The packaging of male ego and sexual conquest.How its peddled , this male libido as sublimated women hatred is often a matter of status. Whether its through the latest Stieg Larrson, or Hustler magazine, the ingenuity or lack of subtlety amounts to much the same. Disquieted about the mental environment? The forces of consumerism and anti-consumerism as a cultural force extends to pornography. And why not? As part of an overall criticism and analysis of the values of mass society and as a gauge of moral fiber, pornography itself is open to criticism that goes beyond the superficial.
But, this public discourse on morals and egregious examples like Elliott Spitzer and John Edwards, actually seem to reinforce the pornographic industry and not undermine it and all its inglorious commodification of the other; the privileged white male patron who can no longer buy a slave but can enjoy the colonialist experience in small vicarious doses whether through higher or lower culture. The porno consumers are an exemplary example of what Thomas Frank terms the “rebel consumer” that expresses their individualism in the capitalist manner; the incarnation of Charles Baudelaire and his “flaneur”.
Against the lamplight, whose shivering is the wind’s,
Prostitution spreads its light and life in the streets:
Like an anthill opening its issue it penetrates
Mysteriously everywhere by its own occult route;
Like an enemy mining the foundations of a fort,
Or a worm in an apple, eating what all should eat,
It circulates securely in the city’s clogged heart.’ ( Baudelaire )
The classic theory, and its moral pretext is that capitalism requires sexual repression.It goes that in an effort to stamp out individuality, capitalism blocks the full range of human expression, which includes sexual freedom. Since sexuality is unpredictable, it is a menace to the established order. Some people were worried that the sexual revolution would undermine capitalism, pointing to the Beats and Norman Mailer who were actually great promoters of consumerism. Bell Hooks asserts that western cultures visually and metaphorically eat or consume racially marked ideas as a kind of spice or condiment to flavor the bland whiteness of mainstream culture. Sexuality, misogyny, are equal flavorings in what could be termed a market for bodies to be both desired and despised. Pornography is an almost exclusive domain of white male patriarchy stretching from soft core to the actual live sex trafficking. Porno sites dominate the rankings of most visited internet sites. Walter Benjamin termed the prostitute, ” the saleswoman and wares in one.” ; a natural extension of commodifying desire through a love of another who has been touched by the “magic wand” of monetary value.
Walter Benjamin: The ‘holy prostitution of the soul’ compared with which ‘that which people call love is quite small, quite limited and quite feeble’ [Baudelaire] really can be nothing else than the prostitution of the commodity-soul —if the confrontation with love retains its meaning. Baudelaire refers to ‘that holy prostitution of the soul which gives itself wholly, poetry and charity, to the unexpected that appears, to the unknown that passes’, it is this very poésie and this very charité ; which the prostitutes claim for themselves….Only the mass of inhabitants permits prostitution to spread over large parts of the city. And only the mass makes it possible for the sexual object to become intoxicated with the hundred stimuli which it produces. Read More:http://hotparade.tumblr.com/post/640383631/the-prostitute-walter-benjamin
Joseph Heath:What we need to see is that consumption is not about conformity, it’s about distinction. People consume in order to set themselves apart from others. To show that they are cooler (Nike shoes), better connected (the latest nightclub), better informed (single-malt Scotch), morally superior (Guatemalan handcrafts), or just plain richer (bmws).
