not knowing the answer to a question wanted to go and discuss it with the others. the researcher said that wasn’t allowed. the aborigine was incredulous, because that is the way people arrive at answers.*

    on another occasion an aborigine told the researcher he didn’t know the answer and asked the researcher what it was. asked the researcher said he can’t do that. to which the aborigine replied, ‘but, i would help you if you were in trouble.’

    (ie that is the way PEOPLE do things. this demonstrates that the australian aborigine has another pov about what ‘human’ nature is)

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    “asked the researcher said he can’t do that. to which the aborigine replied”

    there should not be the word ‘asked’ there it should just be…”the researcher said….etc.”
    also the parenthetical comment at the bottom should have an asterisk relating to the bolded comment.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    but that’s NOT the case. are you ignoring what i said? go look up the history.

    i may not have read what you said, yet. i haven’t finished reading everything. i’m not intentionally ignoring it. i just have a bad habit of reading from the end backward i will stop responding then, until i have read it all. i didn’t realize my doing that was impacting anything, but it is. sorry about that.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    So Cindy, here’s a question for you. Is domination, in particular, gender-based domination, a species of economic domination? Remember, I raised that question on my thread. And if it’s not necessarily so, can we then think of gender-based domination as having roots either personal maladjustment/insecurity/defect or, alternatively, in culture which produces such personal defects in what otherwise would have been healthy individuals?

    And what differences, if any, do you attribute to biological differences due to gender (apart from the one relevant fact that males are usually physically stronger of the two sexes and can therefore avail themselves of brute force if only to enforce their will?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    As regards the rest of the thread, Willaim Connolly has some interesting things to say about pornography, especially as relating to Marquis de Sade. I’ll reread the relevant chapter and provide you with a gist.

    Anyway, here is a relevant excerpt from Wiki:

    Appraisal and criticism

    Numerous writers and artists, especially those concerned with sexuality, have been both repelled and fascinated by Sade.

    The contemporary rival pornographer Rétif de la Bretonne published an Anti-Justine in 1798.

    Simone de Beauvoir (in her essay Must we burn Sade?, published in Les Temps modernes, December 1951 and January 1952) and other writers have attempted to locate traces of a radical philosophy of freedom in Sade’s writings, preceding modern existentialism by some 150 years. He has also been seen as a precursor of Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalysis in his focus on sexuality as a motive force. The surrealists admired him as one of their forerunners, and Guillaume Apollinaire famously called him “the freest spirit that has yet existed”.[9]

    Pierre Klossowski, in his 1947 book Sade Mon Prochain (“Sade My Neighbor”), analyzes Sade’s philosophy as a precursor of nihilism, negating Christian values and the materialism of the Enlightenment.

    One of the essays in Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno’s Dialectic of Enlightenment (1947) is titled “Juliette or Enlightenment and Morality” and interprets the ruthless and calculating behavior of Juliette as the embodiment of the philosophy of enlightenment. Similarly, psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan posited in his 1966 essay “Kant avec Sade” that de Sade’s ethics was the complementary completion of the categorical imperative originally formulated by Immanuel Kant.

    In his 1988 Political Theory and Modernity, William E. Connolly analyzes Sade’s Philosophy in the Bedroom as an argument against earlier political philosophers, notably Rousseau and Hobbes, and their attempts to reconcile nature, reason and virtue as basis of ordered society.

    In The Sadeian Woman: And the Ideology of Pornography (1979), Angela Carter provides a feminist reading of Sade, seeing him as a “moral pornographer” who creates spaces for women. Similarly, Susan Sontag defended both Sade and Georges Bataille’s Histoire de l’oeil (Story of the Eye) in her essay, “The Pornographic Imagination” (1967) on the basis their works were transgressive texts, and argued that neither should be censored.

    By contrast, Andrea Dworkin saw Sade as the exemplary woman-hating pornographer, supporting her theory that pornography inevitably leads to violence against women. One chapter of her book Pornography: Men Possessing Women (1979) is devoted to an analysis of Sade. Susie Bright claims that Dworkin’s first novel Ice and Fire, which is rife with violence and abuse, can be seen as a modern re-telling of Sade’s Juliette.[10]

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    177

    I think you essentially miss how the world is connected, Jordan. I think you are not able to see how all the things we do tie together to promote the problems we see.

    I think I have that same problem, still. I think we all do, until we recognize it and become open changing it.

    Do I think you are evil? Nope, I think you are average. I probably think you are kinder and more thoughtful than average.

    I also think you are blinded by your indoctrination.

    And the reason that I say you have not explored this issue, is not because your opinion is automatically wrong, but because of your unawareness and ignorance of large, but marginalized cultural movements that deal with this subject.

    So, guess what, these are not my ideas that I think are correct and won’t listen to anyone else. These are ideas that I have recently become aware of that have originated with other women and men and that allow me to make clear sense out of the unexplained holes that I see when I look back on my life experience.

    That you know none of this tells me that you don’t know what I am talking about, because you have not looked. You can’t have looked or you would recognize that it is apparent to me that you are marginalizing ways of understanding which I have taken the time to explore. How can you tell me you have explored a topic when you don’t recognize anything of what I’m saying?

    Maybe I am wrong about you. Are you denser than most? Could you really have explored the issues and positions I am describing while showing no signs of recognizing them? (I mean beyond considering them my personal and individual biases.)

    I think you have explored the subject. At least as far as you needed to to validate what you already believe. What you have not done is explored the pov I am proposing. That is what you have not looked at. And it is apparent.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    How DARE I suggest we deal with reality by ensuring that we protect those who feel they have to engage in the porn industry! How DARE I support other absurdities like the legalization of prostitution so that we can better protect the PEOPLE that engage in the practice. How DARE I suggest that we not wholly condemn people for their choices!

    You think we disagree here?

    I am not a cardboard cut-out that you can project all your assumption onto. I agree with everything you said there. Why on earth would you think I wouldn’t? I’ve said nothing to give that impression.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Roger, I am taking a break from reading upthread and will read your comments in the next little while and respond.

  • Jordan Richardson

    I am not a cardboard cut-out that you can project all your assumption onto.

    Oh that’s rich.

    I’ve said nothing to give that impression.

    EVERYTHING you’ve said has given that impression, Cindy.

    You’ve essentially cast me as a gruff MAN incapable of understanding a woman’s point of view, which is a deeply offensive notion in light of what I’ve been saying all along. If we don’t disagree and if you “agree with everything I’ve said there,” what is it you disagree with?

    Because that’s all I’ve been saying. I’ve not once been “defending porn.” I merely agree with the FACT that it exists, for whatever reason, and move towards safeguards, regulations and progress in the industry to make it better for those who choose, for whatever reason, to participate in it.

    From this, you’ve equated me with the scum of the earth and, even in your attempts to be polite, still maintain that I “haven’t looked.”

    Well, Cindy, forget it. You tell me I “miss how the world is connected.” What the hell does that even mean in this context, Cindy? Where are ANY specifics? What SPECIFICALLY about my point of view do you take issue with?

    Let’s review, again:

    1. Porn exists. It always has.

    2. Porn exists as an industry. I wish it didn’t. I wish prostitution wasn’t something women and men felt they had to partake in, either.

    3. What I “wish” and what is differs.

    4. I decide to work with what is, thus pushing for reforms and changes in various industries to make them more ethical and fairer.

    So what am I not “connecting” here? What facts have I not sorted through? What don’t I know that you know, Cindy? Where do we disagree? And what part of that disagreement tells you that it’s fucking okay to tell me that I haven’t even explored the issue? Or what part of that tells you that I don’t find people important? Or to say that I’ll “go along” with people burning their fucking daughters?

    Don’t you realize how fundamentally cruel it is for you to suggest the things you’ve suggested about me?

    Go back and read what you’ve said to me again. Try to remember the personal attacks that have been deleted, too. And you tell me where I might gather the “crazy” idea that you don’t agree with me.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Why don’t you call me tonight if you can?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Jordan,

    I will read back and see where I went wrong. If that is all you said then, I guess I’m not sure what happened.

    Since most of my life, I, as a woman, could not explain nor understand ‘women’, in the sense of how the world related to me as a woman, and how I came to be the way I am as a woman, and how it related to other women, I would be very shocked if you, as a man, could understand better than I could. Now that was with probably 35 years of trying. And, I’m not done yet. And I am still discovering new things that make sense of things about myself as a woman, daily.

    So, unless you would say that you, say, as a white man, understand the black experience, I am not sure what problem you find with my suggestion that you, as a man, might not understand the female experience.

    It boils down to this: where you have a dominant group you have unequal power between that group and other groups. The pov of the others become marginalized and reality is explained according to the pov of the dominating group. It is the same with white people, and people of color as it is with males and females. As a white feminist I don’t understand the reality faced by women of color. It would take a lot of hubris and presumption to claim I did.

  • zingzing

    cindy: “that is the way PEOPLE do things. this demonstrates that the australian aborigine has another pov about what ‘human’ nature is”

    well, westerners confer on things as well… unilateral decision making isn’t part of western “human nature.” those are a certain set of rules that form part of that test, not our larger culture.

    “i may not have read what you said, yet. i haven’t finished reading everything. i’m not intentionally ignoring it.”

    fair enough.

    roger, have you ever read any chinese pornography? there’s one called “the embroidered couch,” published in the early 1600s, if i recall. it’s quite ridiculous. all the vibrators and sex toys… anyway, it’s all based in the chinese concept of qi. it’s a philosophical text hidden as a porn novel. i read another one that was written by a woman… and that one is even crazier. anal sex seems a lot more scary to me after reading it, but that lady sure got off on it. the amount of anatomical detail is cartoonishly disturbing, but you certainly get the idea she knows what she’s talking about. they were perverts of the highest magnitude back then.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    I will also seriously consider your statement that you feel what I said was cruel, Jordan.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Will do, Roger. I have much of a response to you written. But am cooking chicken and dumplings now. Just popped on for a dumpling recipe.

  • zingzing

    cindy: “I am not sure what problem you find with my suggestion that you, as a man, might not understand the female experience. The pov of the others become marginalized and reality is explained according to the pov of the dominating group.”

    and yet, you, as a woman, do not know what the pov of the “dominating group,” or men, is. how could you? so your view is just as distorted as any.

    and yet, at least in your train of thought, you seem to escape this problem. how is that? how is your view of our society more truthful and less distorted than ours, or anyone’s?

  • zingzing

    hrm… more succinctly, your view of yourself is filtered through the dominate male view. and yet, you cannot know what the male view is, or how it filters/distorts your view of yourself. so your view of yourself comes from a place you cannot understand. if what you say is true.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Cindy,

    I don’t presume to understand the female point of view as well as you can. Never once suggested such a thing. I did say that I knew what I was talking about though, and what I was talking about wasn’t the female experience. It was the porn industry, specifically. I do not dispute, and didn’t dispute, that porn can have dangerous and even deadly consequences. My objection, where I entered the argument (I now regret ever stepping foot in this thread), was to the definition of pornography as a monolithic entity that can simply be qualified as one thing or another. This was never, for me, about the “female experience” because I don’t doubt that some females have significant and incredibly justified concerns about pornography.

