A Defense of "Smut for Smut"


A Defense of “Smut for Smut”
“Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, for this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and they twain shall become one flesh, he by sticking it to her who rideth him ‘cowboy style’…except in reverse.” (Matthew 19:4-5)[i]
Recently a student secular group at the University of Texas in San Antonio started a rather controversial campaign called “Smut for Smut” in which Holy Books such as the Bible, Koran, book of Mormon and so on, could be exchanged for free pornography. This caught the attention of Fox News, which decided to give it their fair and balanced reporting on the subject by interviewing a whole bunch of outraged Christians and neglecting to discuss the reasons for the campaign itself. Like I said, the fair and balanced reporting we have become accustomed to from Fox News. See the video below.

Atheists who understand the irony behind this are tickled by the novelty of this idea, and many have been reposting the video to the outrage of hypersensitive Christians everywhere. These same Christians are berating the “Smut for Smut” campaign as simply bad taste and a sensationalist ploy for atheists to belittle religion yet again. What splendid pride filled jealousy this is! For what else could it be? Are the religious seriously suggesting that there is nothing grotesque, horrid, or deeply disturbing to be found in their holy books? Can they be that naïve? Because, if so, it’s rather hard to believe that such credulity exists on such a massive scale. Or perhaps it’s just that religious folks are pedantic and prudish? Maybe all religionists are prudes and all atheists are lewd? Unfounded stereotypes aside, I’m sure people have seen “Hoo-has!” and “Bajingos!” before. Either from porn, in the confines of their own bedrooms, or a sex ed. class, or by sheer accident, however they have stumbled upon the human anatomy, almost everyone knows what a penis and a vagina looks like. And the popularity of porn is undeniable too. As Dr. Cox shrewdly states in one of my favorite TV shows Scrubs, “If you took away all the porn websites on the Internet but one, it would read, bring back the porn!”
Not that I’m advocating pornography, or that you ought to go out and look at it, but I am saying that it is so prevalent that to entertain the notion that everyone would share the same overly prude hyper-sensitivity of homophobic, sex-starved, sexually stunted fundamentalists who are in all likelihood closet porn addicts anyway, is just absurd. Most people are fascinated by the act of sex, because let’s face it, we’re either curious or plain old perves. And as humans we like sex, we need sex, it’s how we survive as a species.  Our biological function is to copulate and repopulate. There’s nothing wrong with being comfortable with that concept. Sex is good! Deal with it.
I find the “Smut for Smut” campaign an intelligent strategy that seeks to confront and even perhaps dissuade the uninfringeable status quo of sacred paper idols. Certainly this hoopla has caused a big stir, and I’m glad of it, because it just goes to show how so many people still let their sacred values dictate their attitudes within larger society as a whole. Not everyone, however, views sex as a grotesque sinful form of human depravity as Christianity traditionally has, and still does. Christians have been railing against sex since promiscuous pagans and sensual Simonians, making it into a sin of the flesh for over two thousand years. Even mentioning sex around Christians makes them nervous and suddenly sparks heated emotions and opinions among Christians who then denounce it at almost every turn. Instead of being adults about it they talk about abstinence—which is the same thing as not wanting to deal with the issue at all. This sign of mental sexual immaturity and denial of our human nature is astonishingly bizarre to me. More than that, it’s debilitating and unhealthy to boot. I should know since I was a victim of it myself. But that’s another story for another time.
Even so, I can understand why Christians are shocked by the “Smut for Smut” campaign, mainly because they are taught to abhor sex (instead of being properly informed about sex), but I think they miss the point altogether. I believe this “Smut for Smut” project is a fascinating sociological exercise in both the freedom of speech as well as public expression of opinion. Especially since, as is all too often the case in religious cultures, non-believers are denied their public opinion at the sake of offending someone else’s sacred values (and/or beliefs); which is wholly unfair. 

