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Today in Porn, Sheepish Edition

Commentor Mamagiglio wishes I would post less about porn – hence, the “sheepish” in the title. I won’t say I can’t help myself, but I do find myself thinking, “This needs to be noted.”

Allan MacDonell has written a book about his career in the Larry Flynt publishing empire – by the end, he was executive editor of Hustler. In the inevitable NYT profile, we are naturally reassured that, despite his occupation, he has a “very conventional marriage” with his second wife. The story then gives us this perfect gem:

They met roughly 12 years ago on a blind date, and when she heard where he worked, she was a little hesitant, he said, but quickly got over it because “she’s incredibly secure with herself.” Mr. Flynt attended the wedding, he added, and after meeting that notorious pornographer, Mr. MacDonell’s mother-in-law, a devout Roman Catholic, said he was so charming he reminded her of Ted Kennedy.

That last sentence is almost too perfect to spoil with any kind of comment.

Comments

  1. 5xBlessed says:

    Yes, and I couldn’t think of a good comment anyways, so I’ll just say bwhwwahahahahahahaaahaaaaa!

  2. Just for some point/counterpoint, I happen to like “Today in Porn.”

  3. Anonymous says:

    Hey. I think the world needs more of the Catholic perspective on porn.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I think only those trying to be devout Catholics would get the joke.

  5. Rufus McCain says:

    I can’t believe no one has tried to make a joke about sheep-porn yet.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I think the porn/sheep connection only occurred to you, Rufus.

  7. Notrelatedtoted says:

    With all due respect to Mamagiglio, porn is the modern-day elephant in the room of current culture. The pornography industry generates more revenue than major league baseball.

    The problem is that you’re often preaching to the choir. But that doesn’t always mean you shouldn’t preach. Particularly when you’re talking about how porn has influenced mainstream culture, and how it is slowly (or quickly, depending on how you look at it) becoming a part of mainstream culture.

    Flynt is a prime example. He’s iconic, thanks to movies, etc. He’s a crusader for the first amendment. He was the commencement speaker at Georgetown four or five years ago. Yet, he’s basically a dirty old man that, among other things, molested his own daughter.

    So, yeah. It needs to be noted.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I agree with that guys who’s not related to Ted. And who is Ted anyway?

    But back to the point: sex and pRon and everthing in between is saturating our culture. We Catholics attempting to keep the Faith can pretend to be unaffected, I suppose, but who are we fooling? We’re just as apt to be tempted as anyone else and IT IS EVERYWHERE. So, yeah. The elephant should be talked about. And if we get a few chuckles along the way…well that’s just gravy.

    -Anon

    ps. Not…Ted: Where in heaven’s name did you find that picture of Shane MacGowan? Great gulping gargoyes but he looks dreadful.

  9. Notrelatedtoted says:

    Anon:

    I was hoping people would think it was a self-portrait.

    I did a google image search for Shane MacGowan. Keith Richards ain’t got nothin’ on him….

  10. Notrelatedtoted says:

    And while we’re on the subject, “Carmen Electra’s Aerobic Striptease” is popping on my Netflix que. Why? According the Netflix supercomputer its because I rented the 2005 Tour de France, Firefly and Grizzly Man.

    What does professional cycling, documentaries about bear-loving loons and cheesey sci-fi have to do with that?!? Thanks a bunch, Netflix.

    I remember a video store as a kid that had the “special room” where people would go to rent this sort of stuff. Sort of a walk of shame, if you will. Now, they just bring it to your doorstep, er inbox. What will we have to look forward another 10 or 15 years down the road?

    I’ll shut up now.

  11. Noretoed:

    Poor, POOR Shane! As Auden said, he’d never met an alcoholic who didn’t in the end become fat and toothless (although, to be fair, I think Shane always had the dental challenges in his life…).

