Monday, December 31, 2007
I am totally impressed with Robert Jensen's Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity. I heard him speak on the CBC, caught the tail end of an interview. Then I tried to order the book, only to be told it was not in stock. My dear wife found a way to get it for me, although it arrived just after Christmas. I'm nearly done (just half a chapter and a post-script left). This is the book I have been wishing would be written by Christians, but I fear never will. This book took serious bravery to write. From what I have read on the topics of pornography addiction and masturbation coming out of the Christian world has always left me feeling like they missed the point. Jensen resonated so loud I was going aha all the way through. In fact he unpacks stuff about the domination embedded in pornography that I had intuited a ways back. This is a matter of justice, plain and simple.
I have yet to see Christians responding to pornography as they should. If they are please point that out to me as I'm not sure I can not act now that I've read this book. The typical Christian response is twofold: 1) pornography is indicative of the decline of this world and 2) the Christian should simply flee from pornography. Jensen isn't trying to mitigate his risk in a fallen world, no he is saying we need to face this head on. And his book does this (sometimes with quite explicit descriptions), it calls the reader to save themselves by taking on pornography.
Core to Jensen's message is a feminist critique of masculinity. Jensen is convinced that masculinity is not a helpful social construct in that anything we could ascribe as a good trait of masculinity is really a good trait of humanity. So Jensen argues that masculinity and even femininity should be replaced entirely with a call to humanity. I find this rich.
I dare you to read this book. I dare you to write this book for a Christian market, God knows we need something real on this subject.