Sunday, 23 December 2012

In Defence Of Pornography

I've always found the subject of pornography - the very phenomenon of its existence - endlessly fascinating. The history of its development & suppression, the magical, spellbinding effect it has upon men, the cries of repulsion it extracts from most women. What that tells us about most men & women, the innate differences between us, what at root we truly are.

Like poetry, pornography & erotica are an internal history of the age. The outer history books give us no insight into how people of the past really thought, felt, & dreamed in their most private moments. To find that out you need to turn to the places people are no longer having to answer to their bosses, priests, policemen, neighbours, parents, children, husbands, wives. Pornography is, very simply, the documentation of desire: nothing there is hidden, all is laid bare. That is its value.

Pornography gives the lie to the church, the state, political correctness, politicians speeches, children's books, chick flicks, Mills & Boon... Underneath the changing times, the ideas we hold about ourselves, the things we are made to believe about ourselves, some things remain ever constant. And one of those is the desire that men feel for simply the sight of women, & the compulsion to look upon their naked forms. The nakedness of woman is the work of God, said William Blake. And the lust of the goat is the bounty of God...

Men don't talk often about any of this openly for fear of female censure & scorn, which is - socially - a very high price to pay & a very real concern. No man wants to have a gaggle of women gossiping about him, or massing in numbers against him. Historically, whatever a group of women ask for, if a man can give it, they get. We see that with prohibition, the (female) suffrage movement & now all the kowtowing of governments to modern feminism. Every western world leader has to have photographs taken of them shaking hands with feminist spokeswomen. Every president & prime minister has to make The Speech - the one that says how their term in office will be the one to end the 'pay gap', to shatter that 'glass ceiling', no matter how illusory & impossible both of those goals must inevitably be.

But men go on looking, all the same. 

The thing I feel is always missed out of the commentary on this subject is the emotional component, which is easier to see in the female equivalent of porn - the Romance novel, with long-term monogamous commitment as the money shot - but men have found wonder & fulfillment in depictions of naked women all the way back to the walls of caves. In the film Venus, Peter O'Toole's aging character says to the young girl he is smitten by,
"For most men, a woman's body is the most beautiful thing they will ever see". 
To which she replies "What's the most beautiful thing a girl sees? Do you know?"
He answers: "Her first child".
What is lacking in society is the acceptance & understanding that these two things are, in the larger scheme of things, the same: that the love that is sexual is no better or worse than the love for a child - & indeed, because of neoteny (the physical retention of childlike features in adult women), in men these things are very close anyway. Men have a hardwired urge to protect women the way women (both sexes, actually) feel the compulsion to protect children. We have these things in us because we needed them, as a species, to survive. And still do.

Without men's sexual desire, humanity cannot continue.  Lust gets a bad rap but it's just as essential a part of humanity as love, & it's only a leftover monotheistic hang-up that makes us think any different. People always say we are born out of love but of course that's not true: Lust is what gives us life, just as it is love that gives us survival. Both of them are nature, & we can't have one without the other - every man-hating, Andrea Dworkin-sized radical feminist could never have the gift of life to squander in such hatred without a man lusting for a woman long enough to plant the seed inside her & bring forth said leviathon.

All sorts of emotions come up when I see images of nakedness from the past: a sad wistfulness that that part of the river has gone, that I will never get even the chance to feel that skin in full bloom beside mine but mainly a starry-eyed wonder at both the beauty (for men) of womankind & the huge magnets that move within the yin & the yang, pulling the two sexes together down through the ages. 

When I see a grainy 'blue movie' from the 1920s, made illegally in France by anonymous, masked actors, I see - feel - with the weight of revelation how men all the way back then weren't simply square boxy suits & bland faces, & the women weren't prim, sexless corsets, but flesh & blood underneath, just the same as you & I. Their bodies worked the same as yours & mine! Where else can one find the truth of that for sure?

In the past, it was largely the church which repressed the expression of sexuality; now it is mostly the state. Well, that & feminism. There is, after all, no force in the modern world more pro-censorship than radical feminism, with the possible exception of fundamentalist Islam. And the two of them have more than only this in common. Anyhow, the climate of public shaming, from whatever source, kept pornography way, way underground for hundreds of years, all the way up to perhaps 10 or 15 years ago.

The internet has changed all that. The move into The Machine as an extension of self & consciousness has meant people have, for the first time in human history, been freed to explore the corners of their curiosity as never, ever, before, in pretty much total anonymity. And as Rule 34 states: "If it exists, there is porn of it": if you can think it, it's probably already out there in tremulous colour. I don't think it has been widely grasped yet how much this has already changed male sexuality on a near-global scale. One's most deepest, dizzying fantasies are now only a click away at any time of the day: of course you go look. Why wouldn't you? What in heaven's name would stop you?

