fighting for free hearts

Joy Division? Porn Kills Meaningful Pleasure

At first glance, an article about former British band Joy Division would seem to have nothing to do with pornography or the fight to stay pure and free in a pornified culture.

And yet…

The New York Times Magazine ran an excerpt from a book by Peter Hook, a founding member of Joy Division, and later, New Order. Hook describes some of the dynamics of Joy Division and his thoughts on why the band worked so well together.

Hook writes about the group and lead singer Ian Curtis:

That was the thing about Joy Division, though: writing the songs was dead easy because the group was really balanced. We had a great guitarist, a great drummer, a great bass player and a great singer. Ian would listen to us jamming and then direct the song until it was . . . a song. He stood there like a conductor and picked out the best bits. Which was why, when he killed himself a year later, it made everything so difficult. It was like driving a great car that had only three wheels. The loss of Ian opened up a hole in us, and we had to learn to write in a different way.

As Hook mentions, Curtis later committed suicide, just as the band was really getting going.

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Looking back on the struggles the surviving members of the band had in carrying on without Curtis, Hook writes:

Back then we didn’t know rules or theory. We had our ear, Ian, who listened and picked out the melodies. Then at some point his lyrics would appear. He always had these scraps of paper that he’d written things down on, and he’d go through his plastic bag. ‘Oh, I’ve got something that might suit that.’ And the next thing you knew he’d be standing there with a piece of paper in one hand, wrapped around the microphone stand, with his head down, making the melodies work.

So what’s this got to do with pornography and addiction?

Hook compares Joy Division without Curtis to a great car with only three wheels. Neither one performed well. i would say that life with porn is a lot like that too.  With porn, you’re trying to drive a great car — namely, sex — but it’s missing that necessary fourth wheel, which is meaningful relational intimacy.  In porn there are people behaving sexually with each other, but it’s random noise because it’s missing a key element: authenticity.

Hook described Curtis as a conductor who heard music being played and then was able to find a song in what the musicians were playing.

Porn is like having a lot of musicians playing something but there is no conductor who can hear the song in the midst of it and make it melodious.  Porn is cacophony. Porn is a division of joy, as in, a reduction and depletion of joy. It is Joy Divided.

More than that, it is joy erased, annihilated, lost.  Just as Curtis’ death meant the end of the band Joy Division, porn terminates joy by turning sex — intended for the deepest beauty and purpose — into crazed selfishness that never brings satisfaction.

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