Sunday, October 12, 2008

Made-up Controversy


Obviously I find the concept of PG-Porn amusing.

It didn't occur to me until reading Huffington Post Blog Condemning PG-Porn by James Gunn that it could raise any hackles. Seriously. Sometimes I'm a little dense, I admit.

But really PG Porn Says "No" to Nudity and "Yes" to Violence Against Women by Theresa Darklady Reed says things like, "The Gunn brothers apparently consider violence against women to be not just acceptable but sexy, so long as nobody actually gets laid or engages in any wet spot to erogenous zone contact."

Is that really what she got out of that? Watching from the irony-free seat, I take it.

She then responds to the comments that note that perhaps the entire enterprise was intended to be - *gasp* - a joke by saying, "I assure all of the commenters that I 'get' the joke. But my question remains: Why is it funny...?"

No matter how important you think what you're saying after that is, and in this case it relates, bizarrely enough, to people who produce actual porn being tried and jailed for obscenity, if you type the words "I assure you I 'get' the joke, but why is it funny?", it stands as a strong possibility that you didn't get the joke. I promise.

Also, if you take the statements James Gunn made in the original promotional material seriously, then you definitely don't get the joke. Just get over the part where you pretend you do. Not having a sense of humor is what it is, consider it a disability and put extra work into examining things that are potentially jokes. Ask questions of others.

(I'm assuming there's the potential for at least one reader here who did "get the joke" but didn't find it funny. I agree that this joke is nowhere near universal enough that I'd question whether you had a sense of humor for not also being amused. That is merely a matter of taste.)

Of course, if one had gotten the joke, and one cared about issues of porn producers being jailed, such as this story, one could see something good in the PG Porn videos. No seriously. I'm trying to tread lightly on potentially ironic statements to help the humor-impaired make it through.

Let's imagine you're involved in an obscenity trial. Now, the question will undoubtedly involve Community Standards, right? So, now, you have a joke potentially entering this same community. Now, this joke assumes that casual viewers has experience viewing pornographic movies. It does, in fact, require it, right?

Not exactly, huh.

Although the alternative is frankly even more telling. One could be expected to get the joke because of casual references in the popular culture to the "lonely wife and the pizza boy", etc., that was either explicitly referenced as the plot to a pornographic movie or expected even the lowest common denominator viewership to follow along. This is the community that we all really live in. The one on our TV, all else is just wishful thinking, and our TVs assume we've watched porn. Period.

And that's literally all we're looking at here. The altering of community standards and the assumptions that entertainment providers make in terms of their viewership and their familiarity with porn. There's no serious statement on sex or violence to be had here. If you want to benefit pornographers, you need to stop freaking out about whether the comedy that comedy writers is funny to you, and more about what it actually represents.

But then perhaps I didn't "get" Ms. Reed's joke and all of this was a waste of my writing time. That would make me happiest.


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