For a sign of the times regarding the pornification of our culture, look no farther than Hanna Rosin‘s review of Sex and God at Yale, which appeared online Sunday in the New York Times Review of Books.
Both the book, written by Yale student Nathan Harden, and the review itself, made clear just how our modern culture has been shaped by porngraphy.
Rosin’s dismissive attitude towards Harden’s criticism of Sex Week is predictable. She starts by mocking and insulting Harden, calling him — derisively — “an innocent;” and a “true Amerian eccentric” for, among other things, being homeschooled.
The whole tone of Rosin’s review is demeaning. After belittling him for being homeschooled, she moves on to listing his many travels before going to college; travels that involved a variety of odd jobs. She also takes time to mention that Harden had been rejected by Yale before he was finally accepted.
What relevance Harden’s past has to his opposition to Sex Week is hard to tell, but the way Rosin writes her review it seems she is only trying to reinforce her bias against Harden. If Harden had written a book approving of Sex Week i get the feeling Rosin would be spinning that information differently.
When she quotes sections of Harden’s book, in which he takes issue with an Ivy League institution allowing its facilities be used by a group which is running seminars on sex toys and masturbation techniques, she does it in a way that clearly makes him look naive and/or prudish.
Rosin is quick to point out that Sex Week has the stamp of approval from campus feminist groups, which she uses as a trump card against Harden’s complaint that pornography and a loose sexual culture are damaging to women.
Rosin gives passing and somewhat disingenuous credit to Harden, saying that she would rather not think of her own children attending some of the presentations that are part of Sex Week. But she quickly knocks down even that opposition by saying that having a lecture by the CEO of Vivid Entertainment, Steven Hirsch, is actually a positive thing because ”Hirsch’s presence gives the students, who have no doubt already logged dozens of hours watching online porn, a chance to think about what they are doing and how they feel about it.”
Now it’s Rosin’s turn to be naive. Hirsch is going to help them “think” about how they feel about porn?
She is also obviously skeptical that anyone who is smart enough and even, sophisticated enough, to be a student at Yale would actually oppose Sex Week. She has painted Harden as an outlier, and this is what our society does with anyone who takes exception with porn culture and its influence on society.