Compare and Contrast

Comparison/Contrast Essay
ENG 1100 AD

Due by the end-of-day on July 19, 2020

Write a comparison/contrast essay, 1250-1500 words in length, focused on one of the pairs of
readings below. To be successful, your essay must focus on the content of the readings (your
essay must substantially be about the essays, and not merely their topic) and you must have an
argumentative thesis.

Successful arguments for this assignment tend to argue for productive connections between the
two sources. You may find it helpful to ask yourself this: how does reading these two sources
together help us to understand the relevant issue in a way that reading one essay alone would
not?

If you wish feedback on your thesis, please email it to your DGD leader well in advance of the
due-date. You will need to quote from both essays, and you will need to analyze the elements of
the essays upon which you are focusing. Each of the essays is available on Brightspace in a
module labeled “Sources.”

1. Matthew Mendelsohn, “Birth of a New Ethnicity”
and

Northrop Frye, “Preface to The Bush Garden”

2. Tim Bowling, “Na Na Na Na, Hey Hey Hey, Goodbye”
and

Jay Teitel, “Shorter, Slower, Weaker: And That’s a Good Thing”

3. Margaret Atwood, “Pornography”
and

Gloria Steinem, “Erotica and Pornography: A Clear and Present Difference”

Once again, your essay will be marked based on the following criteria: the quality of your thesis,
the organization of your essay, the relevance of your evidence, the coherency and detail of your
analysis, and the technical quality of your writing. In addition, you will be required to quote,
cite, and provide a Works Cited following MLA or APA guidelines. Proper citation information
for all of the sources will be provided on Brightspace prior to the due date.

Your essay must be submitted in Brightspace as a Word or PDF document with the following
formatting, adhering to MLA or APA style guidelines:

– Font: Times New Roman
– Font Size: 12 pt.
– Margins: 1 inch
– Spacing: Double

ouses,barns,sheds
– his favorite outdoor

with him.”
c: connection with golf.

‘ ‘hich nobody even
m eans “strong emo-
02:et comes up with

or, mania, torment,
::eem crazy, but there’s
– that his self-esteem

: 311Tgeon whose family
– iigure his golf game

-d th e world, know
–<SOn meant when he

h Care: The History
– .:: Relating to Various
– fraught with prob-
e simple pleasure of

p any. How good it
~ : ead. The white flag

as it slaps the air in
green, and perhaps

nly a dream? These

is good. I’viaybe the
ce, for reflection. A

– lf and with nature.
· – -ay nowadays. I’viost
—;:::;. People accuse one
– ~ ad d up their scores
;.__ are too concerned

rhy thm of the game.
liability of golf, the

y not about judg-
£ the game is that a
· vay and lands in a

d . Accept it. This is
— n ot possible to con-

– e game encourage a

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PORNOGRAPHY 317

This is what the late George Knudson, Canada’s deeply intro- 11
spective and mightily gifted golfer, alluded to when he suggested
that the golfer “give up control to gain control.” That is, the player
ought to stop thinking about what to do with the golf club at every
segment of its route away from and back to the ball. Said Knudson:
“Let yourself swing.”

Perhaps that sounds too much like Zen golf. But we will risk 12
any accusation of limp thinking because we know that we find
almost an altered state when we bounce on the rolling turf, and
when we are aware of the high grass swaying in the rough and
when we wrap our fingers around a velvety grip and when we
swing the club to and fro and when we fall into the grace of the
game, an outing that sends us inward.

If we play sensibly, we can discover the sensuality that lurks 13
everywhere on the course. Thinking about slow play, Knudson
once said: “I don’t know what all the concern is about. Slow play
just means that you’re going to spend a longer time in a nice place.”
Take a book along on the course, then. Read a poem. Chat with
your companions. Swing, swing, swing. Walk in the woods.

Knudson’s comment can be a code for the game. Spring has 14
been here for weeks, but the season still feels fresh, and we are
renewed. As for me, I have scratched the itch long enough. I want
grass clippings stuck to the soles of my shoes, mud on my golf ball,
dirt on my club face, the club in my hand while I turn it round and
round until it feels right. Care to join me?

Pornography
I’v1ARGARET ATWOOD

One of Canada’s best-known writers, Margaret Atwood was born in Ottawa
in 1939. She has published more than twenty books , including novels,
short stories, poetry, and criticism. Among her most recent works are The
Robber Bride (1993), Morning in the Burned House (1995), and Alias
Grace (1996). In 2000, Atwood won the prestigious Booker Prize for her
novel The Blind Assassin.

