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

31 Comments

  1. That was one shitty article! It will hold sway because of the reasons you mentioned: the more intellectual types won’t say squat, and the majority will fall for it hook, line and sinker. He followed the standard procedure and cited ‘sources’ that many wouldn’t bother to try and back up. And therein lies the open secret of Ug’s gullibility.
    “Too much effort to try and find out for myself, so I’ll believe what’s in the papers. It was in the New Vision! Eh-eh!”
    This is the stuff that makes you want to come out with guns blazing. But then again, it all seems so futile…

  2. Porn is not bad manners, I only look at it as education and learning for the meek who may not want to attend the formal classes.
    I have not yet started enjoy the thrills of watching porn(still a kido) and can’t comment further on it.

    That NVision research is bogus….of course I do not support children watching them

  3. If this is what busy doing other things means then I wish you were busy all year round then you would blog twice a day after apologising yo not around for a week

  4. i have thought and thought and thought and come up with ‘as if this is my favorite post of the week!’ i read that article and i thought, it belonged in redpepper. that is where they publish unfounded claims and get away with it. i think most writers already have a preconcieved idea before they set out to write. take me for example. anyway, what Ganzi set out to do was to find that increase in porn has led to an increase in sexual violence, but when he found no real evidence(assuming he was looking anyway) he decided to go wit his gut feeling. atleast nobody could take that away from him.

    as for rev and and and, you just hope that people see it as entertainment value and forget about it

  5. I would like to digress. I think the writer had a point. Porn is bad I agree, I know it is and it has its effects. I do not know about the numbers but I will take a look. All I know is that there are levels in addiction to porn and the higher you go the more violent the porn gets. When the porn cannot satiate the lust of that particular user, he resorts to the real thing. It helps to keep our minds open. Naye I think this was an unfair attack on the homie. I have learnt to do enough background study before I assume things, lest …

    Emi- porn affects people differently but nonetheless, it is still bad manners.

  6. It was very interesting reading your critic on my article. I think that whereas we may disagree on several issues, you do point out some helpful insights into the shortcomings of my story-which I will make no attempt to defend, and those in yours, which I will point out too.
    You are right about my calling Dr. Judith Reismann a phsyciatrist. I own up to that and admit that I should have been more sensitive to her title than I had been.
    Having said that, I need to point out that whereas she is no phsyciatrist, her works, which have been adopted by the US Department of Education and which did disprove Kinsey’s claims as false research are valid and as such, the she is an authority on the issue of pornography.
    Now, I too conder myself liberal. Whereas my personal, religious and intellectual viewsa are against pornography, homosexuality and the like, I believe that people must be given the freedom of choice and if they choose to get engaged in these, that’s a choice that can be debated, denounced or condemned but at all times respected as a personal choice.
    I have no more authority over a homosexual as s/he has over me.

    The quoted statistics in my story are not my own. They are police documents and can be accessed by anyone willing to do so. To that end, I think that you reserve the right to criticize the information, but not the reporter. I wrote what I had access to, what people said and what their research showed. Refute the research. Rubbish the comments, but for the love of liberty, stick to that.

    Now, in your blog, you seem to suggest that because there are lots of people who consume pornography and are not criminals, crime cannot be caused by porn. That is an arguement that cannot hold.
    Alcohol consumption causes sevral accidents on the road. Does that mean that all people who drink cause accidents? Smoking can cause cancer and indeed increases the chances of lung cancer. Does that mean that all smokers will dier of cancer? Of course not. But when you ask the question the other way round, you get to see what my article tried to bring out. How many rapists confess to have heavily consumed pornogrphic material? How many people involved in accidents are found to have taken one too many bottles of beer?
    You see Bazanye, you saying that porn causes crime, is not to say it is the sole cause of crime. I think it would have been helpful for you to point out the other reasons and in so doing attempt to balance my story. But for you to rubbish it in such an undignifying manner, is to lose grasp of the concept of liberal activism in the first place.
    Your calling my article “an appaling piece of bullshitery” not only makes you an extremist, incapable of the tolereance required of a liberal, but also nullifies your claims more sentimental and personal than they are critically objective.
    The Ganzis of this world may be opposed to some of your views. But they respect them. Your opening remarks, which border on branding me and those like me “evil men” (although to your credit, you try-unsuccesfully though- to blunt your comment by saying you will not go so far as you have already gone!) is, I fear, patronizing and filled more with loathe than content.

