Tuesday, June 5, 2007


You know things must be improving in Afghanistan when my morning paper has a story about how internet cafes are springing up like poppies in major cities like Kandahar - an area where Canadian troops have been operating heavily for the past several years.

Seems as if the Afghans have discovered on-line porn and they likee. Not that that's all they're flocking to cafes for. Many of them just want to find out what's happening in the world. As one can imagine, the Taliban did not look kindly on either.

One of the main goals of any incursion into a muslim or other type of thugocracy should be, without question, the exposure to the big world, and if that means complete with pornography, so be it. (And, before anyone gets all upset and calls me misogynistic or sexist, I will also point out that a recent Australian study showed at least one-third of those people who regularly view on-line porn are women.) Maybe pictures or videos of all the various possible sexual interactions shouldn't be tops on the list but it's a lot less dangerous than Taliban-style thinking.

Sadly, Afghanistan is in the minority. Much of the world seems to be going backwards. In the palestinian areas, internet cafes are now regularly firebombed even though their owners say they block sites that don't carry the proper Islamist message (I don't know how many sites that would leave, but it can't be many). In Egypt, bloggers are routinely jailed. In China, the government blocks endless numbers of sites and, unfortunately, major corporations like Google and Yahoo! go along for the ride.

The internet is an amazing tool - heck, for starters, it allows you to read my pearls of wisdom. Western nations should deluge nations like Iraq with computers and internet access because information will defeat the islamists much more convincingly than bullets. Sure, the internet is full of an amazing amount of bullshit and more lies than a stadium full of politicians, but it's the exchange of ideas that allows it to flourish and has made it into a tool for freedom.

And, if that doesn't work, throw some more porn at them. A sexually-drained islamist is more likely to fall asleep than chop a head off.


Lexcen said...

Porno blitzkrieg sounds like a excellent strategy to defeat Muslims without incurring any casualties. I'm willing to donate my collection to the cause.

Bar Kochba said...

While its wonderful that the Internet is being brought to dictatorships, porn is not a good thing.

From the National Coalition for the Protection of Children and Families.
In short, the psychological and spiritual damage done by looking at porn creep in gradually over time, so that a person who indulges for the first time will not be aware of the profound impacts it is having on him.

Ted Bundy confessed before he was executed for multiple murders that addiction to pornography fueled his violent behavior. Many viewers of pornography claim that occasional viewing of nudity will not turn them into serial killers. True, only a small percentage of individuals who view pornography develop addictions that lead them to violent behavior. Pornography, however, does pose subtle dangers worth considering.

In his book, The Centerfold Syndrome, psychologist Gary R. Brooks, Ph.D., identifies five principal symptoms of what he describes as a “pervasive disorder” linked to consumption of soft-core pornography like Playboy and Penthouse.

Voyeurism - An obsession with looking at women rather than interacting with them. Brooks contends that the explosion in glorification and objectification of women’s bodies promotes unreal images of women, distorts physical reality, creates an obsession with visual stimulation and trivializes all other mature features of a healthy psychosexual relationship.

Objectification - An attitude in which women are objects rated by size, shape and harmony of body parts. Brooks asserts that if a man spends most of his emotional energy on sexual fantasies about inaccessible people, he frequently will not be available for even the most intimate emotional and sexual moments with his partner.

Validation - The need to validate masculinity through beautiful women. According to Brooks, the women who meet centerfold standards only retain their power as along as they maintain perfect bodies and the leverage of mystery and unavailability. And the great majority of men who never come close to sex with their dream woman are left feeling cheated or unmanly.

Trophyism - The idea that beautiful women are collectibles who show the world who a man is. Brooks asserts that the women’s-bodies-as-trophies mentality, damaging enough in adolescence, becomes even more destructive in adulthood. Furthermore, trophies, once they are won, are supposed to become the property of the winner, a permanent physical symbol of accomplishment and worthiness. This cannot be so with women’s bodies.

Fear of true intimacy - Inability to relate to women in an honest and intimate way despite deep loneliness. Pornography pays scant attention to men’s needs for sensuality and intimacy while exalting their sexual needs. Thus, some men develop a preoccupation with sexuality, which powerfully handicaps their capacity for emotionally intimate relationships with men and for nonsexual relationships with women.

A few things to think about

* Professors Dolf Zillman of Indiana University and Jennings Bryant of the University of Houston found that repeated exposure to pornography results in a decreased satisfaction with one’s sexual partner, with the partner’s sexuality, with the partner’s sexual curiosity, a decrease in the valuation of faithfulness and a major increase in the importance of sex without attachment.

* A study conducted by Dr. Reo Christensen of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, found that pornography leaves the impression with its viewers that sex has no relationship to privacy; that it is unrelated to love, commitment or marriage; that bizarre forms of sex are the most gratifying; that sex with animals has an especially desirable flavor; and that irresponsible sex has no adverse consequences.

* According to the book Media, Children, and the Family: Social Scientific, Psychodynamic, and Clinical Perspectives, research has shown that sexual arousal and accompanying excitedness diminish with repeated exposure to sexual scenes. As exposure to commonly shown sexual activities leaves consumers relatively unexcited, they are likely to seek out pornography that features novel and potentially less common sexual acts.

* In addition, in a series of studies, researchers observed numerous persistent changes in perceptions concerning sexuality and sexual behavior after repeated exposing (i.e., six 1-hours weekly sessions) volunteers to pornography. These include the trivialization of rape as a criminal offense, exaggerated perceptions of the prevalence of most sexual practices, increased callousness toward female sexuality and concerns, dissatisfaction with sexual relationships and diminished caring for and trust in intimate partners.

* In the book Back From Betrayal, author Jennifer P. Schneider, M.D., asserts that for some dissatisfied people, fantasizing about affairs is the first step to a real affair. She suggests that the fantasization process occupies such a large part of a person’s inner world that little energy is left for the marital relationship.

* According to Francine Klagsbrun, author of Married People: Staying Together in the Age of Divorce, the reason marriage provides the greatest possibility for intimacy is because marriage is predicated on the idea of exclusivity. And one of the differences between marriage and other friendships is the importance of exclusivity.

* In the book, Men Confront Pornography, Michael S. Kimmel maintains that pornography is one of the major sources of sexual information that young males have about sexuality and is therefore the central mechanism by which their sexuality has been constructed. “Men can no longer hide behind pornography as harmless fun.”

NCPCF in Action Special Report, July 1997. Published by the National Coalition for the Protection of Children & Families. Copyright © 1997 by the National Coalition for the Protection of Children & Families. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

southfield_2001 said...

bar: "porn is not a good thing."

porn actually can be a good thing. As with many of the things in the world, it can also be a bad thing.
My posts are generally written with a degree of tongue in cheek approach. I'm not really suggesting we just flood dictatorships with porn but I do believe that its accessibility in a country like Afghanistan is certainly part and parcel of an overall improvement in their ability to access information.
And, just a thought: the conditions that arise from viewing pornography (and which do not apply to the many, many millions of people who have watched porn without falling victim to anything worse than arousal) you outline in your argument against porn are certainly no worse than the misogynistic manner in which many nations treat women where porn is not publicly available.

Bar Kochba said...

Just saying... lol

Deric said...

I don't believe the post to be about porn's overall affect on psychological mechanisms, or relationships as we have defined them. I think that he is using it as simply a means to proving a point that the internet is a vast continuum of possible knowledge, or sensory input. As such, any tool, such as the internet, can be used in a positive or a negative regard. Just as a hammer can be used to pound a nail, it can be used to kill a man.