Why is Everything Porn?

I see a beautiful picture of a sunset over the ocean. The sky is blended colors of deep purple with streaks of marmalade. A formation of pelicans are skimming the crest of a wave. And at the bottom of the picture is a caption. Earth porn, it says.

I’m at a website reading about the nature of positive thinking and its relevance to desirable outcomes. There’s a quote. It’s a short paragraph about the best kind of people have mistakes in their past and yada yada, a little alliteration, a few more poetic tricks, and bam, this beautifully phrased concept is credited at the bottom of it in artfully chosen typewriter imitation font. Word porn, it says.

There’s a picture of this dish. Looks like some kind of braised short rib, set on top a rotund mound of smoky buttery grits. All of this nested on a concise pile of arugula and pickled red onions speckled with aged blue cheese. I can practically see the heat waves of freshness and inhale the aroma. Then, there it is. Little white letters at the bottom of the photo. Food porn.

What is going on!?

Why must all these beautiful artistic creations be some classified as some iteration of porn?

I imagine in 30 years there will be groups of young children touring a science museum and the teacher will turn and say “Well kids! Here we are! Feel free to explore the ideas you are fascinated with! Over there is the evolution porn hall, and there is the geology porn wing. If you like animals you won’t want to miss out on the wildlife porn exhibit!”

“And next week we’ll be going to the art porn museum!”

The rise of everything being “pornified” clearly comes from the fact that more people, watch real porn, which is, lest we forget, people performing sexual acts in some shareable medium. I don’t really care about the morality of this fact. It is what it is. You do you, I always say. Maybe too literally in this case…

Perhaps the rise of the porn label on things as innocuous as a picture of a mountain or a pile of buttered corn is a symptom of sloppy language. The mass of idiocracy many will cry!

Perhaps it’s just a way to expose somewhat refined images and literature to people whose minds would otherwise overlook a boring dry quote by some dummy named Polonius in Act II of Shakesp….oh who gives a shit anyways…oh wait it says porn on it!

Maybe it’s just plain funny and liberating to those who studied for years in formal, rigid settings to feel the cathartic release of comparing a beautiful Camus paragraph as porn. Take that Professor Farnk! (not a real person)

Or maybe that image of pork belly confit elicits a deeply lustful evolutionary inner feeling that can only be expressed in the same internal emotional coding as sex.

It’s probably a mixture of all these reasons and more. Either way, I’ve got to get on with my day. Finish my cup of coffee porn, take a porn walk, and maybe watch some movie porn. Er…

3,300,000,000,000

3.3 trillion dollars. The United States federal government took 3.3 trillion dollars from its citizens in fiscal year 2015 through direct taxation.

3,300,000,000,000.

That is a silly number. I cannot comprehend what that amount of money could buy. Though with my handy Windows calculator, an internet connection, and an inflation calculator, we can find out together!

Interstate Road Systems (the whole thing): 14.5

Heart surgeries: 52,792,397

Empire State Buildings: 9,293

Cancer medicine for one year : 33,000,000 people

College degrees (four years, state college): 87,672,688

2016 Honda Civics: 177,038,626

I could keep going. Honestly, I kind of want to. This number game got more addicting than I anticipated. Ok, one more.

Apple Iphone 6’s: 6,010,928,961

Six billion iphones? One for every adult on the planet and then some.

This is one year of taxes.

This year of taxation could have bought, over 14 entire interstate road systems at a time when people are complaining about underfunded infrastructure issues.

To be clear, I am not saying that we just need to be more efficient with our tax dollars and look how much we could achieve!

The system is broken. The government confiscates this amount of money every year (and progressively more every year for the foreseeable future) and provides so little value commensurate to this veritable treasure hoard. Why should we have faith that, maybe, oh gosh, hopefully next year they’ll finally get their act together?

What would have happened if the government had taken nothing during FY 2015? What if all that value was kept in the economy of real goods and services?

We cannot know. It is this great omission of data which the government relies on to keep their plunder as innocuous as possible. The ignorance of the unseen theft of taxation is insidious. The late great economist Frederic Bastiat summarized it well:

“There is only one difference between a bad economist and a good one: the bad economist confines himself to the visible effect; the good economist takes into account both the effect that can be seen and those effects that must be foreseen.”

We are constantly assaulted by bad economists. I’m not saying everyone should go out and learn real economics. We all intuitively possess knowledge of production vs. theft. Instead ask yourself one question.

What could you have done with the money taken from you?