Friday, April 27, 2007

If it were up to me... I'd take away the porn?

Hello, my name is Amanda, and I'm an erototoxin addict.

Apparently Dr. Judith Reisman (whose doctorate, by the way, is in communications) believes that the Virginia Tech murders were sparked off in part by the killer's erototoxin addiction.

Erototoxins... is that some kind of new drug? Or maybe it's some kind of chemical being washed into rivers and lakes, and humans get infected by eating too much fish? Damn those chemical companies!

Oh wait, now I remember: erototoxins are a certain kind of endorphin, produced in the brain in response to our "society drenched in sadosexual arousal as entertainment" and, um, porn. Oh, and they have no base in biological reality. According to Dr. Reisman, "erototoxins" "have a toxic effect on everyone and we all know that... We don't need billion-dollar studies to know that." That's right, folks: Dr. Reisman would have us believe that all that smut we've been exposing ourselves to is poisoning our brains.

Luckily we've been informed before our addictions had a chance to go too far. For Seung-Hui Cho, the perpetrator of the Virginia Tech murders, the poison had already done it's job.

In an April 23rd editorial on World Net Daily, Reisman offers a list of contributing factors leading to the killer's actions, including the line about sadosexual arousal as entertainment and creating a mental image of him sitting "at the Internet every night, angrily lusting after naked young blondes who provoke his loins". Her analysis gives lengthy attention to his sexually explicit (and often disturbing) writing and the story that he took upskirt shots of classmates. In an interview with XFANZ, she asserts that "It's a distinct component in predators — frustrated that he can't get the girls he wants to get — and that builds up to a volcanic eruption."

What Reisman doesn't mention -- and this comes as no surprise -- is that all the porn in the world can't kill 33 people in ten minutes. It was a pair of guns that did that. To even insinuate that the cause of Cho's destructive rampage was an addiction to pornography is an insult to the victims of this complex tragedy. It disregards all of the other factors that allowed the killings to happen -- the medical treatment of people suffering from psychological disorders, the response of the University's administration to previous reports of his problems and problematic interactions with classmates, and above all the ease with which he managed to obtain the guns.

Way back in 1997 ('99? somewhere around there), Cheryl Wheeler recorded a song called "if it were up to me." I loved it in high school, but I had forgotten all about it until iTunes played it on random the other night. How incredibly timely. I'm guessing it's not the porn, judging by the number of people who use pornography and lead perfectly normal, healthy lives, but you know what? Even if porn did play some roll here, maybe there are other things we should look to first.

Lyrics reprinted below.
See also Alex Koppleman "Why Democrats Dumped Gun Control" (Salon.com)

# Maybe it's the movies, maybe it's the books
# Maybe it's the bullets, maybe it's the real crooks
# Maybe it's the drugs, maybe it's the parents
# Maybe it's the colors everybody's wearin
# Maybe it's the President, maybe it's the last one
# Maybe it's the one before that, what he done
# Maybe it's the high schools, maybe it's the teachers
# Maybe it's the tattooed children in the bleachers
# Maybe it's the Bible, maybe it's the lack
# Maybe it's the music, maybe it's the crack
# Maybe it's the hairdos, maybe it's the TV
# Maybe it's the cigarettes, maybe it's the family
# Maybe it's the fast food, maybe it's the news
# Maybe it's divorce, maybe it's abuse
# Maybe it's the lawyers, maybe it's the prisons
# Maybe it's the Senators, maybe it's the system
# Maybe it's the fathers, maybe it's the sons
# Maybe it's the sisters, maybe it's the moms
# Maybe it's the radio, maybe it's road rage
# Maybe El Nino, or UV rays
# Maybe it's the army, maybe it's the liquor
# Maybe it's the papers, maybe the militia
# Maybe it's the athletes, maybe it's the ads
# Maybe it's the sports fans, maybe it's a fad
# Maybe it's the magazines, maybe it's the internet
# Maybe it's the lottery, maybe it's the immigrants
# Maybe it's taxes, big business
# Maybe it's the KKK and the skinheads
# Maybe it's the communists, maybe it's the Catholics
# Maybe it's the hippies, maybe it's the addicts
# Maybe it's the art, maybe it's the sex
# Maybe it's the homeless, maybe it's the banks
# Maybe it's the clearcut, maybe it's the ozone
# Maybe it's the chemicals, maybe it's the car phones
# Maybe it's the fertilizer, maybe it's the nose rings
# Maybe it's the end, but I know one thing.
# If it were up to me, I'd take away the guns.

8 comments:

Amber said...

Judith Reisman... yeah, she's interesting. I really wonder what it's like on her planet. Belledame did a series of posts about this "erotoxins" hoo-ha several months ago.

