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Messages - Matt

Sorry I haven't been around, ladies and gents. I've been in the process of finishing up grad school, as well as dealing with the fact that my band is taking off.


This started out as a comment in one of my friend's MySpace profiles, and got to be so long and convoluted that it turned into a draft for a column. Let me know what you think.

Pornography and the Struggle for Self
by Matthew Weeks

If you're a computer-literate man born sometime in the past thirty years, chances are you're familiar with the concept of Internet pornography. Instantaneous access to the visual medium of people engaged in sexual acts, from the mundane to the truly depraved, whatever turns you on is out there for public viewing somewhere. Its ease of access and sheer prevalence has so desensitized the general populace that its intrinsic value has become as much a topic of general cultural discussion as a vehicle of sexual gratification. One thing that hasn't changed as pornography has moved onto the online medium, however, is the fact that most women simply don't understand its appeal to men. Far from being prudish about sexual imagery in general, there seems to be a genuine lack of comprehension when it comes to men and adult film clips, and a nagging jealousy when one's significant other uses them for the sake of his enjoyment. Therefore, in order to aid the Y-chromosome-deficient population out there, allow me to explain it in a way that precludes the typical explanation of "it's a guy thing; you wouldn't understand."

Pornography is a completely sensible expression of the human psychological condition. There are three basic elements to the personal sexual experience (removed from the interpersonal; I'm speaking of only the physiological and psychological reactions a person encounters while they are engaged in either a solo or a non-solo sexual experience). Those three elements are: the visual, the cerebral, and the tactile. You probably don't need to be told that for both genders, the foundation of the sexual experience is more than the tactile. Both men and women use the vehicles of visual and cerebral sensations to enhance those that are tactile in nature. The major difference between them is which of those two factors drive the other.

Sigmund Freud called the first layer of human psychological development the id. The id is like an animal. It wants food -- it cries. It wants love -- it cries. It doesn't get its way -- it throws spaghetti across the room. The id knows what it wants and is very straightforward about trying to get it. The id always exists within the personality and follows the 'pleasure principle,' the desire to seek pleasure as the primary mission. As a person grows up, the id becomes the seat of sexuality in its most base sense.

A second part of the person, the ego, seeks to bring the influence of the external world to bear upon the id and its tendencies, and endeavors to substitute the reality principle for the pleasure principle, which reigns unrestrictedly in the id. The ego represents what may be called reason and common sense, in contrast to the id, which comprises the passions. These oppositional forces operate in tandem and shape human development from infancy. For normal individuals, desires are repressed and made inaccessible to their thinking except at a base level. Our repressed desires only appear to us disguised as dreams and other seemingly incoherent, uncontrolled actions.

There is no greater expression of this than sexual desire and fantasy. The id is constantly struggling to break free of its suppression by the ego and superego. If you want to understand pornography as a vessel to the achievement of the id's satisfaction for the Western male, you must understand his lifelong societal conditioning. Throughout a man's life, the one constant reinforcement he can always expect to encounter is the commoditization of human sexuality. Access to a woman's vagina is something he must labor and sacrifice in order to attain, which puts it on par with currency and nonmaterial commodities as an expression of the triumph of the reasoned ego over the irrational id. If a man is having sex with a woman, he understands it as an achievement, as the product of valued time and effort utilized in attaining it.

However, the suppression of the id cannot last forever. Eventually, if the ego part of the mind is left unoccupied, its regulatory control over the base desires inherent in the id weakens, and the base desires come to the forefront of the mind. Here is where both men and women are susceptible to sexual fantasies. Whether by design or by accident, the elements of the sexual experience for men and women are different. For women, the cerebral drives the visual in order to enhance the tactile. (Witness the nature of romance novels, music, and movies designed to appeal to women's base desires -- enhancing a woman's sexual desire is all about creating sensations in their minds). For men, it's the opposite -- visual drives the cerebral.

Thus, visual pornography is the perfect reinforcement of men's social conditioning: when you're working to achieve the commodity that is access to a woman's vagina, it's a far more effective incentive to actually be able to see what you're working for, rather than just imagine it.

So, pornography is the physical embodiment of the base desires of the id temporarily affirming themselves in their struggle with the valued rationality of the ego and superego. It's a representation of freedom from the pressure that rationality puts on us. It's not about the particular woman in the film. It's much more a case of "check it out, an attractive naked woman performing a sex act within my field of vision, and I didn't have to do a damn thing to convince her to do it." (virtually any attractive naked woman will do the trick) That, for a man, is the ultimate triumph of the id over the ego, and the ultimate achievement in bargain hunting in the quest to attain the aforementioned commodity: sexual satisfaction without the slightest bit of effort involved.

So in the end, ladies, I wouldn't worry too much about the fact that your man enjoys watching porn. It's not a rejection or subjugation of you as a woman or as a human being. It's the degradation of another object (the actresses are not really people to us) in order to satisfy the yearnings of an unoccupied mind.


Like I said, a work in process. It needs some alteration before I publish it. Comments are appreciated, especially from the gals.
Main / Secretaries Day
Apr 29, 2005, 08:16 AM
I'm technically an administrative assistant to the Governor of New Jersey, even though my job title is "Policy Writer" =)
Not only that, but it would probably be cost-prohibitive to bring that kind of suit to begin with, because there's no way the government would settle out of court, and lawyers' fees would probably make any recovery he might get a pittance of what the woman stole from him.
Main / National sales tax in the US
Mar 31, 2005, 09:25 AM
This is the perfect solution for the entitlement crisis that's set to begin in a scant 6 years, because it encourages savings better than any other tweaking of fiscal policy could accomplish.

