Clicking on banner ads keeps JWR alive
Jewish World Review July 6, 1999 /22 Tamuz 5759

Don Feder

JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Tony Snow
Michael Barone
Dave Barry
Kathleen Parker
Dr. Laura
Michael Kelly
Bob Greene
Michelle Malkin
Paul Greenberg
David Limbaugh
David Corn
Marianne Jennings
Sam Schulman
Philip Weiss
Mort Zuckerman
Richard Chesnoff
Larry Elder
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Don Feder
Linda Chavez
Mona Charen
Thomas Sowell
Walter Williams
Ben Wattenberg


How the 'Net ruined a marriage --
HERE'S A CAUTIONARY TALE of how the Internet destroyed a marriage.

America's electronic playground has been described as "virtual Viagra of the adult industry." In 1998, profits from cyber-porn topped $1 billion, up 30 percent from the year before.

One adult website, "Clublove," has over 115,000 subscribers who pay $24.95 a month for its sultry services. Donna Rice Hughes, author of "Kids Online: Protecting Your Children in Cyberspace," says there are 72,000 explicit pornographic sites on the Internet.

Don't imagine it's all good dirty fun.

Which bring me to my story. The daughter of a friend is in divorce court, having seen her marriage of two years deleted by this electronic version of the other woman.

Kate thought she'd met the man of her dreams in 1997. John was "wonderful, funny, bright and accomplished," Kate relates. They married, had a son named Jack and moved to Burlington, Vt., where John operates his own business.

Last summer, things began to unravel. "He seemed distracted and cold. He'd deliberately start arguments. He was emotionally abusive. Eventually, he spent less and less time at home. He would make separate plans from me on weekends." One day in December, Kate paid a surprise visit to his office with the baby, thinking they could have lunch together. "When I walked in, he practically jumped off his computer. That made me suspicious."

Another time, when John was out, Kate checked his net log, which lists the web sites a user has contacted. "I saw all of these porno sites. There was one called 'Adult Friend Finder' that was listed over 100 times."

When she visited that site, Kate found an ad she was sure was from John. It mentioned his age, occupation and city.

"He was advertising for one-on-one sex with men and women, group sex, exhibitionism and voyeurism, water sports ..." her voice trailed off.

When she confronted John with her discovery, he first denied it, then said it was none of her business. Kate: "He said that's what the Internet is for. I thought it was for ordering from L.L. Bean catalogues."

After sleepless nights, therapy and more abuse (physical as well as emotional), they finally separated and are in the process of divorcing.

Kate believes her husband made the logical progression. "He started looking at pictures of naked women, then watching people having sex. Next, he paid to download pictures and movies. He wound up in a sex chat room where you can meet people in your area for one-night stands."

Unlike anti-porn activists, I'm not convinced that pornography is an addiction. It is the perversion of a perfectly natural urge. If men didn't like to look at women in the all-together, none of us would be here.

Pornography twists it around. It depersonalizes that most intimate of acts, turning something that should be joyful into an obsession.

The Internet has taken an age-old problem and magnified it by a gigabyte. If a man wanted pornography or casual sex 20 years go, he had to take chances. If he went into a strip joint, an x-rated moviehouse or a bar for a pick up, there was always the chance someone would see him and word would get back to his family or friends. Doubtless, this acted as a deterrent.

The Internet makes it easy and practically risk-free. Log on in the privacy of your home or office. Go to your favorite sites. Download pictures and videos, many so hard core that they aren't even available in the adult section of video stores. Have cyber-sex. Advertise for liaisons.

Pornographers try to attract business by marketing their products to the unwary through stealth sites, innocent word searches and unsolicited e-mail.

Kate has company. "When I contacted a divorce lawyer, he said: 'Don't be embarrassed. You're the seventh or eighth person in past six months who's come to me with the same story."' This in a mid-sized city.

Kate married a creep. Maybe it's better that she discovered John's nature after only two years. Still, their lives are irrevocably entwined, in the person of Jack.

And yet, perhaps some are more susceptible to the allure than others. Did John go on the Internet looking for that which ultimately consumed him, or did he encounter it inadvertently? What if he'd never taken the first step down the seductive cyber road?

