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Culture Forum

  1. Standard member Bosse de Nage
    Zellulärer Automat
    02 Jul '08 07:19
    "Science is moving into an area where its obsessions begin to isolate completely its subject under the lens of its microscope, away from its links with the rest of nature. This is always the risk with science as a whole. The pornographic imagination detaches certain parts of the human anatomy from the human being and becomes obsessively focussed on the breast or the genitalia, or what have you. That sort of obsession with what I call quantified functions is what lies at the core of science; there is a shedding of all responsibility by the scientist who is just looking at a particular subject with a tendency to ignore the contingent links."

    JGB, quoted in Jeremy Lewis, ‘An Interview with J.G. Ballard’, Mississippi Review, Volume 20 Numbers 1&2, 1991.

    By way of illustration (Warning: contains visuals that may disturb sensitive browsers): http://www.ballardian.com/the-fusion-of-science-and-pornography
  2. 02 Jul '08 07:41
    A fascinating observation and very unusual pictures, too.
  3. Standard member shavixmir
    Guppy poo
    02 Jul '08 07:52
    Originally posted by Bosse de Nage
    "Science is moving into an area where its obsessions begin to isolate completely its subject under the lens of its microscope, away from its links with the rest of nature. This is always the risk with science as a whole. The pornographic imagination detaches certain parts of the human anatomy from the human being and becomes obsessively focussed on the ...[text shortened]... y disturb sensitive browsers): http://www.ballardian.com/the-fusion-of-science-and-pornography
    Isn't there an element of "I want to do that." in pornography, which isn't necessarily reflected in science?

    Or, to put it more blatantly, science means to objectify, whilst pornography, although it is objectified, leads to people trying to subjectify it.
  4. Subscriber Crowley
    Not Aleister
    02 Jul '08 08:34
    When I saw the title I thought you might be posting a bout haptics.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haptic
  5. Standard member Scriabin
    Done Asking
    02 Jul '08 16:25 / 2 edits
    Originally posted by Bosse de Nage
    "Science is moving into an area where its obsessions begin to isolate completely its subject under the lens of its microscope, away from its links with the rest of nature. This is always the risk with science as a whole. The pornographic imagination detaches certain parts of the human anatomy from the human being and becomes obsessively focussed on the y disturb sensitive browsers): http://www.ballardian.com/the-fusion-of-science-and-pornography
    Have read a lot of Ballard -- but found him to be, psychologically speaking, fairly damaged goods. Terrific writer, however. Can hardly blame him for his outlook given his experiences as a child.

    I think your comparison between science and pornography is iincorrect because science is not an expression, in and of itself, of a psychological pathology. Pornography, on the other hand, is only defined as such due to its pathological treatment of human sexuality.

    Pornography objectifies in order to demean and degrade. I've never seen any example of porn that does not treat females as other than objects of contempt, things to be controlled, hated, abused, or worse.

    I don't think science, however specialized and detached or abstract it becomes, carries with it the same sort of psychological pathology that lurks inside everything that meets the definition of pornography.

    If a film, or whatever, concerning sex does not contain that psychological pathology, then notwithstanding how graphic it may be, it isn't porn, but something else.

    Science is really not comparable -- at least it is not "on all four corners" of the page. There are plenty of abuses in science - including deliberately investigating or developing means by which to cause harm in new and quite catastrophic ways without caring a fig for the consequences of the discovery.

    So, I know what you mean -- one could almost say Edward Teller was a pornographer ... but it is enough simply to say that he was a brilliant, if pathologically deranged, physicist with absolutely no moral compass that could be discerned. There are better ways to build canals or test Einstein's theories than by detonating hydrogen bombs to move earth or risk launching them into space to detonate on the far side of the sun.
  6. Subscriber AThousandYoung
    Poor Filipov :,(
    06 Jul '08 04:41
    Originally posted by Scriabin
    Have read a lot of Ballard -- but found him to be, psychologically speaking, fairly damaged goods. Terrific writer, however. Can hardly blame him for his outlook given his experiences as a child.

    I think your comparison between science and pornography is iincorrect because science is not an expression, in and of itself, of a psychological pathology. Porn ...[text shortened]... bs to move earth or risk launching them into space to detonate on the far side of the sun.
    Porn is not pathology. Please. It's just sexual imagery. Porn by definition is not degrading etc.
  7. 06 Jul '08 07:45
    Originally posted by Scriabin
    Have read a lot of Ballard -- but found him to be, psychologically speaking, fairly damaged goods. Terrific writer, however. Can hardly blame him for his outlook given his experiences as a child.

    I think your comparison between science and pornography is iincorrect because science is not an expression, in and of itself, of a psychological pathology. Porn ...[text shortened]... bs to move earth or risk launching them into space to detonate on the far side of the sun.
    What a strange way to look at pornography.
  8. Standard member Seitse
    Doug Stanhope
    06 Jul '08 08:23
    RHP's geek fantasy thread of the month award.

