Friday, January 05, 2007

The cultural sky is falling. Again.

A University of Louisville cheerleader took some racy pornographic photos of herself and Ace of Spades says it's an unprecedented sign that "something has seriously gone wrong in this culture." He even provides you with a link to the photos so that you can see just how wrong it's gotten. Tsk tsk.
Some will say stories like this, and the Texas high school cheerleader scandal, don't indicate anything more than the fact that the media is now giving these stories play. I.e., this has always been going on, now our sensationalist, 24-hour-cycle media is just telling us about it.

That's nonsense. This has never happened before.
No, that's nonsense. The republic is not crumbling. The culture isn't any sicker than it might have been 10, 20, 30, 50 or 100 years ago. If you don't believe me then Google the title The Illustrated Book of Filthy Victorian Photographs (But not at work.) I'll wait.

The real reason that this stuff is so ubiquitous can be summed up in three words. Cheap. Digital. Cameras. Not only can images be dumped from them into the computer in seconds and, from there, whisked around the world, but, because they do not create a negative or even a polaroid print, there is the feeling (not quite the illusion, but it's close) of safety--that you can limit access to the image by controling its movement. You can even delete it immediately after it's taken, if you want. (But, unless you're really hoping to be the next signifier of the cultural apocalypse and absolutely sure that you never want to run for office, I wouldn't trust that.) It is that simple.

I would argue actually that there are some signs of hope in our cultural trends. The fact that we laughed about Britney Spears' public display of her hoohah, but rent our proverbial clothes and gnashed our teeth over Michael Richards' and Mel Gibson's tirades is a sign, from my point of view, that the culture is actually better than before. Silly people showing their asses is much less important than a cultural undercurrent of racism, ne c'est pas? I think it's good that we live in a culture waking up to that realization.

(H/T Sadly, No!)


Blogger teh l4m3 said...

On the contrary: The superior culture is one in which a picture of a furpie would make a grown man faint, and in which the law of Jim Crow reigns supreme.

1:41 PM  
Blogger The Stuffmeister said...

Wow. A cogent, lucid and logical reason for a little optimism. My optimism has been in short supply of late, so thanks for that, man..


2:39 PM  
Blogger anon said...

> ...a furpie would make a grown man faint

Or, in the case of Britney, just the pie.

2:39 PM  
Blogger anon said...

(... and a vicious C-section scar.)

2:40 PM  
Blogger pro texana said...

If you don't believe me then Google the title The Illustrated Book of Filthy Victorian Photographs (But not at work.) I'll wait.

...or a greek vase, or a roman public bath, or the kama sutra, or...

3:07 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

I think it's interesting that these "racy cheerleader" stories and the like, are extensively hyped on Fox News shows such as Hannity, and on the "right wing" shows from MSNBC.

For some reason, while things may be going to hell, it's "conservative" to really wallow in it.

3:37 PM  
Anonymous poodlemama said...

And don't even get them started on rape {pant, pant} rooms...

6:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was slightly over ten years ago, but my college girlfriend was a cheerleader AND keen to tape our antics in the sack. (And to toot my own horn -rimshot- she was beautiful and a good conservative catholic girl)

But as you say, how many people had easy access to digital cameras? I didn't even have a goddamn email address yet!

What's changed is technology . . . but Ace is still the same no-pussy-getting loser he was ten years ago.

Keep "shuffling the deck", Gomer!

7:17 PM  
Anonymous markg said...

Unfortunately I clicked on the link to the incredibly skanklike "cheerleader" and her vagina. I don't think I've ever seen worse use of a macro lens. If that's what passes for internet porn these days then I'm going back to magazines. I mean really.

12:00 AM  
Anonymous Christopher said...

I like how he talks about selling porn as cool chic lifestyle is something new, when, in fact, Playboy started it in 1953.

The porn culture pre-dates even those horrible baby boomers, let alone the internet age.

Also, you really shouldn't write about pornography if you don't know this. Playboy is both the most famous pornographic magazine in America, AND the most famous attempt to sell porn as a hip lifestyle choice.

"I read it for the articles" has been a cliche since before the internet existed.

What is it with conservatives rewriting history like this?

2:42 AM  
Blogger Chuckles said...

I read the articles in Playboy. They are great and well researched. They short fiction is always interesting and many literary luminaries have written for Playboy like Maya Angelou and Jack Kerouac.

I also liek the pictures except when they go on their blonde kicks, that is just boring.

8:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nitpicker, do you have an opinion about how military public affairs personnel were used in the Jamil Hussein case. Apparently they were ordered and/or encouraged and/or allowed to insert themselves between Iraq's Interior Ministry and the AP. Do such activities really fit their job description and their mission?

"Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, a U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad, said Thursday that the military had asked the Interior Ministry on Nov. 26 if it had a policeman by the name of Jamil Hussein. Two days later, U.S. Navy Lt. Michael B. Dean, a public affairs officer with the U.S. Navy Multi-National Corps-Iraq Joint Operations Center, sent an e-mail to AP in Baghdad saying that the military had checked with the Iraqi Interior Ministry and was told that no one by the name of Jamil Hussein worked for the ministry or was a Baghdad police officer.

The text of the Dean letter appeared quickly on several Internet blogs, prompting heated debate about the story and criticism of the AP."

10:11 AM  
Blogger Nitpicker said...


I knew someone who was there when this started and I'm trying to get the straight dope. I'll let you know if I find out anything about it. As it is, it seems a bit scummy, but I think that, more to the point, PA types usually understand they can't put out information they can't independently verify. They should have said, "You'll have to ask the MOI about that."

10:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sometimes I watch the Playboy channel on TV, but I only watch it for the articles.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

9:58 AM  

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