[iDC] netporn midlife crisis?

Brad Borevitz brad at onetwothree.net
Fri Nov 9 17:04:28 UTC 2007

i will want to answer these questions obliquely ...

On 11/7/07 10:11 PM, "kjacobs" <kjacobs at cityu.edu.hk> wrote:

> Where do we find lust as lively porn-aided dating networks or sensual
> porn-sharing? How can we participate in sex and swingers sites without killing
> our own sex drives? Is this just my own problem?  How can we use porn to get
> aroused in sexual encounters (widely defined) and relationships?

"In computability theory, a busy beaver (from the colloquial expression for
'industrious person') is a Turing machine which, when given an empty tape,
does a lot of work, then halts. The machine pushes limits on the amount of
time and space resources that a halting machine of similar sizes can
consume." (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Busy_beaver)

the thing is, most turing machines never halt. it is trivial to discover an
endlessly circulating turing machine, but challenging to find one that comes
to a rest after working for a significant amount of time.

the circulation of symbols on an endless tape, i have asserted elsewhere,
partakes of the structure of cruising. and it is no coincidence:

At 18, Turing¹s loss of Christopher [the passionate friend of his boyhood]
created a painful absence that he never successfully mourned. In the
cruising practices of an England still governed by the same sodomy laws that
condemned Wilde to prison, Turing sought solace and elicit pleasure.
Eventually, in 1950, his contact with one boy led to charges of sodomy, a
sentence of chemical castration, the loss of access to the computer he built
with his own hands, and a downward emotional spiral that lead to his

The narrative of Turing¹s life makes of his flesh and ours a computational
body which precedes and follows the computer¹s entry into our consciousness
and our lives. At the level of sexuality, emotion, and intellect a certain
hollowness suggests a use: the serial filling and voiding of an emptiness
which amounts to work ­ as both the mechanism and the vocation of
programmatic exertion.

We collaborate across temporal spans by inhabiting positions we imagine
other's to have once claimed. Our bodies become spaces for the habits of
others. This is how we work. This is how we love. This is how the machine
goes and how it breaks. This is how we break.

(see Christopher Marcom Being Dead, Alan Turing Contemplates Emptiness As He
Encounters A Series Of Boys ...

in melding our sexual beings with the computer in a sort of cyborgian orgy,
we accept the entailments of this melancholic structure. rare is the
desiring machine which comes to rest. we take our places within the endless
circuits of scopic desire.

and here, what circulates are the decontextualized fragments of a an
imagined sexual life: simulacral bits as images of machinic flesh: body
parts as machine parts. the line of assembly, and the conjectural
combinatorics of conjugation are the lust of design ... a conception of that
impossible machine motivates a circulation that perhaps once found emptiness
a sufficient motive. oh, but to find the n-state busy beaver which halts at
step x or step y coinciding most delightfully and impossibly with our death.

we must ask again: does this circuit follow us to meat space - to meet
space? if we have entered a third stage of porn, past the porn wars and the
Dworkian assertions that sexual fantasy permeates our situation in "real
life" and past the (queer?) counter assertion that the status of sexual
fantasy is distinct from (or perhaps even compensatory for) "real life",
where are we now? 

perhaps the synthetic moment in this dialectic is the one in which we
realize that the onotic and the epistemic positions are still at war.

here is an example to contemplate: age play in second life.

we know that pedophilia has a privileged role in the discourse of sexuality;
in western (and especially american) culture, it is the limit case of the
perverse and almost universally condemned. it may be the central taboo that
structures our sexuality in a way that freud, for example, asserts the
incest prohibition structured sexuality.

so what does it mean that "age play" arises as one of the "popular
perversions" of the virtual field of play - its quick recognition as an
affordance of the particular techne of SL. just as quickly, it becomes
controversial, forbidden, despised, ghettoized. one sees signs forbidding it
in bars that celebrate a host of other perversions.

the implication of a prohibitionary stance is that there is no distinction
between the simulation of pedophilia and actual pedophilia where there is a
question of consent, exploitation, harm, etc.

we might also consider tendency of the behavior of avatars to mimic the way
people structure prohibition into their sexuality more generally as part of
the same problem: this one doesn't do anal; that one is only a top, this one
only does girls, etc. etc., all as if there were "consequences" for a
virtual dalliance. 

it may be that one must maintain and insist on a connection between the
pornographic field and everyday life. is there is a danger of becoming
unmoored, unhinged, vaporware? a eunich?

Brad Borevitz

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