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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


This Commentary is related to the following Clips:
Modern Family- internet porn by Steve Levitan (2009) Claire discovers a pornographic photo on the family's computer.