First, I’m with Max Boot. Let’s turn away from the seamy Stormy Daniels saga and look at the real Trump scandals — the ones that, at least in some cases, we can discuss in front of our children.
But before we do…
A couple of days back, I read in The Washington Post the view that “the most radical” — and apparently most wonderful — part of Anderson Cooper’s interview with Stormy Daniels was that he opted to “refuse to treat Clifford as if she was irresponsible or immoral, or as if she were less than credible simply because of what she does for a living.” The piece elaborated that despite the mainstreaming of porn by the Internet, “working in adult films is not exactly regarded in the same neutral way as waiting tables or working at a law firm.”
But, refreshingly, that’s exactly how Cooper and “60 Minutes” treated Clifford’s work. The narration in the segment noted that Clifford “has been acting in, directing and writing adult films for nearly 20 years” and that “she was one of the most popular actresses in the adult industry.”…
I harrumphed and moved on. It was hardly worth engaging, because my views are not substantively different. That is, I don’t consider this woman to be necessarily more or less credible because of what she does for a living. Also, I think Anderson Cooper or any other journalist, or any other person, should always interact with fellow humans respectfully.
My objection was to the suggestion that being a porn star should be regarded in the same “neutral way as waiting tables or working at a law firm.”
No. There is a moral hierarchy in human activity. Waiting tables, for instance, is better than being a bank robber. And working at a law firm, generally speaking, is at least a more tasteful, even nobler choice than performing in pornography. (I don’t care what Juan says.)
Or, to bring it back to the subject at hand, it is better for Anderson Cooper to speak respectfully to this woman than to call her a harlot and dismiss her.
So yeah, I’m with you on the treating people decently and respectfully. I’m just not with you on pretending there’s nothing morally objectionable in being engaged professionally — as “actor,” director, producer, distributor or whatever — in the business of pornography. Just because it’s the oldest profession doesn’t make it the most honorable.
Anyway, I had decided not to address this issue until I saw Kathleen Parker’s column today. As usual (she tends to approach issues as a parent, as do I), she’s of my way of thinking.
For her part, after bemoaning the mainstreaming of the phrase “the porn star and the president,” which she no more sees as a sign of social progress than I do, she rightly focuses her opprobrium on the sleazier of the two — and it’s not “Stormy Daniels:”
This president’s behavior is not up to the standards we have a right to expect from the man or woman we elect to lead the nation. This is the shame and the travesty Trump has perpetrated upon the office he holds. Who cares about Stephanie Clifford, really?…
Not I, except to say two things: Working in porn is not the moral equivalent of waiting tables. But this porn professional is not as morally objectionable as this man who uses other human beings — from Playboy bunnies to national security advisers — and throws them away according to what he sees as benefiting his own momentary, scatterbrained gratification.
Because there is a moral hierarchy to human activity…