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Who Watches The Watchmen Wank?
April 6, 2007 12:06 AM   Subscribe

BOG VENUS VERSUS NAZI COCK-RING: Some Thoughts Concerning Pornography Alan Moore, renowned comic author and creator of a recent work of unapologetic smut waxes at length on the history and role of pornographic art and literature, asserting "our impulse towards pornography has been with us since thumbs were first opposable".
posted by thedaniel (33 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
And appropriately enough, with this one I lose my FPP virginity.
posted by thedaniel at 12:07 AM on April 6, 2007


Pop that cherry. Oh yeah. Etc.
posted by zerolives at 12:11 AM on April 6, 2007


Your first time is usually awkward, embarrassing, a little painful and not quite as much fun as you expected. And if you don't use protection, nine months later you may give birth to a blog.
posted by wendell at 12:32 AM on April 6, 2007 [7 favorites]


Cave porn.
posted by homunculus at 12:38 AM on April 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


See, here's the thing about Alan Moore. He can write in an entire article that you could say in a sentence. He could also, however, make that sentence worth reading and make the reader give a shit one way or another how said sentence was received. I heart Mr. Moore for as long as he deigns to write shit.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 1:18 AM on April 6, 2007


"I lanced my tongue in Mrs. Potter's anus, up and fast between the tropic lips into her beast-peach hole. Crowned hot with bronze, American-girl heat rubbed shameless as a cat against my thigh. The smash of wet cymbals inside me as the maid surrendered to the sacrifice. I'm weeping."

I would like to unread that, please.
This is why pornography should be seen and not read.
posted by dreamsign at 1:58 AM on April 6, 2007


our impulse towards pornography has been with us since thumbs were first opposable

so what? you can say the same about murder, greed, betrayal, theft and lies. or were you thinking perhaps they were all recent innovations?
posted by quonsar at 4:27 AM on April 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


So is Lost Girls worth buying? As much as I love Alan Moore I'm hesitant to plop down the $75 necessary for the handjob he's offering.

Oh, and for more wonderful old-timey erotica, might I refer you to James Joyce's dirty letters. Not safe for work or anyone with eyes. Unless you like that sort of thing. Don't make you a bad person.
posted by unsupervised at 5:20 AM on April 6, 2007


I got "Lost Girls" for Christmas and read it slowly over about a month.

There were many things about it that didn't work for me, but at the same time it was an incredibly challenging and moving read. The artwork is sometimes disappointing, often inspired, and periodically pure genius. You could say the same for the writing. But really what gets you is that each of the volumes are so large and sprawling that you have to pretty much bed down with them in order to read them. It is an immersive, private, and confrontational experience. It reaches out in so many directions, sexually speaking, that it's almost impossible for it to not arouse and shock pretty much anyone at some point or another.

You can buy it on Amazon for less, in "brand new" condition.
posted by hermitosis at 7:09 AM on April 6, 2007


""There's something about opium that goes very well with lesbianism," declares Alice, the sybaritic enabler of these girls gone Wilde."


AWWWWWWWWWW genius.
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 7:45 AM on April 6, 2007


/ terrible, really bad.
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 7:49 AM on April 6, 2007


thedaniel - awesome title.
posted by Artw at 8:27 AM on April 6, 2007


"The next thing anybody knew, there were barbarians everywhere: the Huns, the Franks, the Visigoths and worst of all the Goths with their white single contact lenses and Cradle of Filth collections."

I like how that's just popped in there.
posted by Brainy at 8:59 AM on April 6, 2007


I'm torn too. I added it to my cart, but I haven't shipped it. I like most of Alan Moore's work as I've seen it made into movies... I'm not much of a comic guy, but that's because I just don't know what is good and what isn't. Until now I've limited myself to collecting the entire works of Art Spiegelman. And that because I saw him give a talk at MIT where he refused to not smoke because "if I can't smoke, I'll just be thinking about how I'd rather be somewhere else, smoking." So I'm thinking a good place to start is with what I know, which is Frank Miller and Alan Moore. So I loaded up the ol' Amazon cart.

