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Home :: Archive :: 2000 :: January ::
Re: Seeking Enlightenment
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.0172  Thursday, 27 January 2000.

[1]     From:   Lee Gibson <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 26 Jan 2000 07:41:28 -0600 (CST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.0167 Re: Seeking Enlightenment

[2]     From:   Ed Taft <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 26 Jan 2000 08:46:12 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Seeking Enlightenment

[3]     From:   Rick Jones <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 26 Jan 2000 10:59:35 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.0167 Re: Seeking Enlightenment

[4]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 26 Jan 2000 09:54:44 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.0167 Re: Seeking Enlightenment

[5]     From:   David Lindley <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 26 Jan 2000 18:00:46 GMT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.0167 Re: Seeking Enlightenment

[6]     From:   Kenneth S. Rothwell <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 26 Jan 2000 16:04:07 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.0167 Re: Seeking Enlightenment

[7]     From:   Norman J. Myers <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 26 Jan 2000 16:44:45 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.0156 Apology

[8]     From:   Gabriel Egan <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 26 Jan 2000 22:41:22 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.0167 Re: Seeking Enlightenment

[9]     From:   John Ramsay <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 26 Jan 2000 17:14:08 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.0167 Re: Seeking Enlightenment

[10]    From:   Peter Hillyar-Russ <
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        Date:   Thursday, 27 Jan 2000 09:39:19 +0000
        Subj:   Re: Seeking Enlightenment


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Lee Gibson <
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Date:           Wednesday, 26 Jan 2000 07:41:28 -0600 (CST)
Subject: 11.0167 Re: Seeking Enlightenment
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.0167 Re: Seeking Enlightenment

It takes a peculiarly academic cast of mind to make the following
statement:

>Gay pornography clearly is less problematic because men, in general, are
>less exploited than woman.

Here we have the same sort of scholastic distinction that declares it a
moral imperative to battle genocide in the Balkans while genocide in
Africa proceeds undeterred.

On a not too dissimilar subject: there are those persons in the world
who would consider articles in the Quarterly on "homoerotic amity" to be
"pornographic."  I'm not among them, mind you, but there are such
persons and they do have that opinion.  I suppose what we need here is
another finely drawn academic distinction.

Cheers,
Lee Gibson
SMU

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ed Taft <
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Date:           Wednesday, 26 Jan 2000 08:46:12 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Seeking Enlightenment

Mike Jensen is absolutely right: popular culture is an indispensable
subject of scholarly inquiry precisely because the study of it can shed
light on what is going on in our society.  I might add that scholars of
popular culture also have an extremely difficult task if they want to do
their job properly. It's always hard to step back and rationally assess
what is going on at the moment, for most of us experience the present
much as Francis the drawer does in 1H4 -- that is, the present is a
whirling mass of confusion that is very hard to make sense of.

One point Mike raises is of particular interest: why is our current age
so fascinated with Shakespeare and Austen?  Has Jane or her characters
yet made a pornographic appearance?  It will probably happen, and then
we have to ask "why"?  At any rate, there are probably good reasons for
society's obsession with Shakespeare and Austen, and we would do well to
try to figure out exactly what is going on and what it says about us
today.

--Ed Taft

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Rick Jones <
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Date:           Wednesday, 26 Jan 2000 10:59:35 -0600
Subject: 11.0167 Re: Seeking Enlightenment
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.0167 Re: Seeking Enlightenment

There is brief nudity in the current production of Antony & Cleopatra at
the Barbican.  Whether this implies pornography is for weightier minds
than mine to determine.

Rick Jones

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
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Date:           Wednesday, 26 Jan 2000 09:54:44 -0800
Subject: 11.0167 Re: Seeking Enlightenment
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.0167 Re: Seeking Enlightenment

I just wanted to say how much I admired Gabriel Egan's response to my
not entirely disingenuous query about whether non-abusive pornography
would be all right.  Would I be right to describe abuse as an
"inseparable accident" of pornography, to borrow a phrase from the
homilist who described the relationship of idolatry and imagery?  Please
don't take this the wrong way-I'm not aligning Gabriel with the
iconoclasts any more than he aligns me with the pornographers-but it
strikes me that while in principle it might be possible to produce
non-abusive pornography, in fact it isn't.

Actually, I wonder whether the fiction of empowerment is part of the
fantasy of encountering a true nymphomaniac.  Sartre argued that in sex
we try to turn a person into a thing, to destroy the Other's freedom.
The consumer of pornography, perhaps, tries to encounter someone who
both remains free and submits herself (usually 'herself' as Gabriel
points out) to us, who is both a person and an object at the same time.
The victim of porn can freely (at least, in imagination) offer herself
to our consumption, but isn't free to lose interest, feign a headache,
or whatever.

I also liked his description of how women are encouraged to internalize
a male gaze.  To return to my earlier example of the magazine store, the
amazing thing about it is the continuity between all of the different
sections: magazines aimed at amateur photographers, porn consumers,
fashion aficionados, music fans, computer gamers and even news junkies
all feature provocatively clad female models.  I remember my wife
remarking on the vitriolic letters to the editor which followed a
fashion magazine printing an issue with a less than perfectly attractive
model on the cover.

To return to the issue at hand: do we really have to list all references
to Shakespeare to see that he has an important but overdetermined
position in our culture?  Sure, there has to be some reason that Hugh
Heffner called his party "A Midsummer Night's Dream", but it doesn't
tell us much about the play, or the party even.  Could we hit a
reasonable compromise and only post pop culture references that actually
engage with the plays in some substantive way?

Cheers,
Se

 

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