Tuesday, August 08, 2006

By Way of Explanation

I've decided to launch this blog, since I've found myself rather interested in the latest manifestation of the "Sex Wars" as they've been playing out on the blogosphere. By way of introduction, I've been interested in issues around pornography and sex work for a long time. To be rather "confessional", I like sex, I like pornography, I like visual art in general (particularly film, photography, and comics), and I've long held very strongly anti-authoritarian political beliefs. The politics of sex and porn is kind of an intersection of all of those issues, and I keep coming back to.

I'm old enough to remember the 1980s "Feminist Sex Wars" and have seen the sex-positive position go from despised minority to conventional wisdom. After many years, the Sex Wars seem to be back in a big way on the blogosphere. (What cultural and political trends this new "Sex War" represents and whether it will play out beyond the blogosphere is a subject for another post.) I've been contributing to articles on Wikipedia on these topics and occasionally contributing comments to sex-poz blogs. I finally broke down and decided to start a blog of my own. (I'm not sure how often I'm going to be able to update it – I'm going to shoot for at least a few posts a month and see if I can eventually go more frequently.)

The main topic of this blog will be the politics of sex and porn, however, I don't only want to discuss pornography in the abstract – as I said, I actually watch a fair amount of porn and am a fan/critic of it as much as any other art form I'm into. Some trends I find interesting right now are the rise of altporn, and the trend in toward sexual explicitness on otherwise "straight" narrative films, like 9 Songs. In other words, this blog will try and cover actual porn as much as "the issue" of pornography – I'm thinking a kind of cross between SmackDog Chronicles and Fleshbot.

So far I've referred to this as "sex-positive" blog. I haven't referred to it as a "sex-positive feminist" blog. I have my own issues around feminism. Its not that I'm actually anti-feminist per se (though there are some specific feminisms that I find pretty loathsome, and I think you can guess what those are). However, I do have issues with using the label myself – I'm male and I don't think I'd want to wear any label that inherently privileges the feminine above the masculine. Also, self-described "male feminists" I've come across rub me the wrong way – mostly they seem to anti-porn types with either a noticeable mean streak, like John Stoltenberg (Andrea Dworkin's other half) or blogger Dim Undercellar, or are annoyingly good-boyish like Hugo Schwyzer. I don't want any part of that. More generally, I have a hard time with "isms" and ideological straight-jackets in general. I like to refer to myself as broadly left libertarian, but beyond that, I'm pretty eclectic. I'm really more interested in ideas and actions than grand ideologies and movements.

Since the issues covered by this blog are contentious and prone to inspire flaming, I'll mention my rules around comments. I'm pretty loose and more inclined to make this a "free speech zone" rather than a "safe space" for my way of thinking. I'm not afraid of opposition or criticism. That said, this blog is my forum, and I reserve the right to block anybody if their behavior gets out of hand, at my discretion. Of course, I also reserve the right to hand you enough rope to hang yourself. ;-)