Rod Dreher

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Alas For Social Justice Perverts

 What good news!:

The internet is home to a plethora of destinations offering adults-only content. But soon, Tumblr won’t be one of them.

The microblogging platform announced Monday that it is banning adult content. In, naturally, a Tumblr post, Chief Executive Jeff D’Onofrio said the move was meant to promote “a better, more positive Tumblr.”

The move appears to stem from a recent dispute Tumblr had with Apple’s iOS App Store. The Tumblr app was not available as of Nov. 16, news site the Verge reported, and a post from Tumblr indicated it was related to an issue with the filter the site used to automatically remove child pornography.

“Every image uploaded to Tumblr is scanned against an industry database of known child sexual abuse material, and images that are detected never reach the platform. A routine audit discovered content on our platform that had not yet been included in the industry database,” Tumblr said in the post.

Monday’s announcement said the ban on adult content will be enforced beginning Dec. 17.

More:

Over the years, Tumblr has also struggled with swarms of porn bots. A Tumblr blog called Purge the Bots was created this year to raise awareness of the problem and update users on what actions the site was taking to address it. A total ban on adult content could solve the problem, though possibly at the cost of users who are on Tumblr specifically for adult content.

Well, too bad for them. I’m glad Apple did what it did, and that Tumblr has made this switch.

Alas, America’s most famous Fake Vagina Haver™ is upset:

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

The BBC’s reporter laments the effect on the “marginalized”:

Unlike typical pornography sites, which overwhelmingly cater to men, and serve an often narrow definition of what is attractive, Tumblr has been a home for something else – content tailored at vibrant LGBT communities, or for those with tastes you might not necessarily share with all your friends.

If society deems it acceptable for any porn to be on the internet, then that acceptance must surely be inclusive. Unlike most of those other sites Mr D’Onofrio speaks of, Tumblr has been a space where different body types are sexually celebrated, not degraded.

…  Many on Tumblr have been fearing a porn ban since the network was acquired by fading web giant Yahoo in 2013. That time, the adult content was allowed to remain. But in 2017, when Yahoo was acquired by Oath, the digital arm of telecoms giant Verizon, the writing was on the wall.

“I had feared this day would come,” wrote one user, who runs a fetish account, in response to the chief executive’s message on Monday.

“I’m so sad to see this happen, and can’t believe I’ll be losing this blog. I honestly don’t know what I’ll do without it, but I truly hope that the kinky community comes up with a new place for us all to get together and share.”

Not The Onion! Alas, poor degenerates. I’m sure they’ll get by somehow.

In The Washington Post, John Paul Brammer laments Tumblr’s cleaning itself up, saying that it made him who he is. Again, not a joke! Excerpt:

“Do you have a Tumblr?”

I asked this question a lot in college after coming out as gay my junior year. I joined the campus Gay-Straight Alliance, sure. I downloaded dating and hookup apps. I met people. But in my “baby gay years” in Oklahoma, nothing ensured a connection like meeting a fellow user of the micro-blogging site.

First, it meant you were probably queer; the platform is a hub for LGBTQ discourse. But being on Tumblr also meant you had an offbeat sense of humor, an interest in social justice and, of course, a fondness for utter filth. Tumblr, more than any other social media site, has been a veritable clearinghouse for porn.

More:

It’s a setback not only to the many sex workers, kink fans and artists who populate the site but also to the Tumblr ethos itself, which drew in so many queer people and made us feel at home, especially those of us in remote parts of the country without an immediate community to connect to. Explicit content played a crucial part in creating that space, so it’s unsurprising the ban has been widely received as Tumblr’s death knell.

I don’t condone all of Tumblr’s explicit content. What’s wrong on Tumblr, such as depictions of abusive or nonconsensual sex acts, would be wrong elsewhere. But with the ethical stuff, Tumblr exposed me to forms of sexuality I had not previously considered and, even if they weren’t for me, expanded my thinking about sex and about myself.

This is supposed to be a reason why Tumblr’s banning porn is a bad thing? It’s hard to wrap one’s mind around the idea that here is a man who is praising a kinky pornography site for being a major formative influence on his character. If it’s really the case that indulging “a fondness for utter filth” is key to learning how to be a gay man, then who in their right mind would want their kid to be socialized into that culture? Brammer, raised in Oklahoma by parents who accepted his homosexuality, is certainly confounding the bourgeois media narrative.

Like the BBC writer, he ends by mourning the pain that the “vulnerable” will now suffer because they won’t be able to access pornography on the platform. This has to be the ultimate SJW Millennial take: howling in protest that cutting porn from a microblogging site hurts the marginalized.

The Muslim blogger Ismail Royer predicts what’s coming next from professional Muslim activists:

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Seriously, how did we become the kind of culture where celebrating kinky porn is a respectable point of view? No culture I want to be a part of, for sure.

As an aside, if you are the kind of conservative Christian who thinks that Muslims like Ismail Royer are your enemy, and not a vital ally against the pornification of the American character, you really need to re-think your position. What we need is a practical intersectionality of the morally sane.