In its March 1998 issue, Adult Video News, a trade publication for smut merchants, bragged, "It's a great time to be an adult retailer." But not a particularly good time to be a trusting wife or a concerned parent.

JWR contributing columnist Don Feder can be reached by clicking here.


7/01/99: What made our revolution different?
6/28/99: Michigan lowers the boom on swearing
6/23/99: Politicians think we're fools -- they're right
6/21/99: Gambling commission issues report, rolls dice
6/17/99: Why Right went cuckoo over Kosovo
6/14/99: America will be ultimate victim of war on Yugoslavia
6/09/99:Call a moratorium on Clinton judges
6/07/99: Public schools will muck up character education
6/03/99: Don't think, just vote
5/28/99: An American credo
5/26/99 :Do we really want peace in Yugoslavia?
5/24/99: Gay 'marriage' -- don't pass go
5/19/99: Little Bill, you had a busy week
5/17/99: Gun control, campaign-finance reform -- two liberal illusions
5/12/99: Watch Quayle go from "incredible" to quite credible
5/10/99: Conservatives excluded from academic diversity
5/05/99: Expecting the impossible of parents
5/03/99: Gore race-baits with impunity
4/29/99: Why Kosovo? Oh, just because
4/27/99: The president's pro-parent claptrap
4/22/99: McCain plays to the media
4/19/99: NATO would have favored the confederacy
4/14/99: Before we march into Kosovo
4/12/99: Taiwan more worthy of U.S. support
4/09/99: Bauer and Forbes --- Main Street vs. Wall Street
4/05/99: Bubba and Maddy lit Kosovo's fire
3/29/99: At Passover, Egypt is a state of mind
3/29/99: Could the GOP stand Pat in 2000?
3/17/99: Hollywood's party line in 1999
3/15/99: All bow, the court is in session
3/11/99: In praise of negative campaigning
3/09/99: Day-care study defies common sense
3/04/99: Starship Clinton orbits Kosovo
3/01/99: Public will blot out Broaddrick's accusation
2/25/99: Slick Hillie for Senate would be fun
2/23/99: Fascism in the name of fighting fascism
2/16/99: Was anything learned from the impeachment trial?
2/12/99: Educating the democratic voters of tomorrow
2/10/99: First Amendment doesn't apply to pro-life cause
2/08/99: Dems' triumph over Constitution complete
2/03/99: Blood of victims will drown out breakfast prayers
2/01/99: Without a home the heart knows no rest
1/29/99: Poster boy for term-limits
1/27/99: The 'so-what' defense in the City of Saints
1/25/99: Whose choice?
1/21/99: Censure worse than nothing
1/18/99: Words can`t dignify a dishonored presidency
1/13/99: Conservatism "with a heart" is conservatism without a head
1/11/99: If he isn't removed, watch out for Bill!
1/07/99: We can learn a lot from Teddy
1/05/99: Monica and a call to modesty
12/30/98: Will Bubba get away with it again?
12/28/98: Zionist dream alive and well on West Bank
12/18/98: Impeach or abandon the Rule of Law
12/16/98: Clinton moves Middle East closer to war
12/14/98: Why we lost interest in the homeless
12/10/98: No place at table for conservatives
12/07/98: The day America lost its innocence
12/02/98: Pilgrims Pilloried in streets of Plymouth
11/30/98: Caribbean dogpatch not a good candidate for statehood
11/25/98: Will Vermont force gay marriage on the nation?
11/23/98: The ACLU wants your kids to get a love life
11/18/98: Why liberals hate tobacco and guns more than drugs and crime
11/16/98: "Pleasantville" a countercultural morality play
11/13/98: Ads are a tough sell for abortion
11/09/98: Why gutless Republicans lost
11/06/98: Historians against the Constitution
11/02/98: Loving response to a hateful conference
10/28/98: Professor Death will fit right in at Princeton
10/26/98: Plymouth caves to Pilgrim foes
10/21/98: On '98 election, keep a critical eye on polls
10/19/98: Clinton could yet be 'prosperity president'
10/16/98: Working families -- Dems love 'em (stuffed)
