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Porn Generation: How Social Liberalism is Corrupting our Future
By Ben Shapiro
Regnery Publishing, Inc.
HC, 256 pg. US$27.95
ISBN: 0-8952-6016-6

Porn nation

By Bernard Chapin
web posted June 20, 2005

Porn Generation: How Social Liberalism is Corrupting our FutureI was excited to see that Porn Generation: How Social Liberalism is Corrupting our Future was recently released. This was in the hopes that someone would accurately document the 24 hour experimental sexcapade that our culture has become. Despite the fact that sex is now ubiquitous to our lives, a number of people out there still regard America as being a Victorian land of hooch-o-phobes. They believe that the frank expression of sexual matters is verboten–even though they do it all the time. How one could possibly hold such an opinion in light of thousands of theatres putting on plays centered around a vagina is beyond my reckoning.

Of course we cannot forget the adult themed advertisements which bend over every billboard while primetime television programs stream content that would have warranted a R rating only twenty years ago. Our civic authorities even allocate thousands of hours of police overtime to ensure that thong wearing individuals are safe to promenade their pride through the streets. None of this makes any impression on the destructionists who keep moaning "repressed, repressed, repressed", in the manner of Meathead lecturing Archie Bunker.

Unfortunately, my enthusiasm concerning the actual book quickly eroded. I started reflecting negatively about its author within the first few pages because the solutions he endorses are even more disturbing than children watching Queer as Folk or worshipping the fogeys on Sex in the City. Alas, here, in the person of an overconfident, ornery 21-year-old, we find that censorship is not dead.

I grant that, in isolation, source indicting is not a meritorious argumentative practice, which is why I will spend several paragraphs refuting Shapiro's positions after I mention that this guy is in no way qualified to address this topic. Not until page 80 do we discover that Shapiro is a 21-year-old virgin who graduated from an orthodox Jewish high school. At the prima facie level, several things are wrong with this.

First of all, a man of his tender age has in no way experienced the multivariate weirdness of what goes on in society today, and, second, a person whose religion has physically and psychologically separated him from the general population is even less qualified to explore these realities. Third, being a virgin…well, I'll be subtle for once. Shapiro's views on the world are appallingly insular and his age, along with admitted lack of experience, contribute to the mystification one has regarding many of his observations.

The narrator is unsuitable even though he is already a highly accomplished academic. He is currently a student at Harvard Law School and a graduate of UCLA. This offering is his second published book and I have no doubt that he will continue to be highly regarded by conservatives in the future. He is meticulous and highly organized, but, regardless of these virtues, there is a glaring dearth of conceptualization in this work.

On the surface, much of what Shapiro argues is unobjectionable. Our universities have largely abandoned the search for truth and many former radicals seek to brainwash their students. Same sex dorms and bathrooms do demystify relations between the sexes and deter romantic love. Many pop stars are tarts and actively promote alternative lifestyles. When he says that Paris Hilton is "a fabulously rich slut," who would dispute it? Rap music is not indicative of black experience in America. Yes, television definitely is a cesspool, and Hollywood does champion homosexuality in many a film. Pornography does have a glamour today it does not deserve, yet Shapiro's way of ending the pornucopia comes straight from the annals of totalitarianism.

There is no room for libertarians in the author's vision of the future. He sees censorship, both via the government and through the private sector, as being the solution. The traditional position, among those of us who mind our own damn business, is that whatever a person does which does not harm others should be permitted by the state. Shapiro refuses to tolerate such diversity. He sees all actions as being social and not individual. If what I do vicariously affects someone, such as supporting pornographers by purchasing their products, then I cannot claim that my actions do not negatively impact the community.

It is here that Shapiro reveals his lack of depth and inexperience with the world. What he is advocating essentially means there is no such thing as individual rights as everything could be construed as falling within the state's interest. The author so lacks imagination that he cannot understand that people like he and I would be the first to be censored by a Democratic administration. We would become the Oriana Fallaci's of the USA. A door would be opened from which totalitarianism would escape. His words frighten as if they came from Stephen King:

We must press for government to use the force of the law against
pornography, obscenity, and indecency across the board, from
Howard Stern to Larry Flynt, from TV to radio to the Internet,
from music to movies.

May a 70ish Howard Stern marry Ben's first born daughter.

This guy is so extreme that he doesn't even want Levitra or Viagra to be advertised on television. Shapiro plainly does not recall a decade ago when the Clintonistas audited conservative organizations and magazines like The American Spectator. Political correctness is nothing compared to what they'd do with the imprimatur of the police. The left already thinks we're evil for thinking differently than they do, and, if we gave them the opportunity to legally silence us, they gladly would. Fines and jail sentences would quiet anybody who defied them. However, regardless of who censors who, the blue pencil is never the answer. If I could shut down The Nation and Mother Jones…I never would.

