I&I

Response: 25,000 Years of Erotic Freedom and the future of porn

25000-years-of-erotic-coverThis post is the second part to my review of Alan Moore’s 25,000 Years of Erotic Freedom. Moore’s most convincing argument for me was in linking a trend of declining artistic quality in pornography with porn’s low standing in the arts. In order to reverse this downward trajectory, Moore calls for a future in which erotica is reinstated as a legitimate area of artistic expression where creativity and sexuality can flourish together. I thought it would be worth following his lead and considering the future status of porn.

PART TWO: RESPONSE

As I’m not a fan of elitism in the arts, Moore’s vision of a world where porn is not marginalized and where sexual creations and visions are more openly shared is certainly appealing. However, I’m leery of Moore’s desire to elevate porn to “an almost sacred totem in society.” Swinging in the opposite direction from demonizing porn to sanctifying it strikes me as reinforcing a dangerous dichotomy of “good” and “bad” porn. And I don’t trust any party to be an overarching arbiter of taste and to police the boundaries of porn, be it puritanical censors or people who think exactly the way I do about erotica.

Instead of venerating erotica, I’d like to advocate for an approach to porn that’s similar to a healthy relationship with food. Food can provide so many things: intellectual stimulation, celebration, laughter, healing, adventure, challenges, comfort. A meal can be a gift, an experiment, fuel on the go, an act of revenge. In regard to attitude, not every meal has to be some grand mind blowing gustatory act, although food should have its sacred moments – as well as its profane ones. There’s no need to privilege masterful haute cuisine over cheap and tasty street food. What may seem disgusting to you may be delicacies to someone else so don’t be quick to judge. Make decisions that reduce harm to yourself, to others and to the environment. Eat mindfully, sample widely, indulge at times and be thankful.

Instead of a world full of “good” porn, I’d rather see our society start to recognize that porn is as varied and complex as food can be, and that porn plays a myriad of roles in addition to getting us off, just like the act of eating is more than the intake of calories. Maybe then we could stop talking about porn as if it’s some monolithic entity that we can make grand sweeping statements about like “porn oppresses women” or “porn is a healthy release valve for tension” or anything along the lines of “porn should this and porn shouldn’t that.” Let’s start recognizing that porn is as complicated, contradictory and varied as human sexuality and the artistic imagination. Bon appetit, lovers.

Next week: more about food and porn (but sorry, not food porn).

Advertisements