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April 15, 2008

The Disciplines

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

The wonderful bondage and spanking model Amelia Jane Rutherford -- who once trained as a ballerina -- wonders provocatively if there might be a connection between the taste for ballet and the taste for bondage. Here's a nice collection of NSFW stills of Amelia, whose specialty is elegant, poised, and demure, yet very, very bratty. Amelia really does seem to love her work, and to have found herself a calling.



posted by Michael at April 15, 2008


Spanking porn? My God!

I spent a night in the motel recently. Flipping through the channels, I ran into an HBO "documentary" about the various fetishes that abound in porn.

Did you know that some old fart with very few teeth makes a bundle filming himself screwing young girls?

Did you know that there is a genre of porn devoted to guys screwing enormously obese women?

Makes me wonder. What is it in the potty training that makes a person crave dressing up in full body plastic suits complete with plastic face mask?

And midget porn also has a big audience.

What's it all about?

Reminds me of a conversation I had with a recording engineer. We were reminiscing about the good old days... "back when everybody was still straight," as I joked.

"Whether they liked it or not," he replied.

Posted by: Shouting Thomas on April 15, 2008 11:53 PM

ST -- My favorite recent kink-discovery was cellophane-wrapping. People who evidently love getting roled up like sausages in transparent cellophane wrap. What the -- ????? Once upon a time I used to think I had a pretty uninhibited sexual imagination. These days I feel like every day I run into something it'd never have occurred to me to come up with on my own. In this context something like spanking porn almost seems sedate, comforting, like a classical art form ... I wonder when porn is going to become recognized as an art form. Any idea? I'm dodging the question of whether it should be, or whether I approve, because it seems so obvious that porn may be the world's most exuberant form of cultural expression. How long can that be the case without people finally saying, Hey, maybe it's its own art form and deserves recogntion as such?

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on April 16, 2008 11:14 AM

Why not call porn an art form? Googling for "Porn as art form" turns up more than a few discussions. And there are certainly readily available examples of many of the traditional (and more recent) media forms being used to create porn. From hand-drawn stuff to CGI stuff. And I guess dildos and rubber vaginas are examples of sculpture. Intent would be the big dividing line, I guess: obviously there are those who create porn just to make a buck, and some who seem to take it seriously enough that there's (apparently) some artistic motive beyond the fiscal one.

As far as weird fetishes go -- I found a website years ago, and it's still there, and I still can't really figure out if it's a joke or a real thing. Girls wearing headphones. Way beyond tame by a lot of standards -- so much so that it makes me wonder about a sort of pendulum-swinging-the-other-way situation that probably is happening or at least is bound to happen as time progresses and we become more and more supersaturated with ever more graphic "NSFW" images. It's fun to think of where the extremes could possibly be when you consider that clearly to some extent graphic porn comes from taking some line and crossing it. Endoscopic porn? Damn, I thought I might've come up with a new one there but google it and there it is: "endoscope vagina porn." Of course it's impossible with that kind of googling to differentiate real things from those clever porn-site-hosters who create pages of words thrown together to ensnare any and every fetishist in his googling frenzy.

Posted by: i, squub on April 16, 2008 1:08 PM

i, squub -- "Endoscope vagina porn" is quite a find! I don't know about you but the garishness and gruesomeness levels are so high at a lot of the porn portals I sometimes stop by that I'm often drawn to check out images specifically listed as "non-nude." Wow, sounds tantalizing! And then there are those stretches when I keep to a vow of avoiding porn as a waste of time ... I guess I go on occasional "porn fasts." Funny days ...

In terms of availability it's all such a free for all and a bazaar these days ...

Anyway, the "when will porn be classed as a legit art form" question is one I've been watching for a while now. In the old days a couple of hurdles were often put between porn and art. While art was about pleasure, sure, it was also about other things; porn on the other hand was said to be about nothing but using the material for self-stimulation. However much it tickled your innards, art finally brought you out into the world, where porn is just about hitting your own buttons. Etc, etc. (And then there were those artists who amused themselves by walking the "is it porn or is it art?" line, some of my faves ...) So it was assumed that porn, it if was ever to be accepted as a legit form of cultural expression and entertainment, would have to evolve, or develop, or something.

