Questions and Answers


January 30, 2009 — On the six-month anniversary of having the book posted online, I thought it would be good to deal with some things that aren’t in the original manuscript that have been discussed more recently.

Q.  You downplayed your own personal experience of addiction.   Is that an honest representation of what happened?

A.  I definitely experienced the addictive nature of the internet.   Since the book was posted online, I’ve been back every 60 days or so to investigate a comment made by a reader or in an article; and I truly understand the comment made by a former drug addict about returning to the source of an addiction; “Once is one-time too many and a thousand times is not enough.”   When you open that floodgate the tendency is to want to jump right back in, but wisdom suggests that’s just not a good idea.

Q.  So you identify with people addicted to porn?

A.  Definitely.   I downplayed it, and most of the people reading the site have been strangers,  but as of March 1st, I am featured in a national Christian magazine here in Canada that is read by many people I know.   I had to think long and hard about that, and I’ve decided that people are better served if one person is open and honest in identifying their personal addiction, even if, as in my case, it was for a brief period of time.   I’ve decided that being “outed” in this case is a good thing, because it will benefit a greater number of people if I’m not just speaking about this academically, but am willing to admit first-hand experience, however bad that makes me look in the eyes of some people.

Q.   So given that, is it worth going back every 60 days?

A.  I’m in an unusual position, and I’m not even sure that I will continue to bother going back that often because I’ve more or less moved on past this topic; but most recently, it was interesting to discover that in a certain sub-genre of internet porn, out of about a dozen web sites that existed six months ago, five of them had been shut down by their internet service provider or web hosting service.    So while things appear to be getting progressively worse, sometimes public outrage is of value, and I’m glad I was able to do the before-and-after comparison.

[UPDATE: February 7 — Just one week after writing this paragraph, I have decided that, moving forward, the book is going to have to rely on other people’s research to stay current; or simply be — as the print version would anyway — frozen in time from the time of its online publication.   It has simply become too dark a place for even this author of a book on the subject to visit.]

Q.  Is there anything else that has changed since the book was posted online?

A.  The book was completed about a year ago and posted online six months ago.   The biggest change not reflected in the book manuscript has been the explosion of video sharing sites.   Basically, everyone who wants to be is a pornographer these days.   Especially younger people who can master the technology and have easier access to the low-resolution equipment that is now considered adequate for such sites.

Q.  Which feeds the obsession with youth among some addicts…

A.  Yes and no.   Some of it is what I called “peer pornography.”  It reminds me of some of the ritual dances performed by different animal species that you see on nature documentaries or videos like the BBC’s Planet Earth, where the male puts on a show to attract the female. I think in some environments, the guys now think that performing in front of a camera is required. But some of it attracts a wider audience.

Q.  Like pedophiles…

A.  Definitely, but not in every case.   I make the statement in the book about how society at large is attracted to youth culture.   Some of the web pages contain pictures that are actually not at all pornographic in and of themselves, but become pornographic in context.   I’m not sure if the term “contextual pornography” exists, but it should.   But some of it is just the extension of those already drawn into the world of online porn simply looking for greater “kicks,” which as I said, often means that tastes just skew slightly younger.

Q.  Because of the whole youth culture thing?

A.  Maybe.   However, my more recent thoughts — and remember I have no training in psychology — is that it has to do with unresolved issues from the person’s own youth; unresolved issues from high school or maybe junior high.   Beyond that, I haven’t figured it out, except of course for the possibility that the viewer is re-living their teenage years vicariously through the people online; re-living things they did or — more likely — didn’t do when they were that age.

Q.  Is that true in your case?

A.  I think I’m more like the drivers who slow down when they pass a bad accident on the freeway.   Since I don’t like to be held up in traffic, I tend not to take the same route twice.   My general reaction tends toward unbelief.   Also, similar to the “catch and release” strategy described in the book, there is also the option of focusing entirely on the eyes of the subject on the screen.   The eyes — described in scripture as the lamp of the body — betray what’s going on the mind of the individual.   They may be having sex; but I am sure of this: they’re not having fun.

I also have a theory, that I call the “theory of one song.”  In it, there is really only one song from a person’s past that they truly consider to be the “best song ever,” and all the other songs they like are a variation on it.   In context of what I said above, it may be possible to introduce the “theory of one person;” the idea that somewhere, way back in a person’s past, there is someone of the opposite sex to whom they were attracted, or someone of the same sex who they greatly envied (who may have been dating the first person!) and that their internet quest finds them landing on images of one or both of those people.  While I’ve never fully defined that in my own case, it may explain why other people are driven to youth culture sites.

Q.  Do you find that after several months you still see images in your mind that you saw online?

A.  Believe it or not, no.   At least not after I am several weeks and months removed from the source.   The brain can indeed de-toxify.   I can picture websites in a general way; the grid pattern filled with various pictures, but have a difficult time remembering particular pictures.   However — and this is very important — I have no problem at all remembering some of the narratives from the online text sites I viewed earlier.   This is why I still maintain the text sites are far worse.   They introduce ideas into your mind that are difficult to erase, and with enough exposure, can change your view of what’s right and what’s wrong.

Q.  And what’s possible?

A.  Exactly.   If there’s one thing missing in the book, it’s that the unique ability of animated pornography to depict situations that are anatomically impossible or just so morally depraved as to not be photographed, which we did mention, is actually shared with text sites; only with erotica, it tends to be more focused on the description of acts which are so extreme morally, that you’d be unlikely to capture the essence of them with just a camera.   I never saw the link between the two until recently; both of them present things the photographic sites cannot.   So it’s important to do what scripture calls bringing every thought into captivity.  For me, that’s most difficult when I wake up at 4 AM and can’t get back to sleep.

Q.  So is the book going to be published anytime soon?

A.  I still like the idea that one publisher had — even as he turned it down — that the book be shrinkwrapped in packs for four for mass distribution.   Right now, a handful of people are reading the book each day; there have been a couple of meaningful contacts with people offline who read the book; and the wider publicity in March through the magazine article should help.    This book is not going be popular with everyone because it dares to suggest things that aren’t being said by anyone as of yet.   It’s purpose may be to linger online for a few more years so that after some things are exposed, I can say, “I told you so.”   But I hope it goes beyond that.   You can help by letting people know that it’s here.

Q.  What if I have another question?

A.   This is the only chapter where the comments section is open.   Not every question asked will be answered online however; some may not be posted at all but will get a personal answer usually within 1-2 days.   If you’d rather not do that, there is a special e-mail address set up just for this project which you’ll find at the beginning of the introduction to the online edition on the main page.


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