    ===================THREAD CLOSED====================
  9. Standard member Scriabin
    Done Asking
    07 Jul '08 05:17
    Originally posted by UzumakiAi
    What a strange way to look at pornography.
    Not at all strange. Let's tell it like it is: Pornography is the commodification of sexual relations; a more modern, sanitized, impersonal, and therefore more peculiarly bourgeois form of prostitution.

    Look at the movie Boogie Nights, for example, which decisively points in that direction. Acts and relations that are natural and spontaneous are turned into commodities to be purchased and sold.

    Pornography can be unreal, performance and competition oriented, exploitative and sexist, unfree and standardizing of sexual expression, physical beauty and prowess, or ridiculous, thus offering an unliberating stereotype. Perhaps the foregoing description should be called pornography to distinguish it from erotica.

    There is a lot of authoritative study behind what I say. See Helen E. Longino. "Pornography, Oppression and Freedom: a Closer Look", in Laura Lederer, ed., Take Back the Night: Women on Pornography (New York: William Morrow, 1980). Also see Violence Against Women (Oxfam Focus on Gender Series) Caroline Sweetman (Editor) Oxfam Publishing (February 1, 1999);

    The feature which distinguishes pornographic (and immoral) depictions or descriptions of sexual behavior is the element of degradation. Erotica per se need carry no implication of degradation or of the endorsement of degradation. It is the addition of the element of degradation which both distinguishes pornography from the wider class of erotica and which makes pornography problematic.

    The degradation is often explicit, involving portrayals of persons (men or women) in coercive and/or violent situations, portrayals in which the sexual subjugation and humiliation of one or more of the participants is central to the ideas communicated. Other degrading depictions are less explicit and grotesque, but undeniably degrading as well. Depictions of sexual behavior in which the pleasure or goals of some participants are treated as less worthy or important than those of others, or portrayals in which some participants are used, even consensually, as mere objects in the service of another's pleasure, are insidiously degrading and demeaning. They are degrading of human sexuality because they deny or undervalue the personhood of the persons portrayed.

    Longino emphasizes how such portrayals degrade women, but it is important to note that they also degrade men. When men are portrayed as brutishly unconcerned with the pleasure, interests, or personhood of their sexual partners, their nature is degraded as well as that of their female partners.

    Instead of accepting the moralistic posturing of the defenders of the status quo, one must consider the possibility that, far from being a perverse deviation from the dominant values of a capitalist society, pornography might in fact be the most logical and limpid translation of bourgeois values into the sexual sphere.

    A lot of porn is actually prudish with the relentless punishing of women for the crime of being sexual. A fair amount of hardcore porn involves women being called whores or sluts as they engage in various sex acts, with greater female enthusiasm receiving greater taunts. I can only see the men involved as losers and the general situation as deeply unfortunate.
  10. Standard member Palynka
    Upward Spiral
    07 Jul '08 16:52 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by Scriabin
    Not at all strange. Let's tell it like it is: Pornography is the commodification of sexual relations; a more modern, sanitized, impersonal, and therefore more peculiarly bourgeois form of prostitution.

    Look at the movie Boogie Nights, for example, which decisively points in that direction. Acts and relations that are natural and spontaneous are turned in . I can only see the men involved as losers and the general situation as deeply unfortunate.
    None of the things you describe are necessary traits of pornography.

    As usual in this discussions, the strawman drawing of the line between erotica and pornogaphy is the key to your whole argument. You define pornography to be exactly what you wish to attack and proceed to do it.

    The fact is the line between porn and erotica lies more in the actions being depicted being explicit or implicit than in the alleged "element of degradation" within them.

    Degradation is not a necessary trait of porn. Examples abound, including porn made by and for women.
  11. Standard member Scriabin
    Done Asking
    07 Jul '08 18:23
    have never seen any porn made by and for women -- that which I have seen has had the traits I ascribe to it.

    As I said, if it ain't degrading to someone, it probably isn't porn.

    Explicit erotica can be artful, uplifting, dramatic, all sorts of things -- so long as it isn't an insult to anyone involved.

    There are just two shops of which I am aware - as I don't go looking for them - that sell videos, toys, costumes, etc. and one is in the downtown area of a sophisticated suburb of Wash DC, the other in the outskirts of what used to be a small backwater not far from a well known beach resort.

    The downtown Wash suburb shop caters to an upscale clientele, for there isn't much of any other sort of folk around there unless you count all the help.

    The other shop out on the coast in Delaware appears to cater to the motorcycle and pickup truck crowd.

    The funny thing is that both shops sell much the same thing and its pretty nasty from my point of view.

    I keep wondering why they can't make good movies based on good literature, and incorporate more than the usual soft core fooling around -- invest the erotica with some substance and integrate the whole experience artfully and why wouldn't it sell?

