Absurd Amusment

When I was about 11 years old I went to visit my Aunt in Ohio for a month of the summer vacation. I met a girl my own age and we became inseparable for that month. I forget now what her name was, but she introduced me to the absurdity of the theatre. We watched Newsies, one of those Disney feel-good flicks, nearly everyday. I found myself thinking of how cool I would be if I could break into spontaneous song and dance.

The absurdity of musical theatre I found so intriguing at that age came back to me the other day after reading a rather racy article about a three-way sexual encounter of a girl and her lover. It was the same glorious juxtaposition of the absurd with the everyday. Not only did the article make the entire pornographic ordeal sound appeal, it made it seem normal. Now all of us living in the real world know that it is not customary you invite the pizza delivery person into your house and offer him a nude tour of the bedroom, just as it is not normal that you find yourself following a carefully choreographed dance to a tune that seems to flow so spontaneously from your mouth in perfect pitch (not to mention accompanied by some distant and mysterious band).

Who made this up? I am perplexed that the human brain can tolerate such madness, how do we not go crazy at the ridiculousness of musical theatre and pornographic movies? Now don’t get me wrong, I love musicals and porno as much as the next gal, but why? Have I myself, in all my fervor to maintain my subculture identity, fell victim to the ploy of gratuitous sex and spontaneous music? I suppose I have, because absurd as it may seem I find both porn and musicals to be somewhat endearing, art forms worthy of both praise and persecution. Curiosity at the fantastical and idealistic musings of both genres is a pitfall of the human race.

Porn and the musical as I see them are microcosms for the human desire for idealistic situations and entertainment that both stimulates and relaxes. Because humans by nature are attracted to the beauty and simplicity of music, Broadway has seen huge success in both plays that show the triumph of man over adversity and the heart-wrenching drama of a life gone awry (made more digestible through musical theory and brilliant lyrics). Porn exceeds every man’s greatest fantasy by making sex accessible and a part of everyday life that the characters seem to have no problem fathoming. While musical theatre offers a deeper and more intelligent form of entertainment, porn is a very successful industry because it serves a function in society, both to entertain (as in laugh at the fake orgasms and absurd acting) and satisfy (self explanatory).

So you may be asking, why are you dissecting porno and musical theatre? Are these basic forms of entertainment really that telling and philosophical, I mean what is the big deal? The big deal is, no one seems to care. I find it a wondrous thing that humans can accept both mediocrity (porn) and absurdity (musical theatre) no questions asked. Obviously we find so redeeming value in these amusements. But are they not merely the fringe of what is acceptable in the mainstream. What these two genres make clear is that we will accept anything if it entertains us, it explains reality TV, Ben and J.Lo. and the over dramatic media. It isn’t just musicals and porn’s that have the ability to shroud reality in the absurd; it is all of modern entertainment. These once off-beat categories have led the way for all of entertainment to march into the land of the surreal. Like a car accident, we can’t help but look on. I too am lured in, although I may draw the line a bit sooner than others, it is only human nature that I crave the ridiculous.

5 replies on “Absurd Amusment”

Whoa! I never thought i’d actually consider pornography as a legitimate artform (I figured i’d get people to believe video games were art before even fathoming that) but you actually made me consider it, which I didn’t think was even possible. Extremely well written and intellectual, while simultaneously funny column, nice job.

unbelievable… i can’t believe you just made a parallel to porn and musican theater, had it make sense and yet still be so insightful…

just wow

Farily well rounded article, Although… I think that you give porn a bit too much praise at points. Even though there may be some that might be considered a form of art (as all film is to some degree), there are some that are just pure boner grinding drivel(take that in whatever context you wish :p).

Its true that no one openly brings the pizza guy into their room for 20 minutes that they’ll never forget, however I’m sure that if some production teams would be able to sell it, theyd cut out the storyline all together (and if you watch enough porn, you notice that some actually do). But for everycase like this, sometimes its the idea that its so unheard of and impossible that makes it so enticing (almost like a forbidden fruit kind of angle).

My point is that with all of these, what the story gives a person a role to identify with, and a way to actually put themselves into the story through the efforts of their own imagination. Sure TV and Magazines may be among the first to do this, but they are no where among the first medium to do so. Infact its one of the biggest selling points of theater!

You made a very good point that its human nature to search for situations that both stimulate and relax, however for as much of an attraction as they have to the person (usually) of the opposite gender (ie the “Plowee”), there also is a sense of identification with the other person involved (ie the “Plower”), but there is more to it than that. I mean, why do you think all the guys in porno films generally guys that are hung like horses and like they just came out of a bow flex comercial (or atleast own and use one… marketing at work)? Well, the answer (other than making porn accessible to all genders… this actually works both cases now that I think about it) is that when taking yourself into your own fantasy (as low a level one it may be), no one wants to think of themselves as the guy with the gut and the 4 inch wang. As you said, its just human nature to be attracted to the beautiful (what actually is defined as beautiful, and how we figure that out could fill, and im sure does somewhere in some library, books), however it works for both the one youre attracted too, and the one you wish you were, and on that level atleast porn and theater are one in the same.

As for why people accept these things, i think you got that down pretty well. Things that appeal most to people are fairly simple (some more simple than others) and easy to understand. Finding the point between confusion and tedium may be different for different people, but I wouldn’t characterize the way in which each of them function as something within itself. For example, when you say:

“Porn exceeds every man�s greatest fantasy by making sex accessible and a part of everyday life that the characters seem to have no problem fathoming.”

I cant say that most porno characterizes anything close to my greatest fantasy. Has it ever come close? Maybe, but once one realizes the relative insignifigance of sex in comparison to everything else that life has to offer, I cant say it ever came close for me again. I think alot of that has to do with what stage of development a person has reached and that has to do with alot of factors ranging from their upbringing, education, tastes, environment, attitude towards life, phsysical fitness, and (probably the most influential of all in this case) the status of ones virginity. All of these things shape your attitude towards sex (actually, lemme add how often one has gotten/is getting some to the list too). And although many (possibly most) guys fit the stereotype, thats no reason to assume that all do. I mean, I masturbate my fair share of the time, but I still wouldn’t characterize my greatest fantasy falling under the heading of porn, or something that porn like situations could provide. It works for the short term, but the long term is a whole nother story all together.

I forgot what i was tryin to say all together, but I think the rant hits on some pretty decent points.

Whew.. after all that, i feel like i need a cigarette :p,



in this section:

“Sure TV and Magazines may be among the first to do this, but they are no where among the first medium to do so. Infact its one of the biggest selling points of theater!”

I meant to say that tv and magazines may do this, but they arent the first medium to do so by any means

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