Game of Rationalizations

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:

http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=6716

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.

 

 

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34 thoughts on “Game of Rationalizations

  1. So glad you did a follow up. I’m going to be doing my own post… This gets me that worked up. I suppose I shouldn’t be shocked that there is a whole lineage, going back years, of GoT apologia and fandom within the Church, but I am. It’s the “carnival” of our day, I guess.

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  2. Game of thrones is ainimee Ludicrous ,violence,over kill and sex porn.. Ludicrous parody of middle ages and history there of.. View Arn the Knights Templar movie and miniseries out of Pagan Sweden as far better to view and that not thrones is far superior.

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  3. I really enjoyed the show but after watching a season I realized the sex scenes were just too much and felt I had to drop it. There was another series I dropped at the same time too for the same reason. My rule of thumb now is if I’m watching something that would be embarrassing to watch wth my Priest or my Granny, then it’s wrong. The truth is that most shows nowadays are focused on normalizing deviant behavior. It’s impossible to even watch even the food network without someone in your face about their sexual choices. We really have to get back to custody of the eyes and custody of the mind, it’s a way of Catholic life that’s been left behind and forgotten.

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  4. Try giving up all TV period. It is all bankrupt. It destroys you from the inside out. No catholic should be watching any of this stuff on TV. Unplug, and do something useful.

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  5. If you agree with the quote by Pascal, then you should definitely get rid of all television; turning men away from the good is the entire purpose of the entertainment industry, as a whole. Take it from one who used to work in it. Even back in the so called Golden Age of movies, the main message it projected to the world was: YOU CAN BE HAPPY WITHOUT GOD. (I’m not shouting — the caps are for emphasis). It’s been downhill from there, to say the least. We got rid of television 20 years ago, and it was the best decision we ever made for the family. Game of Thrones? Never heard of it until today. I’m so deprived, right?

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    1. I’m in total agreement with Pascal but ditching your tv is not a necessity to find programming that fits. I’m fine with people want to toss their tvs but i don’t find it necessary.

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  6. The creators and executive producers of GoT are Jews. Jews are also behind the porn industry. Stating facts does not make me anti-semitic. I am not a racist. But why should it surprise Catholics, that those who are anti-Christ would have no problems with destroying our Christian culture? And make no mistake about it, porn is destroying us. Wake up, Catholics.

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      1. They control the media and entertainment industry, that’s a pretty good chunk of the market. We used to be able to count on our bishops to reign in hollywood, such as when they had the Hayes code implemented in the 1930s. But that all went out the window in the 1960s, like a lot of everything else. I recommend reading E. Michael Jones and listening to his utube videos, he gives a great historical perspective of the Judeo-Masonry problem, which completely infiltrated the Church in the ’60s. Be prepared to be a really mad mom.

        This is a good one to start with. The Talmud is a satanic document.

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      1. yes, of course you would imagine that because that’s what you’ve been brainwashed to think for last 50+ years=> how dare you criticize jews, why you’re an anti-Semite who loves Hitler! Don’t you realize the jews are God’s chosen people?! …give me a break. Hitler was no better than Stalin, Mao, and the rest of history’s mass murderers. But the holocaust doesn’t excuse jewish attempts to destroy our Christian culture.
        I’d be curious to know what your idea of “tolerance” is? Care to share?

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  7. I would just quibble with labeling an entire story/series “as” porn because it contains pornographic scenes. If two minutes of a sixty minute episode contains sexually explicit scenes, I don’t think its fair to blanket the entire series “as” porn. I’m not defending the presence of the sexually explicit scenes. However, to say GOT “is” porn, is to unfairly equate every GOT viewers with someone watching Debbie Does Dallas or perusing a Playboy. They are not even approximately the same, on several levels, both from a content specific angle and from the viewers angle. If you remove the pornographic content from “porn”, you don’t have anything left. If you removed the pornographic content from GOT, it wouldn’t effect the story one bit. You’d still have 58 minutes of non-pornographic material. “Porn” as a noun refers to material marketed primarily for its sexually explicit content. As such, “porn” is primarily about sexually explicit material. Anyone who has watched GOT knows that it is not “porn” as such. Does it contain pornographic material? Often, yes. But to describe the show “as” porn would be the same as describing every R-rated movie or novel that contained sexually explicit material “as” porn, full stop, no other qualifiers. Yes, GOT often contains gratuitous sexually explicit scenes. Yes some people probably like the show because of those scenes. But if someone tuned in to GOT specifically for pornographic content, they would likely be greatly disappointed.

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      1. I did read it. I agree with the statement, “a few minutes of porn is still porn”. I disagree with a statement that says, a few minutes of porn in a story means the story, as such, can be fairly described “as” porn. I know it seems like a minor quibble, but I don’t think it is, as it conflates material that may contain some pornographic content with material primarily consisting of, and marketed for, such content.

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        1. It’s marketed for exactly what it is. Porn with a story line is nothing less than porn with a story line.. I thought I said that but I suppose I said it in a more round about way.

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          1. Right, that is where I disagree. DOT is not “porn” with a story line. It’s actually a story line that contains some pornographic content. But the story of GOT has nothing to do with porn. The porn is gratuitously thrown into the story. Totally unnecessary to the plot/story. If you excised the pornographic content, you would still have GOT, plot/characters/story et al. Please understand, I’m not justifying it nor suggesting it is therefore fine for everyone to watch. I’m simply drawing a category distinction. I’ve read novels by Haruki Murakami, Joyce Carol Oates, Don DeLillo, John Updike, to name just a few that contained sexually explicit/pornographic scenes, but only the most philistine puritan would call those novels pornography. I’m not comparing GOT to Murakami, mind you, but just pointing out the category error here.

