Porn Report

We asked consumers to elaborate on what they like in pornography. Many of them used the term ‘quality’ to describe what makes for good pornography. More specifically, one key issue that several interviewees spontaneously mentioned was that the best pornography is where ‘you can see real enjoyment’. The word ‘enjoyment’, or the idea of people ‘enjoying’ themselves, was used by several interviewees, along with ‘genuine interest’, that ‘the people are there because they want to be there’, that they ‘like what they’re doing’, and that there’s ‘enthusiasm’ or ‘genuine chemistry’ between the actors. (41)
— McKee, A., Albury, K. & Lumby, C. (2008) The Porn Report

draft cfp

Can readers comment on this for me please? It is for a well known online Australian journal. Nothing concrete has been organised yet, just an idea floated.


Enthusiasm can be ‘blind’, yet without it, ‘no great deed can be done’. What does it mean to be enthused or an enthusiast? Kant described enthusiasm as an excitation that exceeds the astonishment of novelty. Indeed, the Enlightenment conception of enthusiasm is a subjectively internal mode of the sublime that operated as a kind of motor for perseverance and action. For example, Lyotard’s neo-Kantian enthusiasm describes it as a motor for an impasse of a historico-political blockage or break. [this bit needs work]

A post-structuralist typology of enthusiasm requires an appreciation of the schemas of appetition through which enthusiasts experience their enthusiasm. Beyond identity of subject or object, or relations between them, enthusiasm has a processual ontology. Tests of ‘competition’, masculine ‘risk’, creative ‘experiment’, and political ‘opportunity’ and ‘struggle’ are all examples of the more general ‘challenge’ that manifests enthusiasm and mobilises bodies into action. Is there a political enthusiasm, the force of ‘hope’, that drives constituencies for progress or revolution? The outcome is open and subject to the processing of multiplicity. Enthusiasm is a passage. Impasse and passage.

Subcultural scenes as much as classrooms rely on ‘enthusiasm’ for success or, at the minimum, survival — cultural studies academics often bring them together. In the post-Enlightenment era, as inspirational teachers or effective marketing executives know, enthusiasm becomes a resource to be cultivated. The culture industries at the forefront of convergence rely on transversal relations of enthusiasm produced across different media and organised around immanent media events. They invest in the infrastructures of enthusiasm so its mobilising power can be turned into surplus value. Are audiences no longer cultural dupes simply because they will their own enthusiastic participatory exploitation?

Remediation: n-productions?

After about three years of grappling with this problem on and off, I have figured out the main problem I have with Bolter and Grusin’s concept of ‘remediation’. They write in a note to page 53:

The logic of remediation we describe here is similar to Derrida’s (1981) account of mimesis, where mimesis is defined not ontologically or objectively in terms of the resemblance of a representation to its object but rather intersubjectively in terms of the reproduction of the feeling of imitation or resemblance in the perceiving subject. “Mimesis here is not the representation of one thing by another, the relation of one thing by another, the relation of resemblance or identification between two beings, the reproduction of a product by nature by a product of art. It is not the relation of two products but of two productions. And of two freedoms… ‘True’ mimesis is between two producing subjects and not between two produced things” (9)

The above is fine, but then they go onto to discuss remediation in such a way as to elide the relation of productions. The double movement of differance (differing-deferring) produces a reserve or trace. For example, in terms of the intelligible, the sensible is this trace. The concept of remediation does not seem to include any movement of differing-deferring in the process of mimetic (re)production. The differential-repetition of events through networked media requires some understanding of the repetitive propogation of difference through the difference in perspective of producing subjects. To paraphrase Deleuze, not the variation of truth, but the truth of variation.

I suspect this is because Bolter and Grusin’s argument is organised around the expulsion of the ‘new’ — remediation is not new, there has always been media, etc. — and the shadow of the ‘new’ is cast over ‘difference’. It is as if the always-already trumps difference, indeed, but what about the difference that is part of the always-aready. So not how a compositions of relations expresses differences, but how a composition of relations (remediation) repeatedly incorporates difference.

interwebs lecture

I am currently writing a guest lecture for the unit in which I am tutoring at the University of Sydney. The lecture is on the internet, new media and participatory publics. I am having fun with how much of my own prejudices get written into the lecture with the structure. I begin with a history of the net and some brief understandings of different perspectives and terms.

I locate Bolter and Grusin’s remediation thesis as being part of the second period of the internet (what I am calling the ‘Cyberspace’ period). Essentially I argue that ‘remediation’ is a compensatory discourse for those who want to locate the ‘internet’ in a longer history of the media. Their core problem is the relation between immediacy and presence, and where medium and content are understood as separate. I take a post-cyberspace view of the internet where the core problem is the network. Both are important in the internet-centric event of sense — one is text-based, the other demands an understanding of how the meaning of such texts is distributed, or not, according to networks of subject-object relations. Remediating content is fine, but it means nothing unless connections are made… If content is privileged over medium in the analysis, then the ‘immediacy’ (or not) of the network becomes a poor relation to the function of immediacy (or not) of the content. The ‘remediation’ thesis basically needs to be ANT’d.


Just finished putting together a monstrosity of a power point presentation for my first-year journalism lecture tomorrow on defamation. While preparing for this lecture I realised that the textbook set for this unit (which I inherited) is out of date. There was massive reform to defamation law in Australia in 2006. Textbook was published 2004. Sigh… That is fine for my students as they are not training to be lawyers, but getting a sense of what defamation is and the basics of defending defamation.