Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Chris Hedges: Pornography is what the end of the world looks like

“Fifty Shades of Grey,” the book and the movie, is a celebration of the sadism that dominates nearly every aspect of American culture and lies at the core of pornography and global capitalism. It glorifies our dehumanization of women. It champions a world devoid of compassion, empathy and love. It eroticizes hypermasculine power that carries out the abuse, degradation, humiliation and torture of women whose personalities have been removed, whose only desire is to debase themselves in the service of male lust. The film, like “American Sniper,” unquestioningly accepts a predatory world where the weak and the vulnerable are objects to exploit while the powerful are narcissistic and violent demigods. It blesses this capitalist hell as natural and good.

“Pornography,” Robert Jensen writes, “is what the end of the world looks like.”

We are blinded by self-destructive fantasy. An array of amusements and spectacles, including TV “reality” shows, huge sporting events, social media, porn (which earns at least twice what Hollywood movies generate), alluring luxury products, drugs, alcohol and magic Jesus, offers enticing exit doors from reality. We yearn to be rich, powerful and celebrity-famous. And those we must trample to build our pathetic little empires are seen as deserving their fate. That nearly all of us will never attain these ambitions is emblematic of our collective self-delusion and the effectiveness of a culture awash in manipulation and lies.

Porn seeks to eroticize this sadism. In porn women are paid to repeat the mantra “I am a cunt. I am a bitch. I am a whore. I am a slut. Fuck me hard with your big cock.” They plead to be physically abused. Porn caters to degrading racist stereotypes. Black men are sexually potent beasts stalking white women. Black women have a raw, primitive lust. Latin women are sultry and hotblooded. Asian women are meek, sexually submissive geishas. In porn, human imperfections do not exist. The oversized silicone breasts, the pouting, gel-inflated lips, the bodies sculpted by plastic surgeons, the drug-induced erections that never subside and the shaved pubic regions—which cater to porn’s pedophilia—turn performers into pieces of plastic. Smell, sweat, breath, heartbeats and touch are erased along with tenderness. Women in porn are packaged commodities. They are pleasure dolls and sexual puppets. They are stripped of true emotions. Porn is not about sex, if one defines sex as a mutual act between two partners, but about masturbation, a solitary auto-arousal devoid of intimacy and love. The cult of the self—that is the essence of porn—lies at the core of corporate culture. Porn, like global capitalism, is where human beings are sent to die.

There are few people on the left who grasp the immense danger of allowing pornography to replace intimacy, sex and love. Much of the left believes that pornography is about free speech, as if it is unacceptable to financially exploit and physically abuse a woman in a sweatshop in China but acceptable to do so on the set of a porn film, as if torture is wrong in Abu Ghraib, where prisoners were sexually humiliated and abused as if they were on a porn set, but permissible on commercial porn sites. A new wave of feminists, who have betrayed the iconic work of radicals such as Andrea Dworkin, defends porn as a form of sexual liberation and self-empowerment. These “feminists,” grounded in Michel Foucault and Judith Butler, are stunted products of neoliberalism and postmodernism. Feminism, for them, is no longer about the liberation of women who are oppressed; it is defined by a handful of women who are successful, powerful and wealthy—or, as in the case of “Fifty Shades of Grey,” able to snag a rich and powerful man. A woman wrote the “Fifty Shades” book, as well as the screenplay. A woman directed the film. A woman studio head bought the movie. This collusion by women is part of the internalization of oppression and sexual violence that have their roots in porn. Dworkin understood. She wrote that “the new pornography is a vast graveyard where the Left has gone to die. The Left cannot have its whores and its politics too.”

I met Gail Dines, one of the most important radicals in the country, in a small cafe in Boston on Tuesday. She is the author of “Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality” and a professor of sociology and women’s studies at Wheelock College. Dines, along with a handful of others including Jensen, fearlessly decry a culture that is as depraved as Caligula’s Rome.

“The porn industry has hijacked the sexuality of an entire culture and is laying waste to a whole generation of boys,” she warned. “And when you lay waste to a generation of boys, you lay waste to a generation of girls.”

