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Munan
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2006 9:52 am    Post subject: Munamania #1: A list Reply with quote

A list

If I were to make a list of irritating causes for insomnia, humans having sex would probably rank higher than whistling birds. I'm not entirely sure about that, though, because I think I would prefer some muffled moans over the sound of pigeons anytime, whereas a few modest sparrows cannot be worse than the horrible noise I was confronted with some nights ago. These were the kind of things I was thinking about while I was lying awake, listening for the second night in a row to a woman screaming things like "Oh yes! YES!! Do it to me! Do it now!".

I was thinking about French philosopher Michel Foucault as well, but knowing the interests of the people who read this column, I will start with the noise. At first I thought someone was making a joke. In reality, people don't scream like that – that is something they only do in porn movies, I thought to myself. But I realised that what I heard were two real people going at it – it was a hot summer night, I was sleeping with my window opened and could hear the screaming coming from one of the houses with balconies facing mine. I could even hear skin slapping against skin.

So I had to endure that for two nights in a row. Now, the strange thing was this: I have two apartments and the second night I was in another city. This was an entirely different couple screaming exactly the same things, things I thought only people in certain movies screamed. They probably screamed like that because porn-movies made them think that this was normal behaviour. And this is when I started to think about Michel Foucault. Foucault stated that we copy most of the ways in which we behave. Mostly unconsciously, we strike poses we have seen people we admire strike, say things we have heard others say and even express our emotions the way we see others express them. Society expresses its opinions and ideology through us, rather than the other way around.

There is, however, one area of human intercourse where this usually does not hold true: sex. This is why, according to Foucault, tyrannical systems like organised religion and oppressive ideologies try to prescribe the way in which people can have sex – that would mean absolute control. Hearing my neighbours having sex in the way porn movies prescribe us to have sex, I realised we have come very close to such a situation. This time, it is not religion, not ideology invading our sex lives, but pornofication. Foucault, who always stressed the delightfully subversive potential of an original, non-regulated sex life, would find this a pity. I tend to agree with that, if only to make that list a bit shorter.

Edit: link to wikipedia article on Michel Foucault added


Last edited by Munan on Thu Sep 07, 2006 5:19 am; edited 3 times in total
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2006 12:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

...and so, my brethren, let us each partake in unusual sex lives! Exult in your perversions! Have sex the way you want to have sex!

Should you have an unusual attraction to women twenty years your senior, do not be ashamed, revel in it!

Stick it to the man! (if that happens to be your thing)

I love the topic of sex. Even when it's being discussed intelligently, it allows for delightful double-entendres. (which, at first glance, can be confused for double-entries)
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2006 12:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I doubt that the people you heard were saying the things they were saying because they had seen/heard it on a porn flick.

Not saying it is not possible, but that it is not likely

Why do I say this? Because, both through personal experience, and through knowledge of the experiences of others, I know that vocalising is part of the way women experiende and enjoy sex. And sex is such a primal part of life, the things one vocalizes are primal, simplistic, and primitive. "Yes, give it to me baby" is about as sophisticated as it gets.

Some women are screamers. Some of them are shouters. Some of them are moaners. Some of them are silent. Some women want their men to scream, or shout, or moan, or to be silent.

It is no different from the fact that many people like "kinky" sex. Role playing, cosplay, BDSM, water sports, are all different ways people enjoy sex. Many may get ideas from porn movies, but the way they enjoy sex comes from something much deeper than whatever movies they may have seen.

As far as Foucault's theory that we copy most of the ways we behave, well, I can only speak for myself. And as for me, and my life, Foucoult is wrong. I have never had a role model. I have had to make everything up as I go along all my life. He may be correct for some people, but his theory is not universally applicable. I am the exception that disproves the rule.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2006 12:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unlike Complex Numbers, I am an example of Foucault's theory in practice, as tv and movies shaped my behavior during my pre-teen/teen years far more than my parents ever did. That sounds bad but I like to think it turned out well, since those moral and ethical lessons those old sitcoms liked to teach you turned out to be pretty sound advice. You know, like blondes have more fun (Three's Company) and Popeye impressions are always funny (Full House).

