Wk 2: Porn and Music

Week 2: Porn and Music

This week we deal with porn, porn, some more porn and a touch of music. Obviously in light of the previous week, the Gods of Net102 have decided to spice things up a little and add some ‘titillating’ subject matter. Porn. And not even standard porn, but fetish porn, bizarre porn or as Atwood likes to call it, altporn. Oh Goody, let’s convince hubby to join in this week’s lessons!

Porn

Reading: No Money Shot by F Atwood (2007)

Do you agree with Atwood that the Internet has facilitated “new sex taste cultures?” What is the extent of the impact of the Internet on cultural norms surrounding ordinary, familiar, in other words, everyday sex?

Reading Review

Atwood waffles on about how porn has changed in recent years (even though the article is already out of date by three years) and now has bred a new ‘subculture’ of niche porn, which avails itself to people who normally wouldn’t be inspired by porn. She also asserts that altporn seeks to create a community rather than follow the traditional path of porn (which is obviously men in trenchcoats, standing in a booth all alone, watching a video with a glove and tissues in one hand) and to also encourage the viewers themselves to become part of the entertainment.

Learnings:

Although Atwood does all the right things and references all the right studies, what she essentially saying is passe, and old news. Porn continually sets the trends in all areas of technology (see herehere, and here) and other sites and businesses follow. Because the porn industry needs to constantly ‘up the ante’ for sex-jaded individuals, part of its ability to innovate is a large part of its success. In 2004, when I was working as a writer and web designer for an women’s online porn site (purve.com – enter at your own risk, R+ rated) and its sister site, Purvette.com (I wrote as Dec-a-dent), porn led the way in creating subscription based, community sites that specialised in niche markets. Women’s porn was a niche market in itself, but so was girl on girl, threesomes, bondage, menstrual sex, machine fuckers, etc etc. The Internet hasn’t facilitated these things, as the porn industry has driven them. If it hadn’t been on the internet, the adult businesses would have found a new way to make it happen. And will continue to do so. It will make 3D tv seem usual in a few years and within 20 years androids may be a permanent and affordable fixture in the home. Bye bye blowup doll!

The resulting difference on everyday sex of the Internet is mute. Porn will always have an effect on everyday and more usual sex. It always has. Putting it up on the internet only changes the way it is delivered, not the effect it has on people. If you want porn, you can get it. It isn’t hard. The accessibility factor was always there, we just didn’t have out-of-date morons like Atwood writing about it.

Reading 2: Top 5 Online Dating Trends, Mashable, September 11, 2008

Do you think you might take any of these up?

Of course I would. If I was single, I would want to be with somebody who knew what the Internet was. There are many ways to meet somebody online and if I had no previous luck in craft and hobby sites, then I would consider online dating. Especially if it’s free.

Discussion Topics: Pleasures of the Fur and Burned Fur articles.

What do the practices of the Furries do to notions of the everyday?

Response:

Nothing. Our entire planet is made up of minority groups. Millions and millions of minority groups. I’m in a minority of short people, a minority of key-ring collectors, a minority of Lebanese/English ethnicity, a minority of digital scrapbookers, a minority of people who own a Ministry of Sound MP3 player. When stupid researchers and university people stop trying to ‘classify’ people all the time, and stop dividing us up into the minority and the majority – only then will we ever begin to truly understand one another. The practices of the furries is everyday for them. For someone into bondage, it is not everyday for them. It’s not everyday for me. It may only be ‘anyday’ for the Furries. It’s all individual and subjective.

Do I know anyone who has met or dated someone online?

I did that back in 2000. Met someone online, chatted for 3 months. Met in real life for a week. Then 3 weeks later he said, I’m sending a truck, pack your stuff. I did, and I moved 2000km to move in with him. Figured it would’t work and I’d go back after 3 months. Told him, I’d leave if I ever got bored.

Married him 4 years later. And now, 5 years after that I’ve still never gone back or become bored!

Reading: Intimacy

How do youths growing up with the Internet form and conduct relationships these days?