If nothing else, it seems like a clever idea. The kind of idea I wish I would have had.
posted by jeffamaphone at 9:05 AM on April 6, 2007


Jeff: If you actually liked his movies, you should do yourselves a favor and read the original books. They're vastly better than the movies.
posted by empath at 9:31 AM on April 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


uh, do yourselF a favor, i'm not sure why i pluralized you.
posted by empath at 9:31 AM on April 6, 2007


I've read Lost Girls. I'm not sure what I expected really.... a story with erotica I suppose.

It's really far more transgressive and hardcore pornographic than I expected. Considering that it breaks just about every sexual taboo, it is definitely a challenge. But, like all of Alan Moore's work, it's worth a read.
posted by MythMaker at 9:34 AM on April 6, 2007


And worth keeping on your bookcase for people to idly pick up and be scandalized by.
posted by hermitosis at 9:36 AM on April 6, 2007


so what?

Well yeah, so what, but since there's a lot of people who complain that pornography is some sign of the moral decadence of our times, the fact it's been around since forever is not so obvious and self-evident it doesn't need to be brought up as a reminder once in a while.

(Actually, people complaining about the moral decadence of their times have also been around since forever, which is comforting after all.)

Oh and of course, just like murder, greed, betrayal, theft and lies. But also bacteria, plancton, the sun, the air we breathe, bones, dreams, ideas, desires, loss, love, hate, honesty, generosity, life. They've also been around a long time. That's the only thing all these things have in common. So what indeed.
posted by pleeker at 12:05 PM on April 6, 2007


So what indeed.

so longevity does not affirm desirability, nor justify the undesirable.
posted by quonsar at 12:20 PM on April 6, 2007


Certainly doesn't affirm *yours*.
posted by adamgreenfield at 12:30 PM on April 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


First of all, big ups to plankton.
Second, I think Nazi Cock-Ring is a splendid name for a gay oi band.
posted by Mister_A at 12:31 PM on April 6, 2007


No, it doesn't, but did anyone actually claim that, did anyone actually say 'it's been around forever therefore it's ok' and mean it literally?

I think you'll find if you read the article there may be a few observations that are perhaps a little more worthy of consideration, even if they're nothing new either, for instance, the idea that societies with a larger degree of sexual freedom tend to thrive better than societies with sexual repression.

Wether pornography is desirable/justifiable or not, is not a debate that can rest on how long it's been around, but it also cannot rest on bringing up murder or theft just because.

On the other hand it is interesting, and essential to that question, to see how it developed in history and how it fit into the society it developed in, what it expressed and what effects it's had and what effects it has not had. And so on.

So it's not a question of longevity but of history and culture.
posted by pleeker at 12:41 PM on April 6, 2007


Moore is one of my favorite writers of the modern era, regardless of the medium he works in. Thanks for linking this.
posted by GavinR at 1:11 PM on April 6, 2007


Oh and of course, just like murder, greed, betrayal, theft and lies. But also bacteria, plancton, the sun, the air we breathe, bones, dreams, ideas, desires, loss, love, hate, honesty, generosity, life. They've also been around a long time. That's the only thing all these things have in common. So what indeed.

But whether pornography as a visual representational form has been around "forever" is extremely debatable. Citing Crumb's comic about the Venus of Willendorf doesn't really count as evidence. I'm the first to admit that whenever a new medium of communication emerges-- the printing press, film, the internet-- the first thing people tend to do with it, as soon as they can, is to create or distribute porn, but that doesn't mean that it's off limits in terms of asking questions about why and what it means and how it affects the people who use it, or those who create it. Despite its middle-brow trappings (how transgressive, to help ones self freely to books beloved to children, ooh, Stravinsky as metaphor for social awakening), it's still a comic book that focuses on the imagined sexual fantasies/adventures of teenage girls. Show me something new, you know?
posted by jokeefe at 2:45 PM on April 6, 2007


Oh, and for more wonderful old-timey erotica, might I refer you to James Joyce's dirty letters. Not safe for work or anyone with eyes. Unless you like that sort of thing. Don't make you a bad person.

Joyce's letters are supremely moving, glorious, erotic documents that say more about sex and passion as it is actually experienced by adults in a single phrase than the entire back catalogue of Vivid Video could even hope to approach [/so sayeth I].
posted by jokeefe at 2:55 PM on April 6, 2007


jokeefe, I wasn't saying it's off limits to ask questions about the effects, quite the opposite, it is absolutely interesting and worthy to ask those questions, and it seems to me the article does touch on that too.

