Pornography has become the major activity within this most popular form of culture, and the sheer volume of pornography currently available has expanded exponentially.
This analysis will argue that, as Foucault would suggest, the post-Sixties search" has begun all over again. This time people can indulge their taste for pornography from the comfort of their own homes without he distasteful necessity of entering establishments with frosted glass in dangerous parts of town. The 'text' of pornography used to be one that was limited to the physical spaces of the strip bar, the sex-shop and the pornographic movie-house. The space that this text was allowed was strictly delineated and often controlled by the authorities. But now the space of this "everywhere" (Foucault, 1990) - and by space both physical and cyber manifestations can be considered - has been perceived as invading the supposedly sacrosanct space of the home. In Europe and America there are often heated and desperate attempts to "stop" the supposed corruption of vulnerable people by pornography.
One of the most taboo aspects of pornography has been that which involves (or appears to involve) child sex. In America, the Child Pornography Protection Act of 1996 (CPPA) expanded the definition of child pornography "to include not only pornographic images using actual children . . . but also any visual depiction that is, or appears to be, of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct" (CPPA, 1996). This law was later struck down by the Supreme Court because it was "too vague" and because the Justices suggested that allowing virtual images of child pornography might actually protect children from abuse. Justice Kennedy stated that "few pornographers would risk prosecution for abusing real children if fictional, computerized images would suffice" (Kennedy, 2002).
The Intertextual implications of this attempt to legislate against child pornography are as fascinating as they are complex. A semiotic approach will help to analyze the situation. The initial law had a signifier "child" which referred to a signified that consisted of both actual children and the simulation of children. Thus if a twenty year old woman was made to resemble a ten year old girl she would be regarded as a child or, most interestingly, a computer simulation of a child (which has no existence outside of computer code)