Is Game of Thrones Pornographic?

game of thrones sex scene 2

My wife and I are avid watchers of the HBO hit drama, Game of Thrones (GOT). In the most recent episode, Ramsay Bolton, a psychopath of epic proportions, was eaten alive by his dogs — a just reward for such a vile man. Every GOT episode has moments of violence and sex, as does virtually every TV drama. Viewers watch dramas such as GOT because of its edgy and provocative story lines.

This fact has posed a big problem for Evangelicals who see themselves as the judges and arbiters of what is good TV and what is moral or immoral. This problem arises for these keepers of national morality when their followers ignore their warnings and admonitions and tune in to shows such as GOT. Millions of God-fearing Christians watch each episode of GOT. Evangelical preachers, irritated by the failure of church members to pay attention to them, increase their GOT rhetoric, hoping to finally get through to Christians who love the violence and sex, not only on GOT, but also on numerous other pay-TV dramas.

In recent weeks, I have noticed that several Christian websites have labeled GOT pornographic. Ben Kayser, a writer for CHARISMA , had this to say about Game of Thrones:

The HBO series Game of Thrones has been quite comfortable with controversy for the six years its [sic] been airing. Beyond the graphic sex scenes frequently included in the show, the series also includes many storylines that include incest, extreme bloody violence and multiple graphic depictions of rape that are clearly gratuitous, even from the perspective of mainstream and liberal critics.

However, somehow the creators manage to convince viewers that what they’re watching isn’t pornography, meant to titillate and shock, but is instead “art.” Even many Christian viewers find ways to excuse the show so they can enjoy some entertainment they find compelling and exciting. That said, recent data from the X-rated site Pornhub, as reported in The Daily Mail, reveals that Game of Thrones not only is linked to pornography usage, but scenes from the show are being used as porn directly.

HBO is in a legal battle with the porn website over the sites use of sexually explicit clips from Game of Thrones, which HBO states breaches their copyright of the content. Additionally, Pornhub revealed that internet porn usage decreased when HBO was airing a new episode of Game of Thrones and only increased back to the average number of users four hours after a new episode had aired. According to The Daily Mail, the data “also found searches for Game of Thrones-related videos and pictures of characters also rocketed by nearly 370 percent on the day of the [episode] premiere.”

….

HBO is a premium subscription channel. Only those who subscribe to the channel can watch its programming. As with all pay TV channels, easily offended Christians are free to NOT subscribe. Don’t like a channel’s content? Don’t watch it. Personally, I am sick and tired of Christians whining and complaining about what’s on TV. Currently, there are a dozen Christian TV channels on DIRECTV. DISH, along with other pay TV providers, also have numerous Christian channels. If offended believers want to watch saved, sanctified programming, why not tune into one of these channels? I am sure there are plenty of Little House on the Prairie reruns for Christians to watch. Why spit and fume over what heathens are watching on channels such as HBO and Showtime?

game of thrones sex scene

Here’s the dirty little secret Christian moralizers don’t want you to know. MOST Christians don’t watch religious channels. That’s right, most Christians know the God-oriented channels have very little good programming. This is why they tune into shows such as GOT. Whatever one might think about GOT violence and sex, it is a superbly written, directed, and acted TV drama. I am of the opinion that we have entered a golden era of TV programming. There are so many good dramas on TV now that it is hard to decide which ones to watch. Channels such as AMC, FX, USA, Syfy, TNT, TBS, and BBC have, in recent years, produced numerous top-notch dramas. Even third tier channels are getting in on the act. This means that TV viewers have a plethora of programs to choose from. Christians and non-Christians alike have dozens of programs they can watch. There’s no need to bitch, moan, and complain about supposedly offensive programs. Viewers are free to change the channel until they find one that meets their personal preferences.

Is GOT pornographic? Of course not. Kayser and his fellow Puritans should spend some time on PORNHUB if they want to see what REAL pornography looks like. Better yet, since most Evangelical pastors have personally viewed porn, why not just ask them if GOT is pornographic. Even better, survey church members and ask them, compared to YOUPORN, REDTUBE, and other porn sites, if GOT is pornographic. If we-never-lie Christians are honest, they will say no, GOT is not pornographic.

