Week 11 Reading Response – Joe Viola

The discussion, or rather debate, of whether or not a very sexually explicit film should be considered porn or not is one that has interested me for some time, largely because I don’t think I can come up with a concrete answer. It’s interesting because I agree and disagree with both sides of the argument; if unsimulated intercourse is presented on screen (i.e. in Stranger by the Lake), how can it not be pornographic? What factors are taken into account when defending either side? I found Nick Davis’ The View from the Shortbus, or All Those Fucking Movies to be particularly enriching on this subject, especially with his discussion of viewership in the increasingly digital age we live in. Previously, I’d have found it easier to “defend” (in quotes because this isn’t really the right word, as I don’t think films of this nature need to be defended per say) sexually explicit films in their distribution, i.e. not being found for free online or otherwise. Nowadays, most if not every film can be found in this way, which blurs the pornographic line even further. Davis furthers the topic by relating it to queerness, and whether sex depicted on screen can be seen as queer merely by the nature of the public audience that watches it. Again, it’s difficult to find a firm standpoint, on a discussion that is intriguingly fascinating regardless.

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