Porn, Natural? Pull The Other One.

Smash porn

A recent piece in the London Telegraph reviewed the case of a 31-year-old man named Benedict Garrett, who teaches courses in “personal, social and health education” in a high school in the eastern part of the city, and who by his own estimation works “incredibly hard”.

In his spare time, Garrett works – hard or not – using the Frenchified pseudonym of Johnny Anglais (anglais is French for “English”, evoking Rowan Atkinson’s silly film spoof). In this job, rather than catching the notice of inattentive adolescents, he sells sleaze . . . as a stripper and an actor in porn movies.

Garrett – or Anglais – believes he is doing nothing unusual. “It’s perfectly natural. Get over it,” he’s quoted as saying. Naturally. Of all the possible, usual career routes parents want their children to seek, stripper and porn actor have to top the lists. And a “personal, social and health education” teacher who appears in sex films with a known history of avoiding condoms? That’s not natural, it’s idiocy.

To suggest that Garrett is naïve is to be pitifully obvious. Unfortunately, the same naiveté seems to be endemic to the UK’s General Teaching Council, which has allowed him to resume his classroom career — though, to parents’ relief, he admits he has no plans to resume teaching. Well, of course not. He now has an in to Big Brother, and if Strictly Come Dancing doesn’t pick him up next season, they’ll be falling flat on their faces.

The Telegraph article points out, however, another aspect to Garrett’s story, and that is the nature of porn films themselves. Since Garrett is male, it may never have occurred to him, even though he teaches teenage girls as well as boys, that the porn industry displays a frightening degree of misogyny and cruelty to women. In anecdote after story after account, women who’ve gotten caught up in making porn have detailed the brutishness, the way they’re urged to ignore their – very reasonable – sexual barriers, and of being told they must go along with whatever the director suggests. Basically, what they detail would be classified as sexual torture anywhere but places like Abu Ghraib or Guantánamo. The only difference is that the women “consented” in writing. But even if one consents to one act, that does not give consent to all — nor does pornographic torture, even with permission, cease to be torture.

Nor is it natural, if what we mean is ordinary and everyday. As the Telegraph journalist points out, “one thing that cannot be said of the porn industry is that it’s ‘completely natural’. In the real world, post-pubescent women are not generally as devoid of pubic hair as a Greek marble statue, clad in naughty nurses’ uniforms, or desirous of the most violent forms of sex with a number of men at once. In Pornland, this might be taken as the norm.”

Garrett also neglects to mention the increasingly-documented addictiveness of porn, which transforms healthy men into pathetic creatures who need more and harsher stimuli in order to be sexually aroused, a situation that would be unrecognizable to their grandfathers at the same age. For such men, the only cure is abstinence from porn. Nor does he allude to the way porn addiction makes sex unpleasant and even risky for women who, instead of finding sensual partners in bed, discover men who make grotesque, even ritualistic, demands in their ridiculous belief that such demands are the norm.

Porn is a cause of nonsexual violence against women, too. Not that Garrett makes any mention of that.

Very simply, porn has become a scourge that harms us all. To defend it as “natural” is to willfully blind oneself to its very bizarreness. For that reason alone, his rash and immature judgment, Garrett should not be teaching.

Let’s hope that his former employer’s replacement “personal, social and health education” teacher has more savvy, and better things to do in his or her spare time.

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1 Comment

Filed under Benedict Garrett, Domestic terrorism, Health, Misogyny, Musings, Nature, Porn, Rape, Violence

One response to “Porn, Natural? Pull The Other One.

  1. Garrett never said that “porn is natural”. He said “sex is natural”. And before you start accusing him of not recognising the negative sides of the pornographic industry, I suggest you do some proper research into his position and not rely on what you have garnered from some ‘soundbites’ in a sensationalised newpaper article. A good reference point would be his speech at the Cambridge Union Society (google it and you will find a video and transcript), or the many radio interviews he as participated in.
    How do I know these things? Because I am him.

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