06 March 2012

Art Requires Gay Sex; Or, Fuck Censorship in the Ass But Not in a Homophobic Way, Seriously


This post is going to focus on Lockpick Pornography by Joey Comeau, who happens to be my own personal Jesus Fucking Christ. It will also directly relate to the PayPal debacle which I haven’t taken a day off from yelling about in weeks. Normally I would link to the text, but it seems to have been pulled from absolutely everywhere so I'm linking to the Mr. Comeau's webcomic, which is also wonderful.

If you haven’t read it, Lockpick Pornography is an allegory on gender issues and civil rights. It’s also very gay and highly erotic in places. What this gives me a chance to touch on is the concept of explicit, titillating erotic material which is integral to the plot and the message of the work, but which nonetheless is not something many are going to ‘get off’ on and some will find outright off-putting.

You see, lately PayPal or possibly the credit card companies or the Illuminati or who-the-fuck-ever it is that actually pulls the strings on this sort of idiocy has been trying to force out 'erotic' material which relates to 'objectionable' topics. I will state unequivocally that there is no argument whatsoever that can be made to justify this, but that fact hasn’t stopped people from trying. The argument, as best I can suss it out, is that material which is objectionable has no place in artistic expression if it is titillating or explicit.

However, Lockpick Pornography teaches us the object lesson in that. I didn’t really get off on it, and if I’m being honest was a little disgusted in at least one place. I expect I'm far from alone on that, yet without the erotic content it absolutely could not have been as effective an allegory as it was. There's one scene in particular that was a MMF threesome with two biological men and a biological woman all struggling with their concepts of gender constructions in some form or fashion. It leaves nothing to the imagination, but the details of their coupling (tripling?) are absolutely necessary to illuminate the internal struggles they're all facing. Would the book have worked without it? Sure. it would have worked without proper nouns, too, if we're being hypothetical.

Now obviously gay material isn’t ‘objectionable’ anymore by the standards of the body politic or any of the more mainstream corporate overlords, but it was once, and may well be again if certain factions have their way. What it is, is unpleasant to certain sensibilities, in which way it is quite identical to bestiality or incest. If we begin to censor things because they are titillating to some and offensive to others we will destroy significant works of art, or else prevent them from being created in the first place. I was truly edified by this book, and yet if the standard of PayPal and co. was applied it would be forbidden to purchase on the internet, and indeed if I allowed my own distastes free rein I would have been deprived of the experience regardless.

There are lots of kinds of sex that lots of people don’t like, and limiting literature, erotic or otherwise, on that basis is an unforgiveable assault on the artistic community, and moreover one that is non-directional and unlimited. Everything worth writing is going to ruffle feathers. That’s what we do.

ed; Apparently Lockpick Pornography went out of print in preparation for The Complete Lockpick Pornography which appears to include a second story which may or may not be related.