Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Great Porn Debate Part 1 : Smut vs Art in America

Buckle up, dear readers ... this ride could get a lil bumpy!   We're venturing into some convoluted shadows full of social, religious, and political landmines ... territory where the Supreme Court has flailed and artists have sacrificed themselves on the altar of creative freedom of speech & expression.  

Before I share my not-so-humble opinions on the topic, I'm very curious to hear you all chime in on where the line lies between pornography and art.   The Supreme Court has established the  "Miller Test" for obscenity which includes the following criteria :   

     (1) whether ‘the average person, applying contemporary community standards’ would find  
           that the work, ‘taken as a whole,’ appeals to ‘prurient interest’ 
    (2) whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct 
          specifically defined by the applicable state law, and 
    (3) whether the work, ‘taken as a whole,’ lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or  
          scientific value.   {Source:  Cornell University Law School}


Lip Service - 012913 - Miz B

Given these ideas, what's your take on the image above?   Art or Porn?  

22 comments:

  1. As a videographer and photographer, I was told and have said, "Art is subjective." The above image could be construed as porn to some, art to others, smut to some, beauty to others. It all depends on a person's view. But let's take a look at it, the subject is kissing the the penis, not participating in full blown (no pun intended) fellatio. If the subject was, the point could be made it was porn. I look at it as art, because she preparing to make love to her man, and making love can be considered art.

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    1. That is an interesting observation. I may be interpreting your comment wrong, but in a way, you are saying there is an emotional connection between both people. Does this barrier between porn and art center on the emotions or connection between the subjects or by the tenderness of the moment? That is an interesting thought. SB

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  2. SMART (when Smut meets Art) is all in the eye of the beholder. Just the above photo alone says it all. The artistic soft black and white theme along with the OBVIOUS pornographic over tone of a fucking blowjob. Pornography in itself is an ancient art form that has evolved with all other forms of art. Just like more conventional art works, you have pictures done with crayons versus oil paintings hanging on the walls of the Louvre. On the other hand you have Paris Hilton getting fucked on night vision versus the carefully written scripts the likes of Brad Armstong or Andrew Blake. People are moved by art one way or another. Some people like paintings that make them smile. Some people like music that moves them to tears. Some people like poetry that makes them ponder.... then there are people that like films/pictures/dance performances(i.e strippers) that make them HORNY. Dancing is considered art by the majority population as long as one is clothed and doing to music from a symphony, but once you lose the clothes and replace the orchestra with Motley Crew records it's branded SMUT. Josephine Baker, along with many others (before and after) has proven time and time again that such eroticism is artful and tasteful. Art is meant to open the mind and expand horizons. One who feels that porn/smut is not capable of doing the same clearly needs the jaws of live on their own perspective of morality.

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    1. Very well said. One person's smut is another person's art, is another person's yawn. I wonder if this boundary that we want to tease and dance with is an elusive siren. By pushing it, we want to go one step further in the hopes that piece elicits shock and awe and disgust from ordinary viewers. I've created stuff that I thought was edgy and found out it was actually pretty tame for most. In ways, creating art that is judged neither good or bad or even labeled porn is not as painful as it being called boring.

      With your statement, I feel you touch on not only whether something is art, smut, porn, or a bastard child of all of them, the next question is it good art? If we decide if it is art and then general society agrees it is good, does it then lose its power? Do we want our art to live in the shadows because that is much more thrilling than being mainstream? - SB

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  3. I personally think that the difference between Art and Porn is based off of the imagination... This photo as with a lot of other expressive art concepts leave the audience asking themselves what does this mean and how do they feel??? There is no guessing with porn!!! From start to explosive finish you see and hear all!!!

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    1. When I wrote my lines I hadn't seen yours yet, however I agree and add that usually porn sounds to me like something "false" because clearly done with the intent to arouse only your lowest instincts and not you on the whole.

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  4. Ciao Miz - first of all let me excuse for some crude language I might use here to better express some concepts. Usually, it's not my style, yet you asked for an honest opinion on a quite pricky thing and this forces me to use some "real" terms found in such world.
    I think it's not nudity automatically making porn, this is a willingly deviating question. In your case your image is only "anticipating" what might happen in a matter of seconds, plus, despite the intensely erotic contact between them, I wouldn't call it porn. I think of porn and smut more when I see a man/woman face faking something unreal and when - especially in movies - they emphatize the "animal" side of the sexual intercourse in a very kitsch way as if the whole world would be based on hard-rock endowed stallions and horny sluts willingly to be fucked everywhere just for the sake of it and both very proud to exhibit behaviors and details (cum) which are usually enjoyed privately. THIS is porn, stating such exaggerated emphasys is NORMAL. This is also why I love so much Manara comics and Emmanuelle movies with all myself) while it's only my beastly side (but not the whole myself) pointing me to such movies. Usually, erotism is fine and subtintended, rarely explicit, it usually pushes you to imagine and use your most powerful sexual organ, your mind, besides, a certain kind of "respect" for the other partner is ALWAYS showed. Porn is usually raw, violent, explicit.. There's not much to imagine, everything is even too much under your eyes and no respect (here the chauvinist axiom male=stallion, female=slut) is showed.