UPDATE: The Washington Post publishes a second column from a Millennial — this one a female member of its editorial board — who sees Tumblr’s porn ban as a blow to the “vulnerable,” and as an occasion of mourning. I’m not kidding. Excerpt:

Mourning Tumblr’s pornographic content is more than mourning sexy GIFs. It’s mourning openness. The Internet democratized sex; suddenly, what was once too taboo to access without stigma was available to anyone with a screen and a search engine. Tumblr made that democratized system more democratic still. Its independent model emphasized performers’ agency, which meant posters’ output was more likely to be ethical and not exploitative. And a focus on creativity over merely clicks for cash led to bodies that were not stereotypically porn-ready, sexualities that sold less well on the mainstream market, kinks that were not presented as some strange sort of “other. ”

This is the sort of porn it is worth shedding a tear or two over, and its loss is a sign that an Internet that once seemed limitless may be getting a little smaller. It is hard to say now what the world will look like with a slightly less wide Web. One thing, though, is certain: We’ll know it when we see it.

I understand that people like pornography. People are subject to vices of all kinds. Geezer that I am, though, I am gobsmacked by these claims that porn is character-building and civic-minded. What astonishing corruption has overtaken our elites.

UPDATE.2: A Catholic reader from France e-mails:

“As an aside, if you are the kind of conservative Christian who thinks that Muslims like Ismail Royer are your enemy, and not a vital ally against the pornification of the American character, you really need to re-think your position. What we need is a practical intersectionality of the morally sane.”

I am glad to see you’ve finally come to the position I’ve reached a long time ago – and for which I’ve been mocked and abused by my coreligionists for almost as long.

The normalization/mainstreamization of porn is one of the most irksome features of this “culture”, for it’s not just about filth being available to everybody, it also affects people’s behaviour. I don’t have a problem with people watching others having sex on a screen; my beef is when they start boasting about it, discussing it as though it was one of the noblest pursuits of mankind or “no big deal”. Twenty years ago, people who watched porn did it behind closed doors and didn’t tell anyone because while “everybody did it” it was usually considered a pastime for losers with no sex lives of their own or couples in need of fresh ideas. Fox Mulder with his videotapes “that didn’t belong to him” was pretty much typical of the porn viewer of the era.

Move twenty years on and porn is everywhere and almost regarded as a fundamental right; even worse people pornify their own lives, flaunting their sexual exploits as they would talk about what they had for dinner last night, and the more people in the know the better. Celebrities and the media as often show the way ahead. I mean, you know pretty much everything you need to know about the situation when one of the most popular podcasts in the world is called “My Dad Wrote a Porno” and frequently has famous people coming to talk about sex, including their own sex lives, in graphic and foul detail. Whatever happened to the very notion of privacy? Of course uttering a single word in opposition brands you immediately a “prude” or “judgmental” but one of the reasons why I don’t have kids is that I don’t want them to grow up in a culture in which famous entertainers boast about being Grindr users.

So yes, as I said to you previously, I hold no grudge against Muslims, provided of course that they don’t try to impose their beliefs and rituals upon me. Since none has tried so far, I regard them as allies, not threats.

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103 Responses to Alas For Social Justice Perverts

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  1. J says:

    I think Muslims are more likely to demand that any “anti-Islam” content be filtered out. That would mean anything they don’t agree with. They seem to have no problem using our societal perversions against us.

    I’m happy that tumblr is doing this. If we can ban supersize sodas then why not something that negatively affects the mental and social health of our society?

  2. MikeS says:

    No more ‘safe space’ for ‘queer’ ‘communities’ on Tumbler?! And Rod, _You_ think the world is going downhill! Imagine the hurt and heartache these people feel!

  3. JeffK says:

    Rod,
    I am a progressive and could care less about Tumblr. Never saw it, never used it.

    When are you going to quit labeling a few perverts as if they epitomize all progressives? Would you like to see headlines labeling all conservatives as fascists and racists? They seem to migrate to conservatism.

    And what makes you think only progressives use Tumblr? I think you would find a sizeable number of in-the-closet conservatives use it too.

    Consider the Mormon community. I read that porn is quite popular with them. So I googled it. Per the link below “In 2015, the adult site PornHub recorded 16 visits per capita from Utah visitors, half of what Washington, D.C.’s rate. While Utah lawmakers reject LGBT-friendly laws, their citizens are hungry for lesbian pornography. It is the top search term in the state, but it’s also consistent with a majority of states in the country.”

    https://www.rawstory.com/2016/04/inside-the-bizarre-world-of-mormon-porn-which-is-freaking-out-the-church-and-utah-lawmakers/

    Why not opine on phenomena such as that? Instead, you constantly attack progressives.

    Such constant labeling does little to advance your position outside of the conservative thought bubble, and in fact discredits it.

  4. JamesP says:

    Eventually, the rainbow juggernaut and their pervy allies will get Apple to buckle. Maybe not next month, but give it two years. They will argue loudly that suppressing filth suppresses their identity, and we can’t stand for that. Apple might get away with imposing standards because Cook is at the helm, but when he rides off into the sunset with his billions, the gloves will come off.

  5. Thomas Student says:

    Rod, I would be very interested in more detail from Cavin regarding the claim that employers are open about porn use at work. I am currently back in school and I have only ever worked for church-related groups, so I have never experienced something like this. I’d be fascinated to get the perspective from other commentators (or have a new post started on this topic) about the (supposed) ubiquitous of porn acceptance in the workplace or at least open acknowledgement that employees view porn. That seems to be a major cultural shift … are we way past the point at which sexual sin is tolerated but not spoken of publicly? Are we at the point where it is just assumed and discussed without shame? Perhaps I have been living in a bubble, but I just assumed that it was still taboo to speak about pornography use in public.

