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ColoradoGuy
02-08-2007, 08:09 PM
Or is it? I brought this up in another thread, but, like Justice Stewart, do we "know it when we see it"? Do we do that because of something intrinsic to the text or what we bring to the text as readers? There was a time when "reader response" to a woman's exposed ankle was deemed lascivious.

See, who knew Lit/Crit could actually apply to real life?

Meerkat
02-08-2007, 08:54 PM
One might then extrapolate that there is no such thing as pornography; there is only the premeditated reaction to material that individual readers bring to the table.

ColoradoGuy
02-08-2007, 09:04 PM
Some indeed say that.

Meerkat
02-08-2007, 09:11 PM
The other side of the coin would be, if writers know what the majority reaction will be, are they writing pornography to be aiming at that reaction? If they are writing but aiming at a different goal, such as I believe Last Tango in Paris, Midnight Cowboy, and A Clockwork Orange were all examples, should the more purient and perhaps more common interpretation still evoke a definition as pornography? The litmus test of majority rule, and therefore the definition would be changing every decade or so, at any rate...

ColoradoGuy
02-08-2007, 09:17 PM
The litmus test of majority rule, and therefore the definition would be changing every decade or so, at any rate...
And there lies the problem, which is why I think of pornography as primarily reader-response theory in action. Still, I DO think some things are out of bounds but, like most folks, I don't know just where that boundary is. Who knew Potter Stewart was a philosopher?

Meerkat
02-08-2007, 09:17 PM
Or would the easier thing (conscientiously) be not writing in a fashion that will be taken on the baser level by the majority, to begin with?

MargueriteMing
02-13-2007, 10:41 PM
Calling something "pornography" is a value judgement, most value judgements are subjective opinion.

veinglory
02-13-2007, 11:12 PM
As an academic from a science background I find the question semi-opaque. Does it mean: Is pornography a genre defined by the writers intention to/prediction that the reader will be sexually aroused. If so, sure. Seems reasonable. I know that is my intention/goal/prediction in that genre.

If you mean: Is pornography defined by *whether* every reader is aroused, then no. Although if the majority reaction is not what was intended than the prose may not be on target ;) I would expect writer intention to match the majority response of the target demographic only--so when the writer is competant either method might be reasonable functional

But of course, that may not be what was being asked.

p.s. pornography is a term normally interpreted as implying disapproval. Erotica is generally prefered.

Medievalist
02-13-2007, 11:44 PM
Me, I wanna go back to the original meaning and use of pornography; the advertisements, the menus, if you will, of prostitutes.

Pornos = prostitutes; graphos = writings

Then we can use the word to really refer appropriately and specifically to unsolicited sexual products/services spam.

ColoradoGuy
02-13-2007, 11:46 PM
p.s. pornography is a term normally interpreted as implying disapproval. Erotica is generally prefered.
Yeah, I know. I was shameless in trying to reel in a few of the idly curious.

My question derives from the related previous one of whether FanFic is pure reader response; that is, to what extent does the author control the response in the reader. It is a variant of asking the question of whether the reader of erotica supplies his or her own story, leaving behind (or transcending) the one the author actually wrote. Of course this is a spectrum ranging from vague, suggestive writing to extremely graphic, concrete writing. I understand that. It just seems to me that erotica, more than other genres, has the quality of providing the reader with, in essence, the raw material to write his or her own story.

Since you are an experienced writer, I'd be interested in your thoughts about that notion.

veinglory
02-14-2007, 12:09 AM
When trying to avoid lexical traps I tend to call what I do sex-writing ;)

Well obviously writer intent and reader response will correspond depending on a lot of things. But the pornier the porn, and the more specific the niche the easier it gets.

In the hands of my target demographic (slash/romance fans) the correlation depends largely on writer skill. The demographic is turned on by depictions of gay sex, I am depicting gay sex. Sex-writing has some of the most overt goals of any genre. There is a little more to it than that, but not much. The reader still brings shades of meaning as I can tell be their responses but the general, uh, thrust tends to, uh, penetrate the writer/reader barrier.

It is largely the same in other areas: A spanking writer writes spanking, a spanky reader gets hot. Etc.

