Wednesday, January 14, 2004

porno for you

Despite my interest in the flesh, there are actually several types I can't stomach, the pornography of violence foremost.

While all pornography is irredeemably exploitative and a form of violence perpuated against both object and viewer, those that victimize children top the list of the truly repulsive. My prurient interest has left one of my mailboxes open to such terrible invitations as "Watch 8 year-old Missy lose It!", "See me wake up my little boy up the ass!", and "Invitation to Kiddie Porn Palace - Hurry! Offer Expires in two days!". The saddening thing to note is that there are people who will take up the offer, pay or hack their way into these sites, and perpetuate the dehumanizing cycle. I'm only too glad to read on the news services when pedophiles and their supplier rings are thrown into prison.

Then there is the non-sexual pornography where violence is truly violent. Executions, bloodletting and people begging for their lives. These things take the fantasy aspect of bondage and humiliation into their fatal extremes. Think of the most disturbing violent scenes you've watched in either commercial or independent cinema and strip them of any aesthetic or story rationales - you can see death on the internet if you want to. Real death, real blood, real suffering, no acting, just pure horror. I do not see how anyone can get turned on by this, but apparently some people do. It's America's Funniest Home Videos via a murderer's eyes.

It is one thing for me to look at the human form and defend eroticism, putting up literature and art throughout history that celebrate human sexuality without the hangups of religion or the misguided judgments of narrow-minded puritanism, but it is another thing altogether to be shown material that is absolutely void of anything that matters. Writers and artists have been inspired by sex since time immemorial, but there is a definite difference between the erotic and the pornographic.

And yet for many, the line is blurred or is not apparent at all. Thus Anais Nin is lumped with Letters to Penthouse, and Sandro Botticelli with Ron Jeremy, and E.M. Forster's "Maurice" with Morty Valentino's "World Class Ass".

The internet, void of criticism and discernment, is democratic in the ugliest way.

Like all media.

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