  6. JonF says:

    Cavin, I have never heard of a white collar workplace that permitted porn. One complaint from an offended employee and they’re staring at a hostile workplace law suit. At the last place I worked one of the sales guys played a joke on his coworker, who was gay, by leaving a soft core girly mag on his desk. The gay guy took it in good form (the two were friends) and threatened to retaliate with some similar gay mag with bare nekkid guys. But the boss had a fit pointing out the legal minefield such pranks could land the company in.

    Rod, why does it matter if Fortiyn was more promiscuous than a cat in heat? I mean politically? Are people’s personal lives reason to nullify everything else about them? Usually the answer to that is No on this blog. Should we dump Jefferson wholly overboard because of the Sally Hemmings business?

  7. a commenter says:

    “In fact, most white-collar workplaces these days permit employees to view porn at work, as long as it’s done on personal devices and not done in a manner that would make others feel uncomfortable.”

    One wonders why the employers don’t expect their employees to do WORK at work.

  8. Bob Loblaw says:

    “But here’s the thing (and I know you’re aware of this): the American straight erotic imagination doesn’t hew to the Donna Reed/Jimmy Stewart narrative either. The OVERWHELMING number of Americans who consume porn and indulge in various forms of kink are straight. “That culture,” as you refer to it, is also straight culture. If it’s a problem, it’s not just a gay problem, but it seems the gays are traditionally the easiest ones for conservatives to target and rail about and punish.”

    Totally agree, but the thing is, all the articles lamenting the demise of Tumblr porn try to elevate their argument into defense of the oppressed, including gays. They assert that Tumblr porn is a critical lifeline to the existence of marginalized groups. I posit that if porn is the basis for your identity, then you have a huge problem.

  9. Pharmtech says:

    I couldn’t care less. Tumblr is a private company. No loss. There are plenty of other sites for porn and I won’t use any platform that censors.

  10. Anonymous says:

    [NFR: Turn away from porn. It is ruining you. — RD]

    Much like your comment to Erin above, you’ll probably not agree with this, but…

    I’m a man who grew up in a very conservative, very religious community. There were two messages about sex that were communicated. First, “sex is bad and should be reserved for marriage”. Second, “men want sex and women don’t, though women can be convinced to give it up.”

    I don’t know the real ratio, but Tumblr porn blogs seem like they are around 50-50 curated by women vs. men. Plus, the posts by women are things they actively liked to see and fantasize about, not just pandering to a male gaze. The range of things are huge; romantic missionary position through BDSM.

    Discovering this was mind-blowing. Not the porn itself, since that could be found anywhere. What was shocking was that there were women curating these blogs who had independent, active desires for sex. Moreover, when posting on topics other than sex, they were “average” and “normal” in every way.

    This ran completely counter to every message I’d received by conservative religious culture. Unlike the stereotype, exposure to this porn made me see women as, well, people. It was the total opposite of dehumanizing and helped break the view of women as “other”.

  11. OldAnglican says:

    This is a great move by Tumblr. There is a ton of content on Tumblr that is not porn, not fandom, and not SJW rants. It’s where I’ve (improbably) found a blogging home. Apparently, there’s some modest interest in my posts on architectural history and American antique furniture (with occasional political posts and Christian posts that I slip in as well). I’m sure Tumblr will lose a bunch of users over this; there’s plenty of overreaction. If Tumblr survives, it will be much better for the change.

  12. joshua says:

    @Matte in VA

    “Islam is NOT Western, period, and the simplest, most cursory look at Western art ALONE would tell you that they are INCOMPATIBLE. ”

    ~ I’m not sure I understand the delineation that Muslim culture is ‘Not western’. Christianity came from the ME, was heavily influenced by Hellenism and the majority of western tradition and philosophy was preserved not by the west but Muslims. It takes a pretty bad memory to claim that Christianity and Islam or ‘the west’ and the nations west of India are INCOMPATIBLE. Up until the 1900’s all the mores of proper etiquette were shared in the west and the east, again west of India.

    If what you meant to say is, post 1990’s West is incompatible then I’d agree with you and further elaborate that the west as it is, is incompatible with itself hence the constant illusion to the culture of death and our inability to reproduce offspring to perpetuate our bastardized society. Ultimately if it could be the Persians that replace us versus the Bedouins I’m all for it. If one must be replaced at least he/she could be replaced by a people in love with dialectic.

  13. Drugs not Hugs says:

    This post brims with gleeful hatred (especially the title). It feels like Achilles dragging Hector’s corpse behind his chariot. As a prominent advocate of Christian values, how do you expect to convert non-believers when you so happily dehumanize them?

  14. BF says:

    Given that nearly 100% of the US population views porn, at least on a semi-regular basis, the demand isn’t going anywhere. ….

    Also, it is quite common for companies to recommend that people get their porn fix from Tumblr.

    I don’t know where you work or who you hang out with, but these strike me as messages from Outer Space. I never worked anywhere that my employer made porn channel recommendations to employees. (Is this commonly done by intra-office memo? Do these employers hold meetings for this purpose?) I’ve also never worked anywhere that viewing porn during work hours was some kind of plus. All the people I worked for wanted employees to, you know, work during work hours.

    Of course it is very easy to go around proclaiming that “nearly 100% of the population” (or, only half the population, or some other number) watches porn on a semi-regular basis. Here you’re pulling “information” pretty much out of thin air. Most people I know would dispute your statement. But in the nature of the thing no one really knows.

  15. Thomas Student says:

    Anonymous says that he was told, growing up in a conservative religious household that “men want sex and women don’t, though women can be convinced to give it up.” Discovering that women have sexual desires (by seeing their pornography collections) opened him up to seeing women as fully human. Anonymous doesn’t give a precise conclusion to his observation, but it seems like this is meant as some sort of defense of porn on Tumblr.