It is largely in the non-erotic aspects of the plot that reader interpretations diverge from my intent. A review states with perfect confidence that my character is an ex-soldier (um, okay, if you like) or attributes reasons for his infidelity etc etc. In BSDM writing is isn't the events that get you in trouble but depicting the surrounding culture with all its rules!

We tend to agree that they had sex and in the immediate sense it was because they were horny. Discourse typically gets synconised very well when describing any innate or emotionally conditioned events for a receptive vouyeur or empath (reader). IMHO, of course.

ColoradoGuy
02-14-2007, 12:16 AM
So you think I've got it exactly backwards, that erotica is actually an example of what Orwell said he meant by good writing being a transparent pane of glass, with no possiblity of confusion between a writer's intent and a reader's response?

If so, I find that notion fascinating, particularly since the standard cliche I've heard is that a man's most important sex organ is his brain. The process you've described sounds downright Pavlovian to me.

Higgins
02-14-2007, 12:29 AM
So you think I've got it exactly backwards, that erotica is actually an example of what Orwell said he meant by good writing being a transparent pane of glass, with no possiblity of confusion between a writer's intent and a reader's response?

If so, I find that notion fascinating, particularly since the standard cliche I've heard is that a man's most important sex organ is his brain. The process you've described sounds downright Pavlovian to me.

No, its just fetishistic. Nothing really quite works as well as a fetish.

And Pavlovian is the right word: the subject transfers his pleasure-fulfillment from the "original" (often obviously not in the case of some fetishes) to an associated trigger. Bingo. Works like magic.

I don't quite know what George Orwell would make of it: substitue "pain" for "pane" and try
giving the Orwellian Substitue a spanking.

A recent bit of fetishistic speculation:

http://lauragonzalez.co.uk/seductive-object-or-fetish/

veinglory
02-14-2007, 12:36 AM
Writing is never a pane of glass but I think purley erotic writing has less curtains than most.

Sexual responses start out innate and become Pavlovian from there, it started to reach operant and abstract levels for many people but that ballast tends to get lost in the dark once the clothes come off. So when talking of the purely erotic goal is isn't much different different from showing a hungry man a photograph of a pie--except that is it a physical need that can be partially met without the "food".

The brain as a sex organ, well. You can add a 'brain' level to erotica to enrich it, but most people devote more of their brain to their inhibitions than to their fantasies. As far as sex organs go, genitals are much more straight forward, really. If a certain man's main sexual organ is his brain I can only conclude he is be doing more thinking that ****ing ;)

If a person likes sex, you know, two people having sex. Quickest method is to bypass the brain and just describe.

If the person has indulged in a lot of Pavlovian conditioning you must negotiate the brain to get to the groin--you might need to describe them being nursed by a large woman whilst wearing soiled nappies.

If a person has indulged in layers of operant and pavlovian conditioning you may need to describe a man being forceable dressed up as a woman and displayed in public against their will in order to get aroused *and* make the work something that could be shelved in ther literature section at Dymocks.

Oh, it is so tiring to involved the brain with its multilayered, imperfect and accute awareness of judgemental observers. A well-defined kink and a discreet ebook, that's a simple way of doing it.

Medievalist
02-14-2007, 01:41 AM
If so, I find that notion fascinating, particularly since the standard cliche I've heard is that a man's most important sex organ is his brain. The process you've described sounds downright Pavlovian to me.

Oy! Like that's not true for chicks?

ColoradoGuy
02-14-2007, 03:07 AM
I can't help you there, not being one and all.

janetbellinger
02-18-2007, 06:13 PM
Well true in a way but as a society we have to set some standards, otherwise it would be okay to distribute child pornography as long as reader response okayed it or it would be okay to publish and distribute a book promoting murder and cannibalism as long as there was a market for it.