I didn’t read all of this – it was boring. Tedious even. But more importantly, I printed up all the coursework and this reading wasn’t there. It was added later. So because it wasn’t on the list at the beginning of the course, I haven’t printed it out. Get your act together, NET102!

iLecture: Elaine Tay Online Dating

Review:

Elaine says online dating is not just dating websites but to social networks, other niche areas to do with romance, advice sites etc. Her lecture focuses on subscription and paid dating sites. She likens online dating to a poker machine in that it makes a lot of money, yet is not clear if she also sees a similarity in the randomness of partner hookups. A larger demographic are using online dating than previously, and she states that niche dating sites are also becoming more popular. Online dating is normally free to sign up and explore the site, and then you pay to make contact with a member. Elaine rattles off a list of websites suited to online dating, and sites that specifically cater to a range of niche markets. Elaine goes on to say that online dating services uses subscription and banner advertising to gain income. Free sites are becoming more popular and it is not certain which is the better way to go. These sites are also doing the standard internet business practice of aligning themselves with like-producted markets to increase their own market share. This means that online dating sites will align themselves with flowers, chocolates, breakup  sites etc. Elaine also says that there is a blurry line between when is flirting too much? cyber cheating may progress to f2f cheating. Broken relationships are also given their own niche market of websites to form communities that also encourage serial relationships/dating. The mask we wear offline is who we really are, whereas the mask we project online is for our ideal self, not our real self (when online dating). Media coverage is still highly negative toward online dating, despite the general acceptance within society with this new form of romancing.

Response:

2 minutes of silence. Oh what an auspicious start! Fairly well in line with the substandard excuse of a unit called Net102, I’m beginning to learn. Apparently I can ignore this lecture if I think I will be offended. Can I leave for other reasons? Like boredom? Once again the lecture was out of sync with the speaker. Almost everything said would be considered common knowledge to net savvy individuals. The interesting thing is that, if anything, Elaine’s lecture confirmed that the world is made up of niche markets. We are all in minority groups and we actively seek out these niche categories to get a sense of belonging. Nothing new was added to the lecture. The twist at the end, saying that at online dating sites we project our ‘ideal’ self rather who we really was very generalistic and I found this intriguing. I thought it was a good point when mentioned about Media’s negativity toward online dating.

iLecture: Hilary Wheaton Sex and the Internet

Review:

Hilary starts with her biography. She then goes on to explain about sex sites and Web 2.0. she wants us to think about what sex sites are available, what they show, what they offer, who they cater for, how the body is portrayed, if these sites would only be available because of the net, and how sexual activity that is not regarded as the norm, survives on the net – does it flourish, wither, be encouraged or accepted? Hilary starts in Virtual Online worlds where you use an avatar (either 3D or 2D) to express yourself and can involve yourself in online sexual acts in a safe and moderated way. There are rules in place designed to give you a sense of safety. Once you leave the virtual world into the more real online world, you find sites tend to be more communities, with like minded individuals joining together to create havens for minority groups and fetishes. Hilary goes on to explain the tie in between these type of sites and affiliate marketing to online sex shops and other sex related industries. Finally she shows us sex blogs where people just talk about sex or what they think of sex and this too, leads to a community of similar sites all supporting and empathising with each other.

Response:

Instantly you get the sense that this lecture is going to be fast paced, informative, and of higher quality than what we’ve experienced before on NET102. It seems organised and together. I learned a lot from this lecture. I already knew a great deal about the money side of the sex industry online, but I was unaware of sex blogs. Having just typed that, of course, i realise how wrong i am as I am a subscriber to Belle de Jour’s blog (and her twitter and her tv series!) Of course, things have changed a lot for her since she lost her anonymity and it was revealed not just her name but that she’s a research scientist. And whilst I have plenty of experience with porn, women’s porn, erotica etc., it was refreshing to see some sites listed that even I hadn’t heard of. Hilary ended by saying that the Internet embraces and encourages niche sex groups and offers them an opportunity to explore new horizons in a safe manner. I want to think that. I suspect it feels just a little too cliche to be true though. Safety, is afterall, an illusion.

