Pornography is considered to improve the freedom
of speech and sexual liberation, isn’t it?
Seriously? I’m sorry I have to strongly disagree on those two points. Speech is not something made to free anything, but something carrying its own rules and since we speak that speech, we use those rules, in our everyday life, we don’t even pay attention to them.And about sexual liberation, well what was actually liberated at the end of the day? To my opinion, and I happened to get reinforced in my idea after making Unfaithful, the whole sexual liberation has been framed up by porn industry. The idea we have of sexuality those days is pretty far from this thing beyond rules people had in mind in the 60s. There are rules to organize sexuality and those rules are dictated at some point by this porn industry.
What kind of rules is sexuality organized with?
You have to keep in mind that sexuality could turn out to be pretty terrible for any society. It’s a very intense exchange between people that could end in chaos. Obviously this idea of chaos is abstract. Moreover, it’s a waste of time. There is nothing coming out of it that could be useful for the public interest. That’s why it remained taboo, that is: impossible to deal with by any society for so long. Sexuality was not liberated at some point like that, because our society became nice and respectful. It was liberated because it was possible to make something useful out of it.
How useful sexuality can be for the public interest?
Well, a “very intense exchange”, obviously that rings a bell, this is how we picture ourselves any market. I think plenty of tastes and manners were tolerated these past decades because they meet the rules of our times, the rules of market and capitalism. I think it is really interesting because, for the first time, a society was able to handle sexuality; its rules were suitable to do so.
Who cares why sexuality was liberated as long
as it is?
Because sexuality was readjusted to suit to the rules of our society… The picture of sexuality we are given is not sexuality like this image of a pipe by Magritte is not a pipe, but an image. It is a sad sexuality condemned to be unsatisfied to bring the consumer to buy over again. It is funny because this sad picture of sexuality proves all bigots right. Linda Williams pointed out in Hard Core: “the advantage (to capital) of this vicarious purchased image-satisfaction is that the very insubstantiality of the use value purchased feeds back into the structure of needs, renewing the consumer’s willingness to pay for that which will never be owned.”But this alienating operation goes further. When you think about this relation between Knowledge and Power described by Foucault, I assume you can say that pornography is to be seen in a paranoiac articulation. Hippies used to say “The more I make love, the more I make revolution” because they went against an order, but an other order made a use out of sexuality, an order meant to know everything about everybody.
Porn industry = bigots?
Obviously yes. It’s a trap because they overwhelm the room. On one hand you can’t say there is no such thing as sexual liberation because images of sexuality are everywhere around. You wouldn’t be credible. On the other hand, you still really often hear sexuality being considered as something shameful, even by those who are porn addicts. For instance, censorship still blur nudity or intercourse and that doesn't seem to bother anybody. There is something like a contradiction here.My idea is that porn industry and bigots work together. They picture the same idea of sexuality, which is far cry from what we experience in our lives. When you look into it, what was actually liberated was the bigots’ idea of sexuality, not sexuality itself. For the record, the liberation of sexuality would have made way more noise.
So, the problem is once again capitalism?
Not really. There’s no use to blame everything on capitalism. People’s wanting to make money out of everything, good for them. I don’t care. What is interesting to point out is how the market is organized. It follows the rules of the speech we talked before. The mechanisms of the speech consist in identifying and differentiating things, for instance to name it. And the idea of the market is to cover everything, including every single niche. So you would think, you will eventually fit in with a niche and everything is for the best in this best of possible worlds. But this identifying/ differentiating operation is a trap, since your very desire doesn’t match with any of those niches. There’s always an approximation or even a renunciation. Even if you juxtapose plenty of niches, you never reach the extent of your whole desire, which can’t definitely be reduced. It’s the same with politics, you never really fit in with a party, even though you have plenty of options.
What kind of breathing space do we have?
I think we have to keep in mind and to keep saying that this picture of sexuality, that conditions our perception at some point, is bigot and capitalist, which is surprisingly not a contradiction and also paranoiac.We need to keep our sexualities away from this picture and keep inventing our own vocabulary, our own language, which can’t be reduced to a linguistic operation of market and which is not meant to be seen in a paranoiac knowledge/power articulation. We need to refuse to let our sexuality reduced to linguistic images and entertaining capitalist products.Moreover, I think we need to backfire and turn the question against bigots and capitalists. I think a society that pretends to seek the happiness – or whatever you call such a thing meant not to be useful at all for any society –, of its members can’t phrase what is the problem about sexuality without being demystified.