[Marxism] Where are the Protests Against James F rancoÂs ÂFeel-GoodÂ Torture Porn?
sranz at iwon.com
Thu Jan 31 13:08:04 MST 2013
Here's a fun fact about Gail Dines: she was part of a group delegation in 2011 (as told by Prof. Shira tarrant of the Ms. magazine blog) addressing Congress on the need for President Obama to enforce obscenity laws. One of the few areas in which Obama did his due diligence on civil liberties was abolishing the Obscenity Division of the Justice Department. This act was widely condemned by anti-porners of all stripes, including Dines and her cohorts that day, such as Donna Rice Hughes, Shelley Lubben and Patrick Trueman.
Dines, like all the "radical" feminist anti-porners, frequently claim to be opposed to censorship. But on that day, the mask was dropped.
When considering her claims against Kink.com, consider the source.
From: "Louis Proyect" [lnp3 at panix.com]
Date: 01/30/2013 12:26 PM
Subject: [Marxism] Where are the Protests Against James F ranco’s “Feel-Good” Torture Porn?
Rule #1: YOU MUST clip all extraneous text when replying to a message.
Counterpunch January 30, 2013
Kink.com: the Abu Ghraib of Porn
Where are the Protests Against James Franco’s “Feel-Good” Torture Porn?
by GAIL DINES
Celebrities have been speaking out against the movie Zero Dark Thirty
because of its favorable portrayal of torture used in pursuit of Osama
Bin Laden. Some have even risked their membership in the Academy of
Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. I wish these celebrities were equally
outraged by a documentary that just premiered at Sundance that
celebrates the actual—not simulated—torture of women. Past experience
tells me not to hold my breath.
When Acme Andersson wrote in XBIZ in 2009 (the porn business online
website) that small porn companies need a lot of “good luck” to
mainstream their products, he couldn’t have imagined just what good luck
was coming the way of Kink.com, a somewhat niche company that
specializes in the type of porn that would be right at home in Abu
Ghraib. That good luck came in the form of A-list actor James Franco, a
2010 Oscar nominee for the movie 127 Hours. It seems Franco has a
somewhat robust interest in porn, because he is a producer of a new
documentary called Kink that premiered at Sundance just last week.
According to the promotional copy on the Sundance website, “Kink tells
the true story of sex, submission, and big business as seen through the
eyes of the unlikely pornographers whose nine-to-five workdays are spent
within the confines of the San Francisco Armory building, home to the
sprawling production facilities of Kink.com.” To reassure the
potentially squeamish among us, the copy declares that this “feel good”
documentary features a “charming band of outsiders full of humor and
insight working in a fantasyland of graphic sexual imagery.”
A bit of fantasy never hurt anyone, because fantasy happens in the head,
not the real world, right? Tell this to the women (and a few men) on the
Kink.com website whose bodies are displayed in agonizing contortions
that would not be out of place in the Spanish Inquisition: stretched out
on racks, hogtied, urine squirting in their mouths, and suspended from
the ceiling while attached to electrodes, including ones inserted into
their vaginas. Finally, taking a cue from Dick Cheney’s playbook, women
are submerged into a tank of water until they start to cough and choke.
As I watched the scenes, the term “feel good” couldn’t have been further
from my mind.
Kink.com is in violation of the United Nations Convention Against
Torture. The International Council for Rehabilitation for Torture
Victims states: “Some of the most common methods of physical torture
include beating, electric shocks, stretching, submersion, suffocation,
burns, rape and sexual assault.” These are the very acts showcased on
the Kink.com website. They are not mere simulations: the women are
clearly bound and in contorted positions, and many are grimacing. This
is not a fun, fantasy place run by a charming band of outsiders, but a
group of savvy businessmen who missed their calling at Abu Ghraib.
The usual defense of Kink.com is that the women signed a contract and
hence agreed to the acts. But as attorney Wendy Murphy of the New
England School of Law argues, “torture doctrine is not hampered by
concerns about consent because, as a matter of law and policy, one
cannot consent to torture.” And anyway, what does meaningful and
informed consent mean to the women subjected to these degrading and
painful tortures, which are designed to break the body and the spirit?
Even the intelligence services acknowledge that information gained from
coercive methods is unreliable. The women, like others who enter porn,
are young and often don’t know the full extent of what will happen on
the set, and cannot anticipate the lasting psychological and emotional
effects. The ultimate lie of Kink.com is that it claims to do candid
interviews with the women at the end of the scene so they can show how
much they enjoyed the “sex.” This is like asking sweatshop laborers to
talk about how happy they are to be working for some multinational
corporation as the CEO films the interview.
If Sundance were premiering a film about Iraqis, African Americans,
Jews, or any group other than women being tortured, would they be able
to call it a “feel good” documentary? If you want to understand how the
pornographers, and in this case Sundance and James Franco, get away with
this travesty, then you need to look no further than Andrew Edmond,
himself a pornographer, but one who tells the truth. In a 2000 interview
with Brandweek, Edmond, President and CEO of Flying Crocodile, a
$20-million Internet pornography business, stated that those outside the
industry don’t understand how porn works because “a lot of people get
distracted … by [the sex]. To that he could add that they also get
distracted from the pain and anguish on the women’s faces as they are
being debased, abused, and dehumanized. Where are the celebrities
speaking out against this?
GAIL DINES is a professor of sociology and women’s studies at Wheelock
College in Boston. Her latest book is Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked
our Sexuality (Beacon Press). She a founding member of Stop Porn Culture
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