LNH: Legion of Net.Heroes Vol.2 #23

Tom Russell milos_parker at yahoo.com
Wed Nov 7 20:53:59 PST 2007

On Nov 7, 10:11 pm, Saxon Brenton <saxon.bren... at uts.edu.au> wrote:
> On 22 Oct 2007 Tom Russell <milos_par... at yahoo.com> wrote:
> > Oh my goodness!  A new Saxon Brenton story!
> > And a spicy one, too. :-P
> But spicy stories, like spicy food, may not necessarily be
> to everyone's taste  :-)

This is very true.  And such timid souls should veer far away from
<promo> the new series in the Eightfold Family of Romance Titles,
KINKY ROMANCE.  It's the more cheerful-- and certainly spicier--
counterpart to WEIRD ROMANCE and DOOMED ROMANCE, and it's coming soon
to a newsgroup near you.</promo> Ahem.

> > Saxon, I think you capture the 'feel' of slash fiction perfectly--
> > though, having not read any actual slash fiction, I base this on the
> > assumption that it lies somewhere between normal fan-fiction and
> > bad porn. :-)
> Pretty much.  In fact, I strongly suspect that the combination of the
> bad 'amateur writing style' of a lot of fanfiction and the bad 'porn
> needs no plot except as the contrivance to get to the sex scene' of
> a lot of porn means that slashfic suffers even more badly under
> Sturgeon's Law ("90% of everything is crap") than most other
> amateur fiction.

I certainly don't want to get into a discussion here-in on the merits
of out-and-out pornography, nor am I advocating one viewpoint or
another, but I wonder if the "porn needs no plot except as the
contrivance to get to the sex scene" trope is _necessarily_ a bad
thing.  It's kind of like musical comedies not having a plot except as
the contrivance to get to the singing and dancing; the singing and
dancing are what musicals are all about.  Of course it has to be
fluff, a mere clothesline on which to hang what's actually important;
no one wants to watch, for example, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers
debate the policies of the New Deal or learn to deal with the demons
of their past.  They want to see the singing and the dancing and the
witty one-liners, and that's fine because that's what they're about.

I think pornography, erotica, what-have-you, is a "feel-good" genre.
At best they'd _have_ to be light comedies.  Can you imagine a
pornographic film about a man dying of cancer, or someone dealing with
substance abuse, or someone driven to suicide by mind-numbing
poverty?  It would be terrible, and it would defeat the whole purpose
of it-- few people can be simultaneously aroused and depressed.

Granted, this is assuming that a "good" plot is serious, realistic to
a point, and has something at stake.  I'm not saying that an uplifting
story is inherently less "good" or even less satisfactory-- again,
Astaire and Rogers are pure uplift and all the better for it-- but
these plots do tend to rely more on contrivances and if they existed
in a vacuum-- if just the story was related with none of the
spectacle-- they would crumble to pieces.  It's the spectacle-- the
singing, the dancing, and, in this case, the sex-- that redeems the
"shabby" plotting.

That being said, the same logic should apply to big noisy action
films, but I find myself to be much less forgiving of bad plotting in
those situations.  This is most likely because singing, dancing, and,
yes, that other thing, require a degree of technical mastery, grace,
and personal expression, while blowing stuff up only requires
explosives (or, more depressingly, computers).  And that's probably
why musical comedies and porn are more identified with their
performers and certain key performances, rather than plots, directors,


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