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Episode 09 Looking Through the Window

May 20, 2011

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Words and Music–Richard Allen
Produced by David Barratt at the Abattoir of Good Taste

Vocal and Guitar–William Thaumatrope
Ukulele and everything else–David Barratt.


Pornography is a contentious subject and hard to attain a balanced perspective upon. The pervasiveness of pornography in society, surely more pervasive than it has ever been, speaks to its aggressive exploitation by unscrupulous entrepreneurs in new media like the internet, which seem tailor-made for its delivery, but also to the existence of a demand for its content.

For some, influenced by the ideology of the 1960s, pornography was supposed to be a liberating thing. It suggests the promise of a world of sexual freedom uninhibited by conscience or taboo, where sex is there to be enjoyed with whomsoever one pleases. This view (self-serving for pornographers) is actually predicated upon a deeply flawed view of human psychology and anthropology: human beings, by and large, are pair-bonding animals. The idea of a pornucopia misunderstands the role of pornography in society which in actuality functions as a psychological and societal supplement to ordinary relationships for testosterone-fueled young men, businessmen in hotel rooms (when they are away from their families), or for failing marriages in the middle of the night–hence the more plausible social safety valve defense of pornography.

Arguably, pornography has a less furtive, more mainstream, role in some gay male communities, but this only highlights the fact that the consumption of pornography is keyed to the distinctive character of male sexuality, which we might call the autonomy of male sexual arousal. Yes, women are aroused too, and there may be some women who like hardcore pornography (there are certainly female pornographers), but the vast majority of women whom I have met do not find pornography (other than perhaps the couple friendly soft-core type) arousing, and hence watchable, precisely because it divorces sex from the context of human intimacy and human relationships. This speaks to the significance of the old-fashioned view, much derided by radicals, that women, who have traditionally and still remain primarily responsible for the caring of children, are a civilizing influence upon society.

Thus social conservatives, who view pornography as debasing and eroding the human capacity for intimacy, and feminists, who decry the way in which pornography exploits the bodies of women, argue that pornography requires social censorship and control. Few, I think, would disagree that some form of censorship and social control are necessary because of the deleterious impact upon children of a form of experience that they have no capacity to understand and assimilate, an impact that is as self-evident as it is difficult to quantify. The public policy problem is what kinds of social control should be exercised: how permissive should society be, and what kind of constraints are practical? Meanwhile, for better or worse, pornography will continue to proliferate, as pornpreneurs appropriate each newly emergent audio-visual delivery system for skin content in order to appeal to the baser instincts that all men share.


When I go back home
Seeing I’m all alone
And I’m feeling kinda low
I look through my window

The show it begins at ten
I don’t do very much ‘til then
I just fix myself a drink
And I try hard not to think

It don’t amount to much
For I supply the touch
She shows me what’s between her thighs
And she flashes me her eyes.

But lately she’s not there
So I just sit and stare
But maybe I should choose
Another website venue


Love she went out the door
Her stuff it’s on my (the) floor
And what do I have to show
I look through my window
I look through my window
I look through my window


From → Thaumatropemusic

One Comment
  1. Seung-hoon permalink

    I pretty much agree that porn is less subversion than supplement though this function varies among age groups and even individuals, thus as you say, some social control may be needed. On the other hand, porn seems to have its own syntactic and semantic genre grammars that are often self-controlled, or its autonomy seems forged through reception. It operates quite a self-organizing system of desires, a subversively supplemental autopoiesis if you want. But as supplement, it’s no doubt a gift and a poison at once.

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