Sites to visit:

  • redlightcentre.com
  • virtual-vancouver.com
  • ultimate surrender.com
  • kink.com
  • hogtied.com
  • wildsecrets.com
  • sexinart.com
  • sexlifeblog.blogspot.com
  • hownottogetlaid.com
  • suzanneportnoy.com
  • suicidegirls.com
  • nerve.com
  • bella-vendetta.com

I Want My MP3

iLecture: Elaine Tay

Review/Response:

The lecture was broken and didn’t work. Instead Hilary gave us some mashups to listen to and think about in the discussion board. Mashups use other people’s music to create their own. Mashups steal other people’s music to create their own, yet somehow this is called participatory music community, not piracy. Downloading the music/video at the end would be, I guess, breach of copyright. This whole mashup thing is so cleverly talented and yet the whole concept of authorship and copyright confuses me.

Reading 1: Laughey, D. (2007). Music Media in Young People’s Everyday Lives. In Music, Sound and Multimedia: From the Live to the Virtual (pp. 172-187)

Review/Response:

Laughey believes musics has pervaded everyday life since the 1930s, with the gramophone then the radio and later onto micro media. He agrees with other studies that state Radio has had the greatest impact on music listening and that 90% of programmes on commercial stations are dedicated to popular music. He feels that radio was the most important media to drive forward the British record industry.

With the evolution of new technologies, music has continued to be consumed but now in different ways and he is interested in how music is mediated to young people in everyday contexts. Contemporary media was originally utilised to convey music to public places but Laughey sees there being a much higher rate of crossover into public spaces privately, and private spaces publicly. Bedrooms are private but may play music loudly, whereas the city is public but music on an ipod or walkman conveys music privately. Laughey feels that music can enable a feeling of occupancy and control in public spaces. The multiple forms of music available in both public and private contexts afford differing degrees of user involvement. Laughey continues that music media use as whole has been under-researched and that the majority of new media technologies can operate in both public and private spaces, and be both intense and casual. People use music both as background accompaniment and as a foreground resource. Concentrated listening is associated with emotional events and creation of identity, although this is less so with females. There is no correlation between intensive music use and music taste. Individuals who collect bootleg vinyl music are the most committed fans and it is the fans who are the market for these records. Most studies discuss alternative music rather than popular music.Mass media is associated with popular music and therefore dismissed by alternate music lovers. micro media such as fanzines, target specific groups where as niche media like consumer magazines are integral to their subcultures. Online music distribution empowers people to exchange news, info and recommendations of music. Music downloading has been around for a long time, but has exploded exponentially with the use of micro devices like mp3’s. These devices enabled large quantitites of music to be consumed in public and private spaces. PMP’s are associated with intensive, personal use. Young poeple are more likely to find their music from television and radio, and most popular taste music is used as background noise for youth. Radio is the preferred medium for public spaces.

How is music interlaced with our everyday lives in general? What has been the impact of the Internet in the way music is used by young people privately and publicly (and the way this intermingles)?

According to Laughey, music is intertwined with all aspects of everyday life. The internet has lead to an explosion of available music (both free and paid) and artists have the ability to reach out to new audiences in new ways.

Reading 2: The Pop-Pickers Have Picked Decentralised Media: the Fall of Top of the Pops and the Rise of the Second Media Age

Review: This article depicts the history of Top of the Pops and how the BBC blames other media forms for its downfall.

Would the Internet necessarily work against broadcast media (i.e. radio and television)?

Response: Idon’t believe the internet is responsible for the downfall of the show. People change and grow along with their tastes and because of that, television must also change and grow. Television can only show programs where the money is, and current tv ratings show that violence, reality shows and crime are our highest rating programs. Top of the Pops could only survive if it was creating new bands from everyday audience members, then getting them to shoot each other and then go through the entire court process afterwards.

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