Sunday, May 5, 2013

I Just Hate It When You Can't Tell Real News From The Onion

The College Fix points to this U.K. Guardian article of May 2, 2013 that is beyond parodying:
Porn Studies needs your contributions. The Routledge academic periodical will debut next spring, and a call for papers appeared this week soliciting submissions for "the first dedicated, international, peer-reviewed journal to critically explore those cultural products and services designated as pornographic". Two dons, Feona Attwood and Clarissa Smith, are the editors.

The timing suggests the EL James phenomenon may have provided the impetus for the launch by making erotica ubiquitous; but literary porn is only one of the interests of the top-shelf journal, which is open to offerings from sociologists, criminologists, technologists and experts in cultural, media and gender studies.

In acknowledging that "pornography studies are still in their infancy", the editors implicitly criticise cultural studies, which clearly should have initiated scholarly investigation of porn long ago. This failure may have reflected the sometimes furious contemporary debate within second-wave feminism, between those viewing pornography as liberating (Angela Carter's The Sadeian Woman) and opponents (Kate Millett, Andrea Dworkin) who saw it as epitomising and reinforcing phallocratic oppression.
Don't get me wrong; there is a legitimate need to understand pornography as part of its effect on other fields of study, but an entire periodical devoted to this is right up there with Women's Studies, Gay Studies, Black Studies, and all the other supposedly scholarly programs that are really just identity politics masquerading as scholarship.  Unfortunately, this started out as, "We would like to get the Administration Building back without the black militants burning it down, so we'll create a Black Studies program and hire a bunch of people whose only real qualification is their color and the self-righteous rage that they bring to the program."  And once that first concession happened, who could seriously dispute the equal validity of the rest of these programs?  

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