    Now, there are many things about the female experience that I will not understand in my lifetime. I don’t dispute that. I do continue to dispute the notion that I CAN’T understand it, however, because this implies that we are stuck as human beings in our differences like flies are stuck in honey. And that’s simply not a worldview I subscribe to at all.

    The pov of the others become marginalized and reality is explained according to the pov of the dominating group.

    Agreed. I said as much in #190.

    But that doesn’t mean that understanding is impossible, nor does it mean that I specifically know nothing about the subject we’re talking about. And that’s what you accused me of. And it’s not the first time you’ve accused me of such things using your usual abstract reasoning.

    As a white feminist I don’t understand the reality faced by women of color. It would take a lot of hubris and presumption to claim I did.

    Agreed.

    One problem: I didn’t claim to understand your reality. Yet you claim to absolutely understand mine, enough so that you effortlessly equate me with child-burning maniacs.

    You wonder where this went wrong, that’s a good start.

    Do you really have to discern the cruelty of equating me (or anyone else for that matter) as a man who’d “go along” with the burning of daughters? Or with genital mutilation? Or with slavery? Or child abuse? Or any of the other foul realities that I’ve spent most of my life ACTIVELY fighting?

    That you’d suggest, based on your extraordinarily limited view of me as an individual, that I’d be simply “okay” with that shit is absolutely offensive.

    I asked you for specifics, Cindy, but you’re fiddling with something else entirely. You’re claiming that I said something I didn’t say, that I can “understand your point of view.” That’s not how this started.

    This started with you telling me that I know NOTHING about the subject. Period.

    So I’ll ask again: what SPECIFICALLY about my point of view leads you to this conclusion? Name ONE thing I’ve said on the subject that implies I don’t know what I’m talking about. Just one.

    I bet you don’t, Cindy, because you can’t.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Jordan,

    My entire conversation is based on my pov. My entire explanation is a detailing of that pov.

    Again, I have to go back over the thread to see where I went wrong. Mark was correct in that my response to you was reactive because I was angry. Some of your responses have been reactive and angry.

    Let me say this much for now. When I insulted you directly I was speaking to you as the sex which conforms to the social construction of masculinity, regardless of culture.

    Let me post a response I wrote for zing, but which explains. (I hope, anyway, it explains in a way that makes sense to you. You may have to assume my presumptions about reality to comprehend it. Though of course agreeing with them is not required for comprehension.)

    cindy: “thus if men decide his daughters need to wear burkas, or be burned alive, [jordan] will likely go along with that…”

    i was angry when i said this, but not merely angry. it did have a purpose. i was trying to go for an example that would shock a person into seeing how their views are the same as views they find shocking. i failed. i was angry and offended and as jordan oft feels about me, i didn’t feel getting through to him was possible and chose just to vent.

    he does not support burkas only because he is a resident of this particular western societal construction. what makes those people different from us people is a matter of where they/we were born. jordan’s pov limited by his own culturally installed assumptions about reality as theirs are, albeit it shows up in his support of less obviously–to him and to you, anyway–destructive forms of patriarchy (one’s that are as alarming to me as burkas are to you or to him).

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Simply put, imo, we learn what reality is based on our culture, unless we challenge our cultural presumptions, we are slaves to them.

    More clear: I do think we can understand each other. I just don’t think we should presume to, before we have an adequate chance to dwell in the imagined reality of the other.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    maybe not more clear, try this: dwell, in OUR imagination, in that other’s reality, as described by THEM.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Some of your responses have been reactive and angry

    Yeah, when you tell someone that he’d have no problem watching people burn their fucking daughters, you might generate some some emotion and anger.

    You’re speaking to me “as the sex which conforms to the social construction of masculinity?” Wow, very nice. I was speaking to you as Cindy, but you’re speaking to me, an individual, as a social construct without paying ANY mind to how I feel as that person or what your view of the social construct says about the women in my life and about my general attitudes towards them.

    I can’t decide what’s more offensive: that you’d reduce me to a social construct or that you’d make such conclusions based on such nonsense.

    You always talk about “getting through” to certain people on these threads, like what you’re saying is something that’s NEVER been considered before. We’ve been through this already, though. Honestly, you’re not bringing anything remotely new to the table. What’s more, I’ve agreed with virtually everything you’ve been saying. If you viewed me as an individual rather than a social construct, you might have seen that in my words. As usual, we differ in one small area and largely share the same values, but our conversations generally go to hell because you’re still “trying to get through” to a construct and not a human being. Sounds to me like you’re stuck.

    Incidentally, I’ve been asking you for specifics again and I can tell that’s been a mistake. But I’ll try once more:

    What is one less obviously destructive form of patriarchy that I support? Give me one example. Hopefully it’s something I’ve actually SAID as an individual and not some sort of asinine “construct” assumption you’re making about my character, my personal background and my ability to progress as an individual raised by a wonderful woman.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Cindy, I’ll dwell in your imagination the second you stop telling me what exists in mine.

    unless we challenge our cultural presumptions, we are slaves to them.

    Agreed. That’s probably why I’ve spent most of my life doing just that, Cindy. But how would you know that? You pretty much just brush off any REALITY of mine when it doesn’t suit your social construction, don’t you? I don’t fit your mould of what a Western man should be, so I’m pretty much fucked.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Amazing, too, that you direct this admonishment towards me:

    I am not a cardboard cut-out that you can project all your assumption onto.

    Yet you proceed to admit that you’ve made a social cut-out of me on which to project your obvious misandry. Lovely work.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    I told you that I did that when I was angry and ready to write you off, as you frequently do with me.

    You should be familiar with it, as you are still seething in your comments, regardless of that I am trying to be conciliatory.

    And that is fine. You are still upset. But, try granting me the right to be upset as well. You don’t get to have a corner on the market.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    #
    81 – Jordan Richardson
    Oct 03, 2010 at 11:27 am

    Cindy, have you lived as a man?
    #
    82 – Jordan Richardson
    Oct 03, 2010 at 11:36 am

    By the way, I’ve been forcefed your argument before as well and it’s bloody unfair. Apparently by not aligning directly with your views on any particular topic, the other person hasn’t even “considered” your view.

    What an offensive notion. Couldn’t it be possible that someone else has, in fact, considered the options before arriving at their view? Are your views that spectacular that they’ve never been considered prior to your vocalization? Are you the only “enlightened” individual to grace these glorious pages?

    This notion that most of us men are just shallow lugs drooling our way through life because of cultural conditioning is getting to be a bit much. I’m tired of being told that the only cooking I can do is burning the living shit out of a steak on the BBQ, the only music I can listen to is rock with copious guitars, the only drinks I can enjoy are beer and/or scotch but NEVER one of those fruity or flowery drinks (or else I’m a fag), the only women I can find beauty in are skinny losers that resemble heroin addicts, and the only “feelings” I can express are hunger and/or horniness.

    You, with your assumptions about pornography and sexism in general, continue to promote this notion that gender difficulties all slope one way. And then, to top it all off, you rip into any man (save a select few that have found remarkable favour with you somehow) that dares oppose you with obscenities and condescending sexism.

    This is NOT narrow-minded, Cindy?

    Zingzing never told you that you should be scorned for speaking your truth. He told the truth in suggesting that much of this sort of opposition to pornography is dismissed as “prudishness” by the large majority of people that experience the discussion. He’s not applauding that notion at all, he’s telling you the god’s honest truth because he doesn’t live in a magic bubble. Sorry to speak for him, but when I see this sort of asinine ranting and raving and this sort of blatant hypocrisy, I can’t help it.

    Jordan,

    I found you first comments to me. I think your comment about what started the trouble between us as you expressed in 177 is disingenuous. You stepped into the conversation swinging at me directly, when I was not even conversing with you, let alone attacking you.

    I hope you can see that, that is what started the problem.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Cindy, not once have I or anybody else even attempted to take away any of your rights on these threads. You can be as upset as you like, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that you’re admitting to treating me as a “construct” and not as an individual.

    Yes, you’re absolutely correct in that I did address you specifically. Can I not do that? Are these threads not open for all to participate in? You certainly didn’t leap on Handyguy the same way you jumped on me, and he stated a query that you were perhaps advocating censorship.

    What I said in #177 started with this, by the way:

    And by the way Cindy, what you’ve said to me about not understanding a woman’s POV is deeply offensive to my marriage, to how my mother raised me, and so on.

    I did “come in swinging” because you said something silly. You think you can judge the POV of a MALE, but apparently it is impossible for a MALE to judge the POV of a female. I cited a problem with the obvious double standard you were floating and carried on laying out my case.

    I stated that I, too, could relate to what you were force-feeding zingzing and furthered the idea of the double standard, as highlighted above in your recollection of my post.

    My central core problem was clear:

    You, with your assumptions about pornography and sexism in general, continue to promote this notion that gender difficulties all slope one way. And then, to top it all off, you rip into any man (save a select few that have found remarkable favour with you somehow) that dares oppose you with obscenities and condescending sexism.

    In response, you proceeded to lay into me with, as predicted, “condescending sexism.”

    After that, I began addressing Mark on the topic of pornography. Once you returned, it was all about burqas and burning children. The leap from my accusation of a double standard to your insults is a big one, in my opinion, and I still fail to see how it was at all warranted.

    If I was wrong about a perceived double standard, I await your explanation.

    You still have yet to respond to that. You also have yet to respond to my comments about the topic that this is all couched in to begin with.

    My points will stand, too, even when I’m not “upset.” Which, by the way, is a hard thing to be when you’ve just finished watching Coraline. Great film.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Sure you can address anything to me you want. But if you say:

    Then I present my shocking thesis:

    It is time for a change, yes. And on the list of things that must change, depictions of a sexual nature involving consenting, well-fed adults rate very, very low on my list.

    And that’s it. That’s where the trouble started between this cave-dwelling woman hater and Cindy.

    …then I say you are being disingenuous.

    Further, zing and I were at the point of a personal misunderstanding. I misinterpreted him. Before I could straighten that out, you stepped in and started swinging.

    So sure, you can say what you want but entering with that attitude you displayed at a heated point of any personal disagreement between two people may get you burned. That surprises you?

    Further more, my sense of you is that you are more interested in continuing misunderstanding and attack, than you are at reaching any sort of agreement to disagree. You are not open to what I say. You immediately judge it. That’s okay. Other men are open to it. Some don’t even think it’s sexist. They think it’s valid. In fact I get many of my ideas from men.

    So, yes we can understand one another. But I have probably not layed the right groundwork for you to understand me. I probably offended you way before you had a chance to consider my pov. That is my fault. I am sorry about that.

    Roger made me aware of that tonight. Thank you, Roger.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    I regret Jordan starting a war of the sexes with you. I wish I had the capacity I had in my early 20s, to talk to people respectfully and with sensitivity all the time. I realize that I need to work on regaining that.