    As a pretty traditional religious person myself (although raised in a more moderately religious household), I think the real problem is just that he was raised with a highly distorted view of female sexuality, not that non-liberal sexual morality is wrong. Most “traditional” descriptions of female sexuality take the opposite approach, describing women as promiscuous and licentious.

    That’s not to say that the inverse is any better. Rather, we would do well to accept that we all have a vast range of passions/desires (which are endlessly exploited by capitalism) and which are tremendously malleable to the degree that we can learn (or be coerced) to enjoy almost anything. Our desires alone are not the place to begin if we want to act morally, or else we will keep having our desires made more and more diverse while also being left continually unsatisfied. We have to start by asking what is just and work to align our desires with that–striving for what I should want not what I do want.

    Anonymous would learn a lot by reading MacIntyre’s After Virtue, which is not a book about sexual ethics, but about how modern rule-based ethics is deeply flawed. “Extra-marital is bad” is a meaningless statement, and the last 300+ years of moral discourse hasn’t given us anything beyond this (and unfortunately, most Protestant moralities take this approach).

  16. Ben says:

    you ought to at least have the common sense to realize that in the religious liberty battles to come in a liberal-dominated legal system, religious minorities, including Muslims, will be key to protecting your own liberties.

    Islam represents US Christianity’s best hope for survival.

    Will the last person left please turn off the lights.

    [NFR: That’s not what I’m saying at all, but I *am* saying that in the legal battles to come, religious minorities (Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs et alia) are going to be crucial allies. It’s not Rod Dreher saying this; it’s Christian law professors and legal strategists to whom I’ve spoken. It is hard for people who don’t live in the world of law school elites (from where senior judges come) how utterly secular they are, and uncomprehending of religion. Remember what “Prof. Kingsfield,” the elite law school prof said on this site three years ago? But these elites do believe in “diversity,” which is why orthodox Christians had better learn out of self-interest to make friends with Muslims, Hindus, and the rest. This is the world we’re living in. — RD]

  17. Sid Finster says:

    1. I have long wondered what people with non-standard sexual tastes met like-minded souls, back in the Bad Old Days before they could meet on the internet?

    If you were a garden variety homosexual, lesbian, bisexual or bohemian, you moved to the big city where there was a subculture just waiting for folks like you. After Patricia Highsmith wrote “The Price of Salt”, her publisher was inundated with letters, eager for information on how to go about finding a lesbian bar. I don’t know how many of these letters were in fact from heterosexual men.

    But if you were, say, a cross-dressing poo eater, how did one find someone willing to sew your frocks and bake your pies?

    How did the young transvestite coprophage even bring the subject up? “Yeah, these New York bars sure beat anything we got in Bismarck, but do you know anyplace that caters to cross-dressing poo eaters? Asking for a friend.”

    Even in San Francisco, that was probably pretty out there, I guess.

    2. How much of this stuff even existed before the internet?

    I think I have as vivid an imagination as any other healthy-minded lad, and I don’t think I could have thought up a lot of the things that float some peoples’ boats, not even if I tried for a really long time.

    If you were, say, a cross-dressing poo eater, did you always know that you were made to slip into a pinafore and feast until you ran out of ExLax and baked beans? Or did you go through life, certain that there was something out there that you were missing out on, but not sure what that might be? Or did you just get on with life and try to get through it?

  18. Matt in VA says:

    It’s not Rod Dreher saying this; it’s Christian law professors and legal strategists to whom I’ve spoken.

    Here’s Tucker Carlson in an article from early 2016 about the Trump phenomenon, an article that you chose to highlight on your blog because it contained some important hard truths: “Movement Conservatism is a jobs program. The people with the jobs in D.C. are happy; no one else is.”

    Once one understands that basically 99% of Conservatism (including Christian conservatism, including Christian legal “strategists” (imagine trusting anything, anything at all, to conservative/Republican strategists, in 2018!)) in the U.S. since at least the fall of the USSR if not longer has been simply a jobs program, *everything* becomes much clearer.

    [NFR: Oh come *on*! I’m not talking about DC people, and I’m not talking about political strategists. I’m talking about law professors and litigators. You know better than the people who are actually trying these cases in court? You are allowing your ideology get the better of you here. — RD]

  19. CK says:

    “it’s Christian law professors and legal strategists to whom I’ve spoken.”

    The people who have been beaten by progressives 95% of the time for the past 50 years. Maybe it is time to try a new approach.

    The idea that secular progressive judges are going to cut Christians a break because they are nominally aligned with “diversity” is insulting to any thinking person. This unholy alliance on the left already shows signs of attacking each other over minute differences. They will never cut us a break. Even if you were right, you are assuming these potential “allies” represent anything more than an insignificant percentage of their members in the U.S. What evidence is there that these groups, not anecdotal members, want conservative Christians as allies?

  20. Matt in VA says:

    The French Catholic writer: So yes, as I said to you previously, I hold no grudge against Muslims, provided of course that they don’t try to impose their beliefs and rituals upon me. Since none has tried so far, I regard them as allies, not threats.

    “Provided of course that they don’t try to impose their beliefs and rituals on me. Since none have tried so far…”

    Ah, yes. Liberals fail to learn or even pay attention to the lessons of history, while conservatives heed the lessons of the past… Uh huh, uh huh.

    Notice how this French Catholic seems interested in paying attention only to his or her direct experience. The history of the world, the truths outside his or her narrow sphere, might as well not exist. This is basically “But, like, if gay people can get married how does that affect YOU though?” thinking. The person cannot see even one step ahead.