    I agree with you that almost every man has the natural tendency not to mind looking at a dirty picture. I am a Christian. I believe in morality. But I also know that I have from time to time, had both the desire and inclination to look at a dirty picture. What then again, that is not addiction to pornography. That is “drinking responsibly” or “smoking knowingly”. Some people like you say it is okay, others like me say it is not. But what I wrote about is neither about those like you or me, nor about looking at a dirty picture from time to time. It has to do with consuming porn like your life depends on it. And if you do a little asking, Bazanye, you will find that the man who rapes his seven year old daugher, the boy who pics up a roadside prostitute and the young man who sees a dog having sex with a bitch and joins the party have consumed “one too many” of the porn magazines.

  7. We live in such a puritan society that our definition of Porn can only come from Martin Sempa, and a very bland “pornography is any material in graphic, written, verbal or visual form that is intended to sexually arouse the reader or viewer.” at that.

    Ever heard of fetishes, Mr. Muhanguzi?

    There are people who are sexually aroused by the soles of women’s feet. Some even get their groove on to the sound of a particular song. Heck, I know somebody who swears the sight of a woman’s pouty lips give him very unchristian thoughts.

    So since these people have been exposed to material in graphic, written, verbal or visual form that sexually arouses them, that is porn to them. So should women never wear open shoes, should certain songs never play on radio, or should women with pouty lips wear a full Hijab because that is tantamount to porn for these ‘perverted’ blokes?

    Mr. Muhanguzi, you and Nsaba Buturo have alot in common. And that was not a compliment.

  8. This right here is the reason I came of the shadows after stalking some of you bloggers for a very long time! :o)

    Maybe pornography causes sex crime. Maybe certain Video Games cause violent crime. Maybe Church or any religion for that matter should be aligned with the state. Maybe this, maybe that. Maybe, maybe not! Subjectivity? No?

    Ganzi, maybe some of the points in your comment should have featured in the article? Maybe those of you pointing fingers at him should have picked up on some of the article’s keywords; ‘schools…’ ‘children…’

    Maybe, just maybe!

  9. Baz, you seem to climb this high, high peak of the Righteous and say “Don’t make absolute statements, you evil ones!” (Yes, you did call them evil, those – you did call us evil! Hehehe.) Anyway, in the same post, you develop your argument which is for the most part an absolute statement.
    Porn doesn’t cause crime, that’s true. How can anyone say my mind causes crime? 🙂 But the right sentence is that it usually doesn’t. There may be a few people for whom it does. (And I think the author of the article, Ganzi, mixed up cause and effect: the people likely to blame porn for their rape are likely drawn to it because of their inclinations to rape.)

    You don’t seem to be one of those who appreciate the shades. You’re black-and-white, you. You’re one of us. Gwahahahaha.
    You say the time is ripe for “liberal activism”, and that’s a load of crock. I think, in fact, the time is ripe for the opposite. This I-love-freedom stuff has come to an extreme at this point. People should be reminded of the more-likely danger: an overdose on “freedom” (which makes it a bad thing), because fascist lock-down is farther from possibility (unlike hedonist take-over, for example). You’ll remember when your kids are hosting orgies in your bedroom. You’ll remember my words. Amen.

    Also, at some point you’re going to have to get more than my long-ass rants and SAGE’s theocratic preference. (Hey, aren’t we free to want a form of fucking government? Free to be gay, but not free to hint at the possible positives of theocracy? Liberal activism for a dictatorship of freedom? I dealt with this before … Do you want a long-ass boring one on it? 🙂 I can, you know …) What, about my blog posts, should the liberal activists rise up against? (I missed it here, entirely; then again, maybe it’s just good harmless fun to allude to me blog.) You mention Tumwi as a good alternative to our yammering, but you’ll note that her genre is more of the informative kind than the opinion-bandying one. In that vein, yes, your kind is under-represented. Glad we have you. 🙂
    As for that “very slight grasp of over-population versus big population”, I’ll say that I thought I knew what they both are, and that Uganda has neither of those, and sign off. Nice post. 🙂

  10. We have sex related crime statistics from police reports, but for a country like Uganda, where do we find the statistics about porn addictions to tell that it has gone up from such and such a period to the present period so as to make a correlation with the increase in sex related crimes?

  11. there were days i thought i had a little respect somewhere reserved for baz. not anymore. many young boys and girls have kissed your feet so you move with your chest ahead in the misguided notion that it’s your opinion that’s smart; in others all you find –faults, faults and nothing but faults. but that’s typical of a worm; you are a worm, baz.