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  5. Very shortly, if you try to excite my beastly side ONLY thru violence, bad words, faked emotions and kitsch sexual exhibition or anything looked "forced" because clearly false, well i think that is porn and smut. Where you see more than just mere physical activity, something that let you imagine in the respect of both people showed, anytime there's something kind and true, emotionally passionate but positive, this is art and erotism

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  6. I'm impressed with some of the thoughts you are all throwing around on this ... especially the recurring theme that what separates art from porn has to do with emotion, feelings, & respect. Perhaps the exact same image can be art or porn depending on the model/photographer/artist's intent ... just as it can shift over that line based on the viewer's intent and experience. Consider for example the innocent non-erotic photos that could be seen as porn by a foot fetishist or pedophile. Dino - I think you hit on a major topic for a future post ... the chauvinism in our perceptions of sexuality!! ~Miz B

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    1. Miz
      this time let me give you a hint (partly) about the fact men look so much more looking for sex than women: while it's not clearly an hormonal thing ONLY, did you know when a fertile woman is longing for a man in that specific moment she's just TEMPORARILY experiencing 1/5 (compared to the average 1/15) of the male sexual hormones we have to deal every day ?! Go figure for a man how powerful is such drive ifyou think you're "hungry" or "horny". Ask your gynecologyst, I'm sure he will enlighten you up about this.

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  7. The thoughts expressed are insightful, and it's almost impossible to define something so subjective. The question of "Art or Porn" gets muddled by religion, politics, bigotry, and so many more factors. Taking a very simplistic approach, what defines a nice day? If you're driving to the ski slope for the weekend, a snowfall might be your idea of heaven. If you're driving to the airport to catch a flight, the snow may turn your day into hell. The saying that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" is too narrow. Almost EVERYTHING is in the eye of the beholder. As the beholder in this case, I consider the posted image as art.

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  8. You know what would be a cool idea? Get a bounce of sexy nude models and just have them doing various poses atop pedestals in an art gallery and charge a cray admission at the door. The social elite will call it art while most people will think about seeing the same thing at the local strip club LOL. Seriously, who are we kidding? The human form has always been admired from one angle or another. As far as anything erotic, what an intellectual calls art is more than likely to be branded smut by a puritan.

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  9. I had to send this in two comments because fucking blogger only allows 4096 letters and spaces and that doesn’t fit my style some times.

    Part One-
    "Art is long, life short, judgment difficult, opportunity transient." — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

    The “Miller Test” was created for polite society and sometimes art should not be polite. The test was created by people with the power to infect the general population with laws that reflect the laws creator’s views about a lingering Victorian repressed world with a need to try protect everyone from the things that they themselves fear. Unfortunately these laws are forced upon a great many people that do not agree but have no power to change them. Plus it does give the church ladies the satisfaction of saying – See I told you that was evil and against the law.

    Is the photograph Art or is it Porn? Maybe since he is totally shaved like a porn actor, it’s Porn. Maybe since it’s well lit, has good composition and looks professionally done, it’s Art. Well it’s Art to me and it’s Porn to me. For in my world there is little or no difference between the two. The only things that I have found that are truly pornographic are the inclusion of children engaged in sexual acts and adults that are forced to engage in behavior that is unacceptable to them. I say – children engaged in sexual acts – because I do not think that images of children just being naked are in any way shape or form - porn. Do Jock Sturges or Salley Mann’s simple images of children being naked arouse some people? Unfortunately – yes – but so does completely clothed children for others and as does chocolate covered strawberries, Harley Davdisons, whipped cream, whips, or cuffs for some. It can’t be legislated what arouses individual people even though they try.

    “…depending on the model/photographer/artist's intent..” If there are no accompanying words of description, no details; we don’t know the intent. We don’t know what the story behind the image is. All we as the viewer have is the image: which we, as has been pointed out here already, put through our own set of filters. Childhood, upbringing, education, local society, life experiences all play a part in how you view your world, thus how we view our art or porn. We all have to create our own story. Which may or may not be what the photographer and model were trying to say and even if I do know; in all probability I’ll like mine better.

    Actually I think life experience is a big part; at least in my life. I grew up in a pretty typical 50’s - 60’s mid-west household. It wasn’t repressive, but it wasn’t a stimulating hot bed of art appreciation either. During your life you gather snippets here and there, some are good, some scar you, all help you form that scrapbook of a unique being called self. Sometimes it takes a while to find out what fires those little synapses that call out the arousal signals that we all enjoy. Sex for me was pretty much a self education. The only sex education I got was from my father and it was 10 short words – “Son don’t make any important decisions with a hard-on”.

