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What’s Wrong with the World is dedicated to the defense of what remains of Christendom, the civilization made by the men of the Cross of Christ. Athwart two hostile Powers we stand: the Jihad and Liberalism...read more

Marilyn Chambers R. I. P.

This morning I was greeted by a headline that the porn star, Marilyn Chambers (56), was found dead on Easter Sunday. Her obituary was written as if she had actually accomplished something. She was, of course, in her own way a “community organizer.” So much so that ten years ago then-mayor of San Francisco, Willie Brown, declared a "Marilyn Chambers day." But compare her obituary to any mainstream media obituary of the late Jerry Falwell, a person who, I must confess, would sometimes annoy me to no end. He was not my kind of guy. He was a rural, white, Southern Baptist, who was sometimes embarrassingly uncharitable and not careful with his words when addressing issues with which many other Christians would be sympathetic (but who would nevertheless cringe upon hearing the Rev.'s less than measured presentation). And, most importantly, he was not on the right side in the Civil Rights struggle when it really counted (something, by the way, for which he would later repent). For someone like me--an ethnic, urban, Yankee, cradle Catholic who grew up in a liberal Democratic household--I could not imagine ever hanging with him.

And yet, the Rev. Falwell founded a university, started a social movement of great influence, pastored a church of several thousand for several decades, led many, many people to Christ, and as far as we know was a loving and devoted husband and father. (He was a person that even Larry Flynt called "friend"!) On the other hand, Ms. Chambers, who died young (as is the case with virtually everyone in her “profession”), is portrayed as a cultural trailblazer who enlightened our culture to the “blessings” of anonymous, promiscuous, widely diverse, and videotaped, copulation. For this reason, you will hear no lamenting of the innumerable lives on which her example made chic the infliction of countless miseries. You will not hear of the unborn children killed, the addictions borne and nurtured, the marriages decimated, the offspring abandoned, the spouses betrayed, or even the diseases contracted—spiritual, mental and physical—that her “trailblazing” facilitated.

We live in an age in which we know precisely what recycle bin our newsprint and soda bottles belong. But we have no idea what a human being is, what it’s supposed to do, or who or what it is permissible to sleep with. So, this is the lesson of our time: the "good" man is the one who treats his garbage with greater care than his own soul. This is why, for our cultural gatekeepers, Ms. Chambers is an icon and the Rev. Falwell did not die soon enough.

Comments (38)

Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine,
et lux perpetua luceat eis.

About a month ago, a young woman in her very early twenties was talking to me about a "homosexual rights" ordinance being pushed in our town. She said to me something like, "Why didn't the previous generation see this coming? Why weren't we better prepared? Why didn't they guard the culture better?" I tried to tell her that in fact there were many who _did_ do exactly this. When I recounted the conversation to my husband he said, "Falwell did exactly that." I wished I had thought of that when I was talking to my indignant young conservative friend.

Well said, Francis.

A friend of mine who works in/runs a family owned high end resort development firm was recently negotiating the on demand providers for the resort. When they informed the provider in question that they would not allow pornography with the resort package the response from the provider was that this would dramatically impact the service quote. The reason given was that 40 – 50% of all on demand purchases were pornographic movies and they represented well over 50% of the profit that the on demand provider would enjoy.

Give me the man of God that is so passionate to fight that type of culture but is prone to say silly or thoughtless things from time to time over the people that worked to remove the proper shame associated with this industry and made it so comfortable for us that Entertainment Tonight features porn actors as if their field were indistinguishable from the rest of the entertainment world.

Good to read you again, Dr. Beckwith. I hope that lent & Easter were a blessing to you.

The penultimate sentence. Wow.

Brilliant.

the "good" man is the one who treats his garbage with greater care than his own soul.

Now there's a quotable quote! And we could add "...and cannot even fathom how anyone could take exception to this," given that so very many people on the other side of the fence these days literally do not understand how anyone could think Falwell superior to Chambers. Things are that bad.

When I was younger, and even then very conservative, I could not imagine the world ever really reaching Sodom and Gomorrah levels of depravity. All that just seemed too far-fetched.

Not any more.

"the "good" man is the one who treats his garbage with greater care than his own soul"

shouldn't we be praying for her/him rather than rejoicing in death?

Actually, I found out she died because you posted it on your website. Otherwise, I would have never found out.

shouldn't we be praying for her/him rather than rejoicing in death?

Who here is rejoicing in anyone's death?

I could not imagine the world ever really reaching Sodom and Gomorrah levels of depravity. All that just seemed too far-fetched.

Not any more.

Ed, I wish you could have been with me at a recent town meeting (March 9) regarding a proposed ordinance banning "discrimination" on the basis of (inter alia) "gender identity." The crowd was relatively well-behaved, and that's the best I can say. It was an unnerving time and place to be there in the minority. Nowhere near as bad as what the Prop. 8 supporters are experiencing in California, but still unpleasant. And the "pastors" were the worst.