  • Jordan Richardson

    …then I say you are being disingenuous.

    But I wasn’t. I said “And that’s it…” referring to my entire post in #177. The entire post represents the problem.

    Before I could straighten that out, you stepped in and started swinging.

    A flaw in the medium of internet threads appears to be that I can’t read the minds of those I am talking to.

    You are not open to what I say. You immediately judge it. That’s okay. Other men are open to it. Some don’t even think it’s sexist. They think it’s valid. In fact I get many of my ideas from men.

    I have been asking you over and over and over again what it is SPECIFICALLY that we disagree on. No answer from you yet. At all. So what am I not “open to,” Cindy? What is it specifically that you keep accusing me of?

    Why do you keep restating this without evidence? That’s my biggest problem here. You keep referencing something I’m not getting, but you keep leaving out what that something is. I don’t even think you know, Cindy, which is rich with irony when you’re accusing me of not wanting to “agree to disagree.”

    This is getting laughable, actually, and I think I’ve had enough of repeating myself for a good while. I’m tired of being continually accused of not even “considering” your views, Cindy, and I won’t continue to expose myself to such nonsense.

    Have fun, though. I’m out.

  • zingzing

    oi. jordan, cindy’s trying to get this thing back on track and you’re staying angry. not that cindy wasn’t the one being angry earlier. not that i wasn’t angry earlier either. but i think this is one of the more interesting arguments i’ve seen in a while…

    and i don’t want to lose the only person on my side. although mark hasn’t been around lately. come back, jordan. (you ever heard that album “jordan, the comeback?” it’s a good album.)

    oh! jordan! i’ll be overwhelmed! coward! come back or i’ll shoot. leaving me all alone… i can’t take them all… i’m so alone.

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    “i think this is one of the more interesting arguments i’ve seen in a while… ”

    then you need to get out more

  • zingzing

    well i was enjoying it. and you’re certainly indoors. why you buggin?

  • zingzing

    dick move, g. dunno why.

  • Mark

    zing: could be. i dunno. that’s very likely true. maybe i was feeling optimistic. maybe all humans are selfish should be on the list. but i just didn’t put it there.

    On the other hand, the selfish act could be the aberration…

    Which of the other traits on your list have similar problems?

    … and can we add, ‘All humans are socially conditioned’ as an essential trait of human nature?

  • Mark

    Jordan, I’m sure that you are as outraged/dismayed by the abuses in the porn industry as I am, and I think our disagreements reflect our respective attitudes towards governance and regulation.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Mark, I don’t assume that regulation and governance is a cure-all. I do assume, however, to have seen what has worked to progress the industry in the last handful of years and I think more the same would logically progress it further.

    A boycott, in my view and in the historical sense, would do little more than serve to drill the industry further underground.

    What we disagree with most, I think, is the inevitability of pornography.

    zingzing, I just meant that I was “out” of that particular avenue of conversation. I’m done with asking the same questions and facing the same dumb accusations.

  • Jordan Richardson

    A comparison would be how a judge in my country (Canada, for those who haven’t been scoring at home) struck down three key provisions to our prostitution law in a recent landmark case.

    The move now makes it SAFER for prostitutes out there, which is a positive thing from where I sit. As I’ve said before, ideally prostitution wouldn’t be a part of our cultural lexicon. But it is, so we work with what we have.

    The legal changes now give prostitutes the ability to work indoors, rendering so-called “bawdy houses” permissible. The second law struck down was the one that made it a criminal act to communicate with a john prior to the arrangement. With this law struck down, prostitutes can not more thoroughly vet their customers prior to the engagement of services. Finally, the law that made it illegal to “live off of the avails of prostitution” was struck down. This means that a prostitute can hire a bodyguard with the full intentions of protection without worrying about legal issues.

    So the sex trade is being examined in Canada in a legal sense, with the conservative government flailing around trying to stop the changes. Much like the safe injection sites in Vancouver have changed lives, these legal changes, too, can offer hope in a hopeless industry.

  • Jordan Richardson

    *prostitutes can now (not not) more thoroughly vet

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Jordan,

    I am not sure how to explain. I am at a loss. But, I’ll try. #82 is your first comment to me. It’s hostile and an all out attack on me. It is accusatory and discounts my whole position, it implies that when I criticize men I am unjustified and sexist. When I am angry about what I see, I am simply tearing men down for no good reason that you can see.

    I am saying that your interpretation of my frustration as being sexist says that you can’t empathize with that anger. You see attack in it but you see nothing it it that suggest it stems from hurt.

    So, what do I think you don’t understand? I think you either reject my radical feminist position on socially constructed masculinity, what is destructive about it in patriarchal society (and I mean destructive to both men and women), and how it explains the promulgation of patriarchy. Or you don’t understand it. My presumption here is that you have not looked at that position. So, hopefully, that clears up the what of what we disagree about.

    In rereading, I don’t disagree with you about what I regard as erotica. That is, I don’t have a problem with erotica (which I distinguish from pornography–which literally means “the drawing of whores”. That definition reflects somewhat where I draw the line between the two. Like Mark, I would not have a problem with a teen viewing a video that contained explicit sex of a loving nature. I have seen two very graphic, but very respectful, caring, tantra videos in my life, one on male and one on female orgasmic experience. I would not have a problem with a teen seeing either of them. I might even be inclined to hand them out for learning purposes.

    These with one caveat: I would still be concerned with repetitive viewing of material that idealized body-type, age, or looks. I would be more comfortable with images that depicted natural ordinary people.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Cindy, I’ll try this one more time.

    You are unjust and sexist when you criticize men WHOLLY as a collective gender, just as I would be unjust and sexist were I to criticize women WHOLLY as a collective gender.

    Yes, I would imagine that I would have a frustrated reaction any time I see someone being unjust and sexist towards any gender.

    When, on top of that, you suggest – as you frequently do – that the “other” person in the discussion has not even “considered” your view, it is deeply frustrating again. This is because you appear to not even give the slightest hint of examination of your own views and how they might be considered deeply sexist.

    And on top of that, in your attempts to “smooth things over,” you again repeat the idea that I haven’t “looked at that position.” Again, that’s a deep generalization that stems from my refusal to allow you to promote sexist, unjust statements about an entire gender.

    You can argue that “socially constructed masculinity” is one thing or another until you’re blue in the face, Cindy – and believe me, it appears that you do – but you’ll never be able to lump us all into that construct, even as you try to do so for sake of convenience.

    And believe me, I’m the last person that would ever disagree that there is a construct like that. But I’m also the last person that would even come close to suggesting that all men meet the criteria of said construct.

    You claim to be walking a deeper line here, Cindy, but I think it’s because you’re scared to actually have to treat people as individuals with varying views and varying shortcomings. Societal and social constructs might be useful in academic discussions, but in the framework of actually speaking with human beings about varying issues I think that relying on such notions is ultimate destructive and needlessly confusing.

    Now, on subject:

    I would still be concerned with repetitive viewing of material that idealized body-type, age, or looks. I would be more comfortable with images that depicted natural ordinary people.

    Absolutely agree 100%.

    I will submit here that the modern porn industry features a wider variety of female and male body types than modern Hollywood typically does. Body image is a frequent subject at our house, Cindy, and this is an issue that I have given countless hours of consideration and study to.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Short form of what I believe:

    There are, of course, societal and cultural standards of maleness. All males, however, do not fit those standards. As time marches, fewer males fit those standards.

    Those standards, much like standards of expected femininity, grow increasingly outdated with the passage of time. Using such standards in conversation only serves the purposes of convenience in that they allow us to “group” individuals together based on assumed archetype. This is an error.

    It follows, then, that arguing with someone as if they were their assumed archetype would also be an error. It further follows that it would be frustrating and upsetting if that person were raised specifically to refute, resist and actively refuse said archetype.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    You can argue that “socially constructed masculinity” is one thing or another until you’re blue in the face, Cindy – and believe me, it appears that you do – but you’ll never be able to lump us all into that construct, even as you try to do so for sake of convenience.

    I am not opposed to what you are saying here. When I am angry I do simply make blanket statements that have the effect of lumping all men together and saying they are a single thing. I will have to work on that. I can’t guarantee I won’t do it again, because I am still in the process of uncovering issues that I have not yet emotionally processed. I can say I will try and I will even try to remember that my reactivity is likely to do a lot of harm.

    In fact, the reason that I would take until the next day when I began responding to zing, was that I wanted to prevent reacting. I wanted to become calm again before replying. I will try to change.

    So, about lumping all males or females into one thing. My view is that there are certain ways that males in any culture (and females) are conditioned to adopt gender roles. In part they are destructive. I am currently focused on examining the destructive nature of these roles. As humans, we adopt them (to whatever degree) automatically from infancy on, they are reinforced. Our culture explains to us that they are biologically based. Thus, it insures that the destructive aspects remain hidden and replicated generation after generation.

    And believe me, I’m the last person that would ever disagree that there is a construct like that. But I’m also the last person that would even come close to suggesting that all men meet the criteria of said construct.

    I agree. All men do not. Just as all women do not completely conform to constructed femininity.

    Societal and social constructs might be useful in academic discussions, but in the framework of actually speaking with human beings about varying issues I think that relying on such notions is ultimate destructive and needlessly confusing.

    I disagree here. I think that their discussion is imperative to the possibility of changing the world.

    I do need to grow some and reduce my reactivity. It is a process. Hopefully, despite our differences, you will forgive my flawed nature and see that as a gesture of goodwill.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Living is a process and none of us will end our lives having perfectly handled it, so try to be a little easier on yourself.

    All of this happened in the natural ebb and flow of conversation. Sometimes that sucks, but most of the time that’s great. Sometimes I get tired of it, sometimes I don’t.

    I do apologize for my part and for my anger, Cindy. I know that you were coming from a good place.

    My view is that there are certain ways that males in any culture (and females) are conditioned to adopt gender roles. In part they are destructive.

    I would agree that there are gender expectations, yes, but I would argue vehemently that those expectations can be and often are refuted by a number of other factors. These include upbringing, relationships, environments, and so on. So we may grow up with expectations of being a certain type of man, say the dreaded Alpha Male, but through a variety of other means we may refuse that expectation and head in another direction towards a more compassionate, inclusive construct.

    I don’t think anybody disputes the existence of gender roles, but I think we are more equipped than ever with support to blast those roles to hell.

    So that’s where I think the theory of automatic adoption is incorrect, especially in the sense that we adopt the destructive portions that you claim “remain hidden.” We all have destructive tendencies, mind you, but I think I’d argue with you about what level of those tendencies are gender-based.

    This discussion is useful, yes, but relying on them isn’t. We can change and many of us do thanks to better resources and better support mechanisms.

  • zingzing

    “On the other hand, the selfish act could be the aberration…”

    kinda doubt it.

    “Which of the other traits on your list have similar problems?”

    i don’t think i would have problems with the other ones.

