FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The People’s Porn

by CLANCY SIGAL

I am not hard wired for pornography, but I don’t feel superior to it either.  Sometimes after browsing the best seller lists, I try experimenting, like kids do with weed.   And then wait breathlessly for the sensual high which rarely – excuse the expression – comes.

One reason I don’t feel superior is that, like friends of mine in Paris, such as Alex Trocchi and the poet Christopher Logue, I was approached by the publisher Maurice Girodias’s Olympia Press to “knock off” a porn novel for a few bucks eating money.  Girodias kept a number of quite good writers alive this way.  Alas, I was no good at it and couldn’t stay awake past a page or two of the same old.

Lately as a reader I’ve been trying again with an “erotica” blockbuster about a baby sitter’s adventures in, uh, self pleasure, threesomes and how to get a good beach tan.  According to its Amazon reviews, which of course are always to be trusted, this rubadudub volume turns on a lot of women readers as super hot.

I’ve always been fuzzy about the distinction between erotica (Henry Miller? Anais Nin? Deep Throat?) and porn so don’t worry about it.  Boils down to naked bodies doing this and that with occasional dollops of whips, chains, barking commands and submissive whines.  Or have I got it wrong?  They’re hard slogs to read.   Fifty Shades of Gray may not be the clumsiest prose ever written, but comes close.

Porn, whether in books, movies or TV, is a very serious money business.  In California alone the porn industry employs 12,000 workers. Although dirty movies are in a current slump the business makes about $13 billion a year; San Fernando valley, where most dirty movies are filmed, would vanish down the San Andreas fault if  sleaze shuts down.  I don’t know the equivalent balance sheet for book publishing but it’s got to be a lot of money especially when there are so many “independent” (amateur) writers out there, often housebound females, scribbling from the kitchen table.  No sneer intended, historically many fine women writers worked from home while busily cooking, nursing and tending.

I quote from one of many career-starting female authors’ advisory tip sheets (“Helping Writers Achieve Their Dreams”):  “One erotic publisher has a vocal readership who constantly cry “moresexmoresexmoresex!”…You can get sick of describing sex, even when enhanced and made new by the characters and situations. Depending on whom you’re writing for, you may be asked to add more sex scenes or sensuality or both. If the market you’re aiming for isn’t a perfect fit with your own comfort levels, you may find yourself describing sex acts that make you uneasy.”

Go for it, Martha, there’s gold in your Sasquatch fantasies.   The latest fashion is “monster porn” where ladies are raped by Yetis.  Imagine dating a girl or women who’s into Virginia Wade’s latest Big Foot confection: “From within the tufts of matted hair, the creature released a huge pale cock that defied logic… He stroked his…etc. etc. ….”  Defy logic indeed.  How can any mere mortal man, uh, measure up?

I’m reluctant to get into the whole Is This Demeaning To Women? rap.  (of course it is)  All I know for sure is that there’s a lot of porno around, on YouTube, in hotel rooms, on TV and Amazon.  Masses of paying customers seem to get a kick out of (monotonous or uplifting) lists of clit, labia, cock, sperm flowing like Old Faithful – a perfect world where penises never go flaccid, women are famished for it, and emotions except “down there” have no place.

I have a pretty dirty mind when I concentrate but it goes slack at porn-erotica.  That’s the penalty of growing up on Rita Hayworth movies where her swaying to “Put The Blame On Mame, Boys” is the pinnacle of arousal sex.  And, in my evil adolescence, on those forbidden, closely studied, wonderfully drawn “eight pager” cartoon books of Superman and Lois doing it.   Smut used to be fun to read secretly under the covers and to feel delightfully soiled by the experience.   But now that it’s cheap, free, mainstream and methodically businesslike, where’s the fun?

Clancy Sigal is a screenwriter and novelist. His latest book is Hemingway Lives

 

Clancy Sigal is a screenwriter and novelist. His latest book is Hemingway Lives

February 11, 2016
Bruce Lesnick
Flint: A Tale of Two Cities
Ajamu Baraka
Beyonce and the Politics of Cultural Dominance
Shamus Cooke
Can the Establishment Fix Its Bernie Sanders Problem?
John Hazard
The Pope in Mexico: More Harm Than Good?
Joyce Nelson
Trudeau & the Saudi Arms Deal
Zarefah Baroud
The Ever-Dangerous Mantra “Drill, Baby Drill”
Anthony DiMaggio
Illinois’ Manufactured Budget Crisis
Colin Todhunter
Indian Food and Agriculture Under Attack
Binoy Kampmark
Warring Against Sanders: Totalitarian Thinking, Feminism and the Clintons
Robert Koehler
Presidential Politics and the American Soul
Thomas Knapp
Election 2016: The Banality of Evil on Steroids
Cesar Chelala
Is Microcephaly in Children Caused by the Zika Virus or by Pesticides?
February 10, 2016
Eoin Higgins
Clinton and the Democratic Establishment: the Ties That Bind
Fred Nagel
The Role of Legitimacy in Social Change
Jeffrey St. Clair
Why Bernie Still Won’t Win
Mike Whitney
Putin’s Aleppo Gamble Pays Off
Chris Martenson
The Return of Crisis: Everywhere Banks are in Deep Trouble
Ramzy Baroud
Next Onslaught in Gaza: Why the Status Quo Is a Precursor for War
Sheldon Richman
End, Don’t Extend, Draft Registration
Benjamin Willis
Obama in Havana
Jack Smith
Obama Intensifies Wars and Threats of War
Rob Hager
How Hillary Clinton Co-opted the Term “Progressive”
Mark Boothroyd
Syria: Peace Talks Collapse, Aleppo Encircled, Disaster Looms
Lawrence Ware
If You Hate Cam Newton, It’s Probably Because He’s Black
Jesse Jackson
Starving Government Creates Disasters Like Flint
Bill Laurance
A Last Chance for the World’s Forests?
Gary Corseri
ABC’s of the US Empire
Frances Madeson
The Pain of the Earth: an Interview With Duane “Chili” Yazzie
Binoy Kampmark
The New Hampshire Distortion: The Primaries Begin
Andrew Raposa
Portugal: Europe’s Weak Link?
Wahid Azal
Dugin’s Occult Fascism and the Hijacking of Left Anti-Imperialism and Muslim Anti-Salafism
February 09, 2016
Andrew Levine
Hillary Says the Darndest Things
Paul Street
Kill King Capital
Ben Burgis
Lesser Evil Voting and Hillary Clinton’s War on the Poor
Paul Craig Roberts
Are the Payroll Jobs Reports Merely Propaganda Statements?
Fran Quigley
How Corporations Killed Medicine
Ted Rall
How Bernie Can Pay for His Agenda: Slash the Military
Neve Gordon
Israeli Labor Party Adopts the Apartheid Mantra
Kristin Kolb
The “Great” Bear Rainforest Agreement? A Love Affair, Deferred
Joseph Natoli
Politics and Techno-Consciousness
Hrishikesh Joshi
Selective Attention to Diversity: the Case of Cruz and Rubio
Stavros Mavroudeas
Why Syriza is Sinking in Greece
David Macaray
Attention Peyton Manning: Leave Football and Concentrate on Pizza
Arvin Paranjpe
Opening Your Heart
Kathleen Wallace
Boys, Hell, and the Politics of Vagina Voting
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail