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Thought-provoking links on pastoralism and pornography - Synchronicity swirls and other foolishness

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November 4th, 2007


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11:44 pm - Thought-provoking links on pastoralism and pornography
I read two excellent and thought provoking pieces on-line, and in an exceptionally indirect way they are connected. The first is a piece about pastoralism and the mythologizing of rural America, and especially of farming. I knew the only 17% of the US population lived in rural areas, and that farming was a fairly uncommon occupation. However, I had not know that only 2 million people (ie considerably less than 1% of population) work on farm or ranches, and yet as the article points out, farmers are the mythic "salt of the Earth", the common people who everyone should look up to, despite it being a dying occupation that has almost nothing to do with the realities of life for more than 80% of the population, and little to do with most of the rest of the 16% of the population that are rural-dwellers who don't work in agriculture. In any case, read the article, it says this better than I can.

The only point that occurred to me, that was not in this piece was that this sort of pastoralism is far from new. The Romans, especially during the early Empire, had very similar beliefs. Although most Romans were farmers, the elite were wealthy urbanites, who had little or no direct connection to farming, but who idealized farmers and agriculture, while going about their business of becoming wealthier and attempting to (mostly successfully in their case) conquer other peoples. So, I don't see pastoralism as an accidental archaicism, as much as a deliberate effort by the wealthy and the powerful to create myths that serve their own purposes.

The odd bit of synchronicity is that the piece I link to above was written by John Rogers, a screen and comics author, who coincidentally wrote the screenplay for the never produced TV pilot of a show based on Warren Ellis' comic Global Frequency

The second post is by Warren Ellis, and has nothing to do with the first. It's about rather horrid pornography in America. It's a discussion of how extreme American porn has become. WARNING – this link contains descriptions of utterly vile violent acts, as well as descriptions of acts that are merely exceptionally squicky to most people (myself most definitely included). I've read a bit about modern US porn before and am sad to say that Ellis seems completely correct – the extreme of US porn have gone well beyond anything any reasonable person would find arousing and have become a sick and bizarre contest to outdo one another.

What I do not know is how popular (at least compared to other porn, this sort of extreme porn is. Certainly, it's making money or it wouldn't exist, but I don't know if it has (as I very much hope) a small but zealously dedicate fanbase of sickos who watch it, or it a substantial minority (or more) of people who watch hardcore porn regularly watch acts that in all honesty seem like something that should be in a truly sick horror film made specifically for people with a fetish for graphic torture.

To reference my previous post, I do not often agree with Andrea Dworkin's ideas, but I can definitely sympathize with (but ultimately do not agree with) her attitude about pornography, because if this sort of porn is anything remotely resembling the mainstream of pornography, then I can very much see wanting to make it illegal.

Rampant pastoralism and extreme porn, such is the state of America.
Current Mood: indescribableindescribable

(13 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


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From:onyxrising
Date:November 5th, 2007 07:56 am (UTC)
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I've said it once, I'll say it again- we are Rome.
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From:onyxrising
Date:November 5th, 2007 08:06 am (UTC)
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Oh, and on you know what's always bugged myself and Sven about the farmers back home? Refusal to modernize, even if it means starving. Seriously, crop prices for most of the things grown back home have dropped, and the farmers will refuse to change to a more profitable specialty crop/go organic/etc. even if it means starving. And they'll gladly tell you about how it just isn't right that the honest American farmer ever has to change the way things are done. After all, these new techniques require some of that there book learnin', and them intellectuals in their ivory towers don't really know nothin'. It's all pride, anyways, that book learnin', and vanity and pride are sins.
This seems sadly true of the farmers we've been exposed to in some other parts of the country. Thankfully, Darwinism applies to all businesses. However, the government subsidies for farms seem to allow the stupid to hold out longer doing unproductive things, rather than forcing them to change to something productive or pick up a trade.
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From:kinkyturtle
Date:November 5th, 2007 10:25 am (UTC)
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After reading that second article, I proclaim that nobody is ever allowed to bash furry porn again. :}

But no, I don't think that's the mainstream of porn. Try loading up Google Images, turning off Safe Search, and typing in terms like "porn", "naked", "sex", etc. Go for general terms like those. All the pornographic images that come up will be mostly vanilla.
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From:andrewducker
Date:November 5th, 2007 11:33 am (UTC)
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I concur. I think that "the view of porn within the porn industry" and "porn as actual people view it" are as far removed as "the view of fashion within the fashion industry" and "clothes real people wear".
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From:jholloway
Date:November 5th, 2007 02:43 pm (UTC)
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Spot on. In particular, I think there's a small but vocal (and profitable) market core that demands ever more and more "extreme" sex, and a large base of mostly casual consumers who don't really care what porn they buy as long as it has naked people in it. There's no way to ensure that the last group buys your particular brand of porn, so you have to compete for the first.
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From:heron61
Date:November 5th, 2007 08:03 pm (UTC)
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I think this is true, I certainly hope this is true, but I'd definitely like to see some stats on porn consumption to be certain.
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From:amberite
Date:November 13th, 2007 03:58 pm (UTC)
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As someone who's worked on the milder outskirts of the industry (and still has social connections in it,) I also concur.

Girl-next-door is still the #1 most popular material, last I checked.

If anything has been somewhat mainstreamed, it's certain types of BDSM. But I think that's a good thing -- leads to less agonizing on the part of people who grow up kinky.

(There *is* a fetish for every normal bodily function, though, usually harbored by a small percentage of the population.)
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From:rjgrady
Date:November 5th, 2007 02:59 pm (UTC)
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I don't like most porn. A lot of it is moral filth, most of what remains is artistically filth. Thus, I spend a fair amount of time, now and then, combing the Internet for palatable porn. While I don't like most porn, I really like good porn.

For a while, one of my hobbies was reading Victorian porn. In my experience, modern porn has got NOTHING on the Victorians. I'll put forward the hypothesis that the extremity of porn is in direct relation to the lack of outlets for unconventional sexual desire. The US needs more porn, not less... some breathing room for the sleazoid Mr. Hyde that lurks in the mind of someone raised in a sexually toxic culture.
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From:kitten_goddess
Date:November 5th, 2007 04:46 pm (UTC)
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We are the Victorians. This country is so determined to appear proper and good and Christian, while anyone, no matter how old they are, can get all the free porn they want with the clck of a mouse.

Of course, I think proper is boring and highly overrated. We need more porn with literary/artistic merit.
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From:slothman
Date:November 5th, 2007 06:34 pm (UTC)
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The comments on the second article introduced me to yet more terms for acts that I would have hoped would be so rare that they lacked distinct names.
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From:heron61
Date:November 5th, 2007 07:22 pm (UTC)
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*nods* I stopped reading those comments for precisely that reason.
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From:slothman
Date:November 5th, 2007 07:25 pm (UTC)
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I looked up the various names on UrbanDictionary just to see if people were making them up, and out of horrified fascination. I suspect some people have simply become far too jaded...
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From:heron61
Date:November 5th, 2007 08:02 pm (UTC)
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These days, I regularly check references for validity. In this case, I made the mistake of googling some of the more unlikely sounding terms, assuming (and hoping) they didn't really exist. I saw proven vividly wrong :(

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