But we have no idea what a human being is

True, people are little more than symbols designed to play their assigned roles in warped ideological narratives, or commodities to be exploited for material gain, physical pleasure and social advancement. Can Christians actually convey what it means to be truly human, while engaged in cultural dialogues so debased that mere participation seems only to corrode our own souls and accelerate the dehumanizing trend?

[Petty insults not tolerated. -- the management]

You make a good point. I never was a big fan of Jerry Falwell, especially when I was a liberal. But he did accomplish a lot and he changed his positions in life so at least he showed flexibility at times. He was the mouthpiece for the Moral Majority. But Marily Chambers, a celebrity is considered a greater personage. That is just sick. This society seems to be spiraling down to an immoral chaos. People cannot tell the difference any more between right and wrong -- the kick is that they don't care to think about it -- feeling good has become the be all end all. As long as you believe in abortion on demand, gay marriage, and environmental wackoism, you are with the in-crowd. Scary now to be a conservative thinker and be in the minority.

It's simply incredible concerning how amazingly twisted the values of our American society has become so devoid of any sense of morality or even religion that persons such as these are actually lauded & hailed as heroic figures.

Just now, while browsing MSNBC, there came a featured article entitled:

"75-year-old porn star aims to inspire elderly ‘I wanted to challenge what ordinary people did not,’ adult film star says"


The fawning narrative in which this article is cast & presented only seems to furnish even further evidence that Las Vegas isn't actually "Sin City" but that America itself (or perhaps, more accurately put, the world, for that matter) has become exactly that (and more) where you would hardly find exemplary figures of genuine heroism, spirituality, integrity & morality such as those martyrs & saints of Christendom's past (as in a St. Francis or even a St. Dominic, mind you) but that what has replaced these shining examples of Christianity are modern society's new version of saints which actually hail from the lower dregs of society that this world's general populace (not limited to the secularists, mind you, but includes even a number of our own fellow Christians) cannot help but fawn all over with but the highest of praise & worldly admiration, in wholly opposite contrast to those who happen to subscribe to more genuine spirituality of the human nature that does not itself consist in such mere utter pornography & soul-selling but rather immerses in that which is True (i.e., the Word), which latter modernity itself finds so utterly repugnant & even so remarkably revolting.

artistocles nailed it.

This is why I think it is a huge mistake for conservatives to give any ground to these moral despots. We shouldn't request "religious exemptions" or be defensive about our beliefs and practices. We should celebrate them, and if the Orwellian minions of faux tolerance want to lock us up for what we believe, we should willing go.

The spread of pornography into every nook and cranny of our culture and our lives, including our children's bedrooms, is, in my opinion, the scourge of modernism. The autoerotic act is the new beatific vision, even though it is both ugly and blind. This is why, in my opinion, erotic disaffection for the other is a symptom of narcissism, which is manifested in equating one's desires with what is "good." If you hate what you have become and nevertheless think it's all about you, the "other" is always a threat to your self-fulfillment, since you have no grasp on what it means to be a flourishing human being.

This is why the hatred of Sarah Palin was so palpable and her destruction a subject of great urgency: she refused to be either a whore or a mere careerist whose self-fulfillment was the center of the universe.

"This is why the hatred of Sarah Palin was so palpable and her destruction a subject of great urgency: she refused to be either a whore or a mere careerist whose self-fulfillment was the center of the universe."

No. Palin was both revered and loathed because she was, like Obama a symbol designed to elicit certain emotions from the manipulated masses. The real scourge of modernity is the reductionism that turns the flesh and blood human being into a theatrical prop for the politics of spectacle. Pornography is part of the process and will naturally flourish when the incarnate human being becomes simply a projection of our misplaced hopes, fears and dark desires.

Kevin, good point!

Frank

Frank, We're having "sex" with material objects and letting computer-generated algorithms guide our financial architecture. How do we restore a sense of what it means to be human and reverse this decline into a hellish dystopia?

Although I was not a fan of many of Marilyn Chambers' films (her most popular movie, Behind the Green Door, was about a woman who enjoyed being kidnapped and sexually objectified--a very sick theme), I think that we need to look at the whole person; otherwise we objectify her just as much as any film viewer. Chambers worked with senior citizens later in life, was a proud mother to a 17-year-old daughter, and appeared in nonpornographic films. Even her later explicit films showed sensitivity to women and are enjoyed by many couples. She was a writer and producer, ran for public office, and, while a proponent of free speech, spoke out against child porn and violence in adult films.

Above all she was a human being, just like the rest of us. Judge not lest ye be judged.

She...spoke out against child porn and violence in adult films.

Looks like she was being judgemental.

