[Milton-L] Re: porno vs. art?

James Rovira jrovira at drew.edu
Tue Nov 29 20:46:49 EST 2005

Thanks for the reply, Jacob.  I didn't mean to mechanically say, 
"humor=not pornography."  I think my post attempted to take a step 
beyond that by discussing the function of humor in these respective 
pieces.  We could compare this with the function of humor in porn and 
maybe make some progress from there.

At any rate, I think our options are either to think out loud about 
these issues and see what criteria we come up with as we go, or simply 
descend into a morass of amoral, semi-critical, "tolerant" looking the 
other way which allows us to ultimately say nothing substantial.  I 
prefer the former.

I don't see censorship as the worst thing that can happen and most of 
what would be "repressed" would hardly be a serious loss.

I appreciate Ms. Khoddam's recent response but I'm not quite sure what 
was so revolting about Donne's poem.  He seemed to be celebrating his 
mistress' nudity and encouraging it.  Some women might appreciate that 
and some might not, probably depending on how they feel at the moment 
and about the man making the comments.  I said myself that the Wilmot 
was obscene, but it's hardly an example of male power: quite the 
opposite.  The male was unable to keep up with female desire.  It's not 
hard to envision how the woman in the poem felt: probably frustrated, 
perhaps slightly mocking her man, reflected in the male's self mockery?

I think my criticism of the prose selection was essentially the same as 
  Ms. Khoddam's.  I think she's right about porn being largely a male 
arena, but there is a great deal of porn/erotica written by women as 
well, even for sale at Barnes and Nobles, Borders, etc.

Jim R.

BlevinsJake at aol.com wrote:
> Jim,
> Of course, once again the problem using specific characteristics to 
> characterize something as porn or not is . . . well, problematic. If the 
> presence of real humor frees something from the label of porn, then half 
> of the pornographic film produced would certainly have to be called 
> something else. 50% of so-called porn movies out there are explicitly 
> meant to be funny (the annual porn awards in Los Angeles has a best 
> "comedy" award category). I was flipping through channels late one night 
> and on Cinemax I saw a film coming on called "Lord of the G-Strings." I 
> admit I was intrigued and watched the first 20 minutes or so. The entire 
> thing was a truly hilarious--albeit silly--parody of Lord of the Rings 
> (There was a special "g-string" out there that "ruled all," a group of 
> female warriors who would help the "throbbits" of the shire. It was 
> really, really funny--but it was most certainly what one would call 
> pornography. (When I was a teenager, I also remember see a movie that 
> was a similar parody on the Beverly Hill Billies). I don't think humor 
> makes or breaks the "pornographic" label and if fact humor has become a 
> characteristics the porn film industry.
> Jacob

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