    Et al,

    Back to porn – I’d like to say that among the regular ways it poisons culture – it also give the bawd a tough time of it. I just finished the Canterbury tales (3rd time around.) – and realized how porn has taken the fun out of bawdy humor. Have you ever seen those old, old Flash Gordon movies – the special effects amounting to dry ice, fishing wire and sparklers you find at a 4th of July picnic? Ever since Kubrik and Lucas, that stuff just looks silly – it’s hard to take seriously, right? And yet, there’s something charming there – something straightforward and refresingly human – I’d say the same for good ol’ fashioned bawdiness a la Plautus, Chaucer, Shakespeare, etc. – when compared to the immense yuck and muck of porn. The one reminded you of your humanity, the other subverts it.

    So bawdiness took a slow train out of town the day Hefner became household and Penthouse primetime (E. Michael Jones thinks it began with Deepthroat…).

    You might ask what really is lost when we lose the ability to laugh at the bawdy side of life: I don’t know if I can answer it, really. I don’t mean to say that bawdiness has a certain dignity – the Miller’s Tale has no such thing – but there is a roundness to life in the above authors which porn turns into the flesh airbrushed with the superficial gloss of sin and the flat glamour of lust.

    JOB

  12. Afterthought:

    The difference between the bawdy and the pornographic lies somewhere in the difference between the “body” and the “flesh.” St. Paul speaks of both – but I believe he means one thing when he says “body” and another when he says “flesh.”

    Indeed, I wonder if The Apostle would agree that the Body of Christ is not found in the flesh of this world…

    JOB

  13. Notrelatedtoted says:

    JOB:

    Interesting comment, and I think you’re on to something there. It reminds me of something I read once, I believe by CS Lewis. He said that there are two types of bawdy or earthy humor: one that is laughing at the absurdness of the human condition, and in a way, grows from humility. The other is for no purpose other than to titilate. I’d argue that this brand of humor has it’s root in pridefulness.

    I’d agree that there isn’t always a bright-line distinction between the two – it’s more of a “know it when you see it” sort of thing. But maybe one of the things you lose is the ability to laugh at ourselves as the fallen, wretched creatures that we are.

  14. mamagiglio says:

    First, the Ted Kennedy thing ios really just too funny.

    In asking that you please stop posting about porn, I mean that there are some who do struggle with addiction or mighty temptation with porn. And to see it lightheartedly discussed with a link to an online article with questionable content in places where you might not expect it might be too great a temptation for someone already struggling. We owe it to our fellows to be aware that what we post may inadvertently lead someone into a spot that they might not have the willpower to avoid.

    “Well, then,” an objector might state, “do I avoid posting about chocolate lest someone who is struggling with gluttony doesn’t fall off the wagon?” It’s not the same. Sexual addiction is particularly insidious, especially in men, in a way that chocolate and many other temptations are not. And someone coming to a Catholic blog might feel they were safe here from such temptations and be caught unawares. Catholicism is a religion of community and we are responsible for each other, to the extent that we ought not to lead others into temptation, purposely or inadvertently.

  15. Notrelatedtoted says:

    Mamagiglio:

    I agree whole-heartedly – We have a moral duty not to lead others into temptation. In addition, I hope that you didn’t interpret my comments as directed at you personally.

    But I still think its a worthwhile discussion. The effects of pornography on mainstream culture are growing, and I would guess most people absorb it without questioning it. However, your point is a good one – some sensitivity is probably in order before charging into the fray.

    I spent a semester in law school working for a public interest outfit that dealt with pornography quite a bit. What Matt posts here PALES in comparison to the sort of stuff they got into, and shows a great deal more restraint. So, I can definitely appreciate where your comments are coming from – no need to stick our heads in the sewer to know that it stinks, so to speak.

  16. mamagiglio says:

    NRTT: It didn’t even occur to me that you were talking to me personally, so don’t worry about it 🙂

    I think it is worthwhile to discuss it, we just need to be conscious of where the discussion goes. I think thoughtful discussion on how it has saturated our culture is worthwhile. Not enough people notice it. You should see what some kids try to wear to our CCD classes. ai ai ai!

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