Years ago, I was privy to a very interesting discussion between my Mom and one of my friends. I had brought him over to hang out and catch up, and as usual he went and talked to my Mom, instead (this was a common occurrence in my life, but I’m not holding a grudge or anything…). Anyway, this particular friend was a reincarnated Beat poet (or at least, he acted as if he were) and identified himself with many “radical” ideologies. He liked to talk about Freedom a lot. Every time he said the word, you could see the capital letters. Everything boiled down to Freedom. And so my Mother, in her typical, astute fashion, asked him a simple question:
Are you talking about Freedom From, or Freedom To?
Pornography is the quail inside the duck inside the turkey at Christmas dinner. The hidden secret lurking inside all our hard drives, waiting for its moment of private delight to shine out. We see it everywhere, but continue to strive to deny its influence. We don’t like to talk about it; not what we as individuals really see in it or why as a culture it’s still there under our mattress after centuries of effort to eradicate it. Enough denial, already. I’ve seen it, you’ve seen it…let’s drag it out on the carpet and really explore why we keep it around.
Pornography has existed ever since people started drawing. We drew pictures on the cave walls of voluptuous women with no heads to give us a sense of connection to the mysteries of life (or perhaps as R. Dale Guthrie suggests, as simple pornographic doodles) . We worshipped snake goddesses with their bare breasts and their transformative power twined around their wrists. We had sacred prostitutes in the temples who would lay you for a donation, and explicit scenarios painted out on Greek urns. This is nothing new. Shouldn’t we be grown up enough to talk about it by now?