  21. Lesley says:

    [NFR: Turn away from porn. It is ruining you. — RD]

    Let’s see:

    Fulfilling long-term relationships with SO complete with good sexual intimacy? Check.

    Stable job with good pay and benefits? Check.

    Excellent family and healthy support network? Check.

    Active civic and community engagement? Check.

    Engaging intellectual life and non-atrophied sense of my telos and purposeful pursuit of it? Check.

    Oh, yea, I’m also an avid consumer of porn. Much of it intensely kinky.

    In what sense is it ruining my life?

  22. Credenda says:

    American Muslims have never, and will never join with Christians or Jews to oppose any type of societal rot, except perhaps as individuals. To believe so is naive. They simply don’t have the good of the larger culture in view. There is no “love they neighbor” ethos in Islam.

    I think Matt and Noah nailed it.

  23. madge says:

    “I’m left wondering what culture we’re protecting from “pornification” if doing so involves an alliance with adherents of a religion that requires them to seek the murder of non-adherents”

    There are about 3 million Muslims in the US (about one third to one half of them are not immmigrants, but Black Muslims of various hues.) So… what do you guys propose should be done with them? China style camps? Expulsion? Mass deportations? Maybe deporting the immigrants and send the native-born to camps? Please, be specific.

  24. Thomas Student says:

    If “Lesley” who commented at 4:05pm is still reading … I would be very interested in more details about how you define your telos. (And the meta-question of whether there is an objectively real shared human telos–and what it is–or if the telos must be self-defined, and what the limits and possibilities of that self-definition look like.

    I find it fascinating that people like Lesley read Rod’s blog and share in the discussion using the moral framework (e.g. telos) that Rod presents but disagreeing on issues like sexual morality. I’m just trying to tease out more what that looks like in practice. That’s not a “go away, you’re not one of us” statement; it’s a “welcome, I hope we can both learn something here!”

  25. Sid Finster says:

    [NFR: Oh come *on*! I’m not talking about DC people, and I’m not talking about political strategists. I’m talking about law professors and litigators. You know better than the people who are actually trying these cases in court? You are allowing your ideology get the better of you here. — RD]

    Law professors rarely try cases in court. Movement conservative litigators do, but get paid, regardless whether they win.

    It’s a jobs program for them, too.

  26. Brendan from Oz says:

    Well over a decade ago in a large Government Department or two, some workers were found with porn and full audits with firing associated were demanded and initiated …

    And then nothing. The major users/collectors were senior management and ministers of parliament. They use their phones and the cloud now.

  27. Rob G says:

    ~~This ran completely counter to every message I’d received by conservative religious culture. Unlike the stereotype, exposure to this porn made me see women as, well, people. It was the total opposite of dehumanizing and helped break the view of women as “other”.~~

    I grew up in the same sort of community as you, and I had a pretty bad porn problem when I was younger.

    You have been deceived.

    Porn “humanizes” women only in the sexual sense, which is just another way of objectifying them. That some “sexually empowered” women choose to be objectified doesn’t change that. Their feminist ideology has blinded them to the fact that they’re being taken advantage of every bit as much as the woman who stays married to the abusive alcoholic. Watch some of the male-dominant BDSM porn that’s out there and tell me that it’s not degrading to women. The women are being laughed at and disrespected and are too stupid, too naive, or too drugged up and desperate to realize it.

    Men who get off on seeing women tied up, slapped around, spat and urinated on, etc., are beneath contempt, as are the moral cretins who create such garbage.

  28. James Gillen says:

    “Seriously, how did we become the kind of culture where celebrating kinky porn is a respectable point of view? ”

    Because the people and institutions that traditional culture trusted to teach Christian heteronormativity were in fact doing the exact opposite.

    As you well know.

  29. Hector_St_Clare says:

    I don’t agree with much of Rod’s views about sexual ethics, but I’ll just say this: if ”Cavin” really talks about porn with his employers, he’s substantially dumber than I thought, and i already thought he was quite dumb based on his expressed opinions.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Are you sure it’s a good idea, strategically, to be praising tech oligopoly censorship, considering your content is, or will soon be, regarded as “hate speech?”

  31. L'Americain says:

    There will always be porn. It’s an absolute inevitability in any society with the internet. China explicitly bans all pornography, but the most popular and recognized Japanese person in the country is a porn star.

    People have been making porn since we were cavemen. The most conservative and religious societies in history often had legal brothels. And even if you completely separate the genders, men just go straight to sexualizing the next most feminine thing, which is usually prepubescent boys. Happened in Ancient Greece, happened in the Muslim world, happened in the Catholic church.

    The male libido cannot be conquered at the level of a society. It will always find an outlet. Society could have a healthier attitude towards sex and sexuality, but fighting against the mass consumption of porn is futile.

  32. anon_the_second says:

    As a traditiona Catholic, I’d rather live next door to the religious Muslim family than the gay couple. We can interact and debate with the Muslims on the common ground of belief in God. Sure, this presupposes a police state strong enough to deter the Muslims from murdering us in the name of jihad. But that’s an unspoken premise of this discussion anyway. With the gay couple next door, on the other hand, they’ll simply scandalize my children, and we have no common grounds for debate, as they don’t structure their lives within a religious framework. The Muslims do.

    Regarding differing attitudes to the body, the point has already been made that Christianity and Islam were much closer on issues of chastity and modesty until quite recently.