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  10. Part Two -
    Since you show the possible start of oral sex I’ll give two examples that formed some of my Oral 101.

    The Scar - I was about to leave for Viet Nam and this girl I had two dates with felt sorry for me and decided to give me a departing blow job. After making out and I was hard she bent over and took me in her mouth. Now I’d been sucked a few times before…but this girl was very good, deeply good…I’d never felt like that before and only a couple of times since. After getting me rocking and rolling she came up and gave my tongue some of the same lashing as my dick; but then she back up and nose to nose, looking right into my eyes, she said – “if you come in my mouth I’ll bite your dick off and spit it on the floor”. So with that shiver running down my spine it was a couple of minutes before my noodle was stiff again and yes I did put it back in her mouth figuring the risk reward ratio was ok, but I didn’t even come close to dumping my load between those pearly whites. I was more than happy with it on her hand, my shirt, my pants and the car seat. So with that imprint on my young brain; even after 44 years, I still find it difficult to cum during oral sex.

    The Good – I had been having some sex; hard dick, wet pussy rub the two together and feel real good. Then I got in with an experienced woman, she had a kid and had been around the block. We weren’t in love – we were fuck buddies. It’s something every young man should have. It ought to be a high school senior class. Anyway we’re sliding around on her bed one afternoon and she pushes my head down between her legs, this was new. We had been fucking a bit so she was wet with her hair matted down all around her wide spread lips. But she reached down and gently pulled my head into her crotch and whispered “lick”. I did. After a bit she stopped my mouth right over her clit and moaned “suck right there”. I did. With her coaching and my growing enthusiasm I managed to give her a good orgasm. The she showed her appreciation and gave me one hell of a ride to a great one myself. After I started to shrink back to normal, I lifted up to get off her, but she grabbed my head gave me a kiss and said ”now lick me again”. Whoa, “I just came in there” I said. Pulling her legs up and wide; “Yea” was all she said as she pushed my head down and lick it I did. It wasn’t the last time I did it either. She also taught me the finer points of paying homage to her ass and yes I learned to lick that with the same enthusiasm. She was very educational to my sexual awakening as a young man and instrumental in me adopting a more liberal attitude toward the pleasures of sex that has helped keep me happy and helped keep my wife of 38 years satisfied.

    So why do people keep fighting over the semantics of - is it art or porn; because in reality there is no answer – there can’t be. There are too many people, with too many different backgrounds, forming too many different opinions to have one answer.

    So as I admire the wonderful image of those plump lips attached to the end of that hard cock I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes: “Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.” – Banksy

    I’m very disturbingly comfortable in the Art and Porn that I enjoy.

    D.L. Wood – Caveat Lector

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    1. I right there with you on that one. There are somethings that I am disturb by how much they me one, but why stick with Vanilla when you can get Baskin Robins, right?

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    2. On a slight tangent here, seems like if we refer to Porn as Art (as I personally feel it should be classified as such), then would that make adult actors artists? Ever so often, I've had the debate on whether or not Adult Actors should be classified as prostitutes (which I personally think they should be based on technicality), but could dubbing them as artists, (since they paint the picture of said art form) would that merely give them a new title or would they just hold a third to their repertoire?... food for thought

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  11. Love love love the Banksy quote!! I concur that the debate is largely semantics ... unfortunately, the practical applications of the debate can be quite threatening to my lifestyle and livelihood! On the side note ... I agree with you - I prefer leaving the work unexplained to inspire reaction and interpretation in the viewer. Somehow overexplaining buzzkills the magic! ~Miz B

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    1. It is rather shameful that your work could catch such flack in this day and age, but you are right. Certain powers that be seem to get off on suppressing anything that gives their constituents both the willies as well as a hard-on. At least the "Grey Area" that lies between Art and Porn can work to your advantage as well as it works against you as it always has. Seeing as how the powers that be have to tip-toe when attempting to trample one's 1st Amendment rights, the argument for Porn v. Art is at a constant stalemate.

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  12. I'm not as articulately spoken as many of you are but I can see the art expressed more than the porn in this image. The erection seems to lean more toward the porn side but the woman's lips touching the penis verses her actually performing oral sex is what ties the art into this image.

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  13. Perfectly articulate - welcome to the discussion :-) I agree that the little differences can make a huge difference in how an image is perceived ... in my studio we call it "riding the line" ... falling off that razor edge on either side can make an image so blatant or so boring as to render it useless! ~Miz B

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  14. I'm going to come at this from a different angle. This has to be smut. The reason is this: by asking whether it is Art, you as the creator indicate you are unsure. This means it isn't art because you yourself as the creator have doubts, and we as the viewer know/feel this. Art is what you SAY it is. If you ask, then your doubt clouds the art and we see it for something else. Be sure of your work and no one else can't doubt it either.

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  15. There's always a Devil's Advocate somewhere...

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