For my third post I shall be Pauline Kael and I/she will be reviewing Internet is for Porn.
The internet=porn riff has been done to death (a bit of a cliché masquerading as aperçu) I’m afraid.
Searching for ‘The internet is for porn’ on YouTube, I found lots of versions, including ones that used the Avenue Q song on a scene lifted from a Harry Potter film, another from a Disney cartoon, one from Spongebob Squarepants and another from Ben 10. I’m tempted to do one myself – shall I use the Tweenies or Thomas the Tank Engine?
Technically/culturally though, it’s more interesting. It’s an example of machinema, an instance of the technologies of multi-user virtual worlds like World of Warcraft, Halo and Second Life enabling users to create multiple, personalisable characters and settings that can be manipulated to create short animations.
I’m not that familiar with machinema but see it to be a growing part of fan culture as it displays itself on media sharing sites like YouTube. Here’s another example of machinema using The Sims to create a video to an Amy Winehouse song:
Machinema is a manifestation of a culture of DIY, remix and of consumption as production, using tools and materials at hand to craft something new.
Why do it? In part, it’s about creating something your friends – and others will find funny and/or cool – and the social capital that will accrue as a result. I made this; I am therefore this kind of person. Love me, admire me, find me cool and funny. But some of it is about the complex nature of fandom – creating something that expresses your love of a particular artist.
Machinema as homage as well as pastiche.
Is the Internet is for Porn utopian or dystopian? Hmmm … depends how you cut it but my guess is that many commentators on this type of DIY cultural production – e.g.Henry Jenkins – would see it as a Good Thing, a Brave New World of user-generated content/produsage etc..
We could also read it literally: the internet really is for porn which is sort of true. I’ve no stats to hand about the size of the ‘adult’ entertainment industry’s turnover but I seem to remember it’s bigger than Hollywood and the web’s a key platform. A dystopian world of commodified cybersex.