Political Pornography

Fernando Munoz L., Yale Law School

Abstract

Isn't it nonsensical to suggest, as Susan Sontag does, that "the pornographic imagination says something worth listening to?" The relationship between constitutional law and pornography is usually considered in a unidirectional way. The most common questions are what does the law say about pornography or what should the law say about it. This is nothing but a legal monologue; sometimes passionate, often judgmental, almost always self-righteous but, all in all, nothing but a monologue. In this paper, I take the opposite road, exploring the aesthetics and narrative of pornography, its underlying anthropology and sociology, and its psychological appeal to our imagination, as an illustrative resource for some debates within constitutional theory. I call this particular reversal of the legal monologue an exercise in Political Pornography.