Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 2000 :: March ::
Issues Involved in Recent Discussion
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.0591  Monday, 27 March 2000.

[1]     From:   Abigail Quart <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Friday, 24 Mar 2000 14:15:26 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.0571 Egan and Burt on Recent Topic of Discussion

[2]     From:   Clifford Stetner <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Friday, 24 Mar 2000 16:42:20 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.0544 RE: Promotion of Pornography

[3]     From:   Gabriel Egan <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Friday, 24 Mar 2000 17:57:59 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.0571 Egan and Burt on Recent Topic of Discussion

[4]     From:   Judith Matthews Craig <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Friday, 24 Mar 2000 16:02:04 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.0571 Egan and Burt on Recent Topic of Discussion

[5]     From:   Melissa D. Aaron <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Friday, 24 Mar 2000 16:30:00 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.0571 Egan and Burt on Recent Topic of Discussion

[6]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Saturday, 25 Mar 2000 11:41:35 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.0571 Egan and Burt on Recent Topic of Discussion


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Abigail Quart <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Friday, 24 Mar 2000 14:15:26 -0500
Subject: 11.0571 Egan and Burt on Recent Topic of Discussion
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.0571 Egan and Burt on Recent Topic of Discussion

Mr. Egan: When some innocent asks you to gloss "country matters," what
do you say?

How do you deal with Lucio's blow-job instructions to Isabella the
virgin nunlet?

Or should we all do as Jaques-the-one-who-goes-stag and simply jerk off
alone in our personal Forests of Arden?

Mr. Burt: I am confused. Is Mr. Egan basing anything on the writings of
this Dworkin who says (is this person sure things are going in the right
place?)that "all heterosexual intercourse is rape?" Because then
Shakespeare's advocacy of marriage at the end of his comedies would be
just shameful.  Wouldn't it?

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Clifford Stetner <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Friday, 24 Mar 2000 16:42:20 -0500
Subject: 11.0544 RE: Promotion of Pornography
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.0544 RE: Promotion of Pornography

As an academic, I have a conflict regarding pornography.  On the one
hand, I agree that the overwhelming majority of it is misogynistic and
destructive.  On the other hand, I recognize that the crusade against it
is for the overwhelmingly most part, not motivated by anti-misogyny, but
by anti-sexuality, by the continual struggle of special interest groups
to control public morals and to assert their own moral hegemony.

While misogyny is to be reviled, censorship and moral monopolism are
too.  There's the dilemma.  The moral argument seems to turn on the idea
of "promotion," but as a list member, I have never felt promoted (and I
know what that's like) to anything beyond noting the existence of such
things (the better to revile them if I so choose).  In keeping with the
analogy, I have not been told that "so and so really so and sos in this
one," but even if I were, I would probably use it as an opportunity to
clarify my views on misogyny in pornography, not call for silence.

I look forward to the day when someone recommends a fascist Shakespeare
production (although I don't anticipate one any time soon, which
indicates to me that there are flaws in the analogy) so that I can tell
them where I differ with their views about art.  If they were silenced,
I would have no opportunity to respond.

I am reminded of the fact that the Globe was in the red light district
of London, that there is a great deal of bawdy in the plays, and we can
only imagine what sort of pornography might have been traded in the
theaters and their environs.  Shakespeare, if he had disapproved, would
probably have been unable to rid the groundlings of panders.  He chose
instead to compete with them for their customers.

Finally, I am not all that impressed with arguments that some feminists
like porn too.  Those are not the only people involved.  Whatever the
top of the Hollywood heap may enjoy, as a global industry, it is
responsible for some of the most heinous exploitation in the world.  It
leaves countless women and men dissipated and drug addicted (not that
the same couldn't be said for the fashion industry, but I'm no fan there
either), and the recognition that it perpetuates ideas which the less
enlightened among us easily translate into misogyny and abuse is
legitimate.  If you decide to trade in it, even as an academic, I would
hope that you take its destructive side seriously.

Clifford Stetner

 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
http://phoenix.liu.edu/~cstetner/cds.htm

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gabriel Egan <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Friday, 24 Mar 2000 17:57:59 -0000
Subject: 11.0571 Egan and Burt on Recent Topic of Discussion
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.0571 Egan and Burt on Recent Topic of Discussion

Richard Burt writes,

> In Egan's patronizing view, we're not supposed to
> talk about porn unless we want to condemn it as
> "nasty." Women who like to strip or who cast strippers
> as actors must be victims of patriarchy with "false
> consciousness."  (They can't know their own interests
> and need to have their consciousness "raised" by the
> likes of self-appointed, sanctimonious cultural policemen
> like Egan.)

You think people don't internalize their own oppression? You think
"false consciousness" doesn't happen? Surely black people calling each
other "nigger" is a clear case of internalized oppression.

The Black British comedian Lenny Henry began his career performing
self-degrading stereotypes which conformed to  the racists' view of
Black people. He did this not because racism is contradictory (which it
is) nor because it is pluralistic (which it is) nor because its
manifestations in popular and high culture are worth recording (which
they are), but because it was the only way to make money as a Black
British comedian in the mid-1970s. I don't doubt that had the climate of
anti-racism not changed in the late 1970s when anti-fascists marched and
occasionally died to oppose racist neo-nazis in Britain, we'd still be
hearing how racist comedy can be enjoyed by all races, how it liberates
those who indulge in it, and how those who try to silence racists are
politically-correct sanctimonious censors.