=gclare;1111205]One might then extrapolate that there is no such thing as pornography; there is only the premeditated reaction to material that individual readers bring to the table.[/quote]

kdnxdr
02-18-2007, 06:46 PM
Drugs are also a market that is driven by response, so, why aren't they legal?

kdnxdr
02-18-2007, 06:51 PM
Recently a couple in Rhode Island were arrested for child endangerment because they were found to be having sex in front of the woman's 9 year old daughter. They said that they were doing that so that she would know how to do it. They had her sit ON THE BED so that she was immediately present and wouldn't miss any detail. It was their form of sexual education. Based on 'reader response' and the possibility of no such thing as phonography, one could carry the arguement to say there is no such thing as lewd or lacivious behavior, or perversion, and nothing would be deemed inappropriate.

I'm sure the little girl was _______________.

And, of course, they only had her participate as an observer and refrained from dialoguing or having her participate in any way.

It's a wonderful culture we live in, isn't it?

MacAllister
02-18-2007, 07:43 PM
I think there's a very clear difference between writing and life--and this is a discussion about writing. We write about all sorts of things that clearly it's impossible, illegal, or undesirable to do. So drug use or child abuse in real life doesn't actually seem analogous to me.

veinglory
02-18-2007, 08:40 PM
I'm not quite sure of the point of either comment unless it is to suggest that pornography is some how akin to illegal drugs and child sexual abuse simply because it is a thing people want. Every single voluntary action people perform has that basis to some extent from abuse to heroism. Context is everything.

ColoradoGuy
02-18-2007, 08:45 PM
I agree. As a reader, a text often takes me to a place I have never been, often a place I would never choose to go in real life. I think sometimes we are interested in reading about those places precisely because we would never go there otherwise.

kdnxdr
02-18-2007, 08:58 PM
What I have seen in regards to pornography (if someone wants to put that somehow in the catagory of writing, that's their decision), is that is, in fact, addictive, such as drugs. Humans are largely biochemical beings and function based on chemically induced states. Ted Bundy cited his addiction to pornography as a motivation for the killings that he did.

I believe it is a FINE line between imagination (where alot of fiction writing comes from) and reality. It becomes dangerous when that line is blurred. This culture is famous for blurring that line. MOST writing, including non-fiction, seems to be have at least some reference to actual life events. And, those elements that seem impossible seem to, at some point in time, become actual. Look at all those Buck Rogers stories. As for as anything being prohibited by law, that is all 'old hat' and done. I can't imagaine of a law that has not been broken in real life.

Back to pornograhy being driven by reader response and the possibility of pornography being redefined as not-pornography, does the fact that humans 'do something' make that something 'the thing to do'?

kdnxdr
02-18-2007, 09:06 PM
I apologize for not being able to quote a source; if I need to I'll go look one up. However, regarding violence, the consensus seems to be that viewing violent video games/movies increases the violent behavior in children. I had a 3 year old leap onto and bite a teacher's leg because he was acting out a character in a movie he saw recently. The child was not angry nor provoked. He was simply 'in character' and acting out that character's behavior.

Maybe our society is ranked as one of the most violent in the world because of what we ingest mentally. Many people would like to believe they WOULD NEVER act out what they watch or read. That's probably true. But, I believe that as stress levels raise in a person's life, the unthinkable and taboo become real options.

Whatever the divorce rate is in this country, 1 in 2 or whatever, it's high.
Interesting since we have so much sexual freedom and pornography is becoming more and more socially acceptable. Makes me wonder if there is a correlation.

I use to believe that my addictive behaviors did not affect my real life. My mistake.

veinglory
02-18-2007, 09:08 PM
I think their is a thick and obvious like between fiction and reality for any competant adult. That is why we can write about things that are always bad, like rape and murder, as well as things that are actually good like loving sex, with impunity.

Pornography, words on a page, are in fact nothing at all like drugs. I have yet to see a single case study where a person showed addictive behavior towards prose pornography. And yes, I do read those journal and texts. There is an association between persoality disorders and the use of picture pornogrpahy in some cases but it is seen as symptomatic (not causal) in most cases and failed to be useful in profiling (most pornography users are not disordered by a huge margin). I would be willing to bet that most erotic romance readers are higher functioning than the norm--a typical user being a responsible female head of household.

I don't understand your last sentence at all. I don't know where anyone talked about that particular anti-tautology?

veinglory
02-18-2007, 09:10 PM
I apologize for not being able to quote a source; if I need to I'll go look one up. However, regarding violence, the consensus seems to be that viewing violent video games/movies increases the violent behavior in children.