Sassywho said...

just because you take the prozac does not turn you into an "endorphin" expert. stay away from the koolaid too, i hear that wacky pitcher guy makes people draw on foggy windows.

C4bl3Fl4m3 said...

Uh, it's not the guns fault either. A pair of guns did not kill 33 people in ten minutes. A sadly disturbed young man killed 33 people in ten minutes. He happened to do it with guns. He could have done it with a pipebomb, but noone's banning pipes or fertilizer.

You said "I'm guessing it's not the porn, judging by the number of people who use pornography and lead perfectly normal, healthy lives[...]" Someone could replace the word porn with guns in that sentence and it would be perfectly valid. Tons of people use guns and lead perfectly normal, healthy lives, just like tons of people use porn and lead perfectly normal, healthy lives. I happen to enjoy both porn and guns. I'm one of those sex-positive left wing liberals who understands what guns can and can't do because I was raised around guns in a family that hunted for food. I'm all for making sure that guns don't get into the hands of crazy mass murderers, but I'm also for people using guns for valid pastimes like hunting and target shooting, just like you're all for people using porn to jerk off to, but not to go rape someone.

Let's not blame the porn or the guns, ok? If we have to place blame, let's put it on the psychiatric system for letting this kid slip through the cracks, on the school for not doing something when they noticed something was wrong, and perhaps on the external stimulus that helped turn this kid this way.

(BTW, love your blog. Don't want you to think I only have negative things to say.)

Amanda said...

c4bl3fl4m3, I see your point, and in truth I rarely find myself on the side of a complete gun ban -- mostly because I think it's clear that there's more to our sky high death-by-shooting rates than just lax gun control.

But I've got to disagree with you on one point: You can't rape someone with porn. You can't kill someone with porn. You can use a gun to do both of those things. Of the two, I think any rational person can see that a gun is much more dangerous than pornography.

Isn't it just absurd that instead of focusing on any of the obviously more dangerous components that led to the murders, Reisman chooses to use it as an opportunity to rail against pornography?

Thanks for commenting -- you raise a really important point. I painted with too broad a brush, I suppose!

Anonymous said...

C4bl3Fl4m3, blaming any one thing is not a good idea, especially in such a case as this.

My concern is not that guns killed people, but that he (technically illegally) bought guns easily because he "seemed ok." There is a big difference between banning gun sales and restricting them, which is something that ought to be done to filter out people such as Cho who simply should not have easy access to firearms.

Blaming the psychological community for not putting someone permenantly away or medicating someone into a thorazine shuffle doesn't mean that they failed. The school was presented with a disturbed young man and did not properly respond, in hindsight, but that doesn't mean much in relation to the counselors that saw him. If you present yourself, which is possible for many, as an emotionally stable individual to a counselor, they will need a lot of pull to put you under surveilance for any period of time. And without a lot of presented behavior that puts you or those around you at risk, no one will keep you past a short (as in couple of days) period. Think of it as the way the prison system runs in the US- it is better to have a guilty man walk free than an innocent man in jail.

My point is really that there was an extremely long list of factors involved in one young man's turning against his classmates and professors so violently, and we, especially those of us so removed from the information surrounding his life, cannot really pick and choose what 'caused' this to happen. He did it (possibly with help, something that hasn't been released and may not be released), and that's all we'll likely ever know.

-Frank

Anonymous said...

Blaming porn is like the born-agains screaming to kill Iraqis: this is what Jesus would have done?! Come on and get serious, people. Lots of women look at porn as evil, as sin, because it tends to be male oriented and has been for a very long time. I wonder what the public comments would be like if some guy came up with the argument that vibrators are also pornographic and should be banned because they arouse tactilely rather than visually. He would probably be deemed to be a anti-feminist male. But it's basically the same thing.

Amanda said...

heh... anon, what's funny is that the people who are anti-porn are (more often than not) also anti-sex-toy, either completely or outside of the context of a (heterosexual) marriage.

Also, there's a big distinction between feminists (men and women) who see porn as evil because it "degrades women and harms men", and the religious dictator types who have no problem with women's inequality but who see porn as sinful and destructive of "The Family." Reisman's the latter, and probably doesn't give a damn about women's orgasms.

Hey Frank, you have a background in psychology if I remember correctly -- do you have any thoughts about how Cho's case was handled? From what I've heard in the media, it sounds like they did everything they could. I wonder if there's anything in "the system" that could be changed to prevent such situations, without impeding people's rights.

Sarah said...

What irritates me is the fact that Cho obtained the guns in violation of current federal gun laws. Step one in keeping guns out of the wrong peole's hands: FOLLOWING THE GODDAMN LAW!