It's not saying 'well it's been around forever so let's stop discussing it', rather, it's saying something like, it's been around forever and it's not going away, because there is no practical way of making it go away even if we wanted (so the question of whether we want to or not becomes futile at least in practice, if not in theory - and nevermind the huge problem of who that 'we' should be, who would decide, in a democracy, to enforce such a ban), so let's see instead if we can have a different attitude to it, because it does seem that in different societies the different attitudes to pornography do have a relation (cause, effect, loop of cause and effect, hard to tell, but some relation there seems to be) with how sexuality in general is seen in that society and with the incidence of sex crimes.

That's what I got out of the article in a nutshell. I don't know anything about the author or the comic book.

Now I'm not sure I do buy the whole argument there, there's more than a hint of mythologising some ideal past, and I'm not very convinced by the idea of making distinctions between good/bad pornography in terms of artistic intent either, but what I do appreciate is a pragmatic approach to the debate about pornography in the present, and I do think that history and comparisons between different cultures tend to show that repression has the worst effects.

And yes you're right the forever is debatable in a way, but it does depend what definition we use for pornography. The dictionary definition would apply to erotic cave paintings too. It's not the means of depicting pornographic content, it's its function and audience, and that has been around forever indeed, where forever is since the stage of human civilisation when storytelling developed, in words or visuals.

Joyce's letters are not pornography, they can't be compared, they're private correspondence (and perhaps should have been kept private, but that's just because I object to the posthumous unauthorised publication of anything, regardless of author or content...).
posted by pleeker at 4:45 PM on April 6, 2007


Yikes. Okay. I understand this "Watchmen" thing is something of a revelation in comic circles. But that sentence, quoted above, managed to not only be un-erotic, but to undo any erotic notion I might have for the rest of the day.

Nothing to do with the ass-play -- I'm just sick to death of the music-as-sexuality trope.
posted by abulafa at 5:04 PM on April 6, 2007


Joyce's letters are not pornography, they can't be compared, they're private correspondence

And. The intended audience —Joyces's wife—didn't reciprocate, BTW. Most of the time she just wrote "Oh James. You filthy old bugger." Or words to that effect.
posted by tkchrist at 6:50 PM on April 6, 2007


1) Lost Girls is worth the price (discounted always from $75). It is a beautiful package. No pun intended.
2) Alan Moore is not always to be taken totally seriously. Sure, he is defending porn, but he isn't really making a deep argument, more a wonderful tirade.
3) No way does Frank Miller belong with Spiegelman or Moore in an Amazon cart or anywhere else. Miller is superficial and silly.
4) How can you read this and not be amused and (possibly) enlightened: "Let us fast-forward for almost a thousand years of Saxons, Danes and Vikings ripped on Fly Agaric pillaging and raping their way through some sort of meteoric nuclear winter with brains dripping from their axes, howling about Odin and blood-eagling anybody who chose not to do the same. When lights eventually started to come on again across the western world, we find a Christian church that’s understandably concerned about attracting worshippers onto its rough-hewn pews and which had hit upon the notion of erotic art as one way of accomplishing this end. The spread-legged figure with a splayed vagina found crouched in the masonry of many medieval British churches, misidentified as a Sheelagh-na-gig, as a leftover mother-goddess from some earlier religion, was in fact of purely Christian origin and was originally intended as an image representing Lust."
posted by CCBC at 12:19 AM on April 7, 2007


BTW, it might be worth mentioning that Melinda Gebbie, delineator of Lost Girls, once had a a California art show attacked by anti-porn feminists. Or that one of her early stories (in Wimmen's Comix) featured a fantasy in which the heroine turned black (as in Negro) after sex because "momma told her not to come". In other words, Lost Girls is very much a duet.
posted by CCBC at 12:39 AM on April 7, 2007


Frank Miller is not silly. Frank Miller IS! SPARTA!
posted by Artw at 8:30 AM on April 7, 2007


On Lost Girls— I found it scanned and shared on a comics board I frequent, and so far have been pretty disappointed. Just don't like the art, sorry. It's probably much better as a book than as pixels however.

On an interesting thrust later in the article— I wonder what this positive pornography would have as axiomatic attributes. Ennobling? Consensual? On what level can pornography exist above-ground? Didn't it cease to be porno for the Greeks?
posted by klangklangston at 12:13 PM on April 7, 2007


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