[The following address was made to a very small gathering of the Valentinian Meditation Circle in South West London on the afternoon of July 21, 2019. It was delivered as a mixture of a written speech, notes, and ad libbing with invited audience comment, so although not entirely verbatim, this transcript represents the substance and spirit of what was actually said. It was suggested I give the same or expanded address to a larger, political gathering later in the year.]
If you were inspecting this address to be controversial, I hope by the end of it, like me you will be left wondering what all the fuss over pornography is about.
None of what I say here is to be taken as a value judgment. With the necessary caveats I am neither condemning, nor condoning, pornography. I am simply telling you how things really are.
The word pornography is derived from the Greek, and referred to writing about prostitutes, although today it is usually defined as sexual imagery, including the written word.
In the West, pornography was generally considered sinful, from a religious perspective, and in some quarters still is. Since the rise of second wave feminism, the misnamed women’s liberation, there has been an attack on pornography based on the mantra of its degrading women. That mantra has been amplified by third wave feminism, so now we read and hear all sorts of rubbish about it.
I would add to these two entities a third, that is the police and the legal system generally, including the increasingly repressive organs of censorship. These people are control freaks, and often they go out of their way to make life difficult for certain categories of people just because they can. Pornography, the people who produce it and the people who use it are easy targets, especially for the police. Unlike real criminals who might be armed and shoot back, there is no risk at all involved in making their lives miserable, although in the 1960s and 70s this resulted in detectives from the Obscene Publications Squad serving prison sentences for bribery and corruption. Like prohibition, the suppression of pornography leads to the undermining of the rule of law.
The first point I need to make is that to talk about just pornography is often misleading, and can be outright dishonest. It’s a bit like condemning vegetables. Most of us like two veg with our roast beef, but few of us would eat it with Japanese knotweed and nettles.
In short, pornography is, or has become, a vast subject. It can be said to include everything from images of extreme sadism to smutty poems - Pills To Purge Melancholy - to full frontal nudity, to stuff that frankly most people wouldn’t consider pornographic at all.
My personal favourite is the smoking fetish. Is there anything sexual about watching women smoke? Apparently some men think there is. In the 1930s, smoking had something of a romantic image - the two lovers smoking in the moonlight, but by the 1950s this had morphed into something sinister with film noir - the murder suspect being given the third degree by detectives in a smoke-filled basement.
What the enemies of pornography do is take one kind which they brand evil or depraved, then stretch it to cover other kinds. We see this often in other fields, but here for example they will take child pornography, which is rightly illegal, then attempt to persuade us that a man ogling over page 3 of the Sun is the moral or legal equivalent.
Is there still a [topless model on] page 3?
[I was informed there is, but in the Daily Star newspaper rather than in the Sun].
The sisterhood makes the blanket claim that pornography degrades women. Well, not all pornography involves women. There is a vast genre of homosexual pornography which doesn’t involve women at all, and which has no attraction for them, so it is impossible to make out a case for suppressing it on those grounds.
While men watch lesbian porn, women have no interest at all in watching men having sex with other men.
Then there is smut. Smut has been with us a long time. There was a Roman poet who was famous for it, Catullus.
Bawdy limericks and songs can be considered pornographic, but do we really want to see those banned?
What I would like to do is go right back to year dot.
When our barely human ancestors came down from the trees, they were naked. They were likely a lot more hirsute than us, including the female of the species, but they were naked, and indeed as we are still all of us born naked, so nudity is something we can hardly avoid.
At some point our ancestors began wearing clothes, probably footwear first, for protection, then they covered their genitalia. Women’s breasts were probably covered in the first instance because of their tendency to droop. In some places even today, rural Africa for example, women walk about bare-breasted totally unselfconscious.
Then different societies began adopting and enforcing dress codes. The strictest dress codes today are probably those of ultra-Orthodox Jews and Orthodox Moslems, but even England once had quite strict dress codes, as you will realise if you view photographs of bathers from the Victorian era. We still have dress codes today, a nurse or even a fast food worker is usually obliged to wear a uniform, if only a hat for reasons of food hygiene.
Unlike us moderns, the ancient Greeks were totally unabashed, and considered the human body to be an object of beauty, not necessarily in a sexual sense. Indeed, to this day men’s bodies as well as women’s can be and are admired by both sexes, out of aestheticism or envy, especially as we grow older. And we all like to be around attractive people as much as sociable ones.
The Olympics were at one time performed in the nude, something that would be a genuine spectacle today, and from time immemorial, artists of all genres have depicted the naked human form.
Does anyone not recognise this world famous work of art?
What about this one?
[Surprisingly, nobody did].
This is Minerva Dressing; it was painted by Lavinia Fontana, arguably the most famous female artist of the Renaissance.
Obviously you wouldn’t expect to see this painting on a nursery wall, but you’d have to be sick in the head to call it pornographic.
The subject of censorship in especially films goes way beyond anything pornographic, but 1953 saw the founding of Playboy magazine, which might be described as mildly pornographic in places, then later we had far more explicit magazines including Hustler in the United States, and Whitehouse in the UK, the latter named provocatively after Mrs Mary Whitehouse, who was a Christian Puritan rather than a feminist one, in fact she was something of an anti-feminist.
I actually met her once. If you are not familiar with her, Mrs Whitehouse was a household name if not an actual celebrity in the 1970s when she successfully prosecuted Gay News for the blasphemous Kirkup poem, then made a fool of herself by prosecuting the play The Romans In Britain.
The feminist war against pornography involves something the left are fond of doing, playing semantic games, in particular altering the definitions of words and phrases to promote their agendas. So two second wave feminists in particular came up with an anti-pornography ordinance which they intended to use to suppress pornography throughout the United States.
