Monday, September 10, 2012

Going Limp

Everyone's jumping on the porn' bandwagon.
Sex always sells and graphic sex, it turns out, sells even better. It even sells us better. We mimic the porn' aesthetic endlessly in social media – all these suburban women in their Calin Klein bikini bottoms puckering up to their iPhones or fake-frotting their girlfriends in drunken holiday snaps, all these steroidal young men with their cocks out in front of wardrobe mirrors.
I prefer my pornography done by pros. It takes skill and a degree of no-holes-barred bravado to pull it off (and, more rarely, get it off). The bodies are fantasy-like, with an unblemished (although often tattooed) plastic sheen, even when they haven't been altered by surgery. The money shots glisten like luxury products.
Good porn' is insidious: it seeps from sets in LA's inland suburbs to pop videos and haute couture. In this sense, it's subversive and transgressive. It encourages a degree of daring in the best creative minds: Tom Ford's Forever Love – described by many as 'geriatric porn' – is one of the coolest fashion editorials I've seen.
When it finally filters down to the suburban mainstream, it becomes high street fashion: platformed hooker heels and long, square-tipped French manicured gel-nails.
Amateur porn is lame. It's usually acted out with timidity – all implication and no action – and takes no courage at all. Pasteurised, flaccid versions of self-made porn have long been turning up in mainstream media – especially women's magzines and prime-time TV advertising. Unfortunately, now it's also turning up in once-hip style magazines. Wallpaper* recently launched the first of what might well become a series of 'erotic' films. It's as dull as the Swedish modern furniture the magazine always praises – the porn equivalent of a '50s mid-Western tract home.
According to Wallpaper*, this "first move into erotic movie-making" is "a complex tale of mistaken identity, passions reignited and good old girl-on-girl action." Actually, it's just dark shadows, ugly hotels and bad acting. Models gaze longing at their own reflections. Gauzy curtains float in a fan-driven breeze. Women fake-kiss in front of a man. God forbid, no tongues. High heels are slipped off, a dress unzipped. The soft-focussed action is too tiresome and corny to be tittilating. Even the tits seem deflated. The outfits, shoes and jewellery are listed below the clip, just like a mall catalogue.
It's not the first time mainstream brands have toyed with purpose-made porn. Nicola Formichetti created a better film-as-lifestyle-advertisement for fashion designer Thierry Mugler. Titled Brothers Of Arcadia, the company cleverly positioned it on the free pornographic website X-Tube.
The difference between the two shorts is that Formichetti's was a fashion ad' informed by pornography. It's well-executed high camp, a gay fantasy with lingering glimpses of cock. When it ends, the screen is filled with ten tiny clips of real porn – explicit sucking, fucking and fisting – the genuine content of X-Tube.
The Wallpaper* short is an earnest but ultimately uncommitted mainstream trash: a sloppy suck of lollypop, maybe, not of cock or cunt. It betrays the magazine's blandness.

1 comment:

JenXer said...

I think you would really enjoy this comic anthology, titled "Smut Peddler":
The artwork is varied, and in my opinion, fabulous on many fronts.
(I am not part of its creation, just a reader)