    “… and can we add, ‘All humans are socially conditioned’ as an essential trait of human nature?”

    that comes after the fact. that’s more conditioning than nature. that’s a can of worms i don’t really want to touch at the moment.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    196 – Roger,

    As I consider the Marquis de Sade, it is difficult to write unemotionally. Guess this is as good at time to practice controlling my outrage as any. I have never read the Marquis de Sade. John has some experience reading and analyzing him, and judging from what he is saying, I will put down my entire wager on agreement with with Andrea Dworkin.

    I don’t completely understand something (and John could not immediately help). What does “de Sade’s ethics was the complementary completion of the categorical imperative originally formulated by Immanuel Kant.” mean?

    Guillaume Apollinaire famously called him “the freest spirit that has yet existed”

    Maybe, but Ted Bundy wasn’t around yet. I guess it depends on what ‘freedom’ means. Free to so completely objectify others that one does not regard them as human beings at all? Free to be a psychopath? I guess that is one sort of freedom. To each his own, I suppose.

    (Okay, so I had to put some outrage in there.)

    Let me say that I don’t completely understand quite what any of those analysts mean, except Andrea Dworkin. Her, I understand.

    Here is a piece by Robert Jensen that I can say I could have written, that is how completely I agree with his vision in this interview. So, maybe understanding that, you can better explain to me what these other people are saying. I can call tonight, if that is convenient.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Roger,

    Other resources I have found (am finding) worthwhile.

    Robert Jensen:

    I am currently reading the following three books by Jensen:

    The heart of whiteness: confronting race, racism, and white privilege

    Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity

    Citizens of the empire: the struggle to claim our humanity

    Michael Kimmel:

    Another book I read a few months ago was: Men Confront Pornography It is a series of essays with opinions both pro and con. This is a carefully chosen selection of writings. As such, I found every single essay very informative and illuminating, even where I disagreed with the author’s pov about porn..

    Currently I am reading Kimmel’s Guyland:The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men

  • Mark

    “… and can we add, ‘All humans are socially conditioned’ as an essential trait of human nature?”

    zing: that comes after the fact. that’s more conditioning than nature. that’s a can of worms i don’t really want to touch at the moment.

    After what fact? Where are all of these unconditioned humans waiting to get to ‘that fact’? It seems that you’ve restricted the subject to your imaginary/idealized human.

    “On the other hand, the selfish act could be the aberration…”

    zing: kinda doubt it.

    While I appreciate your doubt, it doesn’t serve as much of a decision procedure.

  • zingzing

    mark, human nature is independent of social conditioning. that’s the point of human nature. yes, a vast majority of humans, maybe even all of them, are socially conditioned. but human nature isn’t what we are told to be by society. human nature is what we are despite (although not necessarily in conflict with) what society tells us we need to be.

    “While I appreciate your doubt, it doesn’t serve as much of a decision procedure.”

    i know. but that’s why i couldn’t claim that one as part of human nature. i have too many doubts about the whole thing. i couldn’t come to a conclusion on it.

  • Mark

    You want me to prove that what you’ve created in your mind as an unchanging phenomenon in fact changes…

    Perhaps you need to prove that human nature as you define it exists in the real real world as more than an academic concept.

  • Mark

    (pardon the stutter)

  • zingzing

    i’m certainly not the first one to describe human nature in such terms. and of course it’s just a concept. it has no physical reality. it’s all mental, but we only rarely even think about it as we act it out. it’s only when something butts up against it that we really question it.

  • zingzing

    and i never really said it’s “unchangeable.” it’s just that i really can’t point to any specific way in which it really has changed in any significant manner.

  • Baronius

    Careful, Zing. Trying to answer this question without reference to a soul is like explaining the Grand Canyon without understanding the concept of erosion.

  • Mark

    That others have described it in such terms doesn’t prove its existence which I doubt. The claim that something that you call human nature exists prior to social conditioning requires proof.

  • Mark

    (I’ll suggest as an aside that your ability to conceptualize such a unicorn is itself socially conditioned.)

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Cindy, I haven’t read Sade either, but he’s been so caricatured and rhetoricized over the years that our mental picture of him probably doesn’t bear much resemblance to the actual guy or his writings. I’d caution against such a visceral uninformed reaction.

  • doug m.

    Seems a little late for that caution at this point

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    247 –

    DrD,

    John (my friend) was informing my disgust. While he is no de Sade scholar, he has actually read some of his work. He says, he could see how he might be considered a brilliant writer–literature-wise, but his examples of what this real man actually did to real prostitutes makes me wonder why anyone would care if he’s a brilliant writer.

    He cut women with a razor and poured hot wax on their wounds. He sodomized men and women, made a 13 yo girl his mistress, possibly raped a 9 yo girl as well as other people. He was a sadist, of course. That is enough to make me gag.

    Here is something John says he wrote about: A man hires a prostitute, she asks what orifice he wants to engage, and he cuts his own and rapes the wound.

    Oh the delightful freedom in such images. It makes me wonder what the hell the above critics are talking about as far as ‘freedom’. Sounds like a bunch of wanna-be-avane-garde hoity-toity people tripping over each other in agreement to prove how sophisticated they are. (Something I don’t go in for and think makes people sound like a bunch of horses’ asses.) Or perhaps they are just deranged themselves.

    I looked up what ‘freedom’ meant in the context of de Sade being the ‘freest’ and found freedom from morals among the things the critic was including in his admiration of de Sade as the ‘freest’.

    That is why I posed, Ted Bundy as much much freer.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    To clarify: My visceral reaction was not uninformed. It was not informed by personally reading de Sade, but by reading about him and inquiring of one who has, whose opinion I trust.

    So, I think I did qualify myself.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Dr.D,

    One more thing. I did pause at seeing Simone de Beauvoir in there among the supporters, especially because I have read reviews about The Second Sex. I would have presumed to have more in common with her.

    Here is something I just found: Pedophilia charges

    During World War II, the mother of Nathalie Sorokine formally accused Beauvoir of “corrupting a minor”, and although her whole circle lied to defend Beauvoir, she was dismissed from her job school teaching in 1943.[49] Beauvoir would, along with other French intellectuals, later petition for abolishment of age of consent laws in France.

    Now those two things: 1) the charges and 2) the petitioning, alone do not convince me that she was a pedophile. However, seeing now her support for de Sade adds another layer of intrigue.

    I will have to check that out.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Not defending de Sade necessarily, but it’s worth noting that he spent 32 years in either prisons or insane asylums. And most of his best-known writings are fiction. The “freedom” some literary supporters cite is a possible forerunner of existentialism and of the free sexual expression [non-porn as well as “porn”] that many of us are glad to have in the 20th and 21st centuries.

    [Also listing “he sodomized both men and women” in among de Sade’s nastier deeds or alleged deeds, is perhaps not appropriate. One person’s sodomy is another’s Friday night date, and no crime or cruelty need be involved.]

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    The “freedom” some literary supporters cite is a possible forerunner of existentialism and of the free sexual expression [non-porn as well as “porn”] that many of us are glad to have in the 20th and 21st centuries.

    Who is, most? and what does that (and do you) mean (by that)? What specific sexual practices? I am not sure I agree with your comment, though I agree with the sentiment. If you mean sodomy, okay, that is one thing. I should have elaborated. I apologize for being imprecise.

    de Sade’s sodomy would be on a male servant who is presumed to have been ordered to perform. Since de Sade’s sexuality seems to revolve around objectification of one’s sexual partner, I for one, think that fascination with him may, at least in part, be
    responsible for the the acceptance of the more raunchy and inhumane aspects of sexuality. One of those includes sodomy in the form of coerced sex (otherwise known as rape).

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    I don’t believe we need a de Sade to teach us about acceptance of sexuality. Such a proposition is repugnant to me.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    zing,

    why do men do this? do you have any explanation regarding why this happens:

    more than 1,000 teachers have been sacked in Kenya for sexually abusing girls over the past two years bbc news

  • zingzing

    baronius: “Careful, Zing. Trying to answer this question without reference to a soul is like explaining the Grand Canyon without understanding the concept of erosion.”

    let’s no go all supernatural. if you try and bring in the soul, someone’s just going to ask for proof that the soul exists. there’s no need for that. (but you go right on ahead if you like.)

    mark: “That others have described it in such terms doesn’t prove its existence which I doubt. The claim that something that you call human nature exists prior to social conditioning requires proof.”

    that’s kind of like defining apples by the fact that they can be made into pie. the definition of the human nature is that these things are (supposedly) shared between all humans independent of their social conditioning.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    I meant the freedom to portray sexuality more freely in art: novels, movies, etc. Movies before the 60s were artificially prudish, as were most books just a few decades earlier.

    De Sade was “ahead of his time” in writing erotic fiction…but he did go to jail and to insane asylums for his books as well as his deeds.

    This doesn’t make his deeds admirable, and I’m not saying so. [Although it is possible that some/many of them are mythical or conflated with scenes from his novels.]

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    further to 254,

    because i am repelled, it will take more than a ‘perhaps than’ comment to elicit anything besides my contempt. give me some support for your proposal that de Sade was some requirement for the acceptance of sexual freedoms and i will respond less emotionally.

    I am often offended when someone suggests that someone in the dominant culture is some sort of force that was necessary for ‘progress’ when all along the something oppressed culture may have been pressing for a different pov all along.

    This is one problem I have with the status quo, and subsequently those who apologize for it. And especially when it has been used to oppress them personally! That includes gays being moderates rather than radicals and blacks opposing gays as opposed to being radicals.

    People seem to take the easy road. “This is what there is, therefore I am a moderate.” Not a position you would have preferred people to take on homosexuality is it, handy? Think about what your moderate position means to other marginalized people.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    perhaps he was a force, perhaps he would not have been in a ‘better world’

    (sorry for being abrupt. every time i read about things like 1000 children getting molested, it tends to taint my outlook. no offense meant.)

  • Mark

    The ‘independent of their social conditioning’ is your own prejudice and requirement; we could waste our time arguing about it or appealing to authorities…let’s not.

    As Wiki’s writer says: “Human nature is the concept that there is a set of inherent distinguishing characteristics, including ways of thinking, feeling and acting, that all humans tend to have.

    The questions of what causes these distinguishing characteristics of humanity and in turn how fixed human nature is, are amongst the oldest and most important questions in western philosophy.”

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    the something oppressed culture may have been pressing for a different pov all along., should read “the oppressed culture may have been pressing for a different…”, etc.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    De Sade was just one figure among many who wrote explicitly about sex [in novels! fiction!] in a way some have praised as art. He was persecuted for it, so some view him as a sort of martyr to free expression.

    I was not so much agreeing with this position as putting it out there more clearly than others had on this thread. I don’t feel I know enough to come to a definite conclusion. But do keep an open mind about whether the gross misdeeds he was accused of actually happened. Not so far removed from the era of witch burning, after all.