If Campus Crusaders and Bible thumpers have the right to get up on their high pedestals, or nearest park bench, and begin indiscriminately preaching the “good news” to everyone within ear shot, then why can’t the favor be returned? I think this little stunt demonstrates the need in the public forums for us to stop allowing religion free reign to dictate what is and isn’t sacred and what people are and aren’t allowed to say. Trading a Bible for a Playboy or a Koran for a Penthouse is not so offensive when you consider that Playboy and Penthouse do not condone rape, forced marriage (sexual bondage) to a rapist, and child sexual slavery, battery of wives, and incest and polygamy just quite like the Bible and Koran do. I’m just saying, to consider a photo spread of a beautiful naked woman more disgusting than a book which by decree commands its followers (or at one time has) to defile, demean, rape, and brutalize that beautiful woman, then I must be terribly concerned with your moral values not to mention common sense judgment.
Personally I feel the Bible should be stamped with an NC-17 rating for mature audiences only. Precisely because I feel age appropriateness does apply, regardless of whether it’s fiction or non-fiction. As an adult, so what if I want to watch some porn? None of your bleeding business. If I want to rub my body all over with green Jell-O, while standing on one foot, reciting the star spangled banner, again, who even cares? If I should one day turn out to be gay, sorry, my personal life is mine, stay out of it! But it becomes my business when you subject your children to pornography. As a concerned citizen and decent human being, it would be my duty and moral obligation to protest.
As such, anyone who allows their child to read the Bible without adult supervision before they child’s 17th birthday is a negligent parent, as far as I’m concerned. Again, age appropriate applies. I mean, Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” didn’t get a hard R rating for nothing. Just to think, this bloody, gruesome, torturous film which reveled in the depiction of human mutilation, humiliation, and suffering covered only a few hours of just one Biblical character’s story. I don’t care whether or not it’s a true story—toning it down a bit or else keeping something off screen for the imagination would have gone a long way in trying to show that it was more about the story than the brutal torture. But no, this was clearly pornographic material which went for shock and awe treatment. This is the same material Christian parents teach their impressionable young kids. For shame! And to think of the nerve of the Christian community as Christian churches handed out free tickets to see this pornographic blood fest, and they did en masse, and what’s more, they applauded it for its authenticity and accuracy! Not a single church came out to protest this gory movie as age inappropriate obscenity. Yet this just goes to show there is a double standard at work.
Our religious smut is fine, but your beautiful erotic smut is too sinful for our tastes. We’re allowed to be loud and obnoxious and stand on a public park bench and spout out at the top of our lungs this putrefying smut, because we’re believers that this smut is true and meaningful, so don’t you dare make a mockery of our faith by trading your smut for ours! That would be crossing a line! See? It’s like I said, double standards all around.
Yet the truth is, the Bible is by and large jam packed with smutty material. The majority of which is pornographic, inappropriate for children, and well, for the most part just plain ole inappropriate. There is some good in the Bible, sure, but I don’t see Christians censoring their Bibles like they would try to censor campus freedom of speech campaigns. Meanwhile, “The Passion of the Christ” became the highest grossing pornography of all time.[ii] So I don’t see how anyone could take offense by the “Smut for Smut” campaign unless they were seriously deluded and had been brainwashed just not to see it, or else, they have allowed their crazy-eyed-zeal for their sacred values to override their better judgment; and that would be a shame. But the bottom line is this, if Christians are allowed to have their preferred smut, then I should be allowed to have mine, and if somebody wants to trade smut for smut, then I don’t see the problem.
  


[i] Translation note: The authorized King James version uses ‘cleave’ in place of ‘sticking it to her’, but the meaning of cleave is twofold. First, it literally translates to: to make a way through (something) forcefully, as if by splitting apart. Now that’s some serious deep penetration! Secondly, its secondary meaning is to become emotionally attached to someone.
I think in the context of the verse, translating the ‘cleaving of flesh’ (i.e. sex) from the root sarx (meaning the flesh, but also, like a horse) is a double entendre playing on both meanings. Therefore my crude translation fits within Biblical context and is not all that far from the original meaning of the vocabulary usage. The various translations render the concept of copulation, or engaging in coitus, as cleave, unite, bond, hold fast to, be joined, or come together.
[ii] Movie Trivia: “The Passion of the Christ” went on to earn more than 600 million dollars worldwide, was the highest grossing R rated film domestically with over 370 million, and was rated #1 of the 25 most controversial movies of all time by Entertainment Weekly (16 June 2006). Even the family friendly edit got slapped with an R rating, as the film was just too violent to escape the MPAA’s stern guidelines. Similarly, the director’s cut of the 1980’s film “Robocop” was so extremely violent that it initially got rated XXX as grotesquely violent pornography. Even though the director edited the film to snag a hard R rating for theatrical release, since the MPAA does not allow pornography to be shown in family going public cinemas.
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