    Furthermore: traditional Catholics and Muslims HAVE lived side by side in the past (Spain, the old Austro-Hungarian empire). It never ended particularly well but nor did it end with the extinction of either religion. Traditional believers have *never* lived side by side, and up to the neck in, sexual perversion and degeneracy (not picking on gays in particular here; straights are just as guilty on this score–it’s only that with gays, it’s more visible) to the degree we see now. This is a vast social experiment and I have no desire to be a part of it. I’d live in dhimmitude first. Hope it won’t come to that, but it would be preferable to Sodom.

  33. Noah172 says:

    JonF wrote:

    If someone else shares your concerns on issue X you work with him on issue X no matter what your disagreements on issues Y and Z

    I don’t want to put words in Matt’s mouth, but I say that I agree with the above in principle, but I was questioning as a practical matter the possibility for Rod Dreher-ish Christians for alliance with Rod Dreher-ish Muslims, because I question how many of the latter exist. You see, JonF, a lot of Muslims who might oppose pornography (or take the conservative side on some other culture war issue) might not be willing to agree to disagree with conservative Christians on “issues Y and Z” (as I wrote above, immigration, Israel, counterterrorism, and specifically Christian disputes, such as the display of Christian symbols in public places).

    It basically comes down to whether Muslims who are conservative but not fundie/jihadi (nice, bourgeois) fear the multiculti secular left — who, after all, favor the importation of Muslims of all stripes into our country, and whose secularism tends to be more specifically anti-Christian than generally anti-religious — more than they fear the Christian right (largely evangelical). If the secular left are smart enough, and shamelessly hypocritical enough, to target Christians while leaving illiberal non-Christians alone, then illiberal non-Christians will likely be reluctant to ally with the Rods and risk their special dispensation.

  34. Jargen says:

    “Several of the comments here reveal how little place the current right-wing have for traditional social conservative concerns. The celebration of pornography and other encouragements of sexual depravity is not something they are particularly concerned about (just look at the excuses they make for Trump, after all).”

    For a lot of us, the cause,(or rationalization, as you will say) of this is the fact that the old conservatives never got anything done. Reagan and Gingrich and Bush, they talked the talk, but never found the time to fight back against the porn industry, though they always had time for another round of tax cuts. When the old-guard social conservatives condemned Trump, they always attacked his “character” and never attacked him on the basis that he wouldn’t crack down on porn, though everyone knew it, because they knew that Jeb or Cruz wouldn’t do it either. It turns out that when you tell people that “nothing can be done” about an issue, they stop thinking it’s important.

  35. JonF says:

    Noah, it’s not like those Muslims have a choice in the matter. The disagreenents on issues Y and Z will exist whether the Muslims work with us on issue X or not. That’s just a fact of life, as unalterable as the orbits of the planets barring divine intervention of course.

  36. JonF says:

    Jargen, saying the old Right never got anything done is bizarre and nonsensical. It’s not like Reagan or either Bush were caretaker presidents who left things pretty much the way they found them. Reagan’s especially was a transformative presidency, comparable to TR’s or Jackson’s. The man accomplished most of the headline items on his to-do list.
    This reminds me of a comment someone else made here a while back: whether one agrees with the Left or not, their wish list usually consists of specific, well described proposals which are, in principle, doable. Apart from tax cuts the Right’s wish list is quite vague and poorly defined and usually involves some version of “turn back the clock to [insert name of mythical Edenic era]”. Which means no matter how many policy victories they enjoy the Right will never be happy because the past is never restorable.

  37. Noah172 says:

    JonF wrote:

    Jargen, saying the old Right never got anything done is bizarre and nonsensical. It’s not like Reagan or either Bush were caretaker presidents who left things pretty much the way they found them. Reagan’s especially was a transformative presidency, comparable to TR’s or Jackson’s. The man accomplished most of the headline items on his to-do list

    Government did not get smaller (unless one counts shifting non-defense spending to defense as shrinking the bad parts of government; in any case, nothing was abolished or devolved to the states).

    It is unfortunate when Trumpists (among whom I count myself, of course) say that the pre-Trump right accomplished “nothing”, when the more accurate thing to say is that the pre-Trump right accomplished the wrong things. Reagan’s illegal alien amnesty (with its broken promises of future enforcement) and Bush’s legal immigration expansion had far more profound consequences for white Americans (significant majorities of whom voted for Reagan and Bush in 1980-88) than Reagan-Bush tax and budget policies, or even their foreign policies (even defeating the USSR). The free trade policies they pushed were also damaging to the citizens and communities who put them in office. Reagan would not recognize — or, I suspect, much like — the transformation of California his policies accelerated.

    What did it profit white Americans to gain the world against the commies, only to lose America’s soul in domestic affairs?

  38. Pellegrino says:

    Re: anon_the_second

    >>With the gay couple next door, on the other hand, they’ll simply scandalize my children

    I’m pretty sure the gay couple will not scandalize your children (i.e., shock or horrify them by a real or imagined violation of propriety or morality). After the initial curiosity, the kids’ response would probably be something more like “Whatever. Hey, their lawn looks better than ours and they have cooler Halloween* decorations.”

    If your children do become scandalized (shocked, horrified, appalled, offended), the source of that will not likely be the gay couple, but your hysterical narrative about the gay couple.

    *There’s a nice softball for you about the gayz being in league with dark forces.

  39. Mark B. says:

    @ Matt in VA

    The only constant in human history is that everything is changing. This includes Islam. 1400 years is a long time, but not a guarantee at all that it is immune to change. It certainly is not historic proof.

