Editorials

The Great Porn Debate

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For all of the unintentional entertainment that Monday night’s presidential debate brought us, there was perhaps another debate that provided just as much spectacle and interest – the Great Porn Debate.

The Great Porn Debate is a traveling event featuring adult icon, Ron Jeremy arguing the morals and merits of the porn industry and its effects on society with friend and XXXChurch pastor, Craig Gross. The unlikely duo have been touring around colleges for the last few years offering an honest glimpse at the adult industry. Their most recent debate happened just a day after the presidential debate wrapped up in Schenectady, New York at the Proctors Theater.

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The issue of porn has never been so hotly discussed as it is now in 2016. Utah did laughably call the industry a “public health hazard” so it’s actually refreshing and poignant that Ron Jeremy and Craig Gross are tackling the issues head on. But just how did these diametrically opposite people become friends?

Back in January 2013, Ron Jeremy was rushed to the hospital when he suffered a heart scare. At the time, Jeremy and Gross had been verbally jousting each other for years, using various college campuses as their public arenas. Grimly facing the possibility of dying, Ron called up pastor Gross and asked him if he had time to pray for him. Gross didn’t hesitate and rushed over to the hospital as soon as he could. After 14 hours of surgery and a lengthy hospital stay for all of which pastor Gross was present, Ron Jeremy recovered and had a newfound friendship with Gross. Ron is now known as “Uncle Ron” to Gross’ wife and kids.

As chummy as they are now, Jeremy and Gross still maintain their own respective stances and opinions about the porn industry, neither backing down from their arguments only now there exists an impeachable level of respect for the other.

This is a beautiful example of how tolerant people can be of each others’ beliefs and the good that came arise from it. We can agree to disagree and still be civil about it. We should apply this very simple idea of open discussion to all issues happening right now, because nobody is doing it. And you know what happens in the absence of honest discussion? Distrust. But merely talking about our problems is not some magical overnight solution but it is a sensible first step. Because ignoring the problems and hoping they go away isn’t working for us right now.

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Personally, I wholeheartedly believe the porn industry has changed so much over the years and it’s all for the better.

With every working sector, especially the entertainment sector, there are always going to be kinks that need to be worked out. Nothing is perfect. Just look at politics. Look at volatile race issues. Look at global issues. There are much more important things to be worried about. But that doesn’t mean the argument of porn is being scuttled in the face of bigger issues. That’s not what I’m getting at. It’s still very much an issue in our culture as evidenced by porn being such a hot-button issue right now, in 2016. And Ron Jeremy and Craig Gross are talking about it. So let’s listen.

I’m not saying porn is innocent because that’s a really simplistic way of looking at it. Porn is fantasy. It came from erotica, which is a concept. Like democracy or communism or video games (cough, #gamergate). They’re all concepts and are pure in and of themselves. They only begin to take shape when executed in the hands of mankind. Everything has the potential to be good or bad. One cannot just easily lay blame on the concept without having an honest discussion about the inherent issues. How can you take a side when you don’t understand what the sides really are? True healing starts with the willingness to understand.

I believe the Great Porn Debate is doing a fine job of openly talking about what’s on everyone’s mind and bringing the issues out of the shadows instead of ignorantly and blindly demonizing the whole establishment without cause or reason. It’s not about who is right and who is wrong, because at the end of the day, it’s all shades of gray.

Unfortunately, in today’s world of fear-mongering, collective apathy and willful brainwashing, we just don’t see more of these constructive and honest discussions happening. But we need to. If we can truthfully talk about porn, why can’t we talk about the real, pressing issues out there?

You can check out one of their porn debates below:

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