[Milton-L] Re: porno vs. art?
rastrier at uchicago.edu
Thu Nov 24 13:38:54 EST 2005
intent-- notoriously difficult to establish and, in many accounts of
aesthetic value, irrelevant.
context-- this bears (bares?) no scrutiny. One can read Hustler in
an elegant setting, and see Debbie Does Dallas in a museum.
appropriateness of erotic response-- involves us in a circle. Who is
to say? I think it's perfectly appropriate to find the Venus de
Milo, Titian paintings, Michelangelo's David, Mapplethorpe photos,
etc, etc sexually arousing (among other things). It takes a bizarre
theory, I think, to say that such responses are "illegitimate." And
once one says this, more problems arise: 1) who is going to police
them?; 2) does classifying responses negatively make them go away?
Re one part of Carol's remarks: whatever Eve is before the Fall (I'd
say a very sexy and intelligent naked woman), she's not a "pedestaled
virgin" (neither one nor the other), and whatever she is immediately
after the fall (I'd say a very sexy and intelligent naked woman), she
is certainly not "a two-bit whore" (though I think this contempt for
lower class sex-workers needs scrutiny, and, of course, the whole
"virgin-whore" system is a nonsensical and oppressive one). I do
think that Adam casts "lascivious eyes" on Eve before the Fall. Why
not? Of course, she's not a courtesan (though, again, I see no
reason to have contempt for such-- some were accomplished poets).
But why not let her be a little bit of a flirt? Is that a crime or a
sin or a sign of fallenness? Milton praises her delicious amorous
delay. That she is a femme fatale is part of the plot.
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