  • zingzing

    mark: “The ‘independent of their social conditioning’ is your own prejudice and requirement”

    no it isn’t. is all social conditioning the same? no. but human nature is. that’s what makes it what it is. your definition up there says nothing about social conditioning. it says “inherent.” are babies socially conditioned when they pop out? of course not. and there’s certainly no social conditioning going on in the womb. but human nature is already there.

  • zingzing

    cindy: “zing, why do men do this?”

    i dunno. ask a child molester. or ask a kenyan. they might have a clue, but i don’t just because i’m a man. why do women go bonkers and drown their own kids? what’s going on at oprah’s school?

  • zingzing

    mark, i guess i’ll consider the idea that whatever human nature is might be a product of social conditioning. but with all the different societies out there, and with all the different ways that people live, there seems to be a core set of behavioral and emotional notes we all hit. so if it’s social conditioning that causes this, it’s somewhat odd that all societies produce something we can all hold in common. even if social conditioning creates human nature, we can still consider human nature as a separate thing, consistent even as the social conditioning varies.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    zing,

    you are deflecting. if you seriously want me to address those things about women, I will.

    i am not attacking men. i am asking how do you explain that phenomenon where men do that. (the fact is men did that.) does it have anything or nothing to do with ‘masculinity’, in your opinion?

    i wasn’t being facetious, i am trying to consider your position, in my position situations like that are explained. i want to know how you explain them.

    is that somehow offensive to ask you a hard question?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    i get a strange sense that offense is taken when i say things about men that happen to be true, but that you don’t like.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    oooops, not ‘men’, let me change that to ‘males’.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    oh and let me clarify, not ‘all males’. i specifically brought up that recent article about male behavior that happened on a large scale. that’s all. not condemning the whole gender.

  • zingzing

    i’m not deflecting. do you understand why women drown their kids? no? but you’re a woman! you must understand why. (that’s sarcasm.)

    i’m not going to defend or explain child molesters, cindy. they’re as strange to me as they are to you. it’s not offensive. it’s pointless. i have no idea what made them do what they did. it’s got nothing to do with me.

    those kinds of numbers in such a small locality suggest that it’s got something to do with the locality. they have strange ideas about the powers of virgins there. maybe you should ask a kenyan about it.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    oprah’s school: i looked quickly, it looks like there was at least one sexual predator (female) among the ‘matrons’. (again i looked briefly, i may have missed a lot). it also looks like girls may have been affected by sexual abuse by that matron, and themselves replicated the predatory behavior.

    that is right in line with what i would expect. females are capable of being predators, serial killers, etc. my explanation of female predators is similar to that of male predators. i think women are just not socially conditioned toward things that result is such outcomes as typically as men are. but they are certainly just as capable of it.

    that is pretty much the only reason i think there are more men than women who are involved in violence and rape, not because of some intrinsic flaw in males or some superiority of women. but, women are generally conditioned differently–worldwide.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    there are a number of reasons a woman might drown her children–i don’t think any of them are flattering. but anything from she preferred a male child to she hated them and was mentally ill and anything in between could be the reason. the larger reason is explained by her culture and the mental illnesses (along a hypothetical continuum) as well as preferences that her particular culture creates.

    my newest interesting author, ariel levy (interview), wrote ‘female chauvinist pigs: is raunch culture the new women’s liberation?’ in which she discusses how women promote the culture i have been complaining about. (just so you know, i also think women responsible)

  • Mark

    zing: …with all the different societies out there, and with all the different ways that people live, there seems to be a core set of behavioral and emotional notes we all hit. so if it’s social conditioning that causes this, it’s somewhat odd that all societies produce something we can all hold in common. even if social conditioning creates human nature, we can still consider human nature as a separate thing, consistent even as the social conditioning varies.

    Let’s leave questions about causation aside for now. The project as I understand it is to describe ‘human nature’ and decide whether and in what sense it changes. This is difficult enough.

    So, we tentatively agree that ‘All humans are socially conditioned’ belongs on the list?

    Concerning our earlier discussion of selfishness, wouldn’t it be more appropriate to say that ‘All humans are selfish’ and ‘All humans are selfless’ both belong on the list along with ‘All humans lie’ and ‘All humans tell the truth’ and ‘All humans are jealous’ and ‘All humans are trusting’ and a bunch of other pairs like ‘All humans love’ and ‘All humans hate’ covering the range of human behavior? Or alternatively that they should all be left off for the same reason that you left off greed? Better, couldn’t we generalize without arguing culturally specifics differences in the uses of these terms and say, ‘All humans experience contradictory emotions’ and ‘All humans exhibit contradictory behavior’?

    And re: ‘All humans are flawed’, I’m not sure how you’re using the term, so I’m setting it aside for now pending clarification.

    Which would leave us with:

    ‘All humans are socially conditioned’
    ‘All humans experience contradictory emotions’
    ‘All humans exhibit contradictory behavior’
    ‘All humans have free will’
    ‘All humans are habitual’
    ‘All humans have a survival instinct’

    Are we missing anything crucial about human nature?

    Do any of the above distinguish human nature from a more general animal nature?

  • zingzing

    “Do any of the above distinguish human nature from a more general animal nature?”

    well, there’s an interesting question. do you believe in this “animal nature?” is it changeable?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    (humans can control their environment?)

    sorry to but in (not completely, but sorta)…it doesn’t quite fit the ALL humans thing. but compared to animals, humans can control their environment, they can make decisions based on more than survival instincts, etc. something like that. maybe that is outside (beside?) the point.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    hmmm, ‘controlling their environment’, that was not from ‘any of the above’.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Oh! I was responding to the ‘Are we missing anything crucial about human nature?’ category.

  • Mark

    Cindy: ‘controlling their environment’, that was not from ‘any of the above’

    But ‘All humans control their environment’ should be added to the list.

  • Mark

    zing: do you believe in this “animal nature?” is it changeable?

    I think we’d have as much luck pinning down an essential nature for any species as for humans. And since I have yet to encounter anything that doesn’t change, I suspect that we’d find it’s changeable, as well.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la

    (sings the banana split song, waiting for zing to reply)

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    probably you’re too young for the banana splits. they didn’t last long…lol

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    sorta grateful for that though…

    H.R. PuffinStuff was wayyyyy better!

  • Doug Hunter

    Selfishness is almost the very definition of life, I don’t see how you could discount it as part of human nature.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    That is interesting, Doug. Why do you say it is “is almost the very definition of life”?

  • Mark

    It’s a pov thing Doug — selfless acts are going on all around you all the time as are selfish ones. Wouldn’t you say that both are needed for ‘humanness’?

  • zingzing

    well, cindy… i don’t know that you could say that “humans control their environment” is a part of human nature… the desire to do so maybe.

    mark, do you think there’s a set of psychological reactions/imperatives that humans hold in common, regardless of whatever form of social conditioning they grew up in? if so, what would you call this? if not, can you give me an example of a group of humans that exist outside of what i would call “human nature?”

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    zing,

    i am referring to this: humans can live in antarctica, the desert, at the bottom of the sea, in space, etc. they can grow food via agriculture, predict the weather, and probably many other things that other animals cannot do, that makes them different from other animals.

    you don’t see it that way?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    another example: i know animals that can shelter against the cold or exploit heat sources, say, i don’t know any but humans that can create heat sources.

  • zingzing

    “you don’t see it that way?”

    well, you stick me in antarctica, i’ll die. i wouldn’t know how to protect myself. so it’s not something all humans can do automatically. you stick an eskimo out in the arctic without the proper equipment, he’d die too. but you can be sure that both he and i wish we could live out there without freezing to death. so no, being able to control/live in any environment isn’t something that all humans are inherently capable of, and therefore it isn’t part of human nature.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    zing,

    you are thinking very concretely. yes, if someone tries to drown me i can’t breath water. i can’t say, it’s 20 degrees out, i will magically make it 80 degrees. but, i can (as a human) build a structure and install heat and make it 80 degrees. i can’t do this as a zebra, a snake, a giraffe, a lion, an elephant, a monkey, etc.

    (this no way implies that everyone from birth up can do this, nor did i suggest we can do it automatically…sheesh, zing…are you going to really tell me you can’t get what i am saying here? i mean humans survive, but,if i put you on the ground as an infant and walk away–do you automatically know how to survive?)

    zing are you egging me on? i mean, when you don’t understand what i am saying and i am really saying something quite simple, it makes me wonder. i just can’t take you seriously.

    when i say why do you call certain male behaviors toward viewing women, ‘natural’ and then i say in tahiti that behavior is not necessarily engaged in, you say ‘oh poor tahitians, they aren’t turned on by breasts’.

    i am confused. are you for real?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    do you WANT to sound as limited as DN?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    cuz that, my dear, is who you are sounding like, to me.

  • zingzing

    “but, i can (as a human) build a structure and install heat and make it 80 degrees.”

    but you can’t do this just because you are human. i’m not saying this to egg you on. i’m saying this because learned skills are not a part of human nature. human nature isn’t learned, it’s inherent. that’s what makes it human nature. it’s not what we can do so much as what we can’t help. sometimes, we struggle against it, sometimes it’s a beautiful thing.

    “i mean humans survive, but,if i put you on the ground as an infant and walk away–do you automatically know how to survive?”

    exactly. of course not. someone, i want to say it’s the romans, but this could be more widespread, practiced something called “exposure,” wherein they would leave an unwanted baby in the wilderness as a form of belated abortion/infanticide. of course, it was mostly girls they did this to… but don’t get started on that.

    “i can’t do this as a zebra, a snake, a giraffe, a lion, an elephant, a monkey, etc.”

    well, they’re quite stupid creatures. except lions, because they’re cats. and cats are awesome. i guess monkeys are pretty smart too. and elephants. don’t really know about the rest. what you’re talking about is more like the “human condition,” although that term is usually used to describe something a bit more negative within our intelligence. but it’s got nothing to do with human nature.

    “when i say why do you call certain male behaviors toward viewing women, ‘natural’ and then i say in tahiti that behavior is not necessarily engaged in, you say ‘oh poor tahitians, they aren’t turned on by breasts’.”

    well, that’s not exactly what i said. i tempered what you say i said with a very important phrase, that being “i know no other way.” but i get what you’re saying… my response to breasts is natural to me. men in tahiti [not even going to get into the problem of this being more of a “national geographic” stereotype than the current reality,] may have some sort of sexual response to breasts, even if it is different from mine, but they respond to sexual stimuli just as much as i do. it might be a slightly different set. (and it’s not like i spontaneously get sprung at the sight of breasts. it takes a little more than that. and what sets people off is always slightly different. thus, kinks, inclinations, proclivities, sexual preference, yellow fever, jungle love, and all the various [and dubious] ways we express our sexuality.)

    human nature is a set of base responses. certainly, people respond to things in various ways, but there is a common link within us all.

  • zingzing

    more on tahiti… basically, humans desire what they can’t have. cover it up, it becomes desirable. so, if you don’t want men responding to women’s naughty bits, loose them upon the world! of course, winters would suck, but you’d slowly desensitize men. make us go numb as you go numb.

    but that’s not a world i’d want to live in.

