Saturday, 25 August 2012

Seraphic Trashes P*rn

Here's my latest Toronto Catholic Register article. Note the two comments already posted by men who totally don't get it. I will recap in caps:



sciencegirl said...

It is weird and a bit sad that such a statement of basic economic and social reality -- that our actions in the market affect that market as well as everything that touches it -- should baffle any adult. "What we buy matters," is why boycotts are so effective. It is why mainstream grocery stores now have a little "local" section; people started buying that stuff, so the stores started selling it. In America, boycotts have been at least or more effective than strikes.

I liked when Harry Potter became popular because one of my favorite genres then became the hot item in publishing and in bookstores. I had struggled for years to find good lists of children's fantasy, and all of a sudden it was so easy.

Personally, I think one of the most dangerous memes of our culture is the idea that one must "read/watch to find out for yourself!"

What is the point of reviews, if I am still required to watch or read every controversial film or book in order to have an opinion on whether I would want to watch or read it? Buying into controversy makes controversy wonderful advertising. Why did so many non-Christians go see "The Passion of the Christ?" when they would normally be uninterested in a movie about Jesus?
Because it was CONTROVERSIAL, and all controversies demand our participation. Every time we opt out of that trap, we lessen the effect of this advertising on ourselves, and maybe on our society too. I may read a controversial book if the subject interests me, but I won't read it just because everyone else is arguing over it.

"Fifty Shades of Grey" never sounded like any book I wanted to read, so I'm not going to. There are hundreds of books I've never read that that I want to read, and I see no need to take time out to read a trashy romance novel. In my mom's generation, "The Story of O" was a big deal, and she refused to read that, too.

Anonymous said...

What sciencegirl said.

As a capitalist, I believe that our economic actions have a very real implication for our society. Where we put our money matters. Things that are not bought will eventually not be produced.

Moral ambiguity, no less than sexual sin, is a pressing problem of life, and serious, thoughtful novellists have light to shed on both.

(From your article.) That is the problem with Fifty Shades of Grey: it is not a serious, thoughtful work, intended to explore why a young woman and a young man would be in that kind of relationship, nor what it does to the soul. (From what I heard, it does explore, a bit, why the male protagonist is the way he is, and he changes at the end, but that's more vapid female wish-fulfillment than anything else.)

Beyond that, Fifty Shades is filling a void - obviously. My only question is how the Church would fill that void (or what it even thinks that void is) - and how that differs for the Married and the Single. (I do not mean to imply that the Church ought to write smut, but do wonder if the Church gives Married women the tools to help them flourish in that particular area of their lives. I also wonder what answers there are for Single women who have genuine concerns about their ability to be wives in that sense.)


Charming Disarray said...

"Beyond that, Fifty Shades is filling a void - obviously. My only question is how the Church would fill that void (or what it even thinks that void is) - and how that differs for the Married and the Single."

I have to disagree. I don't think it's filling a void so much as it's just another step down the path of vice. When people give into vices they become less satisfied and seek after more perverted things, and the further they go, the harder it is to come back. I have seen comments here and there that women "want domination" or whatever for an explanation for why this book is so popular, but I think that's a dangerous way to see it. As Seraphic says in the article, some men are starting to believe that women want to be treated badly. I'm not sure if that's the point you're making, but there's a difference between seeing this book as something perverted and dirty and entirely wrong, and seeing it as something which is holding the place for a "good" kind of domination or authority or whatever, which some people seem to believe. I prefer to see it as just the latest perverted novelty as people get more and more bored with their vices.

Jam said...

What the World wants us to believe right now is that Everyone Uses P*rn, and Everyone Self-Pleasures (ahem), and That's Perfectly Right and Healthy. This dovetails rather nicely for marketing purposes with the other talking point, that A Sexual Woman is a Liberated Woman.

It is a curious delusion of modern people that we can consume whatever kind of media we like without it affecting us at all. Sure, eating pomegranates and goji berries will make you live longer; but only the truly feeble-minded would let watching hours of p*rn affect their ideas about sex or women's bodies or whathaveyou. It's dangerous and silly to try to ban, or even discourage, people from reading books or watching movies on moral grounds; but why hasn't anyone banned transfats and Biggie Cup sodas yet?! I think Sciencegirl has a good point about people feeling the need to "experience" everything. Forget the 60s, our problem is the so-called Enlightenment.

Anonymous said...

Charming: I wasn't talking about domination, not at all.

If there were a smutty trilogy in which the protagonists solve math equations in bed until she climaxes each and every time, bookstores would be selling out of calculus texts.

I will also posit that the notoriously touchy male ego can better handle "Love of my life, my husband, could you do X until..." better than "This never happens."

Do deacons take engaged men aside and say, "Look, figure it out and make sure she's happy; she might say that she doesn't need the same level of satisfaction as you do, but that's true right up until your marriage falls apart"? Are engaged and newly Married Catholic women taught how to broach these topics to their husbands without hurting their egos?

~theobromophile (who has had some conversations with her Married friends that make her think "I'm so glad I'm Single and I don't know if I could handle that")

Charming Disarray said...

Oh, I see what you're saying. I can't comment on married life and intimacy but in a general sort of way I think it would help--in all aspects of life--if Catholics would drop the namby-pamby, woman-sacrificing-herself sentimental shtick, where a woman never speaks up or has an opinion, lest she be considered a "feminist." And (here comes the dead horse) it would probably also help if everyone stopped yacking about modesty because those discussions are always centered around how men are "tempted" and have needs and women...aren't and don't, apparently. I think a lot of men honestly believe that women are functionally asexual.

Related, why are so many Catholic guys (at least in the US) totally oblivious to the need to be attractive? I have met some guys who had great personalities but who dressed horribly and never worked out. Women need something to be attracted to, and the guy doesn't need to look like Channing Tatum. He just needs to make an effort or at least have straight shoulders and clothes that actually fit instead of looking like something a homeless person dragged out of a dumpster. But no, women aren't visual, so all that comes of it are men who are clueless as to why more Catholic women (with whom they get along great) don't want to date them. Or guys seem to waiting for some woman to come along and inspire them to dress better and get their life together. Um, I'm not your mother. Not even going to comment on married men and beer bellies.

I'm not sure if it's the job of priests and deacons, though. That seems like a pretty awkward conversation for them to be having. For young guys, at any rate, you wonder why their fathers can't give them some pointers about how to be attractive to women.