Kayser  bases the premise of his post on Sunday PORNHUB viewer data. The Daily Mail reports:

Last month it was revealed online viewing of porn dropped by around four per cent – equating to millions of people – while the first episode of the new series aired.

Data from Pornhub showed the number of active users in the U.S. started decreasing in the hour before the show started and did not return back to average levels until four hours later.

It also found searches for Game of Thrones-related videos and pictures of characters also rocketed by nearly 370 per cent on the day of the premiere.

Emilia Clarke, who plays blonde princess Daenerys Targaryen and who regularly appears naked in the show, was the top search.

She was followed by Natalie Dormer, as Margaery Tyrell, and Sibel Kekilli, who plays Shae.
….

Kayser thinks this data proves that GOT is pornographic. Does it? Of course not. First, GOT is not pornographic, so there is no correlation between GOT viewership and PORNHUB use. Kayser wants readers to think that there is connection between porn use and GOT. In Kayser’s mind, prior to tuning into GOT, viewers are watching internet porn. Once GOT comes on viewers switch from one porn source to another.

Second, there are other explanations for reduced PORNHUB traffic. The biggest reason for the reduced traffic numbers is the number of prime time dramas that are now scheduled for Sunday nights. As every avid TV watcher knows, there are numerous programs to choose from. Currently, Games of Thrones, Outlander, Hell on Wheels, Preacher, Ray Donovan, Roadies, Murder in the First, and Silicon Valley are scheduled for the 8:00 PM to 11:00 PM Sunday slot. In the Fall, broadcast networks will add eight or ten more programs to the Sunday night mix. And come September, Sunday Night Football will broadcast 17 weeks of NFL games. It seems to me, then, that PORNHUB traffic numbers drop, not because of GOT, but because viewers are switching to their favorite Sunday evening programs.

Kayser went looking for “proof” that GOT is pornographic and he found it in PORNHUB’s raw traffic data. Kayser finds correlations where there are none. Until a proper study is conducted, it is impossible to conclude that PORNHUB’s traffic drop is due to people switching to GOT. At this point, it is just as likely that the traffic reduction is due to Evangelicals attending Sunday evening church services, fellowships, and activities. Scandalous? Perhaps, but then so is the notion that GOT is pornographic.

Instead of blaming the Evangelicals who regularly watch GOT, the Keysers of the world blame programmers, casting them as tools of Satan used to bring down Christian America. These Fundamentalists refuse to understand that most Americans — including some of their fellow Christians —  reject “Biblically” based codes of morality and conduct. Keyser and others like him are free to NOT watch GOT. What others watch is none of their business. If viewers want to watch violence and sex scenes, they should be free to do so. Evangelicals tend to be capitalistic promoters of free markets, yet when it comes to TV programming, Christians demand the government step in and regulate what subscribers can watch.

Christians are free to produce programming that meets their moral standards. That they don’t reveals that Evangelicals are not interested in such programming. Like it or not, many Christians love Game of Thrones. And like it or not, many Christians are going to view pornography. Program viewing is quite personal. Each of us has programs we love and hate. And that’s the beauty of the free market system. We are free to watch whatever we want. Don’t like a program? Consider a program offensive? Change the channel. All Evangelicals have to do to avoid what they deem “pornographic” is to change the channel or not subscribe to HBO.

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29 Comments

  1. J.D. Matthews

    That sound outside your window is an evangelical trying to make sure you’re not watching smut.

    Reply
    1. Suzanne

      J.D…. sometimes it’s a good way to shoo them away! Yesterday I was folding clothes and watching the last twenty minutes of ‘The Full Monty’ when a trio of what looked like IFB brand fundies came up my walkway way. I was sitting on the sofa in front of the windows and could see them well. Where they stood they could see the television on top of the fireplace. They were looking in at the television. It was on one of the scenes where the guys were practicing their stripping. The door to door salvation squad stopped, backed up and went over to my car to place the tract under the windshield wipers on my car. Now I’m tempted to leave that scene playing endlessly on a loop to keep all the door to door religious folks away. It wasn’t even vaguely pornographic and the men had taken off their clothing only to their underwear. Fundy porn can be anything, even stuff that really shows nothing.

