Yay internet porn! says Matthew Yglesias. It’s solving a pesky social problem, that of how to facilitate the displacement of poor people from their seedy neighborhoods by an influx of glowing, poverty-averse yuppies.
How does internet porn do that? Well, apparently, now that American disgust-o-pervs can beat off to women’s degradation via WiFi whenever and wherever the fancy strikes, the seedy urban porn theater of yore is on the decline. That’s because the only clientele remaining are pervs too poor to afford an internet connection, so the theaters are shutting down. Whither goeth the smut parlors, so goeth the impecunious and unsightly letch-a-holics, leading to rising property values in gentrifiable neighborhoods and, according to Yglesias, “cleaning up America’s cities.”
“Many people do not want to live near a porn theater,” Yglesias asserts. What he actually means is that many people don’t want to live near a porn theater that’s open to the public. Many people, if the stats are to be believed and 276.9% of all internet traffic really is porn-related, have no problem whatsoever turning their laptops into personal porn theaters and addressing their throbbing incontinence privately.
Yglesias doesn’t delve into it, but the reason people don’t want to live near porn theaters is that, on some level, they are at least dimly aware that pornography is gross, and that the gross people who are attracted to it are not their sort of people. Paradoxically, they believe this even if they are themselves gross porn consumers. I base that last assertion on the fact that, except for my mother, I’ve never met anyone who hasn’t consumed porn, yet at the same time I’ve hardly ever met anyone who would describe himself as “gross.” Which leads to a corollary hypothesis: most people have an unrealistic and inaccurate sense of their own personal grossness.
But that’s another post.
Yglesias omits to comment on the following aspect of the Internetian democratization of porn access: that, by popular demand, porn — that is, the graphic sexification of women’s oppression — has been thoroughly normalized as a legitimate hobby. Its damaging effects are downplayed if not contravened outright, its detractors vilified as prudes and pearl-clutchers. Porn is normal.
How normal? Pretty goddam normal, according to the Huffington Post. And, as the news site of record for sideboob, they oughta know. Says HuffPo, “the Internet is for porn. Everybody knows that,” a claim they back up with a helpful infographic entitled “Everyone You Know Watches Porn.”
According to this infographic, 70% of men and 30% of women use internet porn, they visit porn sites an average of 7.5 times a month for an average of 12 minutes at a time, everyone looks at porn at work, etc. Then it segues into sex advice, helpfully proposing porn as a therapeutic remedy for the deplorable state of the female orgasm with respect to vaginal intercourse. A spot of hottt XXX action is all that’s needed to put a recalcitrant gal in the mood.
It turns out that the infographic is actually an advertisement for an internet porn site (claiming “legit” statistics that I cannot verify because I can’t read its teeny-tiny sources list). It appears to be an attempt to reassure the furtive, self-loathing porn consumer that fetishizing women’s oppression, however sketchy it may sort of vaguely feel, is in fact perfectly ordinary, healthy behavior, which these “legit” statistics prove. The overwhelming majority of the populace gets off on watching the oppression of low-status sex drones, therefore there can’t be anything wrong with it. Everyone’s in on porn culture! “It’s human nature,” the porn site ad chides. “We’re beings, not robots. Grow the f!*#k up.”
Ironically, the pornmongers, who make their money off fucking an oppressed sex class, can’t spell the word “fuck.”
I would suggest that shifting the consumption of porn from the public square to the private lair is the exact opposite of “cleaning up America’s cities.” All it does is turn an open sore into a septic, festering abscess. You can put a Whole Foods where the porn-a-rama once stood, but the porn isn’t going anywhere. In fact, it is now integrated more seamlessly than ever before into the daily lives of otherwise normal people by dint of its round-the-clock smartphone in-yo-faceness.
Snap out of it! Oppression is gross!