Flushing the Progressive Pin

Flushing the Progressive Pin June 19, 2013

I’ll confess it right up front: I have passed menopause and moved headlong into the crotchety stage of life.

I’m a journalist who can barely stand to read the daily headlines.

I’m a progressive who yearns for some of the ways of yesteryear.

I support the legal right of gays to marry, but by the same token, I wish gays would keep their sexual proclivities to themselves. I wish all the heterosexuals would do the same.

Having everyone, and their Auntie Doogie talk about who they slept with when leaves me with a hankering to write the book that says “Alright Already: Shut the F*** Up.”


I’ve been married 35 years, happily, and I’m here to tell you I am not discussing my sex life with you, or any therapist. I wish everybody would keep their bragging rights confined to the bedroom where they belong.

And I don’t care if I go flat broke and have to move in with Uncle Buck, who is ten times more crotchety and moodier than me, I am never, ever, not ever, going to write “steamy romance fiction” and call it a “miracle” when I get rich off of it, the way Jack and Jasinda did.

Porn sells y’all. That’s not a miracle. That’s just another example of the moral decay of our society. (If that offends you, you can’t say I didn’t give you fair warning. Refer to first sentence above.) And yes, I think porn is a sin. There, I said it. Excuse me a minute while I go flush my progressive pin down the toilet.

Is it just me or does it seem like people today can’t connect the dots?

There may not be a direct causal relationship between porn and the increase in the sexual assaults in the military, in the proliferation of teachers preying upon students, or in the human trafficking of children for sex, but you’d have to be blind in one ear and deaf in the other to not see that there is most certainly a correlation.

Shoot, I read a story about a man who offered up a three-year-old on Craigslist for sex. Pimping out a three-year-old, right here in America. On Craigslist. You know that site where people sell treadmills they never used, and pianos they never played, kids they never cherished.

A person can’t expect to loiter inside a coal mine and not come out dirty. We’ve wandered so far into the coal mine now, we have grown confused about which way is out.

Somebody pass me a snuff jar. I feel an urge to spit.




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  • Porn and prostitution go hand in hand, IMO, in that the participants, particularly the female ones, often are involved against their will, and those who aren’t doing it against their will have serious issues which can be traced back to bad parenting. Those girls in those pictures need our prayer more than anything else. One thing that helped free me from my porn dalliance was seeing these girls in that light.

    • I agree that if people saw porn for the exploitation that it is — of men, women and children — that might go a long way toward addressing the issues that arise from it. But recent studies show that we are becoming less empathetic on the whole. That doesn’t bode well for any of us.

  • Sharon O

    SO good, I always enjoy your writings and your opinions. Although ‘I don’t personally’ believe in ‘gay’ marriages or whatever they call them. I believe in a man and a woman as God intended it in the garden and He saw that it was ‘good’.

    • Always delighted to have people disagree with me. I don’t have all the answers, that’s for dadgum sure.

  • John in PDX

    This is why I am a bad person and it was so hard to read your last book. I don’t understand how people can be so bad. I hate it. I don’t want to believe that someone would do that. I prefer to hide from it. It’s not very brave.
    Looking forward to your new book!!!

    • I don’t want to believe that people can do such things either, John. I don’t think that makes us bad people though. Naive maybe, but not bad.

  • Darian G. Burns

    “Is it just me or does it seem like people today can’t connect the dots?”

    Profound sentence. Brave post. Thank you.

  • tanyam

    I’m kinda stumped. Is this sorta stream-of-consciousness writing? The essay begins with a complaint about gay people talking about who they sleep with. And how everybody ought to stop doing the same (which sounds broadminded, but then I’m lost. What was the point of even mentioning gay people then?) Honestly, I’ve heard nothing about the sex lives of anyone I know who is gay. I only know which grocery stores they prefer and that they prefer Saturday afternoon soccer games for their kids — stuff like that. Who are you talking to? Oh, I have no doubt that there are the gay versions of straight magazines — like Playboy. But I dont’ subscribe to those magazines of any kind. Frankly, I know more about the sex lives of the Kardashians than I do about the entire population of gay Americans. Because I stand in grocery store lines.

