Better Porn?

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Better Porn?

Postby mtbturtle on May 22nd, 2012, 4:21 pm 

Alain De Botton Turns His Philosophical Mind To Developing “Better Porn”
in Philosophy | May 22nd, 2012 |

Open Culture readers know that, whenever Alain de Botton looks into traditional intellectual fields, he finds tools for better living. His quest for the founts of happiness has got him reinterpreting philosophy, rethinking home architecture, and repurposing religion. Retooling the physical, intellectual, and aesthetic structures and practices with which we’ve grown complacent all comes in his day’s work. But he’s found a new object of retooling that, in its sheer distance from anything like a traditional intellectual field, will surely earn him more press than practical Socrates, modern dwellings, and and atheist faith combined: pornography. Reactions came flying as soon as his School of Life issued a press release calling for “better porn,” porn “in which sexual desire would be invited to support, rather than permitted to undermine, our higher values.” In the New Statesman, Nichi Hodsgson agrees: “Right now, we may have the porn we deserve but we can make better. [ ... ] Blaming poor porn on atavistic urges is lazy and historically inaccurate. Better porn just requires letting our brains, rather than consideration for our bank balances, lead our late-night Google searches.” This all rides on a particular premise: porn is bad. Perhaps you consider porn ethically bad, and de Botton shares your concerns, diagnosing in the stuff “a threat not just to those who make it in terms of the exploitation involved, but also to those who consume it, in terms of the conflict it can set up between the values encoded in the porn and their responsibilities and values in the rest of their lives.” ... _porn.html
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Re: Better Porn?

Postby Marshall on May 22nd, 2012, 6:48 pm 

The "porn" video clip was not really about porn, it was about prohibitions imposed by employers against initiating affairs at the workplace. It was not very interesting. I found another OC post that I thought was enormously interesting, about what we can learn from religion ... eists.html

It was a TED talk by Alain de Botton. I did not agree with some of what he said after the first 12-15 minutes but I found the first 2/3 or 3/4 of the talk highly insightful and persuasive.

What you quote from AdB about porn is probably right. A lot of classic and renaissance-to-rococco art is beautiful and arousing but may be memorable for other feelings besides. Some Greco-Roman sculpture too. Richness of experience. The pieces I'm thinking don't degrade the subject, aren't tacky. There is sympathy, tenderness, marvel.

I was glad to learn about the OPENCULTURE project, not officially connected with Stanford U but the main editor at OC Dan Colman is also the director of continuing studies at Stanford---an outstanding program, friends of ours have been regular participants in their courses. A lot of people in the surrounding community are fans. My knowledge is only second hand, we live 50 miles away.
So this OpenCulture website is a kind of stanfordy thing, I gather. Just first impressions. And seems first rate. Lots of free courses, free old movies, free cultural stuff of several sorts.
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