Wednesday, September 26, 2007

worth taking a second look...

E-waste dumping on the poor

and found these essays while thinking about Barb's earlier posts about war and pornography.
Crisis of Masculinity
In the end, the book grapples with a fundamental question. "If pornography is increasingly cruel and degrading, why is it increasingly commonplace instead of more marginalized? In a society that purports to be civilized, wouldn't we expect most people to reject sexual material that becomes ever more dismissive of the humanity of women? How do we explain ... increasingly more intense ways to humiliate women sexually and the rising popularity of the films that present those activities?" Jensen concludes: "... this paradox can be resolved by recognizing that one of the assumptions is wrong. Here it is the assumption that the U.S. society routinely rejects cruelty and degradation. In fact the U.S. is a nation that has no serious objection to cruelty and degradation."

War and Porn
If you go to this collection of image galleries and scroll down to the very bottom, you will see a couple of folders labeled "War Trophy Photos." I must leave it to your judgment whether you want to see them or not. I trust you to want to see them for the right reasons. These are images of corpses and body parts mutilated and displayed, in close-up, laid out on a platter for cannibals. These are images that no one should find it easy to view, not even surgeons. But they are part of the true story of what this war is about and what all wars are about.
Many of these images were sent by American soldiers to a website that marketed pornography. Presumably, these were viewed as war pornography. Presumably, they were created by people who have come to love war. And I don't mean people who avoid going to wars and then send other people's children to fight and die or be turned into people who could do this. I don't think Dick Cheney and George Bush flip through these photos in the evening, but I think they have a duty to do so until they can't stand it anymore and bring our troops home.

Liberals and Porn
Liberals often defend images of men chaining, whipping, torturing, and even killing women in the name of sexual pleasure as harmless exercises of free speech. At the same time, they strenuously object to war propaganda.
But if war propaganda is effective in dehumanizing members of "enemy" nations to make it possible for men to hurt, kill, and degrade other human beings -- as it clearly is -- why would images of women as merely body parts for male sexual use and abuse not have similar effects? Why, like other propaganda, would stories and images that dehumanize women not blind people to the reality of women's suffering? If linking sex with violence had no effect on behavior, why would savvy media professionals link sex with whatever they are trying to sell -- from cars to Coca-Cola -- to influence peoples' behavior?

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