Title: The Erotic Engine: How Pornography Has Powered Mass Communication, from Gutenberg to Google
Author: Patchen Barss
Publisher: University of Queensland Press, 2010
ISBN: 070223866X, 9780702238666
Length: 310 pages
A book with an interesting idea at its core, which I missed the first time around, but found a reference to in another article -- and found a copy in the library.
The author's primary thesis is that the desire to communicate sexual ideas and material increases the speed of introduction of new communication technologies. I could agree with that, if he'd expressed it that way; unfortunately Patchen Barss likes to add a moral dimension and choose loaded words like "pornography" to describe sexual materials and activities of which he doesn't approve, as opposed to "erotica", of which he does approve. Nevertheless, he has done some interesting research and talked to people who are far more interesting than he apparently finds them, since he squeezes their observations into the slender boundaries of his viewpoint. I constantly wanted him to get out of the way and let them talk about the topic, but he didn't.
What this book left me with was a desire to convene a discussion group with some of Barss's key informants (but leaving out the pusillanimous Mr. Barss himself, since he can't bring himself to talk about virtual sex or have it) about what technological advances are likely to be possible in the recently-announced upgrade to Second Life -- what I'm calling Second Second Life (SSL).
For instance, I'd like someone to re-think the whole manner in which virtual penises penetrate virtual bodies; pretty much I want them to disappear "inside" the other body rather than poke through awkwardly. I'd like it to be much, much easier to create whatever SSL will use instead of pose balls, and animation sequences, and ways of embedding them in objects and being able to use them in places where you can't rez things. I'd like to be able to experience a lot more foreplay rather than moving directly into penetration. But I suspect that I have somehow limited my own viewpoint by casting things in terms of how they work in the current version of SL, and that whatever comes together in SSL will astound -- and possibly delight -- me and my partners.
What shall my readers want to see from Second Second Life in terms of how we have sex? Your comments are welcome, and since I have the adults-only boundary firmly and annoyingly set in place to restrict access to this blog, go ahead, use your grown-up words. Your comments will only be moderated in terms of spam.
PS: None of the images displayed here is my own; I harvested them from a few trillion pictures I found when I typed "Second Life sex" into Google Image.
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