The downside of this, as with female fantasies since the romance novel, the Hollywood movie, & the Rampant Rabbit™ came along, is that the general expectations of each sex have grown wildly unrealistic & unrealizable:  There is always a newer, younger body to be found online. There is always a richer, taller, more famous, more sensitive, more high-status man than the one you've already got.

It has also made men less obviously dependent on women, & women less obviously dependent on men. Which inevitably leads to more loneliness, & bitter blaming on both sides, with sexuality increasingly a solitary experience, instead of one celebrated fully with another. This sure is one sad age we are living in, but perhaps a necessary stage we need to pass through in order to come out the other side & find each other again.


As I noted earlier, women for the most part consume their pornography - 'emotional pornography' - in book form, which we call Romance, or sometimes - for the more daring sort - Erotica. Women's specifically female needs & desires are more often fulfilled by the long, exhaustive rituals of the romantic novel (or now movie) in ways that largely bypass men's comprehension. Men's internal wiring, on the other hand, favours visual stimulus - predominantly photography & moving images - & it is for this we reserve the more pejorative label 'Porn'. One of these is considered benign, the other sinful, even now. But we know all men - straight men, anyway - are lit up inside by the sight of the naked bodies of women, so why should anyone be shocked that men should seek them out? The great majority of all 'pornography', after all, is simply pictures of naked women. Why would anyone view that as aberrant behaviour? It is no less to be expected than a hungry man seeking food.

The present-day issue with pornography is for the most part that it is an expression of male desire. Western society went directly from the Victorian age, with the Christian demonization of all sexuality, to the feminist age, in which only male sexuality is demonized, where only male sexuality is seen as a problem. Female sexuality in all its forms is now widely celebrated, & practically anything a woman can choose to do in that realm someone somewhere will claim is 'empowering', whether that's masturbation, prostitution, adultery, lesbianism, celibacy, bestiality or anything in between. Whereas there is no sexual act any heterosexual male can carry out - even on his own - that will be described by anyone on planet earth as 'empowering'. Under the feminist narrative, men have all the power anyway, so any sexual activity they can engage in is an exploitation of that ghastly sovereignty, to only a greater or lesser degree. Although few but the most rabid of rabidal feminists will go the whole hog & assert that 'All Men Are Rapists', that core philosophy oozes from the black worm heart of radical feminist ideology in ever more diluted, populist ways until it reaches the mainstream as the vague but haughty dismissal & distrust we see all around us. Misandry, in other words.

Neither of these paradigms - Victorian prudery or feminist fear-mongering - is acceptable. We need to find a better way. Any society which cannot accept the fundamental realities of sex - & the fundamental differences between the sexes - is an unhealthy society that can never make sense either to itself, or to those outside of it looking back years later. The beliefs & morality of all times are only ever incomplete at best, & more often terribly mistaken. This age, too, will be no different. That is one of the few things we can be certain of.

Underneath all constructs, all ideologies, Reality with a capital R continues. Truth continues. And I say again: the societal value of  pornography is that it shines a light on whatever people publicly fear to show. And if we want to understand people, we need to be able to see what people are inside without fear, & without judgement. With curiosity, wonder, & acceptance of all our wild & unruly humanity. 


Friday, 21 December 2012

Interview With Erin Pizzey

Great interview with the one & only Erin Pizzey - the founder of the world's first shelters for battered women back in the 1970s - with Dean Esmay from AVFM:

