Thought Policing

Thought Police Part IV: media

I read this post on OMSH last night. I was a bit taken aback surprised by what I was reading. In the post, Heather mentions that she succumbed into watching an R-rated movie called 88 Minutes (imdb) with Al Pacino. Here are some of my thoughts on media and policing your own thoughts. Naturally, these are my views. Some of them actually are similar to Heather’s, but in different degrees and about different things.

I saw that movie a few months ago. I didn’t think much of the movie at the time. I enjoyed seeing how all these smoking hot women were fawning all over a decrepit Al Pacino.

As for the violence, it’s pretty common in movies. I rarely look at ratings before watching a movie. Actually, I enjoy watching R rated movies since the content will be more mature. I hate it when cinematographers have to censor themselves while putting a story on the screen. I love Hong Kong action movies and the Japanese thriller movies, especially from Miike Takashi. There is this movie called Audition by Takashi. You can probably find it in North American specialty DVD rental shops.

The movie isn’t gruesome. It starts very simply and normally. There isn’t much gore of violence, but it’s hidden and implied. I’ve only dared to watch that movie once, even though I have it in my DVD collection. I watched a friend’s copy. My own copy is still shrink wrapped after 7 years. Needless to say, it’s disturbing.

Nevertheless, I do agree with not watching too much violence on TV or in movies. I do enjoy action movies, but some extreme horror movies from Japan and Hong Kong have made me wary of seeing dismembered bodies in media. Well, that’s not really true. What actually put me off that is watching the numerous autopsies that you see on CSI-like shows. A good zombie flick or horror movie doesn’t really disturb me. I think that Suspiria is one of the greatest movies of all time.

Actually, I don’t watch the autopsies that I see in CSI and other procedural crime dramas anymore. I just find it too much. I don’t really want to see some guys organs or open chest. It’s the habitual way that this is presented in these shows that disturbs me, as well as the context. When I watch CSI, I want to watch a murder mystery. I don’t really want to know all of the details that go on in the morgue.

Then again, I’m a movie aficionado. I’ve watched thousands of movies from all over the world in my life. I’ve been a movie critic in the past and I enjoy going to movie festivals and seeing indie art house movies. Paranoid Park is a fine example of a recent movie that I really enjoyed.

This has been taken to another extreme with Nip/Tuck. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy the show but I don’t watch the surgeries. I think that this kind of encourages body dysmorphic disorder. It doesn’t bother me, but I can imagine how it could influence borderline personalities or people who are vulnerable about their body image.

As for nudity, well I don’t really mind it either. I have been married with my wife for three years. I have been with her for 7 years. Any man who says that he hasn’t got a porn stash is lying, believe me. All men have some kind of porn somewhere. From digital media to some Playboys hidden away somewhere.

[A quick note here, since this is partly a mathematics blog, I just wanted to state my proposition more clearly. Most men have a secret/not-so-secret porn stash. Not all of them. I'm sure that to any such generalization, we can find a counter-example to disprove it. Therefore, I'd rather state it this way. Naturally, this comes from personal experience, from the friends that I have met over my life since college.]

When it comes to nudity, I have more of an European opinion than an American one. I’m not a prude. I don’t really see the problem. The human body is beautiful. Something beautiful needs to be exposed. My wife is a part time fine art photographer. I do some photography as well. I try to capture beauty wherever I see it.

As well as reading the mommy blogs, I do read R-rated blogs.

Nudity doesn’t really turn me on or overwhelm me with lust. It’s just there. It’s found in art, in photography and pornography. Am I repulsed by porn? No not really. A good porn movie is fun to watch with your wife as well…

[Porn is pretty vast. There is a lot of porn nowadays tailor made for women by women. No longer are only men creating porn. The obvious generalization that all porn actresses are exploited and are nothing more than prostitutes isn't as easy to verify anymore. Actually there is still porn that exploits women, but feminists are making porn in order to empower themselves. I believe that some women actually do like working in porn. Then again, I've only known one stripper in my life and I met her in a club, not a strip-club. I actually didn't know she was a stripper until she told me.]

(OMHS feed)

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14 Responses to “Thought Policing”


  1. 1 OMSH April 27, 2008 at 02:31

    I’ve been married for 14 years, still pine after the majesty that is my husband’s body, and I too believe both the male and female body are beautiful.

    What was it you were “taken aback” by? Was it my response to violence or nudity or all of it?

    Blame it on my embrace of God’s Word for my belief system, but I do believe we are all responsible for what we lay our eyes upon. Beautiful or not, it affects us and we’re responsible when we let it.

    My personal opinion is I should renew my mind, not confuse it.

    I wouldn’t say I was forcing my views on anyone – or being their “thought police” – however, I do think it is wise to be my own.

    My husband, of course, makes his own decisions.

  2. 2 range April 27, 2008 at 02:42

    Let’s just say I was surprised more than anything else. Taken aback was perhaps the wrong way of expressing that surprise.

    You embrace your beliefs, however I just wanted to say that doesn’t mean that I don’t believe in God.

    Far be it from me to say that you should be policing somebody else’s thoughts, it’s actually a series of articles that I have written on policing one’s own thoughts.

  3. 3 OMSH April 27, 2008 at 03:02

    Thanks for clarifying. I think this makes for a very interesting discussion – the policing of one’s thoughts. Of course, I’m feeling a great need to police my own. And your “policing” will/does differ from my own.

    Nice bit of meat to chew on.

  4. 4 range April 27, 2008 at 03:07

    Yes, I think that it’s an interesting discussion, otherwise our society would de-evolve into anarchy, if everyone did as they thought!

  5. 5 Nan April 27, 2008 at 07:48

    “Any man who says that he hasn’t got a porn stash is lying, believe me. All men have some kind of porn somewhere. From digital media to some Playboys hidden away somewhere.”

    I’m sorry that you are so grossly mislead. While I certainly believe porn is a strong temptation to the majority of men, it is absolutely ignorant of you to assume that **all** men are equally dishonest (hiding = dishonesty) and indulgent in their lustful desires. Certainly most face temptation but it’s absolutely untrue that all willfully indulge. Many in fact actually resist it and fight it with all of their beings because they actually want to be true, body, soul, eyes and spirit to their wives. It makes me so spitting mad whenever people accept the objectification of women (most often) as totally normal. And for the record I find it equally denigrating and wrong for women to objectify men in the same manner.

  6. 6 range April 27, 2008 at 08:34

    I guess that you didn’t read the article through, since this note was present as well. This is what it reads:

    [A quick note here, since this is partly a mathematics blog, I just wanted to state my proposition more clearly. Most men have a secret/not-so-secret porn stash. Not all of them. I'm sure that to any such generalization, we can find a counter-example to disprove it. Therefore, I'd rather state it this way. Naturally, this comes from personal experience, from the friends that I have met over my life since college.]

    I didn’t state that all men are like that. I stated that most men are like this. Then again, I’ve spent my life living in Quebec, Canada, so my society is different than yours. This is stated in my post for you to read. It would help if you didn’t misquote me and fully understood what I was saying before jumping on a bandwagon and insulting.

    “Facing temptation”.

    The way you talk about this makes me think that you consider this a sin. Before you call me ignorant, I would revert your insult back onto yourself. How well does anyone really know anyone else? Are you 100% sure of what you are claiming? You may be speaking from your personal viewpoint that may be true for people around you, but how about other people in our society?

    I’m a man and I’m speaking about men. I speak from experience. Not just my own, but all of the men that I have met in my life.

    Why are there strip-clubs? Why are people “indulging” in them? It’s a common rite of passage for a stag party to be held there. Personally, I’ve never gone to one, but the fact of the matter is that they exist. And people go. In fact most men will have gone to a strip-club at some point in their lives.

    Why are there prostitutes? The world’s “oldest profession” as it is called sometimes.

    Actually I think that this whole discussing is moot. You have your views and I have mine. Your beliefs are obviously very important to you and it’s not my place to question them. Everyone has their own opinion.

  7. 7 Nan April 28, 2008 at 04:32

    Well, Range, I too live in Canada and before that I lived in the metropolis known as the San Francisco bay area so I am not from some backwards society (not that I consider Quebec to be the picture of enlightenment.) I’m not misquoting you… I took your quote straight out of your post. “Any man who says that he hasn’t got a porn stash is lying, believe me.” Now, I must say that I do not remember the following paragraph that you quote above being there when I initially read your whole post (which I did)… but that is in fact moot since you cannot say both things and mean them both, “Any man who says that he hasn’t got a porn stash is lying, believe me.” *and* “Most men have a secret/not-so-secret porn stash. Not all of them.” So which one really is it? All men who don’t skulk around and get off with their secret stashes or say they don’t purposefully indulge (yup, there’s that pesky word again) in paper or digital based sexual stimulation are liars? Or most men are like this and therefore it’s normal and because it’s normal, it’s deemed okay (slavery was once normal, let me remind you.)

    I jumped on no bandwagon except that which I myself might be driving. I responded to something that has always bothered me, the acceptance in our society of the objectification of people (in this instance, women in particular.) I certainly didn’t for a moment insinuate that it’s new or that certain desires are unnatural. But I have a solid belief in actual truth… that is that truth is not relative and based on whoever is feeling it to be truth. Then it would be no truth at all and ALL would be a matter of opinion. If you solidly believe that there is no real truth but that all truth is relative to your own opinion then right there you are setting forth something that you believe to be true. So in firmly believing that there is no such thing as universal truth you are in fact affirming that there is. There is no way to get out of that. I do not have to play mental gymnastics to come up with a concept of truth because I believe that truth is truth no matter what and no matter what your opinion on the matter is changes not what truth was, is and ever will be.

    You are asking me why all of these things exist. You must really be misunderstanding my point… my point is not why these things happen… I have an understanding of why all sorts of wrong crappy stuff happens every day from sexual exploitation to thuggery to gossip to greed and reckless self-indulgence (my own brother died from a high that he induced for sexual purposes so please do not consider calling me ignorant of the reality that is ever present around us and in our own families) and the understanding I have is that we are fallen (and yes, sinful) beings who daily choose selfishness over love for our fellow man, let alone for God Himself, the giver of life and the one who is able to give us all that we need and to keep us from stumbling. But the fact is, we prefer stumbling — we prefer to find our own way in the darkness — feeling that life, even a life lived with no surety and with great big question marks as to why we are even here, is purely about the journey and making the most of it for ourselves at whatever cost of dignity to ourselves or others — as opposed to one where, yes, the journey matters greatly but that it’s not all about us and that there is something more than the experiences and pleasures we can attain for ourselves at whatever expense while we are here.

    Why all of these things exists merely strengthens my position that they are wrong. People do wrong things all the time but because they are so widely done does not make them right for all or even for some.

    I don’t pretend to know the minds of everyone. But I do know men (plenty of them… you don’t have to be one to know one, thankfully!) and I know many that really do struggle with pornography because they know that when they are looking at that woman or jacking off to whatever that woman is doing, they are not in fact honoring her or considering her to be a person of great value and worth… they are thinking then about their pleasure and their pleasure alone. I wonder if you’ve had many philosophical discussions with your guy friends on just what they are thinking about when they use pornography (in the same way that a prostitute is used)? Do the guys you know who consider this the norm talk to you about it? Do you all discuss what it means about your view of women and of people in general? Perhaps those who don’t struggle for a second with it don’t have these probing discussions where they ask themselves why and at what cost…

  8. 8 range April 28, 2008 at 05:01

    Thanks for your point of view.

    Which is it? Well to answer your question, it’s naturally the one in brackets. I thought that it was clear. Most men, not all men. I did not judge it. I simply stated it. It’s something that can be disproved, but I seem to remember surveys that support my point of view. These surveys were done in America and included prostitution and strip-clubs as well.

    It is my opinion that Quebec isn’t an enlightened society really, it’s the place where I have faced the most racism yet. However, compared to the rest of Canada and the US, Quebec is a lot more European. This is a fact of life, since we speak French here.

    I hear your point, yet naturally I don’t agree with most of it. But that’s OK. Maybe it’s an age difference, maybe it’s a generational difference, who knows? People are entitled to their own opinions and beliefs.

    I don’t believe that porn puts people’s souls in danger really, though I do agree that some porn exploits women. Then again, religion has exploited women as well.

    I don’t equate using prostitutes and porn. Honestly, I don’t think that men really discuss porn philosophically.

    One thing is for sure. Your point of view comes from your beliefs. From your blog, it seems that you are a Pastor’s wife. Religion is very important to you. Most of the people I know don’t go to church. I think that you did take offense by my post, though I have trouble understanding why it is such sore point. My viewpoint wasn’t actually that different from Heather’s.

    Well you may know men, but you do not know how they think. Just like I don’t really know how women think. That is something that you can’t really know unless you are a man.

    I think that people need to open their minds. Not close them off. Your point of view seem in line with a secular one.

    Sex isn’t something that should be hidden away. I think that prostitution should be legalized. That way it can be regulated. I have other liberal beliefs that will naturally oppose your conservative ones.

    Then again, I don’t really see the point in drawing this discussion out. It most definitely seems moot.

  9. 9 range April 28, 2008 at 05:18

    My comment from Heather’s post:

    http://www.ohmystinkinheck.com/some-interesting-feedback-on-thought-policing/

    Honestly, I don’t really pay attention to ratings when I watch a movie. I judge a movie by its quality, plot and then decide if I like it or not.

    I read a lot as well.

    I watch movies from all over the world. French, German, Hong Kong, Japanese, Korean, American, Spanish, Canadian and others.

    I think great example of good movies are Pedro Almodovar films. I’d recommend them, but I know that some of your readers will find them questionable. I’d recommend Tu su mi madre (All about my mother), Open Your Eyes and Bad Education.

    Trois couleurs: Bleu, Blanc, Rouge was also a favorite of mine. I discovered Irène Jacob. La Double Vie de Véronique was also great.

    Naturally, most of these movies are classified as art-house or foreign movies. Do church-going Americans watch these movies? I don’t know. I don’t really know that many church-going Americans, yet a lot of people reading this blog seem to be.

    I find it important that people shouldn’t close their minds. People need to be open.

    How about gays and gay rights? I’m happily married yet I’m happy that Canada has liberal laws concerning gay marriage. I don’t believe that it’s wrong and I don’t believe that they are living in sin. I do believe that God loves us all. Then again, Christians will likely want to crucify me for saying this aloud. I don’t really know why I said this, but I’m tired of hearing/reading about people who aren’t able to open their minds to the new realities of society.

    Closed minds foster ignorance, a distaste for things that are different. All people are different and we need to embrace these differences, not make them reasons for hating each other.

    Alas, I feel again that I’ve said too much once more.

  10. 10 Nan April 28, 2008 at 05:40

    Range, you have been very respectful and I thank you for that. I happened on over here when I saw your ping-back on Heather’s blog — just so you know I wasn’t hunting for a debate. :^)

    My sore point is that people have accepted the objectification of women (even women — I’m not saying only men are okay with this or something) as normal and therefore okay. It is very definitely normal… no arguments there. All of your statistics I’m sure are true. But my suggestion is not that these things aren’t as prevalent as you believe them to be — just that they are still ultimately wrong. I have known many a marriage destroyed by a husband’s porn secrets (or not so secrets). I already mentioned my brother’s death which was in fact porn related… he hated himself for how this thing ate him up and eventually consumed him. It was not any kind of repression that would have caused him this grief. He eventually said yes to anything and everything and it started small.

    I have story upon story of real live sexual (and often beautiful to boot) women who are alone in their beds every night, experiencing no sexual relationship whatsoever with their husband because he is too busy with a computer image in the next room over or gone somewhere pursuing other forms of self-satisfaction. This is probably more common than you know. Porn does not reflect reality… married sex is not all about performance and creativity (though there’s nothing wrong with some creativity, don’t get me wrong) it’s about love — committed in sickness and in health, to death do us part, take me as I am warts and all — love. Many will say that porn has little to no affect on the married sexual relationship but in the long term (if not in the short term) it does.

    Men really do discuss porn philosophically… men who don’t think it’s just another normal part of living life that is. Look at http://xxxchurch.com/ and you’ll see that many men who struggle with it, really want to say no to it but naturally they find it very difficult.

    I don’t know how old you are but you look to be about the same age as me so I don’t assume we have a generational break here… merely a world view break.

    I wouldn’t say it’s such a “sore point” as much as an issue on which I have strong feelings and beliefs and I naturally react passionately (and I’m sorry if I have been ungracious at all in my response) when I hear people accepting something that is ultimately harmful to so many relationships and to the women who are either subjected to or subject themselves to it because they’ve been so denigrated for so long that they find their body is their only asset.

    And while I do think sexually explicit images remain forever emblazoned on your mind once you have taken them in (ask me how I know) I believe that the condition of sinfulness that is intertwined with who we are is the thing which will permanently affect our souls… how that sin plays out is merely a symptom of the inner problem… and it comes out of different people in different ways. I rightly need to despise my own sinfulness as much as I despise things like this that we are discussing here.

    Thanks for being kind and understanding in your responses. Please forgive me for maybe coming on too strongly. I feel strongly on the issue as you know but I always need to remember that if I come across as angry, my meaning will be harder to comprehend and my message likely lost. Even though we do not agree, thank you for hearing me out and responding with grace.

  11. 11 range April 28, 2008 at 07:48

    Well thank you for your point of view.

    I always try to be courteous and gallant when responding to readers and opinions. As much as I have a right to my opinion, others have a right to theirs. A difference of opinions is great to foster discussions and understanding, not closed mindedness and hate.

    [For the record, I just turned 32.]

    I agree with you that porn can be an addiction, just like any else. However in the context of my post, I wasn’t necessarily getting into that discussion. It’s good that you brought it up for it can become an addiction, just like smoking or alcoholism. In fact, blogging, internet use and videogames possess the same kind of addictive attraction.

    [see here for my series of articles and posts, as well as some testimonials on internet and videogame addiction: http://range.wordpress.com/articles/#danger%5D

    Be that as it may, I understand that some men will see porn as an indulgence and a way to be unfaithful to their wives. I can see this happening in cultures that are more conservative or simply people that are more conservative.

    That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen to liberals. I for one just want to reiterate that it’s important that people are of an open mind. I do not condone the exploitation of women, though I firmly believe that the issue isn’t as clearcut as you present it.

    Through research into pornography, the field and also the multitudes of escort blogs, sexuality is something very important to women and some feel empowered by it and using it to their own needs and goals.

    I don’t disagree with the statement that there are women who are being exploited in porn and in prostitution by others. That is the way of our society, the strong will try and exploit the weak or the weaker.

    Anyways, happy Sunday and God bless.

  12. 12 OMSH April 28, 2008 at 10:43

    Hey there…I’m out for a day and quite a lot transpires.

    Reading your responses and skimming over your and Nan’s conversation here, helps me see something:

    I think much of the differences (right now we’ll just say between you and me – though it really is between any two people) really does rest in the how one views the world.

    I am conservative to some and radical to others, but it is my biblical world view that sets a standard for how I desire to interact with the world I live in.

    We would, of course, have to agree to disagree. And honestly, I probably have more friends that are different, than like me.

    I’m glad that there have been some that have felt the freedom to speak of their “opposing” views. Thank you for not being opposed to the conversation.

    Now, I’ll go post at my own place. :)

  13. 13 range April 28, 2008 at 11:34

    No worries Heather. Feel free to come to visit, as I visit your blog every day.


  1. 1 Oh My Stinkin Heck » Blog Archive » Some interesting feedback on Thought Policing. Trackback on April 27, 2008 at 18:01

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ranjitwithkinginbehand.jpgI'm Range, your host. On the menu, photos, art, stories, entertainment and reviews. Links, maths, education and social issues. I'm in Quebec (Canada) or Taiwan (R.O.C.). Follow me on Twitter.

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