I know Chris Hedges has been blowing up the internets lately because of that piece he did on the black bloc. But I’d like to take him to task for something he said back at the beginning of January in this C-Span interview. It comes about 12 minutes into the second hour when he starts talking about pornography.
I get very angry with the liberal class and the left over their refusal to condemn pornography. Why is it morally indefensible to physically abuse a woman in a sweatshop in The Philippines or in Southern China, but somehow it is an issue of free speech when it is done by the sex industry in the United States?
When I started interviewing these women who came out of the porn industry, having suffered from post traumatic stress disorder, I instantly after literally a minute or two said these people all have PTSD. And I wrote it graphically and brutally. And I think intended to engender a kind of disgust.
I never write in the chapter we should or shouldn’t ban porn. I just said if you want to defend porn than you better understand what it is you’re are defending. These women, and they are just thrown up, ya know they last one or two years on the sets. And then if they continue within the industry they just in essence become call girls shipped around the country in hotel rooms and its just awful.
But they are popping handfuls of painkillers before they go on the sets. This violence which sells, and porn it’s not the soft lit porn of the playboy channel anymore. It is so-called gonzo porn. The violence is not simulated. It’s real.
These women are black and blue by the time they finish. They are constantly going in for surgery for anal and vaginal tears because they are penetrated by two three dozen men in the course of an afternoon, knocked around, abused, insulted verbally, assaulted physically. And I was, as somebody who doesn’t watch porn, I was pretty blown away. It was really sick.
You are going to be surprised to find out that I actually agree with Hedge’s analogy at the top of that quote. There are comparisons between the porn industry and the clothing industry. But not every person who makes clothes is a sweatshop worker. And not everyone who is a sex worker is brutally gang raped for two years and then thrown on the streets to be interviewed by white knight book writers.
Donatella Versace is no more in the same place as a sweatshop worker in The Phillipines than Jenna Jameson is in the same place as someone making a gonzo film in Vegas. Every industry we have in our society brutally exploits people somewhere in the world. If it isn’t a sweatshop worker, it is a farm worker. But just because farm workers are exploited, poisoned, and dying from heat stroke does not mean that Mario Batali and his whole industry should be shut down. (Well, o.k. Maybe him.)
I don’t know what pisses me off the most about this crap. How someone can be so smart and so intellectually dishonest? How sanctimonious it is? How he turns every woman in porn into a victim with PTSD? How he erases every man or lesbian from the porn industry? It is just so hard to chose.