  • zingzing

    and to make it more clear, i didn’t ever think you thought humans could just inherently live wherever they choose. i just thought that thinking that was a part of human nature was wrong.

  • Doug Hunter

    It is a pov thing. I imagine you’ve constructed the idea of selfishness in a very limited manner which suits your purposes. I’d argue it’s much broader, although I’d love to hear some examples.

    Now bear with me, I have a tendency to think outside of any reasonable box. I view life as selfishness. Let me give you a trivial example. After my last comment I went to my refrigerator crisper drawer and grabbed a delicious green apple and ate it. Why was it in my crisper drawer and not stored outside on the ground? Simple. Other living things would eat it. I hoarded that resource without regard for the tree’s desire to reproduce and placed it specifically so that other living things could not eat it and live. Specifically, I don’t give a fuck whether maggots or vermin or other living things get a bite to eat, I come first. Now, that’s a trivial example but it is the essence of life… competition for resources to live and procreate.

    Are the collectivist ants selfless? Maybe to each other, they sting the shit out of me when I try to take “their” apple away. There’s a ‘greater good’ aspect to it, but isn’t it selfish to want the ‘greater good’ for humanity at the expense of the rest of nature and the environment?

    Now we’ve sort of established that life can be seen as very selfish, but in a more restricted sense between members of the same species there’s alot of room for discussion. What constistutes selfishness? It can be seen as selfish to have resources and not share them when asked, but (although you may not usually look at it this way) it is equally selfish to expect others to share their resources with you. I don’t see anything selfless about being a burden on society. Now, you’ll say well it’s not the burdens on society that are selfless it’s those that advocate for them. I’d retort that if controlling your own resources is considered selfish then having the audacity to assume control of others is fairly selfish as well and we could go round and round all day.

  • zingzing

    “we could go round and round all day.”

    and we have, we have, we have.

  • Mark

    zing: do you think there’s a set of psychological reactions/imperatives that humans hold in common, regardless of whatever form of social conditioning they grew up in?

    I don’t think that this holds up in a rigorous way. Thus:

    …if not, can you give me an example of a group of humans that exist outside of what i would call “human nature?”

    Let’s take ‘All humans lie’. Many years ago I read a study of a tribal group whose language didn’t include a verb ‘to lie’ published about the same time as Turnbull’s The Forest People. I’ve looked in vain for the piece…

    But Hollywood to the rescue. There’s an interesting scene in the movie Blood Diamond in which Archer tells Vandy to say that he is a photographer. Vandy is confused and clearly flabbergasted by the suggestion. I didn’t interpret this as meant to show Vandy’s high moral standards but rather as as culture clash — such behavior would be unnatural among the Mende.

    So, in what sense do ‘All humans lie’?

  • Doug Hunter

    Everything interacts with the environment. Humans have specific “smart” things that we do with it. As you pointed out tiny creatures create shelters and burrows, beavers dam rivers, bees build hives, it’s all rudimentary attempts at controlling the environment. Were it not for the expiration of plants (thanks goodness they didn’t invent the EPA and cap-n-trade on those Oxygen emissions) and their advanced solar energy capturing mechanism in Chloropyll the environment would not be suitable for us as we currently exist.

  • Doug Hunter

    Just testing out to see if I can squeak a comment in. I was going to post a link an article about a remote tribe that has no words for numbers. It challenges what you would consider to be innate. Maybe it’s blocking it because the tribe is in the A-mazon (like the commercial website)

  • zingzing

    “Many years ago I read a study of a tribal group whose language didn’t include a verb ‘to lie’ published about the same time as Turnbull’s The Forest People. I’ve looked in vain for the piece…”

    just because a group of people don’t have a word for a concept doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist within that group. look at all the concepts english can’t express succinctly. we have to use foreign phrases to express ourselves. there are many perfectly understandable concepts that we have no word for. taking pleasure in the misfortune of others, the spirit of the stairs (being that comeback you should have said but thought of only when it was too late). i’m sure the concept of lying can be described in their language. otherwise, they’d have no ability to describe the rest of us lying humans.

    and if you really want to posit that the mende people, who control politics in sierra leone, have no idea what lying is based on a few lines of a leonardo dicaprio movie… well, just find that original article.

    “So, in what sense do ‘All humans lie’?”

    sad fact, reality.

  • Mark

    I didn’t say the Mende had no concept — I said that the scene implied that they have a different relationship with the concept.

    I see another dead end here.

  • zingzing

    “I didn’t say the Mende had no concept — I said that the scene implied that they have a different relationship with the concept.”

    they lie. maybe their reasons for lying are different… seriously, can there be a relationship between man and woman without a bit of lying?… but they lie all the same. we all do. if we didn’t… my god, we’d have killed each other off thousands of years ago. i’d kill a motherfucker for telling me the truth all the time. well, maybe not. i dunno. i’m glad people lie all the same.

    “I see another dead end here.”

    possibly.

  • Mark

    I tried. It was a weak attempt, though, going down that road, as I see no way to convince you that the differences are significant.

  • zingzing

    well, you’re not going to convince me that there isn’t some psychological similarity between all human beings. and it’s not just similarity, really. it’s 100% sameness at a basic level. a point of union together, if you will. it’s what makes us human. we aren’t that different from each other, despite our differing societies. we share far too much in common.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Many years ago I read a study of a tribal group whose language didn’t include a verb ‘to lie’.

    I think I remember them. Always standing around, weren’t they?

    Remind me of the French. They don’t have a word for ‘entrepreneur’.

    zing-a-ling,

    i will read your posts tamale. only had time to pop in and be silly. and now i give myself ‘the hook’.

  • zingzing

    “and now i give myself ‘the hook’.”

    so that’s what the kids call it these days…

  • zingzing

    i’m joshing.

  • Mark

    It is a pov thing. I imagine you’ve constructed the idea of selfishness in a very limited manner which suits your purposes. I’d argue it’s much broader, although I’d love to hear some examples.

    Doug, I am confident that you would be able to reduce any example of selfless behavior offered to an underlying selfish motive to your own satisfaction.

    zing, can one give a full description of this ‘100% sameness at a basic level’ without providing a complete inventory of human behavior in all of its contradiction and complexity? On what grounds do you dismiss the honor killings that we discussed up thread as ‘unnatural’ now that we have (sorta) agreed that for humans nature doesn’t exist prior to social conditioning?

  • Mark

    I was going to post a link an article about a remote tribe that has no words for numbers. It challenges what you would consider to be innate.

    Doug, if you can figure out a way to get this link by the filter using some letter reversal or some such, I’d like to get a look at the info.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    [not even going to get into the problem of this being more of a “national geographic” stereotype than the current reality,]

    quite. i am thinking about a tahiti pre-white-man. i knew you would get it, though.

    they respond to sexual stimuli just as much as i do.

    agreed. and so do i and so do women.

    and what sets people off is always slightly different. thus, kinks, inclinations, proclivities, sexual preference, yellow fever, jungle love, and all the various [and dubious] ways we express our sexuality.)

    so kinks could be rape, snuff, child molestation, sadism? but you draw your own personal line (it seems). what makes your line inclusive of what is ‘natural’ for men to do. or am i wrong? would those other ‘kinks’ also be ‘natural’ as you see it?

    (this btw was what i was getting at when i asked you how rape porn is different than, say, porn that is merely degrading–whore, slut, bitch, domination porn…’you perform as an object i use for my sexual satisfaction’ porn–can you see what i am getting at?)

    more on tahiti… basically, humans desire what they can’t have. cover it up, it becomes desirable.

    i argue that this is merely a result of the ‘dirtiness’ associated with sexuality that is a part of western history and religious control. the whore/madonna complex is not universal to humans.

    my own analysis is that, those who are prudes and those who are pornographists* are both a part of the same dynamic that objectifies sexuality and makes it something that is possessed/owned (as in men possessing women, and with capitalism that ownership becomes a commodity.

    thus pornography retains the aspect of sexuality where men have power over women. pornography, as i see it, is about power. this is based on looking at what is happening in the scenes. the scenes revolve around objectification and use of women.

    free sexuality, imo, is about human connection, not abuse. similar with my comment on de Sade–i don’t see being ‘free from morality’ as a freedom at all.

    Evan Wright, the ex-entertainment editor of Hustler Magazine writes about his experiences**:

    Is pornography misogynistic? In my mind there is only one response. How could it not be? Pornography comes from a culture that breeds misogyny. At least it seems to have done so in me. (from – Maxed out)

    so, if you don’t want men responding to women’s naughty bits, loose them upon the world!

    this doesn’t seem to hold up for me. not attracted to a tush anymore after thongs became prevalent? more to the point, are men less attracted to women since their swim suits went more than a few inches above the ankle?

    *includes those who support making or watching pornography
    **An interesting piece I am reading now: Scenes from my life in porn

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    and what sets people off is always slightly different. thus, kinks, inclinations, proclivities, sexual preference, yellow fever, jungle love, and all the various [and dubious] ways we express our sexuality.)

    further to this comment:

    are those differences innate or learned?

    if they are learned, doesn’t that mean that they are influenced? that is what i was getting at when i wrote that list of experiences that might introduce a 14 yo to sexuality (which i seem to have lost in the the threads)

    if no particular/specific expression of male sexuality is, in itself, ‘natural’, then does that not mean that all influences that effect its expression should be open for critique?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    but you’d slowly desensitize men.

    oh i meant to say this. my experience with males is that they have been desensitized by their sexual conditioning. they seem to be conditioned to a very narrow sexual pov and i think they generally miss the full wonder of what sex can be. your ‘kinks’ are merely differing flavors of the same conditioning.

    my personal experience tells me that men often need help to get past that desensitization. where they even can or are willing. i have a sense that there may be an imperative to avoid experiencing sexuality like women experience it. just a thought.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    263 – are babies socially conditioned when they pop out? of course not. and there’s certainly no social conditioning going on in the womb. but human nature is already there.

    295 – and to make it more clear, i didn’t ever think you thought humans could just inherently live wherever they choose. i just thought that thinking that was a part of human nature was wrong.

    zing, this doesn’t sound too much different from my position. if i expand on your conception of human nature now, it seems to boil down to being limited to a few things like:

    a) crying
    b) pooping
    c) eating
    d) smiling
    e) avoiding pain
    f) seeking comfort
    g) liking pornography

    :-)

    (i have to reread what is happening with your discussion with mark to make sure i am not missing something there, but are we in general disagreement any more?)

  • zingzing

    mark: “On what grounds do you dismiss the honor killings that we discussed up thread as ‘unnatural’ now that we have (sorta) agreed that for humans nature doesn’t exist prior to social conditioning?”

    you kind of mangled that sentence… but, i won’t agree that human nature doesn’t exist before social conditioning. at the least, human nature exists independently of social conditioning. honor killings are totally a product of social conditioning, and contrary to human nature. the person who carries out an honor killing isn’t thrilled at the idea. they are forced into it by their society.

