22. sept., 2020

The similarities between the photos of the Abu Ghraid prison and those of the porn movie sets

"Since pornography first entered middle-class homes, first through the VCR in the 1980s and then via the Internet a little later, it has degenerated into an explicit amalgam of sex and physical brutality against women: extreme violence and acts that are as degrading as they are appalling set the tone for increasingly twisted eroticism. Pornography has always been based on the eroticization of unlimited male power, but nowadays it also expresses it through violence and even torture. It reflects the endemic cruelty of a society that remains indifferent to the slaughter of hundreds of innocent civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan by the United States and its allies, that throws mentally ill people out onto the streets, that has more than two million prisoners, that refuses to provide health care to tens of millions of poor people, that values gun ownership by condemning gun control, and that trumpets a vile ultra-nationalism by singing the praises of unbridled capitalism. The violence, cruelty and depravity staged by this pornography is an expression of a society that has lost all sense of empathy.

The photos from Abu Ghraid prison that have been published, along with the hundreds of others that remain classified, could just as well have been taken on the set of a porn movie. One shows a man kneeling in front of another as if he were giving him fellatio; another shows a prisoner being held on a leash by an American soldier. There are also shots of naked men in chains, or of a group of naked captives stacked on top of each other on the ground, in a scene reminiscent of a prison gang bang (...). All these photographs testify to the existence of a powerful current of sexual and perverse brutality in contemporary culture. It uses the same language as pornography, professional wrestling, reality TV, music videos and corporate culture: that of absolute control, total domination, racial hatred, the fetishism of slavery, submission and humiliation. In short, the language of a ruthless world.

(Free translation from the French Edition)
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Original American version : Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle, p. 98, Chris Hedges 2010