Year Zero Review of Books
I personally am more sympathetic to reactionary takes on the sexual revolution than the author to whom I assigned the piece, so will be incorporating references to this book into future posts on adjacent subjects...
I am a man in his late twenties. We are the very last group that did not have easy smart phone/internet access at a young age. Our exposure to porn at a young age was limited to Cinemax/HBO soft core after our parents went to bed. Still nearly every other guy I know has acknowledged that porn has had an overall negative impact on their relationship to sex, yet we are almost universally regular users. In my generation we have record high rates of body dysphoria (relating to penis size) and erectile/sexual dysfunction that can be directly traced to porn use. I seriously worry about how it is going to effect kids who are currently coming of age, given that they have been exposed to hardcore anal gang bang videos before they have even had their first kiss. There is no fucking way you can convince me that this is anything other than detrimental to a person’s healthy sexual development.
I don’t have an issue with porn in the abstract, as sex can be a beautiful thing. It’s the sheer amount, ease of access, and content (e.g. rough anal) that’s the real issue. I don’t have a solution, but I think this problem is a lot bigger than people realize.
> “Such is the attitude of the censor...”
Essays like this highlight why conservatives don’t conserve anything. “We don’t want to tell anyone how to behave! That would be against our principles! Instead, we’ll let leftists ruin society but at least we’ll have our principles.”
Degeneracy has clear negative effects -- individually and socially -- whether you base it on religious or secular grounds.
>”But who is to devise this moral system and who is to enforce it?”
We will, because otherwise they will. “Freedom” can only exist in a moral society, something the founders stated, so I find it hard to say that idea is in any way, shape, or form contra American-values.
The social values leftists are bent on upending we’re not instituted for no reason. Maybe we should think long and hard about they exist and how to protect them.
An excellent essay today from Ms. Collins. My contribution to this discussion would be as follows:
1. Sexuality is complicated, be careful about letting govt. or moralists get involved.
2. Men and women are very different biologically, particularly with respect to sexuality.
3. The male sex drive is stronger than women can imagine, as the big electron decided men would be the ones to ensure the species survives.
4. Women have no understanding of the male sex drive and should not pretend to - any more than men should write about what a woman experiences when giving birth or having an abortion.
It is bizarre to live in a culture where the Woke mob on the left and the Puritans on the right find themselves in agreement. And, it is certain that anything these two groups can agree on is bat-shit crazy and should be rejected completely.
Like you, I’m not sure if I agree with the Dworkinites’ solution. But it doesn’t seem like religious faith is really working either — both because religion’s hold is weakening in general and because it seems very clear that a huge number of Christians don’t actually live by the precepts of their faith, ESPECIALLY on sexual issues.
Not that I have a better solution at hand.
"Even if one agrees with her evisceration of contemporary feminism, it is worth consider the opposite of her proposals, a sex-positive Christianity, for example, or a conservatism that embraces desire."
Haven't we been living, to a great extent, in a sex-positive Christianity or a conservatism that embraces desire since the 1960s? Doesn't any culture, at its deepest level, consist of an ever shifting balance between controls and releases?
But isn't it also the case that in 2022 the apparent shift in the U.S., to a culture of no apparent limits on any level ( for example, in our contemporary polarized domestic politics, imagining our political opponents as enemies, and at its most extreme, even imagining that these enemies possibly deserve a bullet to the head (i.e. no longer any ethical constraints in our imagination and only concern about winning absolute political power at any price).
Has our contemporary politics/economics and culture deteriorated to such a level that any type of no is now considered only oppressive?
Regarding your second to last paragraph: I do have daughters, five of them, and I do tell them all of those things. I wish I had realized how determined are the forces that will tell them otherwise before it was largely too late to combat them.
No smartphones for your kids before they are 18 and can buy their own, and do not allow unsupervised internet, and be extremely careful with what TV and movies they are allowed access to when they are young and impressionable. I implore you. I learned the hard way. The world does not want them to be strong, Godly and dignified. The world wants them to be cheap, disposable, and weak.
This article saved my subscription to this Substack. Please put out more articles or transcripts as I prefer to read rather than listen. I will post my reaction to this piece in the reply.
Grateful for the nuance here and to be introduced to Ms. Collins. Thank you.
I haven't read Perry's book, but I believe I remember the gist of her Unherd columns. It is interesting to me that these anti-porn feminists always write as if gay men don't exist. The existence of gay men and gay porn is too inconvenient to their thesis that all porn is rooted in misogyny.
"Thus I, an American woman surrounded on all sides by other women telling me what to do, assert my libertarianism, all the while knowing that liberty contains within it the seed of loneliness."
Indeed, and far beyond a seed of loneliness, it possesses the discomfort of uncertainty. I think this is why we see a perpetual backlash against freedom throughout history. Liberty is lonesome, but liberty for us as individuals is chaos and confusion to those around us. My freedom implies my unpredictability. It's quite worth the trade-off, in my view, as the alternative is to be told what to do, often in arbitrary and unsettling ways.
Perry’s point seems to be, "Everyone should have my preferences, and those who don't are wrong and bad."
Thank you for this. This is the first substack from you that I have read though I have been tracking with you on twitter. It is refreshing to see a more personal longer expression guided by someone else's literature.
"His beautiful photographs of male genitalia"--yeah, right.
"Indeed, Perry is admirably unafraid to state simple truths in plain language: she devotes paragraphs to asserting that men and women are not only physically but psychologically different, as anyone outside the muzzled professional classes can freely admit."
Until 10 seconds ago, everyone knew that men and women were quite different. Now stating the differences is a form of heresy. Actual scientists acknowledge this. The "woke" deny it. Since the "woke" rule (with an iron fist) almost everything (the media, K-12 education, universities, Hollywood, SV, Tech, Wall Street, big corporations, the FBI/CIA, the military, the government, NGOs, etc.) the truth is unheard.
You should read Pornland by Gail Dines before undertaking any serious writing on the subject.