    Look beyond history and at the present, by which I mean the way young Muslims are living in the US and espescially in Europe. You will see signs of change in the way they practice Islam and the way their elders did in everything. They are forced to, they are Muslims who live in the House of the Unbelievers and must find a way in society. Yes, there is a radicalized minority with jihadi tendencies. The important word here is minority.

    It takes time.

  40. JonF says:

    Noah, seeing the end of Communism and the vast reduction in the possibility of planetary nuclear war is not “the wrong thing”. The victims of the Gulag could tell you that the former is reason to celebrate, and as for the latter the danger of nuclear war petty much makes of almost all other problems, yes, immigration included, trivial to the point of nullity. Put me down as forever grateful that George HW Bush and Mr. Gorbachev stage-managed the denouenent of the Cold War as effectively as they did, and I’m able to forgive quite a few other sins for that reason.

  41. JohnInCA says:

    @The general topic
    Y’all are ignoring the problem that straight folk have been defining anything gay as “sexually explicit” for ages. And any attempt to keep all “adult” stuff off is going to invariably keep non-adult gay stuff off. This isn’t hyperbole, it’s what happens every time. And with Tumblr’s new filters in place, it’s already happening even before the new policy is supposed to go into effect.

    Or to put it another way…

    So long as some of y’all hear about a gay couple getting married and sneer about “sodomy based marriages”, we can’t talk about gay issues without brining in sex, because you have defined our existence as being about sex.

    Think of Rod writing his blog about Drag Queen Bingo. Just the fact that there’s a drag queen there makes it about sex to him.

    Straight couple walks down the street holding hands? Perfectly acceptable. Gay couple walks down the street holding hands? Stop shoving your sexuality down our throats.

    So long as that’s how you define us, then yes, any ban on “sexually explicit” stuff is always going to catch innocent gay stuff. Because y’all don’t accept that there is innocent gay stuff.

    Note: I had written this response before I saw anon_the_second’s comment about being scandalized by a gay couple. Kinda proves my point, no?

    @Thomas Student

    I find it fascinating that people like Lesley read Rod’s blog and share in the discussion using the moral framework (e.g. telos) that Rod presents but disagreeing on issues like sexual morality.

    I’m not Lesley, but I definitely disagree with Rod on many things.

    Why do I come here? I come here specifically because I don’t belong here. I don’t want to live in a bubble with a false sense of safety, so I read conservative websites so I know what y’all are like when you think you’re behind closed doors.

    @Rob G

    Watch some of the male-dominant BDSM porn that’s out there and tell me that it’s not degrading to women.

    Seeing as the porn I watch (BDSM or otherwise) doesn’t include women at all, this is trivially easy.

    That said, your argument that porn that includes women always objectifies them isn’t new, and is in fact one of popular explanations for why women (regardless of sexuality) enjoy gay male porn: there are no women to sexualize.

    @anon_the_second

    With the gay couple next door, on the other hand, they’ll simply scandalize my children […]

    What, precisely, do you think the gay couple is going to do that will “scandalize [your] children”? Or are you of the mind that a gay couple existing, regardless of their public activity, is “scandalizing”?

  42. JohnInCA says:

    As an example of conservatives treating anything “gay” as sexual, may I direct you to the ACLU’s recent lawsuit of an Indiana school? [Link]

    Quite simply, y’all have a nasty habit of hearing “gay” and immediately sending your mind to the gutter. And since the dawn of internet filters, this has meant that any site to do with “gay” stuff is very likely to get caught by such filters, even when the filters are supposedly looking for porn.

    So yes. Y’all have decades of treating innocent gay discussions as “adult” stuff that should be kept from children. When you build that kind of history, you shouldn’t be surprised that other people remember it.

  43. Brendn from Oz says:

    What is an “innocent gay discussion”? If it isn’t about sex, e.g. a discussion about sport or music or tectonic plate shifts, how is it in any way Gay?

    Homosexuality describes sexual attraction at the leaszt, not sports-team loyalties etc. It’s just what it means.

    “Brotherly” love is not unknown in the Platonic and Christian traditions.

  44. Pellegrino says:

    Re: Brendn from Oz

    Wow. Just wow.

    By the same reasoning, is every discussion that you have within a heteronormative context about sex? If you discuss an issue that relates specifically to straight couples and their lives and trials and hurts and joys, does that mean that it’s de facto not innocent, that you’re hot to bang someone?

    When are you folks going to recognize that gay people are whole persons, stumbling through life and trying to figure out how to live the best life we can, and not just walking libidos and genitalia?

  45. Rob G says:

    “you have defined our existence as being about sex.”

    No, you have defined your existence as being about sex. The rhetoric has moved away from that somewhat, since LoveWins and what-not, but make no mistake: the thing from the beginning was about sexual liberation — not who we can love, but who we can have sex with. Any movement of SexRev ideas from sex towards “love” amount to a dodge.

    [NFR: It really is frustrating to try to reason with folks like that. Among people who think sex of all kinds is great, then sex-as-character-defining is celebrated. But among people (e.g., orthodox Christians) who have a different view of sex as such, they they’re all like “why are y’all so reductive?!” — RD]

  46. JonF says:

    Brendn from Oz, you’re eliding gay romantic love from the conversation. No, that sure isn’t something you’d find on a porn site, but in the more general sense there certainly are conversations about gay love that are not just about gay sex.