      Reply
      1. Brian

        Suzanne, you talking about porn is porn because it made me think of things, you know, things. It’s allllll porn except the one black Book. Oh my, they are naked and chasing me!

        Reply
  2. Becky Wiren

    It’s not good enough. The fundies want to force the rest of us to stop watching things they deem evil. Goes along with their theocratic ideas, that they should control non-believers (plus stop their own believers from using their free will).

    It’s tiresome.

    Reply
    1. Ben Masters

      That’s what I’ve been facing ever since I hit my head on a doorframe in my bathroom 7 (going on 8) years ago. Prior to that, I often enjoyed many of the classics that were on in my youth and before, while avoiding the more risky stuff of today. Then, it happened– I was seeing an episode of the original Get Smart on DVD, and ran to get my mother’s phone. As I was running back, I jumped, and hit my head. I was in a daze, and it did not feel good!

      After that, I went back to finish what I was seeing, but could not finish it. I could not even enjoy anything I tried from henceforth (even classics), as from that point I started hearing a voice in my head yelling “Immoral!”

      I heard it with every single thing I tried to watch, no matter how old. Even that 1963-67 ABC classic called The Fugitive (w/the late David Janssen) triggered that voice in my head. It left me wondering– when these Fundies said that television was immorality, did they mean that a lot of what was on today was immorality, or did they mean that it was everything since the beginning of the medium? I leant strongly towards the latter– of course, that was just a hunch of mine.

      Reply
  3. Daniel Wilcox

    Bruce, My main problem with the first novel of Game of Thrones is its glorification of lethal violence.
    I started reading it because some Christians actually recommended it to me! They ignored the gore and rape, etc. but were amazed at the depth of story and characterization.

    As a retired literature teacher, I would agree that George R.R. Martin’s depth of plot and characterization is way above the average. However, I only read the first few chapters because at this point in my life, I see and hear already too much emphasis on the justification of killing in the media and in politics.

    I’ve read plenty of violence and sex in my day since I was a secular literature major at university, then taught literature for many years. Here’s a howler for you Bruce: In my college Contemporary American Literature advanced class, I was so upset by the grossly unhumanistic view of sexuality in one book that I typed my critique on a roll of toilet paper:-)

    The prof was amazed when I turned it in. He wondered how I managed to type a whole long essay on a roll of t.p. without it tearing?

    As you already know, since I am a very strong advocate for freedom of speech, etc., I have–even back in my Christian days–been a strong supporter of literary freedom. I hate censorship. One of my favorite poems of my high school years was the banned long poem, “Howl,” by Allen Ginsberg.

    Having said that, I do think it behooves us as thinking adults to encourage stories which include high ideals and to discourage the glorification/graphic description of war, rape, and rapine.

    It’s not a matter of what one likes or dislikes but of ethics and what media and literature glorify.

    Reply
    1. Brian

      I disagree, Daniel. Your tastes run one way and some others see something quite different and just as valid, perhaps more valid for them! There is a huge difference between the poetry published in a local newspaper, Roses are redder, and the poetry of Pablo Neruda or the brilliant fellow that began a poem, They fuck you up, your mom and dad, they may not mean to but they do…
      But when you say it is about ethics, i hear a preacher/teacher making noise, not poetry. I have no interest in reading Game of Thrones but have seen the early seasons. It pushes the envelope in its raw displays, for television, at least. You don’t like it. Why must it become a matter of ethics when it is really a matter of taste, or lack of it if you prefer. My preacher dad maintained that The Beatles were no more than a bunch of hooligans banging trash cans together. You must have loved Lenny Bruce?
      Your feeling about encouraging stories with high ideals and discouraging others makes me cringe a bit.
      Does GOT do us more good than harm? Is that your worry? That it reduces us in some way? My dad said that about TV itself.

      Reply
      1. Daniel Wilcox

        Well, Brian, since we disagree from the get-start, there probably can’t be any dialog.