Who the hell do people think you are acting so righteous. You have no right to judge anyone. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. Freedom of speech allows you to operate this site. All of you sicken me with your righteous crap.

I think that we need to look at the whole person; otherwise we objectify her...Even her later explicit films showed sensitivity to women...

I hope you see the contradiction. Chambers consented to her own commodification, allowing the flesh merchants to reduce her to a celluloid fantasy and mere object of pleasure for unseen strangers. She forgot she was a real human being and that is the tragedy.

Even her later explicit films showed sensitivity to women and are enjoyed by many couples.

Insanity.

Who the hell do people think you are acting so righteous[?]

Who do I have to be?

Apparently I have to be you, since your comment is the most self-righteous comment in this discussion. But at least you get to thank God that your not like us, right?

Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

I enjoy people who quote John 8:7 while completely ignoring John 8:11, "Go, and now sin no more."

All of you sicken me with your righteous crap.

Sometimes one has to take an emetic so as to expel a poison before it is too late.

Who the hell do people think you are acting so righteous. You have no right to judge anyone. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. Freedom of speech allows you to operate this site. All of you sicken me with your righteous crap.

That's right --

I forgot how Jesus spoke so highly and even preached so profoundly in the Gospels on how we should glory in sin and, even further, shower such activity with only high praise & continued devotion where instead of placing the Word on the pedestal, it should actually be the Deep Throat series, as the various media outlets & liberal zealots of the day would have it, given how they actually hailed the 'highly controversial' and even 'thought-provoking' documentary that came out some years ago as an actual homage to that so-called 'ground-breaking' & historic film back then (as if it were the epitome of human achievement!)!

In other words, those who should continue to subscribe to and believe in traditional Christian ideals are to be persecuted & condemned as nothing more than judgmental, narrow-minded bigots while those who should happen to wallow in the pornographic wasteland of sin are to be hailed as amongst the virtuous where even its various actors are to be acclaimed simply as heros!

Indeed, I give you this world's new beatitude:

"Blessed are the Pornomakers for they will be called sons of God"

"Who the hell do people think you are acting so righteous. You have no right to judge anyone. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. Freedom of speech allows you to operate this site. All of you sicken me with your righteous crap."

Dear Self-Refuting Person:

How come your head does not explode from holding these contrary beliefs simultaneously?: 1. one ought not to judge, and 2. if one judges, then I judge you as wrong.

On the other hand, another commentator, Megan, suggests we ought to judge "the whole person." I'm curious why this charity was not extended to the Rev. Falwell, who in fact actually spent his entire career helping people? Here's why: he was a thorn in the side of lifestyle liberalism. Chambers was an evangelist for the cause.

Not to wax too Freudian here, but in virtually all of these cultural conflicts getting laid is usually what hangs in the balance. That's why the editorial board of the NY Times would be more upset if the Rev. Falwell led the Cal Berkeley football team in prayer than if Marilyn Chambers slept with the Golden Bears.

I find it absurd that an individual like Mr. Falwell should in any way be "judged" more favorably than a Ms. Chambers.

For those of non-Christian belief, would they believe leading others to Christ be helping people or in fact harming them.

If an individual feels his or her own body is their own business and so is engaging in consenting sexual activities with whomever they choose, then this should not be cause to judge them less worthy than anyone else.

I see no reason to treat the death of a Mr. Falwell ANY differently than the death of Ms. Chambers. They both lived their lives as they saw fit and they left people behind that loved them and will miss them.

If an individual...is engaging in consenting sexual activities...then this should not be cause to judge them less worthy than anyone else.

Oh, I see the problem. You believe that consent renders every choice equally worthy. But I don't think anyone here objects to Miss Chambers engaging in consensual sex. We'd rather she consented than not. It's the kind of acts she consented to that run the risk of condemnation.

"You believe that consent renders every choice equally worthy."

I wrote in the context of a single type of consensual activity, where you most disingenuously attributed that to mean consent of every choice. In addition, in no way did I state either Mr. Falwell's or Ms. Chambers' choices where anything other than choices. There is no "worthiness" involved.

While you or I may disagree with the kind of activities Ms. Chambers engaged in, to suggest, as the original author did, that Ms. Chambers be judged as less worthy than Mr. Falwell because of these activities is what I find absurd.

Neither Mr. Falwell's nor Ms. Chambers' actions make either a more, or less, worthy human being than the other.

Neither Mr. Falwell's nor Ms. Chambers' actions make either a more, or less, worthy human being than the other.
That must be a recitation of some kind of dogma, I suppose, because clearly a person's actions do in fact make him a more or less worthy human being in general. A person's actions don't make him less than a human being, of course; but a person's actions absolutely can and do make him a more or less worthy human being.