  47. Lesley says:

    @ Thomas Student

    (If you are still reading here). I’m here because I do believe in God and not just in the God of Moralistic Therapeutic Deism, as Rod calls it. I believe in a God who is “Good but Terrible” to borrow a phrase from C. S. Lewis. However, I don’t think this god is precisely the God put forward by the Christian church. The closest I can explain it without writing a novel is that my understanding of God is basically a combination of the God depicted in “Age of Reason” by Thomas Paine coupled with the God of the Noahdide Code in Judaism. He is an activist God. Not a forgetful or indifferent deist God. He is a God with expectations who punishes wickedness, but he is neither the God of Johnathan Edwards nor the buddy Jesus “do what makes you happy” god.

    Because this God is not a nebulous “do whatever makes you happy God,” his mere existence necessitates a certain type of response on my part. That response is my telos. Again, my understanding of his expectations of what this means without writing a novel could be explained by combining Alasdair McIntyre virtue ethics with the conception of the Tao discussed by C. S. Lewis in The Abolition of Man.

    A well-lived Christian life would be one path that would fulfill this telos. But so would a well-lived Jewish or Muslim life. Or any number of other idiosyncratic species of monotheism or Jehovah worship.

    If I had to summarize what all that means for moral behavior, the simplest way I can think to put it is that he expects us to give everything and everyone their “just deserts.” He expects us to give them what is due them by virtue of who or what they are. (Hence all the proscriptions against idolatry because obviously such dedication, awe, reverence, and respect is due *him* as creator of the universe and not some silly imitation we’ve made of him.)

    So to get back to the porn issue, obviously I do believe that sexual immorality is a thing and that he has proscriptions against it. (That’s in the Seven Laws of Noah after all and all of the major Abrahamic religions have rules about it).There are any number of ways that sexual acts can be immoral, but again I’m trying to think of a way to summarize it without writing a novel.

    I do not believe in original sin and I do not believe in the Christian conception of our bodies being physical temples in which God dwells (at least not anymore than he dwells in nature generally). One of the reasons Christians specifically proscribe “profane” sexual acts with the body (even ones in which no one is physically, emotionally, or psychologically harmed) such as homosexuality, masturbation, or porn watching is because it is an act of profanity against a literal house of God. It is a moral equivalence of having sex on an altar in the Church or ejaculating over the Host or some other horrid thing. You are the receptacle for the Holy Spirit – for the blood and body of Christ during the Lord’s Supper. Your body is not yours. You are borrowing it. It is *his* and you may not profane him with it.

    But since I don’t believe that my body is a receptacle for the Holy Spirit, that I’m not singular in any way that nature generally isn’t singular, it becomes much harder to establish any given sexual action as *profane.* (There are still such things as profane sexual acts. I would classify necrophilia, incest, and pedophilia as these). You have to look at other things like “Have I allowed what I am doing to become idolatrous?” “By doing this am I failing to give someone or something their just deserts?” So there are any number of ways porn watching *can* be sexually immoral, but without a specific understanding and belief in certain actions as inherently profane, I don’t see how/why it is intrinsically so. (Also true for homosexuality).

    I actually find the question of whether the *making* of porn is sexually immoral much more challenging frankly. Though obviously if making it is wrong watching it would be as well.

    I still read conservative Christian stuff because conservative Christians are about the only game in town who even talk about something approximating my understanding of God.

    Most everybody else is just indifferent deism, apatheism, agnosticism, and Moralistic Therapeutic Deism all the way down.

  48. JohnInCA says:

    So you’re just going to ignore the part where Anon_the_Second claimed his kids would be scandalized by gay neighbors, how I gave multiple examples of innocent things that y’all think are about sex, and then linked to an article of a school freaking out about a GSA club?

    That’s cool. I got more examples.

    Resource lists for LGBT homeless teens
    “How to pass as straight until you move out” so as to avoid needing that list.
    Lists of LGBT-friendly wedding vendors so you don’t need…
    the ACLU
    Any message board, chat room, or other interaction-based feature where you don’t feel the need to be guarded
    News sites that aggregate gay-related news
    Adoption resources for gay couples
    Dating sites
    Anything to facilitate social get-togethers
    And so-on.

    Or to put it another way… my wedding photo on my desk at work is not about sex. If you see it, and you think about sex, that’s on you, not me.

  49. JohnInCA says:

    @Rob G

    No, you have defined your existence as being about sex.

    Well, no.

    Of the two of us, you are the one that hears that someone is gay and start making assumptions about their sex life. Not me, you.

    Between me and Rod, he is the one that hears that a priest is gay and assumes that priest is breaking their vow of celibacy and a danger to children. Not me, Rod.

    Between me and most of the people here, it’s y’all that hear someone is gay and starts making assumptions about their sex life, their moral character, their political leanings, and so-on. Not me, that’s y’all.

    I am not the person here that defines a person based on their sexuality.

  50. cka2nd says:

    Seconding Drugs not Hugs and JohninCA, and conservative Christians wonder why queer folk are hostile to them? They want their chance to “live and let live” when it comes to opting out of providing services for gay weddings, and I have agreed with that on this blog more than once, but when it comes to people with differing views on sexual matters, they celebrate shutting down those outlets. “Religious liberty, yes, sexual liberty, no!”

    I’ve tried lecturing ya’ll here in the past about the roots of the modern hostility towards religious folk and religious belief, even as I was critical of some of that hostility (the New Atheists, feh!), but here’s an example of Rod and Co. just repeating the same ugly, mean-spirited behavior of the Jerry Falwells and Pat Robertsons of yore, and you’re just going to keep reaping what you’ve sown.

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