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Shupe Dogging In The Videodrome
A discussion on pornsickness
I had a great exchange last night with Donovan Cleckley, one of the terrific writers I am pleased to edit for The Distance. We were discussing Jamie Shupe, autogynephilia, and the prescient 1983 David Cronenberg film Videodrome.
Unfortunately, a technical glitch ended things just as we were moving to Q&A. Twitter spaces is a temperamental service. Nevertheless, you can hear the full 51-minute dialogue here.
Thanks to everyone who joined and listened. I especially want to thank @RevFemStreetbeat, a far more experienced Twitter spacer than myself, for co-hosting, because I am a n00b. Also for telling us that hilarious story about Debbie Harry’s poor, sad liver.
We discussed Jamie Shupe in the context of Videodrome because his story resonates with what we know about autogynephilia and pornography. “Long live the new flesh” is an explicitly transhumanist statement. Explicit, interactive media transforms the brain into new flesh.
Although the male dream of creating, and thus becoming, the woman of his own dreams is not new, what has changed is that we have technological sorcerors pretending to literally fulfill that dream.
If you have never seen Videodrome, it stars James Woods as a man transformed by a vast new information landscape (the internet, essentially, but in the age of public access cable). This new technology offers infinite sex and violence to the vicarious mind. Harry, a feminist, is destroyed by the Lovecraftian force that runs Videodrome and seems to run the world. An avatar of Harry is then used to manipulate Woods’s character. The final scene, which I described in the space, is embedded here.
Jamie “Elisa Rae” Shupe has been both victim and perpetrator. As we discussed, a person with his track record of ephemeral identities and admitted abuses should never serve as the lone named source for any story. Mother Jones did real journalism, once, but now they turn to random, mentally ill people for clickbaiting fantasies about sinister transphobia. They have become one more agent of the Videodrome.
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