Violent Pornography vs. Cognitive Dissonance

Most people don’t want to be faced with criticism of pornography, no matter how mild. Men don’t want to acknowledge that they may be supporting and participating in the degradation of women and women don’t want to believe that men see them as sexual-service stations. Most people want to believe that they are good, that they only do good. Most people want to believe those they care about or admire would never want to hurt them. Porn paints a picture that contradicts these beliefs. So, what do people do? Many live in denial, but there are many others that have to actually ignore what’s in front of them to maintain their sanity.

We are inundated by media that praises pornography and shames women who struggle with the pressure to conform to its’ ever increasing sexual standards. Music is no exception, whether it be pop, rap, or rock. I was listening to System of a Down, one of my favorite bands, and revisiting some older songs. SOAD often has a political bent to its music, focusing on war, genocide, and propaganda in the media. I came upon a song called, “Violent Pornography”. It wasn’t that I had never heard this song before. I had heard it plenty of times, but this was the first time I really listened. Here’s the lyrics, without repetition:

Everybody, everybody, everybody livin’ now.
Everybody, everybody, everybody fucks.
Everybody, everybody, everybody livin’ now.
Everybody, everybody, everybody sucks.

Everybody, everybody, everybody livin’ now.
Everybody, everybody, everybody cries
Everybody, everybody, everybody livin’ now.
Everybody, everybody, everybody dies.

It’s a non-stop disco
Bet you it’s Nabisco,
Bet you didn’t know.

It’s a violent pornography!
Choking chicks and SODOMY!
The kinda shit you get on your TV!

It’s on the TV.
It’s on your TV.
Turn off your TV.

Can you say brainwashing?
Brainwashing
It’s a non-stop disco.

I couldn’t believe men wrote this. It felt..vindicating to listen to. It felt vindicating to hear guys admit that this is not just harmless fun. I was curious about people’s reactions to this song. The meaning is pretty clear, and almost every single one of the commentators MISSED THE FUCKING POINT. First, let’s take a look at the comments on Youtube Video #1. This video is comprised of live footage, interspersed with shots John Travolta dancing at a disco and clips of women who are clearly in pain. This is a fan-made video. (Anything in parentheses is my commentary.)

” i wouldn’t say its against porn. its against what they now show on tv. what SOAD are pretty much saying is that TV nowadays is like watching porn and its desensitizing people. “Turn off your TV” and “can you say brain washing” are some of the last lines in the song, and they obviously refer to TV.” (So, TV is like porn and desensitizes people….but porn isn’t bad. It’s bad that TV is like porn, but there’s nothing wrong with porn. I’m struggling to see the logic here.)

“She looks like shes in soo much pain xD”

“i had a violent pornography once..they had the nerves to call it rape”

From Youtube Video #2:

55 people aren’t kinky (55 people disliked the video. This commenter is implying that those people have a problem with violence against women, and therefore not kinky.)

BDSM is pefectly fine.

46 people hate violent pornography ;D (Same explanation as the first comment, except this was one was made when only 46 people disliked the video.)

Maybe I’d have better luck on SongMeanings.net? There was an improvement in analysis, at least. Nobody interpreted the song as pro-violent pornography. However, there was an extreme reluctance to connect the song, “Violent Pornography”, to criticisms of violent pornography:

It’s pretty clear to me that this song is basically against television, but mainly against the evils of big corporations/commercialism (constant references to Nabisco and the comparison of violent pornography to television [The kind of shit you get on your TV]). That, coupled with other lines makes me believe this song is also about how the public is being apathetic about the whole thing (“non-stop disco” makes me think they’re trying to say that everyone is just having a good time without worry).

It’s refering to the news I think. The news shows these horrific things, everyone is swallowing it up and they see it as being similar to the violent dirty porn you can get.
The whole song is a big finger up to the news corperations for showing these stories about rape and violent crimes.

The song is (imo) a rant on the media, specifically TV news, and how they show all this disgusting stuff and people just don’t care because its under the guise of news. Also, I feel the parts with “everybody everybody…etc” are a sardonic view of the media’s defense, saying well everyone does it, why is it so bad?

“I think From_Dust has hit the nail on the head; it’s about the relentless consumerism and “reality” television we have on our screens nowadays. But, it’s also occured to me; Serj uses TV as a COMPARISON…so what is he referring to that reflects the television? My best guess would have to be organised religion, or more specifically the prejudices of the Old Testament…in there, if you read carefully, it mentions sinners in hell being sodomised, abuse of women to be acceptable, and rape actually being CONDONED in some circumstances!”

” I think it goes a little further though, maybe they aren’t just saying that we are being de-sensitized, but that we are taking whatever we see on TV and taking it out into the real world. That the short attention spans we have developed through the constant barrage of commercials, programs etc through TV have made us come to expect non-stop thrills and shocks in the real world every 5 minutes thanks to MTV etc.”

“It’s about how people these says have sex orally, and anal. He’s saying they should stick with missonary, not any other violent ways. ” (What is with pro-porn people’s obsession with missionary sex??)

There were about 4 people who said that the message of the song is “obvious” and needed no explanation, so not all hope is lost, I guess…?


2 responses to “Violent Pornography vs. Cognitive Dissonance

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