Porn, Penn & Teller—and Me

The War On Porn is featured on the season opener of Penn & Teller’s show. You can see a brief preview here.

The show airs on Showtime every evening from this Thursday through Monday, and is also available On Demand. Oh yes, the episode features me!

The guys are staunchly anti-censorship and pro-sexual expression. The episode is about debunking common ideas about porn—ideas many people think are facts, but which aren’t.

The most common, of course, is that consuming porn causes men to destroy their relationships, commit crime, and hate themselves. The supposed proof? Your local rapist, child molester, unfaithful husband, and low-desire boyfriend all look at porn.

The response to this logical fallacy?
* All of these problem guys also drink coffee. Co-occurrence doesn’t prove causation.
* Your non-rapist, non-molester, faithful husband, and lusty boyfriend also look at porn. You can’t draw conclusions from one sub-group (those who hurt others or self-destruct) without looking at a matching sub-group (those who neither hurt others nor self-destruct). Turns out the two groups (problem guys and non-problem guys) look at porn the same amount.

Interestingly, the show itself is the target of censorship attempts, starting with its name (“Bullshit!”), and continuing with its language and its subjects. The irony of attempting to censor a show that complains about censorship is completely lost on groups like Morality in Media or Parents Television Council. It’s especially wrong to claim that shows like this “victimize” innocent American viewers when people have to pay a fortune to subscribe to channels like Showtime and HBO.

Penn & Teller are free speech advocates, supporters of sexual rights, professional magicians, and sarcastic libertarian skeptics with a bad attitude. What a privilege to be associated with them.


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