June 18, 2013
In Defense of Naked Women
Posted on Mar 10, 2011
By Mr. Fish
“Star Wars,” thusly, became for me a similar victim of pigeon-holiness; that is, neither a work of great hero mythology that informed some deeper understanding of the human soul nor a huge, steaming piece of pop culture so idiotic that exposure to its stench had the unfortunate effect of retarding the otherwise perfectly indifferent perception that we lived in a completely Wookie-less universe (if you call that living). Specifically, while the entire “Star Wars” saga might be little more than an exercise in crappy storytelling, perhaps even an unwitting champion of lazy politics predicated on the notion that there existed absolute good and absolute evil in the world and that people might legitimately be objectified as either black or white chess pieces and that the gigantic mechanism of the cosmos was a fair and noble construct that rewarded the pure and punished the wicked, it was still nothing but a fairytale concocted by a high-functioning imbecile, a genius of bone-crushing mediocrity named George Lucas whose story was no more or less outrageous than the Bible or the Constitution or the Quran. What my thoughts about feminism taught me about Lucas was that I shouldn’t objectify his idiocy, nor should I objectify the idiocy of what the Bible or the Constitution or the Quran demanded of the portion of the world begging exemption from surrendering to a global world order unfamiliar to them.
I figured that as long as George Lucas kept his moral perversions behind closed theater doors then he wasn’t hurting anybody. Same with George Washington. And, dare I say, Osama bin Laden. As long as the door that we’re talking about is kept unlocked and has a WELCOME matt on both sides of the door and all the EXIT signs inside are clearly marked. Or, at the very least, if not all that, then at least a sign at the door warning of the health hazards of entering: Exposure to philosophy enclosed has been known to cause rampant self-aggrandizement and complete mental breakdown and corruption of all human decency and, ultimately, completely meaningless death.
In the spring of 2004, I downloaded a video file onto my computer and watched U.S. contractor Nicholas Berg getting his head sawed off by a bunch of Middle Eastern men in ski masks. After all, I figured, if you’re interested in what death might look like, having heard about it your whole life, what kind of pictures can you expect to get of all the informative beheading and de-limbing and vaporizing of all the innocent civilians that the United States does from 15,000 feet up, where the only indication that you might get of having committed all that killing is perhaps a tiny green light flashing on a computer screen, the same technology used to indicate when the french fries are ready to be removed from the fryer at McDonald’s? I then spent the next 20 minutes following the Berg beheading calling friends to tell them not to do what I’d done, that my whole physiology had changed as a result of what I’d seen and that I would forever be at least one degree colder at my core. I explained how the execution wasn’t interesting to look at on any level whatsoever, making me worry that Hollywood might not be doing its job. Tragedy, it turns out, plays a lot better when it’s massive and when a lot of people die all at once and from some distance, as in “Titanic” or “Godzilla” or even, truth be told, the daytime toppling of the two tallest buildings in the world by two crashed airplanes, horrible sadness and bone-crushing dread aside. Sure, if Berg had been torn apart by a disintegrating skyscraper shot from a news camera in New Jersey or if he’d been seized by a Tyrannosaurus Rex and then eaten, his murder might’ve been easier for me to process, but only because my eyes would’ve mostly been on the dinosaur and not on the agony of the dinosaur’s lunch, baby-faced and wearing an orange jumpsuit and barefoot.
The 11-year-old that I once was was the one who wanted to see the beheading, and not because when I was 11 I was particularly enamored with the brutality of torture, vivisected rats aside, but rather because most 11-year-olds want to see things that they’ve never seen before, whether it’s a baseball game or a moon rock or the birth of a litter of slimy purple puppies; newness, tragic or comic, is the reason why we wake up in the morning.
Think and Do:
A friend of mine once told me that the best indicator of a video store’s quality, back when there were video stores, was whether or not it carried gay porno. “A place brave enough to stock ‘Shaving Ryan’s Privates,’ ” he explained, “is not concerned with promoting a version of the world where only one kind of joy is tolerated, or where a difference of opinion is considered either too embarrassing to contemplate or too contrary to go divinely unpunished.” He loved how for a lot of super-benevolent, love-thy-neighbor, Christian-types the only purpose of fucking was for the procreation of more and more Christians who would promise to be intolerant of any orgasm that didn’t contribute to the breeding of more and more intolerance of any orgasm that didn’t contribute to the breeding of more and more intolerance of any orgasm that didn’t contribute … well, you get the idea. Anyway, he saw procreation-exclusive screwing as being roughly equivalent to telling people that they were only allowed to die of old age. “And that’s why we’re completely fucked as a species,” he said, “because most people in the world don’t realize that trying has nothing to do with it.”
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