Russell Brand: Unlikely Critic of Pornography

Russell Brand is what you might call an unlikely critic of pornography. The comedian/actor/author/activist is well known for pushing the boundaries of social convention, so one could be forgiven for thinking he would be more likely to embrace porn than question it. But if this short installment of Brand’s “Trews” videos is any indication, it seems he’s doing the latter because he’s done the former. Take a look (and yes, he does the whole thing with a bed sheet wrapped around himself):

A few highlights:

1. Brand’s initial question is a minor victory in itself. By asking what porn does to us, he acknowledges that that it isn’t, as some suggest, a relatively harmless vice. Rather it comes with genuine consequences to both viewers and those around them.

2. He offers that “our cultural expression of sex has become confused” and “our attitudes towards sex have become warped and perverted and have deviated from its true function as an expression of love and a means of procreation.”

3. Citing snippets of research on the negative effects of porn leads Brand to be refreshingly candid in admitting how his own experience mirrors those findings.

4. More worthwhile quotes:

  • I heard a quote from a priest that said, “Pornography is not a problem because it shows us too much. It’s a problem because it shows us too little.”
  • I know that pornography is wrong…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 form me to do. …I don’t put that laptop lid down and think, “There! What a productive piece of time spent connecting with the world!”
  • 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. [That Brand apparently hasn’t yet done this, despite his negative views of porn, is a testimony its powerfully addictive nature.]
  • [Porn is] affecting my ability to relate to women, to relate to myself, my own sexuality, my own spirituality.
  • If you’re constantly bombarded with great waves of filth, it’s really difficult to remain connected to truth.

I won’t add much to this other than to say Brand’s comments strike me as affirming the perspective that Francis Schaeffer articulated decades ago: regardless of whether we believe in the God of the Bible or not, none of us can change the fact that we live in God’s universe. Among other things, that means that we were created in his image to live according to his design. And consequently, our attempts (which we all undertake to some degree) to chart our own course, to pursue something other than what God would have for us, will eventually run aground on the rocks of reality. More specific to the conversation at hand, to take something as wonderful and powerful as sex and remove it from the context for which it was intended is to invite the problems that Brand mentions and more.

Thankfully, the opposite is also true. Preserving the biblical boundaries of sex holds the promise that, ultimately, we’ll experience more freedom and joy within our lives, not less.

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