W hen I was in Finland a few years ago for an international writers’ conference, I had occasion to say a few para-graphs in public on the subject of pornography. The con-
text was a discussion of political repression, and I was suggesting

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318 UNIT EIGHT• FURTHER READING

the possibility of a link between the two. The immediate result was
that a male journalist took several large bites out of me . Prudery
and pornography are two halves of the same coin, said he, and I
was clearly a prude . What could you expect from an Anglo-
Canadian? Afterward, a couple of pleasant Scandinavian men
asked me what I had been so worked up about. All “pornography”
means, they said, is graphic depictions of whores, and what was
the harm in that?

2 Not until then did it strike me that the male journalist and I had
two entirely different things in mind. By “pornography,” he meant
naked bodies and sex. I, on the other hand, had recently been doing
the research for my novel Bodily Harm , and was still in a state of
shock from some of the material I had seen, including the Ontario
Board of Film Censors’ “outtakes.” By “pornography,” I meant
women getting their nipples snip p ed off with garden shears,
having meat hooks stuck into their vaginas, being disemboweled;
little girls being raped; men (yes, there are some men) being
smashed to a pulp and forcibly sodomized. The cutting edge of
pornography, as far as I could see, was no longer simple old copu-
lation, hanging from the chandelier or otherwise: it was death,
messy, explicit and highly sadistic. I explained this to the nice
Scandinavian men. “Oh, but that ‘ s just the United States,” they
said . “Everyone knows they’re sick.” In their country, they said,
violent “pornography” of that kind was not permitted on television
or in movies; indeed, excessive violence of any kin d was not per-
mitted. They had drawn a clear line between erotica, which earlier
studies had shown did not incite men to more aggressive and
brutal behavior toward women, and violence, which later studies
indicated did.

3 Some time after that I was in Saskatchewan, where, because of
the scenes in Bodily Harm, I found myself on an open-line radio
show answering questions about “pornography.” Almost no one
who phoned in was in fav or of it, but again they weren’t talking
about the same stuff I was, because they hadn’t seen it. Some of
them were all set to stamp out bathing suits and negligees, and, if
possible, any depictions of the female body whatsoever. God, it was
implied, did not approve of female bodies, and sex of any kind,
including that practised by bumblebees, should be shoved back
into the dark, where it belonged. I had more than a suspicion that
Lady Chatterl ey ‘s Lo ver, Margaret Laurence’s The Di viners, and
indeed most books by most serious modern authors would have
ended up as confetti if left in the hands of these callers.

4 For me, these two experiences illustrate the two poles of the
emotionally heated debate that is now thundering around this

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easy to say
nately, opinio

But even
talking ab out —
and the n ame
may include cr
such as some 5
others of exp· –
contributing
eral climate o

perversion, w
The camp ·

out howling as
longer have·
may include
lows: th ose -.:-
including the£.
chicken p orn
beaten, m ay be
sible liberals ” -::

movement b,
in real life, so
parcels, being
like adoration
tence, of a geni
but have to ma_~::-

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ediate result was
– .._ of me. Prudery
in, said he, and I

– fr o m an Anglo-
– -andinavian men
~ “p ornography”

, and what was

mrrnalist and I had
aphy,” he meant

~ ently been doing
– still in a state of
-ading the Ontario

ap hy,” I meant
— g arden shears,

a disemboweled;
:ome men) being
_ e cutting edge of

imple old copu-
. e : it was death,

this to the nice
rited States,” they
;:ountry, they said,

·tted on television
lCind was not per-

· ca, which earlier
re ag gressive and

• -hich later studies

w h ere, because of
an open-line radio

F “·” Almost no one
-ey w eren’t talking

-·t seen it. Some of
— negligees, and, if
-50ever. God, it was

d sex of any kind,
d b e shoved back

— :an a suspicion that
. = The Diviners, and
authors would have
callers.
e two poles of the
ering around this

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PORNOGRAPHY 319

issue. They also underline the desirability and even the necessity of
defining the terms. “Pornography” is now one of those catchalls,
like “Marxism” and “feminism,” that have become so broad they
can mean almost anything, ranging from certain verses in the Bible,
ads for skin lotion and sex tests for children to the contents of
Penthouse, Naughty ’90s postcards and films with titles containing
the word Nazi that show vicious scenes of torture and killing. It’s
easy to say that sensible people can tell the difference. Unfortu-
nately, opinions on what constitutes a sensible person vary ..

But even sensible people tend to lose their cool when they start s
talking about this subject. They soon stop talking and start yelling,
and the name calling begins. Those in favor of censorship (which
may include groups not noticeably in agreement on other issues,
such as some feminists and religious fundamentalists) accuse the
others of exploiting women through the use of degrading images,
contributing to the corruption of children, and adding to the gen-
eral climate of violence and threat in which both women and chil-
dren live in this society; or, though they may not give much of a
hoot about actual women and children, they invoke moral stan-
dards and God’s supposed aversion to “filth,” “smut” and deviated
perversion, which may mean ankles.

