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Dominic Green Internet Life US Politics

How porn DESTROYED American politics

A quick burst of masculine aggression, the motor of the porn business, has reshaped the format and duration of political debate

Porn is in the eye of the beholder. So porn is what the world sees when it looks at the United States. In 2018, the gross box office receipts of America’s mainstream movie business were $4.5 billion. The American porn industry’s annual profits are estimated to be somewhere between $6 billion and $12 billion per year — despite the massive availability of porn for free. The San Fernando Valley, not Hollywood, is the heart of the American movie business.

No wonder that when American culture went online, it adopted the language of porn, the first business to be profitable online. The female celebrity, invariably female, who ‘opens up’ for an interview adopts a metaphorical posture familiar to students of amateur gynecology. The mass debater, invariably male, who ‘owns’ his opponent enacts the fantasy of enslavement. Millions of young men must have clicked ‘Ben Shapiro DESTROYS left-wing college student’, only to be sorely disappointed that the performers only lose their dignity, and not their clothes.

Books have been written on what should be called the Porning of the American Mind. Someone should write one about the pornification of American politics. It wouldn’t be easy on the eye. Despite the massaging of images and eyeballs, the old adage generally remains: politics is show business for ugly people. But American politics are thoroughly pornified too, and not just in the recent imagery of ‘owning’ and ‘destroying’. Look at Pete Buttigieg. Everyone loves a fresh-faced amateur. Then ponder the defining mental image of the Trump presidency, a porn actress spanking the president of the United States with a rolled-up magazine bearing his face on its cover.

A quick burst of masculine aggression, the motor of the porn business, has reshaped the format and duration of political debate. Like Eric Holder said, ‘When they go low, we kick them.’ The reduction of debate to a short assertion of power was accomplished by cable television in the Eighties. At the same time cable television made porn films ubiquitous by piping pornography into the family home. The logic of efficiency and the jaded appetite have driven the form towards the sudden climax and the edited clip. The short sequence in which Ben Shapiro destroys his opponent is the ‘money shot’ that draws subscribers.

Private hypocrisy is the kink common to all porn consumers, and public hypocrisy about race the kink in American society. The schematic racial arrangements of affirmative action are the public affectation, the schematic racial arrangements of porn the real face of the American inner life. Here are some images to make your eyes bulge. Never before have so many young people attended college. America’s private colleges in particular are forcing houses of puritanism, the sensitivities of their initiates so delicate that they demand the forbidding of everything. Yet the typical consumer of porn is a young man.

Hence many of those claiming to take offense at old pictures or books or Halloween costume are also regular porn watchers. The young people who claim to see no color or gender, and to be appalled at all forms of exploitation, are privately ogling the worst kinds of exploitation on the basis of color or gender. As politics merges with media, and media merged with porn, which values are real and held so deeply that they demand expression, and which are merely gestural, a flick of the wrist?

Defenders of porn call it harmless fantasy, a degraded art of the impossible. But what happens when sexualized fantasies of aggression and humiliation percolate into the social realm of politics? For politics is another arena for the play of fantasy, or ‘ideology’, as fantasy is called in politics. The historical hard drive is full of clips in which the politics of fantasy have led to real-life disaster. There is no reason why American society should be immune to that risk. Pornify your politics, and your ass will follow.

Dominic Green is Life & Arts Editor of Spectator USA.


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