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A Rhetorical Analysis of "Pornography and the New Puritans"

            "Pornography and the New Puritans" written by John Irving, argues amongst other things that the pornography victims" compensation bill is ridiculous. He argues, "If this bill passes, it will be the first piece of legislation to give credence to the unproven theory that sexually explicit material actually causes sexual crimes" (Irving 526). This quote sums up the main idea in the pornography victims" bill which states that pornography causes sex crimes. I will show throughout the course of this analysis how John Irving uses rhetorical strategies to persuade his audience as to how the pornography victims" compensation bill is dangerous to those peoples who hold civil liberties and freedom of expression important, and that it should never be passed. Irving appeals to his audience by the use of logos that prove to the reader the absurd nature of the pornography victims" compensation bill.
             At the onset of his essay, Irving shows that prior to the production of pornographic material, sex crimes existed. He says, "rape and child molestation predate erotic books and pornographic magazines and X-rated videocassettes" (Irving 526). This idea that Irving confronts to his reader at the start of his essay almost disproves the relationship of pornographic pictures and movies to sex crimes. It catalyzes his audience of liberal thinkers and writers alike on how sex crimes can't be caused by pornography because they existed before it. It shows writers that might be scared to express their true art that the literature and art this bill will be censoring is not even the cause of sex crimes.
             Another example where Irving uses logical appeals to persuade his readers that this bill cannot be passed in the United States is when he quotes the Commission on Obscenity and Pornography that states, "[there is] no reliable evidence that exposure to explicit sexual material plays a significant role in the causation of delinquent or criminal sexual behavior" (526).

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