Regarding your article, Munan, I don't completely buy that sex is exempt from the theory, or at least I need to hear more arguments why. Personally I learned a lot about sex from tv and R-rated movies as well, like sex should take no longer than a minute and a half and should always result in an orgasm from both parties.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2006 1:09 pm    Post subject: Re: Munamania #1: A list Reply with quote

Since sex is such a pillar of our highly closeted (american) society, where else would, or even could one learn about it aside from porn, or some other "outside" influence?

"Pornofication," as you put it, would have to be the direct result of society's leaning on personal expression, as Porn is an industry, catering to the demands of an all-consuming customer base.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2006 5:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm having trouble trying to decide what part of Munan's essay is the issue. Is it pornofication, or is Foucault's theory, in general, on trial?

BUT

With Foucault, I would agree partially. It's impossible to go through life and be totally immune to outside influence. Everyone has quirks, and some people have unique personalities that, so I would say I only partially agree with Foucault. His theory is pretty simple, in that we copy or pose. At my college, everyone poses. Everyone likes to say: " Envidaze' " ala Heidi Klum, which she says at least six times a show in Project Runway, and people, no matter what the situation or where, will kiss each other on each cheek, ala Heidi Klum again. Fear of being an outsider drives people to do things like that. Again, everyone at my college is a poser. From the second I arrived, I knew people would be posing everyday of the week, trying to outmaneuver each other socially in some ridiculous rat race that wouldn't matter after junior year.

I am also a product of television and music bernieh. I think when you're young and impressionable, you can't decide that: I'm not going to be defined by music and television; I can't agree with someone who say's they have truly forged their own path in life without being influenced by culture and accepting lessons learned by observing and copying. We've come a long way from being primitive cave dwellers, but even then, you have to observe and copy to survive.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2006 6:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Foucault's pendulum swings both ways.



bwah ha ha... sorry, I HAD to say that. Munan, do you live on my block? We've got a chick called 'The Screamer' that lives behind us. We used to time her various boyfriend's visits - which is how we figured out she was seeing one guy on Tuesdays and a different guy on Fridays.
One night a few of us from several buildings had a plan. At 1:15 am when she started up, we started heckling. From 3 different buildings. Everything from "Shut the F***Up" to an assortment of extremely rude things. I think what finally worked is when one of the neigbors yelled "Hey, hurry up. You're taking a lot longer than the guy on Tuesday!"
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2006 7:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Foucoult's pudendum does what?





Wait.



Michael, not Michelle.




Sorry, so sorry, I know this thread is supposed to be a bit lofter than that, but I have so little ability to pass up what seems to me to be a set-up line. Sorry
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2006 9:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, anecdotes are alright, but, should any thread in this section devolve into the usual nonsense...well, just don't let it happen.

Comnum pretty much beat me to the punch here. (Which is ironic because I had a preview of the column in an email.) I certainly understand Munan's point, but I also believe that he is overstating it for dramatic effect. I imagine that "dirty talk," in some form, historically preceeded pornography.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2006 1:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with Blaster. History-wise pornography was around in like the eighteen-hundreds. But what about before that? Granted back then sex was more taboo, but behind closed doors...who were these people? Did they enjoy spankings? Did they talk dirty to each other? It was their prerogative. I feel that sex reveals who you really are on the inside since it is primal and instinctive and just raw. So the screamers that you have Munan and Ambereyez maybe thats the women just really letting themselves go. If you can try to see what they look like in regular life. If what they look like during the day completely contrasts what they sound like at night...then you know you might want to put two and two together. Either that or they're utterly obnoxious and you guys need to file complaints.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2006 4:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry to nitpick, especially as you were agreeing with me, but pornography goes back much further than that.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2006 5:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, cool. So many responses!

bernieh wrote:
Regarding your article, Munan, I don't completely buy that sex is exempt from the theory, or at least I need to hear more arguments why. Personally I learned a lot about sex from tv and R-rated movies as well, like sex should take no longer than a minute and a half and should always result in an orgasm from both parties.


