Liberal activism

 

The best lack all conviction, Yeats said, in one of the more underquoted parts of that immortal poem, while the worst, regrettably, are full of passionate intensity. All it takes for evil to succeed, another man, in a convenient bid to contribute to this paragraph, added, is for good men to do nothing.

Perhaps I shouldn’t go so far as to call those who hold different viewpoints from mine as “the worst” or “evil men”, even though they have implied far worse things about us, but I think it is time for Uganda to develop a tradition of liberal activism. Because blogs and commentary pages and radio shows are overrun by reactionaries and bigots and people who spew with force and passion, but spew in the wrong direction.

Meanwhile, those of us who understand that things are not always black and white, those of us with a sense of nuance, those who see the value of asking questions as greater than the act of proclaiming guesses as certain answers just shrug and tut and go away.

Certainly without starting our own blogs.

So anyone stumbling into our sphere of discussion would think that there is a consensus on these issues—gays should be hanged, Obama is a babykiller, porno causes rape and others.

Did you read that article in the Vision last Saturday, by the way? It was an appaling piece of bullshittery that skated so close to the edge that by the end I could no longer be sure that the writer wasn’t deliberately trying to lie.

Full disclosure first: I find pornography distasteful and vulgar and think it debases everyone involved in making and using it, and even though if you gave me a VCD of Beyonce stripping out of a French Maid’s outfit I will not fling it back at you, at least not until after I have watched it, I still don’t think that is anything to be proud of. Porn is cheap thrills and is bad manners. But let’s not get carried away. Porning doesn’t make you want to rape people.

This article’s headline said that porn causes crime according to research, but blithely neglected to actually state so in the story. The writer, Ganzi Muhanguzi, observed that there is a lot of porn around Uganda these days and that also, over the past few years, there has been a rise in the number of rape convictions.

The implication here, of course is clear.

However, what Ganzi doesn’t know, or doesn’t tell us, or just didn’t bother to find out is, beyond implications, what do actual researchers say? 

How about  nothing? In over sixty years of looking no valid scientific evidence has been found that proves that porn causes an increase in sexual crime, and when Ganzi cites a rise in rape convictions in Uganda, he doesn’t look at places where this research is a virtual industry.

In the US home of Judith Reisman (more on her later if  you are still reading by then) A presidential commission estimated in 1970 that the total retail value of all the hard-core porn in the US was no more than $10 million.

In 2003, Forbes.com put an estimate of the industry’s revenue at between $2.6 billion and $3.9 billion.

Meanwhile, during the time when magazines and videos and websites were burgeoning, did the US record the expected spike in sexual crime?

Uh-uh. The US department of Justice said in January that there has been an eighty-five percent reduction in sexual violence over the past 25 years.

The numbers won’t prove it and neither will common sense. Ganzi mentions Ted Bundy, the serial killer who famously claimed that porno made him do it before he was excecuted for the murders of thirty women.

But Ganzi forgets the hundreds of thousands, the millions of guys out there who have consumed pornography in their life but have not raped or killed anybody for it. Every dude I know who has no religious compunctions about it doesn’t mind a glance or two at a dirty picture, but I don’t know any serial rapists at all. The logic is telling me that porn doesn’t cause rape and if a porn user rapes someone, there was another factor in the equation.

The article gets really ridiculous here, when Ganzi brings in his quoted authority. He refers to Dr Judith Reisman who he introduces as a “renowned psychiatrist.”

Reisman is not a psychiatrist. She is a “doctor” yes, she has a Masters degree and Ph.D in Communications from a Cleveland university, but she has no training in medicine, psychology or psychiatry.

Perhaps that ignorance is what enables her to craft such risible theories as the one that I found when I read up on her. She claims that a cocktail of hormones, which she calls “erototoxins”, are produced when you look at a porny picture and that these cause actual physical damage to the brain. Erototoxins, she says are, testosterone, dopamine, adrenalin, serotonin. Actual real doctors who have seen neurotransmitters and hormones at work disagree when told that sexual arousal damages the brain.

I am about to hit my word limit. 

This post was not in defense of porno. Like I said, it is bad manners and none of us want our children involved in it, but there are worse things to find in magazines and newspapers and on the net. Like falsehood and deceit which, even if it is only by neglecting to do his job thoroughly, is what this story amounts to: a lie.

But in the week since it was published, no one has taken it upon themselves to retort, because that is how we be. The Ganzis of the world write their stuff uncontested.  Rev wrote a bilious tirade based on a very slight grasp on the issue of overpopulation vs large population. I know there is nothing to be gained by offering facts and logic and figures to 27th, but it worries me that he writes long-ass blogs about American conspiracies to exterminate Africans, and SAGE writes about how we should be ruled by priests but no one writes the opposite. Those of us who know why separation of church and state is good for the Church don’t say so. Those of us who know why gay rights are not about the right to be a homosexual, they are about basic human decency, don’t say so. Those of us with insights on family planning and reproductive rights issues just shrug and let the crackpots rage uncontested.

Well, at least we have Tumwi.

Man, I am as tired of writing as you are of reading, so let me leave you with an amusing gif.

 

amusing gif

amusing gif