Rashida Jones, Pornography, and Ignoring Reality

I came across a recent video by Vice interviewing Rashida Jones on a movie she produced. Hot Girls Wanted takes a look at the amateur porn industry and attempts to shine some light on it. I’ve not seen the documentary, but this interview is good (and pretty much SFW):

Interview with Rashida Jones on Her Porn Documentary ‘Hot Girls Wanted’

I don’t agree with the majority of the commentary (being far more condemnatory of porn and porn-culture than Jones), but the whole thing is fascinating and you should watch it. It’s a look into someone who is completely committed to the dogma of modern individualism, including the sexual libertinism it entails, yet has a visceral concern for the damage this libertinism brings about in young women. It’s a contradictory position, of course, but just like we don’t admit the existence of sin anymore, it’s becoming harder to posit anything as properly contradictory and thus false. One more often sees those like Jones and others who walk this path appear to be martyrs for “unbiased” observing and reporting.

Unbiased? Yeah right. Bunch of brainwashed moderns.

What really caught my eye, though, was the assumption at times about making money equating with independence, and independence in general as an good in itself. Jones makes the point explicitly towards the end (11:50). Her model of independence is the capitalist man, the one who makes his own money and thus can control his own life.

It’s a point that makes one both laugh and cry. This image of independent manhood is not terribly old. The late 19th century saw the rise of capitalists who could rival the power of states, ultimately developing to the post-1950s model of the wallstreet capitalist as the ideal toward which all (well, most) men sought.

Arguably, this image appeared alongside the advent of women’s rights, probably inspiring that movement. As men sought to liberate themselves from the state, not as from a Communist dictatorship but from the responsibility of serving the Common Good instead of their personal good, so did women seek to be equivalent “helpmates” by gaining similar independence.

The old pre-modern model, for both sexes, was to recognize first who and what one is, second what (and who!) reality is, and three, act to bring about peace and good order in those relations – in sum, service to the Common Good. Men and women both served the Common Good as their sexes equipped them to do so. The new model is to deny each of those three in favor of self-constructed identities and participation in realities that are birthed from them. Thus both men and women must become independent islands to reinforce the islands of others. That this often ends in depression, isolation, and forms of societal insanity should be ignored.

As Jones intimates but refuses to actually admit, this independence has left people, especially women, to become nothing more than a commodification of their “assets”. The other is no longer an integral participation in reality to which I must offer due respect, dignity, and ecstatic praise, but rather a thing which I may make part of my self-constructed reality to whatever degree I want.

This is seen especially in pornographic culture with its varieties of types and tastes, but also in the way we interact with the world (through the variety of filters in social media and relational litmus tests), make friends (we want only those people who fit into our worldview), and raise children (the child is the product of the parents to make or not – though soon after the child’s self-identity is dependent upon said child’s ephemeral tastes, to the point of giving a prepubescent hormone therapy). In all ways we degrade the other into something we can take or leave in order to self-construct ourselves; People are just things and not an integrative part of reality bigger than our Id.

And for the “Christians”, including your hypocritical author, who thinks themselves immune – how often do you reflect that all the people around you are part of your reality, that you have some participation, to whatever degree, in their eternal reward? How many times do you simply decide “Yeah, I don’t like those folk. Screw’em.” Most of us tend to think their life is just up to them; their life, their choice. We don’t recognize a responsibility of loving, to some degree, all we come across.

Somewhere along the line, we’ve all given up on the task of knowing reality with all of the persons it contains and acting according to the right order of that reality. What we don’t rightly recognize is that reality will come around to bite us in the ass.


About Tomas

Catholic. Texan. Philistine. Teacher.
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