A one-time school project gone terribly, terribly wrong.

02 October 2006

On Lost Girls

"We didn't want to be accused of turning out something arty that claims to be pornography but isn't."

--Alan Moore

People like this will eventually save civilization.


At 7:36 p.m., Anonymous raincoaster said...

Hyeah, no.

Did you see it? Are you aware of the premise? It takes several stories, the central truth of which is sexual innocence in a hypersexualized context, and reduces it to sex in a sexual context. It's not a step forward; much as I'm a fan of Moore's, it's a step backwards. Read the originals if you doubt me; this is thinly disguised midnight-broadcast art-porn.

At 8:42 a.m., Blogger Metro said...

Considering the mixed messages broadcast with the originals, I think Moore may merely be bringing clarity.

But my main point is that someone has to do these things. Print, read, and think the "forbidden". Perhaps more now than ever.

It may not be "Lolita", it may not even be Deep Throat. But it boots the hell out of some sacred cows.

At 9:35 p.m., Anonymous raincoaster said...

I'm not in agreement that sexualizing minor characters is a good thing. Moore is absolutely not bringing clarity to the originals, all of which I have read more than once. A central point in each of them, as in the Nutcracker, was that the female characters were not adults. Making them adults and explicitly sexualizing the narrative seems to me to be nothing more elevated than making a porn movie out of Shakespeare or Steinbeck.

What sacred cows are we talking about here? Childhood? Believe me, the originals were very much about childhood in sexualized circumstances. Nothing is added here; much is taken away and flattened.

Someone has to do "these things." What things? Someone has to strip the conflict between innocence and experience away? Someone has to delete childhood entirely?

I can just see it now, the next Moore book: "Songs of Experience and Experience."

That a book is sexual does not make it transgressive. If you read Peter Pan, you'll see that grownups having sex is a lot, a LOT less transgressive than what he put in that play originally.

There is nothing forbidden about sex. NOTHING. And there's certainly nothing forbidden about sexuality in graphic novels, particularly since the Seventies. What do you see as transgressive here? It looks to me to be on the level of the Gilligan's Island porn movie, seriously; nothing more meaningful or transgressive than adding "in bed" to the fortune in your fortune cookie.

Where is the line that's crossed in these books? What is the forbidden that is spoken? What is the artistic imperative that cries out for articulation and has heretofor been silenced? Be specific, please.

At 9:29 a.m., Blogger Metro said...

Hi--caught you on a bad day, as I noticed on your blog. My sympathies on the TV thing. Is this why you're trying to hand me my head here? Feel free to recover at our place.

Anyway: Moore says that he has created pornography--nothing more.

As you said: the books carry sexualized messages; all Moore's done is demystify and deromanticize them--a loss of one kind, I'll grant you. I don't disagree that much is taken away and flattened--though I've read only the snippets available online.

I also feel that you have perhaps interpreted more successfully than most that context of innocence/experience in which spirit the original stories were written. While you may be right that "nothing sexual is forbidden" nowadays this is not publicly expressed. Surely you've noticed?

Television is full of "as I say not as I do" messages. Public figures? I'm sure we needn't address that one. Sex is used as a sales tool everywhere, but forbidden to the audience it's used against. At this point the subtle context of the books is buried. Nothing short of Victorian morality prevails--except that the Victorians knew and understood their own hypocrisy, whereas today it's stifled until it becomes criminal.

In this day and age people think Disney. They aren't reading these books to their kids and wondering whether they'll get the threat-to-virginity references of Alice in Wonderland. Nor were the Victorians--but they themselves knew that sex was everywhere and in everything in a way that simply doesn't exist today. And a good thing, else our sensitivities would drown.

Moore is, meaning to or not, attacking the Disneyfication that has overtaken the stories. Yes, it's dissection with the bluntest of tools, but on the other hand it creates discussion of the originals and how to interpret them. I feel that this is likely intentional, since he's not in the game for money.

Sexual books are transgressive. Even the most vanilla of them pushes someone's buttons (often the sort that ran up those Victorian boots the ladies used to wear ... but I digress).

The forbidden thing in this, interestingly, is one of the things that is being so hotly debated in Washington.

The artistic imperative is, I think: "if one were to make plain the unspoken sex in these books, what would one read in them?"

Honestly, I'm squeamish. I like the originals in their subtle mystery. But whether you like it or loathe it, we are discussing it, which is the purpose of art.

And the purpose of pornography, according to John Irving's characters, is to disgust.

In which case from the sound of it, Moore may have succeeded admirably in producing both.

This deep filophosy stuff is too much for my little brain. Think I'll go read some Winnie-the-Pooh. A story about a solitary child talking to animals who talk back. Interestingly, while Pooh exists in the A.A. Milne books in a "state of nature", Disney chose to enhance his nakedness by endowing him with a shirt, but no pants. Mixed messages indeed.


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