The route which links mainstream acting and porn 'acting' is markedly
one-way: aspiring actors do porn because they're poor, once they achieve
success they don't go back to porn to enjoy again the 'liberating'
experience. (Indeed, they are often deeply ashamed of the work they did
when poor-if my views were "Victorian", as Burt claims, I'd hold them
morally culpable despite the circumstance. I'm not "Victorian": I feel
pity and outrage for people driven to degrade themselves.)

I expect to hear next that porn stars are in fact exploiting their
consumers, not vice versa, and that taking your top off and being ogled
by horny men is actually an empowering experience. On BBC Radio 4 two
days ago in Women's Hour, Tony Parsons, novelist and cultural
commentator, actually argued this incredible position, but was properly
corrected by my colleague Imelda Whelehan. That this lie still needs
correcting is testimony to the successful anti-feminist backlash of the
past 10 years.

Shame on the women Shakespearians giving respectability to this
industry. I imagine it's hard to be a woman academic and oppose porn,
since to do so leaves one exposed to ridicule on so many fronts. I am
fortunate in being a man making this argument since, although I can be
called "sex-negative", "sanctimonious", and a "self-appointed
policeman", at least no-one can claim that my resistance to porn is
founded on mere jealousy that I'm not as attractive as the women on the
screen. Actually, I'm not as attractive as the women or the men, but
being a man that doesn't really matter-I'm seldom judged on my
appearance. Can professional women Shakespearians-I must be addressing
many dozens in this forum-say the same?

Gabriel Egan

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Judith Matthews Craig <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Friday, 24 Mar 2000 16:02:04 -0600
Subject: 11.0571 Egan and Burt on Recent Topic of Discussion
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.0571 Egan and Burt on Recent Topic of Discussion

Richard Burt writes:

<I am
<suggesting that women on this listserv, feminist or not, <don't need
Egan
<to protect them from (Shakespeare) porn and strippers <(or, more
<precisely, from my postings about same).

Given the license to post, I would like to ask Burt a question:  in the
best scholarly tradition, is Shakespeare, himself, an advocate of porn?
It seems to me that we are missing the point here; women can be for or
against porn, but it is a subject that we can demonstrate in a reasoned
and scholarly way that is appropriate to Shakespeare?  In a close
reading of his work, do we find that position advocated?  Why are
Shakespeare's works taught at a school like Bob Jones University (lately
in the news) if Shakespeare himself, as a writer and poet, subscribed to
this approach to his work?  Wouldn't it be unscholarly and dissembling
to promote porn in Shakespeare studies if such can be proven to be false
approach?

I am in the process of ordering your book, but my own readings leave me
unconvinced.

Judy Craig

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Melissa D. Aaron <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Friday, 24 Mar 2000 16:30:00 -0800
Subject: 11.0571 Egan and Burt on Recent Topic of Discussion
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.0571 Egan and Burt on Recent Topic of Discussion

Hi:

As an actual female American scholar, I would like to make a suggestion
that hopefully will please all parties:

Would it be possible to place some sort of indicator in the subject line
that the posting contains information, perhaps details, of porn?

Those who are interested in this sort of cultural scholarship may read
the posting.  Some will no doubt delete the posting unread.  That isn't
censorship, it's merely a label.

Also, and I think I've said this before:

Maybe Gabriel Egan is left to argue the anti-porn position alone because
the women scholars who really don't want to read about it also don't
want to be given some kind of "if you can't stand the heat, get out of
the kitchen" argument.  Or perhaps some of them feel as I do that
because it directly concerns me perhaps more than my male colleagues I
therefore shouldn't say anything.  Well, I just said something.  Include
a subject line, please, and include me out, please.

Melissa D. Aaron

[Editor's Note: I once did something like suggested here, only to be
informed by a member that she reads the postings at work and does not
want anyone to see the word "porn" in the subject line. -Hardy]

[6]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Saturday, 25 Mar 2000 11:41:35 -0800
Subject: 11.0571 Egan and Burt on Recent Topic of Discussion
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.0571 Egan and Burt on Recent Topic of Discussion

Three points on Richard's response to Gabriel:

1. Gabriel isn't particularly Victorian and doesn't condemn porn as
"nasty".  He condemns it as exploitative and the product of an unjust
culture.  If you want to argue with a strawman, that's fine, but don't
pretend that he's Gabriel.

2. Richard spends a lot of time pointing towards Shakespeare scholars or
feminists who agree with him.  That's all besides the point.  The call
is to enter into debate.  Merely dropping a citation doesn't release you
from the responsibility to justify your own actions, unless of course
you can cite someone whose judgement is perfect and knowledge
exhaustive.  And there are complications implicit in citing the opinions
of God.

3. We seem to be pretty much completely departing from any sort of
reasonable compromise.  Could we make deletions easier-say, by using a
consistent header for all such messages to allow readers to set up
automatic filters?  Could we agree to a level of detail which we would
exclude from such postings?  Perhaps this latter goal could be reached
by limiting them to two sentences of description and an MLA citation?

Yours sincerely,
Se

 

Other Messages In This Thread

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.