Introducing “Realer than Real”, my on going series on Hyper-realism

Earlier today, I was listening to Howard Stern on Sirius/XM radio. A typical occurrence of the show is having adult film stars come in for a little chat with Howard, Robin and the usual crew. Today’s show was no exception, but the conversation between Stern and the porn stars made me pause from my work and listen. Here is a summary of what I heard.

Howard mentioned the guests they had coming up today and said that he’s having some porn girls in since so many people like that on the show. Howard said porn is ruining the country though. He said the girls are so vocal in the videos and then when you have sex yourself you feel you’re missing something. Howard said he’s had sex with several normal women who make you feel unloved. He said he’d give Robin an example…

… Howard said he was listening to the clips of the girls that are coming in today and they sound so sexy. He wants that in his personal life but he know he won’t have that. He played a clip of one of the girls getting banged and she’s moaning and making all kinds of noise as the guy is banging her. Howard said no regular woman sounds like that. Robin said women don’t want to hear that kind of stuff in a movie. Howard said that’s what men want. He said he’s been watching porn for years and this stuff is ruining lives. He said men expect this kind of thing during sex.

– Source: (, Obtained online 7/14/10)

What does this mean? Howard, with or without knowing it (probably the latter, the man is extremely intelligent, despite what my friends say), is referring to pornography, a manufactured product, being so real and stylistic that it can alter or even replace the sexual experience of it’s observer. This phenomenon is known as hyper-reallism , and it permeates throughout the modern world, in particularly in media, art and architecture .

What is hyper-realism?

There are allot of definitions of hyper-realism, the two I like are the standard dictionary entry, and the very detailed  Wikipedia entry. Here is the dictionary definition:

An artistic style characterized by highly realistic graphic representation.

Hyper-realism is a concept you hear in artists and philosophical circles, but it’s not something that is a part of the lexicon on most people. I find this interesting, considering how much hyper-realism is a part of modern life. You experience it when going to Las Vegas, when seeing a 3D movie like “Avatar”, when playing games like “Halo” or “Second Life”. And with the proliferation of new and more vivid media technologies (Virtual Reality, High Definition video, etc), we, in my opinion, are moving towards a world in which the amount to time we spend observing hyper-reality would be equal if not more than the time we sense and observe “standard” reality. That leaves to all sorts of questions. What will that do to us as a society and a species? What will happen to the real reality that we are more and more distancing ourself from? Or even, is hyper-reality just an offshoot of standard reality, can hyper-reality even exist without standard reality to base itself on?

With that said, I’m going to start an ongoing series of blog, facebook and twitter postings on the subject. I have to disclose that I am not at all an expert on the subject matter, I’m just interested in it. Allot of the posting will be links to articles and books that discuss the topic in more detail that I could ever. However, I will be peppering much of this information with my own tidbits on the subject. I would rather have a conversation with like-minded people via various social networks I’m on and on this blog, so please join in with comments on this blog, retweets, direct messages, facebook wall posts, etc. This will probably be the only “formal” post on the subject as well, my future posts will be  more casual.

Finally, as for Stern’s conversation with the adult film stars, he asked them directly if how they act during the filming is actually how they have sex in real life. The two starlets admitted that although there are aspects of the performances are how they react to sex, they are definitely playing up for the camera and that their real sex lives are surprisingly tame. But they offered that they like the tame sex they have, saying “a lot of the stuff we do during filming we really don’t like”.

I look forward to exploring this topic and discussing it with people F2F and online. Look out to “RTR” tag in my various posts and tweets, which will identify that it is part of this series.


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