Another major flaw in the work is that the author constantly condemns this or that as being amoral or immoral without defining these terms for his readers. What exactly does he mean when he uses such language? What is the moral system that he expects us to operate within? Shapiro assumes that we implicitly know what he means when he says something is "immoral." Is immorality to be strictly equated with religious sin or does it extend far beyond it?

Shapiro is so self-righteous that there is no question that over 90 percent of the population could not meet his rigid standards for the moral life. I would be willing to wager that his denunciations extend to activities that he is simply uncomfortable with or merely dislikes. He is most disdainful of people "getting their rocks off." This offends him more than a surprise visit by Ru Paul. He states that premarital sex is immoral, and then, through a discussion of the Lewinsky scandal, he contends that oral sex is immoral as well. From there it becomes rather murky. Would Shapiro regard premarital fondling and kissing as being beyond the pale? From his examination of the Clinton scandal I believe that he would. How many Americans would agree with him? Censorship by Ben would be far worse than the status quo.

He also refers to masturbation being an immoral act, which he does in reference to an advice column by Ann Landers. Even if a person regarded masturbation as a sin, few religious activists would make that a talking point for their persuasion nowadays. Too many people would merely look at the evangelist apprehensively while awaiting the disclaimer, "No, I'm just kidding." Were it not for self-stimulation, a man's first question regarding an unseen woman would not be, "What does she look like?", but instead, "Does she weigh less than 350 pounds because that's basically my only requirement, although, if she has a good personality, then, you know, adjustments can be made…"

Within this short book, Shapiro shows no awareness or knowledge of the conservative take on political correctness because he offends his constituency through repeating the language of the now deceased beast, Andrea Dworkin. The narrator uses the words "male patriarchy" (unlike the female patriarchies!) respectfully as if there actually was such a thing. Accepting the existence of a fictional patriarchy is a far greater sin that making use of thumbnails on the internet, and my hope is that every religious authority will soon recognize the fact.

Through a discussion of pornography, Shapiro exemplifies a long held notion that formal education may have a negative correlation with common sense. He shares with us an incredibly delusional opinion about the compulsive murderer, Ted Bundy. It seems that the monster killed his female victims not because he was a conscienceless psychopath with a reptilian brain, but because he was over-exposed to pornography. I'm not making it up. Our author genuinely buys Bundy's rationalizations hook, line, electrical tape, and concrete body sinker.

It's hard to fathom that a person could be so ignorant of the inner-workings of the psychopathic mind but still be discussing it in print. Bundy explained to Dr. James Dobson that he was a normal guy until hardcore porn got a hold of him, and, because the serial murderer told him this right before his own execution, his words had to be the truth. Why wouldn't they be? How could a rock solid chap like Bundy lie? Well, Ben, it's because Bundy was a quintessential anti-social personality and lying is something that they inherently do. It's similar in frequency to the way the rest of us breathe. If he reacted rationally to situations then he would never have murdered 28 women for no discernible reason. That I have to explain a point so obvious speaks volumes regarding the author's ignorance of his fellow man and the subject which he addresses in Porn Generation.

Of course, I have only provided the reader with my major objections, but I could spend another ten pages mentioning the minor ones. Shapiro's asides and insults never fail to grate. When he refers to the writing of James Joyce as being "drivel", one longs to throw twenty copies of Ulysses at him. James Joyce had more creative talent in one eye patch than this law student has in his entire body. He also finds it inexcusable for parents to send their children to public school. Maybe it was inexcusable for the upperclass toffs he associated with during childhood to do so, but for him to expect inner-city parents to suddenly produce ten grand to enable their kids to attend private school illustrates that this author has no understanding of the people outside his own cocoon.

At a personal level too, Shapiro is quite irritating. To quote Tony Siragusa in regards to Detroit Lions quarterback Joey "Heather" Harrington, he is "just not my kind of guy." The author reports to us his disappointment over his friends in law school spoiling a good poker game by incessantly talking about sex and rock & roll. His associates are just past age twenty; the most surprising thing about his account is that they ever got around to talking about music at all. Ben is the sort of fellow who gives you a bad case of the heebie-jeebies. He's the type who'd gives a big lecture when people turn around to look at girls after they pass by.

The problem with Porn Generation is not its subject. The topic is important and needs to be meaningfully discussed, yet, any chance of correcting the way in which social liberalism has endangered our future is not possible given the surface level of analysis provided here. If the reader wants to know more about the way in which the concept of deviancy has disappeared from our cultural parlance, I recommend purchasing Anne Henderschott's concise masterpiece, The Politics of Deviance, instead of this ignorant and offensive book.

Bernard Chapin is a writer living in Chicago. He can be reached at bchapafl@hotmail.com.

Buy Porn Generation at Amazon.com for only $18.45 (34% off)


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