I think that's absolutely right, but what I was trying to say is that according to Foucault sex could be much more exempt from theory and free from the dominant discourse than most other human practices. And that the frightening thing is that this possible source of subversiveness is now being dominated by a specific discourse as well that is fed us through television and cinema of the b kind.

Also, I was not claiming that anyone who screams during sex is being pornofied. I found it, however, extremely weird that these people were screaming exactly the same thing, a thing that I personally only would imagine that people in porn movies scream - I certainly have never experienced someone shouting like that. It seemed very artificial to me.

CottonFluff wrote:
Pornofication," as you put it, would have to be the direct result of society's leaning on personal expression, as Porn is an industry, catering to the demands of an all-consuming customer base.


Yes, I think I could agree with that. Actually, I'm not against porno per se, but I do know that the modern day commercial variety that never really reaches the delighful subversiveness and naughtiness of, say, Courbet's "L'origine du monde" (<-- It's art, but I guess it's highly NSFW) from 1866. So I find it highly uninteresting, boring even. I think, to base your sex life on something like that could never benefit your sex life and it's quite sad that people don't go about it the way our Crotchfire goes about it.

@Koko: my columns hardly ever have one issue. I know some would say a column should strictly deal with one issue (that's a very anglo-saxon approach) but I'm more influenced by French writers like Barthes, who have a more associative style. Whether or not I'm succesful in that is up to you to decide.

Also, regarding Complexnumber's statement that he proves Foucault wrong:

Foucault would answer that in choosing our path in life, we always have individual choice, but at the same time we can only choose between the possibilities the discourse we live in gives us. Our identities are thus discursive constructions, patchworks of different possibilities the discourse hands us. Nowadays, it is handed to us to a large extent through television etc. I myself don't own a television, so to me it's handed through other channels. But you're never able to shut the discourse out, or make a choice that lies outside the discourses in your society. If you were to do so, you would be outlawed, called a liar, or an idiot (the three mechanisms that are used to keep the discourse going).
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2006 8:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Munan wrote:

CottonFluff wrote:
Pornofication," as you put it, would have to be the direct result of society's leaning on personal expression, as Porn is an industry, catering to the demands of an all-consuming customer base.


Yes, I think I could agree with that. Actually, I'm not against porno per se, but I do know that the modern day commercial variety that never really reaches the delighful subversiveness and naughtiness of, say, Courbet's "L'origine du monde" (<-- It's art, but I guess it's highly NSFW) from 1866. So I find it highly uninteresting, boring even. I think, to base your sex life on something like that could never benefit your sex life and it's quite sad that people don't go about it the way our Crotchfire goes about it.


I really don't want to touch the old "art vs porn" debate with a 10-foot stick, (although I am especially tempted to after clicking the link) but, simply put, art imitates life, and vice versa. Film is an art form, ergot the previous infinite loop (or perhaps spiral*) probably affects how people act (or react) in certain contexts, or is reflective thereof.

If the act of moaning "do me baby" was so unrealistic, why would anyone bother writing it into a porn script, and why would it and similar silly phrases become such a staple?

Because someone, somewher found it sexy, and figured that other people might do the same. I think that stuff like that can (theoretically) help your sex life, as the pornsmiths have done all the dirty work of looking for new niches to explore (take that as you will), and all that you have to do is discreetly acquire it, and realize that it matches your (previously unrealized) preferences.

As sex is such a... sensual, physical, visceral thing, chances are that it doesn't translate well, particularly into a purely visual medium like video. at least the written word allows the reader's mind to come into play, film/video does nearly all the work for the viewer, dislocating them another step from the warmth and softness of flesh.

*I say "spiral" because as the two start to match each other more and more, it becomes less imitation, and more simple representation, or even dictation, which is probably what you were trying to put across in the first place.


Yeah, watching some strangers have sex bores me too. Wink
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2006 9:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Munan wrote:
But you're never able to shut the discourse out, or make a choice that lies outside the discourses in your society. If you were to do so, you would be outlawed, called a liar, or an idiot (the three mechanisms that are used to keep the discourse going).

How about "outcast", or "misfit", or maybe just "loser"?

Been there, done that, they don't make a t-shirt.

