Friday, July 16, 2010

Art V. Porn

Well, if that title doesn't get some clicks from my RSS feeders after 2 months of incommunicado from little ole me, I don't know what will. So, I'll break the ice (after 2 months away, I do feel kind of frozen about the idea of posting anything short of a manifesto) with something spiky. Well, to make it easier on myself, it will be more like an annotated link of something spiky. I've really been enjoying the tv channel Current. (esp. Viral Video Film School.)  I just watched this little news clip about a new* sex-art-porn? magazine called H-Bomb at Harvard, and it got my attention because 1)I wrote a book chapter (sp ;) on some of the issues brought up in the clip and 2)BC they mention that the magazine is beginning to franchise out and they mention Boston U, where my sister is hoping to enroll in the MFA program in the winter, and where several of my friends have gone/are going to seminary.
So, a few quick notes, then I'll give you the video. First, I like Current's strive for some balance in reporting. They interview one of the editors, a professor who teaches the evolution of sexuality, and a couple who started an abstinence support group on campus. For what it's worth, I think the pro-abstinence couple give perhaps the most cool-headed and articulate reasoning for their perspective that I've ever heard. You can tell they've had to explain their position to other Harvard students, and that takes a little more rationality, I would say at the risk of sounding snobbish, than the average Campus Crusader pleading for virginity for purity's sake. I think the "hook up culture" really came on the strongest after my time in college, but from what I understand about it (I remember seeing an interview with a bunch of SMU students on Religion and Ethics Newsweekly one time), there is a real absence of a sense of need for commitment in sexual relationships in college environments these days. (Wow, convoluted sentence, or was it even a sentence? Oh well, I'm rusty.) Secondly, I'm interested in the magazine editor's accusation that the general media has a very simplistic notion of what constitutes pornography versus what qualifies as art (she obviously categorizes her magazine as art,) but she never quite clears up for the viewer what makes the general media so obtuse in it's view. Do they not understand that a filtered photograph or a grainy photograph is art and a bare bones video is not? If the general media is missing the distinction, then what is the distinction? Is it because it is made by and for Harvard students, as opposed to Arkansas Tech students? Does the culture surrounding the medium give it it's identity, or is there a "thing in itself" about the presentation of sexuality that renders it either pornography or art?
By the way, as I was writing this, I googled the H-Bomb and found out that I must have been watching a re-run of Current. (A re-run of Current: hahaha) Because this article from the Crimson from 2007 shows that the Hbomb magazine went belly up after only two issues in 2005, and the group lost it's status as a student group, oh well. I'm late to the game, but then again, you probably know that based on the fact that you haven't gotten a post out of me in two months.  I could give you the list of reasons, but I'll refrain.