Friday, July 8, 2016

Pornosophy: Poop Dreams

Rabelais' Gargantua and Pantagruel and Boccaccio’s The Decameron are famous for being sexually explicit.And there are parts of Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales which are down right filthy and would qualified as pornography in literally any era (the controversial Italian director Pier Paolo Pasolini produced his own boundary breaking versions of both The Decameron and The Canterbury Tales). Going back to Roman times Catullus was notorious for his X-rated poetry and Lucretius’s famed poem De rerum natura --On the Nature of Things—the subject of the Shakespeare scholar, Stephen Greenblatt’s bestselling The Swerve: How the World Became Modern-- is rife with sexual references. Remember that though Aristophanes Lysistrata falls into the category of political satire, the playwright’s conceit involves Grecian women withholding sex in order to stop the Peloponnesian Wars. All along the way, these works document manners and mores and provide an anthropological record of human sexuality. We know for instance that anal and oral sex were both performed even more vigorously by some of our ancestors in ancient times than they even are today. The Marquis de Sade’s The 120 Days of Sodom (another classic work which Pasolini adapted for his film Salo) and later Pauline Reague’s The Story of O ushered in the modern era's preoccupation with sadomasochistic sexuality which paved the way for Fifty Shades of Grey--a milestone in the history of mass market commercial fiction. But what does the future hold? What new taboos will be broken? Will water sports and coprophilia become what fellatio and cunnilingus are today? Will some new work begin with the words, “I am going to go to the bathroom on you,” with the matter of fact reply being, “why don’t you use the toilet?

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