Dean: Good morning Erin, how are you?
Erin: Good morning, It’s very cold.
Dean: It’s very cold is it? Well, it’s early December, I guess it is cold; you’re living in London these days, yes?
Erin: Yes I am.
Dean: So, you have recently, in the last year or so, published a book called “This Way to the Revolution – a Memoir” from Peter Owen Publishers. What can you tell me about that book, Erin?
Erin: I’ve always tried to tell the truth about the beginnings. I was one of the first people in England to get involved with the Women’s Movement and what I saw there, I knew perfectly well was going to be extremely destructive. And, when I began to stand up at these great big Collective meetings – and interestingly enough there were a lot of women from America who came over with initial instruction to show the British women how to be radical feminists. They’re a pretty frightening crowd and I got screamed at a lot partly because I said many women like myself, who are married, with or without children are perfectly happy to have the choice to be able to stay home. So, in the end last year actually… it took me ten years to get this book published, it was turned down by every major publisher in this country. And, finally, Peter Owen, who is a fine very small publishing company, agreed that they would publish. And they’ve done a wonderful job of it. And it is, it’s the whole truth about what went on behind the movement… the feminist movement.
I’m sorry, were you saying something?
Dean: So you say the feminist movement, the women’s movement… I confess I haven’t read the entire book yet, but I’ve at least read part of it and it’s certainly very interesting. Would you say that you considered yourself a feminist in the very early days?
Erin: I considered myself like many women across the world, I considered myself an equity feminist. I believed in equality for everyone. Now there were issues that needed discussing, but as soon as I saw, because you have to remember my background, my parents were caught by the Communists when I was nine and I didn’t see them for three years – they were under house arrest…
Dean: Your parents were caught by the Communists?
Erin: Yes in 1949, my father was in Tientsin in the Foreign Office…
Dean: In China?
Erin: Yes, China and they had marched up the driveway and they were arrested. They were very lucky, my parents, because they were just under house arrest. Most of the others were put into prisons. And I had one very close family member who came out completely insane from what happened to him. So, I had no love of Communism from the very beginning. From what I saw when I was in these great big collectives was really Marxism. We were all organized into groups in our own homes and told that we must have consciousness-raising sessions. And I remember the woman who came to our consciousness-raising and when she finished, I said this has nothing to do with women, this is actually Marxist. I said so we’re supposed to go to work full time and put our children into care provided by the state – like the Communist government – and why are we calling this liberation? And so very quickly I was booted out and went off to open a community center for mothers and children. And then I knew, once the donations came in, once the press picked it up–because the local paper–because my refuge by that point was full—I knew very well the sound of the feminist boots coming down to actually hijack the entire domestic violence industry and turn it into a billion dollar industry. Which they’ve done.
Dean: Well those are very powerful words and statements. I understand you were born in China, yes?
Erin: Yes.
Dean: So you and your family were there when they turned communist.
Erin: No, I was born in China, but then my parents were re-posted to China when I was about eleven years old. They were reposted to Tientsin and that’s where they were incarcerated.
Dean: Oh I see. Yet, I can already hear some people objecting. I’ve met a lot of women who consider themselves feminists in some form or other and they look at you like you’re from Mars if you say this business about it being Marxist in origin or…
Erin: Yes, but most of them don’t even know anything about the beginning of this movement. And the thing I have to point out, very simply, the beginnings of the women’s movement happened way back when a lot of women were fighting for the rights of people, of Americans, to end the apartheid that was going on at that time. When they had finished marching for the civil rights movement—There’s a whole storied history that you can read it. They came back and decided that the leftist women wanted their own movement. So instead of it being Capitalism, which everyone was against in the left wing movements, they simply changed the goal posts and said it was Patriarchy. Everything was because of men, because of the power that men have over women. And then the second part of their argument was that all women are victims of men’s violence because it’s The Patriarchy. And that is such a lot of rubbish. Because, we know, and everybody in the business knows, that both men and women in interpersonal relationships can be violent. And that’s in every single study all across the Western world. All this time – 40 years – we’ve been living a big lie led by these Feminist women who essentially have created a huge billion dollar industry all across the world and they have shut the doors on men. No men can work in refuges; no men can sit on Boards; boys under the age of twelve often can’t go into the refuges. A mother has to make a difficult choice of what she should do.
Dean: Here in the U.S. I’ve at least come across a few shelters which employ men in some fashion…to act as guards at the doors or…
Erin: That’s not working in refuges; that’s standing outside.
Dean: Standing outside or picking women up and driving them places…yes.
Erin: Not as staff though; not working in the refuge. In my refuge, half the staff are always men because they’re so important for children who haven’t known good, kind men…and some of their mothers.
Dean: I understand. That makes good sense. I see from your memoir for example, that in the early 60’s you had to show proof that you intended to get married just to get contraception from your doctor.
Erin: Yes.
Dean: Women couldn’t apply for mortgages… and so I presume it’s that sort of thing that made you interested in the Women’s movement in the first place.
Erin: Yes, absolutely. And I had such a vision, and partly the refuge because–I know all about violence. Both my parents were violent. My mother was particularly violent to me because I looked like my father. And the other two; my twin sister and my brother were much more like her. And my whole concern is, it is generational violence, and if we don’t save this generation of children we simply have more and more violent people. Because, until we understand we cannot blame men for everything. Women have to look at themselves and be honest about their own violence. And also, to understand what you do to a child’s brain when you actually fight each other, scream, yell and hit children, it causes brain damage. And we know that now from MRI scans. They can see what it does, particularly to the frontal lobe, the right frontal lobe, which is the seat of all our emotions.
Dean: There was a psychologist in Canada who recently published a piece asserting that the stereotype that we seem to all accept now of the helpless, innocent woman who is beaten on by a brutish, thuggish man and needs to run away represents perhaps only 4 or 5 percent of all domestic violence cases and that almost all other cases are more complicated than that. Would you agree that that sounds about reasonable?
Erin: Yes, of the first hundred women who came into my refuge, sixty percent were as violent as the men they left. Or, they were violent and the men weren’t.
Dean: They were violent and the men weren’t?
Erin: Yeah! And that’s why I tried to open a house for men almost immediately after I opened the refuge for women and my problem was – and this was a great shock to me – I was given a house at a Peppercorn Rent by the Council; and then I asked men who had actually given money for my refuge for women and children (they were millionaires) to give me some money for the men’s house, and none of them would give a penny!