        I don’t think ethics have anything to do with “tastes,” subjective opinions and preferences, etc.

        Behaving in non-exploitative ways, acting honest, compassionate, generous, tolerant, equal, etc. Those actions are true and reasonable.

        Selling sex through the media, using obscene speech, deception, acting intolerant, self or nationalistic-centered, etc. are false and unreasonable.

        As for the Beatles music, some of the songs will endure, and are of great ethical worth, but some of the songs were moral trash. And they themselves weren’t role models, what with John Lennon hooked on heroin, etc.

        I don’t know what you dad meant “about TV” since I don’t have the details.

        But generally, I do think that many TV shows and commercials are morally harmful, superficial, generally misuse sexuality for profit, are exploitative, glorify violence and revenge, etc.

        As I already mentioned, I read part of the first GOT book, but stopped when it began to glorify lethal violence, etc.
        I’ve not watched the show because of all the very bad news reporting on it such as graphic rapes and slaughter. But so many people I know recommend it that I guess I need to see at least one episode.

        Reply
        1. Brian

          Daniel said:
          “Behaving in non-exploitative ways, acting honest, compassionate, generous, tolerant, equal, etc. Those actions are true and reasonable.
          Selling sex through the media, using obscene speech, deception, acting intolerant, self or nationalistic-centered, etc. are false and unreasonable.”
          This is your own game of True and False and not mine. Life is not a simple true and false choice. have you never made a wrong choice and then looked back in shock and dismay. Life happens between True and False and is not so black and white as you suggest or so it seems. Be good and don’t be bad, just does not quite do it for me, Daniel.
          Art does not fall under the same umbrella as advertising or journalism with regard to ethics. If we can agree that GOT is Art and not something else, a lesser beast, then we cannot really apply your personal tastes or those of your ‘culture’ to such things as these, what you call obscene speech, intolerance and so forth. All of these are strikingly human attributes and therefore subject to use in Art as the creator sees fit.
          These depictions inform us, entertain us, inflame our passions, challenge our limits. What you find obscene might not be ultimately so. Bikinis were considered obscene by the church members of our Baptist church and to use them was unethical, a sin. These flimsy coverings inflame a poor man’s lust and all hell breaks loose. We now see how ugly a hatred that attitude was based in… it is called evangelical Christianity, among other excessive religions.
          I am unable to agree with your statement about sex for sale. It is for sale and always has been. It is not sacred. Exploitation of people is unethical and I think it is reasonable to resist excesses where people are coerced or forced into actions they would not otherwise freely choose. Because some people are harmed, all driving must be outlawed…. where does your need to control end?
          The Beatles wrote moral trash? You’d have to help me with that one. The fact that John Lennon did some drugs is neither here nor there. What on earth are you making such a ludicrous statement for? The Beatles were wonderful role models for this son of a Baptist preacher: They helped to free me from the church prison! Tight-ass judge preachers who spout scripture and hatred are the lousy role models of the day, both then and now.

          Reply
          1. Daniel Wilcox

            Well we agree that religion is often harmful.

            But we very strongly disagree on this: “…sex for sale. It is for sale and always has been. It is not sacred. ”

            Everything about humans is of value and inherent worth. That is the whole basis of human rights, equality, justice, honesty, etc.

            The fact that humans have exploited sexuality (and most other aspects of humanity) in the past as well as in the present doesn’t make it okay.

            We ought to work against exploitation in the media.

            So we have very different views.

        2. Dan

          Daniel… You seem to laud the virtues of tolerance, yet you began by saying there can’t be any dialogue because you disagreed.

          I hope you don’t mean that. If everyone felt that way there would be no dialogue. Period… definitely not a world I’d enjoy.

          When it comes to those with whom I disagree, I think I enjoy dialoging with them the most. I learn and am challenged by those with different perspectives.

          Perhaps if you defined “glorify” as it pertains to ‘glorifying revenge and violence’ I could understand. Examples would help too.

