Thursday, June 21, 2018

Pornosophy: The X-Rated Version of Plato's Republic

In a recent Times Op-Ed piece ("Can There Be Good Porn?NYT, 3/5/18), the actress Stoya, tries to create a moral category with respect to the forbidden. X-rated films transact in nudity and in the intimacies of human sexual congress of all kinds. With the exception of fables like the emperor’s new clothes, most people don’t have the opportunity to see deluded people who think they’re dressed when they’re not. As for the varieties of sex, there have always been dark cubbyholes where people could go to view tainted souls who would for instance engage in sexual intercourse with dogs. The title of Jake Tapper's novel about the McCarthy period, The Hellfire Club, alludes to such societies. “I’m invested in the creation and spread of good pornography, even though I can’t say for certain what that looks like yet," Stoya remarks." We still don’t have a solid definition of what pornography is, much less a consensus on what makes it good or ethical.” Plato and Aristotle both tried to define what constituted the good and in his dialogue the Ion Plato deals with whether dramatic performance reached its epitome due to skill or the presence of a divine spirit—an interesting notion when it comes to porn. Cleanliness is next to godliness. Are the attributes of famous porn stars like Stoya or her estranged former partner James Deen, a form of Grace. There's a food chain involved in most human endeavor and it’s easy to define crooks as bottom feeders and saints as those who have sought the greater good. But there are reversals. Ostensibly the crooks of porn would be seeking cheap thrills with the pornographic good guys being those who trafficked in the notion of catharsis. And yet who is to say that enlightenment isn’t to be found in some cheap loop of a gangbang, while the pornographic equivalent of The Republic—could that have been Hugh Hefner’s Playboy empire?—isn't predicated on a lie? 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.