Friday, December 28, 2012

Soldier Porn...

Sometimes something pops up that elicits immediate, reflexive action.  My policy on Facebook recently has been to accept almost any "friend" request without judgement.  I must have accepted one from "Military Pinups" some time ago, but don't remember.  Then I got a message from the artist and all hell broke loose.  I may be too thin-skinned, but I for one find the following kinds of imagery beyond offensive.
 Main banner from artist J. Kidd's facebook page "Military Pinups".

As you can see,  I hope, it's essentially soft pornography designed for soldiers.  I'm aware that in the past, like WWII, there was "nose art" and the like which resembled the "pinup art" of the day.  So why is this any different?  I think there are many reasons why, which I find obvious, so I am baffled as to why so many of them need explaining.  But apparently they do.

Consider: there was a time, as in the Roman Empire, when slavery was considered normal and almost universally accepted.  100 years ago, some races were considered to be innately inferior, and this too was accepted.  Today, we know better--at least most do.  The trouble with the treatment of women in our culture, i.e. presenting them as sex objects, is something that I believe will eventually be transcended.  Hell, if I can do it, anyone can.

I'm a little ashamed at having fought with the artist JK over at Military Pinups, but it is telling that after we did he removed the banner from his page and replaced it with another image in which the woman's head was actually higher than her bottom.  I'd criticized the prior picture.  So, I had hit a nerve, but then he recanted and switched it back yet again.

If I was told my older work was pornographic I'd have denied it too, just like JK, but now I see objectification clearly wherever it is.  But I never did anything like this stuff.

J. Kidd told me that his model was "very proud" of posing for his artworks, prints of which wind up getting shipped overseas to Afghanistan.  He told me a little about her character and personality, but of course none of that is communicated in the picture.  When Playboy lists the "likes and dislikes" of its playmate centerfolds, it isn't without some humor.  I mean, who cares about the real person underneath?  That's not the point, is it?

My friend Richard A. Tucker rightly pointed out that it's extremely dangerous to be giving out porn to soldiers.  I agree.  My feeling is that "Military Pinup's" work will make almost any young soldier crave harder pornography in about 5 seconds.  The works are basically like a "gateway" drug, only the path is much clearer and direct than pot to heroin, because it's all the same thing to differing degrees.

Other reasons to be wary of giving Porn to soldiers:
These examples are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the dangerous environment created by objectifying women.  The U.S. Military has always encouraged drinking, as I know well from my father's Army career; they make drinking inexpensive and easy.  Packs of cigarettes were once standard issue with rations, too.  The fact that some people can't or won't see the obvious connections is baffling.

 A dangerous mixture of sexual and militaristic imagery.

Another relevant question is that if one wanted to "help" the U.S. Military effort, there are far better ways than this, like perhaps working to end the wars altogether, or helping educate young men not to enlist in the first place.

Then they can stay home and learn to respect and not objectify other people.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Ready to Jacque?

Several fellows have contacted me outside of this Blog to discuss, and mainly defend, their Porn habits. I feel a need to say this: if you want to discuss this subject, please do it in the light of day, as I am not responding to anonymous emails any more.

And speaking of being in denial, or perhaps more kindly, "not being ready" for the truth, I am continually running up against porn influences in this little Comic Art backwater I'm currently in, and predictably also encountering even more fellows with their heads in the sand about it.

I confess that in the early 1990s, I did a good bit of work for SQP--for Sal Quartuccio Publishing.  In fact, they did my very first two art books titled "Sorceress" one and two.  They published many, many other titles, all with their own themes, like Vampire women, Warrior women, and so on.  The overriding theme was definitely, always, "women".

 What Publisher SQP has been up to lately, as if you couldn't guess.

The reason these books were so widely and wildly popular is that they are essentially "presentable" pornography.  In other words, because the figures are "drawn" the viewership can easily rationalize that the stuff is not Pornography but Art. The idea essentially is that if it's drawn, and doesn't actually show penetration, then it can't possibly be porn. You can keep it in the house and not irk the wife, and probably study it without being tempted to "jack".

And you can collect all the books in the series, with SQP, possibly hundreds of them, and not think it's any kind of "habit".

Other rationalizations cover more but different marshy ground, calling softer porn "Erotica", "Cheesecake", "Pinups" or "Nudity", or describing it otherwise as "Titillating" and so on, basically anything other than the big "P" when in fact it's all Pornography to one degree or another.

Bougereau: an "artistic" excuse for yards of exposed flesh. Do you care what these "people" think or feel, or who they are?

Not to say our culture has cornered the market,  or that it's all a case of living in some modern Sodom and Gomorrah, there's been porn in other cultures where folks had too much time on their hands and therefore are easily exploitable.

So how can Art portray nude or naked people, or handle subjects like sex, without becoming Pornographic?