We are talking about adult readers of pronogrpahy and you are talking about toddlers viewing violent games. Could that be any more off topic?

kdnxdr
02-18-2007, 09:14 PM
Sorry, I was talking about human beings, which come in all sizes, and how that universally, we have behaviors that are predicatable based on our biochemical responses which are an integral part of who we become.

veinglory
02-18-2007, 09:19 PM
Then perhaps you should start a thread on that topic.

Medievalist
02-18-2007, 11:44 PM
Based on 'reader response' and the possibility of no such thing as phonography, one could carry the arguement to say there is no such thing as lewd or lacivious behavior, or perversion, and nothing would be deemed inappropriate.

That's an enormous red herring though . . . so enormous that it strikes me as fetishistic.

Yeah, I'm saying that's totally off topic.

Medievalist
02-18-2007, 11:48 PM
I\
Whatever the divorce rate is in this country, 1 in 2 or whatever, it's high.
Interesting since we have so much sexual freedom and pornography is becoming more and more socially acceptable. Makes me wonder if there is a correlation.

I use to believe that my addictive behaviors did not affect my real life. My mistake.

This is such a large cluster of non-sequiters, and off-topic posts, that I'm not quite sure what you point is . . . it mostly seems to be a sui-generis "Pron is bad, m'kay."

I think perhaps we need a text to look at.

Medievalist
02-18-2007, 11:51 PM
1: Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair; thou hast doves' eyes within thy locks: thy hair is as a flock of goats, that appear from mount Gilead.
2: Thy teeth are like a flock of sheep that are even shorn, which came up from the washing; whereof every one bear twins, and none is barren among them.
3: Thy lips are like a thread of scarlet, and thy speech is comely: thy temples are like a piece of a pomegranate within thy locks.
4: Thy neck is like the tower of David builded for an armoury, whereon there hang a thousand bucklers, all shields of mighty men.
5: Thy two breasts are like two young roes that are twins, which feed among the lilies.
6: Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, I will get me to the mountain of myrrh, and to the hill of frankincense.
7: Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee.
8: Come with me from Lebanon, my spouse, with me from Lebanon: look from the top of Amana, from the top of Shenir and Hermon, from the lions' dens, from the mountains of the leopards.
9: Thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse; thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes, with one chain of thy neck.
10: How fair is thy love, my sister, my spouse! how much better is thy love than wine! and the smell of thine ointments than all spices!
11: Thy lips, O my spouse, drop as the honeycomb: honey and milk are under thy tongue; and the smell of thy garments is like the smell of Lebanon.
12: A garden inclosed is my sister, my spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed.
13: Thy plants are an orchard of pomegranates, with pleasant fruits; camphire, with spikenard,
14: Spikenard and saffron; calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense; myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices:
15: A fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon.
16: Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out. Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits.
__________________

Medievalist
02-18-2007, 11:54 PM
Here's a text that is considered pornographic, by some.

HAVE ye beheld (with much delight)
A red rose peeping through a white ?
Or else a cherry, double grac'd,
Within a lily centre plac'd ?
Or ever mark'd the pretty beam
A strawberry shows half-drown'd in cream ?
Or seen rich rubies blushing through
A pure smooth pearl and orient too ?
So like to this, nay all the rest,
Is each neat niplet of her breast.

ColoradoGuy
02-19-2007, 03:00 AM
This Absalom plumped down upon his knees,
And said: "I am a lord in all degrees;
For after this there may be better still
Darling, my sweetest bird, I wait your will."
The window she unbarred, and that in haste.
"Have done," said she, "come on, and do it fast,
Before we're seen by any neighbour's eye."
This Absalom did wipe his mouth all dry;
Dark was the night as pitch, aye dark as coal,
And through the window she put out her hole.
And Absalom no better felt nor worse,
But with his mouth he kissed her naked arse
Right greedily, before he knew of this.
Aback he leapt- it seemed somehow amiss,
For well he knew a woman has no beard;
He'd felt a thing all rough and longish haired,
And said, "Oh fie, alas! What did I do?"
Teehee!" she laughed, and clapped the window to

(Modern spelling -- sorry about that, Medievalist)

Bravo
02-19-2007, 03:12 AM
i dont understand the relevance of these passages.

are they supposed to be a response to kdnxdr's post?

veinglory
02-19-2007, 03:22 AM
They are demonstrating the sordid marraige-destroying depths of pornography. But I am really not sure it is something we really need to be pursuing.

