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I Can See Your House From Here v 2.39
© Kenn McCracken
June 08, 2002

I heard it again this week, and I wish I could remember where. The where is only important because attitudes like this really raise my hackles, and it strikes me that these people need to be forced to face their issues head on. Issues like racism, like sexism, like censorship—oh, and like pornography.

I can't remember if the topic was skin flicks or girlie magazines or maybe strippers. (Excuse me—dancers. They hate to be pigeonholed like that.) Really, it doesn't matter one way or the other. I like 'em all. I'm an American male, trapped in a state of perpetual adolescence, so sue me. Whichever it was, the point of dissension was the dehumanization and exploitation of women through movies/pictures/strip clubs. Which, of course, is the part that I'm all for. No, wait...

You'll have to pardon the soapbox, but issues of censorship—and yes, I firmly believe that this boils down to one segment of society limiting what I can see or hear based on their own discomfort levels—really get under my skin. Tell you what, Moral Majority: You let me decide what to read, what music to listen to, what television to watch, and what substances I want to put into my body. In return, I'll stop making fun of you at every chance I get.

You know what's orange and looks good on the Far Right? Fire.

I won't touch the dehumanization issue too deeply, except to note that, of all the males that I know, 95% enjoy porn on a very base level. Of that 95%, none has ever raped a woman, beaten a woman, used a woman for sex, or treated a woman any differently than Pete Purebread. Only one has announced that he is gay. I also know a few women that enjoy porn, and they still manage to treat their fellow Venusians with respect and dignity.

But what about the exploitation? you ask. Aren't we stripping the women of their dignity everytime we buy a Playboy or watch the Spice channel? Nope. Not in my mind, at least. Personally, I'm enjoying the beauty that can be found in the female form (albeit on a very brainless/animal sort of level). Now, I can't speak for everyone, but I don't imagine there are all that many guys who watch pornography and derive their enjoyment of it purely from the domination of the female spirit. I'm sure there are a few—but remember that some guys like to wear diapers and sit in over-sized playpens.

If you really want to take a walk on the edge of common sense, you can claim that you're just doing your part to invigorate the economy. If nothing else, the looks you get from the listener should be priceless.

For those of you out there that like to curse the porn industry, who would be thrilled to see Hugh Hefner's head on a stick right next to Osama's, I have a question: how about that last season of Survivor? Did you enjoy that?

Oh, no, you're right. Survivor's not exploitive. Sure, most of the people on these reality TV shows (from the heyday of the Springer show to Who Wants to Marry a Psychpathic Serial Killer With a Trust Fund?) are left without a shred of dignity by the end of each episode, but they signed up for that; it's not as though these shows are without precedent. And hey, they're getting paid, some of them really well. I can't really call that exploitive, can I?

Hmmm...

The idea of exploitation is a laugh to me, especially when we're talking about grown adults capable of rational decision. No one is forcing these women to appear in porn (and those of you that want to say that "some most certainly are" can get back to the job of turning your children into what you failed to be). Most of them are making an exceptional amount of money—no different, at the core, than exploiting any other natural talent you might have, like physics research if you've go a gift for numbers, or trying out for the Olympics if you were graced with an incredible sprint time. The men and women of the porn industry (and I'm including skin mags and strip clubs) are doing something that, for the most part, they enjoy doing, making a lot of money, and sleeping quite nicely at night.

Exploitation is child pornography, or voyeurism (where the watched is either not willing or not aware of the watcher). Explotation is dragging out a corpse for your own gain, Ms. Love. Explotation is COPS and America's Most Dangerous Car Chases and the evening news, where advertisers pay big bucks top the producers because they know that you are hoping for a glimpse of a decapitated head or a collapsing building or a grizzly bear eating an autistic baby.

To exploit is to take advantage of something. In this connotation, it's taking advantage of someone, specifically for personal gain. It's not giving a girl money in return for a glimpse at her naked body (and for the love of Pete, has no one yet recognized that we are the only Western society that blushes at cleavage but encourages gunfire on TV?). It's not paying to watch someone take off their clothes, or to see pictures of them undressed. It's buying unauthorized biographies (allowing the author to make money off of someone else's name), watching the OJ trial (allowing CourtTV to get ad dollars based on the accused's celebrity), supporting a company with proven unethical business practices because their product is just too cool to do without.

Exploiting someone implies to me that you are taking away their control of the situation. Sure, you can arge that some people don't deserve that control, like criminals or the girls on the Girls Gone Wild tapes; personally, I say that stupid behavior brings on stupid consequences, and you should be mature enough to reap what you sow, for better or worse, right or wrong. But until you can show me that pornography is unequivocally damaging to women, not just that you're uncomfortable with your own self-image or choking on your own self-righteousness, just leave me alone.

If anyone needs me, I'll be at the strip club, listening to Judas Priest and Ozzy Osbourne, and wearing Nikes. You'll know I'm out of one dollar bills when I scream "fire" at the top of my lungs.

You'll know I'm in a good strip club, because no one will notice. They'll be too busy being exploited.
Kenn McCracken needs change for a twentyóall in ones, preferably.

 
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