The problem is that all of these comparative preferences generate competitive consumption. “Keeping up with the Joneses,” in today’s world, does not always mean buying a tract home in the suburbs. It means buying a loft downtown, eating at the right restaurants, listening to obscure bands, having a pile of Mountain Equipment Co-op gear and vacationing in Thailand. It doesn’t matter how much people spend on these things, what matters is the competitive structure of the consumption. Once too many people get on the bandwagon, it forces the early adopters to get off, in order to preserve their distinction. This is what generates the cycles of ob
scence and waste that we condemn as “consumerism.”…As Pierre Bourdieu reminds us, taste is first and foremost distaste—disgust and “visceral intolerance” of the taste of others. This makes it easy to see how the critique of mass society could help drive consumerism. Read More:http://this.org/magazine/2002/11/01/the-rebel-sell/
Once we admit the role that distinction plays in structuring consumption, it’s easy to see why people care about brands so much. Brands or status don’t bring us together, they set us apart, whether the violence towards women is seen in the The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo or a violent rap/gangstra the medicine is the same. Jonathan Kay:Since we’re all enjoying the same centerfolds, surely we all appreciate the same fine cigars and the fiction of Vladimir Nabokov? Mr. Flynt always recognized that the upscale filler was just the pretentious tribute that vice pays to virtue — an insight beautifully captured in a scene from the 1996 film The People vs. Larry Flynt, in which Woody Harrelson’s Flynt, days before getting the idea for Hustler, thumbs through a copy of Playboy and asks his cronies: “You guys read Playboy? Yeah? Did you enjoy this month’s article on how to hook up your quadraphonic stereo system? And did you follow their advice on how to make a perfect martini? Who is this magazine for anyway? It’s like if you don’t make 20K a year or more, you don’t jerk off … Gentlemen, Playboy is mocking you!” Read More:http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2011/06/04/jonathan-kay-larry-flynt-porns-morally-honest-man/
Jonathan Kay:…Playboy made us feel socially inferior, but also ambitious. Hustler made us feel grubby, but normal in our grubbiness. Mr. Flynt may be a toad of a man. But in his way, he was a more morally honest man than Hugh Hefner — the John Adams of the porn world to Mr. Flynt’s Ben Franklin. He knew that the smoking jackets and fancy parties and A-list short stories were all a cynical act to make men feel classy as they prepared for the act of masturbation. He was upfront with his contention that man is a degraded animal who cares about nothing except carnal lust and his own ego.Read More:http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2011/06/04/jonathan-kay-larry-flynt-porns-morally-honest-man/
Dario Saftich:The prostitute, as Walter Benjamin notices, is the only merchant who, along with his merchandise, also sells himself. Today, this privilege might be lost, writes Sead Alic: That which once determined prostitution, has become a constituent of the modern world. Man breeds a prostitute within himself in order to claim a place within the social division of labor which realistically, belongs to him already.
In his work My Heart Laid Bare, Baudelaire himself writes that there exists in every man at every moment two simultaneous postulations, one toward God, the other toward Satan. Beckoning God, or spirituality, is the desire for ascension, beckoning Satan, is the pleasure of descent.
Dropping Naked Lunch and picking up Thriving on Chaos, the groundbreaking 1987 management text by Tom Peters, the most popular business writer of the past decade, one finds more philosophical similarities than one would expect from two manifestos of, respectively, dissident culture and business culture. If anything, Peters’ celebration of disorder is, by virtue of its hard statistics, bleaker and more nightmarish than Burroughs’. For this popular lecturer on such once-blithe topics as competitiveness and pop psychology there is nothing, absolutely nothing, that is certain. His world is one in which the corporate wisdom of the past is meaningless, established customs are ridiculous, and “rules” are some sort of curse, a remnant of the foolish fifties that exist to be defied, not obeyed. We live in what Peters calls “A World Turned Upside Down,” in which whirl is king and, in order to survive, businesses must eventually embrace Peters’ universal solution: “Revolution!” “To meet the demands of the fast-changing competitive scene,” he counsels, “we must simply learn to love change as much as we have hated it in the past.” He advises businessmen to become Robespierres of routine, to demand of their underlings, “`What have you changed lately?’ `How fast are you changing?’ and `Are you pursuing bold enough change goals?’” “Revolution,” of course, means for Peters the same thing it did to Burroughs and Ginsberg, Presley and the Stones in their heyday: breaking rules, pissing off the suits, shocking the bean-counters: “Actively and publicly hail defiance of the rules, many of which you doubtless labored mightily to construct in the first place.” Peters even suggests that his readers implement this hostility to logocentrism in a carnivalesque celebration, drinking beer out in “the woods” and destroying “all the forms and rules and discontinued reports” and, “if you’ve got real nerve,” a photocopier as well….
…Today corporate antinomianism is the emphatic message of nearly every new business text, continually escalating the corporate insurrection begun by Peters. Capitalism, at least as it is envisioned by the best-selling management handbooks, is no longer about enforcing Order, but destroying it. “Revolution,” once the totemic catchphrase of the counterculture, has become the totemic catchphrase of boomer-as-capitalist. The Information Age businessman holds inherited ideas and traditional practices not in reverence, but in high suspicion. Even reason itself is now found to be an enemy of true competitiveness, an out-of-date faculty to be scrupulously avoided by conscientious managers. Read More:http://www.nytimes.com/books/first/f/frank-dissent.html