Bravo
02-19-2007, 03:28 AM
okay.

well im not sure if this tangent is worth pursuing or not, but using "erotic" ancient texts/psalms doesnt really convince anyone that it's a benign art form incapable of harming anyone's marriage.

and using religious texts seems pretty irrelevant since i did not see any mention of what the bible says in kd's posts.

just saying.

:Shrug:

veinglory
02-19-2007, 03:35 AM
If it's meant to be sexually arrousing it is pornography--that's the point. Like any genre is has high and low, benign and unsavoury aspects. I doubt my romances have destroyed any marraiges but anyone whose life I has ruined should feel free to let me know. Otherwise I shall continue to not feel any shame whatsoever.

Bravo
02-19-2007, 03:46 AM
If it's meant to be sexually arrousing it is pornography--that's the point. Like any genre is has high and low, benign and unsavoury aspects. I doubt my romances have destroyed any marraiges but anyone whose life I has ruined should feel free to let me know. Otherwise I shall continue to not feel any shame whatsoever.

its pretty complex.

i think it'd be pretty silly to single you out, as a romantic author, for harming a marriage. but i do see how certain parts of pop culture can create an environment that is not conducive for a healthy relationship.

i can see that, but i think its pretty pervasive across pop culture and not the result of a single perpetrator.

for example, i have a problem w shows like sex & the city, romcoms and romance novels that instill a nonsense belief of finding a magical mystical "one" who is going to sweep you off your feet not just by his knock-out good looks, great job, and high IQ, but by being sensitive, hip and blah blah blah.

to me, anyone who wants to live in a fantasy world will use anything w/in pop culture to do that. it's kind of silly to blame the divorce rate, and the "commodification" of love on one cause or another.

and im pretty sure that was all a tangent from the original discussion. :e2zipped:

MacAllister
02-19-2007, 03:53 AM
Essentially, Bravo, it's calling bullshit on the idea that erotic texts are somehow character or culture destroying because of their nature. Erotic text has been with us since people have been pressing symbols into wet clay.

So are we going to draw lines between erotica, sex-writing, or pornography texts? Why? And who gets to draw the lines?

Essentially, this was a discussion about the relationship between auctorial intent and reader response to very specific texts--and kd wanted to draw artificial and frankly insulting comparisons between erotic texts and drug use and/or pedophilia.

That serves no purpose but to derail the conversation--however, rather than just pinning someone's ears back for trolling, the kind and civilized participants in the conversation offered examples of erotic texts--texts written deliberately in erotic and passionate language, for purposes of bringing sexual arousal very specifically to the mind of the reader.

I'm rather more inclined towards the less civilized, ear-pinning approach, my own self.

Bravo
02-19-2007, 03:58 AM
oh.

ill be the first to admit im way out of my depth in this section (i had to look up the word "auctorial" right now).

thanks for clarifying though.

kdnxdr
02-19-2007, 04:03 AM
I never brought up or alluded to pedophelia.

kdnxdr
02-19-2007, 04:06 AM
Thank you for your condescending non-pinning ; humbly appreciated.

MacAllister
02-19-2007, 04:13 AM
You really want to get into why what you've done here is essentially so much trolling, and deeply insulting to a good many very fine writers and fellow board members? You seriously can write that I'm condescending with a straight face, when you've essentially sneered down your nose at essentially any writer who doesn't happen to share your particularly conventional and narrow-minded religious morality?
What I have seen in regards to pornography (if someone wants to put that somehow in the catagory of writing, that's their decision)

We can have that conversation right here and now, or we can take it to PM. I'll leave that to you.

