information on the documentary, porndemic: sex in the digital age

  CBC documentary -

This is an excerpt from a Globe and Mail item on documentaries by television reviewer, Kate Taylor.


Globe and Mail
April 2, 2021
By Kate Taylor

There are so many interesting docs on TV tonight, it's hard to know where to begin.
. . .

And now we move from the unique and sublime image to the ubiquitous and obscene. I guess we all knew there was an awful lot of porn on the Internet but Porndemic: Sex in the Digital Age (Doc Zone, CBC, 8 p.m.) tells us exactly how much. According to this doc by Canadian filmmaker Robin Benger, there are half a million porn sites out there in an industry worth more in profits than professional sports and live music combined. Pornographers are making a killing, as Jason Tucker, a big player in California's San "Pornando" Valley, is only too happy to explain. His chief concerns - like many in this industry, he displays a hypocrisy so complete it is breathtaking - are those free porn sites against which he is planning legal action.

Although much of this increasingly violent material is in contravention of Canadian and American obscenity laws, neither government has moved to prosecute Internet pornographers. The sense in the industry, and from a former Ontario prosecutor who says all enforcement efforts are focused on child porn, is that there is little point, as porn from Asia and Europe is just as plentiful and beyond the reach of North American agencies.

The pornographers boast of profits and scoff at regulation, but nobody here tries to argue this stuff is harmless. Porndemic assumes it is bad and offers as evidence an anonymous recovering addict from Vancouver, who says his habit, developed during a dateless youth, affected his ability to form relationships with real people and threatened his marriage. An Albertan researcher finds a majority of 14-year-old boys she polls have seen porn online, and a British psychologist warns we will produce a generation of broken and violent relationships.

Benger, perhaps in an attempt to end on a more upbeat note, finally introduces us to the increasingly sophisticated virtual worlds that would allow lovers to pursue long-distance relationships through avatars, but it's hard to believe this is any kind of solution. Indeed, viewers will probably agree with Hustler publisher Larry Flynt, who argues the genie is out of the bottle and we will just have to live with that. The only challenge to the laissez-faire attitude comes from people concerned about children's access, ironically many of them in the porn industry. At the very least, parents and schools could get working: Do we know what our kids are watching?