          You’d think (hope?) ‘ethics’ wouldn’t be subjective, but they are. And everyone thinks their code is as close to ‘true’ as it gets.M

          Reply
          1. Daniel Wilcox

            Sorry, incorrect. I didn’t say there can’t be any dialogue because I disagreed. Look at my comment again:
            >>Well, Brian, since we disagree from the get-start, there probably can’t be any dialog.

            I don’t think ethics have anything to do with “tastes,” subjective opinions and preferences, etc.<<

            Or maybe, I wasn't clear enough? Maybe I ought to have added
            since we disagree from the get-start [on the very definition of ethics]…I don't think ethics have anything to do with "tastes"…

            We learned early in philosophy class many years ago at university that if two individuals seeking to communicate don't agree on the very definition of terms, then there can't be any dialog.

            That is what I meant.

            Ethics are the opposite of "tastes." Merriam-Webster Dictionary: ethics "rules of behavior based on ideas about what is morally good and bad"
            versus
            tastes "individual preference"

            I am a libertarian sort of person. For instance, I don't gamble, but I am not opposed to the gambling of others (as long as they are meeting their responsibilities). I don't smoke marijuana, but I think it ought to be legal (again, as long as a person doesn't drive under the influence).

            It seems to me that those are like liking or disliking hunting or the coffee, personal preferences, not ethical truths.

            But when it comes to ethical issues, I am strongly opposed to wrong actions as I already stated. If a person objectifies, demeans, is unequal toward, deceives others, then I am against such wrong behavior.

            I agree with you "I learn and am challenged by those with different perspectives."

            And I have learned, grown, and changed by interacting with others very different from myself, even those I strongly disagree with. This is especially happened when I lived in the Middle East. And still happens when I dialog with Muslims for instance.

            If a woman chooses to wear a hijab or veil, (or not to) that is her right. (I disagree with some countries which ban it or require it, because then it becomes a matter of human rights.)

            But if a movie intentionally flaunts sexuality in a demeaning way or intentionally argues that women must wear the hijab, then this becomes, not a matter of like or dislike, but a moral issue.
            Or if media intentionally promotes prejudice, killing, pornography, obscenity, etc., then it is wrong.

            I hope that is more clear.

            I think, generally, most people can spot the difference between exploitation of violence and sexuality in media versus serious thoughtful wrestling with sexuality and violence.

            Generally, I think many actions movies make killing and revenge appealing. Others don't, even though they show killing.

            Then you wrote, "You’d think (hope?) ‘ethics’ wouldn’t be subjective, but they are."

            This is a different topic. But we strongly disagree here.
            I am a former mental health worker with emotionally disturbed teens and children, have volunteered in juvenile hall, been a high school teacher with at-risk students and abused students, lived in the Middle East, etc.

            Ethics aren't "subjective" by any stretch of the imagination. The purpose of the criminal justice system is to be as objective as possible (though it often fails at this).

            Yes, everyone thinks that their ethical views are correct, otherwise they change them.

            The key is for everyone to keep moving closer and closer to what is true!

            For instance, most people in the past thought slavery was okay or at least necessary, but after the Enlightenment and the influence of some individuals from the Quakers, etc. gradually most humans came to see that slavery is inherently evil (though there are some thinkers who deny this).
            Until fairly recently, many people including governments thought that it was okay to deny same sexual people the same rights as others (and some still think this), but now this is also changing, and people are becoming aware of the truth that everyone ought to be equal (though there are some who continue to deny this).

            There's nothing "subjective" about the promotion of killing, the exploitation of others sexually or otherwise, etc.

            Hopefully, eventually more and more humans will realize that promoting killing or using sex exploitatively is as wrong as prejudice.

            Based on my own reading of part of GOT's first book–and the reviews of GOT by secular reviewers–it would appear that GOT does promote violence and misuse sexuality. Keep in mind that it was from secular reviewers that I read that the rape scenes and the nudity scenes were gratuitous and graphic.

            Also, from the perspective of a retired literature teacher, I think it is very important that a work of art offer positive alternatives to killing and demeaning sexuality, if the latter are represented. I am very aware how much media influences humans for good or ill.