“When you fight porn you fight global capitalism,” she said. “The venture capitalists, the banks, the credit card companies are all in this feeding chain. This is why you never see anti-porn stories. The media is implicated. It is financially in bed with these companies. Porn is part of this. Porn tells us we have nothing left as human beings—boundaries, integrity, desire, creativity and authenticity. Women are reduced to three orifices and two hands. Porn is woven into the corporate destruction of intimacy and connectedness, and this includes connectedness to the earth. If we were a society where we were whole, connected human beings in real communities, then we would not be able to look at porn. We would not be able to watch another human being tortured.” [to continue reading, click here]

An excerpt from an article by Chris Hedges published in TruthDig.

fiftyshadesofhedges_590

        — Image from Fifty Shades of Gray

19 comments on “Chris Hedges: Pornography is what the end of the world looks like

  1. Bill Schaefer
    May 27, 2015

    While the article it right, it’s essential that we connect the dysfunction more strongly to the capitalistic society in which we live, and to the underlying denial that created the environment in which we have become immersed in greed based economic, political, social, and spiritual institutions. Without associating this systematic dysfunction to the underlying cause makes it impossible to make real and lasting change.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Anthony DiMatteo
      May 28, 2015

      Refreshing to see someone thinking in the bigger frame of our historical moment – yes, capitalist economy (hopefully in its late phase) and nationalist sovereignty both dating back to the 16th century comprise a “systemic dysfunction” as you say, Bill, that endangers the entire earth.

      Like

  2. Pingback: Fifty Shades of Hell | Myriad Ways

  3. Milo
    March 11, 2015

    Radical feminists are antiquated and themselves perpetuate something similar to fascism. Gail Dines is anti-sex work and does a great job of robbing women who chose those professions of their agency and selfgovernance. And Andrea Dworking, well… she really doesn’t belong in any sort of contemporary radical discourse, being a transphobe and all.

    Being anti-porn is reactionary.

    Like

  4. Naomi Shihab Nye
    March 11, 2015

    A brilliant piece about a profoundly disturbing appetite in our culture and world. This 50 shades craze has seemed depressingly SICK not to mention entirely off-kilter for any humans who might prefer mutual respect in all domains.

    Thank you, Chris Hedges.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael Simms
      March 11, 2015

      Thank you, Naomi. I’m disturbed as well by the world that is created in mainstream media. Sexual exploitation, random violence, police brutality, and mindless consumerism are presented as normal ways of life. Chris Hedges critically explores one aspect of this world-view we take for granted.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. J.M.
    March 11, 2015

    This is an amazing eye-opener! Have to admit I never linked Capitalism and Pornography but after reading this, I can see the connection.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Jin Okubo
    March 11, 2015

    I disagree, but at work so I will respond in detail later

    Like

    • Jin Okubo
      March 11, 2015

      Ok, pornography is not the end of the world. No matter how much you would want to paint it as the end all of end alls, it just isn’t and capitalism actually works more to stop war, stop poverty, put an end to the lack of education than anything else. And by stating that there is some kind of conspiracy where porn is the center of it is just ludicrous.
      Now the reason why fifty shades of grey is popular in a country like the USA is because Americans tend to be skittish about sex. No other country in the world do people swarm to the next crotch shot of some celebrity than the USA, and it is because the view and conversations of sex in the USA are geared in such a way that you, we do not talk openly about it. That leads to this kind of thought.
      This article clearly rings of one sided point of view from someone who clearly does not like pornography and is searching in fact straining to find a connection where one does exist. And this is best shown by the fact that Fifty Shades of grey is being used as the main example.

      Like

      • jemimallah
        March 12, 2015

        “it is because the view and conversations of sex in the USA are geared in such a way that you, we do not talk openly about it. That leads to this kind of thought.”

        yes, but instead of progression towards a open, public discussion of sex, which is what common sense would generally suggest was the best idea, the taboo is retained but grotesquely inflated, fetishized to the point where noone even remembers the taboo anymore, until the only remaining point of sex is the fact that it is, or was once, somehow transgressive

        Like

        • Jin Okubo
          March 12, 2015

          Can you expand on the taboo? Because what you may think is taboo others may not.
          And I would say that the only point of sex is that it is sex. The whole concept of sex being love, or sex being spiritual holds very little validity to me. The reason being that if sex was truly connected to love, and spirituality then if someone were to loose the ability to have sex for what ever reason, they would also loose the ability to love, that is if they were so interconnected, but they are not.
          So to restate, 1) please expand on what you consider is taboo.
          2. Are you trying to state that sex should only be had in ways that are proper and not taboo, by one person or groups idea of what sex is? Because this has been done it is the reason why aids is so prevelant in Africa, religion forces people to not wear condoms for protection. It is also why Muslims can in muslim countries rape women, girls and in some cases boys with little to no penalty.

