Jonathon van Maren

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Russell Brand just destroyed porn in one of the most jaw-droppingly awesome rants ever

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It turns out even a broken clock is right twice a day. The notorious pseudo-revolutionary and unfunny British comedian Russell Brand has come out with a new video on his online “news” show The Trews—and it’s dedicated to a succinct, intelligent, and broad-ranging condemnation of pornography.

Admitting the truth about pornography—that it is dangerously unhealthy and promotes rape culture—is becoming increasingly mainstream. But for someone like Russell Brand—star of several pseudo-pornographic films, purveyor of yawningly stereotypical left-wing tropes, and admittedly having led a very promiscuous lifestyle—to detail the dangers of pornography in such an honest and open way is impressive to say the least.

And honest and open he was.

Brand begins the video by bemoaning the popularity of the "Fifty Shades of Grey" film, calling it “soft-core porn.” Soft-core porn, he notes, is changing the way we relate to one another.

“Our attitudes towards sex have become warped and perverted,” Brand ranted, “and have deviated from its true function as an expression of love and a means for procreation. Because our acculturation—the way we’ve designed it and expressed it—has become really, really, confused.”

If you’re wondering if that was, in fact, Russell Brand who said that, I double-checked just to be sure. It was.

“I heard a quote from a priest that said ‘pornography isn’t a problem because it shows too much, it’s a problem because it shows too little,” Brand told his audience. But this “priest” wasn’t intending to say that porn should feature more “filthy shots of things,” Brand noted. He was saying that “porn reduces the spectacle of sex to a kind of extracted physical act.”

With impressive honesty and vulnerability, Brand pulled out a list of statistics detailing the negative aspects of pornography.

Exaggerated perception of sexuality in society?

“I think that a bit!”

Diminished trust between intimate couples?

“I get that sometimes.”

The abandonment of hope for sexual monogamy?

“Sometimes I wonder if it’s possible!”

The belief that promiscuity is the natural state?

“I don’t want to have that belief! I was obsessed with porn when I was a teenager.”

But talking about porn magazines in 2015 sounds almost nostalgic, Brand admitted. “Now there’s just icebergs of filth floating through every house on Wi-Fi. It’s inconceivable what it must be like to be an adolescent boy now with this kind of access to porn. It must be dizzying and exciting, yet corrupting in a way we can’t even imagine.”

“I think my own past with pornography is the hub of my inner conflict and doubt,” Brand confessed. “I know pornography is wrong, and that I shouldn’t be looking at it, and that lots of people who are working in it are doing so for the wrong reasons—desperation, self-doubts - I’m sure there’s loads of people that work in porn that go, ‘Hey I love it! - but there’s a general feeling, isn’t there, in your core if you look at pornography that this isn’t what’s the best thing for me to do, this isn’t the best use of my time. I don’t put that laptop lid down and think, There! What a productive piece of time spent, connecting with the world!”

We’re lying, Brand stated firmly, if we pretend the “soft cultural smog” of pornography isn’t making it harder to relate to ourselves and to others. Porn—even soft-core porn—often leads directly to objectification.

“Guilty of that all of the time,” Brand admitted. “Because I’ve been acculturated and trained to. This is something I work on—but once that biological drive to procreate is connected to a culture of objectification, it’s a very hard equation to break… Because this powerful primal resource—whenever it’s plugged in—is jarring and distracting. I think what it is, is the circuit in the mind that’s connected to sexuality moves very, very quickly. The circuit that’s connected to love and compassion moves a little bit slower. So if you’re constantly bombarded by great waves of filth, it’s really difficult to remain connected to truth.”

To Brand, the impact of porn is apparent to anyone willing to take an honest look.

“I feel like if I had total dominion over myself I would never look at pornography again. I would kick it out of my life…Me, porn is not something I like, it’s not something I’ve been able to make a long-term commitment to not looking at, and it’s affecting my ability to relate to women, to relate to myself, to my own sexuality, to my own spirituality.”

And what about so-called “feminist” porn? It’s all porn that’s problematic, says Brand, not just male-centric porn. “Feminist pornography” is not the answer to misogyny. Porn is the problem, period. Creating female porn “is like trying to solve the problem of racism by inventing a word for white people by balck people that’s equally bad as the n-word. The direction we should be going in is how can we understand our sexuality, how can we express it lovingly, in harmony with the principles that it’s there to demonstrate—to procreation and sensual love between consenting adults.”

That’s not just Brand’s position. With one addition to that sentence—“between consenting adults within the context of marriage”—that’s the Christian position.

It’s not just Brand’s analysis that is a valuable contribution to the cultural discussion surrounding pornography. It’s also his willingness to be honest about the impact pornography has had on his life and his relationships and the way he sees the world. Brand is not a social conservative by any stretch of the imagination—he’s just someone who sees the way porn has changed him, and hates it. And it is because of people like him, people willing to be honest with themselves and others, that the cultural conversation is changing. Brand’s typical audience, I would venture to say, probably does not hear such a powerful statement on the evils of pornography very often.

As Brand and others who revelled in everything that the Sexual Revolution had to offer come forward to explain how it actually impacted them, our culture is forced to recognize truths they’ve been long ignoring. Treasured dogmas of the Sexual Revolution are crumbling before our eyes. They’ve had dominion over our culture for nearly half a century. But as people start recognizing what pornography does to them and reclaiming their dignity and their relationships, we can start moving in the right direction.

And what is the right direction? Attaining what Russell Brand wishes for himself: Dominion over our vices—so that we can root pornography out of our lives once and for all.

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Jonathon van Maren

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Jonathon Van Maren is a public speaker, writer, and pro-life activist. His commentary has been translated into more than eight languages and published widely online as well as print newspapers such as the Jewish Independent, the National Post, the Hamilton Spectator and others. He has received an award for combating anti-Semitism in print from the Jewish organization B’nai Brith. His commentary has been featured on CTV Primetime, Global News, EWTN, and the CBC as well as dozens of radio stations and news outlets in Canada and the United States.

He speaks on a wide variety of cultural topics across North America at universities, high schools, churches, and other functions. Some of these topics include abortion, pornography, the Sexual Revolution, and euthanasia. Jonathon holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in history from Simon Fraser University, and is the communications director for the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform.

Jonathon’s first book, The Culture War, was released in 2016.

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