We can stop porn's proliferation

National Post
January 4, 2002
By Elizabeth Nickson

On New Year's Eve, I tuned into Bell ExpressVu's pay-per-view showing of Snoop Dogg's Doggystyle, purely, you understand, for research. If I, thought I, can figure out pay-per-view, how hard would it be for a clever eight- or 14-year-old cast adrift in the pine-panelled family room in Saskatoon, say, while his parents caroused at the Lion's Club Ball? Every provincial censor, after all, cleared the airing of this video and the 14-year-old probably has a PhD in filter disabling.

But more, I like Snoop Dogg, as do so many of us perennial 16-year-olds, or I thought I did. If anyone can make porn cool for Generation Z, or cooler, I should say, this sly innocent weirdo can. He is the hippest hipster of hip hop, beanpole tall and thin, like my ex-husband, and just about as funny-looking.

Yes, I knew it would be hard-core. In the few halcyon months when I had a U.S. grey market dish, (DirecTV, the largest U.S. satellite source, did not air Doggystyle on New Year's Eve), I had the use of a half-dozen hard-core channels, (hard core without double anal penetration, beating and animals, thank God) and porn, well I'm not unfamiliar with it anyway. Familiar enough to know that it's sordid and boring, no matter how little schmaltz, or how much pure visual rutting, or how you couch the rutting, or how many extremely stupid faces and tumescent bodies you add to the mix. And it was sordid and boring, just all black this time, with deeply offensive lyrics about hos and I spent most of it flipping between Doggystyle (rutting, more rutting and still more rutting) and the last film of that exploited sex goddess of the last generation, Marilyn Monroe.

As Bill Buckley, Martin Amis, Frank Rich have pointed out in the last year, porn has become the wallpaper of our lives. What began in innocence, in the summer of love, breathes on us now from glossy catalogues and magazine covers, in the overheated text in men's magazines, and glares at us from billboards. Porn is the Internet. Porn, in revenues -- an estimated US$10-billion a year -- is far far bigger than Hollywood, equally bigger than rock and roll, bigger than sports and all live entertainment put together, everywhere. Porn cracks the bullwhip over the flagging desires of men and women, and skids the libido of anyone under 30 into hyperdrive. This is the secret about sex without love: You need more stimulation every time, whether it's rubber slings, bondage, six-year-old fluffers or German shepherds. And it becomes a drug. An addiction triggered by porn that exploits the young. Without porn stars as models of sexuality, there would be much less demand for Viagra, and without porn, it is entirely arguable, there would be much much less disease, much less cervical cancer, AIDS, Hep C to G (G!), and the populations of Africa and now China, would not be in the process of decimation. Babies are raped in South Africa because ignorant men think sex with an infant can cure you of AIDS.

I blame porn, and our silly First World intelligentsia who have cowed our flaccid courts with legalistic arguments that conflate obscenity with free speech, and hence pollute public opinion, so that we think that women having sex with goats for money, anywhere in the universe, is OK.

An overstatement? If so, why ban cigarette ads? If I had an extra 500 words, I could make the case for you, and it would be, at least, plausible. Instead, let me sow a little doubt.

Mick Jagger was, for most of my generation of men, the opinion makers anyway, the bomb. He was the model of ideal manhood, snaky hips, and rubbery lips and outlaw sex drive. Last gossip I heard had this grandfather sodomizing a stranger in the public bathroom of the Viper Room, so let's not kid ourselves that if half the middle class, educated white boys of the '70s wanted to be him, the entire population of Third World males, without the alternative satisfactions of ambition, accumulation and a happy family to distract them, would take Jagger's behaviour and the advocacy of outsize sexuality in his music as imperatives. The summer of love has become the scourge of the Third World and we are responsible. There are at least 50 new STDs since Mick Jagger came on the scene, and unlike 40 years ago, when syphilis was as rare as a white elephant, they are rampant, everywhere.

There is another big secret about porn: Women don't like it. It's worth saying twice. As The Spectator pointed out on its Dec. 8 cover: Women don't like it. Porn ruins marriages, lots of them and that statistic has whooped up into the stratosphere in the past 24 months, given the sucking addictive nature of Internet porn. Women who participate in the making of it are, as Amis illustrated convincingly, trapped and exploited, not perhaps as pitiably as Linda Lovelace, but they are used up in six months, and forever, at 18, (come on, face it) ruined. Those naked black girls in Doggystyle, performing like bear cubs in front of a roomful of fully clothed contemptuous black men, are not sexy. Watching it, for women, is humiliating and abusive, and the participants criminal.

So what on earth was Bell ExpressVu thinking? Oh gee whiz, this means that in 15 years, we'll get more subscribers from all the seven-year-olds we turned on tonight? Because that is the age that porn reaches now. The only thing that will stop this revolting wallpaper is for ordinary men and women, not the judiciary, not the police or the intelligentsia, who should shut up for once, saying no. We don't want this filth in our communities, on our airwaves or in our magazines, and we want its purveyors prosecuted and convicted. The laws are on the books. You have the power.