Monday, May 26, 2008

We Are The Word (of Porn!)

The source of all my news has a new post on one of my all-time favorite topics: pornography!. He quoted some numbers on the amount of revenue generated by porn that I thought were too good to be true, so I looked them up. It turns out that sometimes, it sounds too good to be true, but is true nonetheles. This is one of those times.

I found this anti-porn site that confirms the whopping $13 billion dollar figure for US porn revenue. But it does more than that! It shows different countries porn revenues and the news gets even better. The countries with higher porn revenue values than us are, in descending order, China, South Korea, and Japan! I remember reading in American Caesar how General Arthur Macarthur took his recently commissioned, West Point graduate son Douglas on a tour of Asia in the years before the first World War and told him that Asia would be the future focus of our country's international relations. Time after time we see just how right he was.

I've spent a year in South Korea, and I can sort-of almost have a conversation in Korean. I've spent six months in Japan and I can just about read a novel in Japanese. One thing I've been saying since I started reading Japanese is that I don't feel like their culture is even as foreign to me as that of continental Europe. French was my first foreign language and I feel way more like I'm looking at a completely alien mindset watching French movies and reading French novels than I have in any of my contact with the Japanese culture. I think the idea that we are "western" and the Japanese aren't is dated at best. Read Naomi by Tanizaki Junichiro and see if the way people think, feel, and write about it is more foreign to you than something by Camus or Sartre.

That might be an apples-to-oranges comparison because High-brow culture is foreign to anybody not trained in subjecting your self to senseless bullshit, while pop culture, coming from anywhere on earth, is more international and a lot less boring.

Anyway, back to Porn. Japan's per-capita porn revenue more than triples ours while South Korean pornographers rake in fully ten times the revenue of their American counterparts. Oddly enough, I did a google search on "Banned in South Korea" expecting to find stories about pin-up girls books being banned there. Those stories were common a couple of years ago. I found not a single one. An interesting thing about Korea is that things change must faster over there. A Korean friend explained this to me recently. What happens is you go to school expected to refer to people one grade ahead of you using respectful terms and you wind up seeing the people a year older as a different generation. Nobody anywhere on earth wants to be seen using the slang of the previous generation or wearing their styles. In Korea the previous generation is only 1 or two years older than you. Back when I was still practicing Korean, some friends taught me some swear words. They were all amused by the way I said them with my funny foreign accent. The next day I was saying my new swear words with the same group plus one other woman who was 5 years older than the rest of us. She wasn't amused at all. She was seriously offended and pissed off at the rest of them for teaching me that. It was years later when I told someone of this incident that the Korean speedy generation gap was explained to me.

So the current generation of Koreans is consuming more porn-- ten times more!-- in terms of revenue than the US. Maybe there's some hope for South Korea. When you look at a culture where large numbers of people turn out to protest against U.S. beef, it's hard to avoid the conclusion that the entire country is retarded. But they do some things right there. They make good cheap cars. They have a great protestant / Confucian work ethic. I've known about these things for a while. But watching ten times the porn that Americans watch is a sign that they may be headed for a better place culturally.

Korea is more European than the U.S. and Japan when it comes to protesting in general. There is a subculture in the U.S. that think's it's reasonable to go out in the streets and hold up signs and shout their opinions at the passers by. Americans generally view protesting as something like dressing up in Star Wars costumes in public only less amusing. It's not something normal Americans would ever want to be seen doing. The Japanese seem to have a similar attitude toward marching in the streets. South Korea and Europe, on the other hand, respect protestors. A protest in France or in South Korea is a social even to see and be seen at like a Baseball game or a golf course in the US or in Japan. The idea that it's okay for grown-ups to throw tantrums in public and that it will accomplish something is a serious social ill that afflicts most of the world, but not the US or Japan.

But I've digressed all over the fucking place and the point is that the world is rapidly becoming a better place and these porn statistics prove it beyond a doubt.

The Chinese numbers are particularly encouraging.

It's also funny just how much reading pleasure a porn fan can get from a site with the words "family safe media" in it's url.

I should also mention that I have found no evidence yet that there's anyone on earth who agrees with my views on the idea of Western vs. Eastern cultures.

Let me recap what those views are in case all this rambling has buried that point. Most people (actually everyone I've met or read) think that the U.S. and Europe are "western" while Japan, China and some other countries are "eastern". But on the porn consumption charts, China, Japan, South Korea and the U.S. form one block while the rest of the world forms another. I think that other charts could be made measuring other cultural tendencies that would show Japan and the Anglosphere having more in common than Japan and the rest of Asia. I believe that there are many other ways in which the US is closer culturally to Japan than to continental Europe, but proving it is a long way off.