porn vs. playstation

The adult entertainment industry’s elder statesman, Ron Jeremy, was recently at a consumer electronics conference, where he got some press for saying that violent video games were more dangerous for children than is pornography.



Is it a contest? I mean, is the ethical goal of the pornographer to be less morally corrosive than some other cultural phenomenon? It’s a bit like the soft-drink industry saying, Well, high-fructose corn-syrup isn’t as bad for kids as crack. Maybe it’s true, but so what?

Part of Mr. Jeremy’s point is that The Porn Industry—as if there was a cohesive entity deserving that title—makes efforts to keep children from seeing explicitly sexual material, which is a noble goal. But to the extent that consumers and parents are thus relieved of their responsibilities, it is not going to have much effect on the worst of what children see.



Comparing porn to computer games is perhaps not completely pointless in the electronics-trade-show context, but is otherwise pretty pointless to individuals making personal and political decisions. What kind of pornography, and how much of it, is being compared to how many weekly hours of which video games? Are we comparing immersive, ten-hour sessions of Grand Theft Auto IV, to faux-goth, soft-core porn with pale tattooed girls? Or are we comparing a few weekly hours of Age of Empires IV, to the experience of an introverted adolescent virgin whose whole sexual experience is limited, for years, to long daily exposures to streaming video from such wholesome erotic websites as Deep-Throat Gaggers, Eyeball Cum, and Degraded Teens?



Porn can be unethically made, can be unhealthy in content, and can be both abusive and abused. Pornography is just another entertainment genre that can be good or bad, responsible or irresponsible. Face it, Porn Fans: There is a lot of virulently hostile and misogynistic porn out there, which occupies a troublingly large fraction of the sexually explicit bandwidth. If Mr. Jeremy’s discourse is part of a larger trend to drag pornography out of the shadows, and treat it like any other business, then it’s a positive thing. But to the extent that he is distracting makers and consumers from their individual responsibilities to make ethical decisions, his role is counter-productive.