    And I’m trying to figure out how we got from some gay people who are oversharing to pornography, or to child prostitution. What is going on here, consciously or unconsciously?. How are all these things connected? Its as if you started talking about tetherball and ended up talking about pole dancing. Unless of course you think gay peoples’ lives are more about sex than anybody else’s.

    Porn? I don’t know what your definition of progressive is, but nobody I know who calls themself progressive is excited about degrading women. (Mostly women.) Plenty of feminists have been writing about that for years. So I don’t understand what you mean by using “progressive” as a big nonspecific label.

    Here’s what I do think. I don’t think the “good ole days” were all that good. Maybe some things were better, some places, for some people. But not for everybody. And everytime we romanticize the past we just paper over those unpleasant parts. You know. Lynchings. Child labor. Women who could not get a divorce from men who beat them — because of laws, or because they couldn’t support themselves, or because everybody would shame them. The list could be longer, but that’s probably enough. I’m postmenopausal too, and I tire easily.

    • Stream-of-consciousness might be a generous statement. LOL. Just pondering some things.

      If you haven’t heard anything about the sex lives of gays you don’t know, though, I want to know where it is you live and what it is you don’t read. Because I can’t open up a web-browser without having the details about people’s sex lives — straight and gay, as I mentioned — thrust upon me.

      I’m just saying that I’m tired of it all. If I wanted to read about sex, I’d buy Cosmo. Or some other rag.

      RE: the degradation of women. I have had many a discussion with people who see nothing wrong with porn. Heck, half the world read 50 Shades of Grey, which by it’s own market brand is labeled as “soft porn.” So I think it’s a bit disingenuous to say that you don’t know any progressives who support the degradation of women. (Not that all porn is about women, but all porn is about dehumanization.) And no, I don’t think gay people’s lives are more about sex. It’s just that as portrayed in today’s media it would seem that sex is all any of us are about.

      You are right, of course, there are many things about the good ole days that weren’t all that good. You’ve provided a worthy list here.

      I’m just saying that I miss certain things about yesteryear. Being able to turn on the TV, radio or pick up a magazine or newspaper without hearing/reading about the sex lives of people I don’t even know is one of them.

  • Coker Girl

    Thank you. Look at the great authors. It takes much more talent to write a captivating story without resorting to titillating sexual content. And there are plenty of ways to allude to an episode if it is necessary to the story without having to go into graphic detail.

  • Steve Simpson

    “Correlation” generally implies a statistical relationship, or at least evidence of one. A folksy cliche, though it makes for fun reading, isn’t evidence. As a psychologist, I absolutely think that pornography is harmful and damaging. Unfortunately, much of the secondary damage from use of pornography results from the fact that people who use porn – compulsively or once in a great while – get put in the same category as rapists, sexual predators, human traffickers, etc. It’s a completely unfair categorization that does more harm than good. It’s like comparing people who break the speed limit to people who drive after polishing off a bottle of whiskey. And, though both my ears work just fine, I can assure that there is little to no evidence of a relationship between the increase in the availability of pornography and the increase of the behaviors you describe. In fact, making that connection minimizes (1) how egregious and serious those crimes are and (2) the fact there are much larger, older social and cultural factors at work that need to be addressed. These are not new problems, we just are starting to identify them as problems more and more.

    Again, I do not support pornography in any form. I’ve done a lot of work to combat it and it’s effects. But people who struggle with pornography deal with enough hopelessness as it is, so I thought it important to make a distinction.

      • MrRoivas

        A large number people who sexually assault drink milk too. Would you count that as a correlate?

        And btw, just as internet porn was becoming easy to access in the 90s, the entire country experienced a huge decrease in both violent crimes and sexually violent crimes.

        • They breath too. But I don’t recommend they stop. Silly argument.