            If in doubt consider how much media propaganda influenced the vast majority of Americans to support a "first-strike" invasion of Iraq, or how much influence movies such as The Triumph of the Will had on Germans, or how much media plays a significant role in recruitment by Islamic jihadist groups or how much gangsta rap influenced many, etc.

            Hope that is more clear, even if we do strongly disagree.

          2. Dan

            Thanks for your clarification Daniel.

            Try as I might, I can not agree with your opinions about morality. I realize that you don’t think opinions or subjectivity come into play- but I think they do…

            Who decides?

            When you use words like “wrong” “objectify” “demean” “unequal” “flaunt” “pornography” “obsenity” etc… subjective, personal opinion comes into play.

            Who decides where those lines cross?

    2. J.D. Matthews

      Depiction is not always glorification though. I think immediately of George Romero’s Living Dead zombie movies, which are graphically violent, but are very clearly meant as social commentary. Also, there are the Grand Theft Auto video games, which most people seem to think of as glorifying violence, crime, sex and debauchery, but if you pay even a minimal amount of attention to the in-game radio stations, billboards, conversations and the game story itself, you realize pretty quickly that it’s a scathing satire and criticism on American society.

      Reply
      1. Brian

        Daniel said, “But if a movie intentionally flaunts sexuality in a demeaning way or intentionally argues that women must wear the hijab, then this becomes, not a matter of like or dislike, but a moral issue.”
        And who decides what flaunting is, Daniel? The Muslom cleric? The reader of literature? And so what if it a moral issue! That might be the whole point of the depiction!
        My point is that you make big statements about True and False but these are your True and your False.
        A Clockwork Orange is an incredibly violent movie. It glorifies violence in the sense that it holds it painfully aloft in criminal depiction. It is Art. Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket is unbelievably raw and viciously violent and one of the best war films of all time. I have never seen America so well depicted in war as in this film.
        You also say, “Also, from the perspective of a retired literature teacher, I think it is very important that a work of art offer positive alternatives to killing and demeaning sexuality…”
        It is none of your business as a teacher to impose your personal prejudice on readers. What a work of art offers in its violent, sexy depiction of life might disgust you and leave you feeling despair. But you have the gaul to demand that it include positive alternatives! What bullshit. Art depicts life if it is art. Life is not just Little House on the Prairie. Philip Larkin is offering you life in the following poem, eternal life. Will you accept it?

        ‘This be the verse’

        They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
        They may not mean to, but they do.
        They fill you with the faults they had
        And add some extra, just for you.

        But they were fucked up in their turn
        By fools in old-style hats and coats,
        Who half the time were soppy-stern
        And half at one another’s throats.

        Man hands on misery to man.
        It deepens like a coastal shelf.
        Get out as early as you can,
        And don’t have any kids yourself.

        Philip Larkin

        Reply
        1. Daniel Wilcox

          I suggest you take a look at Martin Gardner’s book The Whys of a Philosophical Scrivener. He was the co-founder of the modern American skeptic movement, writer for Scientific American, and among other hats, a literary critic. He has two chapters where he explains why ethics and aesthetics aren’t subjective.

          Every literature teacher is a literary critic and one of his/her central tasks is to teach students how to evaluate selections of literature and how to evaluate the ethical themes of literature. In World literature and in American literature, it is good if he/she juxtaposes nationalistic pro-war poems next to anti-war poems–Timrod’s “Ode” versus Melville’s “Shiloh,” encourages contrary discussion, and sets up debates.

          Then you wrote, “It is none of your business as a teacher to impose your personal prejudice on readers.”

          As a literature teacher I presented all sides, worldviews, and ethical actions of literature. My students usually couldn’t tell which worldviews I agreed with and which I didn’t. They would ask me questions, but I would remind them that I didn’t talk about my own views in class.

          The most difficult worldview and ethical outlook I needed to present was the Puritan/Calvinist one. Every 4 months I dressed up as Jonathan Edwards and taught them “The Day of Doom” by Wigglesworth (where the long Puritan poem details why God casts infants into the flames of Hell). This was very difficult for many modern students to understand (as it is for me), but I did my best to help them see why Puritans thought human infants were so evil. Then it was on to “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” Cotton Mather, the Salem Witchcraft Trials, etc.

