Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Cleanliness Is Next To Godliness

Via Roy Edroso, I see Rod Dreher is indulging in his favorite apocalyptic fantasies again. Civilization will rot because men like to look at bare breasts. First, Rod relates a visit from an angel of the Lord in the disguise of a high school teacher warning him of mankind's nasty, dirty sinfulness.
He said he worked in a counselor's role there as well, and routinely dealt with students who were seriously messed up by their porn habits. For example, he said, he believed that many of the guys he worked with had no idea how to relate to women in a healthy way; the power of pornography, working consciously and subconsciously, caused the men to have badly distorted views of women, views that stunted and even paralyzed the men emotionally.

So do boarding schools. The men I've met who have the least realistic and appropriate views of women went to all-male schools.
My wife brought up the story of a handsome, popular Southern Baptist pastor in Dallas who, back in the 1980s, confessed to being the serial rapist who terrorized an apartment complex here. Porn helped make him who he was. After our conversation, I went into the Dallas Morning News online archives, and researched this guy, Greg Goben. He really was a Southern Baptist golden boy, from the time of his youth. Here's an excerpt from the 1988 news story reporting his guilty plea: [etc]

It sounds to me like this all-male group of football players is what corrupted poor Goben. Let's ban football--for oh so many reasons.
You probably heard about serial rapist and killer Ted Bundy's jailhouse confession to Dr. James Dobson (who is a psychologist -- many people don't know that) about the role pornography had in shaping the monster he became.

Bundy's childhood was deeply messed up. He found out his sister was really his mother in high school. He felt alienated and attracted to violent sex from an early age. Porn didn't create this monster, some person or persons did in his childhood. Dreher doesn't know this because for him, blind belief and prejudice is infinitely superior to fact.
We live in a pornified culture. So how do we raise sane, healthy children in this cesspool? What do you think? I haven't thought much about it at all, as a father. I never had any interest in porn, absent looking at a few dirty magazines as an adolescent. It creeps me out. When I was in college, neither I nor most of my close friends were religious, but none of us used porn -- or if any of them did, they kept their habits a secret, because they understood it to be shameful.

"None of them used porn"--what an interesting (and revealing) way to refer to looking at porn. I suspect Dreher is really thinking about masturbation. After all, he's worried about what porn will lead to, not about just looking at porn. Dreher's attitude towards sex is full of fear and distaste and masturbation has a special place in the goldly's hearts as directly forbidden by their god.
Now, there's no shame in it in our culture. This teacher's stories made me think that I need to figure out how to plant seeds in the souls of my children now, to grow within them a sane sense of personal purity and respect for the human body -- both their own and those of others -- that cause them to turn away from porn when it is presented to them, and to stay away from people who use it. Because in this vile Late-Roman culture in which we live, there's no way to avoid it. As long as personal computers and the Internet exist, the temptation will always be there.

"Personal purity." Pure, clean, white. Not sweaty, messy and in many shades, not bone and flesh and fluid. Yeah, that's not unrealistic at all. That's not going to mess with your head at all--being told that your human instincts and needs are foul and sinful and must be denied.


Dillon said...

I can't decide who has the most demented thoughts about sex and sexuality - Dreher, Douthat or Althouse.

Susan of Texas said...

Althouse just whores for attention, so that makes her less demented but more pathetic.

Dreher and Douthat are both repulsed by sex, but Douthat hides it better, which I guess puts him on top. So to speak.

Susan of Texas said...

All I ask is that Dreher and Douthat to keep their sick obsessions to themselves and leave the rest of us out of their fantasies. It's a strange irony that avoiding sin seems to mean thinking about sinning constantly.

clever pseudonym said...

What's with the conservative obsession with sex, anyway? It's not even their own tastes and habits, but *everybody elses*. It's freaking WEIRD. I'm sure it has something to do with their need to control, but why are they always harping on how, where, why and with whom everybody else in the world has it off with?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, thanks to the internet we're as late roman as pompeii. Or something.

This is a great post, Susan. I knew when I saw Roy's post that you must be all over this,somehow. Rod is a deeply disturbed individual. I particularly dislike the unintentional perversity of his obsession with "planting seeds" in his children to combat their lusty thoughts about seed planting.

I also like the point you make about Rod's assumption that we all know exactly what is wrong with people "using" porn. Historically porn is what men have used when they *couldn't get actual women.* And they couldn't get actual women to have sex with them because of restrictive religious ideas about sexuality and restrictive social realities like the high cost of pregnancy prior to birth control. So, why do people "need" porn now? Because its pleasurable to think about sex even if you aren't having it at the moment. Rod is *anti pleasure* because he's anti body and anti sex. He's not anti porn because its actually, you know, bad or produces bad stuff. We had mass murderers before we had porn. Hell, we have Cheney and as far as I know he wasn't looking at porn before he shot his friend in the face. Rod is just anti pleasure, and he gets his creepy kicks from imagining throttling the pleasure princple in his children. How scary is that?


CaptBackslap said...

I also thought it was interesting that Dreher referred to "using" porn as well--mostly because it's apparently mostly said in prison. As in, "hey, can I use your May 2004 issue of Juggs?," which is apparently quite distinct in meaning from "hey, can I look at your May 2004 issue of Juggs?"

Mr. Wonderful said...

What's cute (read: depressing) is how Rod probably thinks he's a conservative and a devout religious believer whose antipathy toward sex, pleasure, freedom, etc. proceed from his "beliefs."

I'd pay good money--well, adequate money--to be there if/when it dawns on him that he's got it exactly backward. I.e., he and those like him begin with sex-based repression, fear, and anxiety, and contain it by resorting to "faith."

The fact that the biggest moralists are inevitably the biggest closet sensualists is beyond cliche.

"Use" porn, indeed.

Susan of Texas said...

This is why religion is so handy--it gives some people an excuse for behavior that ordinarily would not be tolerated. Dreher is afraid of sex and/or disgusted by the human body. He "borrows" authority from religion because otherwise he has no authority to force the world to go along with his crazy attempts to compensate for his fears.