As for alluding (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showpost.php?p=1133927&postcount=19)to pedophilia:

...having sex in front of the woman's 9 year old daughter. They said that they were doing that so that she would know how to do it. They had her sit ON THE BED so that she was immediately present and wouldn't miss any detail. It was their form of sexual education. Based on 'reader response' and the possibility of no such thing as phonography, one could carry the arguement to say there is no such thing as lewd or lacivious behavior, or perversion, and nothing would be deemed inappropriate.

I'm sure the little girl was _______________.

And, of course, they only had her participate as an observer and refrained from dialoguing or having her participate in any way.

It's a wonderful culture we live in, isn't it? I read that last couple of sentences as heavily sarcastic--but even if they weren't, the connection you're clearly trying to draw between erotic texts and abusing children in sexual situations is, I think, pretty clear.

ColoradoGuy
02-19-2007, 04:28 AM
oh.

ill be the first to admit im way out of depth in this section (i had to look up the word "auctorial" right now).

thanks for clarifying though.
Thanks, Bravo, for reminding us to check to see if the emperor is wearing clothes or not.

kdnxdr
02-19-2007, 04:49 AM
Here is a site that has numerous links that covers the spectrum fairly well:

http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,1282,65772,00.html

ColoradoGuy
02-19-2007, 04:57 AM
From your link:

"However, as the panelists themselves acknowledged, there is no consensus among mental health professionals about the dangers of porn or the use of the term "pornography addiction."

I don't know about the others, but I'm mainly interested in written texts, not pictures. Your link about "internet porn" seems to be about graphic pictures on the internet. I'm interested in words and the effects they have on the reader -- I think that's a different thing entirely.

ETA: This additional bit from your linked article makes me wonder about the validity of the rest because it seems silly on the face of it:"Pornography really does, unlike other addictions, biologically cause direct release of the most perfect addictive substance," Satinover said. "That is, it causes masturbation, which causes release of the naturally occurring opioids. It does what heroin can't do, in effect."

kdnxdr
02-19-2007, 04:59 AM
By citing the Rhode Island case, I was referencing to the idea that someone can take a behavior that society normally assigns negative value and redefine that behavior to have a positive value. The couple called what they were doing as sex education and a benefit to the girl.

I thought that was part of this conversation, that some would have no problem with assigning pornography a postive value and believing that it in some way benefits it's audience.

In no way was I ever intending to be sarcastic or offensive to anyone on a personal level. I apologize that I am not familiar with the writing genre of all the writers represented here at AW.

My statements, I thought, were never religious in nature. But, for some people, religion is an easy target to avoid the merits of an arguement.

kdnxdr
02-19-2007, 05:06 AM
I'm sorry, I have yet to find the post that gives me the AW definition of 'trolling' and the applicable rules that would help me not to troll. Any help with this information would be appreciated.

I truelly thought I was just participating in a dialogue that a) interested me and b) that I could freely say what I thought.

Never, in my greatest imaginings, did I know I was going to say something a)inflamatory b)personal c)illegal at AW.

I simply thought I was exercising my free right to speech in a civilized, open forum.

I respect the AW community very, very much. I apologize the participants for my ignorance and the disruption I have brought to your discussion.

respectively,

kdnxdr

MacAllister
02-19-2007, 05:07 AM
Here is a site that has numerous links that covers the spectrum fairly well:

http://www.wired.com/news/technology...,65772,00.html

Well, no--it doesn't. For one thing, that's a crap article: A scare piece that's quoting people from the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (http://www.narth.com/index.html) and the California Protective Parents Association (http://www.protectiveparents.com/index.html) trying to make themselves sound like they're doing real science--when what they're actually doing is making sweeping value judgments and insisting that everyone else just pipe down and have this one, single, peculiar, fetishistic and bizarre brand of sexual morality imposed on them by law.

It's not only crap science, it's eccentric in the extreme.

And it still doesn't have one single thing to do with this conversation.

ETA: Look, kd--essentially, trolling is when you ride into a conversation without reading anything else anyone is saying, and sort of drop bombs meant to get everyone up in arms. If that's not actually what you meant to do, your apology is of course accepted. That is, however, very much what it looked like you were doing. This room isn't TIO, you know?

We have a thriving and very active Erotica forum, here at AW. Many of our members write and edit erotica, publish erotica, and I'd bet drinks and dinner a good many more members read and enjoy erotica.