  12. There’s soft porn and there’s hard-core porn, both with different degrees of depravity.

    I had the porn argument with a guy once: his defence of porn was that it made serious revenue, was legit in the US and that no definitive statistics linked it to sexual violence. Well, define sexual violence to me. When shows like CSI, Law and Order, Women’s Murder Club pull out a pedophile for an episode, invariably pornography is part of how the pedophile is profiled. Invariably.

    Porn in all its forms is indeed bad manners and we shouldn’t be defending it. If anyone wants to enjoy porn and they are above 18, fine but let’s not pretend that it is a good and wholesome thing like milk.

    Furthermore, on both sides of the debate, let’s be wary of cause-and-effect conclusions from research whose methodology is primarily observational. You can only infer that there is an association between the consumption of porn and violent sexual crime (in whichever direction) but you cannot say FOR SURE that porn increases or decreases crimes of a sexual nature. Confounders, even mundane ones such as season of the year, might very well explain these study findings.

    But like I said, if the standard cop dramas (moreover made in the US) are implying that porn contributes to sexual crimes, well then, life must imitate art. Or vice versa.

  13. Ganzi, with due respect to your religious beliefs, your story was wrong, and you were negligent. @Ashy, these are dangerous times to grow up in. You do more harm than good if you lie to kids about sex. @Taylor- yes. I agree. Pornography is not a wholesome activity, it is objectionable in many ways, not just the moral. But if research does not prove that consuming porn makes people more liable to commit crime, no newspaper should say so without having its words contested.

  14. So Baz, should we shut up about bad stuff coz we have no real proof they are affecting us?

    What a piece this! And what reviews it has got for itself…hmm.

  15. Bambi Baz–the passion!! Go slow–these things stress. I saw you the other day nearly tearing my Daily Metro paper, mistaking it for RP, and I said, “Nga Baz has become a mulokole!”.
    But I agree with you Baz—porn is not the major cause of crime (rape). But the likes of Ganzi propagate stuff we learnt in high school (Div 4), where such notions were propagated without being subjected to the test.
    And @Nevender, your defination of bad–is really yours. I watch porn in my house–and it gives me a sense of carthasis–but I have never raped–not yet at least!!

  16. @Ganzi one thing I know though am I open to be challenged on is that most sex offenders in our jails, Kenyan, Ugandan and ‘like-minded’, if thats the correct word, will confess to having no exposure to porn whatsoever.
    Blaming porn for rising rates of rate is somewhat escapist, me thinks. Also I dont think that when a rapist is arrested one of the questions he is asked by the police is if he reads/watches porn.

  17. Rev, something is wrong with wordpress. I have no idea why it is holding things up for moderation.

    My point wasn’t that Porn is good. It wasn’t that Ganzi is bad. It was that I wish there were blogs and newspaper articles to counterbalance you and Ganzi.

    Tumwi rarely actually comes out and states an opinion, but at least she’s there.

  18. Porn is an easy, convenient scapegoat. Of course, if a man mounts a goat, blame it on porn. And please do nopt try to remember that most goats that have had the misfortune (??) of being mounted by men live in the rural areas. And that most men in rural areas have neither the means nor the know-how required to access porn. What is porn anyway? One man’s porn is another man’s sport

    By the way, Baz, Darlkom loves it when you write like this. I don’t, not that it matters. I think you tried too hard here. The post was a hard read, reminded me too much of Nagenda and Morris Mugisha rolled into one – too many big words mixed with a lot of pomposity. Still respect you though, unlike the plaster up there.

  19. These are the days of long posts. These are the days where escapists choose to put the blame on innocent notions (Yes, innocent. Frown all you want). These are the days when people suddenly find something wrong with porn. Are you effing serious?

    You might as well go ahead and blame nurses for the high HIV/AIDS prevalence rates. You see, nurses aid in giving birth to babies. Babies grow up to become naughty boys and girls. Boys and girls have sex all they want. The sex is unprotected and they contract HIV/AIDS and pregnancies. Then they go back to the nurses to aid, yet again, in the delivery of these infected babies and so the chain builds.

    I hate these days!