10/09/98: Majoring in 'weirdness'
10/07/98: Friends of Billy Clinton
9/29/98: Letter from ex-soldier highlights defense peril
9/28/98: Answering arguments against impeachment
9/18/98: The nation that doesn't exist
9/14/98: Bubba isn't the only one who should be ashamed
9/11/98: Resolution of Clinton crisis will define national character
9/09/98: We're still just wild about Harry
9/07/98: Mexican banditry didn't end with Pancho Villa
9/02/98: Clinton forgives us!
8/31/98: Ashcroft's plain talking touches responsive chord
8/26/98: Public opinion be damned
8/24/98: Why liberals condone Clinton's lies
8/20/98: Time to move on -- to impeachment
8/12/98: With Bubba in the sexual privacy zone
8/10/98: The truth won't set Clinton free
8/06/98: Truth about Hiroshima is incontrovertible
8/04/98: Clinton not the first hollow president
7/30/98: "Small Soldiers" -- a fractured Vietnam allegory
7/27/98: Crime wave hits hometown
7/22/98: Love in an Internet fishbowl
7/20/98: Ads bring ex-gay movement out of closet
7/15/98: Brian and Amy -- the children of Roe
7/13/98: Why are we scared of obnoxious 'activists?'
7/6/98: Fonda still resists reality
7/1/98: New York blesses domestic partnerships
6/29/98: Teddy and Calvin stood for virtue
6/24/98: Will Clinton betray Taiwan?
6/22/98: Big tobacco? What about big casinos?
6/15/98: Religion -- God for what ails you
6/10/98: Planning Clinton's China itinery
6/8/98: Republicans' Custer offers advice
6/4/98: Oh, Dems Christian-bashers!
6/2/98: Goldwater did conservatives more harm than good
5/27/98: A Clinton-hater confesses
5/15/98: Giuliani's assault on marriage
5/13/98: Hillary knows what's best for everyone
5/11/98: To honor her would not be honorable
5/6/98: Conservative chasm: pragmatism vs. worship of marketplace
5/4/98: Anglo-saxon me
4/29/98: Needle exchange programs are assisted-suicide
4/27/98: Chretien's mission of mercy to Fidel
4/22/98: School-choice is a religious freedom issue
4/20/98: Corporate execs deliver body parts to Beijing
4/14/98: National sales tax --- looks better all the time
4/13/98: The U.N. sinister? Hey, where did that idea come from?
4/8/98: Unions fight workers rights in 226 campaign
3/30/98: Africa's leaders should apologize
3/25/98: GOP shouldn't look to media for advice
3/22/98: You should care about Clinton's 'private life'
3/19/98: Color-coded reading, product of obsessive minds
3/16/98: Amendment will end exile of G-d from our public lives
3/9/98: Havana will break your heart
3/2/98: Vouchers Terrify Teachers' Union
2/25/98: Presidential politics starts at a resort hotel
2/23/98: Hillary's support comes at a price
2/18/98: How many times must we say "no" to gay rights?
2/16/98: Enoch Powell spoke the truth on immigration
2/11/98: Bubba behaving badly
2/9/98: A conservative dissent on the flag-burning amendment
2/5/98: We get the leaders we deserve
2/2/98: Send a signal that could penetrate boardroom doors
1/27/98: State of the president: hollow rhetoric
1/25/98: For Monica's playmate, we have no one to blame but ourselves
1/22/98: At Yale, bet on yarmulke over gown
1/19/98: Commission tackles America's fastest-growing addiction, gambling
1/15/98: Capital punishment and the hard case: no exceptions for Karla Faye Tucker
1/12/98: Partial-birth abortion and the GOP's future: the "big tent" meets truth in advertising
1/8/98: IOLTA: the Left's latest scam to crawl into our pockets
1/5/98: Connect the dots to create a terrorist state
1/1/98: The Unacceptables of 1997: Long may they rave
12/28/97: Hypocrisy is a liberal survival mechanism
12/23/97: Chanukah is no laughing matter
12/22/97: No merry Christmas for persecuted Christians around the world
12/18/97: Bosnia, Haiti, and how not to conduct a foreign policy

©1999, Creators Syndicate