Wednesday, 12 December 2012


While making my way through the deeply fascinating I Am Alive And You Are Dead: A Journey Into The Mind of Philip K. Dick, I came across a reference to the experiment on social conformity carried out in the 1950's by Solomon Asch:
'A group of people, all but one of them confederates of the experimenter, were shown three lines of varying lengths and asked which of the lines was the same length as a fourth they were shown. The confederates, as instructed beforehand, all replied incorrectly though the correct answer was obvious. With astonishing frequency, the one real subject, who went next to last, ended up disregarding what his own senses told him was true and joined in with the others.'

The author, Emmanuel Carrère, goes on to say
"Totalitarian states [are] nothing if not an experiment of this kind on a vast scale. They had found out how to show a chair to people and get them to say it was a table. More than that, they got people to believe it as well... the goal of a totalitarian state is to cut people off from reality, to give them a make-believe world to live in instead."

It should be obvious to regular readers here the implications this has for the PC society we presently live in - which was founded, after all, in totalitarian ideology - the very term 'political correctness' entered our language through the first English translations of Chairman Mao's Little Red Book back in the 1960's, and was used - to begin with - only to highlight the inevitable dangers of such oppressive policing of thought. Campus Marxism popularized these 'left-wing' ideas & portrayed 'PC' as the language of the liberators rather than the oppressors. And so it is still today, in our Orwellian future: Black is white. A table is a chair. Feminism Is Equality. Stuff like that.

Curious about the experiment I looked deeper & elsewhere found the sex breakdown showed
"Consistently within and across experiments, all-female groups (a female subject alongside female confederates) conform significantly more often than all-male groups. Around one-half of the women conform more than half the time, versus a third of the men." 1

Women as a group appear to have evolved to be both more self-group biased than men & also more pack-minded, as presumably getting on with others was more essential to the survival of a woman - usually with child - unable to easily hunt & fend for herself than for a man who was freer to strike out on his own & make his way outside of the tribe, if necessary. Women have always known the strength of numbers, of banding together to get what they want, & a necessary part of that is a greater willingness to defend the beliefs or actions of those within your group (in this case women) regardless of their objective truth or morality (hence: feminism). This is as true now as in the Paleolithic: recent studies have shown that "women's automatic in-group bias is remarkably stronger than men's", & that "men appear to lack a mechanism that bolsters automatic own group preference".2

But outside of the sex difference, the dilemma remains & is universal, facing everyone: The price of conformity is the loss of individual thought. The reward for conformity is acceptance & support. Most human beings, of course, would like both. And there's the rub.

For the great masses of humanity, the rewards that come from subsuming their identity & individual thought by joining a political movement or religion (from the Latin religare 'to bind') outweighs the lonely satisfactions of being the fool on the hill, the outsider, an independent observer without affiliation. That is never going to change, & it is the height of foolishness to expect otherwise from almost anyone you meet.

The most I think we can hope for is to work towards a dominant belief system in which the awareness of the lenses, the filters we are inevitably seeing the world through are made so integral a part of the rituals & commandments that they are constantly at the forefront of every persons consciousness each & every day. Such a movement does not presently exist, perhaps never has, & perhaps never will, but if we really want to have any hope whatsoever of seeking Truth beyond ideology, if we really want to break the endlessly recurring silence under the rule of the dictator, the church, the faceless corporation or the bovine masses, I see no other way.

"People are not machines but in every opportunity where they are allowed to behave like machines, they will so behave"
- Ludwig von Bertalanffy