    Then there is the evidence one finds online. If one is smart, you don't use any computer you own or which is connected to any address associated with you, for almost any porn in the USA and abroad online will infect your computer with malware, spyware, and worse. My system folks are government contractors and have a lot of funny stories about how people in professional settings both in and out of government have turned their own computers into spam zombies and infected whole networks with just one or two exploratory hits on porn sites.

    So don't tell me how it ain't necessarily a slimy, degrading, dirty business run by sleaze balls -- the only people worse than the people in the porn business are the lenders, brokers, investment bankers and Administration officials who have allowed the US economy to go from where it was in 1999 to where it is now.
  12. Standard member Palynka
    Upward Spiral
    08 Jul '08 07:18
    Originally posted by Scriabin
    have never seen any porn made by and for women -- that which I have seen has had the traits I ascribe to it.

    As I said, if it ain't degrading to someone, it probably isn't porn.

    Explicit erotica can be artful, uplifting, dramatic, all sorts of things -- so long as it isn't an insult to anyone involved.

    There are just two shops of which I am aware - ...[text shortened]... ls who have allowed the US economy to go from where it was in 1999 to where it is now.
    Your unwillingness to address my point and is telling.

    You just don't know much about porn. Porn has been around since the moment there were cameras. It precedes the business of porn at a massive scale or things like spyware and viruses.

    It's like someone saying that music isn't art because of the Britney Spears of this world and the bureaucrats in the gigantic music industry.
  13. Standard member Scriabin
    Done Asking
    08 Jul '08 17:59 / 2 edits
    Originally posted by Palynka
    Your unwillingness to address my point and is telling.

    You just don't know much about porn. Porn has been around since the moment there were cameras. It precedes the business of porn at a massive scale or things like spyware and viruses.

    It's like someone saying that music isn't art because of the Britney Spears of this world and the bureaucrats in the gigantic music industry.
    Your analogy is a false one -- using it is a logical fallacy -- you make no valid sense by it. I don't make stuff up, I research -- that's what lawyers do if they want to win and they argue for a living. You don't make much by simply ranting without anything to back yourself up.

    The Supreme Court established the basic legal standard for pornography in miller v. california, 413 U.S. 15, 93 S. Ct. 2607, 37 L. Ed. 2d 419 (1973). Pornographic material would be classified as obscene and potentially illegal if it met three criteria: (1) the work, taken as a whole by an average person applying contemporary community standards, appeals to the prurient interest; (2) the work depicts sexual conduct in a patently offensive way; and (3) the work, when taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value. That which falls outside of this definition has ceased to be called porn and also is not the product made and sold by the porn industry.

    American Booksellers Ass'n v. Hudnut, 598 F. Supp. 1316 (S.D. Ind. 1984) was a case upholding a municipal law against porn that was declared unconstitutional on appeal to the next higher court (Hudnut, 771 F.2d 323 [7th Cir. 1985]) but ultimately was upheld by the Supreme Court. I agree with the lower court Judge's finding of fact -- the issue of the law's constitutionality has to do with policy with regard to the facts, not the accuracy of the facts found. District Courts are finders of fact.

    District Court Judge Frank Easterbrook accepted a municipal law's central factual argument about pornography, that it was degrading. He agreed that "depictions of subordination" tend to perpetuate subordination in other areas of life, causing sexual discrimination, harassment, rape, and domestic abuse.

    The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed Easterbrook's decision in 1986 (Hudnut, 475 U.S. 1001, 106 S. Ct. 1172, 89 L. Ed. 2d 291, aff'd without comment, reh'g denied, 475 U.S. 1132, 106 S. Ct. 1664, 90 L. Ed. 2d 206).

    For a good discussion of the ongoing battle over porn, see
    http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/pornography
  14. Standard member Scriabin
    Done Asking
    08 Jul '08 18:42 / 1 edit
    Analyze this:

    Three nuns were taking a walk one day.
    ''I was cleaning the Father's room yesterday and found some pornography magazines," said the first nun.
    "What did you do with them?" asked the second.
    "I threw them away."
    "I was cleaning the Father's room yesterday and found some condoms," said the second nun.
    "What did you do with them?" asked the first.
    "I punched holes in them." The third nun fainted.

    or this:

    What's 6 inches long , 2 inches wide, and thrills women?








    Money!
  15. Standard member Palynka
    Upward Spiral
    09 Jul '08 07:36
    Originally posted by Scriabin
    Your analogy is a false one -- using it is a logical fallacy -- you make no valid sense by it. I don't make stuff up, I research -- that's what lawyers do if they want to win and they argue for a living. You don't make much by simply ranting without anything to back yourself up.

    The Supreme Court established the basic legal standard for pornography in mi ...[text shortened]... ing battle over porn, see
    http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/pornography
    Hilarious.

    It's completely irrelevant what some pathetic US laws define it to be. Go to the Netherlands and even prostitution is legal.

    Both concepts transcends the notion of state and legal system. But I have to say I'm not surprised by your ethnocentric attitude to this issue.