The camp in favor of total “freedom of expression” often comes 6
out howling as loud as the Romans would have if told they could no
longer have innocent fun watching the lions eat up Christians. It too
may include segments of the population who are not natural bedfel-
lows: those who proclaim their God-given r ight to freedom,
including the freedom to tote guns, d rive when drunk, drool over
chicken porn and get off on videotapes of women being raped and
beaten, may be waving the same anticensorship banner as respon-
sible liberals who fear the return of Mrs. Grundy, or gay groups for
whom sexual emancipation involves the concept of “sexual theatre.”
Whatever turns you on is a handy motto, as is A man’s home is his castle
(and if it includes a dungeon with beautiful maidens strung up in
chains and bleeding from every pore, that’s his business).

Meanwhile, theoreticians theorize and speculators speculate. Is 7
today’s pornography yet another indication of the hatred of the
body, the deep mind-body split, which is supposed to pervade
Western Christian society? Is it a backlash against the women’s
movement by men who are threatened by uppity female behavior
in real life, so like to fantasize about women done up like outsize
parcels, being turned into hamburger, kneeling at their feet in slave-
like adoration or sucking off guns? Is it a sign of collective impo-
tence, of a generation of men who can’t relate to real women at all
but have to make do with bits of celluloid and paper? Is the current

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320 UNIT EIGHT • FURTHER READING

flood just a result of smart marketing and aggressive promotion by
the money men in what has now become a multibillion-dollar
industry? If they were selling movies about men getting their testi-
cles stuck full of knitting needles by women with swastikas on their
sleeves, would they do as well, or is this penchant somehow pecu-
liarly male? If so, why? Is pornography a power trip rather than a
sex one? Some say that those ropes, chains, muzzles and other
restraining devices are an argument for the immense power female
sexuality still wields in the male imagination: you don’t put these
things on dogs unless you’re afraid of them. Others, more literary,
wonder about the shift from the 19th-century Magic Woman or
Femme Fatale image to the lollipop-licker, airhead or turkey-carcass
treatment of women in porn today. The proporners don’t care much
about theory; they merely demand product. Th e antiporners don’t
care about it in the final analysis either; there’s dirt on the street,
and they want it cleaned up, now.

s It seems to me that this conversation, with its You’re -a-prude/
You’re-a-pervert dialectic, will never get anywhere as long as we
continue to think of this material as just “entertainment. ” Possibly
we ‘ re deluded by the packaging, the format: magazine, book,
mov ie, theatrical presentation. We’re used to thinking of these
things as part of the “entertainment industry,” and we’re used to
thinking of ourselves as free adult people who ought to be able to
see any kind of “entertainment” we want to. That was what the
First Choice pay-TV debate was all about. After all, it’s only enter-
tainment, right? Entertainment means fun, and only a killjoy would
be antifun. What’s the harm?

9 This is obviously the central question: What’s the harm? If there
isn’t any real harm to any real people, then th e antiporners can tsk-
tsk and/or throw up as much as they like, but they can’t rightfully
expect more legal controls or sanctions. However, the no harm posi-
tion is far from being proven.

10 (For instance, there ‘s a clear-cut case for banning- as the fed-
eral gov ernment has proposed- movies, photos and videos that
depict children engaging in sex with adults: real children are used
to make the movies, and hardly anybody thinks this is ethical. The
possibilities for coercion are too great.)

11 To shift the viewpoint, I’d like to suggest three other models for
looking at “pornography” – and here I mean the violent kind.

12 Those who find the idea of regulating pornographic materials
repugnant because they think it’s Fascist or Communist or other-
wise not in accordance with the principles of an open democratic
society should consider that Canada has made it illegal to dissemi-
nate material that may lead to hatred toward any group because of

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race or religion. : _
depicted these aas
to Catholics, it’ –
sent laws. Why is …
law thought that_
awful things to
extent a comp uter:
extreme cases (like
which pornograi _
of women and, ‘o::
factor involved !:i
upped the ante b:’
social acceptabili~­
this stuff is haYir.g

Studies ha,-e –
of porn, soft and
tion of young mer.
Italy, according
genteel surround.~~
time, in school, :rr.
education in the s–
been passed, and
to be raped and ~ –
digestive tracts.