  • zingzing

    cindy: “so kinks could be rape, snuff, child molestation, sadism?”

    i suppose so. although that stuff is a bit anti-social. or psychopathic. or whatever. it’s only natural in that they’re driven to it by something. although every other bit of their nature and the social mores is probably screaming against it.

    “i argue that this is merely a result of the ‘dirtiness’ associated with sexuality that is a part of western history and religious control.”

    possibly, although you’ll note that even kids want what they can’t have. and that idea is still true even if the hidden object is not of a sexual nature.

    “pornography, as i see it, is about power.”

    don’t intellectualize it. it’s about getting off. it’s a brainless, animalistic thing.

    “the scenes revolve around objectification and use of women.”

    some, sure. but not all. you’re looking at a very specific type of porn if that’s all you can get out of it.

    “this doesn’t seem to hold up for me. not attracted to a tush anymore after thongs became prevalent?”

    it was tongue in cheek. but if it worked in tahiti, why not here? give it a few generations.

    “are those differences innate or learned?”

    some are innate, some are learned, some change during the course of a lifetime… i wasn’t always heavily attracted to asian women, but woof, asian women… damn, they is cute. still, in a few years, i may be attracted to blondes (god forbid). sexual attraction has a lot to do with fleeting novelty.

    “does that not mean that all influences that effect its expression should be open for critique?”

    i guess it could be, although that would get really annoying really fast. at the least, don’t make it personal. at best, leave it alone, as long as no one is harmed.

    “they seem to be conditioned to a very narrow sexual pov and i think they generally miss the full wonder of what sex can be.”

    sorry, but you’ve been short-changed then. not that i’ve had sex with other men, but i do know a lot of men and we do (contrary to old wives’ tales,) talk about sex. openness and taking chances and exploring the previously unexplored is part of the thrill.

    “i have a sense that there may be an imperative to avoid experiencing sexuality like women experience it.”

    heh. i dunno about that… you know what “pegging” is? i doubt that’s what you’re talking about. either way, i think you have little idea of the extent to which men experience sex. maybe i haven’t experienced sex like a woman has, but you haven’t experienced sex like i have either. and yes, i’ve experienced many emotional and physical highs and lows during sex. it can be transcendent now and again.

    “are we in general disagreement any more?”

    frankly, my dear, i dunno. although the things you mention seem to be physical inevitabilities rather than the emotional/psychological core of humanity i’m trying to get at. but i can’t disagree. and now i must go poop and smile through my pained tears. not really. i don’t cry.

  • Mark

    As humans don’t exist ‘independently’ of social conditioning their nature doesn’t either. As we disagree on this fundamental point, can you see a way for this conversation to proceed?

  • zingzing

    well, the idea of the word “nature” is that which is without human meddling. supposing for the moment that “human nature” does exist, even if just as an idea, how can you define it as that which is in a post-natural state?

    you’re defining human nature in a rather unnatural way. if you insist on doing so, there’s no way to proceed. but if you’ll grant that nature is natural, then we can go on.

  • Mark

    A ‘natural pre human meddling state’ doesn’t exist. Even our perceptions of the universe are mediated by human ‘meddling’ as is everything else that we encounter in your daily life.

    I see no reason to think that behaviors such as lying/truth telling and emotions such as jealousy/trust are innate psychological traits and are not modeled or taught.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    i suppose so. although that stuff is a bit anti-social. or psychopathic. or whatever. it’s only natural in that they’re driven to it by something. although every other bit of their nature and the social mores is probably screaming against it.

    hmmmm…

    you have just pointed out that you justify (as human nature) what you personally like/accept.

    also, your assessment is pretty much nail on the head my assessment. roughly, i might say:

    ‘that stuff’ is a bit anti-social. or psychopathic. or whatever. it’s only natural in that they’re driven to it by something. although every other bit of their nature and the social mores is probably screaming against it.

    so, it sounds to me like we understand each other completely. what is holding us up is that i place your version in their with ‘their’ version. i say that it is ALL a bit anti-social or psychopathic, or whatever… and i agree that ‘they are driven to it by something’ or in my version ‘males are driven to pornify their sexuality by something’.

    some, sure. but not all. you’re looking at a very specific type of porn if that’s all you can get out of it

    can you give me a title i can access? i will watch it and assess it compared to what i am imagining as i speak.

    a very specific type of porn

    as a percentage, how much contemporary, popular porn, would you guess, fits into this ‘specific type’ as opposed to the type you feel is not objectifying or degrading?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    another way you might get my point:

    cindy: “so kinks could be rape, snuff, child molestation, sadism?”

    zing: “i suppose so. although that stuff is a bit anti-social. or psychopathic.”

    don’t intellectualize it. it’s about getting off. it’s a brainless, animalistic thing.*

    *i will give you your own reply. can you see how you are using ‘natural’ as an arbitrary justification?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    zing,

    i will bbl to reply to the rest…gotta run again…

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    zing,

    i will say one thing i think is sorta true. if we are not self-critical, we cannot see what we do or why. you have a refrain that admonishes thinking about it. it’s like you hold up a sign that says ‘don’t think’. you’ve done this at least twice.

    my understanding is that men frequently do that when they watch porn. they don’t think about what they are actually seeing. some say that they like to turn it off immediately, as once satisfied, they realize the actuality of what is happening is repulsive, and they don’t want to let that in. if you do that (and i am not saying you do or don’t), then i hope, as a result of our conversation, you try just leaving it on and sitting their and witnessing what is actually happening.

  • Jordan Richardson

    A lot of young men are conditioned through guilt, Cindy, which can partially explain why some men turn it off immediately “afterwards.”

    The activity of masturbation associated with the viewing of porn is often seen as shameful, as is the porn itself, so the double whammy of guilt and shame is too much to take and many young men take to distancing themselves from the material. That largely explains why much of porn exists today online in the form of clips rather than full titles. The refrain of “who’s ever watched a full porn movie” applies greatly here.

    I think you’re right when you say that some men don’t think about what they’re seeing, but I think that has more to do with a sort of moral or even religious conditioning than anything else. It’s like the often-repeated fact of how orders of PPV porn at hotels go through the roof when Christian conventions are in town. It’s a dirty little secret that isn’t such a secret.

    The way porn is distributed today factors heavily. Back in the day, you’d have to either order it from somewhere or go rent a tape from one of those seedy back rooms in a video store. The humiliation associated with that often came coupled with the moral repulsion felt from engaging in such a taboo in the first place, so there’s quite a bit of cultural conditioning at work.

    I think you leave a lot out of your examination, Cindy. For starters, you don’t seem to be too informed when it comes to modern porn and how it largely exists in snippets rather than full movies. Amateur porn, too, doesn’t play into the discussion. Furthermore, the alarming amount of voyeuristic pornography online hasn’t even been touched on yet.

    There are far more disturbing trends within the framework of modern porn to be examined, like the trend of “capping” underage girls who strip on webcam or other such trends. This material is regularly available online just about anywhere standard pornography is present, too. The amount of sharing and distribution makes it nearly impossible to keep the “bad” away from the “good,” so this is also something worth looking at. It’s not uncommon to find underage material alongside the perfectly legal material.

    These are just some of the complexities to modern pornography that deserve more examination in this discussion, but you seem fixated on a more simplistic view at the moment that doesn’t even scratch the surface.

  • Jordan Richardson

    There are also pathways of porn that are couched largely in misandry, by the way, with all manner of “torture” played out for the cameras. There’s a particular series involving two women that chase down and bag an “unsuspecting” man in each “episode.” They then essentially rape the man and this is played up for laughs.

    Or there’s “Strap-on Sissies.” Or “Women Fucking Men.” Or a host of similar websites in which a female (or in some cases whole TEAMS of females) take a male “victim” to task with a variety of humiliating tools.

    Again, the modern porn world has moved far, far beyond the framework it is being discussed in here. There are avenues for every pleasure and every fetish imaginable.

  • zingzing

    mark: “A ‘natural pre human meddling state’ doesn’t exist.”

    really? in general? or just for humans? of course it exists. how could it not?

  • zingzing

    cindy: “you have a refrain that admonishes thinking about it. it’s like you hold up a sign that says ‘don’t think’. you’ve done this at least twice.”

    yeah, but if it’s about “power,” am i getting off on power? no. i’m not. (and yes, i do know what i’m getting off on.) if you think that’s what it’s about, you’ve overshot the point. i’m not really saying don’t think about it. i’m saying you’re thinking about it too much and putting things into it that miss the point.

    jordan pointed out some titles for you. there’s plenty of other types of porn that certainly aren’t about humiliating women. like solo stuff or soft porn or any other number of other types. you’re just looking at hardcore porn and viewing everything through a feminist lens. even if the female in question looks to be having a great time, it’s all about her humiliation. which it isn’t. if that’s all men wanted to see, we could just get off to movies of women crying or something.

    “my understanding is that men frequently do that when they watch porn.”

    well, we certainly aren’t playing sociologist.

    “i hope, as a result of our conversation, you try just leaving it on and sitting their and witnessing what is actually happening.”

    if you ruin porn for me, and i go through some unforeseen fallow period, i will detonate the state of new jersey. don’t make me do it.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    325 – Jordan,

    Sure, let me say that is a given. There will be exceptions to everything I say. Some people are sadists, some are masochists. Some men like to be degraded. Yet because examples of things that fit outside what I am discussing doesn’t change what I’ve said.

    When I have been discussing porn, I am taking the word of men/women who have looked closely and are drawing for the top annual titles. I am discussing what the average 10 year old boy can easily come across on the internet.

    My main interest is in children and allowing them the chance to choose their own sexuality without the coercion of commercial interests, allowing them to live without being molested. My real interest is also in women and ending violence against us, and uncovering how the patriarchal society conditions us to self-hatred and to offering ourselves up as objects to gratify others when what we are really after is love.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Women want to be loved by men. That is why they learn to dress and act the way they do at a young age. That is where they learn to judge their worth based on whether or not they look good enough to be loved by men.

  • Jordan Richardson

    I am discussing what the average 10 year old boy can easily come across on the internet.

    You’re discussing part of what average boys and girls can come across on the internet. As I’ve said, these websites combine so many different variations – including the abhorrent underage material – in the same place alongside the “top annual titles.”

    If your main interest is children and your real interest is women and ending violence against women, I would suggest that the type of material I’ve been mentioning has a far greater impact than does the mainstream. The blurring of the lines between material produced between consenting adults and material comprised of webcam capping and voyeurism is well worth a look. When “porn” is made by average teenagers with webcam recording software, the changes in the industry become more than useful components to this discussion – if only because they are actually criminal in nature rather than mere depictions.

    Considering your interests, both real and main, these avenues of porn should be treated with more urgency.

    Now you can dismiss both the misandry-themed stuff and the other material as mere exceptions, but I think that just shows how outdated your views are in terms of the industry and its distribution.