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        2. A little adultery makes one a 100% adulterer. A little arsenic renders the soup 100% unfit to eat. There are some things, the presence of which in any quantity, entirely destroy the integrity of the whole and may never be tolerated. Depictions of fornication, sodomy and the like, simulated or actual, are among them.

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  8. I’ve never seen GoT. The very premise of the show seems absurd. That it’s pornogrified is just another reason not to bother. Thanks, OMM. You’re a peach of a gal!

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  9. On a retreat bus found my teenage seat mate was reading ‘GoT’. HE complained that his parents didn’t let him watch the show. When I comment that was good since it was porn and that the books weren’t much better one of the other adults called me on it and I responded with a defense much like yours. It has pornographic content. In many ways as AJP says it is unnecessary pornographic content, as far as story or plot line is concerned. That means the producers/distributers are including it only for prurient interests and should not be rewarded by Catholics giving them a pass and watching their content.

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    1. Precisely. And I’m not saying therefore that it is ok to watch or read. For an adult, I think it is a prudential issue and one in which you have to consider the likelihood it would entice you into sinful thoughts/actions. 1 or 2 minutes of explicit footage does not make the other 58-59 minutes pornography – and as noted previously, that content is not present in every episode and has been toned down quite a bit from the early episodes. I think the producers were just trying to be shocking in the beginning. Once it became expected, they toned it down.

      This is in contrast to say, 50 Shades, which quite clearly is porn wrapped in a story.

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  10. I thought every willfull act against purity was a mortal sin. Didn’t Jesus make this allusion? I agree with you there are a lot of excuses for sin abounding. How will our children be innocent if we don’t set the example?

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  11. So going by the logic of your first point, any movie or TV show that depicts a graphic sex scene merits that entire movie or TV show to be simply called pornography. Or does this only apply to Game of Thrones because we need something trendy to be mad about?

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    1. Like i said, a little porn is still porn. Graphic sex scenes in shows? I’m good with calling it porn. I think too much times is being split on the length of time it enters a show. The effect should be the focus and i thought the commentray at the end if the Catholic view of art dealt with it well. GoT storyline is just the jump off point for pornography. Quibbling about the show being porn or the show just contains porn is totally irrelevant. Nobody should be watching it. The whole show greatly aids in the mainstreaming of porn. We’ve been on the slippery slope for awhile. GoT just puts a little closer to hitting bottom although i’m not sure we have much further to go.

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  12. “GoT storyline is just the jump off point for pornography. ” Well that’s where I would disagree. There are quite a few TV shows out there with far more reoccurring sexual themes that don’t come near to the popularity that Game of Thrones does. Moreover, if porn users are watching GoT to get their porn fix, why would they turn to a TV show with a few seconds of simulated sex scenes when they have access to far more hard-core content on the internet? It should be clear that the majority of people watch GoT for the drama and intriguing story line. That’s why it’s a cultural phenomena. That’s why you have a lot of people on YouTube getting really into it, analyzing the plot and trying to guess what happens next. Does that mean it’s not not morally problematic for Christian viewers? No. I suspect that it is. But I don’t think you are arguing about it the right way. Portraying the entire thing as simply pornography is misleading.

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    1. Let’s look at this question first. Why would porn users watch GoT. There are a few reasons. Now they don’t have to feel like such creepers. They might actually want more of a storyline, foreplay if you will. Quite frankly, many actually want romance before sex. We are actually naturally inclined to have more of an intimate connection to it. Sadly. we shouldn’t be striving for an intimate connection to fictional characters but people who are good with porn already have issues.

      Have other shows (pointing the finger elsewhere) or having less sex than other shows still isn’t a defense for watching this crud.

      BTW, I’m not sure I ever said that the whole show was pornographic. That’s kind of a jump other people made when they tried to justify the amount of porn contained in each episode. I said you are watching porn if you are watching it which is true. The definition of pornography, thanks to Oxford, is “printed or visual material containing the explicit description or display of sexual organs or activity, intended to stimulate erotic rather than aesthetic or emotional feelings.” Yep, that covers GoT. Does it cover ALL of GoT? That’s irrelevant.

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  13. Have you seen “13 Reasons Why?” I would be interested in people’s reaction to that. There’s nothing in it that I think could be considered porn, although there is rape. It’s certainly not lust inducing, so I don’t think there was anything wrong with it from that standpoint. I’ve never seen GoT though, so I’m not sure how it would compare.

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      1. It’s unusual I admit, OMM, but I actually agree with you about this. I volunteer for Crisis Text Line and we saw a huge spike in texters seeking help after this show was released. There is a positive in that people were reaching out for help, but there is a fear that there might have been a contagion effect. https://www.forbes.com/sites/tarahaelle/2017/07/31/online-searches-about-suicide-climbed-after-13-reasons-why-premiere/#1f7d6918558e

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        1. Oh, I’m sure we agree on more things. Thank you for your work on the text line. I’m not sure how many more times we have to produce things like this before people get it. I can remember a movie when I was a teen that did the same thing. It would be nice if we could, as a society, make more positive entertainment that shows the worth of the soul.

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