Friday, February 17, 2012

My Problem With Porn | Communicating Doors

Hello World! Welcome to the Agreeable Agony blog. We're looking forward to bringing you lots of great content, both from our own authors, as well as cross posts from friends of the company. The first article we'd like to share with you is a post from Communicating Doors, an eclectic blog which, while focusing as a Tech blog, occasionally posts regarding relationships and human sexuality. Many thanks to Desmond for sharing his post with us. Let us know in the comments what your relationship with porn is.

My Problem With Porn
by Desmond Duval

No, I am not coming out as an addict. Though, neither am I one who abstains. I have an appreciation of the value of porn, and I think it is, in many cases, an extremely positive outlet. I would even go so far as to say that I am a porn enthusiast. Big fan.

That's why it hurts me so much that the quality of most porn is so outrageously bad. I don't mean to say that porn lacks value. The skill and professionalism that these actors put forward is commendable. The skillset employed goes beyond the skills most of us learn from the internet, to keeping tabs on things like giving the camera a good shot. I don't know how much is scripted and how much is ad-lib'd, but it seems like an impressive job to keep track of, bravo. I'm not sure I could do all that and perform at the same time.

Their skills once their clothes come off notwithstanding, most of them can't act with their clothes on. The ones who can can are hampered by terrible writing. If I'm going to watch a porn with a plot (without skipping to the good parts) I need to want one of the characters. I don't just want to lust after the body of the actor, I need to be able to understand the character, be attracted to them. I need to want that character. If the dialog and acting doesn't make me want them, or worse, feels awkward and forced, I can't sit through it.

The video that set me off today though, is even worse. While reading Fleshbot (link to article, NSFW) I found a video of a porn themed like an FPS. I like first person shooters, I used to play Counter Strike 1.6 back when that was a thing at LAN parties, so this seemed like it was a neat idea. From the HUD flashing between seemingly random numbers, to the apparent disregard for how guns work, the entire theme showed itself to consist of half-assed pandering.

The lack of attention compounds the problem inherent in the porn industry's interest in producing low quality films that focus on sex, at the expense of what could be a sensual and erotic narrative. The simple idea of a video game themed porn is a good one. The 'virtual reality' allows the viewer to suspend disbelief to an extent, making the exciting or unbelievable more acceptable. Even the use of toy guns is acceptable, when it's done right.

If you clicked the link to the Fleshbot article, you may recognize:
Granted, it's not actually a video game so much as it is a nine minute video (starring the delightful Kayla-Jane Danger) that's mocked up to look like a video game; but if you play with your joystick (or double click your mouse) enough, we're pretty sure you won't know the difference.
I suppose the writer wanted to sound playful, but I think it comes off a little glib. The euphemism aside, the author gives the video too much credit. I've read too many articles around the web praising porn which would never meet the quality standards for any other movie genre. If that paragraph is the Fleshbot review of this clip, here's mine:
Kayla-Jane Danger nearly saved this performance, being a wonderful tease with great sex appeal, conveniently paired with an utter lack of dialog. But in the end, shoddy camerawork, a failure to direct, and lack of attention to detail in post left yet another good idea abused in a ditch.
What upsets me is not that this video exists. Artists need to practice to refine their art. So too, must those who make porn. They'll make a lot of crap before they're any good, like any filmmaker. The problem is that we let them get away with calling this crap a final product. I love porn, I've even got a favourite porn star (alright, a couple), but my affection for the genre means that I want to hold it to a higher standard.

Let the bargain basement groups push their 32 DVD series of cheap smut, but for those of us with taste, give me a character driven drama with a plot that allows for hardcore sex. People fuck, it happens in real life, and it's exciting. Give me a movie that's exciting, with character development and charismatic, likable characters, and it's not hard to find realistic, enticing reasons for them to drop what they're doing to play.

But maybe I'm just old fashioned.