Whether deliberately or not, your assertions that it's somehow going to lead to people abusing their children, or doing illegal drugs...that's just insulting in the extreme.

I see Colorado Guy is here, however, so at this point I'll leave him to mod his room as he sees fit. Sorry, Chris. :) Didn't mean to make a mess.

robeiae
02-19-2007, 05:23 AM
If we're going to quote Chaucer and Herrick, let's not forget Harvard Lampoon:


*****Warning: pornographic satire ahead*****



"Do you like what you doth see...?" said the voluptuous elf-maiden as she provocatively parted the folds of her robe to reveal the rounded, shadowy glories within. Frito's throat was dry, though his head reeled with desire and ale.

She slipped off the flimsy garment and strode toward the fascinated boggie unashamed of her nakedness. She ran a perfect hand along his hairy toes, and he helplessly watched them curl with the fierce insistent wanting of her.

"Let me make thee more comfortable," she whispered hoarsely, fiddling with the clasps of his jerkin, loosening his sword belt with a laugh. "Touch me, oh touch me," she crooned.

Frito's hand, as though of its own will, reached out and traced the delicate swelling of her elf-breast, while the other slowly crept around her tiny, flawless waist, crushing her to his barrel chest.

"Toes, I love hairy toes," she moaned, forcing him down on the silvered carpet. Her tiny pink toes caressed the luxuriant fur of his instep while Frito's nose sought out the warmth of her precious elf-navel.

"But I'm so small and hairy, and...and you're so beautiful," Frito whimpered, slipping clumsily out of his crossed garters.

The elf-maiden said nothing, but only sighed deep in her throat and held him more firmly to her faunlike body. "There is one thing you must do for me first," she whispered into one tufted ear.

"Anything," sobbed Frito, growing frantic with his need. "Anything!"

She closed her eyes and then opened them to the ceiling. "The Ring," she said. "I must have your Ring."

Frito's whole body tensed. "Oh no," he cried, "not that! Anything but...that."

"I must have it," she said both tenderly and fiercely. "I must have the Ring!"

Frito's eyes blurred with tears and confusion. "I can't," he said. "I musn't!"

But he knew resolve was no longer strong in him. Slowly, the elf-maiden's hand inched toward the chain in his vest pocket, closer and closer it came to the Ring Frito had guarded so faithfully...
Now, is that pornography, cause Chaucer it ain't?

And here, the whole reader-response thing comes sharply into focus. When I first picked this book up, around the age of 15, this passage (the prelude to Bored of the Rings) was definitely titillating. And I certainly bought the book with the hope that similar scenes were inside. Now, when I read this passage, I find it hilarious and not titillating at all. So is it pornography to an adolescent, but not to an adult?

Alan Yee
02-19-2007, 05:28 AM
Well, no--it doesn't. For one thing, that's a crap article: A scare piece that's quoting people from the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (http://www.narth.com/index.html) and the California Protective Parents Association (http://www.protectiveparents.com/index.html) trying to make themselves sound like they're doing real science--when what they're actually doing is making sweeping value judgments and insisting that everyone else just pipe down and have this one, single, peculiar, fetishistic and bizarre brand of sexual morality imposed on them by law.


You know, I just about screamed when I saw the hyperlinked names. Thank God I've officially lost my ability to scream.



See, this is why I usually don't post in forums with titles that confuse me.
The title of the thread though, was very clear in an eye-boggle-must-click way.

ColoradoGuy
02-19-2007, 05:28 AM
I see Colorado Guy is here, however, so at this point I'll leave him to mod his room as he sees fit. Sorry, Chris. :) Didn't mean to make a mess.
Sheesh. I go off to do a few things and look what happens -- controversy in the critter room. Who'd have thought that was possible?

MacAllister
02-19-2007, 05:36 AM
Heh. This is a hoppin' joint, CO. Nearly as wild as the Grammar Room--just with less blood on the floor.

ColoradoGuy
02-19-2007, 05:38 AM
And here, the whole reader-response thing comes sharply into focus. When I first picked this book up, around the age of 15, this passage (the prelude to Bored of the Rings) was definitely titillating. And I certainly bought the book with the hope that similar scenes were inside. Now, when I read this passage, I find it hilarious and not titillating at all. So is it pornography to an adolescent, but not to an adult?