    The looks/values thing, how women judge their worth and so on, has far, far more to do with traditional Hollywood and commercial culture than it does pornography, too. Porn, as I’ve outlined in the past, actually offers a more diverse arrangement of “acceptable” norms.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    324 –

    There are far more disturbing trends within the framework of modern porn to be examined, like the trend of “capping” underage girls who strip on webcam or other such trends. This material is regularly available online just about anywhere standard pornography is present, too. The amount of sharing and distribution makes it nearly impossible to keep the “bad” away from the “good,” so this is also something worth looking at. It’s not uncommon to find underage material alongside the perfectly legal material.

    These are just some of the complexities to modern pornography that deserve more examination in this discussion, but you seem fixated on a more simplistic view at the moment that doesn’t even scratch the surface.

    I am ‘fixated’ on making a point very slowly with zing. And to that end, I have progressed in the point.

    What an odd sort of criticism. I am not sure how to take it. I should be discussing some other thing because you find it more important than what I am discussing? What on earth does that mean?

    If you think something is important you can’t bring it up?

    But, in my opinion it is all a part of the same business. That is, it all comes from the same place. There is a trend in the culture, which one author refers to as ‘pornification’. It is a lot of things–including the idea that young girls have that ‘performing’ for males in public is ‘normal’ or ‘natural’. It is everything from the normalization of the ‘girls gone wild’ phenomenon to the lap-dancing at school dances trend.

    Also, I don’t know what “capping” means.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Cindy, all I’m suggesting is that you should broaden your understanding of the industry. I find your impression of modern pornography to be very simplistic, as I’ve been saying from the start. It isn’t meant as a criticism for the sake of it.

    “Capping” is a disturbing extension of the same themes you’re talking about, Cindy, and again I think it’s well worth a look. It is the recording of women, in many cases underage girls in fact, on webcam as they “perform” for “audiences” in chatrooms. Scary stuff, but it’s damn well everywhere. It destroys lives because of the permanence of the internet, too, as young girls wind up being cross-posted on hundreds and hundreds of websites.

    Does it spring from the same culture? Absolutely. There is something within our culture that creates this environment in which these activities are seen as “okay.”

    It is a far more dangerous, far more damaging reality than that which exists between consenting, legal adults in standard mainstream porn. It is, in a way, an extension of amateur porn and also of voyeurism.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Also, Cindy, if you have time I wonder what you make of this recent study.

    A few interesting items of note:

    “Nelsen/Net reports that 9.4 million women in the United States accessed online pornography Web sites in the month of September 2003.”

    and

    “Now let’s look at attitudes towards women. Studies of men who had seen X-rated movies found that they were significantly more tolerant and accepting of women than those men who didn’t see those movies, and studies by other investigators—female as well as male—essentially found similarly that there was no detectable relationship between the amount of exposure to pornography and any measure of misogynist attitudes. No researcher or critic has found the opposite, that exposure to pornography—by any definition—has had a cause-and-effect relationship towards ill feelings or actions against women. No correlation has even been found between exposure to porn and calloused attitudes toward women.”

    The supporting data is in the study.

    I think I should be clear that I’m trying to bring new things to the table here. I’m not actually attempting to “argue” one way or another, mainly because I don’t actually see two “sides” here. What I’m seeing in reality is some rather outdated thinking.

  • Jordan Richardson

    This piece is also interesting, outlining in part the words of Dr. Judith Becker:

    “There are no scientific studies that show that exposure to nonviolent sexual material causes a person to commit a sexual crime or become more sexually aggressive.”

    Or there’s the work of Annie Sprinkle and, on another avenue, Betty Dodson.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    There is something within our culture that creates this environment in which these activities are seen as “okay.”

    Yes, and in my opinion, it is pornography itself, which does this. To me, your merely providing more examples that are evidence of the problem I see..

    It is a far more dangerous, far more damaging reality than that which exists between consenting, legal adults in standard mainstream porn. It is, in a way, an extension of amateur porn and also of voyeurism.

    It exists because young women are becoming women and young men who have constructed their sexuality around porn, want pornified women.

    That women are more and more watching porn is something I expect to be happening and I see happening. Why wouldn’t they. They are a part of the culture as well–and porn is becoming mainstream.

    I will give your link a read when I can.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Make that, I will read both your links.

    (I may be away for a day or a few, without a computer. My hubby has testing at the hospital tomorrow and may have to stay.)

  • Jordan Richardson

    I think it goes beyond pornography, though. Pornography is another symptom of something, as you’ve been arguing. It isn’t THE problem necessarily but rather symptomatic of it.

    To say “pornography did this” is an interesting statement, especially considering the wealth of scientific study that appears to reveal the opposite.

    I would argue that more harm could come out of a Disney movie in which a woman is told she must be a “princess” to be worthwhile is more harmful than a porn film in which a woman enjoys herself with a man.

  • Jordan Richardson

    No worries, Cindy. Don’t mean to pile too much on.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    I think it goes beyond pornography, though. Pornography is another symptom of something, as you’ve been arguing. It isn’t THE problem necessarily but rather symptomatic of it.

    So do I. A larger glimpse of my position is that pornography is one expression of male domination over women. (And yes, I understand there are all types of pornography, some with shoe love, etc…but I can even explain gay pornography in terms of the narrative that makes the most sense to me.)

    Here is something you may find interesting. It is an interview with Ariel Levy in which, she discusses the pornification of young women and things similar to your concerns. Which I agree are very big concerns.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Checkin’ out for the night. Nightie night, Jordan.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Right, and here’s where the evolution of modern porn proves instructive in that it can actually escape traditional gender hierarchies unlike other more mainstream commercial entertainment.

    Again, I’d argue that traditional entertainment (Disney, marketing strategies and advertising, mainstream Hollywood movies) provide a far less progressive view of sexual mores than does modern porn.

    Is some porn a symptom of male domination? Sure, of course. But a lot of porn isn’t. I would love to hear your argument as to how you can “even explain gay pornography in terms of the narrative” that makes the most sense to you. I’m not sure that’s playing fair, as it seems you’d be bending things to suit your purposes, but I do await the explanation anyway.

    I do think you have lens through which you’d prefer to see things, however, as we all do. That may be providing more obscurity to this than you’d willingly admit.

  • Ruvy

    Not much was readily available to the 12 year olds of yore was the girdle section of the Sears Roebuck catalog. Acquiring and partaking of racier fare required a lot more in the way of logistics than it does today. There’s so much hard-core stuff readily available 24-7. It’s addictive to young men who are just starting to learn how to manage their hormones, and it doesn’t do a dang thing for their ability to respond properly later on to a real life lover who isn’t air-brushed…or their ability to see women as people to be respected and even protected honorably, rather than used.

    Irene Athena expresses cogently the argument for banning – not just books but websites as well. What needs to be banned are not political ideas, but that filth which degrades people and turns them into mere objects. Unfortunately, American culture, as it stands now, will result in the banning of political materials – but the pornography that degrades women and others will remain. The pornography makes the mega-vultures, the plutocrats of America (like the Rockefellers, who rented out loads of space to porn shops) rich. That is why American culture is such a sick, detestable culture, in such pathetic decay, dragging a once great nation down with it.

  • Mark

    mark: “A ‘natural pre human meddling state’ doesn’t exist.”

    zing: really? in general? or just for humans? of course it exists. how could it not?

    Well, not just for humans.

    parting image: God in all of His splendor perched on His heavenly throne looking through a telescope labeled “HUBBLE” thinking, “Wow! So that’s what it looks like.”

  • Mark

    wow wow?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    I would love to hear your argument as to how you can “even explain gay pornography in terms of the narrative” that makes the most sense to you.

    Narrative = theory.

    Humans tell stories to explain how things work. In the sense I mean this everyone does. You, me, science.

    I’m not sure that’s playing fair, as it seems you’d be bending things to suit your purposes, but I do await the explanation anyway.

    No one is objective. Thinking that someone can be is pulling the wool over one’s own eyes, imo.

    I do think you have lens through which you’d prefer to see things, however, as we all do. That may be providing more obscurity to this than you’d willingly admit.

    Who doesn’t? Still, I try to do my best to be open to change. Do you?

    I have only very recently developed the positions I have been discussing here. this. Yet, I have been thinking about some of it throughout my life — probably since I was 12. My current way of understanding best explains, my experiences as a girl, a woman, in relationship with men, as well as in discussion with my fellow females–that is something that did not happen with any other explanations throughout my life, and especially not with the traditional explanations presented to me by males throughout my life. And I assure you the ‘male’ pro-porn pov has been presented to me since I was a young teen. It did nit make sense then, it does not make sense now. However, the povs I am exploring now, make sense of everything, including my previous mystification by men telling me they were right and I was deficient for not seeing that.

    The material I am drawing from generally well-examines arguments supporting porn. I have not formed my opinion in limbo (that is, free from dealing with the opposing pov). Are you?

    Most of the authors I have provided for reference are men. I have provided video links and book references over the last few months, including the video below. Have you read/watched anything they have to say yet?

    If not, why not?

    (p.s. my blog has a number of videos on the subjects I am discussing, if you are interested in something quickly comprehensible.)

    The Price of Pleasure

  • zingzing

    yep, ruvy, only americans look at and make porn. we invented the stuff. jacking off is the great american pastime.

  • zingzing

    mark, get your fingers out of my acid jar.

  • Jordan Richardson

    No one is objective.

    I didn’t say that one needs to be objective, nor did I say that one can be objective. I was listening to an interview with David Suzuki the other day and he noted, accurately, that objectivity was an impossibility because we are born with varying perspectives.

    The problem comes, however, when we try to manipulate the facts to meet our purposes. What we should be doing is manipulating our purposes to meet the facts.

    Who doesn’t?

    We all do, that’s what I said.

    Look, Cindy, I don’t really get what you’re talking about here. You’re acting like I’m opposing your point of view and, what’s more, you’re acting like I’m even opposing your right to have one.

    Yes, I’ve been reading and watching every ounce of material you’ve been providing. To be perfectly honest, most of what you’re linking to is stuff I’ve seen before quite a while ago. This is far from the first time I’ve discussed or researched or studied this particular subject, Cindy, but you seem intent on repeating this notion that it’s my first rodeo.

    Whatever.

    I’ll not harass you about not getting to my points or reading through my links. You can, however, continue to impress upon me the notion that I either don’t care or don’t “get” your point of view. It appears to be your fallback position.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Jordan,

    No offense meant or taken.

    I do think we’ve pretty much gone as far as we are likely to get this time around.

    I will still look at your links when I get a chance.

    My hubby dodged another bullet today. They sent him home again.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Cindy, I agree. Hope everything’s okay and all the best.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    333 – I have looked at the links. Rather than a ‘recent study’, what I see is a pretty sloppy opinion piece filled with claims and using terms that are apparently defined in line with the author’s bias. It is linked to an advocacy piece (not even a ‘real’ review of the literature) written for a quasi-law journal.

    If you like social research here is some that provides contradicting evidence.

    Actually, some of the comments below the Dr.’s article provide good criticisms.