Chris Hedges, in Empire of Illusion

Pornography has evolved to its logical conclusion.  It first turned women into sexual commodities and then killed women as human beings.  And it has won the culture war.  Pornography and the commercial mainstream have fused.  The publicity photo for the porn production company Wicked could be lifted from a Victoria’s Secret catalog.  The lacy brassieres and thongs, candelabras, stilettos, windswept hair, strings of pearls, and arched backs are staple of mass culture.  The wars fought by feminists such as Andrea Dworkin, Susan Faludi, Susan Brownmiller, and Gloria Steinem to free women from sexual tyranny have been defeated by a cultural embrace – by both men and women – of bondage and objectification.  Stripping, promiscuity, S&M, exhibitionism, and porn are mainstream chic…. Sexual callousness and emancipation have become synonymous. Fashion takes its cue from pron.  Music videos feature porn starts and pantomime porn scenes.  Commercials and advertisements milk porn for shock value….Women, porn asserts, whether they know it or not, are objects.  They are whores.  These whores deserve to be dominated and abused.  And once men have had their way with them, these whores are to be discarded.  Porn glorifies the cruelty and domination of sexual exploitation in the same way popular culture, as Jenson points out, glorifies the domination and cruelty of war.  It is the same disease.  It is the belief that “because I have the ability to use force and control to make others do as I please, I have a right to use this force and control.”  It is the disease of corporate and imperial power.  It extinguishes the sacred and the human to worship power, control, force, and pain.  It replaces empathy, eros, and compassion with the illusion that we are gods.  Porn is the glittering façade, like the casinos and resorts in Las Vegas, like the rest of the fantasy that is America, of a culture seduced by death.