Boys learn thet:-
what most men ,.-~~

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sive promotion by
a m ultibillion-dollar

;.chant somehow pecu-
-er trip rather than a

– . m uzzles and other
ense power female

:·ou don’t put these
Others, more literary,

_ · M agic Woman or
:.ead or turkey-carcass
~ ers don’t care much

:he antiporners don’t
– dirt on the street,

m its You’re-a-prude/
·here as long as we
~ent.” Possibly

t: ma gazine, book,
-o thinking of these
– .. and we’re used to

ought to be able to
. That was what the

all, it’s only enter-
only a killjoy would

~ ~ ‘ the harm? If there
antip orners can tsk-

– they can’t rightfully
er, the no harm posi-

_anning-as the fed-
os and videos that

:eal children are used
– · this is ethical. The

ographic materials
Communist or other-
– an open democratic

-e it illegal to dissemi-
any group because of

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PORNOGRAPHY 321

race or religion. I suggest that if pornography of the violent kind
depicted these acts being done predominantly to Chinese, to blacks,
to Catholics, it would be off the market immediately, under the pre-
sent laws. Why is hate literature illegal? Because whoever made the
law thought that such material might incite real people to do real
awful things to other real people. The human brain is to a certain
extent a computer: garbage in, garbage out. We only hear about the
extreme cases (like that of American multimurderer Ted Bundy) in
which pornography has contributed to the death and/or mutilation
of women and/ or men. Although pornography is not the only
factor involved in the creation of such deviance, it certainly has
upped the ante by suggesting both a variety of techniques and the
social acceptability of such actions. Nobody knows yet what effect
this stuff is having on the less psychotic.

Studies have shown that a large part of the market for all kinds 13
of porn, soft and hard, is drawn from the 16-to-21-year-old popula-
tion of young men. Boys used to learn about sex on the street, or (in
Italy, according to Fellini movies) from friendly whores, or, in more
genteel surroundings, from girls, their parents, or, once upon a
time, in school, more or less . Now porn has been added, and sex
education in the schools is rapidly being phased out. The buck has
been passed, and boys are being taught that all women secretly like
to be raped and that real men get high on scooping out women’s
digestive tracts .

Boys learn their concept of masculinity from other men: is this 14
what most men want them to be learning? If word gets around that
rapists are “normal” and even admirable men, will boys feel that in
order to be normal, admirable and masculine they will have to be
rapists? Human beings are enormously flexible, and how they turn
out depends a lot on how they’re educated, by the society in which
they’re immersed as well as by their teachers. In a society that
advertises and glorifies rape or even implicitly condones it, more
women get raped. It becomes socially acceptable. And at a time
when men and the traditional male role have taken a lot of flak and
men are confused and casting around for an acceptable way of
being male (and, in some cases, not getting much comfort from
women on that score), this must be at times a pleasing thought.

It would be naive to think of violent pornography as just harm- 1s
less entertainment. It’s also an educational tool and a powerful pro-
paganda device. What happens when boy educated on porn meets
girl brought up on Harlequin romances? The clash of expectations
can be heard around the block. She wants him to get down on his
knees with a ring, he wants her to get down on all fours with a ring
in her nose. Can this marriage be saved?

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322 UNIT EIGHT • FURTHER READING

16 Pornography has certain things in common with such addictive
substances as alcohol and drugs; for some, though by no means for
all, it induces chemical changes in the body, which the user finds
exciting and pleasurable. It also appears to attract a “hard core” of
habitual users and a penumbra of those who use it occasionally but
aren’t dependent on it in any way. There are also significant num-
bers of men who aren’t much interested in it, not because they’re
undersexed but because real life is satisfying their needs, which
may not require as many appliances as those of users.

17 For the “hard core,” pornography may function as alcohol does
for the alcoholic: tolerance develops, and a little is no longer
enough. This may account for the short viewing time and fast
turnover in porn theatres. Mary Brown, chairwoman of the Ontario
Board of Film Censors, estimates that for every one mainstream
movie requesting entrance to Ontario, there is one porno flick. Not
only the quantity consumed but the quality of explicitness must
escalate, which may account for the growing violence: once the big
deal was breasts, then it was genitals, then copulation, then that
was no longer enough and the hard users had to have more. The
ultimate kick is death, and after that, as the Marquis de Sade so bor-
ingly demonstrated, multiple death.

1s The existence of alcoholism has not led us to ban social
drinking. On the other hand, we do have laws about drinking and
driving, excessive drunkenness and other abuses of alcohol that
may result in injury or death to others.

19 This leads us back to the key question: what’s the harm?
Nobody knows, but this society should find out fast, before the sat-
uration point is reached. The Scandinavian studies that showed a
connection between depictions of sexual violence and increased
impulse toward it on the part of male viewers would be a starting
point, but many more questions remain to be raised as well as
answered. What, for instance, is the crucial difference between men
who are users and men who are not? Does using affect a man’s rela-
tionship with actual women, and, if so, adversely? Is there a clear
line . between erotica and violent pornography, or are they on an
escalating continuum? Is this a “men versus women” issue, with all
men secretly siding with the proporners and all women secretly
siding against? (I think not; there are lots of men who don’t think
that running their true love through the Cuisinart is the best way
they can think of to spend a Saturday night, and they’re just as nau-
seated by films of someone else doing it as women are.) Is pornog-
raphy merely an expression of the sexual confusion of this age or an
active contributor to it?

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