Indeed. And is a figurative Potter Stewart delegated to be the reader who responds for all of us, since he knows it when he sees it?

kdnxdr
02-19-2007, 05:47 AM
I always read all the posts before I enter a dialogue, I find it interesting to see all the different perspectives on an issue.

A better link: http://www.obscenitycrimes.org/Senate-Reisman-Layden-Etc.pdf
It has been noted that the research needed to come to a definitive conclusion is difficult to access. I'm sure with the various brain scanning capabilities that are now available, it will not be to difficult to construct a research project that would be appropriate to better address this issue.

I never said pornography would cause you to abuse children or to use drugs. I did say that pornography was addictive like drugs. Ted Bundy said porography was addictive for him. Granted he's only one person who has said that very publically. It's really something that the medical community will have to establish for there to be a comprehensive public verdict. It took awhile and a few law changes to address nicotine addiction.

I entered this conversation responding to the concept that pornography, not erotica, was reader response driven. What especially peaked my interest was when someone made the comment regarding defining what is and what is not pornography and the redefining of the term which would, in fact, have something to do with philosophy of language/writing.

ColoradoGuy
02-19-2007, 05:54 AM
Ah, it looks like the same link to me. In any event, I'm talking about words, not pictures. I've never seen anything that remotely suggests that reading erotica makes someone go off and do something unkind to anyone else, any more than reading techno-thrillers makes someone go off and blow up something.

robeiae
02-19-2007, 06:07 AM
Heh. This is a hoppin' joint, CO. Nearly as wild as the Grammar Room--just with less blood on the floor.
Oh, we can have that problem corrected in no time...

Medievalist
02-19-2007, 06:10 AM
My statements, I thought, were never religious in nature. But, for some people, religion is an easy target to avoid the merits of an arguement.

And that's another specious argument.

Canticles was made religious; it wasn't written as a sacred text, and it's firmly in the tradition of Egyptian erotic poetry . . . down to the use of Egyptian borrowings into Hebrew.

It's very very much like a lot of contemporary to the text's period Egyptian erotic poetry.

You haven't actually made an argument, by the way; you merely cast aspersions. I'm saying -- fine, let's look at what we're writing about . Let's deal with actual texts not some vague references.

MacAllister
02-19-2007, 06:11 AM
I think we're well on our way, in fact...

kdnxdr
02-19-2007, 06:26 AM
I accidentally inserted the same link. I've corrected and put in a link to the presentation made to the Senate Sub Committee.

I leave you all to your discussion.

robeiae
02-19-2007, 06:27 AM
Indeed. And is a figurative Potter Stewart delegated to be the reader who responds for all of us, since he knows it when he sees it?
In this case, it would be "reads" it, no?

But I would say there is quite a gulf between visual and written material, when it comes to intent, meaning, and "reader" response. It is true that nudity is acceptable in "art." And it is true that such nudity would fit well into my previous scenario: a Rubens painting might be titillating to an adolescent, as might a nude sculpture, or even a nude photograph, while not so to an adult. However, I would humbly submit that there is more potential control in the creation of prose, as compared to sculpture and painting. That is, an author has more range in manipulating/directing the response. Of course, we are wandering dangerously close to The Birth of Tragedy here, and rightfully so, I would say. For all the structure we gave the written narrative in the "other" thread, it is Dionysian compared to painting, sculpture, and photography. And in my mind, that means more subjectivity, when it comes to classifying natures, like pornographic.

ColoradoGuy
02-19-2007, 06:40 AM
But I would say there is quite a gulf between visual and written material, when it comes to intent, meaning, and "reader" response.
Exactly. Which is why I get annoyed when people lump them together as one thing -- apples and oranges. Arguments about the visual are a whole different subject. I'm interested in the words.

If reader-response theory teaches us nothing else, it is that reading is an act, not passive absorption of what the author has written. Extreme proponents would say the act of reading actually makes the text. Therefore, to me the writer of erotica (or pornography, if you prefer) has no responsibility at all for what the reader makes of the text or does with the text.