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This essay is a very belated response to a " part 1 " published in February 2015. The gist of that essay was a response to a corre...

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Before proceeding to Part 2 of the "sexual embodiment" test, I feel the need to draw parallels between the three categories posited in PART 1 and three categories posited in the earlier essay LET'S GET SEMI-DIRTY.

In the latter essay, I started out with two terms introduced in a yet earlier piece, which sought to analyze two aspects of what I now call "embodiment"-- that is, "sex" and "violence" in literature-- and ally them with "clean" and "dirty" versions in terms of the intensity of what the viewer/reader was shown. 

In earlier essays on this theme I tended to discuss violence, but SEMI-DIRTY is intended to focus on demonstrating an interstitial category-- "semi-dirty"-- and for that I emphasized the aspect of fictional sex:

I didn’t give [in the earlier essay referenced] parallel examples of sex, but the same standard of explicitness applies. I should note that whether a work is clean or dirty has no bearing on how exciting its kinetic elements may be for a given audience-member. Some may well find the clean but vivid courtship-rituals of NORTH BY NORTHWEST more stimulating than the explicit dirtiness of LAST TANGO IN PARIS.

The same generalization applies to the "semi-dirty" category; some may prefer it to either manifestation.  Going purely on anecdotal experience, I have one (never to be named) acquaintance who dislikes sexual explicitness of any kind.  I would presume that if he gets turned on by any sort of fiction, it would have to be something comparable to the "vivid courtship-rituals of NORTH BY NORTHWEST."

At the other extreme, I have another acquaintance whose main comment to a screening of FASTER, PUSSYCAT! KILL! KILL! was to complain about the lack of (visible) tits.  So presumably nothing but "explicit dirtiness" would have worked for this individual.

The three categories I'll be using for the "sexual embodiment test" thus line up rather well if I say so myself:

GLAMOR-- "clean" sexuality
TITILLATION-- "semi-dirty" sexuality
PORNIFICATION-- "dirty" sexuality

The only major difference between these parallel essays is that in the "clean & dirty" ones, I didn't address narrative function at all.  In BATTLE OF THE MONSTER TERMINOLOGIES, I used separate terms to describe narrative function pertaining to spectacle, designating a dichotomy between "functional violence" and "spectacular violence"-- with the usual caveat that the same dichotomy applies to fictional sexual representation.  However, an interstititial category can be created for this aspect as well:

GLAMOR-- "functional" sexuality
TITILLATION-- "semi-spectacular" sexuality
PORNIFICATION-- "full monte spectacular" sexuality

Next up:  (part of) THE NEW 52 takes the TEST.

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