Thursday, February 15, 2007

MR on Pornography

Tyler Cowen writes "Why is pornography scarce?" Normally, as many of you know, I am a big fan of Marginal revolution, but this may be the most offensively bad post I have ever read. Let's review some direct quotes:
Call me clueless, as I have very little direct knowledge of pornography. But I don't understand[...]
How daring and original for a male in this day and age to claim no knowledge of pornography. I reject the ludicrous notion that Mr. Cowen is clueless in this matter, but if he is, as he claims to be, then why the hell is he asking these questions in the first place? Maybe he should do some, as he would typeset, research, before penning this pathetically self-serving travesty? He continues
Why don't they just buy a single dense disc of images and keep themselves, um...busy...for many years? I believe also that fetishes are fairly stable and predictable. You don't need to see "the new porn" to know what you will want to get off on.
In addition to the mildly offensive "um...busy," as if consuming pornography is to an economist a "lower" form of consumption than any other, Mr. Cowen has stated some non-clueless beliefs here. He may not know porn, but he sure knows "fetishes." And the last sentence is clearly counter-factual. Didn't Gary Becker warn economists not to state their own idiocy as how the world ought to be? It's not that that last sentence is correct and people are behaving improperly, it's simply that the sentence is plain wrong.

Finally, for no discernible reason whatsoever except to distance himself desperately from "they" who use pornography, he throws in
Please "splain" it to me, as they say...
Who says "splain" anyway? Pornography users? I won't even dignify the economic "theory" he appeals to at the beginning and end, but it's there if you're interested. The entire post could be reduced to "I am better than people who use pornography because not only am I innocent of any knowledge about it, but, furthermore, I'm smarter than those people because, based on a number of dubious assumptions, I can derive that they are behaving in a way that I would not if I used pornography. Which I don't."

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