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Ubiquity of the body: The body as an unenforceable taboo

by Juan D'oh

Finding pornography on a computer is like finding fraud in a financial statement - The act has already been done, the forbidden fruit tasted, and all you can do is punish someone in the hopes they don't do it later. 

It seems that the endless reaches of the internet and the power that it holds is mitigated by the sea of sex images and videos that exist in the same space. To imagine the internet without porn is almost unreal and antithetical - The internet is porn. And yet, isn't the normal, everyday experience? Ignoring the misandrous charge that men think of sex every seven seconds (as if women don't, their pure and innocent minds untouched by such things), we sexualize almost everything we see - clothing tailored to accentuate curves and illuminate broad shoulders, or hide the things that don't fit such a picture. The internet is merely an extension of that, giving us what we want to see.

But it is humorous to look at the situation in Modern Family. Even the most conservative character in the show is completely fine with the image of a naked woman, and gives the same excuses we all have if porn is found on our computer. One can only imagine what would happen if the mother were to barge into a sleepover and drag the son away for finding porn - every one of his friends would treat him as a hero, and want him over even more so that he can show them where to go.

Of particular interest, however, is the mother in this scenario. Her behavior parodies overly conservative morals, but she is also the image of a woman recoiling that the desired depiction of a woman is a hugely breasted woman. That's certainly as unrealistic as the male washboard ab, but fantasies usually accentuate the rare things we want to the point of excess, and the internet is no different here.

Scopophilia times two.

by Nelson

I agree with Chris Pratola that the Internet provides a means of accessing inordinate amounts of information with very little censorship and this invariably changes the scope of access to that information drastically. I growing up without the Internet being so prevalent. I clearly remember finding a porno magazine under my dad’s bed at eight years old. It was very shocking and this was just nude photos in a Playboy, compared to the explicit material that can be found just a few clicks away on the Internet today.  That definitely etched a memory in my mind and sparked an interest in the opposite sex, but that is a conversation for another time.  Nowadays, kids younger than that are likely to see much more explicit and drastic video content at an earlier age, which will etch itself into their memory and subconscious and will ultimately effect the culture of that younger generation as a whole.  

As Chris pointed out, the Internet is founded on an idea that people can access anything they want at their fingertips, but I think it’s important to realize that there’s a downside to that: specifically, that it can have a negative impact on a society when there is no control over that kind of stuff, especially when it comes to children.  The ramifications of this kind of access to explicit information will be seen in the decades to come.

The clip from Modern Family also involves a number of the topics covered in
class such as self-reflexivity, technology, immersion, and scopophilia, among others.  It’s very interesting in a self-reflective sort of way because at the top of the clip, the character Phil gives a glace to the camera... as if to say, “Oh no, we got caught.  How are we going to get out of it?”.  The Internet has become a very dominant form of entertainment.  I know plenty of people who don’t even own a television set anymore because they can get all their television entertainment on their computer using Internet sites like  I also think that the extent to which a medium is immersive is to some extent a function of the level of agency involved in consuming that medium.  The Internet is definitely more immersive than television because there is more agency involved in surfing the Internet using devices such as a mice to select various options online.  

There is also an interesting dual layer of scopophilia in this Modern Family clip. The father enjoyed watching the pornography and we are enjoying watching him getting caught (or not getting caught). I think there is something very immersive about watching characters engaged in their own immersive act.  One can take it a step further as well because the original co-worker who sent the image to Phil had enjoyed the image so much that he had to share it with others.  This is exactly the type of scopophilia attached with pornography that causes pornography to grow exponentially on the Internet, making the current Internet the “Wild Wild West” of the computer age.

by Nelson


Getting information from the internet and not books - by Chris Pratola

by Chris Pratola

             Technology has advanced tremendously in terms of the internet and the information that is available to us. In this clip of "Modern Family" She finds a nude picture of a woman on her son's computer. She is clearly disturbed and upset by it saying that her son is watching "smut". Obviously the dad,  thinks this is ok, and in fact it was his picture the son was looking at. He explains that he gets it from an email. Thats the point I am trying to make, that information is so much easier to get than ever before. Some parents aren't technologically savvy so trying to block their kids from accessing certain things may be difficult for some. I recently heard that more people get their information from the internet or friends than they do in books at school. This is sad, but good in a way because everything we need to know or want to know is right at our fingertips. I thought this clip was funny, because the first thing to really be successful on the internet, was porn, and it is something that is growing and growing every month. This information is everywhere, and unless you don't allow your kid to access the internet, they are going to see this stuff eventually. Before they didn't have pop-ups, but now, even a site that is not related to porn, still has some advertisements for porn websites. It also relates to how we are programmed as well. Human beings respond to emotion, and erotic things, and this is something that is a common theme since man. I think that modern family is a great show because it brings up a lot of issues that are normal issues. 

           This has to do with some things that we have discussed in class, having to do with identity, and interest in the body and being curious about things that you intrigued on. The kid is obviously curious about gender, and sexuality, which is an apparent theme in some of the movies this semester. Also, the underlying theme, is technology and how it fails sometimes. It didn't fail on giving you porn, but it failed the parent by keeping it away from the child. 

Modern Family- internet porn

Claire discovers a pornographic photo on the family's computer.

from Modern Family (2009)
Creator: Steve Levitan
Posted by Survey of Interactive Media