          It was quite a stretch pretending to be a Calvinist and then in contrast directing them in atheist Arthur Miller’s anti-censorship, anti-Calvinist play, The Crucible, but I did.
          Now years later, I come across many students from those days, bump into 2 or 3 every couple of months. I don’t recognize them, but they do me, and come up and talk briefly about how they still interpret themes and plots.
          That warms the ol’ teacher’s heart.

          However, when it comes to ethical choices in ther real world, it SURE was our business as teachers to help our students discern wise actions–to make a suggestion when a student admired a song advocating the physical abuse of a girlfriend, to respond to a student who came up and told me about her cutting herself, to a student…And to recommend them to the school counselor. etc.

          When we teachers presented pro-suicide literature or pro-drug-abuse literature, etc., we were careful to give guidance to students.

          My job as a literature teacher was to present all views and to guide students in learning how to discern what is true from what is false, what is well written from what is superficial.

          Reply
          1. Brian

            “it SURE was our business as teachers to help our students discern wise actions–to make a suggestion when a student admired a song advocating the physical abuse of a girlfriend, to respond to a student who came up and told me about her cutting herself, to a student…And to recommend them to the school counselor. etc.

            When we teachers presented pro-suicide literature or pro-drug-abuse literature, etc., we were careful to give guidance to students”

            Daniel, I am in no way advocating that a teacher lack humanity, that they encourage people to kill themselves or cut themselves or whatever.Do you suggest that my stance would encourage cutting or suicide?
            When a youngster holds up a song that talks about the physical abuse of a girlfriend, it is an opportunity for dialogue and I am sure that would occur in any room of people listening to the work with critical intentions. I am happy that you felt able to give guidance to those in need.
            Thanks for the suggestion about Gardner’s book. I will have a look.

    3. Appalachian Agnostic

      Christianity literally glorifies violence by insisting that the violence of the crucifixion is required for man to be saved from more violence in Hell. Weird.

      Reply
  4. JR

    I actually find the sex scenes in historical (or in GOT case fantasy) dramas a pretty cynical exploitation of the audience. It is a way of getting people watching and talking about it. Sex sells.

    The more explicit the more the publicity. You don’t always have explicit sex scenes in dramas set in modem times – but in historical dramas they are a given – think Sparticus, Rome, The Tudors. Why is this? Sure people did shag a lot but you can leave it to the imagination or show less.

    I don’t have a problem with sex on tv – in fact if I am honest I like it. But lets be honest about why we like it. Sex in GOT is not art – it is titillation. The actresses are hot – we would love to see them naked and guess what – we can! Perhaps both they and we the audience are being exploited?

    Some of the scenes in GOT go beyond what they need to show. Often what is left to the imagination is more powerful anyway.

    So in sone ways I think certain dramas have the same goal as porn – to give people the sex they want to watch.

    Reply
  5. Melody

    I haven’t seen GOT yet, and am still on the fence about it. Partly about the sex actually, but really about the rapes. I’ve heard there’s quite a lot of rapes in it and I’m not really up for that personally. On the other hand, I do really like fantasy, so it poses a bit of a dilemma for me, as everyone is praising it and it does look cool.

    The show I watched secretly as a christian with my brother was Six Feet Under. There was sex in it, but also religious dilemma’s as they were Catholic. One of the main characters is gay and struggles a bit with it from that perspective. I absolutely loved the show, the quirky characters (so much more real than most tv-characters), and sometimes recognized myself in them. It was also about mental health which was hardly ever a theme of a tv-show and about death as well. I really liked that it had so much serious stuff in it without being too sad, as there’s lots of (dark) humor too.

    We were often a little worried that my dad might walk in just at the moment when there were two men kissing. He had an uncanny ability to walk in just at such times, often precisely when in say a two-hour film with one swearword: he’d come and ask us something or whatever, right at that moment…. It frustrated us inmensly as we were left explaining that it hadn’t happened so far… and he was not so much angry as disappointed in us (which hurt more.)

