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Reading, Looking, Listening, . . . Questioning

The “P” word: mediated pornography

Categories: ZiR

My friend was a little upset that Margret Grebowicz did not include graphic evidence of her research in her book Why Internet Porn MattersI, on the other hand, was a little relieved. Reading a book about pornography without the images seemed less daunting than reading an illustrated version of it. Granted, there is descriptive narrative in the book, but Grebowicz seems to focus more on language and power than the visuals. This is what I found most interesting in the first two chapters of the book:


Max Ernst #2This is precisely the argument that Baudillard makes, proposing that new relationships between discourse and power in the age of information, in which Internet pornography plays a significant role, affect the ability of the body politic to produce something like “meaning” at all. If he is right, this has consequences for both, the cyberlibertarian and the (let’s call it) “revolutionary fantasist” position that porn should exist unregulated by the state precisely because of its role in the production of resistant discourses…[A]ccording to Baudillard, today’s pornography is complicit in, and even central to, the production of a body politic which can neither speak nor listen in interventionist ways.



For an exploration of Marxist theory applied to pornography discourse, read Peter Prevos’s analysis of “Pornography and the Commodification of Sexual Desire.

— Alexia Raynal, Zeteo Managing Editor


Top image: Max Ernst – The Chinese Nightingale, 1920

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1 Comment to “The “P” word: mediated pornography”

  1. […] Last week, when I began reading Margaret Grebowicz’s Why Internet Porn Matters I learned that changes in pornography (e.i., an increasing virtual market) reflect and effect the way people think about sexuality, speech and power. This week, as I dive into chapter 3, I discovered different ways people speak about this topic. For some, pornography is a strictly masculine interest. It gets recognized—along truth and sex—as belonging to the order of the masculine (artifice, veiling, and seduction, on the other side, get recognized as belonging to the order of the feminine.) Within this perspective, Grebowicz explains that Jean Baudillard suggests a reading pornography as […]

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