[A high-school teacher] said he worked in a counselor's role there as well, and routinely dealt with students who were seriously messed up by their porn habits. For example, he said, he believed that many of the guys he worked with had no idea how to relate to women in a healthy way; the power of pornography, working consciously and subconsciously, caused the men to have badly distorted views of women, views that stunted and even paralyzed the men emotionally.Taken in isolation, that statement is not objectionable -- in fact, it could be seen as admirable. Pornography has its uses, but it's a very poor video-game substitute for human relationships, which is why we try to restrict it to adults, teenagers being presumed insufficiently mature to take porn in stride.
But this is Rod Dreher we're talking about here, and this is his very next line:
My wife brought up the story of a handsome, popular Southern Baptist pastor in Dallas who, back in the 1980s, confessed to being the serial rapist who terrorized an apartment complex here.And, brothers and sisters, it was the demon porn that set him off! Suddenly we've abandoned the protection of pre-adults and moved on to the hoary idea of porn as insidious demonic force.
Then, Lord love us, Dreher starts talking about Ted Bundy.
There are a few reasons why Dreher always spins off this way. One is his traditional rejection of feminism. "Feminism was supposed to raise the consciousness of men," he says elsewhere, "but it has made so many women just as raunchy and sex-obsessed as many males." This in an article about Bratz dolls, which he admits feminists probably wouldn't like, though he forebears to say why -- probably because it might have to do with their peculiar equanimous ideas about gender relations, which conflict with the ones Jesus taught him, rather than general sex-hatred. (At the same time he's creeped out by lesbian separatists. No pleasing this guy.) The idea that women might require respect outside of a restrictive religious context blows his mind.
The other has to do with Dreher's idea of life in general. He's alarmingly sympathetic to plural marriages between/among nymphets and middle-aged men in a religious context. But the notion of sexual fantasy nauseates him. With God, all things are possible indeed: if a grown man picks the right faith he can live like Humbert Humbert minus the guilt, but if he or anyone looks at Miss November not only is he doomed, but so is society.
Since the topic is naked ladies and gents, the normal reaction is to laugh it off. Still, it's worth remembering that these guys -- a major factor in our national governance till recently, and champing at the bit to get back into it -- actually think this way about everything. Because it's really the thought that a human mind might, with the merest provocation, be spurred to thoughts Dreher can't control that rattles him.
Nonetheless, as usual, his commenters are a joy. "Softcore 'porn' is indeed everywhere, including the pews in front of me at church all too often (especially during the summer)," says Zach Treed. " Few things are as mortifying to the eyes as approaching holy Communion while following behind an intermittent parade of hardbodies who can't, or won't, dress any differently for Mass than a stripper dresses for the start of her dance." Where has this church been all my life? h/t Nancy Nall.