Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Jim Sleeper: Pornification of the public square

In this YouTube video, conservative political commentator and radio host Laura Ingraham speaks the painful truth.

Sleeper's article:
Sex sells. And until liberals challenge the free speech that permits it, and conservatives protest the free market that pushes it, our kids will pay the price

02:14 PM CST on Sunday, February 19, 2006

My friend Dave wrote me awhile back: "Channel-surfing with Jessica, who's 9, we stopped at an early evening rerun of Jon Stewart's Daily Show – irreverent, we figured, but not wrong for her.

"Came the bit about the gay male escort/model who'd mysteriously gotten White House press clearance to represent a Republican-funded online 'news' service and lob the president softball questions. The show flashed a photo from the escort service's Web site showing the man naked, spread-eagle, his genitals blurred. "Jessie gasped. Her face clouded over and she looked our way but didn't ask anything, and sometimes you just let things roll. We clutched hands silently, knowing damage had been done. I don't want to beat up on Stewart; I'm a liberal. Maybe I should have used better judgment, but, man, my parents never had to think about jumping up and shielding my eyes when we watched Walter Cronkite."

Why was the photo flashed? Was it news? Social commentary? Ratings lust? All of that, surely – even news of conservative sexual hypocrisy, of which there is no end. But "sex" itself is what sells: "People want it, so we are trying to provide it; the more X's, the more popular," an Adelphia Communications spokeswoman told The Boston Globe after the company, among its other dubious distinctions, became the first U.S. cable provider to offer triple-X rated pornography.

What Dave's family got wasn't porn, exactly, but it forced him to think about how he'd explain to his 9-year-old that people sell their bodies – and that TV "sells" their doing it. That Dave faults his own judgment doesn't quite make him fair game. It certainly doesn't explain what's coming to us unbidden in roadside "Erotic Empire" billboards, bus-shelter underwear posters, fashion-cum-kiddie porn ads, commercials for erectile dysfunction cures and the fetid currents wafting suddenly through our homes at prime time.

Get the rest here:


No comments: