And I'm not really planning on going to this:
Bruce Sterling will be speaking and signing
his new book THE ZENITH ANGLE in the following cities:
Chicago, IL Thursday, April 29th @ 7:30 PM
Talk & Signing
1100 Lake Street
Oak Park, IL 60301
Don't think I've ever actually read anything by Bruce Sterling. . .
Yet most writers who take on the subject of pornography are men, and for them it is usual to adopt a pretty breezy, often humorous view of the way that pornography works. In Adam Thirlwell's recent novel Politics, for example, we see a female character sitting at her computer, scrolling through the pornography on offer: "Having exhausted the fisting gallery, Anjali was offered 29 snaps of horny babe cucking [sic] lover off in back of class, 30 zooms of gorgeous sexy hottie opening fat bald beaver . . . This list bored Anjali . . . In fact, thought Anjali, only one description showed potential. This was 18 looks at neighbour boy fucking grandma after mowing her grass. It was the mown grass that was good. It showed such homely appreciation of context."
Female writers who have tried to deal with pornography often write from a very different perspective. Although it was Martin Amis who said that pornography is littered with the death of feelings, it is women writers who have dramatised this most explicitly. Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake, which was shortlisted for the Orange prize this week, is a fascinating exploration of a world in which pornography has taken over from sexual intimacy. She writes of a dystopian future in which the needs of the body rule, and in which the mind and the soul are entirely discredited, a culture in which "Executions were its tragedies, pornography was its romance".
This is a novel that rests on moral certainty, and one of those moral certainties is the way that the growth of pornography can threaten the individual's ability to love. The relationship between her protagonist, Jimmy, and the woman whom he first falls for on a pornographic website is a simulacrum of a real relationship, in which communication is stunted and he is constantly searching for a connection that cannot be achieved.
Another writer who has tried to grapple openly with what it means if you allow pornography to dominate sexuality is Helen Walsh, whose first novel was published to great interest last month. Brass, a coming-of-age novel set in Liverpool, is unusual because it engages so fiercely with what is troubling about porn. "I saw women through the eyes of a pornographer," her character Millie says; she learns to see other people whom she desires not as living, loving individuals but as objects to be used. Indeed, she goes so far as to pick up prostitutes and pay them to enact pornographic scenarios with her. There is something terrifying about the way she describes the sex in this unfeeling universe. "I manipulate myself hard and selfishly," says Millie, "the whore becoming nothing but a body. A cunt in a magazine."
Listened to the 'net stream; the Chicago affiliate sometimes airs shows, and sometimes plays music with the odd promo. Yes, it'll be going completely away soon. No, still no word on a replacement, but I'm confident that no matter what, the right wingers will prattle on mindlessly about the death of the network and how they're silencing the voices of people of color, which we all know the right wing is all about listening to.
Bringing this almost full circle, Blog of a Bookslut also linked the Guardian's excerpt of O: The Intimate History of the Orgasm by Jonathan Margolis.
Guess I should move the Sterling bit after the bit on. . . nah.