Friday, December 20, 2019

Pornosophy: Pajama Game

If you’re a purveyor of pornography, you know that one of the problems is real people. There’s a scene in a Howard Jacobson novel, No More Mr. Nice Guy where a sexual problem occurs when the main character’s wife gets in the way of his fantasy. The optimal or ur-pornographic condition is the absence of real people. Were actual human beings to be interposed into a pornographic video through some phenomenon by which virtual reality were spontaneously made real then much of the thrill would vanish. The human element is what kills the salacious integrity of the drama. The fact that porn involves a certain degree of creativity only exacerbates the problem. Editing and sound insulate the dramatis personae from any of the contingencies of everyday existence, with its premature ejaculation, impotence and vaginal or anal irritation. Gagging is nice when it’s intended, but it’s one way to blow a fellatio scene. Now, of course, you have improv and there are porn as well as comedy clubs and of course in the days of burlesque the two were synonymous, but these kinds of performance are dictated by theatrical conventions about which the average amateur sexual athlete is seldomly conversant. Porn is theater, but curiously (in spite of the nudity), not of a naturalistic kind. With its emphasis on exaggeration, hyperbole and grandstanding, it's more like melodrama. Porn marches to the beat of a different drummer with the final destination being at least one degree of separation from the normal everyday comings of the player next door attending his or her nightly Pajama Game.

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