I didn’t expect that my blog post on porn – sorry, Game of Thrones – would be one of my highest shared posts. I even dropped it on a Friday which has traditionally been THE worst day to put out a blog post. For those of you who don’t blog or use WordPress, we can see where our hits are coming from. Occasionally it shows links from forums where I can see the comments on the post. That’s always fun. This time, the Game of Thrones article got posted on a few different boards so I got to see pages of commentary. That was also something of an oddity. Usually, when someone posts one of my articles, you can maybe see about four comments, not four PAGES of comments. As expected, there are tons of rationalizations on why the porn in GoT was OK. Let me just share a few of them with you.
It’s only a few minutes of the show.
News flash: A few minutes of porn is still porn.
Somebody better tell Michelangelo his work is porn.
Nice red-herring which is the sum of “You’re just afraid to look at a naked human body!” Someone has a problem telling the difference between art that glorifies God’s creation of the human body and porn. There is a tad bit of a difference. Just a little bit. Again, I’d like to point out that we don’t put blindfolds on when we look at works of art. Please! The need to paint us as repressed Catholics is annoying.
Nudity is not found in all the episodes.
First, note the need to paint the graphic sex scenes in Game of Thrones as simple nudity. Yeah, sorry. Not quite. Porn in only some of the episodes is still porn. Now, if you have some way of finding out which ones don’t have porn in them and only watch those, kudos to you. The rest of you? You’re still watching graphic sex scenes. Admit it already.
In one interesting post, I saw one person who said the scenes were getting over the top (think he/she even said the show was sleazy) but he/she didn’t have a problem with Daenerys having sex with her husband in front of his people because they explained in the book that it was their culture to do so AND that’s happened with cultures throughout history. Uh, hello! Sodomy was also part of some cultures, as was group rape, genital mutilation, etc. So? Is it still something we should be watching? Historically accurate and moral are, again, two very different things.
And, of course, people are still pushing the “It’s art” argument. I’m sure there are many pornographers out there that believe they are creating art, too. I’m also sure the “50 Shades” author probably thought she had created art. But what is a CATHOLIC supposed to think about art? I like this article on the subject:
It has been maintained that art is ordained to the production of beautiful works. In this expression of this beauty, art is in no way to contravene morals, for art can have no right against God. But art in expressing beauty can also have higher, loftier aims. Art can be the means of inspiring, of bringing men closer to God. To the artist belongs the right of ordaining his work to a higher end than that of mere beauty; this in no way would hinder its perfection. Evidence of this is seen in the lovely masterpieces of Fra Angelico, of a Leonardo Da Vinci. Their primary intention was to further the causes of religion and devotion and in so doing they created masterpieces, works which will last and which will fulfill the very purpose of art. An artist in producing a work of art is not directly and immediately obliged to devote his work to the cause of religion or of devotion; this is true, but we assert that ultimately he is so obliged for making it the act of a free agent, an act of the will, one for which a man is responsible and as such it must conform to the requirements of every human activity. It must conform to the moral law. “A human action exempt from ultimate direction to God is an ethical absurdity.”
“All the arts and sciences,” says St. Thomas, “seek a common goal, the perfection of man.” All art should perfect the physical, intellectual and moral perfection of man. “Art is art, not religion, nor morals, nor science, nor politics . . . But art belongs to life; it cannot ignore life, it must obey life. The adage ‘art for art’s sake’ should be amended to read, ‘art for life’s sake,’ or better still, ‘art for the sake of man.'” Thus we see that beauty, the fine arts, and the other goods of life cannot be separated from morality and religion. Whether we consider art subjectively as a product of a created mind or objectively as the right measure of things to be made its final end and purpose is not contained within itself. Even Immanuel Kant with all his wild fancies and ideas never lost sight of the higher and true meaning of art: “beauty is the reflection of the infinite upon the finite; it is a glimpse of the Godhead.”
This quote expresses my thoughts on the “art” of GoT:
Pascal wrote of Montaigne: “His book not intended to lead men to piety, was not obliged to do so; but one is always obliged not to turn men away from the good.”
And, if you read all they down to the bottom under the footnotes, you will find discussion points. This one by applies to GoT to a “t”:
From Gerard M. Greenewald, O.F.M.Cap.:
“Since moral evil tends to debase man, the artist must take into account certain psychological tendencies common to human nature. Incidents of injustice, revenge, murder and falsehood are sometimes used in the interest of propaganda, and then they usually destroy the artistic value of the work. Of course, these evils may never be depicted as justified. But ordinarily, for artistic effect, these evils are comparatively easy to handle artistically, because people do not readily imagine themselves as committing these particular sins in question. However, in presenting the lascivious, the lewd, the indecent, the artist is confronted with a serious danger of jeopardizing the artistic value of his work because of the strong sexual urge that normally prevails in man. (That’s exactly what I pointed out between the graphic violence scenes vs. the graphic sex scenes.)
One must here take into account the nature of a sinful impure thought. To think of sexual matters objectively is no sin. When one, however, imagines himself in some sinful sexual situation and deliberately entertains such a thought, he is actually committing a mortal sin. Now, when an obscene incident is luridly portrayed or enticingly suggested, one may easily imagine himself in that particular situation. Aside from the proximate danger of serious sin, such an incident would certainly be a disturbing influence, if not a serious distraction, from the contemplation of the beautiful and from the concomitant intellectual joy that any creative work, to be true art, must afford. Needless to say, any presentation that would excite depraved emotions in the ordinary normal percipient would frustrate the contemplation of the beautiful.
It is evident then that any form of moral evil may never be sanctioned or justified in any true work of art, and that moral evil may never be depicted for its own sake, for in either case the creative work would be definitely debasing. It is certainly, therefore, within the sphere of the art critic to evaluate the manner in which moral evil is portrayed. In treating of moral evils, particularly the sexual, the critic as well as the artist must exercise fine judgment of such incidents and references in determining the probable reactions on the normal percipient.
Finally, someone made the comment that the NY Times couldn’t show causality between the Porn Hub use tank during the GoT premier, because the use also tanks during the Super Bowl. Really? I’d say that’s a bit of a stretch. The Super Bowl, after all, is the Super Bowl and we’ve been watching it, as a country, historically, in mass numbers for much longer than porn coming out of the closet and being mainstreamed. I’m sure even porn fiends are a bit traditional when it comes to the Super Bowl. After all, there are parties, food and beer. What are you going to say? “Can’t come to your Super Bowl party because I’ll be home watching porn!” Porn Hub knows that which is why they offer free porn during half-time and tried desperately, like every other company in the world, to get a commercial in the Super Bowl. Thankfully they have been thus far rejected. That said, is porn hub carrying Super Bowl clips? Nope. They are, however, carrying GoT clips. The NY Times, Esquire and Porn Hub have all put two and two together. Face it, GoT watchers. You’re just aiding and abetting in making porn morally acceptable. In fact, I’m sure many of you are watching GoT with people who are Porn Hub users. It would be oh so nice if that creeped you out instead of you becoming an apologist for it.
You know how you can Google and see snippets of what the article is about without opening it? Trying putting in “Game of Thrones” and “sex” and see what pops up. Don’t open, just check out the list of hits. You can see enough to get the gist without giving those sites another hit for the count. Yes, people. Those who love porn love GoT exactly for the porn. In fact, many of the results of that search are going to show you the story line cut out and the sex, sodomy, and rape scenes just cut all together. At least the porn fiends are being honest. It’s time for the GoT apologists to start being honest, too.