Anyone know their names?
Catharine MacKinnon and Andrea Dworkin.
Dworkin was a gratuitously repulsive woman. MacKinnon, who unfortunately is still with is, is arguably the most evil woman who ever lived if she is to be judged by her effects on social policy.
They defined pornography as a form of sex discrimination:
explicit subordination of women through pictures and/or words
dehumanized as sexual objects, things or commodities
as enjoying humiliation or pain.
They throw in rape and incest - women are presented as sexual objects tied up or cut up or mutilated or bruised or physically hurt...
and so on.
Some of these morons even equate pornography with rape, which is a bit like portraying Shakespeare’s Macbeth as actual murder.
MacKinnon and Dworkin tried out their censorship scheme with the Minneapolis Anti-Pornography Ordinance which was approved by the city on December 30, 1983.
They tried this in Indianapolis as well, but in 1985, the Seventh Circuit put an end to this nonsense in American Booksellers Association Incorporated v Hudnut by ruling it unconstituitional.
Sadly we don’t have a written constitution here anymore than we have free speech on a wide variety of subjects except viewed through a particularly narrow Overton window.
Feminist fanatics like MacKinnon were able to get away with this absurd portrayal of pornography because the industry was run by men, big business, the patriarchy if you will, and women were said to be seen not simply as sex objects but as the mere playthings of men, powerless.
I should mention here the film Deep Throat, this takes us back to 1972.
I haven’t actually seen this film but it became notorious, it starred a woman named Linda Lovelace. In the film she had a strange anatomical peculiarity. Deep Throat was a sex comedy. Not my type of film, but there was a classic sex comedy made a couple of years later called Flesh Gordon. Anyone heard of that?
Deep Throat was a low budget film that drew massive takings at the box office, but Lovelace was a one-trick pony, and soon faded out.
She went on to become a born again Christian, and campaigned against pornography. She made a number of claims against her then husband Chuck Traynor including his forcing her into prostitution and organising her gang-rape.
However, before she met Traynor, Linda Boreman starred, if that is the word, in a film with an unspeakable title. It involved a dog. *
I’ve met some depraved individuals in my nearly 63 years on this planet, but I’ve never met a woman who would even consider having sex with a dog.
Although her claims were outrageous, you hear the same kind of victim narrative the world over. There probably isn’t a prostitute anywhere who hasn’t been sexually abused as a child, trafficked, or raped. A classic case of passing the buck.
And with Lovelace we see again the wilful blurring of boundaries, as though all pornography is depraved, equally so.
Returning to the present, there are two great ironies of the Internet age as far as pornography is concerned. One is that in spite of censorship, there has never been so much pornography around as now, most of it on-line, and much of that totally free.
The other is that far from enslaving women as it were, pornography has empowered them, though not always in a good way.
Anyone here heard of the Stiletto Goddess?
[No one had].
Manchester housewife Tracy Seward was an Internet dominatrix; her fetish was “crushing”. She had an international following, and when she decided to murder her lover, she had no difficulty in roping in a couple of suckers to do her dirty work. Philip Brierley was also the father of her three children, and there appears to have been no real motive other than wanting him out of the way so she could continue her affair with her affluent and much younger Swiss lover.
The victim was shot in the head with a gun that was smuggled from Switzerland. His body was then cut up, encased in concrete and dumped in the river. Seward and her helpers might have got away with it but for her lack of concern over his mysterious disappearance being a mite suspicious. There was also a lucky break in the form of an off-duty police officer who saw the body being dumped, although he didn’t realise it at the time.
As I said, this was a mother of 3, she was nearly 40, yet she was so empowered that she was able to brainwash two of her minions, brainwash them or whatever you want to call it, into committing an heinous act.
Pornography, especially soft porn, also empowers less attractive women. In fact, awhile ago I heard a vlogger complaining that at one time women who were overweight or downright ugly would hone their personalities to make up for their deficit of looks, but now he said, some of these women get a few thousand or even a few hundred followers on Instagram, and they become as conceited and obnoxious as any entitled princess.
Other women working in the porn industry are empowered in less unsavoury ways. There are countless women who run their own websites, making custom videos for their clientele, writing their own scripts and even doing their own coding.
There are a number of outfits which are run predominantly or even entirely by women. As I said, some of this, the fantasy stuff, girls dressing up in superheroine costumes and the like, I would hardly call pornographic, but it tends to be classified so.
There are Amazons - professional bodybuilders and the like who tour the country or the world giving one on one sessions with men - domination, female worship, that sort of thing.
Some of these women continue into their forties and fifties.
Indeed, some of you may remember Cynthia Payne - she was a celebrity madam who ended up becoming an after dinner speaker and a minor celebrity in her own right. She died in 2015 at the age of 82. I don’t think anyone ever called her an exploited or subservient woman.
Finally, there is masses of amateur stuff out there, sex tapes and so on, including women making their own without men. This is neither an endorsement or a condemnation, merely an observation.
So, the bottom line is, when you hear people talking about the evils of pornography, saving women, protecting children, upholding our moral standards, look behind the rhetoric, what they want is to dictate what you read, see, and at times do. They know what is good for you better than you do. And they want to impose Draconian laws to make you bow to their will.
I have a two word answer for that. And I’m sure you all know what it is.
*This may not be quite correct. Linda Boreman was the daughter of a police officer, and appears to have led a somewhat sheltered, sexually repressive life until she met her first husband. That is if anything she wrote or said is to be believed. She denied making the bestiality film with the dog until she was properly outed. The year before Deep Throat was released she “starred” in a film about “golden showers”. My personal view is that films or activities of this nature are in no way pornographic, they are simply utterly depraved.
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