Perhaps those are just alternative terms for "idiot"?

And I didn't say Foucoult was flat out wrong, just wrong in my case, and therefore not universally correct.

But throughout the first 25 or so years of my life, I actively searched for some role model or meme to follow. I never found one.

I only stopped searching when I was able to accept the fact that I wasn't ever going to find any model for my life and my behavior. As I said before, I have had to make it all up as I go along.

Wait, there's Jiminy Cricket. Right there in my sig. Always let your conscience be your guide.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2006 9:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, but you don't need a role model for the discourse to control what you're saying and doing. According to Foucault, just speaking the language is enough. Going about it a little to quickly, he could be paraphrased as saying: you don't speak language, language speaks you.

CottonFluff wrote:
I really don't want to touch the old "art vs porn" debate with a 10-foot stick, (although I am especially tempted to after clicking the link) but, simply put, art imitates life, and vice versa.


I'm not saying that picture in the link is not porn but art. It sure is 100% porn, but it's just (I think) more enjoyable than your average porn movie. Not because of the picture itself (which is a bit too much for me), but the context of the times, the naughtiness of it all, to be found in the small detail of the erect nipple, the curve of the body.

And I'm not sure I agree with your "art imitates life". If that were the case, art could never revolutionise our way of thinking like it sometimes does. Art does not just imitate life, it also sometimes imagines new ways of living and can therefore lift us to a higher plane of existence, open new doors, show new perspectives.

So, art can also tell us how to live. And I guess my problem with much of the modern day porno is that it tells us how to have sex in unexciting clichés. No, they're not taping that dialogue because someone finds it exciting, they're taping it because of the clichematic idea of excitement they think is represented by that. And the worst thing is that so many people buy into that. That's I think the point I wanted to make. I would be completely put off if a girl would start shouting those things to me while doint 'it'. Because, yeah, sex is sweaty and dirty and noisy if it's good, but it's certainly not about repeating some lines from a porn movie.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2006 9:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Munan wrote:
Yeah, but you don't need a role model for the discourse to control what you're saying and doing. According to Foucault, just speaking the language is enough. Going about it a little to quickly, he could be paraphrased as saying: you don't speak language, language speaks you.

OK, I totally agree with that.

It has long been my belief that the Germans are great mechanics/engineers is due to the way the German language is structured, and the way that structure shapes the way the brain develops.

For those who don't know, the German language operates in a way that word order doesn't matter. Yoda-speak in German would have zero comic value.[/i]
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2006 10:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ehm, sorry, but that is not true. Word order does matter in German. A lot.

"Haben Sie das gemacht" (did you make that?) is a completely different sentence than "Sie haben das gemacht" (stating: You made that)

You say "Wir gehen ins Kino" (we're going to the cinema). To say "Ins Kino gehen wir" (to the cimena we're going) would sound as weird (though not necesarily wrong) in German as it does in English.

"Ich habe einen Mann kennen gelernt" (I met a man, literally I have learned to know a man) is correct German. "Ich einen Mann haben kennen gelernt" (I a man met - literall": I a man have learned to know) is just wrong, grammatically.

You might be confused with Old Norse... word order doesn't matter that much in Old Norse (but that goes for most pre-medieval germanic languages, English included). And in the end, even in these languages a sentence can be wrong because of word order.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2006 2:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Munan wrote:
You might be confused with Old Norse... word order doesn't matter that much in Old Norse (but that goes for most pre-medieval germanic languages, English included). And in the end, even in these languages a sentence can be wrong because of word order.

I am not confused, I am mis-informed. I am talking specifically about German.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2006 12:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Munan wrote:
Also, I was not claiming that anyone who screams during sex is being pornofied. I found it, however, extremely weird that these people were screaming exactly the same thing, a thing that I personally only would imagine that people in porn movies scream...

There's no such thing as an original idea?

CottonFluff wrote:
As sex is such a... sensual, physical, visceral thing, chances are that it doesn't translate well, particularly into a purely visual medium like video. at least the written word allows the reader's mind to come into play, film/video does nearly all the work for the viewer, dislocating them another step from the warmth and softness of flesh.

