The Jaguar and the Anteater: Pornography Degree Zero

By Bernard Arcand ; Wayne Grady | Go to book overview
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"Pornography" was the name they gave to the strange zone where chaos subsisted safely within order. WALTER KENDRICK The Secret Museum: Pornography in Modern Culture

You would think pornography would be incomprehensible to someone not already versed in the history of sexuality, eroticism, censorship, and the relationship between the sexes. But there is also the history of beauty and seduction, of modesty and the whole corporeal connection. To this, one could add the history of the stage, art in general, and communications. Then there's the history of the family, of education, and the cultural invention of adolescence, the history of private life, morality and the law. One could go on to trace a direct link between pornography and the day Jean Baptiste Colbert, the chief minister of Louis XIV, decided to straighten the streets of Paris and make its quartiers more geometrical, which allowed traffic to move faster, which made the streets less safe for children, which brought their care and education -- which had hitherto largely taken place in the streets -- indoors to be more and more taken over by the family, which in turn encouraged a form of modern isolationism that prepared the way for the actual phenomenon of pornography. In a way, the growth of pornography is probably inseparable from the evolution of heating systems, as the discomfort of older houses discouraged nudity and loose living. In short, the history of pornography is the history of society, and nothing that happens in society can be


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