          • Steve Simpson

            It’s not a silly argument. Let me give you an example of how the media misconstrues statistics to scare people. “People who have been sexually abused are more likely to sexually abuse others.” Technically, this is true. What we never hear, however, are the actual numbers. People who have been sexually abused are about 5% more likely to commit sexual abuse. In other words, MOST victims of sexual abuse do NOT become perpetrators. It’s a fine but crucial distinction.

          • Do you have the statistics on that? 🙂

          • Steve Simpson

            Sure. In a couple days. It’s late!

      • Steve Simpson

        Karen, this is hard because I like you and your writing, but I have to be honest: You’re just proving my point. You didn’t link a single article that demonstrates scientific evidence that pornography use PREDICTS sex crimes. Doing a backward assessment and finding that people who commit sex crimes use porn is all but irrelevant. Back to my driving analogy, of course people who drink a bottle of whiskey and get behind the wheel aren’t going to care about breaking the speed limit. Even the articles you did link didn’t show strong findings and tended, overall, to rely on case evidence.

        Look, this is not about disagreeing with you about porn. But if you insist on equating porn use with more sociopathic behaviors like rape, I don’t know what to tell you. We have mountains of science that say they aren’t the same thing. That doesn’t mean that porn isn’t harmful, not at all. But journalists respect research, in my experience. I’m not bringing this up just to debate. The distinction has important ramifications because pornography has invaded our homes and caused problems for people for whom, if the internet did not exist, would not struggle with porn at all. We’re not doing them any favors by lumping them in with rapists.

        • Steve: I appreciate your comments and to be very clear here, the intent is not to suggest that everyone who indulges in porn also goes out and rapes a child.

          But, rather, to say, and maybe not very well, that I’m tired of being assaulted by porn every time I turn on the computer.

          I do think there is a connection between the way sex is thrust upon us — by the media — and the increase in addictions to porn, in the increase of sexual assaults, in the increase of human trafficking.

          The military has come to recognize that part of fixing their sexual assault issue requires addressing the porn problem.

          While it is true that the bulk of people who participate in porn don’t/won’t assault others. It is also true that those who do assault others, often indulge in porn. The truth of one does not exclude the truth of the other.

          But listen, for the record, here, I’m a writer. Not an expert. I have my thoughts and opinions on things and this is where I most often state them.

          That doesn’t make me right. It only makes me someone who does their thinking out loud, flawed as it may be.

          • Steve Simpson

            I think the important thing is that we’re on the same page in our opposition to porn. It causes havoc. On a frustrated progressive note, I really don’t understand why there isn’t more legislation to restrict it.

            As for it’s overall effects, we disagree, but you waded into my area of focus, an area where I’ve seen a lot of good men struggle who would never commit assault or rape or human trafficking. But we definitely agree how awful it is that access to porn is so easy. So we’re good. And thinking out loud is good. I do it all the time. As long as we enter into dialogue, it brings out the best in all of us.

            Keep up the good work!

    • BoZoe

      Define ‘pornography’ please. As a psychologist you know that the statistical relationsip found in a correlation does not necessarily indicate cause and effect. I agree with you that the problems we have are not new but pornography, in my opinion, as a cause and effect aspect, is statistically insignificant. One thing I’ve always wondered, why is there such an uproar related to acting out sexual fantasies, just plain sex or other ‘pornographic’ scenarios (other than child porn which should be dealt with harshly) but there is no outcry about films like Saw 1 through 5, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, etc.? It would seem that our society sees sexual behavior as having potentially more of a negative influence on people and needing more boundaries than grotesque murder and mayhem behavior!

  • Noah Smith

    Every time you open up your browser you’re bombarded with porn? gay porn? have you been hacked? The industralisation of porn is a problem but its not surprising that a rapist may have a vast porn collection. The crime rate in the West is dropping like a stone (no one knows why) whilst at the same time we’re saturated with sex, I could just easily say that porn prevents crime. But that would be silly.

    • Industralization? You mean commercialization, don’t you? RE: crime rate: You might want to visit Chicago before you wax eloquent about the crime rate dropping like a stone. And I would bet that porn prevents some sorts of crimes. Crimes against children isn’t one of them, however.