Personally, I wouldn't mind the income tax if it were a flat rate like the US has seen fit to impose upon the people of Iraq but can't bring themselves to even consider here. But the payroll tax is what really kills people, especially on the lower end of the spectrum. Between federal and NJ taxes, I don't get to see 28% of my paycheck, and what I get back at the end of the year in the form of a refund is a pittance compared to what I lose.

It hurts all the more knowing that I'm 22, and those wonderful entitlement programs my dollars pay for won't be around when I retire. So I'd definitely be all for this bill if it stood any chance at making it through Congress.
Quote from: "Roy"
I have to confess....

Voluntary celibacy is looking like a real fine option right now!   :lol:

Learn it, live it, love it.

It's changed my life forever.
My vote: just another useless academic cloaking his contempt for himself in the veil of moral responsibility. He can't even come out and say it, so instead he trolls for confrontation by waxing philosophic against one of the easy scapegoats for the world's problems.

I've known so many people like this during my tenure in higher education it's sick. I can't even pity them anymore; I just tune them out. No one who matters (i.e. serious lawmakers) is ever going to take him seriously anyway.
Main / Summary of Feminism
Mar 16, 2005, 08:05 PM
Feminism is an intellectually bankrupt form of socialism rendered in gender-based constructs.

Essentially, what you said, but summarized even further.  8)
I was looking for a clever punchline.

Yeah, pun definitely intended...  8)
Main / I am truly beginning to love men
Mar 16, 2005, 04:45 AM
Ah, the delicious irony of pop-liberalism: you must bow before the altar of open-mindedness and acceptance of those who are different than you when it comes to race, ethnicity, religon, or sexuality, but may Gaia help you if you deviate in any way from the ideological norms of the Absolute Truths.
Main / Guess who's back
Mar 16, 2005, 04:40 AM
Hey Roy,

Not saying you'd WANT to, just saying the reversibility makes the whole age limit based on "you might change your mind down the road" reasoning a moot point.
Pointing out the intellectual bankruptcy of feminist theory, especially when it comes to the wage gap, is like pointing out the coldness of ice. I always like to ask why, if there's such a disparity, is any man employed in the workforce at all if a woman will do the same job for 33% less? Moreover, why aren't employers falling all over themselves clamoring for that cheap labor like a landscaping truck driver cruising Nogales? But no one from the other side ever listens, so it's best to just tune them out when they start talking about it. I usually try reciting entire movie scripts in my head.
Main / Gender based pricing.
Mar 15, 2005, 01:01 PM
It's grandstanding, pure and simple. Haircuts cost more for women because they take longer to do. Dry cleaning services and clothes in general cost more because they're made out of more elaborate fabrics and have to be woven in such a way that they can stretch to fit the shape of a woman's body (hence, caring for the garmets requires extra attention, less they shrink in certain key areas).

I've always said the only genuinely liberal men are those who are in or are trying to get into a liberal woman's pants. The same analogy can be drawn for any political pundits who make hay out of this kind of hogwash: they want to look good in the eyes of their progressive/egalitarian allies.
Main / Guess who's back
Mar 15, 2005, 12:53 PM

I'm talking about the micro-laser method that's become all the rage the past few years. It makes a MUCH cleaner -- and hence, much more easily repaired -- cut than a scalpel. In my quest to provide myself with some surefire peace of mind against unwanted pregnancies, I've encountered quite a few doctors who tout the method as being a perfect form of birth control: the veracity of a vasectomy combined with the long-term reversibility if you change your mind. And yet, not one will agree to perform the procedure on a man under 30 unless he already has children. It boggles my mind.
Main / Guess who's back
Mar 15, 2005, 12:01 PM
Greetings to my old associates on SYG. I've missed you all.

Apologies for my year-long absence. A brilliant twist of fate got me promoted to the wonderful echelon of state government known as middle management right at the same time that I was beginning work on my Master's Degree. On top of that, I've joined the rock band known as Cheap Date and have begun shopping for my first home. (Don't even ask me how many realtors laugh in your face when you're 22 and tell them you're interested in buying a house.) Needless to say, I needed a bit of a period of adjustment to get my hectic new post-graduation life into balance.

In addition to that, sometime in early 2004, I began to suffer the crippling condition of punditry burnout, where I just got tired of writing about the same stuff over and over and nothing new was going on that inspired fresh material. I'm told that happens to a lot of people during a Presidential Election year, especially when the campaigns last for EIGHT DAMN MONTHS AND NO NEW GROUND IS EVER BROKEN AND THE TWO MAJOR CANDIDATES ARE SO FRICKIN' ALIKE THAT IT'S ALL YOU CAN DO NOT TO TUNE THEM OUT!!!

Whew...sorry...lingering frustration there...

But as went my love for political punditry, so went my love of chronicling the gender wars. So, I took myself some time off for the sake of my sanity, and officially cut off my series of essays on romance and marriage at five, what I have now affectionally dubbed on my website as "The Love Quintet."

Now, a year older and many years wiser, I feel like I'm ready to get back into the swing of things. I'm still happily single now and (hopefully) forever, and I'm working on a detailed introspective piece on the no-scalpel vasectomy method advertising campaign ("Reversible with a 90% success rate even after 20 years!") and the age-limit policies of the doctors who employ it ("I'm sorry, Mr. Weeks...our policy is not to perform this procedure on men under 30.") It'll be a much-needed deviation from the norm for my portfolio.
Main / What is your view on this topic?
Mar 04, 2004, 02:54 PM

If I left, I'd miss you.