  20. Baz, you and I know we don’t decide the titles of our stories. The sub editors do. You and I know that what when a journalist writes a story, s/he writes what has been told, given or proven to him/her. I have those statistics from Police. I wrote about them. I have that Ted Bundy story filed as a historical fact, with evidence that the man was a porn addict before he turned 18. I have talked with several people who are either homosexuals or once indulged in the act. Now while a few of them say they had no contact with porn and feel homosexuality is their natural inclination, most of them (that I’ve talked to) had issues as kids, have got involved with porn and end up getting sucked into homosexuality (they say they’d quit if they could). Now when I write of these things, hand in my story and the sub-editors decide to have their headline, edit out some of my lines and create space for other stories, you of all people, should be able to differenciate between the reporter and the reported. If you have issues with the police statistics, ask Judith or whoever will be the spokesperson then. If you have issues with what Ted said or what Reisman said, question it. But when you begin belittling the reporter for having found out what other people are saying, and then writing the writer off as some concoctionist… you are losing the plot bro.
    I admit to having misquoted Riesman as a phsycologist. My bad. But her works are within that field. Was that bit negligent? Yes it was and I apoligize. But does that bit negate the bigger picture? No. Again I say, porn is not the only reason people commit crime. My story did not purport so. Just because a lot of people kill to get their businesses going does not make criminals of all businessmen. But it does set a trend, that is, people obssessed with getting money are likely to go to the lengths of killing to get it. If a reporter pointed this out in the article, surely you wouldn’t contest it. My article pointed out a trend. It is not one taken by every porn consumer, but is one many rapists have taken. That’s all I’m saying. Porn causes crime. It is not the sole cause and it isn’t the major cause. It simply is a cause. I find nothing negligent about that assertion and I stick to it.
    Now I like your style and have often times enjoyed your articles. But Baz, I think once in a while (like this time round), your personal opionions get the better of you (as they do to everyone of us). And when such times come, we need not shy away from admitting to it and moving on.

  21. No, but that when criticism is offered, it should be constructive and aimed at their works, not the individuals. You wrote as if to say, “Ganzi chose this headline, it was misleading, his sources were not experts and therefore Ganzi is….”
    What I am saying is that it is okay to voice your opinion on porn Baz, or any other thing. But while voicing your opinion, respect the right of others to make theirs. Calling my story “an appaling piece of bullshittery” is by no means liberal activism or constructive. That is personal sentiment taking over reason.
    You’ve repeatedly avoided commenting on my defense, namely, that I am not saying that porn is the leading/only cause of rape. In critiquing my piece, you point out that there are thousands of people who consume porn and do not get involved in rape. The same could be said of smoking and drinking. Millions of people drink and drive and do not get accidents. Even more smoke and do not get cancer. The point isn’t in the thousands. Any journalist will know that the news is not in the norm but the exception. Some people develop cancer because of repeated smoking. That is why you have a warning on every ciggerette pack about its dangers. Alcohol consumption may lead to accidents. We have billboards proclaiming that as a fact. What I do not understand Baz, is why you find it so hard to realize that some people have ended up raping women or the other way round because of repeated consumption of pornography. Not all, not most, but some. That is my point both now and in the article. What I am saying is that you should respond to that assertion rather than getting caught up in unconstructive rhetoric about who ‘shitty’ and ‘wrong’ the Ganzis of this world are.

  22. You are ready to distance yourself from the headline of that story, I see. I already gave my thoughts on the accuracy of the headline. The headline stated a clear proposition, but the story didn’t precisely substantiate the claim it made.

    Whoever chose the headline, however, chose properly. That headline DID spell out quite clearly what you were trying to imply in your story. You said porn is increasing, crime is increasing and you threw in allusions to research. That was actually a pretty good headline. That sub did a good job with it.

    I also want to say something about the comment you left before your last one. Since when is it a journalist’s job to just write what he has been told without investigating and researching to find out if it is even true? If they send you to report on police brutality, will you just go to a police spokesperson, ask him if they beat prisoners and, when he denies it, return and file a story saying there is no police brutality in Uganda? That is not journalism, that is public relations!

    It is evident that you have an agenda. As a religious person you are opposed to the proliferation of porn. I understand this. If you had written an article about how sinful it is and how the Lord abhors it, we would not be having this discussion. But instead you wrote an article in which you attempted to make it appear as if there is scientifically sound evidence that porn causes crime. Whether you deliberately neglected to tell the whole truth or whether you just did not know how to do the job is not relevant any more.

    The fact is you wrote an article that was false. And when reporters do that they should not expect to get away without criticism.

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