    But yes, it’s very familiar that everything has to be forbidden. Harry Potter, the Da Vinci code, James Bond, or whatever, as long as there’s sex in it it is wrong, curses or swearwords too, which basically means everything right? And Christian tv and movies are not all that attractive….

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    1. Brian

      Six Feet Under still stands as one of my favorite TV series. Also Breaking Bad! Good work always pushes at boundaries and Art is about revealing. These shows were very high quality television as I see it. GOT is not on the same level but is far from deserving the dustbin!
      The one rape I viewed in GOT brought much social commentary and discussion out there, something that most of us agree is a worthwhile thing.

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  6. Suzanne

    I loves me some Game of Thrones, as you well know. But sometimes the violence is a bit hard to take and you have to look away. Watched the Battle of the Bastards and the battle at Hardhome through splayed fingers.

    But it’s so not porn, not at all. Christians that object to it need to stick to whatever it is they find acceptable and leave GoT alone.

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    1. Brian

      But it does push at the boundaries of almighty decency and so forth! I say BAN it! Let us get back to the only book that matters and let the dark one carry all you lost people where you belong. Television itself (except for religious programs) is a black hole sucking America towards a sure doom. Here endeth the sermon. TRUMP TRUMP!

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  7. Dan

    Hey Bruce… great post, thanks!

    That quote from the Charisma writer is great. Among other dumb things, he uses a common Christianese phrase: “pornography usage.”

    “Usage?” I love it when they invent terminology to bolster their controlling agendas… typical actually. Is a sitcom fan guilty of “sitcom usage” or is one who watches suspense “using suspense?”

    Just ridiculous…

    As full time, fundamentalist pastor I happen know that believers and pastors alike “use” porn. Frankly, I’m a big fan. After 30 years of marriage a good porn scene can really spice things up!

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  8. Angiep

    The problem religious leaders have with GOT is that Christians watch it. They’re not supposed to, but they do. They want to know what all the fuss is about and not be left out. Then they end up actually liking it. When I was a fundy, I had major problems with being told not to watch R-rated movies. Watched them anyway; they were far superior to the squeaky-clean family movies, in terms of plot, dialogue, character development, etc.
    I hear the drum beat of censorship sounding on the horizon over this. But I think it will be drowned out by the applause.

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  9. Scott

    Whenever material is discussed as to what is considered “porn”. I remember Potter Stewart’s brilliant definition from one of the Supreme Court cases: “I know it when I see it.”

    Just like another definition: “What I like is erotica, what you like is porn.”

    Scott

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  10. Trenton

    Havent watched the tv series but i have read all of the books and they are just as violent and gory as the tv series from what ive heard. Do i think that it is porn , no, sex is part of human nature if you dont like it then watch something else. Generally im in the if you dont want to watch it change the channel and if you want to “protect” your children moniter what they watch. The hypocrisy from several people in certain circles (cough parents television council cough) is they want small government for everything except this(and abortion, but thats another topic). What utter and absolute nonsense. Of course GOT has nothing compared to another book that these same people love and think is the base of all objective morality?.

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  11. Troy

    I’m amused by the Fundie mind, Pornhub’s stats go down when Game of Thrones airs? As an enthusiastic consumer of the show I’d point out that not all episodes have nudity (which was more common in the first season, but now is quite rare.)
    (I’m assuming the philosopher king preachers are allowed to watch it so they can ward off the danger to the flock.)
    As for why do fundie pastors use popular fare as preaching points? It is a total win! win! win! First win! is that as part of the zeitgeist it gets your attention. The second win! is that they’re probably watching it, so you can shame (ding ding!) them for doing so. The third win! is that if they aren’t watching it, they can indulge in the moral superiority of being better than the other sinners out there (and competitive denominations of course).

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  12. Daniel Wilcox

    Dan,
    you wrote, “Who decides where those lines cross?”

    Each reader, each viewer is faced with the ethical decision.

    Certainly, NOT the government!

    One of the most absurd depressing events happened while I was a teacher. Back east, a school actually banned
    Huckleberry Finn!
    🙁
    One of the most important ethical truths is freedom of speech, the press, and expression.

    Reply

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