Granted, what the industry puts out is often disappointing, but don't discount the value of voyeursim for its own sake.

I tend to be a critic of the porn industry, but I still appreciate the ideal of pornography.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2006 4:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Blaster wrote:
There's no such thing as an original idea?


Well, I still haven't decided on that. There is, I think, even according to Foucault (hence the possibilities of paradigma shuffles). But then, how does newness enter the world? Maybe in the encounter between different cultures (where the result of the encouter goes beyond anything that either culture could ever have dreamed up).

And maybe in the experience of sex, which is a bodily thing, something that is done (when it's really good) instinctively, without thinking. So yeah, maybe sex is a source of creativity and newness that gets often neglected. So in that sense I could agree with you saying:

Quote:
I still appreciate the ideal of pornography.
(^that, boys and girls, is clearly the quote of the week)

But what is that ideal according to you?
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2006 5:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Get laid 'n get paid?
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2006 6:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bold words from a man who clearly is naked in the picture that is his avatar...
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2006 1:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not to invalid the root of this discussion (being new to the forums), but could it be that those people in the two cities may have been simply watching pornos rather than engaging in sex? I mean, was there the tell tell "flush" or did the shower start after intercourse (not to be perverted, but did this episode last in "real time" or was it "porn time" as that could determine if television was involved)?

Of course, even if the people in the opposite apartments were watching, rather than engaging, I agree that it still holds true that people often imitate behaviors that they think are the way one "should" act. For those that disagree, although not too many, please provide a reason why we (americans) "rolled" or "pegged" our jeans during the 80s. Likewise, I'd like to know the fascination with ripped jeans which is somehow making a comeback(?). The jeans fiasco, I blame on Def Leppard and that video "pour some sugar on me" where Joe Elliot reached the max of rip-ability.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2006 3:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hm, cfos used the term "pegged" in a pornography-related topic, but not in the expected way...

As for the "ideal" to which I alluded, I was trying to be somewhat silly by positing that there is some Platonic ideal of pornography. I could certainly list my preferences, but I am not sure that this is the place for such a thing.

To get back to Munan's earlier statement that subversiveness is a component of good pornography (correct me if I am misinterpreting what you said): who says that porn needs to be about naughtiness? Granted, people often derive gratification from being "bad," but, in a mature society, wouldn't sex just be a fun activity devoid of any larger social implications and bereft of baggage? I know, this is really contradictory to Foucault's ideas, and I doubt this would ever be the case, but I still wanted to make the point that something can be enjoyable without being rebellious?
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 11, 2006 4:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

cfos wrote:
could it be that those people in the two cities may have been simply watching pornos rather than engaging in sex?


For sure they were engaging in sex. I can tell the difference between a television and people having sex. The flapping of skin against skin was "genuine".

Blaster wrote:
I was trying to be somewhat silly by positing that there is some Platonic ideal of pornography


Haha, I didn't think of that. But yes, of course, in a holistic system of thought there'd have to be a Platonic ideal of pornography. And then, if you take Socrates' ideal state, pornography would only be allowed in as far as it educates the masses (i.e. tells them how to have sex in the proper way) and then we're back to Foucault's idea that oppressive regimes always try to regulate our sex lives because it means absolute power.

Quote:
To get back to Munan's earlier statement that subversiveness is a component of good pornography (correct me if I am misinterpreting what you said): who says that porn needs to be about naughtiness? Granted, people often derive gratification from being "bad," but, in a mature society, wouldn't sex just be a fun activity devoid of any larger social implications and bereft of baggage? I know, this is really contradictory to Foucault's ideas, and I doubt this would ever be the case, but I still wanted to make the point that something can be enjoyable without being rebellious?


Well, when you're dealing with a system of thought like the one I described above, just "doing your own thing" in bed, just discovering and enjoying what you like is subversive already. And I think good porn stimulates (rather than prescribes) such adventurism. So I'm not saying it has to be naughty or 'bad', but I'm saying it has to be authentic, which in many cases is already naughty and bad, contrary to commercial porn which just gives cliché images of "naughty" and "bad" sex, which isn't naughty and bad at all because of its cliché nature.
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