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Re: Pornography is spiritual

Jan 25, 1995 04:11 PM
by K. Paul Johnson

Keith, I don't think it is wise to buy in to the equation of
pornography with violence, which plays into the hands of the
feminist-fundamentalist censors.  Yes, our popular culture is
saturated with both sex and violence.  TV and movies do make the
disastrous eroticization of violence that has been shown to have
negative consequences.

But while there is abundant evidence of the harmful effects of
exposure to violence in media, there is no such evidence
regarding pornography per se.  And even before the porn industry
began self-censorship regarding violence, as a medium it was
dramatically less violent than regular TV and movies.  Now there
is absolutely no violence in the mainstream porn industry's

As for degradation of the viewer from a spiritual p.o.v., I think
Natural Born Killers or Pulp Fiction do exactly that while
pretending to educate and amuse via satire.

In current esthetic discourse, "good" art vs.  "bad" is defined
only in terms of formal considerations.  It'll be a long time
before a moral dimension is much acknowledged.  I was, however,
pleased to hear Pauline Kael say that NBK was a loathsome film
because Stone wallows and exults in violence while pretending to
distance himself from it.

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