Thursday, May 17, 2007

definition of pornography:

definition of pornography, by A White Bear:

'I’d like for [my students] to see pornography as a rhetorical mode. Porn, according to the definition I use in class, is a text whose protagonist is relatively empty of defining personality traits, and whose sensory experiences are described or represented in great detail. The point of this definition of porn is that it has nothing to do with the relative effects on various vasodilating organs, but instead has qualities intrinsic to the text itself.'

via and kugelmass

2 comments:

jon said...

I guess you could see pornography as a rhetorical mode. Fuck, you could see war or poverty as rhetorical modes if you wanted to, I guess.

Texts have aesthetic value, but they also function ideologically in the social sphere and they also are themselves commodities in the marketplace. Ignoring these other functions is missing the forest for the tress IMHO, especially when the ideological work of and modes of production in the porn industry are so exploitative.

Isn't there also a weird theoretical move here? "Let's define porn by 'qualities intrinsic to the text itself' and then problematize the 'illusion of an unmediated experience possible through the text' and extol the superiority of 'an intense sensory experience in the world.'" The irony is that to do this you have to ignore what is really happening in the real word when someone consumes porn. What makes that consumption possible? (What are the economic, social, and psychological situations of people who appear in porn, for example?) What ideological work does that consumption do? What effects will that consumption have on the consumer? How will it change his or her behavior toward others? etc. etc.

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Moon River said...

you have a point there.
but it is legitimate to treat pornography in a studding environment as a conceptual notion and to analyze it as such taking in consideration all of the aspects that you have mentioned, as well as others. in representation of pornography you can well detect, observe and examine a variety of intrinsic concepts that reflects as the author say: "The test for pornography is not, “Is it representing nudity or penetration?” nor is it, “Does it give me an erection?” but, “Is it possible for me to have a vicarious, rather than merely imaginative, physical experience?” It does so by first emptying the protagonist of consciousness, and then offering dense sensory details in simple, even repetitive language."
as well as: "Pornography can be thrilling because it insists there is no wall between the represented experience and the experience of the reader/viewer/listener, only a thin membrane.
But this is also why pornography presents a moral problem. By luring the reader into an illusion of an unmediated experience possible through the text, it creates a situation in which the artificiality of the pornographic experience (whether sexual or not) becomes a part of the viewer/reader/listener’s memories of experiences, not with texts, but with the world. "
and in any case you can not ignore that: "But what is obvious, over the past three hundred years of mass print culture, and then mass art, music, and film cultures, is that the public always craves the rhetorically pornographic, especially when it does not explicitly offend a prudish sexual sensibility. "