So if Falwell's actions were more worthy, they made him a more worthy human being or revealed him as a more worthy human being; if Chambers' actions were less worthy, they made her a less worthy human being or revealed her as a less worthy human being. Our actions both reveal and shape who we are, and this liberal dogma of nonjudgmentalism when it comes to actions is both hypocritical (because no liberal truly and consistently believes in nonjudgmentalism when it comes to actions -- all one need do is consider illiberal actions to see liberal judgmentalism in play) and false (because as a substantive matter making pornography is harmful, vile, despicable behavior).

Sure, liberals disagree with me that making pornography is substantively harmful and morally despicable. That is because they are wrong.

I wrote in the context of a single type of consensual activity...

No you didn't. You said that one's body is his own and that he can do what he wants with it sexually as long as the parties consent, and that as long as they do...

then this should not be cause to judge them less worthy than anyone else.

So there is "worthiness" involved.

...where you most disingenuously attributed that to mean consent of every choice.

There was nothing disingenuous about it. I flat-out said it quite clearly, straightforwardly, upfront and in your face. But only because it's true.

"That must be a recitation of some kind of dogma, I suppose, because clearly a person's actions do in fact make him a more or less worthy human being in general. A person's actions don't make him less than a human being, of course; but a person's actions absolutely can and do make him a more or less worthy human being."

Worthy of what? Worthy of grace? There were criminals on either side of Christ on the cross. Which was the more worthy?

It's not up to me to decide the worth of anyone. Matt 7:1-3; 1 Cor 5:12,13. God views all the same. Rom 3:23-24; Matt 20:1-14. It is my responsibility to be discerning, and so receive the measure of my discernment. Luke 6:37,38; Phil 1:9-11.

I had opportunity to attend Falwell's school (Lynchburg Baptist College at the time), travel with him as a musician on the bus on ministry junkets through Pennsylvania and Ohio, and have his signature and verse dedication in one of my Bibles. (Phil 1:6). While I differ(ed) sharply with him on some of his positions, he is held to one standard only, and not mine; that found in Philippians 1:15-18.

I did not have the opportunity to travel with Marilyn Chambers, but I'd certainly pray to find in that moment enough common ground to extend to her a reflection of God's grace.

The fruit of the Spirit should be more important to us than our obsession with what we judge to be the "fruit" around us.

Peace.

Worthy of what?
Worthy of having his particular choice of actions judged good or evil, among other things.

I'm not sure what the objection is supposed to be. A saintly person acts worthily, and by acting worthily becomes a more worthy person. A mass murderer or pornographer acts unworthily, and by acting unworthily becomes a less worthy person.

Mass murderers and pornographers are not beyond the reach of God's grace, of course, and saintly persons are not beyond falling into unrepentant grave sin and going to Hell. A man is not capable of saving himself through worthy actions absent acceptance of Christ's salvific grace, though he is perfectly capable of damning himself through unrepentant grave sin. Furthermore, the ultimate judge of men is God not us.

None of those theological points in any way whatsoever undermine the manifest (and doctrinal) fact that freely chosen worthy actions make a man more worthy, and freely chosen despicable actions make a man more despicable.

Christians ought to pray for the souls of both Falwell and Chambers, of course. Which also in no way undermines the manifest fact etc etc.

Marilyn made only a dozen xxx films in 40yrs - all but the first 3 or 4 of those were with strong friends from the SF/LA area. She took rolls in 17 mainstream films.
If you look at the biographies of x-rated actresses on wiki and their personal websites, you'll find it rare for them to be involved in the industry more than 5 or 10yrs at 6 films in a year. You'll find girls with University degrees, their own multi million dollar businesses, charity campaigners (PETA, Freedom Of Speech, AIDS, Battered Wives etc..), Tv Presenters.. They're often multi-lingual, having moved to LA after being offered work.
And no-one has ever warred over them or asked for constant donations for them while assaulting young boys.

"for by grace are ye saved, not of works...." scripture is "crystal clear" that NO ONE no not one is worthy--WE ARE ALL sinners---I hope and pray I NEVER get to the point of standing and praying, thanking God that I'm not like the bum whose flat on his face next to me, smelly, stinky,,,vile person--whose a pornography---mumbling something about forgiveness,,,,instead of "judging" a person's worth,,,pray in the most humblest fashion you can think of for that person's soul---God has ONE agenda--where you will spend eterinty!!

Hello, I was scanning something else about this on another blog. Interesting. Your perspective on it is diametrically contradicted to what I read earlier. I am still pondering over the opposite points of view, but I'm leaning to a great extent toward yours. And irrespective, that's what is so great about modern-day democracy and the marketplace of ideas online.

"For someone like me--an ethnic, urban, Yankee, cradle Catholic who grew up in a liberal Democratic household--I could not imagine ever hanging with him."

Sheesh, no wonder so few Southerners convert to Catholicism.

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