But I decided not to write it because I figured by the time I finished and had it published it wouldn’t be futuristic. You just can’t outrun evil.
This came to mind last week when I saw a Facebook post that evoked a sensation that’s hard to describe—maybe something like the combination of shock and disgust one might feel upon finding out that one of their kid’s junior high teachers has a side job as a porn star. Then when they voice their concern to the principle she tells them it’s totally fine because this teacher is very professional and she only shows her videos to the kids during free periods.
The post that evoked such a feeling was a picture of a group of women posing, with smiles, in front of the movie poster for a sadomasochistic porn film. (I wonder how the same women would react to a Facebook post of their husbands fist-bumping outside a strip club?) One of the comments below the picture thanked friends who watched their kids so they could have ladies' night out.
But the thing that left me in mute shock was that some of these ladies openly profess to be Christians--even attend Christian church meetings--and somehow think that sadomasochistic porn can be compatible with an authentic Christian life. Two of them told me as much. I wanted to write about this earlier, but I was stupefied. How do you respond to this? It’s like someone saying, “Really, what’s so bad about incest?” or “I’m proud of my daughter. She's pole dancing to pay for college?” Some arguments aren’t winnable.
By the way, the name of the movie in question is Fifty Shades Darker, and if anyone’s knee-jerk reaction upon reading the title was, “Oh, just that,” this proves a tragic but important point. In Tolstoy’s The Death of Ivan Ilyich, when Ivan’s legal career begins to take off and he comes to be in the inner circle with some highly reputable people, he carouses and has an after-supper trip to a whore house. “But all this had such a heightened air of respectability that nothing bad could be said about it…It was all done with clean hands, in clean shirts, and with French phrases, and, most importantly, among people of the best society—consequently, with the approval of those in high rank.”
Way back when I was coming of age in the mid nineties, I heard a person or two (always guys) talk about seeing twisted porn movies, but to do so they had to go to small XXX theaters in the filthy back alleys of New Orleans. Today the same kind of movie is at the Megaplex in between Cinnabon and Nordstrom.
Just as Ivan’s clean shirts and French phrases don’t make a whore house any less a whore house, mainstreaming porn doesn’t make it less porn. The “air of respectability” doesn’t make evil less evil; nor does it make evil less consequential. It only gives it more power for being less noticeable.