          Like

          • DJ
            May 29, 2015

            Sexuality is powerful…no doubt. But the point is that so many people claim that consent automatically eradicates any possibility of exploitation. In this way, porn is similar to capitalism because capitalism claims that if someone is willing to work for a certain wage then it cannot be exploitative. Similarly, if a woman willingly employs herself in the porn industry, it cannot be exploitative.
            But both are extremely exploitative. When you back people into a corner, their decisions change. A financially comfortable person makes very different decisions than a desperate person. Sometimes you have to sacrifice your morals for food… or a roof over your head.

            Like

            • Jin Okubo
              May 31, 2015

              Nice response But I disagree with it.
              The reasons why I disagree with you are simple. You are taking a huge jump by suggesting that anyone in the porn industry is setting aside morals to do it. Just as a poor person would take a menial job in order to put food on the table and a roof over a families head.
              By over simplifying it you missed the bigger picture. Yes there are some in the porn industry and sex industry who are there through some acts of their own: drug abuse, gambling and so on. Yes they have created a road to be exploited and are being so. Is it right, well no it isn’t. Should we help these people who are being exploited. If they are willing to accept the help and the help will not be abused.
              Now what do I mean by the help being abused: I remember visiting some cousins whose parents were working hand over fist to make ends meet and even with food stamps they were not really getting by. But as it turns out the food stamps were being traded for drugs and alcohol by some of the kids and the parents did not care as long as they got their cut. There is no sacrifice there of morals, it is who they were.
              Now the big bad boogy man you want to paint and as I see many on this line want to paint is Capitalism, but if you took the time to see the video I posted, Capitalism is one of the fastest ways to stop exploitation.
              Now for those wanting to be exploited and those who want to see sex as love. Well both of you have different trains of thoughts on the idea of sex.
              For me sex is not love. It is no were near love. Sex is a physical act, period, end of story, no matter what fairy tale you want to make it out to be it is not.
              Love is emotional, deep, beyond the physical and it is my opinion that those who connect sex with love make love such a trivial thing and are the ones who have sacrificed their morals.

              Like

  7. Kelly Seibel
    March 11, 2015

    “There are few people on the left who grasp the immense danger of allowing pornography to replace intimacy, sex and love. Much of the left believes that pornography is about free speech, as if it is unacceptable to financially exploit and physically abuse a woman in a sweatshop in China but acceptable to do so on the set of a porn film, as if torture is wrong in Abu Ghraib, where prisoners were sexually humiliated and abused as if they were on a porn set, but permissible on commercial porn sites.” Seriously???? I agreed wholeheartedly with everything that led up to this point, but painting the “left” with this brush is a conclusion that I find repulsive. Excuse me, but I found American Sniper discussions to not be about the support of the left. I am a liberal, an unabashed liberal, and this does not describe my version of “free speech” and liberation of women. Nor do I know of anyone in my circles who would agree with the “leftist” women he quotes.  From: Vox Populi To: kps1644@yahoo.com Sent: Wednesday, March 11, 2015 5:00 AM Subject: [New post] Chris Hedges: Pornography is what the end of the world looks like #yiv1553665634 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv1553665634 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv1553665634 a.yiv1553665634primaryactionlink:link, #yiv1553665634 a.yiv1553665634primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv1553665634 a.yiv1553665634primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv1553665634 a.yiv1553665634primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv1553665634 WordPress.com | Michael Simms posted: ““Fifty Shades of Grey,” the book and the movie, is a celebration of the sadism that dominates nearly every aspect of American culture and lies at the core of pornography and global capitalism. It glorifies our dehumanization of women. It champions a world” | |

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jin Okubo
      March 11, 2015

      You really need to learn more about sweatshops

      This is a good lecture

      Liked by 1 person

      • Michael Simms
        March 11, 2015

        Thanks for the video, Jin. Very informative….

        Liked by 1 person

        • Jin Okubo
          March 11, 2015

          Thanks for the post. It really drew me. I almost fucked up at work because of it. draws you in. no matter the side of the argument you land on.

          Like

          • Michael Simms
            March 11, 2015

            I agree, Jin. Fifty Shades of Grey aside, the world-view created by American media is very disturbing. It is tied closely with the agenda of the oligarchs to glorify war, promote the exploitation of workers, and continue the destruction of the earth.

            Liked by 1 person

  8. twinflamesrevolt
    March 11, 2015

    Also spoken from a female perspective as if women not only accept but desire exploitation.

    People need porn in a world where sex stands separated from love and humans are turning into animals or worse.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Enter your email address to follow Vox Populi and receive new posts by email.

Join 11,472 other followers

Blog Stats

  • 4,018,286 hits

Archives

%d bloggers like this: