Title: The Infernal Lust Hormones of Doctor Reisman!!! Credit: Craig Young Comment Monday 20th March 2006 - 12:00pm1142812800 Article: 1162 Rights
Did you know that exposure to just one naked bloke can turn you into a rampaging, erototoxin crazed lust puppet? Or so says Christian Right anti-porn zealot Dr Judith Reisman. Reisman's sorry career should need no reviewing to regular readers of this column. As for the others, be advised that Reisman is a somewhat pathetic figure. While she claims to be a 'content analysis' expert, it actually isn't all that hard a social scientific research method to master. It consists of picking an aspect of repeated media content to count, and then doing so, using past relevant research in the field. If it's that simple, then why did Reisman make a hash of it when she submitted a seriously flawed content analysis of heterosexual porn magazines that was disowned even by the US Department of Justice under Ronald Reagan's appointee, Edwin Meese? It was disowned, and Reisman could apparently find no publisher willing to touch it, other than Lafayette (Louisiana)-based Huntington House, conspiratorial conservative Christian manufacturer of fevered tomes about menacing one world government silliness. Huntington House also publishes her jeremiad about Alfred Kinsey, the fifties sexologist who was largely responsible for the sexual revolution of the sixties, along with secularisation, higher education and contraceptive pill. In the nineties, she made a nuisance of herself filing vexatious litigation against the Indiana University-based Kinsey Institute, and was barred from further doing so. Even her own lawyer gave up. So, guess who the fundamentalist-dominated, US Republican Congress has just thrown one million dollars at? Yes, her, and Victor Cline, a conservative Mormon anti-porn researcher and colleague. You see, Reisman has single-handedly discovered a hitherto unknown source of neurochemicals that underlie our perceptions and response to porn- erototoxins!!! What are these erototoxins? To find out, I downloaded Reisman's research paper (sic) on her webpage, all thirty eight pages, and ploughed through it. "The Psychopharmacology of Pictorial Pornography Restructuring Brain, Mind and Memory and Subverting Freedom of Speech" is a pretentious piece of pseudoscience. Reisman starts with a basic neuroscientific description of the human brain, and outlines how child sexual abuse can wreak horrific effects on a child's brain structure. So far, so good, and I have no problems with this part- for one thing, it cites mainstream evidence-based neurological scientific knowledge. Reisman has no neuroscience or medical qualifications herself, and misrepresents her pitiful content analysis work as 'authoritative.' She then veers off wildly into vulgar neurohormonal determinism, alleging that we are all slaves to rampaging brain chemicals if we spot smut, and turn immediately into rampaging lust puppets with no control over our actions. This is ridiculous. Reisman makes no attempt whatsoever to deal with mainstream media effects research about how the development of reasoning skills affect the viewing and reception of various visual media genres, including porn. By a bout thirteen to fourteen, teenagers are quite able to tell fantasy genres from realist ones, which is evident as young as seven to eight years of age, and can tell if something is fictional or documentary based at about ten. At thirteen to fourteen, teenagers usually develop strategic reasoning skills and can foresee the consequences of their actions. They need some time to develop those skills, which is why sixteen is the age of consent for straight and gay sex, although early puberty means bodies outpace the ability to strategically reason, leading to early teenage unwanted pregnancies and STI exposure due to peer experimentation. If adolescents do encounter porn, it's usually covertly at about thirteen to fourteen in the case of teenage males, and officially at sixteen to eighteen. By then, they should be able to tell that porn depicts an artificial and unreal approach to human sexuality, based on its free availability, whatever its social context. If they don't, it's probably because they've been damaged by child sexual abuse or child battery. Reisman blithely coasts on, ignoring any issues of cognitive development or pathological adverse consequences from dysfunctional family backgrounds. Obviously, many gay men do get stimulated watching gay porn, as a specific genre with its own lighting, set design, camera angles and proximity codes, and story structures. We tend to respond to different things, though. I like story structures and gradual seduction in my preferred gay porn, and I also prefer men with some mileage on the clock, as opposed to twinks. I'm indifferent to straight porn. I read pre-op transwomen's bodies as already female, and they do nothing for me, either. As for child porn, I have never encountered any actual example of images and text that depict child sexual abuse as benign, and I hope that I never do. It would probably make me violently sick. Reisman's pseudo-science cites no concrete evidence of the imaginary neuro-chemicals that are claimed to transform one into rampaging sex fiends. Happily, New Zealand's own Department of Internal Affairs has done something concrete about child pornography distribution and user networks in our own context. After Reisman's opportunist drivel, I was gratified to read Angela Carr's excellent research paper for the Censorship Compliance Unit at DIA, entitled "Internet Traders of Child Pornography and Other Censorship Offenders in New Zealand." Carr provides a much-needed summary of current police, censorship enforcement and psychopathological research on paedophile consumption and distribution of images and stories about child sexual abuse for their own sexual gratification. She includes offender profiles, and it seems that opposite-sex paedophiles circulate online images of child sexual abuse and naked children far more than same-sex paedophiles, although the latter seem more organised in their own networks. These vermin tend to be socially isolated, and have some connection with work in information technology. The CCU is to be commended for its diligence in pursuing these creatures and disrupting their trade in human misery and exploitation of vulnerable children, leading to the apprehension, arrest and imprisonment of these dark creatures. At the same time, it must have been a difficult piece of research to write, and I wonder what emotional toll that this vitally important task takes on the women and men who work in this field. Still, Carr has done important work in this area, and I hope that this preliminary investigation will lead to more investigation of this key area of censorship policy enforcement. It is sobering but intriguing to contrast Carr and Reisman's respective work. Carr has made an important, methodical evidence-based contribution to apprehending distributors and users of child pornography, and I cannot praise her work highly enough. Reisman is a shameless opportunist, exploiting the issue of child sexual abuse, and will probably contribute nothing concretely useful to the ongoing battle against manufacture, distribution and use of child pornography. Her research grant is a sad commentary on politics and science in the United States under President Bush. Strongly Recommended: Angela Carr: Internet Traders of Child Pornography and Other Censorshio Offenders: Wellington: Department of Internal Affairs/Censorship Compliance Unit: 2004. See also: Reisman Bibliography: Phyllis Schlafly (ed) Pornography's Victims: Grand Rapids: Crossway: 1987. Judith Reisman: Soft Porn Plays Hardball: Its Effects on Women, Children and Families: Lafayette: Huntington House: 1991. Judith Reisman: Kinsey, Sex and Fraud: Lafayette: Huntington House: 1990. Judith Reisman: The Psychopharmacology of Pictorial Pornography: Restructuring Brain, Mind and Memory and Subverting Free Speech" Institute of Media Education: Colorado Springs: 2003: Criticism of Reisman: Poppy Dixon: "I'm Ready for My Closeup, Captain Kangaroo!" Indiana University: Rebuttals of Reisman and Abandoned Case: Criticism of Reisman: Poppy Dixon: "I'm Ready for My Closeup, Captain Kangaroo!" Indiana University: Rebuttals of Reisman and Abandoned Case:`kinsey/about/controversy.html Craig Young - 20th March 2006    
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