These days I wonder if many of those old hurdles and demands still stand. The sheer quantity and pervasiveness of porn make it impossible to ignore. The matter-of-factness so many young people have about it (it's always been a big part of their lives) means that they don't have the cultural hangups about it people once did ... There are all those uninhibited kids (many girls) who are joining up with Suicide Girls, or doing burlesque, or making art school auto-porn ... And of course the barriers coming down in terms of technology and distribution -- cellphone cameras, MySpace, etc. It's participatory, it's fun, it doesn't have to be sleazy and icky and mob-ridden, why shouldn't I be a star and/or producer too, why shouldn't girls have their own ways to show off and their own images and stories to enjoy ...

I mean, in an exalted sense it might well be that objections will always be raised to thinking of porn as a legit art form. But practically speaking, I think there'll come a moment when the high-minded arguments won't hold the facts back any longer. Porn is already quite the overwhelming cultural presence, and it's already quite an openly-embraced, practiced, and enjoyed one. So I 'm guessing there'll come a moment when the culture goes, OK, it's an art form.

These arguments don't tend to get resolved; they just tend to get dropped. No side wins. It's just that no one bothers with them any longer. Happened with movies, for instance. Took decades to argue a few serious people into considering the possibility that movies might be an art. Then one day, poof, the whole argument was over. Of course movie are an art. Who on earth ever thought otherwise?

In terms of timing ... I'm betting that the argument is already over for many young people -- that they already think it's hilarious not to think of porn as a fun and legit part of the scene. Which would seem to suggest that a more general cultural acceptance-moment could happen any day now. What's your hunch about this?

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on April 16, 2008 1:28 PM

My hunch is that I'm spending WAY too much time commenting over here recently, and not enough time working. ;) But yes. I think, in fact, that the line's probably already basically crossed and people that talk about things like "what is art" just need to catch up. Of course to some extent I think (though who can be sure?) that there'll always be that line there that distinguishes material-specifically-created-for-sexual-stimulation and... everything else. But basically with the pervasiveness of the stuff it becomes a question identical to others: like "is advertisement an art form?" and "is a movie an example of 'Art' even if the intention in creating it was purely entertainment?" To me it's all art, even if some of it's not particularly interesting.

Another indicator, maybe (and something that annoys me or reasons I haven't quite figured out,) is the (I think) recent broadening of the definition of the term "porn." Maybe this usage is still limited to certain blogs and such, but I see it regularly enough, "porn" meaning images, etc. of things that only a select subset of people would be interested in but those people would be interested in it a lot. "Star Wars porn," or the link. "Car porn" for images of cars we can't afford by fantasize over.

Then again maybe that has nothing to do with the other thing.

Posted by: i, squub on April 16, 2008 2:30 PM

Dude, I'm all in favor of sexy art, but you're turning into Kenneth Tynan here.

Headphones? There's girls-with-glasses porn, it even has a name in (natch) Japanese: meganekko.

Posted by: SFG on April 16, 2008 4:29 PM

Just noodling here, but as you may have noticed I keep advancing the notion that it's not too mentally helpful to focus on the idea of art as an aesthetic end in itself (kind of a 20th century cul-de-sac), and it's usually very mentally helpful to focus on the idea of art as a sort of liturgical aid to some religion, or, at least, to some religious impulse. Sex would certainly seem to have a religious dimension, so it seems to me that porn would certainly qualify as art.

Posted by: Friedrich von Blowhard on April 16, 2008 6:07 PM

What in the hell do you do with a woman who is all tied and taped up? When you manage to get a woman naked, the idea is to move her limbs around. Let her talk, let her hands roam free. Put her in a multitude of comfortable positions. Give her some scope to do her thing. The first thing I would do if I came across a woman in bondage is ask her partner if I could borrow her for a little while since he obviously isn't going to be using her very efficiently.

Does the American Duct Tape Association condone this? How about the Rope and Cordage Board?

Posted by: Charlton Griffin on April 16, 2008 9:41 PM

South Park answered many of these questions about the future of porn in its episode last night.

The internet went out across America, leaving everybody desperate and lost. In a plot derived from The Grapes of Wrath, Randy Marsh set off to "Californee" in search of the internet.

"After you've watched Japanese girls puke in each other's mouths," Randy said, "how can you go back to Playboy?"

In a memorable bit, Randy masturbated to Japanese girls puking, Brazilian fart porn and bestiality featuring an elephant.

Whatever happened to the good old days when porn meant threesomes and the ocassional orgy?

Posted by: Shouting Thomas on April 17, 2008 8:24 AM

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